Sunday, July 29, 2007


By Gary J. Gabehart

If you Google the Internet, you will find a crush of Melungeon and Redbone sites all professing to have the true definitions of these mixed race peoples. The telling fact is that if they have a definition other than mixed race peoples, they are wholly bogus sites.

There is no definitive definition by individual ethnicity.

Having said that, I expect there will be a rush by these bogus sites to mend their heresy in some way. But remember, there is no definition for either group other than mixed race people.
True, you will find a Turkish influence as well as Portuguese, but you will find many more Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Native American, European Ancestries and more. A melting pot of, as the Louisiana French called, "Lagniappe" (look it up, it will be fun).

The Helen Campbell site is best known as borderline at the moment by some folks, but could be somewhat authoritative on the Melungeon issues. What is lacking is whether she is, or is not, blessed by official Melungeon Research sites. She did capture the blog site name known as:

There is however, two well known Melungeon factions in the Vardy Tennessee area (maybe more), Ridgers (Newman's Ridge) and the low land folks of Brent Kennedy. It is sometimes difficult to tell where everyone stands, but I would not discount Helen's work.

The Redbone Heritage Foundation site contains the unvarnished work and archives of many researchers. It is pure energy and total research in it's rawest and pristine form. Check it out, but it is slow to load!

It is a shame that he includes the name Ashworth in this Blog. But, it is thought that his Negro heritage (his published DNA report) along with Larry Keels heritage, may come from E3b factions (West Africa) within these families -- a fact that neither can tolerate. But, get over it, it's history and you're not living in the old South of the 1800's -- it's time to quit hiding it.

Note the names of his Louisiana cousins and pictures. Are they accurate? Unfortunately, he is a 5 th cousin of mine, but you can't pick your relatives.

Nothing would be complete here without mentioning LV Hayes. Hayes gets a tiny bit off track on his e-site at times, but although some of his posting could be strongly debated in his attacks on others, he is fair and usually accurate with what he posts in the way of research, and unlike Larry Keels, has made a successful e-site, and ....... he does not talk to himself. Just two important factors.

To the Larry Keels e-site folks, I say contact LV.

The RanDs site is a Goins think tank and well worth joining. They began with Goins and now research all the related families and more. If you like in depth research and archives, it is one of the best on the web with a little bit more -- Lagniappe! This site is operated by Stacy Webb.

The point of this Blog is, for the newbies and honest researchers out there, you are going to run into a lot of bed-wetting, snert monkeys on the web, and nothing is sacred even in Redbone Country. But, there are decent research sites.

Gary J. Gabehart, Mishiho (Mish-eh-ho)

Thursday, July 26, 2007


By Gary J. Gabehart

I spent two days in Redbone Country this week -- Starks, DeQuincy, Sulphur and Lake Charles. Met a lot of nice people over at the Southwest Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Library and had a great time talking with them. If you get the chance, this is the place to research.

The starks community does have a library and if you are looking for the VFW on LA 12, don't blink. If you see the handmade sign that says "Forget Amnesty, enforce laws," you've gone too far. But they do have a Dollar General and there may be somewhere to eat. It is a peaceful, quiet Community.

DeQuincy, other than Sulphur, is the place to eat and of course, Sulphur has the motels, but Lake Charles is just around the corner with lots of facilities. There does seem to be a problem finding no smoking rooms, and Don Marler and I searched a little before we found them. There is a quaint bed and breakfast over on Pujo that looked interesting, but the Blue Duck Cafe on Bilbo is only open till noon. Of course, there is La Luna and a Chinese Restaurant over on Ryan street and the Pujo Restaurant on Pujo and Ryan. All that is downtown.

In a discussion with some local Lake Charles businessmen, I discovered that folks West of the River (Calcasieu) were considered clannish and hard to deal with, while folks on the West side of the Sabine felt the same about the Cajuns on the East side of the river. What stood out at Starks was reference to Cajun music, Cajun activities and Cajun this and Cajun that. Did I dare speak the dreaded word "Redbones?"

