The mystery, myth and marvel of the Melungeons of East Tennessee

The mystery, myth and marvel of the Melungeons of East Tennessee

Chattanooga Parent/North Georgia Parent

Jennifer Crutchfield

Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.  Even the youngest of us knows that rhyme but there is more to the story of the conquest of the New World and it was a man’s search for clues to his mysterious illness that may have answered centuries old questions.   Answering those riddles about people and places make history and its mysteries so exciting.
Elvis Presley, Pocahontas, Abe Lincoln and Sequoyah may share a bloodline that still exists with many Melungeon brothers who don’t even know it.  As early as 1673 English explorer James Needham wrote about people who lived with Native American tribes, Mediterranean-looking people speaking a broken 16th century Elizabethan English in the forests of the New World.

Dedicated research, advanced genetic typing, testing and a disease or two combined in one man as he battled a mysterious ailment.  Brent Kennedy had always been told that his family was of Irish, Scottish and German heritage.  Imagine his surprise when the source of his pain was diagnosed as Erythema nodosum sarcoidosis, a disease that only strikes Mediterranean men?…

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