Touching A Memory Through Our Family Roots
first:  last: 
[Advanced Search]  [Surnames]
John Wesley  Gibson

John Wesley Gibson[1]

Male Abt 1824 - 1919  (~ 95 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name John Wesley Gibson 
    Born Abt 1824  Scott County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 11 Nov 1919  Pike County, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I12882  Lucius
    Last Modified 22 Mar 2003 

    Father William Carey Gibson,   b. 1790, Lincolnshire Co. England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1872, lowell, Dodge Co, Wisconsit Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years) 
    Mother Lydia Ann Whitting,   b. 1802, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1837, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 35 years) 
    Family ID F4445  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 (--?--) (--?--) 
     1. Susanah Gibson,   b. Abt 1845, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. Lucinda J. Gibson,   b. Abt 1850
    Family ID F4455  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Mary Ann "Polly" Morgan,   b. 1824 
    Married 12 Aug 1850  Pike County, Ohio, Virginia by George Powell Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Lencinor J. Gibson,   b. Abt 1850, Pike County, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. William Harrison Gibson,   b. 6 Sep 1852, Pike County, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. James Matison Gibson,   b. 9 Apr 1856, Pike County, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Between 28 Mar 1936 and 7 Jun 1936, Gallup, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years)
     4. Nancy J. Gibson,   b. 8 Nov 1857, Pike County, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location
     5. John W. Gibson,   b. 1861, Pike County, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location
    Family ID F4444  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 3 Sarah McGee 
    Married 5 Jun 1866  Pike County, Ohio, by Mitchell Slone Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F4456  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Documents

  • Notes 
    • Shepard “Old Buck” Gibson
      1765 - 1842

      By Loaetta Reddington and Jack Goins, Sept. 2002

      This is the combined research of Loaetta Reddington, descendant of Shepard and Matilda Gibson and Jack Goins, author of “Melungeons and Other Pioneer Families”. Loaetta descends from Shepard and Matilda’s daughter, Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Gibson. The result of this research is not to dispute any former research but rather to enlarge upon it, making it a less complicated path for future descendant researchers who may desire to use the documented information offered herein.

      Much research has already been written about Shepard “Old Buck” Gibson. Like most genealogy researchers Loaetta’a intent was to discover her ancestors. Growing up Loaetta was always intrigued by the story that her father was from a family with Cherokee heritage. When she decided to tackle the task of finding her Cherokee ancestor, she had no idea her search would lead her to Eastern Tennessee and a people of legend. This is her descent; Shepard and Matilda Gibson > Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Gibson (hereafter referred to as Elizabeth or Betty) > James Leslie Gibson > Thomas Covington Gibson > Loaetta Ann Gibson Reddington.

      It is traditionally believed Shepard Gibson, born about 1765, was the son of Andrew Gibson. Believed to be the son of George and Mary Gibson of Louisa County, VA and Orange County, North Carolina. This George was a brother to Gedion and Jordan, sons of Gilbert Gibson. (Louisa County, VA Wills and Deeds). By 1790 Andrew Gibson was listed as part of a Company (militia?) in Wilkes County, NC. This part of Wilkes County became Ashe County in 1799. One indication that Shepard was related to the elder Andrew was, he named his first son Andrew who was born 1809 according to the information given for him on the 1850 census of Hancock County, Tennessee. Historian William Groshe’s notes state that Shepard, who would have been about 25 years old, had already moved to Tennessee from Virginia before the 1790 census. However, on August 11, 1800, Shepard entered two land deed applications in Ashe County, NC. Deed Book page 184 says: “100 acres beginning near the mouth of a “dreen” that makes into ‘Baire’ Creek and runs up said creek”. On page 185 it further says: “50 acres beginning near George Miller’s lower line and runs down south fork of New River”.

      By 1800, migration to Tennessee from Virginia and North Carolina was booming. From 1800 to 1810, North Carolina continued to issue its military land warrants which Tennessee agreed to honor within its borders. Tennessee grew 250% nearly tripling its populace. The state capitol at Knoxville was moved to Nashville. It was during this period of time that Shepard’s name appears on the Hawkins County, Tennessee Tax List for the years 1809 - 1812. In 1810, Shepard is listed as owner of 50 acres plus one white poll in Hawkins County. White polls were “all free males and male servants, between the age of twenty-one and fifty years”, slaves, “all slaves male and female, between the age of twelve and fifty years.” He is also listed as a member of Captain Looney’s Company (a militia). In a provision of the Act of 1797, the justices were authorized to take lists of taxable property and polls in various Captains’ companies of the militia. Other Gibson’s who were taxed in Hawkins County for the same year and also in Looney’s Company were: Goodman, Gerden, Yarby, Charles Tiry and Royal. What relation they were to Shepard is not known however, Shepard’s Will in 1842 states he had brothers. On March 18, 1814 Shepard received land grant (#3499), Hawkins County, TN (Grohse: Reel 3) In 1816 Shepard received a military land warrant (#2354). This is the same year son Euriah is born (see below).

