The earliest “proof” of Melungeons is commonly cited is the Stony Creek church minutes from 1813. One church member accused another of “harboring melungins.” Stony Creek is in Russell County, Virginia, therefore disqualified as having a geographic connection to the community in Hancock County. Stony Creek is often incorrectly placed in Scott County, Virginia.
It’s more likely the individuals in the church were accused of harboring shady individuals, perhaps of mixed racial background. Whatever the members meant, it was dismissed. It is not known to appear in the recordings ever again.
There is no evidence to support that actual Melungeons were in Virginia, Kentucky or even other parts of Tennessee until the few families left in the 1860s. They did not leave the area unless it was an emergency or there was a pressing need. Those who intermarried into the group remained in the region.
Marriage outside the community was forbidden. Men who married women from outside the group had to endure a strange and bloody ritual, discussed under the “History” portion of this article. Girls were threatened with banishment if they married outside the community.
This supposition is also supported by the amount of coverage proclaiming a “new race” had been found. They were a group of people unlike any other in the surrounding states.
The Melungeon population began initially in Hawkins County, Tennessee, as Hancock County had not formed. From the available information, the first Melungeons owned property in this portion of Tennessee as far back as 1789.
Those who lived there in the 1880s stated they’d been there about a century. No documentation specifies exactly how many came with that initial party.