Saturday, August 11, 2007


By Gary J. Gabehart

Yeah, Redbones migrated to Southwestern Louisiana, and they did not all come at the same time, and -- they certainly did not crawl out of the Louisiana swamps as some idiots would have it.

More and more, my genealogy research on my Redbone family, the Ashworth, Bass, Goins, Drakes, Buxton, Doyle's (Dial), Nash, Clark, Gibson dating in the late 1700's all indicate leaving the Carolina's (Virginia, Etc.) and making the trek over time into Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana to continue Westward. For the most part, it reads like this; born in Virginia or the Carolina's, kids born in Tennessee or Mississippi, died in Louisiana or Texas.

Most all of these Redbone folks were the mixed bloods of the day. They started out from English, Gaelic, French, Portuguese, Turkish stock and more, and some, along the way married Indians and -- some even Africans. I ask you, who else were here in large numbers to marry but Indians? Chances were high that somewhere in your family from Father to Son, and to Grandson, an Indian wife would appear.

The old thought of a Tri-racial background of Anglo, Negro or Indian have gone out the window with DNA testing -- it has always been just too complicated all along to cast the tri-racial moniker on these diverse Redbone people -- they were like strips on a zebra.

And, along with being Redbone and mixed blood, they sought out members of similar classes if they were not able to find a place in the privileged class by guile or money.

My thoughts on the term REDBONE is that it was the same as saying Westsider in the case of nearby Lake Charles, they were the folks living in the Neutral Zone, some of who worked at Westlake. From Lake Charles to Westlake to Sulphur, on IH 10 today, is ten to fifteen minutes in a straight line. Check out a map for Sulphur, Starks, DeQuincy and Lake Charles, it's a small area by our standards today, yet it is some of those folks, within these communities, who claim to be the real Redbones -- it's hard not to look at your immediate family and feel we're the only one's.

But what about Pitkin, Oakdale and points North? Fact is it was Southwest Louisiana and not just the Parish of Calcasieu where some Redbones stopped. Redbones settled all over Southwest Louisiana with pockets here and pockets there, and they were mostly all related to Redbones in other settlements.

Why did they migrate in the first place? As much as I would like to say it was to the "Boiling Point Restaurant," in Sulphur, it was for the same reason that everyone else migrates -- they wanted a new deal and a new life with opportunity, and -- the setting sun beckoned them Westward.

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

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