      After close examination of the 1830 and 1840 censuses, the following children were born within Shepard’s household. Probable children of Shepard and his first wife who is unknown at this time:

      1. Andrew b. 809
      2. Daughter b. 1811
      3. Daughter b. 1813
      4. Euriah / Uriah b.1816
      5. Shepard b. 1817
      6. Oney b. 1820

      *Note for Euriah / Uriah: b) 1816 - d) 1890. Married: Margaret (?). Uriah entered Confederate Company D Tennessee infantry at age 48, address: Sneedville, TN. Uriah had a son William who married Martha Perry. Their son Rev. Steve Gibson married Emeline Collins d/o Ran Collins. They had a son Horace who married Ella Mae Johnson d/o Lewis Johnson. Their son Rev. Delmont “Seven” Gibson is pastor of Elm Springs Baptist Church in Sneedville.

      *Note for Shepard [2]: b) 1817 Married: Rebecca Alder, born in VA, d/o John Alder and Rebecca Baldwin (see Groshe; reel 1, Vardy News and Groshe Reel 4 Family Folders page 68). Shepard enlisted in the military in Hancock County, as Shepard Gibson Sr. On Oct. 10, 1863; he was listed as being sick at Camp Nelson, KY, since January. On April 9, 1864, he was discharged for disability. He is buried in Alders Chapel Methodist Church Cemetery. His son Shepard Jr. [3] b) 1839, enlisted in the military September 23, 1863, Hancock County, at age 24. He died of Typhoid fever in the hospital at Camp Nelson, KY; January 16, 1864, grave #285. He and his father were both at Camp Nelson Hospital in January 1864.

      Note: It can become confusing as to where all of Shep’s children were born due to the fact that he had land in Tennessee, North Carolina and on the border of Lee Co., Virginia. Pat Elder’s book page 221 states: “A great clue for Melungeon research is gleaned from information surrounding Shepard Gibson [2] who was born about 1817 in Virginia or Tennessee”. On the 1850 census his birthplace is TN., while on the 1860 census it is recorded as VA. Elder continues writing “it is uncertain whether he is the son of the older Shepard Gibson or the son of an older Andrew Gibson”. His wife, Rebecca Alder, is shown as living alone on the 1880 Hancock County Census.

      In 1820, we find land being granted to Vardy Collins in Hawkins County, TN. The land is situated on Blackwater between the mountain and Newman’s Ridge. This land adjoins that of Jordan Gibson. Vardy is married to Margaret “Spanish Peggy” Gibson, sister to Shepard “Old Buck” Gibson. This part of Eastern Tennessee had a struggling economy due to being landlocked. In 1828 the first steamboat, Atlas, makes its way up the river to Knoxville. Within the next two years the businessmen of this district seek state assistance to build the railroads in search of a way to boost their economy. The 1820 census for Hawkins County, TN, lists 310 Free Persons of Color or FPC.

      The 1830 Census of Hawkins County, TN, records Shepard as fpc. The following Gibsons were also listed as fpc: Charles, Esau, Cherod, Joseph F., Andrew, Jordan, Polly, Jonathan and Jesse. Another land purchase is recorded for Shepard; he purchased one hundred and fifty acres lying in Hawkins County, TN., at Panther Creek (previously known as Buffalo Creek). Sims Survey, page 145, Entry Book B, Hawkins County, TN, has yet another entry for land in Shepard’s name, 300 acres along the cliffs of Newman’s Ridge. The 1830 census is taken and Shepard is the only person in his household listed as fpc or Free Person of Color. His age is estimated as over 50 under 100 (he was about 65). All others are listed as “white”. Just who the other occupants on this census were can only be speculated by age and gender. We believe Shepard’s first wife had passed away and the oldest male and female are most likely a son and daughter-in-law or daughter and son-in-law. These two people remain on the census of 1840 with the addition of a “new female” age 20-30 and a “new male child” 5 and under. These ages and dates fit for Matilda and Ozias. Sometime between 1830 and 1833, Shepard married for the second time to Matilda born 1810. Information obtained from other researchers combined with land, tax and census records we believe Matilda maiden name was Collins.

      Matilda was thought to be the daughter of James and Lexy Gibson Collins according to other family researchers and perhaps confirmed by the U.S.Census records. Groshe Reel 3 says: “ the Reverend Taylor’s notes state that Matilda was the sister of Vardy Collins”. Vardy would have been 46 in 1810, when Matilda was born. His parents were most likely in their sixties and far beyond child bearing age. Perhaps Taylor was referring to Shepard’s first wife. There is a greater possibility his first wife would have been of a more proper age to be a sister to Vardy. It is more probable that Matilda could have been the daughter of James and Lexy Collins. James is on the 1810 Tax List for Hawkins County, Tennessee.

      James Collins 1773-1860 married Lexy Gibson (?) about 1803; Bill Groshe speculated she was a Gibson. James Collins is on the Lee County Tax lists 1804-1813 along with an old Martin Collins. Also, Wyatt, Absolom, Mitchel, and Marlen Collins They always paid their taxes on the same day. (Courtesy Scott Collins research).

