The Louisiana Redbones
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Presented at the First Union, a meeting of Melungeons,
at Clinch Valley College in Wise, Va. July 1997.
The Area - The Neutral
Who Are The Redbones -
Local Theories Of
Origin Of The Term
Redbones Come To
Redbones In Texas
The purpose of this paper is to pull together the scant writings
on the Louisiana Redbones and to present from those materials an
account of their arrival in Louisiana, where they settled and how
they lived. A definition of Redbones will be offered and it is hoped
that their relationship to the Melungeons of the southeastern United
States will be evident. The Melungeons have been called the mystery
people, but their mysteriousness pales beside that of the Redbones.
In order to properly understand these mystery people it is necessary
to look first at the state into which they came.
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To say that Louisiana is culturally diverse is to state the
obvious. What is not so obvious is the extent of the diversity.
Louisiana has nurtured more cultural and ethnic diversity than
perhaps any other state. One usually thinks of Louisiana as having
two cultural groups: French Catholics in the south and Protestants in
the north. That division is only a fraction of the picture. It omits
the Germans, Irish, Spanish, Cubans, Mexicans, Italians, Czechs,
Hungarians, Croatians, Canary Islanders (Islenos), Guatemalans,
Filipinos, Chinese, Japanese, Laotians, Thais, Vietnamese (largest
population of Vietnamese in the U.S.), Africans, Haitians, Jews,
Greeks, Romani (Gypsies) and Native Americans. Louisiana has more
than thirty Native American groups. 1
Louisiana has had its share of demagogues, discriminatory laws and
practices, scandals, and racial and ethnic abuses (especially in
regard to African Americans and slavery); but it has fostered, more
than most southern states, a milieu in which ethnic groups could
survive. The state has avoided large scale massacres, deportations or
forced migrations of its ethnic groups such as that which led to the
"Trail of Tears." Reasons for this relatively benign treatment of
minority groups are varied and speculative. Among these reasons are
that the French generally practiced a rather peaceful co-existence
with the Native Americans, they were more tolerant of interracial
marriage and they adopted the Napoleonic Code. The geography of
the state has favored the preferences of some minority groups which
could remain isolated from the main culture, cut off from it by
rivers or swamps. None of the above is to suggest that survival for
these groups has been easy or without interference from the state; it
has not been easy.
Today, there are Native American groups in the state still
speaking their own language, practicing their religion and
maintaining their tribal governments. In Tangipahoa Parish, Hungarian
is taught in some elementary schools.2
There was a period in which spoken French was prohibited in public
schools; now it is encouraged.
The Louisiana Territory was owned at sometime by England, France
and Spain until it was purchased by the United States in 1803.
Louisiana became a state in 1812. Ancestors of the people we now know
as Redbones first came to the area when it was still a territory.
They first came to the south (Lafayette area) and then moved to the
west and central part of the state.
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THE AREA - THE NEUTRAL ZONE
Following the Louisiana Purchase, the United States and Spain
disagreed over the western boundary of the territory. Spain owned
Texas and the territory to the west of Texas, including Mexico. The
U.S. argued that the western boundary of the Louisiana Territory was
the Rio Grande River, and Spain claimed it was the Red River. Both
sides knew these claims were exaggerated and both gradually
compromised but not to the point of reaching an agreement. Spain
eventually settled on the Arroyo Hondo (and by extension the
Calcasieu River as the boundary) and the U.S. claimed the Sabine
River as the boundary. Thus, an area from the Calcasieu River on the
east, the Sabine River on the west and from near Natchitoches in the
north to the Gulf of Mexico in the south, containing approximately
5000 square miles, was in dispute.3
The area was designated by the 1806 treaty as the "Neutral Strip" or
"Neutral Zone." In 1806 both the United States and Spain were
prepared for battle over this boundary when the generals in the field
reached an agreement. The agreement stated that neither side would
send troops or peace officers into the disputed area until the two
countries could settle the issue peacefully. The issue was settled in
1821 when the Sabine River was formally agreed upon as the boundary.
Earlier, in 1819, there had been an informal understanding that the
Sabine River would be the boundary.
When word of the agreement to create a neutral zone spread,
outlaws and anyone else who wished to avoid the law flocked to the
Neutral Zone. Since by treaty law officers could not enter, it became
a haven for outlaws. The area became notorious and both Spain and the
U.S., by popular demand, violated the treaty by sending troops into
the area in an effort to remove the outlaws. It was too late. The
outlaws knew the canebrakes and swamps too well. It was dangerous for
any outsider to enter the zone. Those who wished to cross it had to
do so in large, armed parties.
Among the many who smuggled contraband goods, ran slaves,
murdered, robbed, counterfeited, raped, and pillaged in the Neutral
Zone was the infamous land pirate from Tennessee, John Murel
(Murrell). His men in the Louisiana contingent included some familiar
Redbone names such as Beverly, Baley, Robinson, Miller, Johnson,
Willis, Parker, Ray, Coper, Boalton, Jones and
Phelps.4 It should be noted that not
all persons with these names, indeed all names referenced throughout
this paper, were Redbones or Melungeons.
In 1808 a law was passed prohibiting the importation of slaves.
The Neutral Zone became a main corridor for smuggling slaves into the
country. The privateer Jean Laffite used the Calcasieu and Sabine
Rivers to smuggle contraband goods including slaves into the United
States. The filibusters (private paramilitary invasions) against
Spanish held Texas were outfitted in the Neutral Zone. There was so
much illegal activity in the Zone that John Quincy Adams called it
the "backdoor to the United States."5
In 1836, when Texas was revolting against Mexico the people of
east Texas would escape the attacks by coming to the Neutral Zone.
Still later when the Civil War was raging, the former Neutral Zone
became a haven for Jayhawkers -- those who refused to fight in the
war. In the beginning of WWII, the Neutral Zone was the scene of the
largest military maneuvers ever held. Fort Polk at Leesville, La. was
built in the former Neutral Zone following these maneuvers.
In 1803 the area was a vast wilderness of swamps, canebrakes, and
hills clad with virgin timber in unimaginable beauty and abundance.
The yellow pine timber on the Calcasieu River set the standard for
yellow pine lumber. The white oaks in the Sabine River bottom were
sought after by the wine industry of France for use in the making of
wine casks, and the Cypress trees on both rivers were unequaled in
beauty, size, and abundance. These forests were largely undisturbed
until the 1880-90's when logging became a major industry. By that
time Redbones were well established there.
However, in the early 1800's there were few people other than
Native Americans living there except those in the Natchitoches area
to the north. It was in the Neutral Zone that most of the Redbones
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WHO ARE THE REDBONES - DEFINITION
A Redbone is a person of mixed racial heritage who is a member of
a group which defines its relationship to the dominant culture in a
The racial mix may be any combination of two or more of the
following: Native American, European Caucasian, Asians (ie. English,
French, Irish, Welsh), or Portuguese, Spanish, Moor, Turk), and any
of the various Negroid sub-groups.
