My Ancestor’s Name and Race Changed in Census Records. Why?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2016-01-05 00:21Z by Steven

My Ancestor’s Name and Race Changed in Census Records. Why?

The Root
2016-01-01

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher, Jr. University Professor; Director, Hutchins Center for African & African American Research
Harvard University

Anna L. Todd, Researcher
New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), Boston, Massachusetts


1860 U.S. census for Hardy County, Va.
U.S. census

Tracing Your Roots: Antebellum records raise questions about the racial identity and legal status of West Virginia forebears.

Dear Professor Gates:

I recently discovered that I have an ancestor listed as “mulatto” on the 1850 and 1860 census records. Her name is Amelia “Millie/Milly” A. Moreland, born in 1818 in Virginia. She is listed as living with William White Mullin and three children, Richard Winfield Scott Moreland, Anna R.C. Moreland and Mary J.V. Moreland—all children also listed as “mulatto.” By the 1900 census, son Richard changed his surname to Mullin (he was still listed as Moreland/Mooreland on the 1880 census) and was listed as “white.” He is my fourth-great-grandfather. They were located in Hardy County, Va. (now in West Virginia).

These census records are all I can find. I can’t find anything on Milly except her birth year and place, and I’m not sure if she was free or a slave. Can you help me find out more about her, please? —Amber Simmons

It just so happens that three sets of Professor Gates’ fourth-great-grandparents (all free Negroes) lived in Hardy County, Va. (now West Virginia), in the 18th and 19th centuries. In fact, many of their descendants continued to live there; in fact, Professor Gates was born in Keyser, W.Va., which is 36 miles from Moorefield, Hardy County’s county seat! So he knows this area very, very well, and finds your question especially intriguing because of this personal connection.

What does a “mulatto” designation mean in the census?

Let’s start with a surprising fact about racial designations and census takers: The status of a person listed in the federal census (black, white or mulatto) was ultimately the personal interpretation of the census taker, based on assumptions made regarding skin color and other aspects of an individual’s appearance, regardless of what the occupant of the home told her or him. Therefore, one can’t necessarily infer parentage, complexion, or much else based on that designation in a census record. However, in this case, it’s an indication that a local person was making a declaration of mixed-race ancestry (either recent or older) in your relative’s family tree…

Read the entire article here.

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Grad student Alex Finley found her roots — and more

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2014-11-26 19:54Z by Steven

Grad student Alex Finley found her roots — and more

William & Mary News and Events
The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia
2014-11-24

Jim Ducibella, Communications Specialist

This is part one of a two-story series. Check back Nov. 26 for the second part. – Ed.

As a child, Alex Finley remembers going through three phases of intense interest: One was genealogy. Another was the Civil War. The third was American Girls dolls.

“So I guess I was always destined to be a historian,” she said with a chuckle.

Finley, a Ph.D. candidate in history at William & Mary who is studying the domestic slave trade and the finance and business practices of slave traders in the antebellum period, combined two of those three passions to uncover a little known, controversial community in West Virginia.

It’s a discovery that has drawn the attention of television producers from the PBS program Finding Your Roots and ushered in a fascinating chapter in her life.

She began by researching her mother’s family history while she was in high school in southern Ohio, and continued her research as an undergraduate at Ohio State, completing an honors thesis on that particular branch of the family.

The Male family – or Mayle, as it’s also known – came to the United States from Dover, England, and eventually settled in Hampshire County, located in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle and Potomac Highlands regions.

Wilmore Male and his wife, Mary, had several children, including Wilmore, Jr., who fought in the Revolutionary War and came back to West Virginia to start a farm.

While there, he began a relationship with a slave he owned named Nancy.

“The proof we have of this is an extraordinary emancipation document from 1826,” Finley said. “(Male) emancipates Nancy and says that she is forever set free from this point – on the condition that she remain living with him as his wife.

“That’s extraordinary for the time period, for several reasons: One, he’s coming out publicly and saying this. Two, interracial marriage is illegal at this time and here he is in a courthouse saying he intends to live with this woman. They end up living together, with no evidence they were ever harassed or bothered by anyone for their relationship.”

