From The Richmond Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia, Sunday, September 25, 1898, p. 2:
Origin of Melungeons.
To the Editor of the Dispatch:
Tell us all you can about the ‘Melungeons,” please.
The Melungeons are a class of people of uncertain origin and peculiar appearance, living in East Tennessee. They claim to be of Portuguese descent, but the claim is not established. The word Melungeon means, as applied to them, mixed.