"A special force of twenty-five mounted men, with several deputy marshals and collectors, and a United States Commissioner (under command of Major Jacob Wagner, from Arlington, Virginia) made an extensive raid on illicit distillers in the mountains on the Tennessee and western Virginia border last week.  The principle localities visited were Newman's Ridge and Blackwater Valley, lying just south of Powell's mountain and 14 miles north of Rogersville, Tennessee.  The inhabitants there, known by the local name of 'Malunjins' are a mixture of whites, blacks, and Indians.  They were 'bushwhackers' for plunder during the war and are now engaged in illicit distilling and other lawless pursuits.  It was supposed they would fight, as on several former occasions revenue officers were driven off by them.  The force was armed with Springfield breech loaders and made a clean sweep completely destroying sixteen distilleries with contents of large quantities of mash, beer, low wines, and whisky.  Eight distillers armed with carbines, muskets, and rifles were surprised at the distillery of a desperate character, named Mullins, and arrested before they could use their weapons.  Recent heavy rains rendered it necessary for the force to swim the large streams."

*From THE REPUBLIC: a monthly magazine devoted to the dissemination of political information-1873

 

Newman's Ridge

Newman's Ridge extends a total distance of about 28 miles, in which the eastern part extends about 7 miles into Lee County, Virginia.  When the old authors and historians wrote about Newman's Ridge Melungeons they did not mean to infer they all lived ON the ridge.  They were describing an area which includes Kyle's Ford, Fisher's Valley, Flower Gap, Panther Creek (old name was Buffalo Creek), the north fork of Blackwater Creek in which most of it was in Lee County, the south fork of Blackwater Creek which extended into Vardy Valley, and part of Snake Hollow.

Micager Bunch was recognized by Historian William Groshe and others as one of the first Melungeons in the area in 1789.  His land entry was near Kyle's Ford in Tennessee but he signed the petition in 1793 to form Lee County, VA.  Also, Shepard "Old Buck" Gibson's first land entry was in Blackwater in Lee County, Virginia very near the Tennessee/Virginia state line.  These folks were next door neighbors although they lived in different states.  This was not a small area, neither was it a small group and some left early to travel into Kentucky such as Micager Bunch who was believed to have migrated to Cumberland County, Kentucky in 1799.

 

 

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