      The 1830 census of Hawkins County, TN., list James Collins free colored household as follows: James Collins two males under 10, one male 10-24 and James was between age 55-100. Females: one under 10, one female 10-24 possibly Matilda, and one female 36-55 was wife Lexy. Also proven sons of James and Lexy on this census and living next to them were James Collins free colored male 10-24; free colored female; two under 10 and one 10-24. Also listed were son Martin Collins 10-24; one female under 10, and one 10-24. On the 1840 U.S. Census these same families are listed as “ white”. In 1818 the Commonwealth of VA, County of Lee, grants James Collins 60 acres of land. In 1830 James Collins of Hawkins County, TN, sells to Shepard Gibson 60 acres of land on the West Fork of Blackwater Creek situated near the state line. (Lee CO., Deed book 6, page 243). In 1830 James Collins received two land grants on Newman Ridge from the state of Tennessee.

      James Collins is named by Sneedville Attorney Lewis M. Jarvis in his 1903 interview in the Sneedville Times as an old purebred Indian, who had fought in the war of 1812. (1994 Hancock CO, Tennessee And It’s people Volume 11.)

      Pat Elder’s book page 219, note #604 says: “Shepard and Matilda did devise (a gift by will, especially of money or personal property) land in Lee County, VA, that once belonged to James Collins”. However, the deed says it was “sold” to Shepard and Matilda. Had it been a gift, it would have been a very good indication of a relationship (father/daughter) between James and Matilda. There was a young James Gibson b) 1834 in Hawkins County. Could he have been the firstborn son of Shepard and Matilda? He died in a skirmish in Hawkins, County in 1864. Traditionally, a first born son is named for his father or grandfather however, in Shepard and Matilda’s case, Shepard already had a son named for him from his first marriage. The name James was used again by their daughter Elizabeth when her third son and Loaetta’s grandfather James Leslie Gibson was born. The 1880 census states Matilda’s father was born in Kentucky, her mother in North Carolina. There was indeed a James Collins living in Clay Co., KY, on the 1840 census. As written above there was also a James Collins on the 1840 census in Hawkins County, TN. Checking the 1850 census for Clay Co., KY, and the James Collins of the 1840 census again appears. His age is 33, he was born in TN, and his race is Mulatto. His wife is Martha and they have seven children. This James would have to be a brother if he is related to Matilda. If Matilda were the “Tildy” of Blackwater Church, Sneedville, TN., she would have joined around the age of 14. On August 2, 1831 “Tildy” made application for dismissal (taken from church records, Sneedville Historical Society).

      Using the information given on the 1850 census, Hancock, County, TN., #33 Subdivision, taken on the 5th day of December, the following children were born to Shepard and Matilda:

      1. Ozias Denton Gibson b. 1835
      2. Maryann Gibson b. 1837
      3.Minerva Jane Gibson b. 1840
      4. Mary Elizabeth Gibson b. 1842 (March)
      5. John D. Gibson b. 1844*
      6. Martha Gibson b. 1846*

      *Note: It is obvious that the last two children who appear on the 1850 census could not belong to Shepard since he died in Dec. 1842 or Jan. 1843. John D. consistently appears on later censuses and tax lists with his mother Matilda. Martha however, appears only on the 1850 census and never again thereafter. We believe she may have been a visiting granddaughter of Shepard’s or died before the 1860 census.

      June 2, 1834, Land Deed Hawkins County, Book 6, page 513: Shepard and Matilda sell to Lucinda and Milly Burke (Millington) a tract of land, 60 acres that had been granted to James Collins. This is most likely the same tract of land devised /sold to them by James in 1830.

      According to the Hawkins County Tax List for the year 1836, Civil District #5 which “began at the Clinch River on Kyle’s ford thence along the road leading to the Lee County line thence by John Wallen’s to a small schoolhouse thence due north to the VA state line thence east with said line to the Claiborne County line thence with said line to the Clinch River”, Shepard Gibson paid taxes on 146 acres of land and one horse. He paid $3.24. There were thirteen other male Gibsons paying taxes in District #5.

      March 13, 1839, Land Deed, Hawkins, County, Book 17, page 17: A deed of land from Andrew Gipson to Shepherd Gipson containing 150 acres on top of Newman’s Ridge and on the waters of Blackwater. The price is $210.00 here again is an indication there was a relationship between Andrew and Shepard. Delaney Burke and Zachariah Jones witnessed the deed. They also witnessed another deed of Shepard’s on Nov. 26, 1839. * Take note of the names Burke and Jones.

      *Note: In Elder’s book page 220, she writes: If you descend from Shepherd, you can learn more about his life by studying the Hawkins County deed books.

      “These two Vardy Collins and Buck Gibson, were the head and source of the Malungeons of Tennessee” (The Malungeon Tree and It’s Four Branches May 1891, by William Allen Dromgoole) Notice the nickname Buck Gibson in confirmed by the preceding court record. Friday 29 January 1841, Hawkins County Circuit Court Minute Book 1837-1851 page 386. Emanuel Lawson vs. Buck Gibson. “Friday 29 January 1841 “ This day came the defendant by his attorney and the plantiff being solemnly called to come into court and prosecute his just cause and make default. It is therefore considered by the court that he be tried. Whereupon it is considered by the court that the defendant recover of the plaintiff of his costs and his suit in this behalf ---- for which execution may issue”. ( Hawkins County Circuit Court Minute book 1837-1851) Not enough information in the minutes to really determine what this was about. The actual court proceedings would clear this up if they could be found.