Our businessmen in Lake Charles had heard the word but only in the last few months. They had always viewed the area West as Creoles and Cajun. Of course, could it be that Redbones had morphed from Cajuns into a sub-culture? Interesting thought. But I heard somewhere that the Bass people were really Cajun and were bent on joining the Four Winds Choctaw group? Difficult to understand, either you are or your not, but -- I think it is always possible to be a part of both and since we are talking about mixed blood people, ADD SOME MORE TO THE MIX.

Class is like allotting everyone to a single coffee can of a particular group. You don't have to look alike, and you don't have to have the same bloodlines, you just have to be of that class or group. BUT, you can always buy your way out of an unfavorable class with money and power.

Whether that Class or Group forms a Culture remains to be seen. I discussed the cultural aspect with Don Marler, but not deeply, and I should get him over here to focus more on it. But to me, if you are going to have mixed blood people in a class, you have the seeds of mixed cultures as well. Cultural foods, cultural music, names, dress and work ethnics and it does go on to many other things such as religion. I'm not totally sold on Redbone single cultures.

I'll be back in country this weekend and wander the Starks, DeQuincy and Sulphur areas, maybe Alligator park to read a good book.

Gary J. Gabehart, Mishiho (Mish-eh-ho)

Sunday, July 22, 2007


By Gary J. Gabehart

"Migration is just a part of the human experience. Like canines, the urge to travel is over powering for most of us."

Although some family members stayed put, the younger ones often picked up and moved West to find free land and make their fortune. Nothing hard to understand about that exercise. They were married before they left, or some were, and -- others married along the way.

Those migration trails began on the Eastern Seaboard -- Virginia, Carolina's and snaked West and South across the land to Spanish Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi Territory and Louisiana and Texas. Some went to Kentucky and Illinois before turning South or North.

So in a sense, Redbones came from all over -- not just Louisiana, Mississippi or the Carolina's. Some folks would have the Redbones springing out of the ground in Bearhead Creek, others recognize that the Redbone families originated elsewhere. It was more of a class thing, and for those out there claiming "my family was more Redbone than yours," (think about it) they were just talking about their own narrow little family -- especially from a modern day perspective.

Being a class thing, you could climb out of it with time and money. Move down the road, start your own business and build a big house. If you wanted to remain in the Redbone class designation, you surely could do that as well.

Redbones were not bi-racial, tri-racial or any other racial. There were simply too many races or ethnicity's involved. They were at best, multi-racial and that included Scots and Irishmen alike. You name the ethnicity, and it was there.

Some folks are hung up on names they know. As kids they visited and played with cousins on Bearhead Creek so that is all they know. They ignore their cousins up in Pitkin, Natchitoches or Alexandria which to me is absurd in the light that these same folks have not lived on Bearhead in fifty years and now live in those West Coast funny communities.

But, perhaps they were just continuing to migrate Westward. As one Redbone near Singer put it to me, " relatives and their kids -- you know, you can't pick your relatives." So, if you don't like your relatives, too bad, it's history and you're stuck with them -- even the strange ones -- it's an American thing!

Gary J. Gabehart, Mishiho (Mish-eh-ho)

Saturday, July 21, 2007


By Gary J. Gabehart

Okay, let's get this straight, (Read my lips) "there is no definition of the Redbone or Melungeon people." They were mixed blood people. Get it? AND, IT WAS A CLASS THING!

As close as you will ever get is they were mixed blood people, and not all had the same blood mix, and most of them never gave a rat's ass anyhow! This of course is likely contrary to the Grand Wizard and know it all, LV Hayes who constantly changes his definition as much as he changes his insulin.

Today, in modern times we can begin to seperate families and even lines, via DNA, to discover that uncle Joe's wife, whose last name was never known, came from a family that originated from an area of what once was Persia. Of course, uncle Joe came from elsewhere. Things like this make a greater case to have your DNA done just to put a face on your family.

And we've all heard the Indian Grandmother story which may or may not have been entirely true in the first place. Of course, there likely was some bloodline or relation which was long forgotten in Granny's day even.

But why would you think was the reason that all these mix blood people ended up together? I've said it for years, Indians hung out with Indians -- class hung out with like classes. There really is no surprise to any of this.