Physical characteristics are varied but typically include a dark
skin, often with a copper hue, high cheekbones, dark eyes, dark
straight hair, and no single body type. Less often they are of
lighter skin, blue eyes, and blond hair. In those persons with some
Negroid genetics Negroid features may be evident, such as darker
skin, curly hair, wide nose, and thick lips.
The cultural milieu is one where the group members band together
for protection against a perceived hostile dominant culture. They
often, in times past, have isolated themselves from the dominant
culture taking a physical stand to protect their territory and
discourage intermarriage with members of the dominant culture and
prohibit or try to prohibit intermarriage with persons of African
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This definition is offered to stimulate us to define and describe
the people we are discussing so as to not become so inclusive that
our search for roots and origins is meaningless. Who in America does
not have some combination of the genetic factors alluded to above?
Dr. Brent Kennedy offered a definition of Melungeons in his book,
The Melungeons: Resurrection of a Proud People, and he has
stated many times that he hoped his book would stimulate thought,
discussion and research.6 In that
spirit, this definition offers a challenge to his definition of
Melungeon and by extension Redbones. The challenge is to broaden the
Caucasian element to include others than Mediterraneans - the gene
frequency distribution research of James Guthrie
notwithstanding.7 Bonnie Ball argued
that some Melungeons had English ancestry.8
In a more recent statement Rhonda Robertson wrote that the Turks and
Portuguese intermarried with various Indians and "much later with the
northern European settlers; primarily the
Scotch-Irish (sic)..."9 Most definitions
of Melungeons omit references to the English or northern Europeans.
We need to rule them in or out.
A further challenge is to add a sociological element to the
definition; namely, that one must have experienced being a Redbone or
Melungeon with the stigmata, mind-set, orientation to life and
attitude toward the dominant culture that such experience brings.
Since the publication of The Melungeons: Resurrection of a Proud
People , this author has learned that he may have genetic ties to
Louisiana Redbones. And although he grew up near the Redbone country
and has always had a keen interest in them, he did not grow up
identifying with the group nor experiencing the pain its members
experienced. His resentment at the treatment Redbones received from
the dominant group is, therefore, less personal, more removed, and
more academic than it would be had he grown up as a Redbone..
People in America who are a mixture of American Indian, Asian,
Caucasoid, or Negroid genetics are ubiquitous -- perhaps in the
majority. People who have lived as a Redbone or Melungeon are
To be a member of an ethnic group one must, as Elliott Oring
"... claim an identity with a historically derived
cultural tradition or style, which may be composed of both
explicit behavioral features as well as implicit ideas, values and
attitudes. Furthermore, membership in an ethnic group is acquired
primarily by descent."10
One hears of Redbones/Melungeons as being a separate race, and
they may be; that is yet to be determined. A modern definition of
race, given by Richard Goldsby, follows:
" A race is a breeding population characterized by gene
frequencies different from those of other populations of the same
However, as stated above, membership in such a race is made much
more meaningful when accompanied by an ethnic identity that matches
Finally, are Redbones a sub group of the Melungeons or did they
develop parallel to Melungeons? The author believes they are a sub
group, but the question is still open.
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LOCAL THEORIES OF ORIGIN
Let us review of some of the other groups who are not Redbones but
have been confused with them. The United Houma Indian Tribe embraced
French whites and Africans. From this amalgamation came the
"Sabines." Occasionally, one hears Redbones referred to as Sabines.
Perhaps the confusion is because so many Redbones live in the Sabine
River area. The Sabines, however, live in Terrebonne and Lafourche
Parishes. They are historically French speaking fishermen and
trappers who live along the Gulf Coast.12
The Clifton Choctaw Tribe is a group living in a closed community
in Rapides Parish. They are Choctaw, Chatot, Creole and African. The
tribe has failed to receive federal recognition as an Indian tribe
but has received state recognition. It maintains a tribal office. The
Clifton Choctaw Tribe has not accepted the Redbones nor have Redbones
accepted it. One student of this group relates that some of the
families from the Clifton group may have come originally to Louisiana
from North Carolina where they were members of the Lumbee Indian
Tribe.13 This has not been
Bonnie Ball in her book The Melungeons says the "Cane River
Mulattoes" near Natchitoches are Redbones.14
This is an error. She relied upon the writings of William H. Gilbert,
Jr., who was wrong in almost everything he said about Redbones in
Louisiana. He did not correctly identify a single group which was
Redbone. Gilbert apparently relied heavily upon Lyle Saxon's novel
Children of Strangers, which was not about Redbones at all,
but about the Cane River Creoles.15
Gary Mills, in his otherwise excellent book, The Forgotten People:
Cane River's Creoles of Color says some slaves owned by the Cane
River Creoles ran away to join "redbones" whom he refers to as "
marauding groups" of racially mixed people.16
Mills makes clear that the Cane River Creoles of Color (a mixture of
Spanish or French and Negro) are not Redbones. Whatever else Redbones
are they are not Creoles and are not marauders.
Ball also suggests that Melungeons may be related to the Gypsies
(Romani). She lists some common Gypsy names, two of which, Stanley
and Boswell, were common among Louisiana
Redbones.17 Since Gypsies were
present in the Redbone country from the early 1920's to 1960, the
author has been exploring the possibility of a relationship between
the two groups. The Romani originated in India before the year 1000
and have spread over much of the world including many countries from
which Melungeons, and through them the Redbones, may have derived,
but no evidence has been found thus far to establish a common
heritage. Certainly there are physical similarities between the two
groups and both groups have a history of being skilled metalworkers,
but their lifestyles are otherwise quite different.
Melungeons/Redbones are not nomadic nor are they wanderers. They are
wedded to their property and the Redbones defend their real estate
with a vengeance as we will see later. The author found that in one
instance a Redbone (Droddy) married a Gypsy girl and they settled
down in the Redbone community rather than travel as Gypsies.
The Ebarb Choctaw-Apache Tribe is a state recognized tribe which
has lived in Sabine Parish since the 1700's. They maintain a tribal
office in Zwolle and a pow-wow ground at Ebarb, both in Sabine
Parish. They are of Choctaw and Lipan Apache heritage. The Spaniards
brought Apaches into Louisiana as slaves in the eighteenth century.
One may keep an Apache a prisoner but one does not easily make a
slave of him. The Apaches caused so much trouble for their captors
they were finally freed. Webster Talma Crawford has stated that
Redbones are related to these Apaches. It is quite possible that
there was intermarriage between these two groups especially during
the mid-nineteenth century. The Ebarb Choctaw-Apache already lived on
the northern edge of the Neutral Zone when the Redbones arrived.