      In January 1842, Shepherd has his land surveyed this survey was not recorded in Hawkins County, it’s possible Shepard was giving some land to his children of his first wife. In March of this same year Matilda delivers their third daughter, Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Gibson, Loaetta’s great-grandmother. On December 7, 1842 Hancock County Will Book I, page 224, a last will and testament was recorded for Shepard Gibson, age 77. Shepard “gives each of his brothers and sisters (both plural) the sum of $1.00 each and “to my beloved wife Matilda, all the land whereon we now live and all lands elsewhere which is in my name”, plus all the rest of his estate. This would certainly indicate that Shepard still owned land other than where they were living at the time his will was written. No other heirs were named. Vardy Collins is appointed Executor. The will was proven January 2, 1843. Shepard died sometime between these two dates. He is buried in an unmarked grave. Elizabeth was 9 months old. She never knew her father.

      Zachariah Jones and Delaney Burke ( the land deed witnesses) were both charged with first-degree murder in a Hawkins County court on 27 May 1845. Zachariah Jones and Delaney Burke both late of the county were charged with striking one Asa Mathias a mortal wound on his right temple with a stone. Asa died 20 May, 1844. The bond was set at $3,000.00. Matilda Gibson, widow of Shepard Gibson, signed the bond along with; John Netherland, James Simpson, William C. Kyle, Solomon Collins, and James Burke, These signatures guaranteed the court the cost would be paid should Jones or Burke fail to appear in court. Ultimately, Jones was the only one charged with first degree murder. He left the state and left his bond signers to pay his debt. Matilda along with the others were charged for default by the court on May 27, 1848. With seven persons sharing the debt equally they each had to pay $428. 57. (Hawkins County Criminal Court Record Book 1846-1848) There is no record of dismissal of the case so we can only assume the debt was paid and the case was closed. Just how the widowed Matilda with six children to feed was able to raise her part of the court debt or why she would have signed for Jones and Burke is yet to be determined. She owned land but no record of sale has been found to date. In his estate Shepard left horses, cattle, hogs and sheep. Perhaps she sold some of the livestock to pay her debt. Matilda was not without an occupation as described in the next paragraph.

      During the same time period of the court case, Hancock County, TN was established (January 7, 1844) and named for John Hancock. It was formed from parts of Hawkins and Claiborne Counties. Because of constitutional objections it was not organized until 1846. On the 1850 census of Hancock County, in Subdivision #33, Matilda and twenty-four other Gipson’s (p instead of b) were listed as heads of household. Where the #33 Subdivision lines fell within the county is not certain, but they obviously encompassed Matilda’s land that is shown to have a value of $100.00. Her occupation is described as a tailor. Her age is 40. Her six children listed above were taken from this census. The family was enumerated as family # 398. Family #400, two doors away, consists of four persons; Eli Davis 71, Martha Davis 59, John Davis 41, and a 10-year-old child with the name Elizabeth Pue. The reason this family is noted here will be explained. There was also a census for Agriculture in the state of Tennessee in 1850. Shepard Gipson [2], appears on this census as follows; acres farmed 15, acres not farmed 10, cash value $100.00. One milk cow, five sheep, 3 swine; stock valued at $75.00. Crops; 630 bushels of Indian corn and 100 bushels of oats. His farm is located in the #33 Subdivision, he is 33, wife Rebecca (Alder) is 29, son William is 10 and daughter Mary is 8. They are enumerated as family # 40. There are two Andrew Gibson and their families also enumerated in this same district. One is 41 years of age enumeration #58. The other is age 56 and enumerated as family #291. Euriah now age 34, is family # 365. These men, except Andrew Gibson, enumeration #291, are believed to be the son’s of Shepard “Old Buck” Gibson.

      Sometime after the 1850 census the Subdivision #33 must have been divided into smaller districts. A close inspection of the 1860 census finds many of the same heads of household but in districts with a new number or name. It would seem unlikely that so many farmers would have relocated. The elder Andrew Gibson family is now in District #6. Shepard Gibson [2] and family are listed in Panther Creek district, which could have him living on Old Shepard’s land (Land Deed of 1830). Matilda Gibson and the Davis family are considered living in the Mulberry Gap district.

