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PELL MELLERS Pell Mellers: Race and Memory in a Carolina Pocosin By K. Paul Johnson Miss Leatha Bazemore’s fourth and fifth graders, Askewville Elementary.

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Presentation on theme: "PELL MELLERS Pell Mellers: Race and Memory in a Carolina Pocosin By K. Paul Johnson Miss Leatha Bazemore’s fourth and fifth graders, Askewville Elementary."— Presentation transcript:

1 PELL MELLERS Pell Mellers: Race and Memory in a Carolina Pocosin By K. Paul Johnson Miss Leatha Bazemore’s fourth and fifth graders, Askewville Elementary

2 Pell Mell Pocosin on 1918 soil map

3 Dunlows and Johnsons in South Norfolk Lillie, Paul, and Bert DunlowUlysses Johnson family

4 Dunlows sell Johnsons part of “the John Butler land,” 1910

5 “220 acres of poor barren, piney, marshy, wet, flat land valued by the assessors at 50 cents per acre” John Butler, 1820 Butler Land, now Dunlow and Johnson Dunlow family cemetery

6 1792 John Butler buys 150 acres from the Cader Bass estate, inherited from Cader’s grandfather Henry Bunch Butler, Bunch, and Bass are all mulatto families which became white after the American Revolution

7 Dunlow family cemetery on “the John Butler land” purchased in 1792 from heirs of Henry Bunch, who had bought it in 1727

8 Josiah Dunlow, Josiah’s mother Susanah Butler is daughter of John Butler and Keziah Pritchard, both of whose families were taxable as mulattoes in colonial Bertie lists; his wife Nancy White is granddaughter of mulatto taxables Nathan Cobb and Winifred Mitchell

9 Core Melungeon DNA project shows Bertie/Hancock connection  Former owner of the land inherited by grandson Cader Bass, bought in 1792 by John Butler and still inhabited by his Dunlow and Johnson descendants today  Direct ancestor of many Collinses in the Melungeon community of Newman’s Ridge, Hancock County, Tennessee HENRY BUNCH YDNA MATCHESVALENTINE COLLINS

10 Dunlow descent from Butlers, Pritchards, Cobbs, Mitchells

11 Pell Meller marriage as described by a Windsor resident  They were known for usually marrying other Pell Mellers and staying isolated in that area. People outside of that area looked down on Pell Mellers and made fun of them…Pell Mellers intermarried for land reasons…not wanting to lose family land that had been owned by the same families for generations and generations…Pell Mellers have the reputation of having children out of wedlock, a lot of extramarital affairs, divorce, etc.

12 A child’s impressions of Pell Mellers  My mother used to make remarks about Pell Mell. For instance, if someone had a lot of junk in their yard or say a sofa on their front porch she would say it looked like Pell Mell. Also, when I was a child and would come in from playing and had gotten dirty, she would tell me to go get cleaned up…that I looked like a Pell Meller. (grew up in Bertie County 1950s, left many years ago)

13 Pell Meller isolation in the 20 th century  …people from Askewville even speak differently from those in other parts of the county…They have, in the past more than now, had a reputation for not welcoming outsiders, and for keeping to themselves- --not given much to southern hospitality…They didn’t believe much in hard work, but would do just enough to allow them to do what they really loved, which was hunting and fishing.  ---lifelong resident of Bertie County, 2007

14 evidence of mixed ancestry in Pell Mell family photos? l- Whit Johnson, d1898 r- unknown Butler photo found in Askewville house being demolished

15 autosomal testing identifies non- European ancestry inconsistently  99% European, 1% African (23andme.com)  96% European, 4% African (Dr. J. Douglas McDonald analysis)  93% European, 4% Asian, 3% African (decodeme.com)  94% European (57% Northern European, 35% Mediterranean 8% South Asian, 8%), 6% East Asian  (ancestrybydna.com) No Native American or AsianAsian greater than African

16 Latest explanation of non-European ancestry as indicated by DNA Analysis of KPJ genome by Dr. J. Douglas McDonald, U. of Illinois

17 The Hawkins- Johnson cemetery on Bull Hill Rd. north of Windsor, NC POCOSIN: “Swamp on a hill”-- Algonquian Family cemetery near Will’s Quarter Swamp

18 Marcus Ryan Johnson, Father of eight sons; all left Bertie County by the time of his death

19 Melungeon Heritage in northeastern North Carolina  Arwin D. Smallwood’s forthcoming book on the diaspora of the Tuscarora tribe from their homeland in eastern North Carolina will include evidence of possible Melungeon origins  Marvin T. Jones’s research on the Winton Triangle of Hertford County reveals a community with similar ethnic diversity to that of Melungeons, and likely ancestral links THE TUSCARORA PROJECT THE CHOWAN DISCOVERY GROUP

20 “Melange” applied to Goinstown Indians in WPA cemetery index Other WPA references to the same community refer to alleged East Indian origins


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