How could that be? Finley’s research showed that the man at the courthouse who recorded the document – John White — was the son of Male’s captain in the Revolutionary War…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed bloods of the Upper Monongahela Valley, West Virginia

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2013-04-22 00:46Z by Steven

Mixed bloods of the Upper Monongahela Valley, West Virginia

Washington Academy of Sciences
Volume 36, Number 1 (1946-01-15)
pages 1-13
Source: Biodiversity Heritage Library

William Harlen Gilbert, Jr.
Library of Congress

We are accustomed to think of West Virginia as a racially homogeneous State populated by Old Americans of English, Scotch, and Scotch-Irish descent with an additional contingent in recent years of Poles and Italians in the mining areas. It may come as somewhat of a surprise to many to learn that there exists in the northern counties of the State a racial island of mixed bloods, known locally as “Guineas,” numbering several thousand persons. The origin of this mixed race is unrecorded, and the relative proportion of white, Negro, and Indian blood entering into its makeup is difficult to ascertain. The main seat of this people is in northern Barbour County and southern Taylor County, but small groups are to be found in over half a dozen adjoining counties and in Garrett County, Md. From their homes in the hill country many have gone in recent years to the factory cities of West Virginia, Ohio, and Michigan in search of economic opportunity and social betterment.

It is difficult to find a completely acceptable term to designate these mixed people. Stigmatized by white public opinion as a sort of outcast group, they dislike and resent any designation used by outsiders for themselves. They especially resent the terms “Guinea” or “Guinea Nigger,” which are most generally applied to them by their white neighbors. There are several possibilities in explaining the origin of this sobriquet.

An educated member of this group is said to have worked out a genealogy for them several years ago in which he claimed that an English nobleman went to the Guinea coast of Africa in the early days (possibly as a remittance man), married a native Negro woman, and produced a large family of crossbreeds. Later some of these descendants came to America and became the ancestors of the “Guineas.” Hu Maxwell, in his History of Barbour County (pp. 310-311), asserts that the mixed bloods of that county are called “Guineas” under the mistaken notion that they are Guinea Negroes. They are said, however, to have claimed for many years a descent from one of the Guineas (British, French, or Portuguese) in Africa or from one of the Guianas (British, French, or Dutch) in South America, and that their blood was native Negro or Indian…

Read the entire article here.

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W.Va. historian to talk on pre-Civil War slave economy

Posted in Articles, Economics, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2013-04-10 04:11Z by Steven

W.Va. historian to talk on pre-Civil War slave economy

The Charleston Gazette
Charleston, West Virginia
2013-04-09

Douglas Imbrogno

CHARLESTON, W.Va.—Ending slavery was a moral question that haunted early American history, but it was one inextricably tangled up in economics.

While West Virginia was a state born in 1863 out of the tumult over slavery and the political disputes that erupted in the Civil War, slavery long had a toehold in the Kanawha Valley. Consider the salt mining industry in this area, a slave-powered enterprise from the 1820s onward, said Greg Carroll.

“Here in the Kanawha Valley, we had upwards of 2,000 slaves working in the salt industry,” said Carroll, a retired historian with the state’s Archives and History Section.

Yet slaves were not just a subjugated labor force, but a commodity often even more valuable to their owners as property chips to be sold into other slave economies.

“Here in West Virginia, for instance, before the Civil War, you can see in the state archives newspapers advertising slaves to be sold down the river. These slaves were being sold into the cotton and sugar-producing areas of mainly Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas,” Carroll said.

Before he retired last October, Carroll was a Culture and History staff historian for 23 years, mostly focusing on American Indians, black Americans and Civil War history. He’ll combine a couple of those specialties in the free talk “Slavery in Virginia: 1619-1860,” at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center.

He’ll describe the different slave economies across North and South America and the missed opportunities for ending slavery in the lead-up to the Civil War.

 Consider, for instance, the slaves who worked Caribbean sugar plantations or in the rice fields of the Carolinas. Yellow fever, malaria and other hazards kept slave owners away from their plantations, Carroll said.

Yet in the tobacco plantations and farms of Virginia and farther south, slave owners lived closely with their slaves—sometimes very closely.

“That also led to a paternalism that we see in the way Virginia slave owners referred to their slaves as ‘their people.’ Slaves became very valuable as the tobacco crop became valuable,” he said.

The result was a stronger slave and family culture, one that was not as Afrocentric as Caribbean and South American slave societies with their constant infusions of new slaves, Carroll said. Yet the proximity of owner to slave had other implications.

