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Tennessee Melungeons

In a message dated 12/8/2008 6:16:46 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, manahoac_saponi@yahoo.com writes:
Thing with that is…..the louisa county records…look at the date….them are not the oldest records.

John Collins, (c1690 – 1752)
The birth year of John Collins is again an estimate based on a 1716 deed in Bertie County, NC.
John Collins wrote his will on 27 December 1749 in Bertie County, NC.

thats older than any of the other Virginia records…the hyde county records are

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But none of these can be connected to Thomas Collins Sr., Thomas Collins Jr., Samuel Collins, Thomas Gibson and his sons Charles, Reuben, Major etc., — they can be easily traced from Virginia to North Carolina to Tennessee. The Bertie County Collins, IIRC are R1b — Vardy’s is R1a and Valentine’s is E3a….. Joanne

Joanne Wrote:
In a message dated 12/8/2008 8:37:50 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, manahoac_saponi@yahoo.com writes:
So….do we have Newman’s ridge links to Bertie county, nc? yes we have that……Bunch and collins….We even know that Valentine Collins’ dna matches perfect with the Bertie county, nc’s DNA….His dna matches Henry Bunch….who it just so happens….henry’s daughter married into the Collins family of Bertie…..Bertie being close to the Machapunga tribe where the Vandermullen, collins, Gibbs, and Austin are in the late 1600-early 1700’s….oldest records.

I think I can say, with a fair degree of certainty, that these Gibsons who were called ‘Tennessee Melungeons’ can be traced back to Louisa Co., Virginia along with the Bunch, Collins, Goins, Goodmans, and others. The DNA match of Valentine Collins to the Bunch line could be from a union in 1747 in Virginia– assuming Henry Bunch probably comes from the Louisa County line ;

1745 May 28 Louisa Co. VA “Ordered that William Hall, Samuel Collins, Thomas Collins, William Collins, Samuel Bunch, George Gibson, Benjamin Branham, Thomas Gibson, and William Donathan be summoned to appear at the next Court to answer the presentment of the Grand jury this day made against them for concealing tithables within twelve months past.”
1747 Louisa Co VA: Thomas Collins sold 186 acres on Turkey Creek on the south side of the Southanna River to John Powell..the land lies near Gilbert Gibson, Thomas Gibson and Sam Bunch land.

The above Gilbert Gibson is no doubt the son of ‘Gibby Gibson’ who died in 1726 and left a Charles City County will. He is buried in the Lightfoot cemetery at Sandy Point with Francis, likely his wife, named in the will, and his father, Thomas Gibson. These Gibson lines were in Virginia in the early 1600s and I have found no connection to the Gibbs/Gibbes families you mention.

I have been in contact with researchers from the Bertie County Collins who assure me the DNA of those Collins do not match any of the ‘Melungeon’ Collins lines — to my knowledge there is no proven link from the Bertie County families to the Hancock County,Tennessee Melungeons.

The Collins left Louisa County with the Bunch, Gibsons etc., and are found 1750 in Granville;

The 1750 tax list of Granville County, NC list the following:
Gideon Bunch 2 tithes (Micajer and William)
Thomas Collins Sr. 1 tithe, Samuel Collins 1 tithe, John Collins 1 tithe
Thomas Gibson with tithes Charles and George Gibson.

These are the families of the Newman’s Ridge Melungeons. The ‘other Melungeons’ the ones in Hamilton County, Wilson Co, etc., by 1850 were from Bertie Co., North Carolina and Marion County, South Carolina. Why their kinfolks were called Lumbee, Smiling, Redbones, Carmel Indians etc., I don’t know. Maybe as Dragging Canoe said in 1775;

“Whole Indian Nations have melted away like snowballs in the sun before the white man’s advance. They leave scarcely a name of our people except those wrongly recorded by their destroyers.” Joanne
Joseoph Newman wrote:

Well..the collins started out as Machapungs in Hyde county, NC. There was also VanderMullen with them and alot of Native people named Gibbs. This was a time when the Saponi was in the Bertie county, NC area.

Also….when the English first came to america….not the spainsih but the english…..their first stop was Hatteras island….they found a ship wrecked to pieced and it was partially burned…..the Hatteras tribe (the real name of the Croatoan) had the ship’s flag in their village and there was mixed kids in the tribe already from the people of the Wreckage. The French and spainish was both on Hatteras before the English. The english got their in 1585.

