There are a number of other topics and tidbits to consider. Here are several:
As previously mentioned, those who came to the community later discussed a history of Native American ancestry. They were Cherokee and several said their ancestors escaped the forced removal in 1830. They left their home in North Carolina to escape the tragic Trail of Tears.
Most sources point to North Carolina as being the original state for the Melungeon individuals. It should be noted that several sources long ago also point to South Carolina as the original state. The issue remains open to debate, as the two states were one great territory until 1729. Melungeon patriarchs would be in Newman’s Ridge just a few decades after.
From what is available, Portuguese ancestry is the most likely for the original Melungeons. It’s unusual to see such hesitance and reluctance for the possibility. Out of all theories presented, it’s the most logical and probable.
The Portuguese were a nautical superpower for centuries. They made oceanic discoveries long before the Spaniards or the British. They were common trade partners with the New World in a variety of industries before the Eighteenth Century. In the 1760s, North Carolina ports commonly welcomed ships carrying Portuguese wine by the ton. We also shipped tons of corn, grain and other goods to Portugal.
It is also a curious fact that in 1901, the curator of the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Art and Science made a trip to Cuba. Mr. Stewart Culin was curious to see if Cuba had native peoples, as North America did.
He didn’t locate similar natives, but he found several groups of strangers on the island. The copper-colored individuals of these tribes weren’t affiliated with the original peoples. The non-natives were reclusive and intermarried within their own.