      As the dawn of a new decade approached we find that our country was on the brink of Civil War. Lincoln was President. Tennessee joined the Confederacy in April, 1860. When the 1860 census is taken in August, Matilda (52 - age taken from census is two years older than on the 1850 census?) is living in Mulberry Gap. She is no longer listed as having real estate but her personal estate is valued at $50.00. Ozias Denton is still living at home and his personal estate is also valued at $50.00, occupation is farm hireling. Maryann, still a resident, is keeping house. Now appears a 20-year-old Elizabeth Pugh living with the family as a hireling. Shepard and Matilda’s Elizabeth, who would be 18, is not listed. Minerva Jane, who would be 20, is missing as well as Martha who would be 14. John D. 15, is living at home as a hireling. The Davis family mentioned above in district #33 is now right next-door and the child Elizabeth Pue from the 1850 census is no longer in their household. The fact is, she is the twenty-year-old hireling in Matilda’s house. We believe she is the daughter of John Davis, schoolteacher and granddaughter to Eli and Martha Davis. Most likely John’s wife and Elizabeth Pue’s mother, is deceased. Two avenues of thought concerning a possible connection between Matilda and the Davis family present themselves. First thought is Matilda may have been a Davis herself. Eli and Martha are old enough to be her parents and records show that John Davis was born in 1809, just a year before Matilda. This would explain one reason why Elizabeth Pugh is in Matilda’s household. Matilda would have been her aunt. Matilda’s Elizabeth and Elizabeth Pugh could have played together and Matilda may have taught both of the girls the art of tailoring and weaving. Matilda’s son John D. could have been named for her brother John and the D. possibly stood for Davis. Martha (on the 1850 census) may be named for her grandmother Martha Davis. Secondly, the connection may be a romantic one. John Davis is a widower and Matilda a widow. Perhaps John taught Matilda’s children at school. Perhaps John was the father of John D. and Martha. The explanation for their names would remain but without the personal family tie to Matilda. Both of these ideas are only speculation. There is no documentation at this point to prove either idea.

      April 12, 1861, The Civil War begins. The Border States between the Confederate states and Union states would see the worse part of the fighting. Within these Border States, some people were in support of the North while others were in support of the South. The military draft age was for able-bodied men ages 18 - 35. Tennessee and Kentucky were Border States. We know that Tennessee eventually joined the Confederacy. Kentucky, home of the presidents for both North and South, remained neutral. However they were drawn into the war, and never seceded from the Union. It is a mystery why Matilda uprooted her immediate family and migrated to Kentucky. From Mulberry Gap, migrating Tennesseans traveled west to Tazewell then north through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. There had to be a defining reason for Matilda to leave Tennessee. Had Shepard owned land in Kentucky? Was she following a family member? Sometime after August 1860 when the census was taken in Hancock County, TN, Matilda, Ozias, Elizabeth and John D. did migrate to Madison County, KY. Ozias met and married Nancy Breeding Neece Thomas. Their daughter Josephine was born in 1862. Ozias is on the 1864 Tax List for Madison County, paying taxes on 100 acres of land in Letcher County, where he and Nancy eventually settled. Had this land previously belonged to his father Shepard Gibson? O. D. (Ozias) also received a land grant in Clay Co., KY in 1867. For the tax year of 1869 Matilda and John D. are on the Tax List for the first time. They are both on the “White” and “Negro” lists for people living in the Silver Creek District. John D. remains on the Tax Lists for the years 1870, ’71. He is recorded as paying taxes in College Hill District in 1873, in Kentucky River District in 1875 and in Muddy Creek District in 1879. All these districts were in Madison County, KY. To date no further personal records other than the 1850/ 1860 censuses have been found for Maryann or Minerva Jane. Did they marry and stay behind in TN? Perhaps they married in KY, prior to the 1870 census, as did their brother Ozias. No personal record of events in Elizabeth’s life for this same time period has yet been found.

      Another decade passes and the 1870 census is taken. Matilda appears as head of household in an area of Berea known as the “Glade” Precinct, Post Office - Big Hill, Madison County, KY. In 1854, most of the communities around the Glade were slave holding. Slavery was very common in Paint Lick and Silver Creek and not unknown in Big Hill.” The Glade was popular for its racing track while also known for its tiny abolitionist church. Kentucky’s famous Cassius Clay saw the Glade as a political base and wanted to have control of the area and its inhabitants (taken from; “Colonists In Southern Madison County”, page 109). By the time the 1870 census was taken and the war was over life in the Glade had changed forever. Two other persons are listed as part of Matilda’s household; “Betty”, age 27 (should be 28 - on his marriage bond Loaetta’s grandfather James Leslie Gibson states his mother’s name is Betty Gibson) and her one-month-old infant named Mary. This is the only time this child appears on any census. We believe she must have died in infancy. All are listed with the surname of Gibson. On 24th day of October 1872, Elizabeth (Betty) contracts a marriage bond with a Thomas Purcell. The surety bondsman is O. D. Gibson. His original signature is on the bond. A marriage bond is a purchased agreement for a wedding. It does not guarantee the wedding took place. A minister had to return a certificate of license before a marriage was confirmed and became a legal record. No record of license has been found for a marriage between Thomas and Elizabeth. However, O. D. Gibson’s signature was a significant find in Loaetta’s early research. It later proved to be Ozias Denton Gibson (aka Denton or O. D.) During the next ten years Mary Elizabeth “Betty”Gibson gives birth to two sons and two daughters.

