1997 – 05 May Newsletter – GRF

Sections in this issue:

1) Melungeon Study Grows as New Research Specialists Join the Effort;
2) Jessica Goings Purvine Relates Tradition of Indian Massacre;
3) Melungeon Researchers Convene;
4) Madrey Goins of Redbone Lines Weds Lavinia Tucker, Red Stick;
5) Dear Cousins.

All Gowen Manuscript Pages and Newsletters:   https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/gowen-research-foundation-pages-and-info/

Volume 8, No. 9 May 1997

1)  Melungeon Study Grows as New Research Specialists Join the Effort

By Evelyn McKinley Orr
Chairman, Melungeon Research Team
8310 Emmet, Omaha, Nebraska, 68134

The search for the origin of a mysterious dark gene and fine features displayed in some of the isolated mixed blood groups of the early 19th century, now seem too complex to label them as triÄracial. This mystery has drawn the expertise of both professional scholars and lay researchers in the fields of ethnology, anthropology, linguistics, medicine, genetics, archaeology, anthropology, history and genealogy.

And, as the interest grows, more data is pooled, especially on the Internet. The subject of one’s personal heritage is very close to the heart and it generates very high emotions. Confusion and misunderstandings are bound to surface now and then. I will present some thoughts that may help understand where the study has taken us to date.

We are trying to identify heritage of peoples that may have first come to America more than 400 years ago. Their mysterious genes have filtered into most every nationality today. Their descendants cannot be labeled as a single heritage, and the Melungeons are not an ethnic group.

The term Melungeon was not just a 19th century derogatory name applied to one group of people living in Appalachia. The origin of the name seems to have evolved from a combination of Native American, Ottoman Turk, Arabic, Spanish and Portuguese languages. Variations and influences of the Arabic language appear to have made their way into many countries, among them, Turkey, Portugal, Spain and the Mediterranean area. They are among the areas most often mentioned as places of origin for the Melungeons.

Melungeon researchers looking for ties will find some similar linguistic references to the name Melungeon in these areas to-day. This will also be true when defining the origin of some of the place names and culture traits found in our Southeastern States. The study becomes confusing when we try to put the origins into one specific country when more than one nation today will have descendants whose ancestors could have used the early Arabic language to some degree. Further clarification of this phase of the study must fall under the expertise of linguistics specialists with Dr. Brent Kennedy’s Committee.

Sailors among the Ottoman Turks and early Portuguese used the name Melungeon long before it was later attached in a demeaning way to our Appalachian Melungeons. The mystery gene of these very early Melungeons is very likely found in other isolated groups who shared many of the same features and cultural similarities with the Appalachian Melungeons.

To eliminate confusion I have resorted to using “Melungeon-type peoples” when referring to Melungeons in general. It was the previous attention paid to the mysterious Melungeons of Appalachia that rekindled much of the current interest. The term Turk has been used often to describe Melungeons, which is correct, but it encompasses more than modern day Turkey. It was used by the Christian nations as a generic name to define their adversaries during the early wars between Islam and Christianity. The early Ottoman Empire contained many nationalities. Their great navy flew the flags of the Cross of Christianity, the Star of David, and the Crescent for Islam.

We have sometimes been accused of labeling too many ethnic peoples under the term Melungeon, thus giving an impression that we are denying Native Americans, Anglos or Black African Americans their heritage today. At this time, we believe the first Melungeons were here centuries ago. If so, many of these people would soon became part of specific Native American heritage as some statistics now indicate. Their descendants may still be considered Native American today.

People of Melungeon descent would marry many Anglos and the Anglos still remained Anglo. Some would blend into the Negro communities, and the Black African-American today has not lost his heritage. Melungeon descendants today could carry the genes of all or part of the above. Each family genealogist must do that research. Except for a few isolated pockets, the heritage of the early Melungeons was lost. Yet, their genes flow in the veins of most every nationality in America today.

It is very confusing for the family genealogist to try to follow the rule of always sticking to the records. The first Melungeons were likely here too early to show up in our records. And, our records would later be recorded erroneously regarding race, as our nation sought to make us a culturally Anglo country. The research has revealed many laws and documents that show a pattern of reÄdefining heritages of people the recorder thought might have a mixed blood dark gene.