Crawford, an early writer on Redbones, believed that as these Apaches
were freed they went south and married into the Redbone group.
He wrote that it was the Apache who provided the "noxious blood"
to the Redbones. While there may well have been a mixing of these two
groups, Crawford's timing was somewhat off as the Apaches had already
been released when the Redbones arrived. Crawford did not believe
that Redbones arrived from another state or territory but that they
developed in the local area. He also thought the Redbones had mixed
with the Koasati (Coushatta) and Choctaw, which is more likely.
Webster Talma Crawford, who was reared near the Louisiana Redbone
community, wrote a monograph in approximately 1932 which was popular
in the Redbone community, being circulated as a typescript until its
publication in booklet form in 1993.18
The Crawford material is one of the few writings on Louisiana
Redbones. Crawford managed to preserve some of the language and a
description of the lifestyle and attitudes of the 19th century
Louisiana Redbones. His material is in two parts; part one is a
history of the origins of the Redbones, and part two is an account of
the Westport Fight -- a successful effort of the Redbones to defend
their territory from outsiders.
In reading Crawford's theory of the origins of the Redbones, one
must keep in mind that he was writing at a time when research
resources were more limited than they are today and that much basic
research has been done since his writing. Nevertheless, he conducted
extensive research including interviews with local residents some of
whom were descendants of participants in the Westport fight, and he
reached some remarkable conclusions.19
Regrettably, he included no documentation and, as far as is known,
left no research notes.
Crawford concluded that the Louisiana Redbones were unrelated to
the Melungeons or to any other group in the eastern part of the
United States, but rather that they developed in the Neutral Zone of
southwestern Louisiana and that the 19th century was, in his words,
the "incubation period." He stated:
"In brief, I have found the Redbones to be a brave, proud
and independent clan into whose province they have permitted no
invaders. They maintain the proposition that socially, all
Redbones are equal; they recognize no nobility in the clan. In
their own ranks there is frequent warfare, yet they quickly band
together to fight a common enemy. They are clannish, guerrilla
warriors. Their promptitude to avenge any insult has been
proverbial. Industrious and home loving, they have steadfastly
refused to be amalgamated with the outside world. And yet, they
are not village-loving people. The Redbones have built no
villages. The population dwells in lonely scattered habitations
and the individuals do not fear solitude. Their name, "Redbones,"
serves as a convenient label for a people who combine in
themselves the blood of the wasted tribes, the early colonists or
forest rovers, the runaway slaves, and the stray seaman of the
Mediterranean stock from coasting vessels in the West Indian or
From the very beginning of my study of the Redbones, it seemed
almost a foregone conclusion that these bold people were of
Mediterranean stock, for it had been said that Hannibal was a
"Redbone." One may more correctly conclude that the Redbones are
of the stock of Hannibal. Hence, in the veins of these people
there may be found the blood of ancient Carthage; of Crossus
perhaps and of Sidon and Tyre. Part Semitic, part Hamitic,
Berbers, Mauretanian (sic) Arabs, Nubians, Phoenicians and true
Carthaginians are perhaps all represented among their ancestors.
And having very little of either Aryan or Ethiopian stock in their
ancestry, we may call those people most properly,
Crawford further states:
"The hair of the Redbone...is straight, wavy or strongly
frizzled; rarely or never woolly. Yet, it appears that a few
Redbones carry the blood of some Negroid people; possibly perhaps
most likely Nubian.... In both racial and physical characteristics
the Redbone appears to be akin to that mystery people of the
Pyrenees, the Basques.
The Redbones of the Sabine Frontier are a homogeneous element
of people, unrelated to the Delaware "Moors," the "Croatans" of
North Carolina, the so called "Melungeons" of eastern Tennessee,
or any other clan of mystery people...."21
In The Historic Indian Tribes of Louisiana, Fred B.
Kniffen, et. al. listed Redbones as an Indian tribe. They discuss
them as follows:
"A large new Indian population had begun to develop in southwestern
Louisiana in the mid-nineteenth century. Apparently, immigrants from
the Carolinas and Georgia sought areas where there were Indian or
mixed Indian and black-and-white families. Today, these early
Carolinians and Georgians would nearly all be from families bearing
surnames associated with the non-tribal groups in those states with
the strongest Indian identities, such as the Lumbee, Haliwa, and
Westoes. These were the people who came to be identified as "Red
Bones." ... A scattering of Louisiana Indians, including Biloxi,
Choctaw, and Panana, sometimes called "Seminole" in error, was
clearly associated with the Carolina and Georgia immigrants,
reinforcing Indian genetics. Whites and blacks, in some instances,
are said to have become part of this mixture of races and cultures.
Indian identity remained strong in the Red Bone communities, and
cultural behavior reflected Indian roots. Artifacts were placed on
graves, fires were often lighted for the dead, matrilocal residence
was common, and a forest economy with such material traits as
basketry and blowguns persisted....many communities became isolated,
both geographically and socially. Many excluded blacks owned no
slaves and wished no association with either group, and in so doing
invited discrimination from powerful land-holding whites. ... Even
today, the Red Bones often prefer social isolation to interaction
In the once popular novel Red Bone Woman, author Carlyle
Tillery, has his main male character, Mr. Randall, pursue the
heritage of his Red Bone wife, Tempie, until he concludes she is not
a mulatto, nor "Spanish white" as her people claimed but "Indian
white" as opposed to "regular white".23
Redbones have never maintained a tribal government. Since this is
a main prerequisite for winning tribal status it is unlikely that
they will ever receive recognition as a separate tribe. Indeed, this
writer is not aware that they have ever petitioned for such status or
that they consider themselves a tribe in the usual sense of that
Early this year a new Indian group has been approved by the
Louisiana state legislature. The Four Winds Tribe of the Louisiana
Cherokee Confederacy is open to Indians of any tribe and many
Redbones are joining. This is not a true tribe but more properly an
association or, as the name suggests, a confederacy.
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ORIGIN OF THE TERM "REDBONE"
These mystery people of Southwest Louisiana have been referred to
as Red Bone or Redbone. A group, perhaps the parent group, in South
Carolina was similarly known. The origins of the term is no less
elusive than the term Melungeon. The search is still on for answers
to the meaning and origin of the term.
