As stressed earlier in this article series, there are no definite or concrete records for Melungeon researchers. Even if we allow them the Portuguese ancestry they claimed for centuries, there are an impressive number of theories and legends regarding their arrival in Newman’s Ridge. These are the most popular in historic texts:
A Portuguese ship sailed in the Atlantic in the 1600s or 1700s. There was a mutiny aboard and the passengers overthrew the crew. The ship beached in North Carolina and the people fled inland to avoid the authorities. They continued running until they arrived in what is today Hancock County.
During the Jewish migrations, a group of Portuguese settlers simply broke away from the groups living in Charleston or Savannah. They decided to form a colony of their own. No place they attempted to live in suited them, so they continued migrating until they reached Tennessee.
There’s also the possibility that they converted to Christianity, which would’ve resulted in banishment from their Jewish neighborhoods.
Or were the Melungeons a remnant of one of the Portuguese fleet ships that mysteriously disappeared while exploring the New World? Accordingly, they gave up on rescue so they decided to move inland and took up brief residence in North Carolina.