The first english even had Portuguese men on their crew…one named Fernando.

Now if you google the meaning of gibson…you’ll find several websites that says thats a proven variation of gibbs and gibbes.

Another surname found with the Saponi which originated from the Machapunga and Hatteras was Austin.

It was also proven that some (not all) Hatteras had moved in with the Mattamuskeet.

Handbook of American Indians, 1906
Hatteras. An Algonquian tribe living in 1701 on the sand banks of Cape Hatteras, N. C. east of Pamlico sound, and frequenting Roanoke Island. Their single village, Sandbanks, had them only about 80 inhabitants. They showed traces of white blood and claimed that some of their ancestors were white. They may have been identical with the Croatan Indians with whom Raleigh’s colonists at Roanoke Island are supposed to have taken refuge.

Now we also know some of the Saponi at the brunswick reservation did in fact speak Algonkian.

The Hatteras when visited in the 1600’s had blue and grey eyes…could read from books…..said their ancestors came from a book called Raleigh…..they showed signs of mixed ancestry…etc etc.

In fact there was several portugesse the english brought to Hatteras island on each trip. a few examples are,
Enrique Lopez, Portuguese merchantDiego Menendez de Valdes (He may be spainish)
Alonzo Cornieles, Captain of the Santa Maria of San Vicente (spainish or Portugesse)
Edward GorgesMaster BremigeMaster VincentCaptain John Copeltope(I’m sure at least one of them 4 was portugesse)
Simon Fernandez, chief pilot (Portugesse man)
Iohn Gostigo (Probally spainish or portugesse)

But anyway….that who the English brought to Hatteras island in the 1580’s…..this does not even count the spainish and French who came to Hatteras before 1585.

But on to the colony of 1587…here is some names.

John Cheven
John GibbesThomas HarrisRichard Darige
William NicholesThomas ScotThomas ColmanGeorge Martyn

Now Simon Fernando the portugesse….he came on pretty much every trip from 1585-1587…..he was a proven portugesse..and I’m sure he had some mixed children by the women in his off and on 2 years with the Hatteras.

Now Sir Francis Drake was the person who picked up the first “Colony”….the first colony was not the first English trip….there was actually 6 trips….the first colony was more like the 3rd trip. lost colony was the 5th trip. Sir Francis drake was the 4th trip. Anyway…..Traveling with Drake was John Hawkins and william collins…..those two got left behind at Veracruz….they knew drake was going to Hattera to drop off supplies. This is proven..not a theory. ok so there was problems with the spianish in Verazcruz blah blah….so Hawkins and Collins knew there was a french colony in florida….so they went there…found the colony fisnihed off by the spainish…..so this crew started following the Native American paths up the East coast….Logic would say they would have went for Hatteras since they knew there was a Enlgish colony there and Drake was there…..little by little people from their crew started just staying with various tribes….Hawkins and Collins and their crew was staying a few days with each tribe that would take them in….probally spent a few weeks with some tribes…..anyway they probally got to Hateras and found out the First colony was not there…because the first colony had gotten the other tribes angry and the colony rode off to england with drake (Hatteras was still friendly to the english)….ok so they continue north and enter canada….end of a 11 month jounry and they finnally make it back….only some of the crew made it back though…..Only person I know who made it back was john Hawkins….I have not seen William collins listed as making it back to England. This is all proven.

Ok on to the next stuff…..

Newman’s ridge stories….shipwrecked….burned portuguese ships….took native women as wifes….nc coast….all that stuff can be proven as stuff that really did happen on Hatteras island even before the First english came…….We also have proof of the Newman’s ridge surnames found among the Hatteras and Machapunga before any other records and all the surnames related to native americans…..we even have the names “Captain John Goring 1586″(goring, Going, Goin) and” John Gostigo 1585-1586 “

We know the Saponi did often go live with the Catawba and cheraw…..we know the Lumbee are cheraw, Tuscarora, and Croatoan/Hatteras….their original name was Croatoan of roberson county.

Ok so let’s see what the Saponi reocrds have.

1701:John Lawson finds Sapona indians along the banks of the Yadkin river (at that time was named Sapona river).Also in 1701 NC Davidson County. Trading Fort established on Sapona River (now called Ydkin River) at the Indian town of Sapona Town.