      The year 1880 arrives and a new census is taken. Matilda is still head of her household. Her age is listed as 78, eight years difference from all previous censuses. She should be listed as 70. This census asks for information not asked for on previous censuses. It is the first census to ask for the birthplace of a person’s parents. As mentioned in paragraph seven, Matilda states her father was born in KY, her mother in North Carolina. This census year the Glade is referred to as Glade Magisterical. District #6, Madison County, KY. There are several people enumerated with Matilda. They are; Mary E., (daughter - Mary Elizabeth) and her four children, William (Willie), Lilly Belle, John D. and “nameless”, who we now know to be Melissa born 1879. According to Loaetta’s family history, the children’s names are the correct names for each of her grandfather’s older siblings. This census convinced Loaetta she had indeed found Elizabeth Gibson’s mother, Matilda, and eventually led her to Elizabeth’s father Shepard Gibson, and their home state of Tennessee. Elizabeth will bear two more sons; one in 1882, James Leslie Gibson, Loaetta’s grandfather, and his younger brother Leonard Gibson in 1886. It is believed that Mary Elizabeth “ Betty” Gibson, daughter of Shepard and Matilda Gibson, was born a Gibson and died a Gibson. She gave birth to six children who all bore the surname Gibson. Elizabeth appears on the 1900 census of Madison County, KY, as head of her household with son’s Leslie and Leonard. Matilda had probably passed away. No documented record of death or burial has been found for either woman.
    • Brenda,

      I believe this maybe your John Wesley Gibson.

      Marriage Bonds of Pike Co. KY 1822-1865 By Clyde Runyon, Belfry, KY
      File No. 101. License issued to October 13, 1825 for marriage of John Gipson and Polly Blanton. Bond signed by John Gipson and William Gipson. October 13, 1825, William Gipson states under oath that he is the father of John Gipson the within party who is the intended party which appears to intend marrying Polly Blanton other party and the said William Gibson states that he is willing for the parties to marry and als(?) after being sworn to give in wether he is worth fifty pounds clear of inthralments, debt and securityships.
      As such I took his security to the within marriage bond and als Betsy Swinny as she said was her name and stated on oath that the within Polly Blanton was her daughter and she was willing for her to inter marry with the said John Gipson. Attest: Spencer Adkins CPCC.
      Married October 14, 1825 by James Robarts, JP (James Roberts, JP)

      Polly Swinny married #1. Unknow Blanton, married #2. John Gipson/Gibson. Polly Swinny/Swinney dau. of Elizabeth "Betsy" (maiden name unknown) Swinney and husband #1 Unknown Swinney.

      Elizabeth Swinney married #2 William Gipson/Gibson, said to have married about 1817 in Floyd Co. KY.

      I am working on early 1780-1880 Gipson/Gibson, McGee,
      Collins, Moore, etc. many of these names connect to Bolen,
      Goodman, Wallace, Hood etc.
    • A few tidbits of assorted information on the Melungeons,Ramps, Fort Blackmore

      From Jack Goins:
      Some of the first Melungeon families migrated circa 1790's from the New River
      area of Wilkes County, North Carolina to Fort Blackmore and joined the Stony
      Creek Church 1801-1802. The majority of these were from the old Thomas and
      Mary Gibson family who originally migrated from Louisa County, Virginia
      beginning in 1749. Most of these families were gone by 1810.
      Also see:
      Stony Creek Church Minutes

      Also from Jack Goins:
      Several racial clans that existed in the Eastern United States in the
      1940-50's have been recognized. Some of these were the Redbones, Croatans,
      Brass Ankles, Ramps and Melungeons. According to my research of known
      Melungeon families, the Ramps of Fort Blackmore were related to the families
      that became known as Melungeons. Oddly the term Melungeon may have also began
      in Fort Blackmore and later the term Ramps were placed on their kinfolks who
      remained in Fort Blackmore. Ramptown, known by the locals is located between
      Fort Blackmore and Dungannon, in Scott County, Virginia.

      Life Magazine, June 26, 1970 SpecialReport:The mystery of Newman's Ridge

      by John Fetterman Mr. Fetterman is a journalist and author specializing in

      One man who has sought the answers is Henry R. Price, an attorneyand a
      meticulous historian who lives in nearby Rogersville, Tenn.Price has traced
      the Melungeon immigration back through the lush valleys of southern Virginia
      and North Carolina, the valleys which were to become the eastern reaches of
      the Wilderness Road, the route of Daniel Boone and the great migration to the
      West. But the trailends at the sea. Earliest records, Price found, referred
      to people along the valley trails who were called, "other free persons of
      color." They bore the Melungeon names which appear on Newman's Ridge:Collins,
      Mullins, Brogan, Goins, Gibson, Bowlin. They were free of the restrictive
      legislation aimed at slaves and former slaves during the 1700s and 1800s.
      Furthermore, the Melungeons of that period were voting, paying taxes,
      acquiring land, making wills, owning slaves,securing marriage licenses and
      suing. They were successful farmers,whisky makers and traders, and even
      produced their own gold coins.Miss Collins recalls that her grandfather once
      bought a farm on theridge and produced $700 in gold from his pocket to pay
      for it.Historians have said that the word "Melungeon" may be derived from the
      AfroPortuguese melungo, meaning "shipmate." And that Melungeon names, Brogan,
      Goins, Collins MulIins, now so English-sounding, maybe traced back to the
      Portuguese Braganza, Magoens, Colinso andMollen. (A few names are shared by
      many families).Claude Collins was walking slowly along the ridge, his eyes on
      thenow abandoned house where he was born and where he spent his boyhood.It
      was a good life up here. We worked hard and our fields wereclean."