Shortly before leaving to come to this meeting the author heard an
account that must be explored further. More than thirty years ago a
Texas college Professor, Louis Varney Lieb, told one of his students,
who lived in the Louisiana Redbone country, that he had lived for two
years among the Redbones and had learned the origin of the term. It
seems that many years ago, perhaps even before Columbus discovered
America, there had been a great famine among the Indians of Southwest
Louisiana. It was so great that they had to mix red clay with their
scant food in order to survive. They ate so much red clay that the
marrow in their bones turned red. Professor Lieb supposedly wrote
several articles on this subject while at Columbia University. It is
not known whether he put this forward as a legitimate theory or as
folklore. It may be that the Redbones, as the saying went in rural
Louisiana at that time, were "loading the professor's
Local Redbones today say they have most often heard that the name
derived from "redskin" or "redman" as applied to Indians or to a
likeness to the red bones of squirrels.
Kniffen, et al offers the most reasonable explanation of the
origin. Citing Joey Dillard, an authority on black English, Kniffen
says that the term likely came from the West Indies where the term
Red Ibo pronounced Reddy Bone meant a mixture of
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REDBONES COME TO LOUISIANA
The earliest known progenitor of Louisiana Redbones to have come
to the area was Thomas Nash, who was in the Mississippi Territory by
at least 1781 when his son William was born on June 6 of that
year.26 He was in a area of the
Mississippi Territory, known today as the West Florida Parishes of
Jane Parker McManus, a descendent, states that "When Thomas Nash
left North Carolina, he probably traveled down the famous Natchez
Trace into the Mississippi Territory. It has been said that he came
down the Trace with Tapley Dial, another early Louisiana
progenitor."27 Nash was mentioned
in the Natchez court records in 1788, but by 1815 he was in
Among the earliest Protestants in the Mississippi Territory and
early Louisiana were Baptists. The Baptist churches in that area were
almost all established by people from South Carolina, many of whom
were no doubt Redbones. The first Protestant church in what is now
Louisiana was the Half Moon Baptist Church which was founded on the
Bogue Chitto River in 1812. It was established east of the
Mississippi River and east of Kentwood, Louisiana. One of the
founders and probably the first pastor was Joseph
Lewis.29 One month later the
second Baptist church was established on the west side of the
Mississippi River at Bayou Chicot in what is now Evangeline Parish by
Joseph Willis, Sr. He had started developing his church much earlier
but had been delayed over questions regarding his racial heritage.
Nevertheless, his was the first Protestant church west of the
Mississippi River.30 Willis may
have been in the Louisiana Territory as early as 1799-1800 when it
was still owned by Spain. He was certainly there in 1804 when he came
to Bayou Chicot now in Evangeline Parish about thirty-five miles
south of Alexandria where he had friends.31
In the 1830's he moved to Rapides Parish--which at that time
covered most of central Louisiana and a large part of the former
Neutral Zone. He established many Baptist churches most of which were
in the region now dominated by Redbones. He assisted in developing
the Louisiana Baptist Association and attended the first association
meeting with Johnson Sweat.32
Willis was the father of 19 children. In the Redbone region the name
Willis is common and the Baptist faith is predominant. He was born in
North Carolina in 1758 to an English father and an Indian slave
mother. Thus, by North Carolina law he was legally a slave. The story
of how he got his freedom is a fascinating tale. He served in the
Revolutionary War under General Francis Marion. Marion, known as the
Swamp Fox, perfected guerrilla fighting at which Redbones are reputed
to be masters. Some of Joseph's Louisiana friends also fought with
Marion. Today, the names Marion, Francis and various combinations of
those names are prevalent among names for men in the Redbone
The earliest Redbones to come to Louisiana came into the southern
portion of the state in the Orleans Territory. By 1830 a definite
movement north had begun. Dr. Tommy Johnson, using as criteria the
list of Melungeon and Redbone names in Dr. Kennedy's book and states
of origin including North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee,
Kentucky, and Virginia, examined the Louisiana censuses for 1810,
1820, 1850 and 1860 for certain key parishes. He found a definite
movement to the north. In the 1810 census of Opelousas Parish
(Territory of Orleans), 44 names of households were found which were
consistent with the Kennedy list including such names as Collins,
Perkins, Ashworth, Clark, Cole, Dial, Willis, Sweat, Bass, Johnson,
and Nash. In Rapides Parish, farther north, he found thirteen names,
such as Martin, Smith, and Thompson. In 1850 there were over 250
households with Melungeon/Redbone names in Rapides
A wagon train from Georgia led by Alfred Franklin Mayo arrived in
the Valentine area of central Louisiana in 1857. Over 100 families
were included. Some of these families settled in the area including
the following Redbone surnames: Cumba, Lewis, Nichols, Gray and Mayo.
Since they came from a persecuted background and some had had
difficulty with the law they held a secret meeting in which they
vowed to never tell from where they came.35
The earliest settlement of Redbones in central and southwestern
Louisiana was approximately ten miles from the old town of Hineston
in a small community known as Westport. Westport consisted primarily
of a general store and a mill for grinding corn. The largest group of
Redbones lived in this area. The group is well known for the
"Westport Fight" which occurred in 1881. This fight involved a
shoot-out between Whites and Redbones in which several people were
A creek in the Westport area was known as "Ten Mile Creek" and
Redbones in that area are still sometimes referred to as "Ten
Milers." That was a safer title than Redbone in earlier times. The
second group was located farther south and west near Bear Head Creek
in Beauregard and Calcasieu Parishes, the third was across the Sabine
River in Newton County, Texas.
Initially, they made a living as small farmers -- raising
livestock in the vast open range available to them -- and trappers.
Later, timber constituted one of the main industries and has remained
so to this day.
Redbones retreated into physical and social isolation from the
dominant society and protected their territory from intrusion by
blacks or whites. Some Redbones did own slaves.
During The War Between the States some Redbones fought for the
Confederate South and some were Union sympathizers. Geographically
they were in an area ideally suited to hiding renegades and such was
its history. The former Neutral Zone soon became home to Jayhawkers
(Union sympathizers) regardless of their ethnic or racial identity.
At the time of the Civil War "conscientious objectors" had no freedom
to refuse service. Consequently, they hid in the canebrakes and
swamps and if caught were often executed on the spot. Several groups
of Jayhawkers located in the Neutral Zone were reported to have among
their members runaway slaves, mulattos and persons of "mixed blood."
In at least three instances Redbones from the Neutral Zone who were
officers in the Confederate Army, were assigned to lead groups of
soldiers in hunting Jayhawkers - some of whom were no doubt
kinsmen.36 An account of one of
these officers was recently discovered in a very rare book written by
Dennis E. Haynes, a Jayhawker who eventually joined the Union Army.
He described a resident of the Neutral Zone, Captain Robert W.
Martin, who led a group of Confederate Home Guards, as a "quadroon
Indian." Could he have been anything but a Redbone? He was feared for
his ferocity.37 The other officers
were Captain William Ivey and Captain David Paul.