1701-1709:After John Lawson’s visit to Sapona Village around Febuary 1701, the Saponi and Tutelo left their villages behind.The Siouan tribes had been getting attacked from the North and South Iroqious tribes.These 2 tribes moved Eastward and the Saponi creek near Nashville NC probally shows the path they took. Occaneechi and the other allied tribes followed. They was all moving toward the settler’s settlements so Saponi village was no longer safe..They crossed the Roanoak river before the Tuskarora war of 1711.Their new Village was called Sapona townn. The Location was slightly East of roanoak river and about 15 miles westward from Windsor in Bertie county NC.So….do we have Newman’s ridge links to Bertie county, nc? yes we have that……Bunch and collins….We even know that Valentine Collins’ dna matches perfect with the Bertie county, nc’s DNA….His dna matches Henry Bunch….who it just so happens….henry’s daughter married into the Collins family of Bertie…..Bertie being close to the Machapunga tribe where the Vandermullen, collins, Gibbs, and Austin are in the late 1600-early 1700’s….oldest records.

Hatteras island by the way is riddled with Shipwrecks.

So anyway….these Saponi move back to Virginia..

1733:Saponi not happy with their living with the Catawbas and returned to Virginia. These Saponi bring with them some Cheraws (Catawba). They were forced to petition Lt. Governor Gooch for permission to resettle in Virginia, which was granted (Merrell 1989:116). Note: This Cheraw/Saura town very near the settlement of the ‘Rockingham County Indians’ known as the Gibson and Goins.
Ok so we have the gibson and Goins name there…but anyway lets move along.

1723:The Stegaraki were located by Governor Spotswood of Virginia at Fort Christanna about 10 years earlier, and the Mepontsky, also placed there, may have been the Ontponea. We hear of the former as late as 1723, and there is good reason to believe that they united with the Tutelo and Saponi and followed their fortunes, and that under these two names were included all remnants of the Manahoac.Now let’s see who these tribes was…

The Stegaraki, who were in Orange County along the Rapidan River
The Ontponea, who were located in Orange County

And of course we know Louisa county, VA was the first known location of the Saponi under the name Monasukapanough…….ok so the Saponi leave the reservation….etc etc.

In 1730, “William Bohannon came into court and made oath that about twenty-six of the Sapony Indians that inhabit Colonel Spotswood’s land in Fox’s neck go about and do a great deal of mischief by firing the woods; more especially on the 17th day of April last whereby several farrows of pigs were burnt in their beds, and that he verily believes that one of the Indians shot at him the same day, the bullet entering a tree within four feet of him; that he saw the Indian about one hundred yards from him, and no game of any sort between them; that the Indian after firing his gun stood in a stooping manner very studdy [steady] so that he could hardly discern him from a stump, that he has lost more of his pigs than usual since the coming of the said Indians; which is ordered to be certified to the General Assembly. ” Orange county VA1742 “”Alexander Machartoon, John Bowling, Manicassa, Capt. Tom, Isaac, Harry, Blind Tom, Foolish Jack, Charles Griffin, John Collins, Little Jack. Indians being brought before the court by precept under the hands and seals of Wm Russell & Edward Spencer, Gent. for terrifying one Lawrence Strother and on suspicion of stealing hoggs………”” The above put up security individually. It was ordered that their guns be taken from them till they are ready to depart out of this county, “they having declared their intentions to the Court to depart this colony within a week” (Orange Co..VA Order Book 3 1741-1743. 309) Orange Co Va Microfilm Reel 31, Va “25 Jan 1745 Louisa County, Virginia Court: William Hall, Samuel Collins, William Collins, Samuel Bunch, George Gibson, Benjamin Brannum, Thomas Gibson, & William Donothan appear to answer an indictment for concealing tithables. Plead not guilty, Case continued.”

1743-1747:Governor Clarence Gooch of Virginia reported to the Colonial Office that the “Saponies and other petty nations associated with them . . . are retired out of Virginia to the Cattawbas” (British Colonial Office 1743).

1749:3598 pg 384 WILLIAM MACKINTOSH 13 October 1749 200 acres in Johnston County on the S. side of the Neuse River on a place called Powells run near Sapony Camps, joining near the sd. run.