“White slave owners took sexual advantage of their female slaves,” Carroll said. “That produced a very mixed-race people that we see in the Virginia and North Carolina and Maryland slave cultures—a lot of mixed-race people.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The African American Experience in Antebellum Cabell County, Virginia/West Virginia, 1810-1865

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2013-04-05 17:41Z by Steven

The African American Experience in Antebellum Cabell County, Virginia/West Virginia, 1810-1865

Ohio Valley History
Filson Historical Society
Volume 11, Number 3, Fall 2011
pages 3-23

Cicero M. Fain III, Assistant Professor of History
College of Southern Maryland

Located on the Ohio River in western Virginia, adjacent to southeastern Ohio and eastern Kentucky, antebellum Cabell County lay at the fulcrum of east and west, north and south, freedom and slavery. Possessed of a bountiful countryside—replete with wildlife, timber, pristine streams and creeks, and rich river-bottom soil along the navigable Ohio and Guyandotte rivers—it held great potential for settlers who sought to put down roots. Drawn by its promising location and cheap, arable land, migrants settled in the county in increasing numbers in the early 1800s, and many settlers took their slaves with them. Yet like most counties on Virginia’s western border, antebellum Cabell County was, in historian Ira Berlin’s words, a “society with slaves” rather than a “slave society.” In contrast to the rice and cotton-growing regions of the Deep South where the institution of slavery shaped the political economy and “the master-slave relationship provided the model for all social relations,” slavery never became central to the economy or social structure of Cabell County. Unlike Kanawha County, Virginia, to the northeast (and from which it was formed in 1809), Cabell County lacked industrial slavery. Unlike Jefferson County in the lower Shenandoah Valley, it lacked the numbers to support plantation slavery. Distant from plantation society and the rigid social and cultural norms imposed by the planter elite of eastern Virginia, Cabell County reveals the significance of slavery even within a “society with slaves” like central Appalachia, the impact of western expansion on slavery, and the hardening of racial attitudes in the Ohio Valley. Equally important, the county’s antebellum history helps illuminate the ways in which African Americans living in this border region exercised agency in order to better their condition.

By 1810, almost three thousand people resided in Cabell County, including 221 slaves and twenty-five Indians, or as one local historian notes, “about 1½ persons to the square mile.” In the county’s early years, it had only two villages of note. Guyandotte, formed in 1810 at the confluence of the Guyandotte and Ohio rivers, featured a number of businesses and a small but growing port. By the early 1830s, the town hosted many river travelers and benefitted from the construction of a road that connected it to the James River and Kanawha Turnpike at Barboursville, the county seat. Formed in 1813 and situated south of Guyandotte along the Guyandotte River, Barboursville was surrounded by large expanses of fertile land and plentiful timber. Farming and manufacturing formed the economic foundation of the village in its formative years. Increasing settlement in and near Guyandotte and Barboursville in the eastern part of the county close to the turnpike sparked economic growth throughout the early 1800s…

…Following a longstanding trend, black female slaves outnumbered black male slaves in Cabell County, an imbalance that still existed after emancipation and when black migrants began arriving in the early 1870s. Slaveholders favored female slaves in part because they (along with male slaves younger than twelve) were not taxed. Four other factors help explain the gender imbalance among Cabell County’s enslaved population. Female slaves cost less than enslaved men, slave children inherited the status of their mothers, and enslaved men were more able and thus more likely run away. In addition, in a society of slaves where slave ownership was more a status symbol than an economic necessity, many slaveholders employed enslaved women who worked as domestics. In 1860, Cabell County’s enslaved population was also quite young, with 30 percent (ninety three) of the county’s slaves nine or younger. Slaves under the age of twenty constituted 57 percent of the county’s total (ninety-five females and eighty males). Most striking, those under thirty represented 74 percent of the county’s enslaved population, with 121 females and 105 males (226 total) in this category. Cabell County’s black population was also growing lighter in skin color. In 1860, black slaves outnumbered mulattoes 215 to ninety (70.5 percent to 29.5 percent), but the county’s mulatto population was growing faster. Of the 136 males, ninety five (70 percent) were black and forty one (30 percent) mulatto. Of the 169 females, 120 (71 percent) were black and forty nine (29 percent) mulatto. Reflecting broader trends, the county’s mulatto population was concentrated among the young as increasing numbers of mulatto parents produced greater numbers of mulatto children…

…While the county’s enslaved mulatto population comprised 29.5 percent of the slave population, the county’s free mulatto population comprised 42 percent (ten of twenty four) of the total free black population. Most lived in the county’s more populated districts. Five resided in Guyandotte Post Office, two each lived in Barboursville and Guyandotte townships, and one lived in Cabell Court House. All six free blacks residing in white households were mulatto. The 1860 census also reveals that more free black females lived in Cabell County than free black males, but the gender imbalance exceeded that within the slave population. While female slaves comprised 55.4 percent of the general slave population in 1860, free black females, assisted by the eight women in the Haley family, comprised 62.5 percent (fifteen of twenty four) of the county’s free black population. These fifteen resided in seven households, just over two per household, though removing the Haley women from the calculation results in an average of slightly more than one black female per household. The county’s free black population was also disproportionally older, with 59 percent aged thirty and above…

Read the entire article here.

