Smiling Indians of Sumter County
"1910 the federal census listed 126 American Indians in
Privateer Township, ...
between Maxton and Rowland, where they became known as the Smiling
Indians of the
Southeastern United States in the Late 20th Century - Page 76
by James Anthony Paredes
GOINS v. INDIAN TRAINING SCHOOL
"I, LI Parrott, clerk of the court for Sumter County, said state, do
certify that the families of Smilings and Goins of this county have
known as "Red Bones" ever since I have been acquainted with the
McDonald Furman, now deceased, took a great deal of trouble several
to establish the fact that they were...of the Indian race...they are
upon as a separate race, neither white nor negro."
"I know William Goins, father of these parties. I visited them in South
Carolina once about 6 years ago. The general reputation I got down
there was that they were indian people. They were supposed to be
indians. I have lived in robeson county all my life and i am perfectly
familiar with the indian people up here. from my association, being in
the home of old man goins and
his family and from the investigation i have made of the people there,
my opinion is that on the mother's side plaintiffs are indians and on
the father's side malungeans. the rev william goins is not a typical
indian by feature, he is a mixture between white and indian."
"I am a sister of the plaintiffs. been living at pates in robeson
county for five years. i was raised in sumter county sc. my boy goes to
the public indian school at pates. he has also gone to the normal
school. we are
indians in the North, but they gave us the name of "red bones" down
Hamilton McMillan, witness for the defendants:
"I am a resident of Robeson County; I am now 78 years of age. I
represented Robeson County in the state legislature in 1885 and 1887. I
am familiar with the Act of 1885 designating certain indians of Robeson
as Croatan Indians; I introduced the bill myself. I was acquainted with
the Indians of Robeson County at the time the Act of 1885 was passsed
designating them as croatan indians. I had been investigating their
history for several years before that. I have them the designation of
croatan indians in the Act. I wanted to give them some designation.
There was a tribe known as croatan tribe on croatan island, it was an
honorable name and it was a complete designation...The indians
designated as croatan indians were living in Robeson County...none of
them lived in sumter sc as far as i know. I had the Act of 1887 passed
to establish a normal school for the croatan indians of Robeson
"Question by the court to McMillan: Do these people here call
Answer: No sir, they call themselves malungeans.
Question: Were they never called croatans until this Act was introduced
Answer: No sir.
Question: Where were they from anyway?
Answer: The traditions all point to the resident west of Pamlico Sound,
beyond Cape Hatteras.
The testimony given in this case, like almost all of the cases dealing
with the people called 'free people of color' was both pro and
con. However there were at least three 'men of the cloth' who
testified these people had always been known as Indians. They won
this case - and it was upheld on appeal.
The News and Courier
May 25, 1897
A Sketch of
James Edward Smiling,
Career and his Family Connections.
Living in the southeastern part of this township is an aged man of
nearly four-score, with silvery hair and yellow complexion. A man
not unlike the celebrated Frederick Douglas. This venerable man
is James Edward Smiling, "the patriarch of the Privateer
Redbones." A man whose personal history and family connections
make him a person of rather unique interest to the local historian.
Jim Smiling is
now about 77 years old. In 1838 he became a carpenter,
which trade he followed until a few years ago. He has also
followed the profession of a Baptist minister. Fifty-six years
ago he was married to a cousin of his- a member of the Goins
family. His wife is now an old woman of about 71 years, and in
considerably mixed with Indian: her face is not unlike one of that
race. Including children, grandchildren and great grandchildren,
this venerable couple have over fifty living descendants; these have
intermarried with the Chavises, Goinses, Sweats, and other families
belonging to the interesting "old issue," or, properly speaking,
Smiling is the
owner of considerably over two hundred acres of land. For
fifty-two years he has been living in the house he now occupies.
This settlement is in a clearing, which is in a swampy, very out of the
way and rather wild part of the township. Not far from the front
of the house is one of those swamps which are known throughout this
section of country as "bays," and which covers several hundred acres.
man has considerable intelligence for one in his station, and is an
interesting person to talk with. During reconstruction times he
was a person of some prominence in the political affairs of Sumter
County: in 1868 he was elected a member of the Legislature. He
was magistrate under governor Scott, and has also been trial justice.
Like people of
his peculiar racial condition Smiling had guardians before the
war. At the commencement of the war he gave a horse, bride.
saddle and spur to one of the military companies of this county.
people, with whom Smiling is identified, while they are colored, are
nearly a distinct people from the "old time free negroes" proper.
I have often talked with this old man about his people, concerning whom
he has given me a good deal of information .