13 Oct 1749 Johnson Co. William Mackintosh 200 A on S side of Neuse on place called Powells run near Sapony Camps (975.6 R 2hm Colony of NC 1735-1764 V 1)

Now let’s look real quick at another Person…..The Mattamuskeet’s chief/King wasSquires..under him was the Mackey/Macay, etc family…..now we would want to see if for a fact there was anyone really important from the Mattamuskeet was traveling with these Saponi into virginia from Hyde county, nc area.

Which we do find that….Tonk Mack aka Tony Mackey.

27 Sept 1728 Sir: The 27th of September John Carter brought Negro Cofey to my house, as he says, by your orders, for me to examine concerning what the Saponys have told him about the white people, which I have done, and he tells me: that Great George told him that John Sauano and a fellow called Ben Harrison was gone to the Cotobers to fetch one hundred of them to come and see why their Indians was put in prison, and if Capt. Tom was hanged they would carry their wives and children over the Roanoke River and then they would drive the white people and negros as far as James River, and he says that Tony Mack told him that if Pyah was hanged he and the Cotobers would come and take revenge of the English, and he says that Sapony Tom told him if his son Harry Erwin was hanged they would kill you and three or four more Gentlemen and then go off, and he says that Dick told him that we had no business to come to the fort armed to concern ourselves about their killing one another, but we were like a sow that had lost her pigs would rally for a little time and then have done *, but when they began a war with the English they never would have done *. This from your humble servant to command, Thomas Avent The original document is held by the Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, VA and will give you a copy of the original. http://aventfamily.org/taveltr.htm
Now we already know about the Saponi recorded in Granville, nc and how the Collins, bunch, riddle etc was there at the same time….we know about the Newman’s ridge records etc etc….we know about the Broad river records, etc etc…..so let’s go back to Hyde county, NC where the oldest records are.

Children with surnames attributable to the Mattamuskeet were well represented among the apprentice bonds of this period. Twelve persons with the surname of Longtom, and twelve with the Mackey surname were apprenticed (see appendices 40 and 41). Other families of probable Indian descent are also represented in the records. The Collins family was represented by apprentice bonds on ten different individuals. One member of the Elks family was apprenticed. The Barber family, which had at least partial Indian descent, was represented by eleven individuals, and the Chance family was represented by a single bond. It is probable that other “free persons of color” families were descended from Indians, but no level of proof exists to prove that supposition.

The Mattamuskeets were, as indicated previously, joined by Indians from Roanoke and Hatteras Island by 1761. The names of these individuals were not identified on any of the extant deeds. This could mean the Indians from those areas moved to the Mattamuskeet area at a period later than that covered by the available records. Individuals with Mattamuskeet surnames do not occur in the Hyde County Records from 1761 to 1792. In fact, there is reference to only a single Indian during that time. This reference appeared in the Hyde County Court Minutes of 1765. It called for William Gibbs to show cause why an Indian woman named Cati Collins should not be set free. It is not clear from the reference whether William Gibbs was holding Cati Collins as an apprentice or a slave. The outcome of the show cause order could not be determined due to a break in the County Court Minutes from 1765 to 1767 (see appendix 35).

March 1765: Cate COLLINGS (COLLINS) , an “Indian Woman” servant of William GIBBS,Constable of Arrowmuskeet. March 1765 Hyde County Court Minutes andOrphans Book 2, on motion of Patrick Gordon ordered that Wm. GIBBS”shew” cause if he has any, why Cate COLLINGS (COLLINS) an Indianwoman, now in his service should not be set free.June Court 1765 – ordered that Wm. GIBBS have timely notice that heshow cause why Cate COLLINGS (COLLINS), an Indian woman be not set atliberty. 1820 Hyde county, NC Census shows the collins, Mackey, and Gibbs family living right next door to each other.