After the war Robert W. Martin was harassed and persecuted by the
Federal Occupying Forces so he moved to Mooreville, Texas near Waco.
He is the Great-Great Grandfather of comedian Steve Martin who was
born in Waco in 1945.38 Robert W.
Martin married Eliza Smart who was the daughter of Nathan Perkins
Following the Civil War (1880-1890) with the introduction of
northern capital and modern machinery the timber industry came alive.
This time geography favored the Redbones; they lived in an area
possessing some of the best timber in the world. With all the
negative aspects of the clear cut policies and practices that
accompanied this industry one aspect was positive; jobs were
available. Redbones worked side by side with outsiders. Though this
work was not without incident it was perhaps a beginning of
reintegration of Redbones into the dominant culture. Then came the
Great Depression in 1929. With it came federal work projects such as
the WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps. In the CCC
camps, with their semi-military modus operandi, young men of both
cultures were thrown together and generally learned to live in
communal existence. This was excellent preparation for their next
major socially integrating experience -- WWII. Again, geography
played its part. When space was needed for military maneuvers the
former Neutral Zone area was picked and the largest military
maneuvers ever held before or since were consequently held there. As
a result Fort Polk was located in the center of the former Neutral
Zone and is still in operation today. Many local people of all ethnic
or racial identities still work there. Many Redbones and others lost
their land to the Government as it required thousands of acres for
Return to Index
REDBONES IN TEXAS
George Orr moved from Louisiana to the Atascosito District of
southeast Texas in 1821. He had previously served as a captain in the
Magee-Gutierez expedition against Spanish held Texas in 1813, which
was an attempt by a private paramilitary group to wrest Texas from
Spain. He was born in Pennsylvania but he may have been a Redbone. He
married into the Clark family which is likely a Redbone family in
what is now Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.39
His background needs further investigation. His home near Liberty,
Texas was a favorite stopping place for travelers.
The Ashworth family was living in Jefferson County when Texas
became a Republic in 1836. William Ashworth had moved there from
Louisiana in 1831, and many friends and relatives followed him. The
Ashworths immigrated to Louisiana from South Carolina in
1799.40 During the Revolution
against Mexico, William and Abner Ashworth paid Gipson Perkins and
Elijah Thomas to take their places in the Texas
Army.41 The Ashworths were
classified as "free blacks" and were land and slave owners.
Judith Linsley and Ellen Rienstra state that , "There is
considerable doubt, however, that they were of black origin, as their
features were apparently Caucasian. Thomas Jefferson Russell, writing
in 1910, suggested that they were of Portuguese-Moorish descent, and
Ashworth family research has indicated that they were of French and
English extraction."42 By 1850
Aaron Ashworth was the richest man in the (Jefferson) county. Several
of the so called "mulattos," both men and women, married whites and
were mostly unmolested for such marriages.43
However, tensions resulting from the execution in 1856 of Jack Bunch,
a cousin of the Ashworths and the convicted murderer of a deputy
sheriff, caused most of the family to leave the area shortly
thereafter."44 The killing of the
deputy and hanging of Bunch caused a feud between a group of whites
known as Moderators and the "free blacks" who then organized as the
Regulators. The Regulators included, among others, Sheriff Glover,
Bennett Thomas, John C. Moore, Joel Brandon, and Burwell Alexander.
Moore was caught counterfeiting money which did nothing to ease
tensions. His reproduction of a St. Louis banknote was almost
Of the 63 free blacks living in Jefferson County in 1850, 38 were
Ashworths. The Republic of Texas passed, in February, 1840, a law
which ordered all free blacks to leave the state or be sold into
slavery. Three petitions were submitted to the Texas Congress by
local whites protesting the removal of the Ashworths. Petitions were
also submitted supporting Elisha Thomas and William Goyens. Other
petitions from around the state were submitted. The result was
passage of the Ashworth Act in December, 1840 which allowed all free
blacks who had been in Texas when the Declaration of Independence was
made to remain in the state and it exempted from expulsion David and
Abner Ashworth who had immigrated after the
At least one Redbone, Daniel William Cloud, died at the
Alamo.47 Emily D. West, a mulatto,
is reported to have greatly influenced the battle of San Jacinto,
which resulted in a victory for the Texians and ultimately freedom
from Mexican rule, by entertaining General Santa Anna in his tent at
the hour of attack.48 Was she a
Redbone? Historians are divided over the account of her role in
winning the battle.
Jim Bowie and his party held off a group of Indians at the
so-called San Saba Mines near Calf Creek in Texas. He was accompanied
by Matthew Doyal. As a young man Bowie resided in central Louisiana
near where many Doyals of Redbone heritage lived. Could one of them
have accompanied him to San Saba?49
Perhaps the greatest Indian fight ever staged in Texas was the
Linnville Raid culminating at the battle at Plum Creek. Among the
people fighting in that battle were those with the following Redbone/
Melungeon names: Owen, Archibald Gipson, Watts, James Bird, Hall,
Nichols and Joseph Wood.50 These
areas need further research to determine which Redbones, if any, were
involved in these battles.
Cynthia Ann Parker, raised as an Indian captive, the mother of
Quanah Parker, Comanche Chief, was the daughter of Parkers who came
to Texas in the mid-nineteenth century from Georgia by way of
Tennessee and Illinois.51 Could
she have been of Melungeon extraction? What of the Texas outlaw Sam
Bass? Was he a Redbone? The name suggests as much. Should not these
leads be explored for possible Redbone/Melungeon connections?
A large group of Redbones settled on the west side of the Sabine
River in what is today Newton County, Texas. Some of the family names
in that area were Adams, Bass, Bennett, Bond, Brack, Brown, Clark,
Coleman, Cole, Collins, Davis, Droddy, Hall, Harper, Hart, James,
Johnson, Knight, Lee, Lewis, Martin, Mattox, Moore, Nash, Page,
Parker, Perkins, Powell, Smith, Taylor, Thompson, Weeks, West, White,
Willis, Williams, Woods, Wright, and Young.52
Several members of the Goins family settled in Texas in the 1800's
along the Neches River and indeed over much of
Texas.53 Many other Redbone names
appear throughout early Texas historical writings in incidental
The Cherokees had a tradition that when tribesmen disagreed with
the majority on serious matters they were allowed to leave the tribe
in peace. In 1721 such a group of Cherokees moved west to the Rocky
mountains where they lost contact with their eastern kinsmen. Almost
100 years later Cherokees began appearing in the Neutral Zone and by
1820 they moved into Spanish held Texas. Among the names of the east
Texas Cherokee settlers were Duwali, (aka Colonel Bowls) Gatunwali,
Fields, Bowls, Bowles, Boles, Brown, Chicken Trotter, Corn Tassel,
The Egg, Harris, Harlin, Cuktokeh Jolly, Kanati (Long Turkey),
Nekolake, Oosoota, Piggion, Saulowee (Tsulawi), Tahchee, Talontuskee,
Talihina (Mrs. Sam Houston), Toquo (Turkey), and many
others.54 Dr. Kennedy has
identified Duwali as a Turkish word meaning "great leader. The
Cherokee Duwali was a chief among the east Texas Cherokees.