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Origin Traditions of American Racial Isolates: A Case of Something Borrowed

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2012-02-04 18:25Z by Steven

Origin Traditions of American Racial Isolates: A Case of Something Borrowed

Appalachian Journal
Volume 11, Number 3 (Spring 1984)
pages 201-213

David Henige
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Beginnings have an irritating but essential fragility and one that should be taken to heart by all who occupy themselves with history.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

There are many groups of localized, isolated peoples scattered throughout the eastern United States. Generally they are varying mixtures of white, black, and Indian, and this composite quality has contributed both to their distinctiveness and to perceptions of their origins. Like many other oral cultures, such as those of Africa and Oceania, these groups perceived their distant past as being characterized by constant large-scale migrations, because most traditions denied autochthonous origins and spoke instead of the movement(s) of ancestors into their present locale.

In the past few years most (though not yet quite all) historians who use oral historical materials have become convinced that while ideas and products may have moved over long distances more or less freely, as a rule people did not. It may be useful, therefore, to examine the traditions of origin of four of the so-called racial isolates of the eastern United States, for these permit some direct comparisons between the earliest available documentary sources, later traditions, and learned speculation. At the same time they throw interesting light on the interplay between practical expediency and changing points of view in the matter of origins.

Today the so-called Guineas number about 7,000 people who reside primarily in Barbour and Taylor counties in West Virginia. The name (or rather epithet) Guinea seems not to be of their own devising but has been applied to them by neighbors as a convenient all-purpose pejorative. The Guineas themselves resent the implication of black blood. So it is both surprising and unaccountable that members of the Guinea community have developed theories of the group’s origins which seek to explain the hated…

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Census Bureau Reports Final 2010 Census Data for the United States

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Louisiana, Media Archive, Mississippi, Texas, United States, Virginia on 2011-03-25 02:15Z by Steven

Census Bureau Reports Final 2010 Census Data for the United States

United States Census Bureau
Census 2010
2011-03-24

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that 2010 Census population totals and demographic characteristics have been released for communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These data have provided the first look at population counts for small areas and race, Hispanic origin, voting age and housing unit data released from the 2010 Census. With the release of data for all the states, national-level counts of these characteristics are now available.

For each state, the Census Bureau will provide summaries of population totals, as well as data on race, Hispanic origin and voting age for multiple geographies within the state, such as census blocks, tracts, voting districts, cities, counties and school districts.

According to Public Law 94-171, the Census Bureau must provide redistricting data to the 50 states no later than April 1 of the year following the census. As a result, the Census Bureau is delivering the data state-by-state on a flow basis. All states will receive their data by April 1, 2011.

