ROCKINGHAM & STOKES, COUNTY
GOINSTOWN AND MELUNGEON
Goinstown's history appears to begin in the 1770's with families (chiefly
Gibsons and Goinses) moving in from what is usually called the "Flat River
settlement" in what is now northern Durham Co. (then Orange Co.). This was
a small fragment of that former settlement, most of whose members ultimately
wound up in east Tennessee and became the "Melungeons".
The Goinstown community went from being legally "white" (more or less, up
through about 1810) to "free colored" or "mulatto" (through most of the 19th
century) to "Black" (circa 1880-1910s) to "Indian" (1910s to 1954) to "white"
(finally, with the merging of the "Indian" Goinstown school into the white
Stoneville system in 1954).
The birth and death certificates from Goinstown, on both sides of the county
line, reveal, at last check, 19 different racial labels (1912-1950) including all
the usual categories as well as some truly interesting ones, such as
"Portuguese" and on one occasion, "Jap".
It is very difficult to get anyone at Goinstown to talk about their heirtage. By
and large the legacy of shame associated.with nonwhite status is still too
recent for any of the older (and more knowledgeable) people to talk.
There is a persistent theory that the Goinstowners represent descendants of
the more or less indigenous Sauratown Indians, but nothing to prove that, and
in fact all of the core familes can be traced back out of the area.
The core Goinstown surnames are Gibson, Goins, Harris, Moore,
Riddle/Ridley, and Rickman (mostly "Hickman" by early 1900's). Fringe names
associated with the community at later dates, and for varying periods of time
are Cox, Farmer, Martin, Kimmons, Liles, Banks and Vernon. These were all
not quite white families who moved into the area and/or married into
Goinstown pre-Civil War.
Belton, Bridgeman, Norton, Thacker and Fraser are the five white families
known to have married into the community pre-1860. After the Civil War
intermarriage with whites went down to zero, as it did in other multiracial
communities; Goinstowners married exclusively among themselves, except for
a handful who married Blacks and were more or less expelled, and also a
larger group who started migrating out of Goinstown (mainly to the coalfields
of West Virginia).
Above are notes from Professor & Researcher G.C. Waldrep III
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