E1b1a and it’s Subclades: new E-Z365
This was originally thought to be a West African specific haplogroup, however this has changed within the last few years. An influx of people, who identify themselves as Caucasian, are showing up with this haplogroup. This theory was eventually proven fact when the Pharaoh Ramses/ Ramesses III was determined to be E1b1a. Ramses’ father, Userkhaure-setepenre Setnakhte (or Setnakht) was the first king of the 20th dynasty and a “usurper” to the throne. Most likely he was of Berber lineage paternally.
This is one of the most difficult ethnic groups to research today. The overwhelming majority of information is authored by those who use the research process to support preconceived notions. A quest to learn of this mysterious group ceases to be an educational effort and becomes nothing more than a search for possible validation.
The purpose of this work is to provide information from a wholly neutral perspective. The author of this work is not, in any way, related to or descended from Melungeon individuals. There are no predetermined theories to prove or suppositions to support.
Residents throughout Nineteenth Century Tennessee were told wild stories and tales of these remote peoples. The stories were akin to fairy tales of witches, ogres and trolls. Parents tamed unruly children with threats of "The Melungeons will get you!" if they didn't behave. Proverbial phrases like "sneaky as a Melungeon" also grew in use. The stereotypes said they were wild, fierce, with little capacity for mercy or compassion. They became larger-than-life.
Vard, or Vardy, Collins is an unforgettable figure that inadvertently helped to bridge a sizable gap between Melungeon culture and that of the outside world. There are countless stories of his exploits and adventures. He ran a boardinghouse on Newman's Ridge in Hancock County, Tennessee. It was given the name "Varday Hotel" by locals.
One of his most famous life events was the "Bushwhacking War." This became a feud between the Collins and Gibson families. Vardy was good friends with Shepherd "Buck" Gibson... until a good scheme went bad. The two plotted together to make some quick cash.
Gibson painted Vardy with suet until he resembled a slave. The two ventured into Virginia and Buck pretended to be Vard's "owner." The ruse worked. Buck received a whopping $1,100 for Vard because of his strong physique.
The two had previously arranged to split the money, each receiving $500. The extra $100 was for horses, a new wagon and some other goods. Vard went home with his new "owner" and as soon as he could, washed the grime from his body. He then returned home.
One of the most notorious Melungeon moonshiners was a woman named Mahalia Mullins. She was Vard Collins's Granddaughter who lived atop Newman Ridge. Mahalia couldn't be arrested due to her prestigious girth of 560 pounds. None of the authorities could carry her off the hill, let alone incarcerate her. Mahalia died in September of 1898 and visitors today in Hancock County can see where she lived.
Moonshine was an art form to the Melungeon people. Several claimed it was a practice handed down through the generations, from their earliest ancestors. One of the supposed reasons for their self-imposed isolation was the practice of moonshine. The group killed a number of revenue officers as the government began to suspect them of illicit brew.