Highlights by Steven F. Riley

  • The United States population (for apportionment purposes)  is 308,745,538. This represents a 9.71% increase over 2000.
  • The U.S. population including Puerto Rico is 312,471,327.  This represents a 9.55% increase over 2000.
  • The number of repondents (excluding Puerto Rico) checking two or more races (TOMR) is 9,009,073 or 2.92% of the population. This represents a 31.98% increase over 2000.
  • The number of repondents (including Puerto Rico) checking TOMR is 9,026,389 or 2.89% of the population.  This represents a 29.23% increase over 2000.
  • Hawaii has the highest TOMR response rate at 23.57%, followed by Alaska (7.30%), Oklahoma (5.90%) and California (4.87%).
  • California has the highest TOMR population at 1,815,384, followed by Texas (679,001), New York (585,849), and Florida (472,577).
  • Mississppi has the lowest TOMR response rate at 1.15%, followed by West Virginia (1.46%),  Alabama (1.49%) and Maine (1.58%).
  • Vermont has the lowest TOMR population at 10,753, followed by North Dakota (11,853), Wyoming (12,361) and South Dakota (17,283).
  • South Carolina has the highest increase in the TOMR response rate at 100.09%, followed by North Carolina (99.69%), Delaware (83.03%) and Georgia (81.71%).
  • New Jersey has the lowest increase in the TOMR response rate at 12.42%, followed by California (12.92%), New Mexico (16.11%), and Massachusetts (17.81%).
  • Puerto Rico has a 22.83% decrease in the TOMR response rate and New York has a 0.73% decrease in the TOMR response race.  No other states or territories reported decreases.
2010 Census Data for “Two or More Races” for States Above
# State Total Population Two or More Races (TOMR) Percentage Total Pop. % Change from 2000 TOMR % Change from 2000
1. Louisiana 4,533,372 72,883 1.61 1.42 51.01
2. Mississippi 2,967,297 34,107 1.15 4.31 70.36
3. New Jersey 8,791,894 240,303 2.73 4.49 12.42
4. Virginia 8,001,024 233,400 2.92 13.03 63.14
5. Maryland 5,773,552 164,708 2.85 9.01 59.00
6. Arkansas 2,915,918 72,883 2.50 9.07 59.50
7. Iowa 3,046,355 53,333 1.75 4.10 67.83
8. Indiana 6,483,802 127,901 1.97 6.63 69.02
9. Vermont 625,741 10,753 1.71 2.78 46.60
10. Illinois 12,830,632 289,982 2.26 3.31 23.38
11. Oklahoma 3,751,351 221,321 5.90 8.71 41.89
12. South Dakota 814,180 17,283 2.12 7.86 70.18
13. Texas 25,145,561 679,001 2.70 20.59 31.93
14. Washington 6,724,540 312,926 4.65 14.09 46.56
15. Oregon 3,831,074 144,759 3.78 11.97 38.20
16. Colorado 5,029,196 172,456 3.43 16.92 41.14
17. Utah 2,763,885 75,518 2.73 23.77 60.01
18. Nevada 2,700,551 126,075 4.67 35.14 64.96
19. Missouri 5,988,927 124,589 2.08 7.04 51.82
20. Alabama 4,779,736 71,251 1.49 7.48 61.28
21. Hawaii 1,360,301 320,629 23.57 12.28 23.63
22. Nebraska 1,826,341 39,510 2.16 6.72 64.95
23. North Carolina 9,535,483 206,199 2.16 18.46 99.69
24. Delaware 897,934 23,854 2.66 14.59 83.03
25. Kansas 2,853,118 85,933 3.01 6.13 52.10
26. Wyoming 563,626 12,361 2.19 14.14 39.15
27. California 37,253,956 1,815,384 4.87 9.99 12.92
28. Ohio 11,536,504 237,765 2.06 1.59 50.59
29. Connecticut 3,574,097 92,676 2.59 4.95 23.82
30. Pennsylvania 12,702,379 237,835 1.87 3.43 67.23
31. Wisconsin 5,686,986 104,317 1.83 6.03 55.94
32. Arizona 6,392,017 218,300 3.42 24.59 48.98
33. Idaho 1,567,582 38,935 2.48 21.15 52.04
34. New Mexico 2,059,179 77,010 3.74 13.20 16.11
35. Montana 989,415 24,976 2.52 9.67 58.78
36. Tennessee 6,346,105 110,009 1.73 11.54 74.32
37. North Dakota 672,591 11,853 1.76 4.73 60.22
38. Minnesota 5,303,925 125,145 2.36 7.81 51.25
39. Alaska 710,231 51,875 7.30 13.29 51.92
40. Florida 18,801,310 472,577 2.51 17.63 25.58
41. Georgia 9,687,653 207,489 2.14 18.34 81.71
42. Kentucky 4,339,367 75,208 1.73 7.36 77.20
43. New Hampshire 1,316,470 21,382 1.62 6.53 61.81
44. Michigan 9,883,640 230,319 2.33 -0.55 19.70
45. Massachusetts 6,547,629 172,003 2.63 3.13 17.81
46. Rhode Island 1,052,567 34,787 3.30 0.41 23.14
47. South Carolina 4,625,364 79,935 1.73 15.29 100.09
48. West Virginia 1,852,994 27,142 1.46 2.47 71.92
49. New York 19,378,102 585,849 3.02 2.12 -0.73
50. Puerto Rico 3,725,789 122,246 3.28 -2.17 -22.83
51. Maine 1,328,361 20,941 1.58 4.19 65.58
52. District of Columbia 601,723 17,316 2.88 5.19 71.92
Total (with Puerto Rico) 312,471,327 9,026,389 2.89 9.55 29.23
U.S. Population 308,745,538 9,009,073 2.92 9.71 31.98