Return to Index
Little has been recorded about the customs of earlier Redbones in
Louisiana. A group has recently formed to study such matters.
Hopefully, some of the old beliefs and customs can be retrieved and
recorded. Meanwhile, a few such beliefs follow. It should be noted
that not all Redbones followed all the customs or shared all the
beliefs or superstitions. Likewise, many such beliefs were shared by
local whites and blacks. Indeed some sound like African or West
An example of a voodoo tinged belief is the reading of the
scripture Ezekiel 16:6 to stop bleeding. Only special people were
supposed to know and practice this magic. The author has also heard
this belief from whites and east Texas blacks.
One Louisiana Redbone man, Sam Stasby, was said to be able to
prevent babies from dying from "Boll-Hives" a form of "infected
heat". The process had to be implemented before the baby was 10 days
old. The tools were a razor, a blue quinine bottle, a sulphur match,
and a silver spoon. An "X" was cut on the baby's back with the razor
then the match was struck and placed in the bottle. The mouth of the
bottle was placed over the cut and the burning match created a
suction which drew out a few drops of blood. This blood was put in
the silver spoon with a few drops of the mother's milk and this was
fed to the baby.55
Another man named Doyle/Dial/Doyal "cured" the asthma of his young
daughter by putting a lock of her hair in the split branch of a
willow tree. As the tree grew and healed she outgrew her
Some words and speech patterns among Redbones are interesting. One
word the author heard as a young man was b'live for believe. In the
1940's and 50's when a Redbone didn't know the answer to a query he
may have responded with "now aah".
Return to Index
LOUISIANA REDBONES TODAY
Rivers, swamps, and limited occupational opportunities are no
longer barriers to communication, commerce, socialization, and
marriage between Redbones and members of the dominant culture. When
the author was growing up in central Louisiana horses, wagons and
buggies were more available than automobiles. He lived thirteen miles
from Westport, the site of the famous fight, and where many Redbones
lived. To make the trip to Westport would have been an all day affair
involving strenuous labor. The two communities were separated by a
river, bad roads, and poor transportation. Today paved roads, good
automobiles, and telephones coupled with a more enlightened attitude
on the part of both groups, an attitude tempered by a half century of
being brought together by the whiplash of hunger during the
depression, logging camp days, WPA and CCC programs, WWII and other
military conflicts, has resulted in greater integration of the two
While many Redbones have moved to cities all over the state and
indeed over the world and now have jobs from menial to "high tech"
and from commercial to academic and professional, many still live in
sparsely populated rural areas dominated by members of their clan. In
the central Louisiana area the timber industry is still a main source
of labor for many.
The primary religion among Redbones is Baptist followed by
Pentecostal. Most are Democrats and many are politically active.
Marriage was once almost exclusively an in-group activity; now
marriage outside the group is much more common. Employment and
educational and religious activities are commonly shared between the
two groups. Many religious leaders in central and southwest Louisiana
come from the Redbone community, and that leadership is much wider
than just in the Redbone community. Indeed, Redbone religious leaders
were influential in the "regular white" religious community long
before they were accepted generally in white society. Rev. Joseph
Willis, discussed earlier, set the precedence for this
In the 1940's and 50's church sponsored gospel singing schools and
singing conventions enjoyed great popularity in rural Louisiana. The
singing schools taught music in the shaped note style. Redbones were
enthusiastic participants in these activities and some excelled at
both teaching and singing. Rev, O.C. Thompson, a Pentecostal
minister, taught singing schools over much of the state.
Redbones who have remained in traditional Redbone communities are
not noticeably more impoverished now than their counterparts in other
similar communities in the white rural areas; nor do they live a
significantly different lifestyle, the still wary attitudes toward
the dominant culture notwithstanding. The above generalizations are
the author's impressions and not based upon established data.
Return to Index
While the term "Redbone" has been used in a derogatory manner in
the past and its use was the occasion for numerous altercations, it
is increasingly more accepted today and there is anecdotal evidence
that Redbones are beginning to take pride in their heritage. Two
books, The Cherry Winche Country and The Melungeons:
Resurrection of a Proud People, have been popular with them in
the past few years. Interest in genealogy is becoming popular among
Redbones as it is all across America.
Louisiana Redbones have traditionally known little about their
heritage. Social scientists have neglected studying or recording
their folkways. Little has been written about them either from a
positive or negative view point; they have been largely ignored in
the literature. Redbone Woman, 57
a novel written in 1950, certainly does not describe the Redbone of
today and perhaps presented an overdrawn picture of Redbones of
earlier times. The only other piece of literature, except Crawford's
account, known to this author is a short story entitled simply
"Redbone."58 It contains many
inaccuracies and is somewhat divisive although it does have some
An informal group has been formed to study the central Louisiana
Redbone community and to record some of its folkways and genealogy.
Perhaps a report can be made at a later time on the activities of
In the book Red Bone Woman Mr. Randall, the regular white
husband of Tempie, his Red Bone wife, said to his son -- a son by his
first wife now deceased.
"And after a while it came to me that I was becoming a
little less prejudiced about them as I came to understand them
better. But my prejudice doesn't go down as fast as my
understanding increases." The son, George, said "Maybe if the race
problems are ever solved it'll turn out to have been more a matter
of forgetting than of understanding."59
At first blush this interchange seems profound and in a way it is,
but forgetting raises the specter of ignorance of one's past assuring
that one will relive it. Perhaps the son was using forgetting as
forgiving which is easier and safer. Is not understanding the
underpinning of both forgetting and forgiving? Regardless, once
having understood one must move on to something else. Obsessing over
the past is its own reward and its only reward.
In the fullness of time, perhaps we who are interested in the
story of the Redbones/Melungeons can look beyond the history of
prejudice, mistreatment, hate and lawlessness and the resulting hurt,
poverty, suffering and ignorance to the resurrection of pride - as in
The Resurrection of a Proud People.
HC 53, Box 345
Hemphill, Texas 75948
Return to Index
1. Maida Owens, "Louisiana's Traditional Culture."
This was written for publication in the Folklife Program's upcoming
publication by the University Press of Mississippi entitled:
Swapping Stories: Folk Tales From Louisiana. Return
2. Owens, Op. cit: p.15. Return to
3. The Calcasieu River, spelled in earlier times,
Quelqueshue, is named after an Indian Chief, Calcathouch, which meant
Crying Eagle. This account is given in "The Atakapa Indians of
Southwest Louisiana," in Kinfolks, Vol. 17 No. 3 pp., 90-92.