If, you were of the privileged class, you likely could import a wife from England or elsewhere, but if you were not, you had to look at what was available. Sounds pretty hokey but that was the way it was, and there were very few women who had to do any of the leg work and besides, many thought it was not politically correct anyhow -- and it wasn't.

The Drake family, from where I descend, had some mixed blood in it (LV Hayes is a cousin) and some of that family ended up on Bearhead Creek, Louisiana. They were of course mentioned in the 1893 Rigmaiden letter, from Calcasieu Parish, as being Redbone. But, Albert Rigmaidens mother was a Ryan who was related to the Drakes, yet it would appear that Albert Rigmaiden did not consider himself Redbone (DNA wise, the male Rigmaiden line would not likely show up with Drake mixed blood and would follow back to England anyway, so who knows). So there you go, what buys yourself into other classes of people is success, money or power. Certainly the Rigmaiden's had much success which likely brought the other two. Guilt by association was likely forgotten as was distant cousins and lost generations.

Was LV Hayes a direct Drake descendant? Obviously not -- since his surname is Hayes. Neither am I a direct male descendant of the Drakes as my surname is Gabehart.

As for LV Hayes' recent statements about RHF, Stacy Webb and Gabe Gabehart, I have to laugh as what would LV Hayes know about anything? He wasn't there, never has been a member of RHF, never made a presentation before them and never will, and he should mind his own business.

As for his nonsense about non-Redbones on the RHF Board, RHF researches Redbone history, they are not a social recreation club for Redbones (see Ray Bridges new group). If you want to research or learn new stuff, welcome aboard -- LV Hayes has missed the point entirely in his attack on RHF.

Racist, Fruit loop, Drama Queen? You decide.

Bah Humbug, I'm too busy to care.

Gary J. Gabehart, Mishiho (Mish-eh-ho)

Monday, July 16, 2007


Although the Redbone "Study" Conference may be held in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the actual "Members meeting" may be held elsewhere -- even electronically or by mail.

You have to remember that RHF is a research organization, and although they will accept anyone who wishes to research, they are primarily interested in researching, not social club activities.

RHF is not a social recreation club, and they don't need to be saved from themselves by the likes of Ray, Brenda, Terry or the rest, but the Starks Historical Society, SHS, had better watch out -- Ray and his brother in arms, Sandra, have plans for you.

We have nothing in common with Bearhead Creek email site and certainly nothing in common to the weird Larry Keels site (if you could even call it a site), where Larry has had to resort to making up members like Lester (he used that to get back on Genweb when they booted him) and his mythical sister Lucy or the phony Indian name he uses on Indian hobbyist sites, just to have someone to debate. I bet LV Hayes is laughing his socks off at Larry.

Of course, some may not get along with LV, but you have to agree he does real research!

I'm still continuing to travel the Southwest and did have an enjoyable conversation with Diane last night. We plan to get together, and I'll see John while I'm down there as well.

So for Ray Bridges, plan on another place to do your crazy "Gay act up" routine in drag. Wear your kilts.

More later.

Gary J Gabehart, Mishiho (Mish-eh-ho)

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Provocative title, don't ya think?

Thursday, the 12 th, I left the St. Louis Metro Area and drove south down IH 55 to Memphis. It was dark by the time I reached Memphis, but I pressed on south through Mississippi. I saw the turn off for the Natchez Trace Highway, but since it was dark I decided it would be a waste of time.

Just think, a trip out of the St. Louis Metro area a hundred years ago would have taken several days or more. But think about 1830, it likely would have been barge only. Now, I was racing down the highway at 70 miles each and every hour. Another fifty years and it may likely take only minutes (if we're still around as a human race) to make the same trip -- where does it end?

I looked at the foliage and trees on the sides of IH 55 when the fading light allowed it and wondered how long it would take to cut a road through the tangle of vines, roots and trees. And then, there were the attacks of hostiles. Of course, one man's friend might have been another's hostile. Are maybe it was one hostile against another.

Anyhow, I arrived at Jackson at 1:30 am Friday morning. It never ceases to amaze me to pull into a motel where parking is marginal and wake up to find you're the only car left there. After breakfast at the waffle house, near downtown Jackson (I stayed at the Red Roof Inn -- where else would an Indian stay?), I crossed the Pearl River toward IH 12 and a short trip to Baton Rouge (Red Stick) to pick up IH 10.