Tables compiled by Steven F. Riley. Source: United States Census Bureau

2000 Census Data for “Two or More Races” for States Above
# State Total Population Two or More Races (TOMR) Percentage
1. Louisiana 4,469,976 48,265 1.08
2. Mississippi 2,844,658 20,021 0.74
3. New Jersey 8,414,250 213,755 2.54
4. Virginia 7,078,515 143,069 2.02
5. Maryland 5,296,486 103,587 1.96
6. Arkansas 2,673,400 35,744 1.34
7. Iowa 2,926,324 31,778 1.09
8. Indiana 6,080,485 75,672 1.24
9. Vermont 608,827 7,335 1.20
10. Illinois 12,419,293 235,016 1.89
11. Oklahoma 3,450,654 155,985 4.52
12. South Dakota 754,844 10,156 1.35
13. Texas 20,851,820 514,633 2.47
14. Washington 5,894,121 213,519 3.62
15. Oregon 3,421,399 104,745 3.06
16. Colorado 4,301,261 122,187 2.84
17. Utah 2,233,169 47,195 2.11
18. Nevada 1,998,257 76,428 3.82
19. Missouri 5,595,211 82,061 1.47
20. Alabama 4,447,100 44,179 0.99
21. Hawaii 1,211,537 259,343 21.41
22. Nebraska 1,711,263 23,953 1.40
23. North Carolina 8,049,313 103,260 1.28
24. Delaware 783,600 13,033 1.66
25. Kansas 2,688,418 56,496 2.10
26. Wyoming 493,782 8,883 1.80
27. California 33,871,648 1,607,646 4.75
28. Ohio 11,353,140 157,885 1.39
29. Connecticut 3,405,565 74,848 2.20
30. Pennsylvania 12,281,054 142,224 1.16
31. Wisconsin 5,363,675 66,895 1.25
32. Arizona 5,130,632 146,526 2.86
33. Idaho 1,293,953 25,609 1.98
34. New Mexico 1,819,046 66,327 3.65
35. Montana 902,195 15,730 1.74
36. Tennessee 5,689,283 63,109 1.11
37. North Dakota 642,200 7,398 1.15
38. Minnesota 4,919,479 82,742 1.68
39. Alaska 626,932 34,146 5.45
40. Florida 15,982,378 376,315 2.35
41. Georgia 8,186,453 114,188 1.39
42. Kentucky 4,041,769 42,443 1.05
43. New Hampshire 1,235,786 13,214 1.07
44. Michigan 9,938,444 192,416 1.94
45. Massachusetts 6,349,097 146,005 2.30
46. Rhode Island 1,048,319 28,251 2.69
47. South Carolina 4,012,012 39,950 1.00
48. West Virginia 1,808,344 15,788 0.87
49. New York 18,976,457 590,182 3.11
50. Puerto Rico 3,808,610 158,415 4.16
51. Maine 1,274,923 12,647 0.99
52. District of Columbia 572,059 13,446 2.35
Total (with Puerto Rico) 285,230,516 6,984,643 2.45
  United States 281,421,906 6,826,228 2.43

Tables compiled by Steven F. Riley.  Source: United States Census Bureau

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The Guineas of West Virginia

Posted in Anthropology, Dissertations, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2011-03-20 20:12Z by Steven

The Guineas of West Virginia

Ohio State University
1952
139 pages

John P. Burnell, Jr.

A Thesis Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirments for the Degree Master of Arts.

Table of Contents

Introduction

  1. Methodology
  2. Geographical and Social Setting
  3. History and Origin
  4. Who Is A Guinea?
  5. Social Participation
  6. Attitudes and Beliefs
  7. Summary and Conclusions

Bibliography
Map (See back folder)

Sociologists are becoming increasingly aware that there exists in the United States an “outcast element” the study of which has been neglected. This element is comprised of groups of people who are generally thought to be of tri-racial origin, that is, Negro, Indian and white. The whites tend to relegate these people to the status of Negroes, a status which most of them resent.