During specific times periods in our country’s social history, those who did not melt into the definition for white would loose their heritage, and become known as a mulatto or free person of color. The countries that we suspect these folks may have come from may not have records available, as many were probably of the class of the expendable common folk.

Tremendous interest in Melungia is developing on the Foundation Website and on the Internet, and enthusiasm for the research is growing. Folks are clamoring to learn more about these mysterious ancestors who left some definite genes among thousands of descendants in America. The search may also appear to be contradictory at times because Gowen Research Foundation and Dr. Kennedy’s committee had set out to explore–not to prove a particular theory of origin.

Ideas on origin will vary and change as information is gathered, and much speculation will result since we can not deal in absolutes at this time. With a search of this magnitude, now involving hundreds of researchers, much new data is being turned up which must be evaluated by the experts. Scholars and lay researchers will continue to try to sort out the answers.

2)  Jessica Goings Purvine Relates Tradition of Indian Massacre

By Bradley B. Garretson
105 Danza Court, Orinda, California, 94563

Jessica Goings Purvine, [c1775-1836] my g-g-grandmother re-lated the story of an Indian massacre which became a tradition in my Purvine family. It was handed down orally for 150 years before my grandmother, Sarah Ann Robinson Purvine [1859-1930] finally put it down on paper about 1920. She had heard Mary Jane Camron Purvine [1820-1898], her mother-in-law tell the story many times.

Jessica told her children about a Purvine family of eight from Cabarrus County, North Carolina who removed westward to the frontier. One morning while the father, Charles Purvine was doing his farm chores, his wife who was preparing breakfast, heard an unusual commotion at the barn. Looking out, she saw that Indians had surrounded her husband and were attacking him. She snatched up the baby and fled. She finally reached a settlement and safety. Investigators found that the Indians had killed the husband and the other five children and burned the house.

Jessica was married about 1796 to the surviving child, William Purvine probably in Melungia, the northeast corner of Tennessee where they lived briefly. By 1798, they had proceeded down the Tennessee River or Sequatchie River Valley to the Chattanooga area, at that time included in Knox County, Tennessee. Since these were Indian lands at that time, it is assumed that Jessica had “Cherokee connections.” The family lived there unmolested until they removed about 1820 to Morgan County, Illinois. They died there near the little town of Concord, Illinois.

William and Jessica told their children and grandchildren about the massacre, but none of them remembered where or when the tragedy took place. All they recalled was that their father was the sole survivor of the children and the slender genetic thread by which the family was perpetuated.

Children born to William Purvine and Jessica Goings Purvine include:

Annie Purvine born about 1797
John Purvine born about 1799
Elizabeth Purvine born about 1803
Catherine Purvine born about 1806
Nancy Purvine born about 1809
Martha Purvine born in 1812
Charles Purvine born in 1815
Jemima Purvine born in 1820

[I would be glad to correspond with anyone who might have a clue to the parents of Jessica Goings Purvine.–BBG]

3)  Melungeon Researchers Convene

To Form Heritage Foundation
By Dr. Charles K. Stallard
605 Botetourt Gardens, Norfolk, Virginia, 23507

The Melungeon people have their origins shrouded in mystery. Claimed by some to be “triÄracial isolates” or a group blended by intermarriage among Native Americans, Whites, and African Americans over the centuries, their origins are most likely more exotic.

One popular theory holds that they are of Native American, Berber, and/or Portuguese ancestry. As national attention has turned to the Melungeon story following the publication of Dr. N. Brent Kennedy’s book, “The Melungeons: Resurrection of a Proud People,” the descendants of Melungeons across the United States have been assembling on the Internet at a variety of home pages and discussion groups. The sharing of information and exploration of research and genealogical data that originated on the Internet have led to plans to hold a first ever gathering of Melungeon-descended people and those interested in their history and culture. In what some are calling a “family” meeting, but referred to as “First Union,” the event will be held in the heart of Melungeon country, the town of Wise, in the southwest corner of Virginia on July 25, 26 and 27.

Nationally recognized speakers and workshops are planned for the three days at Clinch Valley College. Meeting strands in-clude topics on Melungeons, Native Americans, Brass Ankles, Lumbees, Genealogy Research, Grantsmanship, and the formation of a non-profit foundation to support Melungeon and Appalachian cultural and historical research. Other topics will examine the Tennessee Department of Highway proposal for a Melungeon Heritage Trail, and Kentucky, North Carolina, and West Virginia Melungeon connections.