From Hyde County bastardry Bonds:AbijahAmanda (of colorE.S. HalaJamesJohnJohn (of color)Mahala/MahaliaRichardSaml. (of color)WellingtonFrom Hyde County Wills 1709-1775:BailyElizabethHannahHenryUriahFrom Hyde County Court Records 1736-1762:AnnBaileyHannahUriahFrom Hyde County Court Records 1762-1783:HenryAnd there’s a mention of a Collins Creek in the following deed abstract:James Cleaves, blacksmith to Henry Tuley, ship carpenter, both of Hyde Co £70 in silver dollars @ 8s each 50 acres E side Matchapungo River, N side Slades Creek; beg Cleves corner pine in savannah, W170p with his line to black oak at head of Collins Creek, S110p along creek to Silvesters line, along his line N60° E200p to 1st.. 25 Aug 1780. James Cleaves. Wit: Ben Russel, Sam Davis. Proved at Aug Ct 1780. Test: Thos Smith, Dep Clk. Test: Joseph Hancock, Reg. Regd 26 Oct 1781.A few things about the above deed worth mentioning:

The Cleaves and Collins had been neighbors going back to at least 1737 time frame. In 1737, a Darby MackCartee deeded to his grandson Benjamin Cleaves several items and Uriah Collens was one of the witnesses. So that means there were already Collins in the Hyde County/Matchapungo/Mattamuskeet area prior to the 1740-1750 window you mention for Granville County.2) The Russell family name is one that is found amongst the Mattamuskeet Indians and shows up as such in the original records. Furthermore, the Collins were already in the region of Bath County (which at one time included Hyde Precinct) as far back as 1701 based on entries such as the Will and Testament of Richard Collins on 23 Sept 1701 with legatees listed as Edmon Parse/Pearce, Ann Nelson, John Bunting, Roger Montague (who was involved in land transactions for King Charles Town which was a Machapunga town in that area as well as land transactions with John Squires who may be the same John Squires who was later appointed “King” of the Mattamuskeet.”Here are the individuals listed in Richard Collins estate inventory which was sworn on 22 Nov 1701 by the appraisers of his estate:Rodger MontagueCapt BlountMr LongNicholas DawAlex McFarlaneEdmund PearceArchibald MackarelJon WatsonEsther BrooksJoseph HolbrookMr DuckinfieldTho CooperMr DearhamEd Gantling (Gatlin)Indian Will (<– not a slave, this was someone he owed money to)James WelshJohn Nelson(Note:…..We know the Blount name associated with the Tuscarora….Tuscarora had a reservation in Bertie county, nc…..we know the Collins and Bunch show up in Bertie county, nc….free peopl of color and mulattos…pell mell…etc etc…Let's see if we can fnd Saponi and Tuscarora connection.)

June 1733:The Sapony and Nottoway Indians met with the Governor and Council. The Sapo-nies were given permission to join the Tuscaroras if they wished, provided that neither Nation would hunt on any lands patented in Virginia, nor go among the inhabitants in groups of more than three. The Sapo-nies were permitted to stay at their town until their corn was gathered. If they decided not to join the Tuscaroras, they were to move to some place beyond the inhabitants between the Roanoke and Appomattox rivers.”Soon after this they all left the Fort. Some joined the Catawbas, and some eventually joined the Five Nations of the Iroquois in New York.”After the Indians left the region, all their former lands were taken up in grants. The site of the Fort became known as Fort Hill Plantation.

Anyway back to the Hyde county records.

According to a 1701 Lords Proprietors grant to Mr. William Barrow, a William Collins arrived into Bath County sometime prior to May of 1701, as William Collins was one of William Barrow’s headrights.In 1707, a Lawrence Collins was witness to a court transaction in Bath County.In case there is any question as to whether or not the Collins of Hyde County and other known Mattamuskeet Indians were in the same place at the same time, it may be of interest that on the 3rd day of September of 1746 the following transactions took place in the courthouse:Land transactions between Samuel Selby to his son Samuel Selby, Jr.; George Squires (Mattamuskeet chief’s son) to Saml. Selby, Jr. proved by James McIntosh (one of my ancestors); a deed from “Long Tom and Other Indians” to Cason Brinson for land “in Arrowmuskeet” proved by Saml. Selby; a deed of gift from Edwd and Ann Tison to Danll Tison on east side of Matchapungo River proved by Uriah Collins.On the 7th of June in 1748, Uriah Collens was in court on the same day as Henry Gibbs (either the father or brother of William Gibbs who was involved in Cate Collins servitude case) and “Charles Squires King of the Arromoskeet Indians”

Pretty hardcore evidence if you ask me. All the stuff above is fully proven…nothing above is theories….I’m just putting all the historical records (well I have lots more records besides this) on the table for everyone to see. Oh yea one more bit of info…..The collins of Bertie county, NC had a son named john collins who left Bertie county, nc and would of maybe been about the age of the john collins of orange county, Va’s indian court records. check out Valentine collins’ DNA result next to the bertie county, nc’s Bunch family also 🙂