Return to text.
4. Augustus Q., Walton, The Life and Adventures
of John A. Murel (Woodville, Texas: Dogwood Press, 1994), p. 55.
Return to text.
5. Don C. Marler, The Neutral Zone: Backdoor to
the United States, (Dogwood Press, 1996). Return to
6. N. Brent Kennedy and Robyn Vaughn Kennedy,
The Melungeons: The Resurrection of A Proud People (Macon, Ga.
Mercer Press, 1994). Return to text.
7. James L. Guthrie, "Melungeons: Comparison of
Gene Frequency Distributions to Those of Worldwide Populations"
Tennessee Anthropologist Vol. XV, No. 1, Spring 1990, pp.14-
23. If the English are omitted from the definition a problem arises
with at least one Redbone family. Joseph Willis came to Louisiana
with perhaps more definite knowledge of his ancestors that most
Redbones. He claimed his father was English and his mother an Indian
slave. He was born a slave. Return to text.
8. Bonnie Ball, The Melungeons (8th Edition,
1984, no publication data. Return to text.
9. Rohnda Robertson, "The National Melungeon
Registry." The Wise County Historical Society, no date. Return
10. Elliott Oring, Folk Groups and Folklore
Genres: An Introduction (Logan, Utah: Utah State University
Press, 1986), p. 24. Return to text.
11. Richard A. Goldsby, Race and Races (New
York: Macmillian Publishing Co.,1977) p. 25. Return to
12. Vernon J. Parenton and Roland J. Pellegrin
"The Sabines: a Study of Racial Hybrids in a Louisiana Coastal
Parish,"Social Forces, 29 (1950), pp. 148 - 154. Return
13. Interview with Dr. Donald W. Hatley, Director,
The Louisiana Folklife Center, Northwestern State University at
Natchitoches, La. March 4, 1997. Return to
14. Ball, op. cit. p. 46. The term mulatto is
derived from a Spanish term meaning mule which implies inability to
reproduce and is therefore offensive. Return to
15. William H. Gilbert, Jr. "Race, Cultural
Groups, Social Differentiation," Social Forces, (May 1946),
pp. 438-447. And William H. Gilbert, Jr. in "Surviving Indian Groups
of the Eastern United States," Annual Report Smithsonian
Institution, 1948, pp., 407- 438. Gilbert apparently relied
heavily on the classic novel, Children of Strangers, by Lyle
Saxon, which is clearly about the Cane River Creoles and is not at
all about Redbones. Return to text.
16. Gary B. Mills, The Forgotten People: Cane
River's Creoles of Color (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1977), p.119.
Return to text.
17. Op. cit.: Ball pp. 21-22. These names were
omitted in the 9th edition. Return to text.
18. Marler, Don C. and McManus, Jane P. eds.
The Cherry Winche Country. (Woodville, Texas: Dogwood Press,
1993). This book was circulated in typescript until edited and
published in 1993. The main part of it was written by Webster Talma
Crawford in approximately 1932. It was entitled: Redbones in the
Neutral Strip or No Man's Land, Between the Calcasieu and Sabine
Rivers, in Louisiana and Texas Respectively, and The Westport Fight
Between Whites and Redbones, For Possession of This Strip on
Christmas Eve, 1882. The editors mercifully shortened the title.
Return to text.
19. Mr. Glenn Walker of Caryville, Florida, a
nephew of Mr. Crawford, accompanied him on trips to interview local
people who knew of the fight. Return to text.
20. Op.cit: Marler and McManus p.2. Return
21. Ibid.p,. 4-5. Return to
22. Fred B., Kniffen, Hiram F. Gregory and George
A. Stokes The Historic Indian Tribes of Louisiana, (Baton
Rouge, LSU Press, 1987). Return to text.
23. Carlyle Tillery, Red Bone Woman (New
York: John Day Co.,1950). Return to text.
24. Telephone interview with Donald "Pete"
Robinson June, 1997. Return to text.
25. Fred B., Kniffen, Hiram F. Gregory and George
A. Stokes The Historic Indian Tribes of Louisiana, (Baton
Rouge, LSU Press, 1987)p., 92. Return to text.
26. Jane P., McManus, A Backward Glance
(Pineville, Parker Enterprises,1986), p. 471. Return
27. Ibid: p. 467. Return to
28. Ibid: pp. 468-69. Return to
29. Glen Lee Greene, House Upon A Rock
(Alexandria, La:, Executive Board of the Louisiana Baptist
Association, 1973), pp. 47-49. Return to text.
30. Ibid: p. 55. Return to
31. Ibid: p. 53. Return to
32. Ibid: p. 57. Return to
33. Don C. Marler, The Neutral Zone: Backdoor
to the United States (Woodville: Dogwood Press, 1996). Return
34. Tommy G. Johnson, They Came West
(Privately printed, 1996). 184 Moss Hill Terrace Rd. Natchitoches,
La. 71457 Return to text.
35. Ibid. Return to text.
36. Don C. Marler, The Neutral Zone: Backdoor
to the United States (Woodville: Dogwood Press, 1996). Return
37. Bergeron, Arthur W. Jr. "Dennis Haynes and His
Thrilling Narrative of the Sufferings of ...the Martyrs of Liberty of
Western Louisiana". Louisiana History (Winter 1997 Vol. XXXVII
No. 1). The book Bergeron reported on is very rare. The title is:
A Thrilling Narrative of the Sufferings of Union Refugees, and the
Massacre of the Martyrs of Liberty of Western Louisiana: Together
With a Brief Sketch of the Present Political Status of Louisiana, As
to Her Unfitness for Admission into the Union. With Letters to the
Governor of Louisiana and Noted Secessionists in That State, and a
Letter to President Johnson on Reconstruction. Return
38. Smart Papers located in the public library in
Leesville, La. Return to text.
39. Jean L. Epperson, Lost Spanish Towns,
(Woodville: Dogwood Press, 1996). Return to
40. Johnson, op. cit., p. 11. Jefferson county has
since been divided and the primary area in which the Ashworths lived
is now Orange county near the Sabine River. The largest city in
Jefferson county today is Beaumont. Return to
41. W.T. Block. A History of Jefferson County,
Texas From Wilderness to Reconstruction (Nederland: Nederland
Publishing Co., 1976), p. 26. Return to text.
42. Judith Walker Linsley and Ellen Walker
Rienstra Beaumont: A Chronicle of Promise. (Woodland Hills:
Windsor Publications, 1982), p. 24. Return to
43. Op. cit: Block, p. 95. Return
44. Op. cit: Linsley and Rienstra, p. 24.
Return to text.
