Another 1895 Melungeon Account

From The Climax, Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky, Wednesday, May 1, 1895, p. 4:

THE MELUNGEONS.

“I believe that the Melungeons of east Tennessee are the only living lineal descendants of the ancient Aztecs,” said R. C. Borden of Asheville. “The Melungeons have always been a mystery, and few facts are known about them. They came to east Tennessee from North Carolina more than a century ago. They have mixed with no other race and have always been filthy and ignorant. A few of them have grown wealthy, but when they do no effort is made to associate with Americans. They have no traditions as to when or how or whence they came, except as to their ancestors in North Carolina. Their names are of Portuguese origin, and their appearance suggests an admixture of Portuguese and Indian blood. They have been classed with negroes, but it is easily demonstrated that they are not of negro origin. I mingled with them a great deal at one time and was fortunate enough to obtain their confidence through an act of kindness to one of their number. A few relics of great age can be found in the hands of the better class in the shape of pottery and implements. Some of these are of the stone period; others are marked with rude imitations of the Maltese cross. They have a tradition that their dead ancestors in North Carolina are buried in mounds. Putting these points together, I believe that they are descendants of the Aztecs and of Portuguese sailors who landed upon the North Carolina coast.” – Cincinnati Enquirer.

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