      From: a search for Fort Blackmore whose url did not register:
      Wherever these people who's children became known as Melungeons migrated,
      they always left a few behind. Although those left behind were never labeled
      Melungeon they were "kin to the people who later became known as the
      Melungeons of Newman Ridge". A few stayed on the Flatt River, some migrated
      to the territory that became South Carolina, some to Pittsylvania County,
      Virginia. A Collins family along with Moses Riddle and some of the Bolen's
      moved to Pittyslvania County, Virginia before 1767 and had land entries on
      the Sandy River. The 1767 Tax list of John Wilson, Pittsylvania County, Va.
      records: Moses Ridle (an Indian), William Ridle, Peter Perkins List records;
      Christopher Bowlin, and son William, Christopher Bowlin Jr. James Bowlin,
      Joseph Bowlin.

      Early mention of Melungeons - believe it is the earliest I have seen.Here's
      that 1813 reference to Melungeons from the Stoney Creek Primitive Bapt.
      Church minute records I told you about. This church was located in present
      Scott Co. Va. on the Clinch River at Fort Blackmore.-
      ----------------------------------------------------------------Sept. 26,
      1813."Church sat in love. Brother Kilgore, Moderator. Then came forward
      Sister Kitchen and complained to the church agains Susanna Stallard for
      saying she harbored them MELUNGINS. Sister Sook said she was hurt with her
      for believing her child and not believing her, and she won't talk to her to
      get satisfaction, and both is pigedish, one against the other. Sister Sook
      lays it down and the church forgives her. Then came forward Cox and relates
      to the church that he went to the Asscociation and took the letter and they
      received the letter in fellowship. Dismissed.."- -

      See Stony Creek minutes above.

      The following source Melungeon families lived in the same area of Virginia
      around 1730. John Bunch, Gilbert Gibson, Thomas Gibson and Thomas Collins.
      They begin selling their land in Louisa County. VA in 1747 and migrated to
      the Flatt River area of then Granville County, North Carolina this area
      became Orange County in 1753. 1747 Thomas Collins sells 184 acres of land on
      the south side of the Pamunkey River on Turkey Run Creek to John Dowell for
      25 Ibs. (Louisa County, Va. Melungeons and Other Pioneer Families)

      A fanciful notion taken by many of the older folk of the Clinch area (all
      non-literary information) has it that the Melungeons, an unknown race in
      Hancock Co., Tn, and Scott Co., VA, were the first miners of Swift's Silver
      Mines, having been imported to work the mines by Swift and his associates.
      The odd conglomeration of people still preserves a slight racial unity, and
      in the Fort Blackmore-Dungannon area, where the mine has long been sought,
      they are called "Ramps". An article in "The Tennessee Conservationist"
      reports that they were counterfeiters of gold and silver and their money had
      more precious metal than did that minted by the United States Mine, and it
      was circulated without question. The silver the Melungeons used in their
      counterfeit coins came from Straight Creek, a tributary of the Cumberland
      River. A family named Mullins were the makers of the silver money in that
      section. (19)
      (19) Melungeons: The
      Mystery People of Tennessee," THE TENNESSEE CONSERVATIONIST, August, 1959, p.
      18. In checking the Court Records at Abingdon, VA, it
      was discovered that one Jackson Mullins was sentenced to the Federal
      Penitentiary in Albany, New York, for coining counterfeit money. (Court
      Order Book, U. S. District Court, Western District of Virginia, Abingdon,
      March 20, 1871-1877, pp. 204, 237, 242-3).

      All of the above information shows that the Melungeon CAME from other areas
      TO Newman's Ridge. Some of these notes show that SOME Melungeons were called
      by other names such as Ramps. ALL of these notes show that the RAMPS and
      MELUNGEONS were related. Melungeon is a kinship not a location.
    • Louise Littleton Davis, writing in "The Mystery of the Melun-geons" refers to them as a "mystery race tucked away between ridges of East Tennessee mountains long before Daniel Boone and the long hunters arrived." She suggests that they were de-scendants of Portuguese sailors shipwrecked off Cape Hatteras in the 1500s or of deserters from Ferdinando De Soto's expedi-tion in 1539. A Portuguese writer who accompanied the De Soto expedition on its four-year search for gold, wrote "Evora," an ac-count of the trek, upon his return to Portugal. An English trans-lation of his manuscript was published in 1609 by the Hakluyt Society of London.

      In any event, when English adventurers first topped the moun-tains going westward, there they were--copper-colored colonists who had gotten there first! It is also interesting to note that the Melungeons used English names, such as Gowen/Goin, Ross, Sellers and others.

      Jean Patterson Bible in "The Melungeons, Yesterday and Today" concluded that the Melungeons were Portuguese castaways. ["Melungo" means "shipmate" in Portuguese.] Lewis Shepherd concurred and reasoned that because of cultural similarities, the Melungeons were originally Carthagenians who escaped by ship to Portugal when the city fell to the Arabs in A.D. 68.
    • Melungeons

      The Melungeons are a tri-racial group, who lived primarily in the Cumberland Plateau of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee. They were concentrated in upper east Tennessee, particularly the area around Hancock and Hawkins County, Tennessee. Significant groups of them later spread to Louisiana and Texas.