The Name of
A Family Name
About in the United States
and Borne by a
mixed Race of People
To the Editor
of The News and Courier.
isolated and mixed breed people of Privateer Township who are classed
as colored but who should properly be known as "Redbone" is found the
name of Goins. the founder of this family so I have been told was
a "yellow man" whose wife was a mixed breed Indian. Vicey Goins
the daughter in law of this couple lived to a great age, and died
in 1887. Her son, Wade Goins, is one of the old people among the
privateer Redbones and his features and copper-colored skin show the
presence of Indian blood in his veins. Another descendant of the
first Goins couple is Tom Gibbes, pastor of the little church in
Southeastern Privateer, which is attended by the Redbone people, and
which I may remark is a member of the Colored Wateree Baptist
Association, lower division. I think Gibbes shows his Indian
blood. He and Uncle Wade are both honest worthy men. While
it would greatly puzzle an ethnologist to determine what percent of
white, negro and Indian blood flows in their veins I think they are at
least a sixth part Indian if not more.
interesting to see over what a large area the name of Goins is
found. This name is (or was) found among that peculiar people,
the Croatans, of North Carolina, which unique race is believe by
historical investigators to be descendants of Sir Walter Raleigh's
famous "lost colony." Henry Berry Lowrie so celebrated in the
post bellum annals of North Carolina as a bold and daring outlaw, was
of the Croatan race. It is evident that the "old issues," or
properly speaking, "Redbones," who are found scattered about in
South Carolina, are in part a branch of the Croatans.
found in Louisiana. In the spring of 1893 I wrote to one of the
parish officials inquiring about them and I received an interesting
letter in reply. Among the Redbone family names mentioned in it
was that of Goins.
In a short
magazine article last summer Mr. James Mooney, one of the leading
ethnological writers in the United States gave an account of the two
Goins brothers he formerly knew in Indians "who although associating by
necessity with negroes, always insisted that they were not of that race
or of slave ancestry. they had a physical appearance of
Goinses in Georgia who aer a branch of the Privateer stock.
April 20, 1897
To the Editor
of The State
southeastern part of the township there there is an old muster group
and it is suggestive of memories of long ago. This place covers
about 10 or 12 acres. The Wilson and Sumter railroad runs through the
grounds a third of which is cleared: the rest is now covered
with old-field pines and the grove is quite a pretty one for there is
not a great deal of undergrowth and what there is adds to the
picturesqueness of the grove.
This old muster ground is situated in a section
locally known as "Timmonstown," in about a mile from the Clarendon
county line and on the Georgetown public road. Not far below the
gfround the road forks and one branch leads to the old city of
Charleston. The old muster ground is owned by Caleb Neal a worthy
"late freedman," and a full blooded negro. This section is not
uninteresting to the student of local history; In d the
surrounding country will be found families of that isolated people the
"old issues," or properly speaking the "Redbones" - the Chavises and
the Goinses, the Smilings and the Gibbeses, the Sweats and the
Griffins. The little church attended by these people is at the
forks of the road below the old muster ground and the pastor of this
church, the Rev. Tom Gibbes, now an elderly man of somewhat Indian like
appearance lives near the ground. I have been by this ground
several times, and on a delightful afternoon last month I paid a
special visit here. At my request I was accompanied by "Uncle
Smiling" the Redbone patriarch of the township whose years are not far
from fourscore, and who, with two other Redbones, used to play in a
band at the muster. I asked the old man about those almost
forgotten times, and as he talked I took down his remarks, which I give
below and I try to do so in his own language as much as possible. The
account is interesting as the story of an old man who took part in the
"They used to muster about two or three times a
year - have these musters here. My people were called pioneers,
and used to clean off the grounds. I was the fifer, Wade beat the
kittle drum, and West beat the bass drum. We played all during
the muster time, on the big muster day our people would clean off
the grounds one day and the big muster would take place the next.
All the men part of -- people used to clean off the ground. I
couldn't tell how many men used to muster here. Many times carts
would come here with cakes or watermelons and we would have a lovely
time. these old fields would be illuminated with people, men and
women- the people would just be out here in quantities. another
muster ground was below Tindal's mill, in Clarendon, and my crowd used
to clean the grounds there too and our band played down there.
When the soldiers were performing on these grounds the souls of their
horses hoofs could be heard far off."
Ramsey, Privateer Township
May 1, 1899
May 9, 1898
Information Sought About
a Unique Name and Race
James E. Smiling the patriarch of a branch of these people
found in Privateer Township and a Republican ex member of the
Legislature, told me this two years ago:
"I can't tell where the name "Old Issue" started from
- never heard it until since the warr, we don't accept the
name. The first way in which I heard the name "Old Issue' is
through the late freedman, and we take it as a slur."
Nelson Chavis another member of this race in the township
told me this last March:
"I can't remember hearing anything about the name 'Old
Issue' until since the war. I don't think the name is
becoming. We used to be called pioneers at the time we used to
cleaned muster grounds. I thought the name 'Old Issue' was only here
with us. I thought the name was some kind of a slang and I
thought maybe we were called so as the late freedmen might be "new
The Hampton correspondent of the News and Courier in June
1894 writing about one of these people in that county named Candey Mims
spoke of him as "one of a rather peculiar race of people who live in
the river section of this county, locally known as 'Old Issue."
They are a mixed race and have never been slaves. They are
supposed to be descendants of Indians and negores, but nothing is
definitely known of their origin."
Some year ago a gentleman of Aiken county, writing to me
about people of this sort found in that county, stated that they were
"classed as 'Old Issue freedmen."
I don't mean to say that all people of this kind are called
"Old Issue" but as will be seen, the name is found over a considerable
area. These people in Privateer Township are mixed with the
white, the negro and the Indian races and are classed as colored.
Ramsey, Privateer Township
excerpt of an
interview: “Beccie Jacobs [a White woman] told me – August 26, 1893 –
that Edie Goins said she came from the Cawtaba tribe.”
Indians - Hazel Forest