At Baton Rouge sits a Destroyer Escort that is dear to me. It's tied up on the East side of the river and years ago, I had stopped to tour this ship, and I had close to an out of body event. In short, I had entered the after steering part of the ship, below the fantail and had a bone chilling flashback -- I had suddenly been carried 40 years back to a Destroyer known as DD 763, The USS William C Lawe -- the "Willy C."

At the time, I was headed to a ships reunion in Charleston, S.C. The Willy C. had been decomissioned years early and resided in the James River. It was being stripped. And I discovered the After Steering Gear had been retrieved from her and sent to the USS Kidd in Baton Rouge -- what a shock. Many times, I had stood a watch in that area and my bunk was but feet away.

After Baton Rouge, I blew through Lake Charles and saw an off ramp for a street named Ryan St. (my relations). You really run through Lake Charles before you know it, but I'll be back to see some folks there -- the Rigmaiden's are relatives as well. At Sulphur I stopped at the "Boiling Point" and ate dinner with a couple named Vincent from the area (more relations), and the crabs and gumbo were fantastic -- it was all you could eat night.

I arrived in Houston at 9 pm Friday night and will operate out of Houston and San Antonio for the next three weeks which includes trips to Starks, Lake Charles, De Quincy, Vinton and in general, all over. I'll be driving a brand new, bright red Chevy Tahoe, with Texas Tags -- Ya'll hear. Wave at me when I stop for a hamburger in Starks.

Bet Yo Momma!
Gary J. Gabehart, Mishiho (Mish-eh-ho)

Monday, July 2, 2007

# 29 MELUNGEONS -- 1898

Since some Redbones carry the same surname as Melungeon people of Eastern Tennessee, I found this story to be quite interesting. It was published recently on the RanDs research site which is a Goins think tank which -- has grown to encompass allied families and more.
Westward migration patterns were certainly involved and people being who they are came and went all the time. Such were the Melungeon and Redbone families.
Here we find a newspaper article dated 1898, and I might add that earlier newspapers are just hard to find these days which may indicate earlier commentary about these "so called" strange people.
The article:
The Melungeons

Newspaper Source: The Daily Herald (Delphos, OH) Mar 25, 1898

Peculiar People Who Live in East Tennessee Legend of History.

It is not generally known that in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee there lives a class of peculiar looking people whose origin is wrapped in mystery, and who are called by the whites Melungeons. They resent this appellation, and proudly declare that they are Portuguese. The legend of their history, which they carefully preserve, is this:

A great many years ago these mountains were settled by a society of Portuguese adventurers, men and women, who came from the shore of Virginia that they might be freed from the restraints and drawbacks imposed upon them by any form of government. They made theyselves friendly with the Indians, and freed as they were from every kind of social government, they uprooted all conventional forms of society, and lived in a kind of delightful Utopia of their own creation, trampling upon the marriage relation, despising all forms of religion, and subsisting upon corn the only possible produce of the soil and the game of the great forests. They intermixed with the Indians and subsequently with the negroes and thus formed the present race of Melungeons.

They are tall, straight, well-formed people, of a dark copper color, but with Circassia features. They were privileged voters in the old slave days and accredited citizens. They are brave, but quarrelsome, and are hospitable to strangers. They have no preacher among them, and are almost without any knowledge of a Supreme Being. They marry by established forms, but husband and wife can separate at pleasure without meeting with any reproach or disgrace from their friends.

They have but little association with their neighbors, and are in every respect, said that they are members the jurisdiction of the State government, a separate and distinct people.
The above article uses archaic wording in some cases but is an easy read.
By the way, my position on the word Melungeon and Redbone is that there is no one definition for either of them and there never will be. Why you say? Simply because Melungeons and Redbones were individually, different people.
To characterise the life style of one did not apply to all. So to attempt it, is blowing against the wind and you must ask yourself, "who am I to blow against the wind?"
Gary J. Gabehart, Mishiho (Mish-eh-ho)