Thursday, September 15, 2016

Contemplating the Ancestry & DNA of MOSES RIDDLE, the Melungeon

There is a great deal of conjecture & "theoretical" genealogy available on the Internet regarding  Melungeons in general and MOSES RIDDLE/RIDLEY in particular.

According to the research of Roberts J Estes, Jack H Goins, Penny Ferguson & Janet Lewis Crain (Melungeons, A Multi-Ethnic Population publ 2013), who compiled & analyzed Y-DNA test results of male descendants of known Melungeon families, direct male descendants of MOSES RIDDLE have a Y-DNA haplogroup of R1a1b2 (European). 

They also note that MOSES RIDDLE is the only Melungeon who is actually listed as "Indian" in historical records. And descendants of EDWARD "NED" SIZEMORE are the only Melungeon family whose Y-DNA is actually Native American.  

Therefore, if MOSES RIDDLE truly was "Indian",  his mother would have had to have been Native American, since his father's DNA was European.  It is important to note that she would NOT have been Cherokee, as that tribe did not live in the areas of Virginia & North Carolina in which MOSES lived. Some researchers have speculated a connection to the Saponi tribe of Virginia. 

The discovery of MOSES RIDDLE/RIDLEY's Y-DNA haplogroup sheds some light on one of the more common theories about MOSES RIDDLE's parents.  

Many online trees & blogs indicate that  MOSES' father was EDWARD BUSS, born about 1671, a free person of color who was a slave to JAMES VAULX in Westmoreland Co Virginia until freed Feb 24, 1708;  and that MOSES' mother was MARGARET REDLEY/RIDLEY,  a white indentured servant from the household of CALEB BUTLER.

On June 1713,  Westmoreland Co Virginia , EDWARD BUSS was charged in court with illegally cohabiting with  MARGARET REDLEY/RIDLEY. She had also been brought into Westmoreland Co Virginia court several times previous to that date for fornication & bearing illegitimate children, all listed as mulatto, or mixed. 

However, EDWARD BUSS testified in Westmoreland Co Virginia court on Sept 20, 1702 that "he was the son of an English or white woman"--meaning that his father was African or mulatto. Likely EDWARD's father was a free person of color who married a white indentured servant. 

Thus it is unlikely EDWARD BUSS could be the father of MOSES RIDDLE whose Y-DNA is European.

Another theory which deserves further research is that MOSES RIDDLE may not have been Native American Indian, but  East Indian. The haplogroup R1a1b2 does exist in East Indian populations, although rare. It occurs about 1% in Bhargavas & Brahmins. 

In Westmoreland Co Virginia, there are court records beginning in 1707 for WILLIAM aka "BILLY INDIAN" who was abducted as a child from East India by DANIEL NEALE and made a servant in NEALE's household.  Court ruled that he was not a slave, that he was abducted illegally,  and should be released from servitude. 

There are other historical references to East Indians being brought to Virginia in the early colonial days. 

A Timeline of records for MOSES RIDDLE/RIDLEY:

--MOSES RIDDLE or RIDLEY, born around 1720 likely in the area of Louisa Co Virginia, first appears in records of the Flatt River region of Granville/Orange Co North Carolina in 1752, when he was witness to the land grant of THOMAS GIBSON Jr. Another researcher also indicates that WILLIAM BOLEN, THOMAS COLLINS & MOSES RIDDLE all lost their improvements on their land to JOHN BROWN's survey that same year  (I have not actually seen a copy of these records).

--In 1755 Orange Co North Carolina  tax list, MOSES RIDDLE & wife MARY were listed as "Mulattoes" (i.e. of mixed race, but not necessarily African),  and were living adjacent to THOMAS GIBSON Jr and his sons CHARLES  & MAGER/MAJOR GIBSON, GIDEON BUNCH, MICAJER BUNCH, THOMAS COLLINS, SAMUEL COLLINS & JOHN COLLINS--all families later called Melungeon  (In 1745 THOMAS GIBSON Jr, SAMUEL COLLINS & THOMAS COLLINS had all been called into Louisa Co VA court for "concealing tithtables" i.e., they had not paid tax on slaves or non-whites in their household. It's likely their wives and/or children were the non-whites in question).

--March & Sept court, 1756 Orange Co North Carolina; THOMAS WADE against MOSES RIDLEY; defendant failed to appear both sessions.

--Sept 13, 1756 Orange Co North Carolina MOSES RIDDLE/RIDLEY was chain bearer & witness on the land grant of WILLIAM COMBS, who purchased 385 ac adj THOMAS GIBSON Jr, JOSEPH COLLINS & JOHN WADE.

--Feb court 1761 Orange Co North Carolina; suit of WILLIAM CHAVES (CHAVIS) against MOSES REDLEY, a poor debtor

--1761 Orange Co North Carolina MOSES RIDDLE & CHARLES GIBSON were witnesses on the land grant of JOHN BROWN;698 ac adj THOMAS GIBSON Jr & JAMES WATSON

--Nov Court 1763 Oranges Co North Carolina; JOHN BROWN against MOSES RIDDLE; defendant failed to appear in court.

--1767 Pittsylvania Co Virginia (formed from Halifax Co); MOSES RIDDLE "Indian" on tax list, next to son WILLIAM RIDDLE who was not listed as "Indian".

--Sept 9, 1768 Pittsylvania Co Virginia; land grant to MOSES RIDDLE; 400 ac between EDWARD SMITH's & OLDHAM's lines; on Sandy River, south side (Pittsylvania Co).

--1786 Henry Co Virginia (formed from Pittsylvania); MOSES RIDDLE on tax list ( I have not actually found this record).

--MOSES RIDDLE's wife is often listed in online family trees as MARY GIBSON, daughter of THOMAS GIBSON Sr & MARY ALLEN, but this is incorrect. According to  the 1734  Hanover Co VA will of THOMAS GIBSON Sr,  his daughter MARY  was "MARY BROOKS", wife of RICHARD BROOKS.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2016