To mention but a few of these hybrid groups which have been reported on to date, there are those in parts of Tennessee and Kentucky referred to as “Melungeons“; in North Carolina, “Indiana of Robeson County” in the southern part of Ohio, “Carmel Indians”.  Dr. Brewton Berry has applied the generic term “mestizos” to the racial hybrids of South Carolina, who are known there by various opprobrious names such as, “Brass Ankles”, “Red Legs”, “Buckheads”, and “Turks”.  In Delaware the hybrids are known as “Moors” and “Hantichokes”; in Alabama, Louisiana, and parts of Mississippi, “Creoles” and “Cajuns“, and in Virginia, “Issues”.

The writer1s interest in the racial hybrid grew out of a general interest In race relations per se, and a firm conviction that only as these various, often socially and geographically isolated, groups are investigated and reported upon will the sociologist be in a position validly to generalize about them.

The purpose of this study was to observe and describe one of these groups, thereby contributing to the knowledge of racial hybrids which is being amassed.   The group chosen for this purpose resides in the state of West Virginia, more specifically in the northeastern part of this state In Barbour and Taylor counties.

The people who constitute this group are generally considered by the white population as being a mixture of white, Negro, and Indian ancestry. Locally, they are referred to as “Guineas“, or “Guinea niggers”, both terms being of a derogatory nature.  Although the Guineas are for the most part very white in appearance, as will be noted in a later chapter devoted to a description of their physical characteristics, the whites in the area resist accepting them as social equals largely on the basis that “one drop of Negro blood makes a Negro“.   In spite of a substantial number of whites acknowledging “Indian blood”, and many more, not being quite certain as to what racial strains have gone into the make-up of these people, it seems to matter very little, for as one white Informant summed it up: “That one drop of nigger blood never washes away” The Guineas then, are referred to as “colored people.” In the areas where they reside and by virtue of this classification are subject to differential treatment by white society.

This particular group of people was chosen for study because: (1) they were conveniently located to the writer’s home; (2) the writer is a resident of the state in which they are located, and therefore it was felt that rapport could be more easily attained; and (3) only a modicum of information concerning these people Is to be found in the literature.

It must be pointed out from the very beginning that the primary object of going out into the field was to observe these people In their real life situation with a view toward describing that situation.

Lack of time and finances acted as definite limiting factors to the scope and comprehensiveness of the field work and largely contributed to limiting this study to a descriptive level.   It is hoped, however, that a more extensive and comprehensive piece of work, free from such limitations, will soon be forthcoming.   Moreover, it must be emphasized that the foregoing limitations, especially lack of finances, restricted most of the data gathered to Barbour County, even though many Guineas are to be found scattered throughout the southern part of Taylor County. To defray the expenses of the writer it was necessary for him to procure employment, and a position which permitted freedom of movement during daylight hours was found in Phillppi, the county seat of Barbour County thereby making this community a convenient center of operation.  It was felt by the writer that the latter limitation was not as much a hindrance to the study as It may at first appear because: first, there seem to. be more Guineas, or at least more people who are defined by the local populace as “Guineas”, residing in Barbour than in Taylor county; and second, they are more concentrated within specific areas in Arbour county.  Since several trips were made into Taylor county, some data which were gathered there pertaining to the Guineas has been utilized within the text. However, wherever any of these data appear, specific reference to Taylor county has been made.

It will be noted by the reader that the terms “white” and “Guinea” appear throughout the text. The writer uses the term “Guinea” as a means of identifying the people who are the aubject of this paper, but does not wish to convey the derogatory connotations generally associated with this term. In some cases the term “hybrid” is used interchangeably with Guinea. The term white applies to all of those people who are not considered either Negro or Guinea.

The methodology utilized in this study is explained in the following chapter…

Read the entire thesis here.

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Greg Carroll Draws Large Crowd for Talk on Melungeon Heritage

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, Tri-Racial Isolates on 2010-12-13 00:47Z by Steven

Greg Carroll Draws Large Crowd for Talk on Melungeon Heritage

West Virginia Archives & History
West Virginia Division of Culture & History
Volume 11, Number 8 (October 2010)
page 2

Archives historian Greg Carroll drew a large crowd for his talk [2010-09-09] on groups of people in the Appalachian area and beyond commonly called Melungeon. To view photos of the evening, [click here]. If you were unable to attend and would like more information regarding Melungeon, mixed race, or tri-racial isolate groups, you may contact Carroll at (304) 558-0230 or greg.b.carroll@wv.gov.