Tours to Newman’s Ridge in Hancock County, Tennessee, Stone Mountain and Powell Mountain in Wise and Scott County, Virginia are part of the planned activities. Dr. Barbara Tracey Langdon of Nebraska will present sessions on the Melungeons in American Literature. Renowned story teller Linda Goodman will host story sessions, and Dr. N. Brent Kennedy will present recent research findings at a banquet meeting. Researchers Evelyn Orr and Dr. William Moreau Goins of Eastern Cherokee and Lumbee ancestry, will conduct sessions on related regional research findings and the future of Melungeon research.

The public is invited to all functions and to participate in the creation of The Melungeon Heritage Foundation. Accommo-dations are available in the nearby city of Norton, VA and on the campus of Clinch Valley College. Those attending the first ever gathering of Melungeon descendants and researchers will automatically become charter members of the Melungeon Heritage Foundation.

Registration is $5.00 per person if mailed before June 15, 1997. After that date, the cost is $15.00. Banquet events and tours have limited space. Send check or money order made out to Mary K. Goodyear, Treasurer, address below.

For more information, contact one of the following: Mary K. Goodyear, Box 70, Shauck, Ohio, 43349Ä0070, E-mail kat@mail.bright.net; Audie Kennedy, Box 1495, Wise, Virginia, 24293, E-mail: audie@mounet.com or Charles Stallard, 605 Botetourt Gardens, Norfolk, Virginia 23507, E-mail address metaphysic@aol.com.

4)  Madrey Goins of Redbone Lines Weds Lavinia Tucker, Red Stick

Madrey Goins, son of Frederick Goins and Levicy Gibbes Goins, was born in October 1827 in Williamsburg County, South Carolina in the Redbone community, according to Mary M. Browder Barr, a great-granddaughter of Florence, South Carolina. He was married to Lavinia Tucker who was born in Sumter County, South Carolina in March 1835.

Mrs. Barr, Foundation researcher, wrote that she discovered a letter written in 1903 by Charles James McDonald Furman, South Carolina newspaperman and historian [1863-1904]. It revealed that Lavinia Tucker Goins told Furman in an interview that she was the daughter of Jeb Tucker, an Englishman and Ocenee Gayo, a Red Stick woman from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Jeb Tucker had fought for the British and the Red Sticks in the War of 1812 and was considered a traitor in Louisiana.

So he and his new wife removed to South Carolina where Lavinia Tucker was born. Lavinia was described by Furman as a “small dark-skinned woman with black hair, but with blue eyes, therefore she could pass as a white woman.” After Lavinia was married to Madry Goins, her mother felt free to go back to Baton Rouge to be with her people.

At the age of 45, Madry Goins enlisted in Confederate service. During the war, he received a leg wound for which he received a pension, according to Mrs. Barr. Madrey Goins and Lavinia Tucker Goins lived in the Chavis Settlement in Williamsburg County about 1880, according to Carolyn Moore, a descendant. Mrs. Barr wrote, “I have a 98-year-old cousin who knew my g-grandfather, Madrey Goins before he died in 1910.” He was buried in Goins Cemetery at Greelyville, South Carolina. When Lavinia Tucker Goins died, she was buried beside her husband.

Children born to Madrey Goins and Lavinia Tucker Goins include:

Ceny Goins born July 15, 1875

Mary M. Browder, granddaughter of Ceny Goins and daughter of William Benjamin Browder and Ozella Barineau Browder, was born April 12, 1928. She was married secondarily August 6, 1964 to W. Cooper Barr who was born April 22, 1944 in Florence. They continued there in 1997.

Mary M. Browder Barr wrote,

“I have found documents on my branch of the family which have recorded the surname as “Gowens,” “Goens,” “Gowins,” “Goings,” “Goan,” and “Goins.” “To further complicate the matter, the family lived in the community populated by the mixed-race Redbones. Charles James McDonald Furman spent many years researching the origin of this mysterious, isolated people whose history parallels that of the Melun-geons. He referred to them as a ‘mixed breed people who were never slaves and who had Indian blood in their veins.’ He considered them to be a branch of the Croatans and perhaps descendants of the lost colony of Sir Walter Raleigh.”