45. Op. cit: Block, 79. Return to
46. The New Handbook of Texas, Vol.
1.,1996. Return to text.
47. Bill Groneman, Alamo Defenders (Austin:
Eakin Press, 1990). Dr. Tommy Johnson has interviewed members of the
Cloud family who are members of the Louisiana Redbone community. They
verify that this family member was at the Alamo. Return
48. C.F. Eckhardt, Texas Tales (Plano:
Wordware, 1992), pp. 103-114). Martha Ann Turner, The Yellow Rose
of Texas (Austin: Eakin Press, 1976). See also James Lutzweiler,
"Emily D. West and the Yellow Rose of Texas," paper presented at the
Texas Historical Association meeting in Austin March 8, 1997.
Lutzweiler is at North Carolina State University. Return
49. Ibid: p. 161. Return to
50. Ibid: 87-102. Return to
51. The New Handbook of Texas, Vol. 5., pp.
57-62. Return to text.
52. Thomas A. Wilson, Some Early Southeast
Texas Families (Austin: Nortex Press, 1986). Return
53. The Gowan Manuscript, p. 2404 ff. Return
54. Dianna Everett, The Texas Cherokees: A
People Between Two Fires, 1819-1840, (Norman: Oklahoma University
Press, 1990). Return to text.
55. Interview with Doris McMain Vaughn, a relative
of Mr. Stasby. Mrs. Vaughn is now deceased. This practice was
reported in Historic Hineston by Don C. Marler. Return
56. Interview with Mary Cleveland of Leesville who
witnessed this act. Return to text.
57. Op. cit. Tillery. Return to
58. Mary Dell Fletcher, The Collected Works of
Ada Jack Carver (Natchitoches: Northwest State University, 1980),
pp. 62-81. Return to text.
59. Op. cit. Tillery,p.103. Return
Return to Index
Ball, Bonnie. The Melungeons.. 8th Edition, 1984. No
Bergeron, Arthur W. Jr. "Dennis Haynes and His Thrilling Narrative
of the Sufferings of ...the Martyrs of Liberty of Western Louisiana,"
Louisiana History. Winter, 1997, Vol. XXXVII No. 1.
Bertrand, Alvin L., The Many Louisianas. Baton Rouge: LSU
Press, Bulletin No. 496, June 1955., pp. 27-28.
Carlyle Tillery, Red Bone Woman. New York: John Day Co.,
Epperson, Jean L. Lost Spanish Towns. Woodville: Dogwood
Everett, Dianna. The Texas Cherokees: A People Between Two
Fires, 1819-1840. Norman: Oklahoma University Press, 1990.
Fletcher, Mary Dell. The Collected Works of Ada Jack
Carver. Natchitoches: Northwestern State University Press, 1980.
Gilbert, William H. Jr., "Race, Cultural Groups, Social
Differentiation," Social Forces. May, 1946.
Gilbert, William H., Jr., "Surviving Indian Groups of the Eastern
United States," Annual Report Smithsonian Institution, 1948,
Goldsby, Richard A. Race and Races. New York: Macmillian
Greene, Glen Lee, House Upon A Rock. Alexandria, La.:
Executive Board of the Louisiana Baptist Association, 1973.
Groneman, Bill. Alamo Defenders. Austin: Eakin Press,
Guthrie, James L. "Melungeons: Comparison of Gene Frequency
Distributions to Those of Worldwide Populations," Tennessee
Anthropologist, Vol. XV, No. 1, Spring 1990.
Johnson, Tommy G. They Came West. Privately printed, 1996.
184 Moss Hill Terrace Rd. Natchitoches, La. 71457
Kniffen, Fred B., Gregory, Hiram F. and Stokes, George A. The
Historic Indian Tribes of Louisiana. Baton Rouge: LSU Press,
Kennedy, N. Brent and Kennedy, Robyn Vaughn. The Melungeons:
The Resurrection of A Proud People. Macon, Ga.: Mercer Press,
Linsley, Judith Walker and Rienstra, Ellen Walker. Beaumont: A
Chronicle of Promise. Woodland Hills: Windsor Publications,
Lutzweiler, James. "Emily D. West and the Yellow Rose of Texas,"
paper presented at the Texas Historical Association meeting in Austin
March 8, 1997. Lutzweiler is at North Carolina State University.
Marler, Don C. The Neutral Zone: Backdoor to the United
States. Woodville: Dogwood Press, 1996.
Marler, Don C. Historic Hineston. Woodville: Dogwood Press,
Marler, Don C. and McManus, Jane P. Eds. The Cherry Winche
Country. Woodville: Dogwood Press, 1993.
Martin, Robert W. A Thrilling Narrative of the Sufferings of
Union Refugees, and the Massacre of the Martyrs of Liberty of Western
Louisiana: Together With a Brief Sketch of the Present Political
Status of Louisiana, As to Her Unfitness for Admission into the
Union. With Letters to the Governor of Louisiana and Noted
Secessionists in That State, and a Letter to President Johnson on
Reconstruction, Washington, DC, 1866.
McManus, Jane P., A Backward Glance. Pineville: Parker
Mills, Gary B. The Forgotten People: Cane River's Creoles of
Color. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1977.
Oring, Elliott, Folk Groups and Folklore Genres: An
Introduction. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 1986.
Owens, Maida, "Louisiana's Traditional Culture." This was written
for publication in the Folklife Program's upcoming publication by the
University Press of Mississippi entitled: Swapping Stories: Folk
Tales From Louisiana.
Parenton, Vernon J. and Pellegrin, Roland J. "The Sabines: a Study
of Racial Hybrids in a Louisiana Coastal Parish," Social
Forces: 29, 1950.
Robertson, Rhonda, "The National Melungeon Registery." The Wise
County Historical Society, no date.
Saxon, Lyle. Children of Strangers. New York: Houghton
Mifflin, Co., 1937.
"The Atakapa Indians of Southwest Louisiana" Kinfolks. Vol.
17, No. 3., pp. 90-92.
The Gowan Manuscript, p. 2404 ff.
The New Handbook of Texas, Vol. 1.,1996.
The New Handbook of Texas, Vol. 5.,1996.
Tillery, Carlyle. Red Bone Woman. New York: John Day
Turner, Martha Ann. The Yellow Rose of Texas. Austin: Eakin
Walton, Augustus Q. The Life and Adventures of John A.
Murel.. Woodville: Dogwood Press, 1994.
Wilson, Thomas A. Some Early Southeast Texas Families.
Austin: Nortex Press, 1986.
Return to Index
Smart Family Files. Vertical files Vernon Parish Public Library,
Copyright © 1997 Don C. Marler. Reprinted here by kind permission of the author. All rights reserved.