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Founding Chestnut Ridge: The Origins of Central West Virginia’s Multiracial Community

Posted in Anthropology, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Papers/Presentations, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2010-05-22 02:15Z by Steven

Founding Chestnut Ridge: The Origins of Central West Virginia’s Multiracial Community

The Ohio State University
Department of History
Project Advisor: Randolph Roth, Professor of History and Sociology
March 2010
140 pages

Alexandra Finley
The Ohio State University

Senior Honors Thesis Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for graduation with research distinction in History in the undergraduate colleges of The Ohio State University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction: The “Guineas” of West Virginia
I. Race and the Male Brothers
II. The Legend of Sam Norris
III. The Life of Gustavus Croston
IV. Henry Dalton’s Fate
V. The Chestnut Ridge People

Appendix A: Associated Surnames and Variant Spellings
Appendix B: Related Genealogies
Appendix C: The Legend of Sam Norris
Appendix D: The Writings of Bill Peat Norris
Appendix E: Associated Families
Appendix F: Maps
Bibliography

Introduction: “A Clan of Partly Colored People:” The “Guineas” of West Virginia

For visitors to Philippi, West Virginia, the name Chestnut Ridge Road carries no significance. There is nothing to distinguish it from Main Street or Walnut Street in the minds of strangers to that small mountain town. For the people of Barbour County, however, Chestnut Ridge carries a connotation that few guests to the area can understand. Natives of the region recognize Chestnut Ridge Road, Kennedy Road, Croston School Road, and Norris Ridge Road as distinct from the rest of Philippi, home to the “Chestnut Ridge People,” the multiracial descendants of early European pioneers, free African Americans, and Native Americans.

Before the ancestors of the Chestnut Ridge People had been defined by the white community as a distinct outside group, they were individual settlers who, like frontier residents of European descent, had migrated westward in hopes of a better life. What set these men and women apart was their racial background. Some, like Henry Dalton, moved west after completing indentures that had resulted from their illegitimate “mulatto” birth. Others, like Hugh Kennedy, were descendents of multigenerational multiracial families that could be traced back to the seventeenth century. One, Wilmore Male, was an Englishman who chose to live as man and wife with his slave, Nancy.

These multiracial families’ difference from the white community gave them a shared experience. The Males and the Daltons quickly intermarried, the free black Hill family taught Henry Dalton’s children the trade of stonemasonry, and each ancestor of the Chestnut Ridge People provided support for others in the same position as themselves. The ties they created survived into the twentieth century.

Though they maintained close relationships among themselves, the ancestors of the Chestnut Ridge People did not live in an entirely insular community. Many individuals formed friendships with their white neighbors and partook in the activities of the white community. Their race was not an impediment to accumulating real estate or personal property. Nor did race prevent many from gaining respect in the wider community, especially as several of the men were Revolutionary War veterans.

Given the background of these first multiracial settlers and the levels of success experienced by many, several questions arise. How were people of mixed race treated on the frontier? Did their experience differ from that of the free black community that remained part of the Atlantic world? How was race defined on the frontier, especially in the case of individuals whose racial background was considered ambiguous? Were all of the restrictions placed on free blacks by lawmakers in the eastern half of the state enforced as stringently in the western half?

The available literature of the Chestnut Ridge community does little to address these questions. Most of what has been written on the group concerns only genealogy and fails to place individuals in a historical context. Almost all of this genealogical work avoids the issue of African heritage and, if it is addressed at all, denies such ancestry in favor of a solely Native American and European background. Additionally, the foundation of most genealogical accounts is community legend rather than historic documentation.

With the notable exception of Avery F. Gaskins, writers from other disciplines such as sociology who have dealt with the Chestnut Ridge People have also focused on legend rather than historical fact. John Burnell, for instance, examined in the 1950s the contemporary status of the group and touched upon speculations about their history without considering the issue in detail. When the community appeared in surveys like Brewton Berry’s that considered multiple multiracial groups in the United States, it was generally given little attention in comparison to better-known multiracial groups such as the Melungeons. Gaskins is the only researcher who has addressed the historical origins of the Chestnut Ridge People in detail.

Within the next five chapters, I will continue Gaskins’s work decoding the true history of the group. I aim to provide a comprehensive history of the Chestnut Ridge community into the nineteenth century and place the experiences of the first multiracial settlers to the area in a historical context. The lives of the Chestnut Ridge People’s ancestors cannot be considered outside of the era and location in which they existed or the prevailing racial attitudes that they encountered in the world around them. Considered together, the story of these multiracial settlers highlights the unique experiences of frontier life and the ways in which everyday interaction between whites and blacks could defy the standards for race relations set by lawmakers…

Read the entire paper here.

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