Sunday, August 29, 2004

Melungeons and Redbones

I happened onto an article by Jack Goins writing about Micajer "Cajer" Bunch. "The first record ... on Micager was this 1749 tax list of Lunenburg County, Virginia (from Sunlight on the Southside) William Howard’s list; Gedion Bunch and tithe Cage Bunch. Note; Obviously, Cage is the son of Gedion Bunch. I am convinced this is the same Micajer “Caiger” Bunch who has such a close association with the Riddles, Collins and Gibsons. Who later moved 1790’s into Hawkins County, Tennessee."

Lee County, Virginia tax list. 17th March 1795.
Drury Bunch (1 horse)
Micajah Bunch (1 horse)
Torel Bunch (1 horse)
Clem Bunch (no horses)

The Bunches were being listed as "mulatto" as early as the middle 1700s. At this point, I'm assuming that my 4th great grandfather, Drury Bunch, is the same one listed above, and related in some degree to Micajer Bunch. Jack traces the migration of Cajer Bunch and several other families from Virginia into Kentucky. My 4th great grandfather, Drury, married Rhoda Moslear and settled near present-day Starks, Louisiana. I think on one of the censuses they said they were born in Kentucky.

Jack also appears to have reached the same conclusions about Melungeons that I have about Redbones. I'm not sure if they began their journey as an identifiable group, but rather became an indentifiable group after several generations of shared experiences. Moses Ashworth and Anna Bunch may not have been Redbones, but their children probably were. Cajer Bunch may not have been a Melungeon, but his grandchildren were. Does that make sense?

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Checking Back In

I haven't written much about our families recently, and the reading I've been doing has been more of a political nature and I try to stay away from politics on this blog. Politics is for my other blog. Also, I clean up my language a bit for this one.

I have been keeping in touch with various branches of Ashworths and Droddys. A few months back I received a copy of the probated estate of William Droddy, son of Daniel, husband to Ruth, and the more probable head of the Droddy family that came to populate West Virginia, Texas and Louisiana. His father Daniel doesn't get that honor for those branches of the family because he abandoned William and his sister Margaret and brother Ezekiel.

For some reason or another, William didn't serve in the American Revolution. He did serve on the frontier fighting Indians and received credit for it as though he had served in the Revolution. In 1776, he would have been 22 years of age. Most of the American Revolution was over by 1781 when Cornwallis surrendered to Washington. There's no record of him serving before 1783 when he was listed in the Virginia militia. That's the basis by which some of my Droddy cousins got into the Daughters of the American Revolution. Why would a hot-blooded American wait until the war was over to enlist? I think it may have had something to do with the fact that he had been "bound out" to William Scott when he was six. In those days you weren't bound out simply until you were 18 or 21. You could be bound until 35, although usually it was more like 26. This is an area I'm going to investigate year after next when the National Genealogical Society has its big convention in Virginia. Inquiring minds want to know.

There are quite a few Redbone Droddys now. Three of William's grandsons, all sons of Adna Samuel, married Redbone women. Those three boys were incredibly prodigious, and now there are so many Redbone Droddys that it can easily be said that Droddy is a Redbone name. It's a third generation Redbone name, though.

William married Ruth Ellison on September 13, 1787. She was 20, he was 33. They had seven children, my great-great-grandfather, Adna Samuel, being the sixth. He was born about 1805. By the time William died in 1824 in St. Charles County, Missouri, he had lived in what is now West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Missoui. In Missouri, he had been a justice of the peace.

I don't mean to give Ruth a short shrift here, but we don't know as much about her. We know her genealogy, but we don't know about her. Frontier women left fewer records than frontier men. Seldom could they read or write. I have no doubt they left their mark on each subsequent generation, but that mark is indelible. In our hearts we know it's there.

William's three sons who came to Texas were William, John and Adna. Each of them deserve a story, but not at this late hour. I started this by mentioning that I got copies of the papers filed when William's estate was probated in Missouri. There are several interesting points I garnered from it. First, anything you hauled across the frontier from "back East" had a value. Even a broken skillet was inventoried. Second, people broke the penny down in fractions. You could owe someone $4.06 and two-thirds cents. Third, his last child, Malissa, was forced to buy her own bed at the auction when the estate was sold. Those people were tough!