From: steven hill To: randsgroup@yahoogroups.comSent: Sunday, December 7, 2008 1:41:02 PMSubject: RE: [RandSgroup] Tennessee Melungeons
Your theory has one serious flaw…The Gibson, Mullins, Collins, Goins of Newman’s ridge never resided in the PeeDee-Drowning Creek area. They migrated in from Virginia. A small group of Portuguese sailors were captured by the Dutch warship White Lion and sold to Virginia planters circa mid-1600’s. These men soon bought their own freedom thoguh they had already taken wives from off the gingaskin Indian reserve and owned their own houses (‘slavery’ was quite different in early coloial Virginia). Some surnames of these mixed Indian-Portugeuse marriages were Francisco (anglicized to Francis, and Cisco), Rodriguss (anglicized to Driguss and Driggers), Harmon, and a few other surnames I can’t remember just now. One other surname that sprung from this union is most likely Chavez (anglicized to Chavis) but it hasn’t been conclusively proven – – the Chavis line originated the Gibson mixed-Indian line. Not only did Driggers, Francis, and Chavis appear in the founding families of the “mixt crew” on Drowning Creek (present day Robeson County – the Lumbee Indian tribe) but also did other Gingaksin reservation residents’ surnames such as Jacobs, Clark, and others, and this may account for the “portugeuse” origin talked about by early historians. It is possible that the gibson and Goins lines among the early newman Ridge “melungeons” were conencted back to the Portugeuse-Indian mixed families around the gingaskin reserve as they came from an area of VA that was very close to Chesepeake Bay. yet the Portugeuse blodd would account for very little of their total blood quantum, and the majority was definatively Native.
To: RandSgroup@yahoogro ups.comFrom: KyRoots@aol. comDate: Sun, 7 Dec 2008 12:43:53 -0500Subject: Re: [RandSgroup] Tennessee Melungeons
This is just my opinion but for what it is worth:

In 1848 the ‘Melungeons’ told a journalist the ‘legend’ of the Melungeons. They said they were ‘Portuguese Adventurers’ who had mixed with the Indians. From my research I’d have to say these Portuguese were from the Pee Dee – Drowning Creek — and mixed with the Indians in that area.

In 1754 it was reported to the governor there were 50 mixed families living there — and *no Indians* — these families who can be traced back to that geographical area, went to court for years in all parts of this country claiming to be Portuguese — there were simply too many to be some sort of a ‘cover up’ — in my opinion. Judges, juries, Senators, anthropologist, ethnologist, historians, sheriffs, tax collectors etc., all testified they believed these people were ‘Portuguese. ‘

After residing in SC/NC border and mixing with the Indians they moved into the area of Newman’s Ridge where they mixed with the Indians of that area, [being with the Bunch, Goins, Gibsons, Collins, etc, who had lived ‘as Indians’ in Virginia and North Carolina] — the blacks and the whites as they told it in their ‘legend’ — which formed the ‘present race’ — in 1848.

They told this story in 1848 and included the Indian, black, white and Portuguese — which was retold Dromgoole in 1890 —

Here are a few “Portuguese stories”
http://www.geocities.com/ourmelungeons/portuguese.html

In a message dated 12/7/2008 11:55:35 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, ponyhill71@hotmail. com writes:
isn’t it funny that the earliest historical references to the “Melungeons” of Newman’s Ridge, Tenn. specifically stated they were Indians from Virginia and that the first Gibson, Mullins, Collins who came into Tenn. “were nearly full-blooded” Indian, and here we have “Melungeons” from that same place almost 100 years later (who had recently moved to Texas and Oklahoma and were trying to get land through the Dawes Commission) all claiming that their grand-parents were “Indian.”??? ? http://www.geocities.com/ourmelungeons/cherokee1.html Where was all this “mysterious race” and “exotic origin” back then? It appears the people themselves were very well aware of their Native ancestry, that their grand-parents were Indians who had taken White spouses, yet the White “historians” consistently tried to create some fantastic migration story for them…Portugeuse pirates, lost Spanish explorers, lost colony of Roanoke, etc. Just like in scientific experiments. ..the simplest answer is usually the right one.