I think it is understood by everyone that the term Redbone was a given term. What is not known is by whom it was given, BUT THE TERM DID NOT ORIGINATE IN LOUISIANA!
In a letter from Albert Rigmaiden, Calcasieu Parish Treasurer, written May 6, 1893, to McDonald Furman in the Carolinas. Rigmaiden writes the following:
In reply to yours of April 22nd. I will state I am unable to tell you how the name Red bone originated for the people called Red-bones, but I think the Negroes were the first to give them that name as they (the Negroes) has no use or love for them & they do not like the Negroes any better. I suppose you know the kind of people called Red bones, they are neither white nor black & as well as I can find out, the oldest ones came from S.C. many years ago. There are a great many of them in this Parish & in Rappides & Vernan Parish & some in other Parishes in this State & a good many in Texas too. Some of these people are as good citizens as any body & some are rascally & treacherous but you will find that among any People, but I think these are the most treacherous when they take a dislike to any one.
I will give you the names of some of the principal & oldest families that I know of. They are -- Ashworth -- Goins -- Perkins -- Drake -- Hoozer -- Sweat -- Buxton -- Doil or Dial -- Johnson -- Esclavant -- these people keep pretty well to gether & Marry amongst themselves mostly, but occasionally a White man or Woman Marries among them, but if they do it is generally a low class of White people. It is a very unpleasant (situation?) to live about these people for this reason, they are not looked on as being -- Negroes -- Indian nor White people & as this is a White Peoples Country, they (the White People) don't put themselves on equality, socially, with any other people except White People. Although some of these People are perfect gentlemen & ladies & well educated.
I think they get along exceedingly well and peaceably, considering all these of these drawbacks. I have given you as near the facts as I am trusting it will give you the desired information."
Signed : A Rigmaiden
So what we have is a letter written (by my 5 th cousin) in 1893, who was the Treasurer of Calcasieu Parish, describing what he knows about Red Bones. It's an important date, and just two years prior, there had been an altercation at Westport, La., involving persons known as Red Bones, that had been reported in several newspapers -- 1891.
Another important part of this letter states that the Red Bones were neither Negroes or Indians, and he goes on to name the Red bones that he knew of.
Rigmaiden comments on where the Red bones (the older ones) had come from and that a good many of them lived in Texas. Keep in mind that Rigmaiden has a leg up on present day researchers, as he is the guy on the ground in 1883.
Albert Rigmaiden's mother, Elisha Ryan Rigmaiden, was also related to Sharafina Drake Goins.
Gary J. Gabehart, Mishiho (Mish-eh-ho)