      The Melungeons are called by different names in different parts of the south: the Carmel Indians of southern Ohio, the Brown People of Kentucky, the Guineas of West Virginia, the We-Sorts of Maryland, the Nanticoke-Moors of Delaware, the Cubans and Portuguese of North Carolina, the Turks and Brass Ankles of South Carolina, and the Creoles and Redbones of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

      The Melungeons are descended from Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans. This mixing began in 17th century Virginia at a time when blacks were not yet considered to be chattel slaves, but were indentured servants who were freed when the period of indenture expired.

      The European ancestors of the Melungeons were typically marginalized colonists in Virginia, whose ancestors came from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Germany.

      The African ancestors of the Melungeons were Bantu Africans -- the Kimbundu-speaking people from Angola and Kikongo-speaking people from the historic Kongo region along Africa's lower west coast. England and its American colonies had no direct trade in African slaves, but planters in British Virginia bought slaves from Dutch and English privateers, who obtained the slaves by robbing Portuguese merchant-slavers leaving the Angolan port of Luanda. Portugal at this time was beginning its conquest of Angola. The Portuguese attacked the Mbundu kingdom of Ndongo in the modern Malange district of Angola in a military campaign lasting from 1618-1620. They took slaves as a part of that war, and many of those slaves ended up in Virginia. The majority, those not taken by privateers, ended up in the Portuguese colony of Brazil.
      This mixed group began to form separate communities when the first anti-African laws began to restrict their freedoms about 1660. Their descendants were pushed to the margins of society and many of them eventually gravitated to the mountains of southern Appalachia where they mixed with Native Americans, chiefly the Cherokee <> (from Buffalo Ridge) and Choctaw <>, but also the Chickahominie, Creek, Powhatan, Mattaponi, Monie, Nansemond, Pamunkey, Rappahanock, and Yuchi.
      Because of racism in the south, the Melungeons historically denied their mixed ancestry and attempted to explain their color by various stories. Some claimed to be descendants of Turks and Moors liberated from the Spanish by Sir Walter Drake and dumped at Roanoke Island, North Carolina in 1586. Some said they were descended from Portuguese sailors shipwrecked or abandoned by the Spanish. before the English arrived in Virginia and discovered in the Appalachian Mountains by the English in 1654. Some looked to Sir Walter Raleigh's Lost Colony or to the DeSoto Expedition. Others looked further back and claimed to be descendants of settlers from ancient Carthage, of the Lost Tribes of Israel, of Old World Gypsies, or of the mythical Welsh Indians.

      Physical Characteristics
      Many Melungeon descendants have physical characteristics that indicate their descent:
      Asian Shovel Teeth, a ridge on the back of the first four teeth - two front teeth and the ones on either side (upper and lower) of some descendants. If you place your fingernail at the gum line and gently draw (up or down) you can feel it and it makes a slight clicking sound. The back of the teeth also curve outward rather than straight as the descendants of Europeans do. Msany Native Americans have this type of teeth. The back of the first four teeth of Northern Europeans are straight and flat.
      Either the Central Asian Cranial Ridge or the Anatolian Head Bump. The Anatolian head bump is on the back of the head, located at mid-line, just above the juncture with the neck. It is about the size and shape of half a golf ball or smaller. Only people who live/d in the Anatolian region of Turkey or Central Asia also have this "bump/ridge. "If you cannot find the bump, check to see if you, like some descendants, including myself, have a ridge, located at the base of the head where it joins the neck, rather than the Anatolian bump. This ridge is an enlargement of the base of the skull, which is called a Central Asian Cranial Ridge. To find a ridge, place your hand at the base of your neck where it joins your shoulders, and on the center line of your spine. Run your fingers straight up your neck toward your head. If you have a ridge, it will stop your fingers from going on up and across your head.
      Asian eyefold. This is rather difficult to describe. At the inner corner of the eye, the upper lid attaches slightly lower than the lower lid. That is to say that, it overlaps the bottom lid. If you place your finger just under the inner corner of the eye and gently pull down, a wrinkle will form which makes the fold more visible. Some people call these eyes, "sleepy eyes, dreamy eyes, bedroom eyes." Many Indian descendants also have these kinds of eyes.
      A tendency toward erythema nodosum sarcoidosis, a disease common among Mediterranean people.
      Vitiligo, a loss of pigmentation, leaving the skin blotched with white patches.
      Six fingers or toes.

      Melungeon Characteristics (See main body text)
      More Information For more information about the Melungeons, visit: What Is a Melungeon? <> The Multiracial Activist <> Melungeons and Other Mestee Groups <> You can also subscribe to or search the Melungeon mailing list <>.
      "I have not one drop of blood in my veins but what is American." -- John Adams

  • Sources 
    1. [S23] James Wesley Gibson of Pike Co. Ohio, Brenda Wilmonth, (February 10, 2001),