5)  Dear Cousins

I finally made it to the Internet and the Foundation Website. I am impressed with the acres and acres of family information there. I stayed with it until my eyes glazed over. I just wanted to thank everyone who has had a part in this tremendous undertaking! Carlene Pagliara, 210 Robin Hill Ln, Duncan-ville, TX, 75137, pagliara@flash.net.

==Dear Cousins==

I am sad to report that my brother, Henry Gordon Gowens died April 17, 1997. He died peacefully at home. The family had graveside services April 19 with military honors which I was pround to conduct. Gordon loved the work that the Founda-tion is doing and was a great supporter of family history re-search. He believed that your efforts are very important to coming generations as well as ours. He will be missed. Michael Wayne Gowens, 1297 Bear Run Blvd, Orange Park, FL, 32065, mwgowens@worldnet.att.net.

==Dear Cousins==

It was wonderful to read the article of Col. Carroll Goyne on the 1997 Melungeon trip to Turkey. I enjoyed immensely the 1996 trip and seeing the many towns, museums and scenes. The Turkish people were friendly, and, to my joy, let me hold a baby here and there for pictures. But travelling with the “Gowen Family” would have added deeper pleasure and more insight into the country and its people. Thanks for sharing such a delightful trip. Elizabeth Hale Morfitt, 353 Westmoreland Dr, Idaho Falls, ID, 83402.

==Dear Cousins==

My ggg-f William Alcorn was married to Julia Goin/Gowen July 18, 1838 in Madison County, KY. Her parents were William Goin and Elizabeth Welch/Tatum. She is sometimes referred to as “Tatum” because of her step-father.

William Goin and Elizabeth Welch were married in Madison County in 1811. Julia Goin Alcorn died in Ripley County, IN. I would appreciate any information about her ancestry. Merritt R. Alcorn, 148 Fairmount Drive, Madison, IN, 47250

==Dear Cousins==

The obituary of Mrs. Thelma Gowen Hannaford, 93, appeared in the April 12 edition of “Jacksonville Times-Union.” She was a Foundation charter member and a sister to Barney Alexander Gowen who died in 1995. He was a family historian of the Revolutionary Lt. James Gowen branch of the family. She was born September 15, 1903 to George Rhoan Gowen and Courtney Carney Littlefield Gowen in Camden County, GA. She was buried in the Pineview Cemetery in Folkston, GA. She was survived by a daughter, Merle H. Lloyd; three sons, J. O. Hannaford, Jr, George L. Hannaford and Maurice W. Hannaford; a sister, Annie Pearl Gowen Page of Jacksonville and a brother, Baynard H. Gowen of Folkston. Betty J. Robertson, 3127 Home Park Circle N, Jacksonville, FL, 32207.

==Dear Cousins==

My son, Jeffrey Allan Gowen, is a sports TV producer for Fox, so he is hard to keep up with on the Foundation mailing list–always travelling. Right now, he’s in England for several weeks, producing for the League of American Football. When he returns, I’ll provide you with his new address for the Newsletter.

We are descended from William Gowen of Kittery, Maine who was a prisoner of Oliver Cromwell and was shipped to Boston in 1650 as an indentured servant. Keep up the good work. We always enjoy the Newsletter. C. Allan Gowen, 106 Dalmeny Road, Briarcliff Manor, NY, 10510


NOTE:  The above information produced by the Gowen Research Foundation (GRF), and parts of the “Gowen Manuscript” they worked on producing.  It has tons of information – much of it is correct, but be careful, some of it is not correct – so check their sources and logic.  I’ve copied some of their information in the past researching my own family, only to find out there were some clear mistakes.   So be sure to check the information to verify if it is right before citing the source and believing the person who researched it before was 100% correct.  Most of the information I found there seems to be correct, but some is not.

Their website is:  Internet: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gowenrf

There does not seem to be anyone “manning the ship” at the Gowen Research Foundation, or Gowen Manuscript site any longer, and there is no way to contact anyone about any errors.   The pages themselves don’t have a mechanism to leave a note for others to see any “new information” that you may have that shows when you find info that shows something is wrong, or when something has been verified.

Feel free to leave messages about any new information found, or errors in these pages, or information that has been verified that those who wrote these pages may not have known about.

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