The Mixed-Blood Racial Strain of Carmel, Ohio and Magoffin County, Kentucky

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2013-04-02 22:53Z by Steven

The Mixed-Blood Racial Strain of Carmel, Ohio and Magoffin County, Kentucky

Ohio Journal of Science
Volume 50, Number 6 (November 1950)
pages 281-290

Edward T. Price, Professor Emeritus of Geography
University of Oregon

A number of population groups of dark-skinned peoples, recognized as socially distinct in rural localities of eastern United States, are commonly assumed to be tri-racial, mixed from white, Negro, and Indian ancestors. A small example of such a group is mentioned by The Ohio Guide (1) as living in the vicinity of Carmel in Highland County. Aside from another small mixed-blood settlement of very different circumstances in Darke County, this group near Carmel is probably the only one to be found rooted in Ohio.

Carmel is a cross-roads hamlet based on a school, a church, and a country store. Its location on the margin of the Till Plains, half surrounded by the wooded hills which mark the western edge of the Appalachian Plateau, is probably significant for the phenomenon which brings it this notice (figs. 1 and 2).

The “half-breeds” or “Carmel Indians,” as they are locally identified, are well known to the farmers of the vicinity, who, on the surface at least, accept good-naturedly the claim of the former to Indian ancestry. Privately the question of Negro blood also may be raised. Most of the older residents think that both are present and can name families or individuals who they think illustrated each type in the days before the mixing was so thorough. The group look mixed; a few of them are nearly white, but most are identifiable by their brown or tan skin; many of them have curly black hair, and many have straight black hair. Few, if any, really look like Indians, but identifying negroid features are not usual. I consider it likely that Indian and Negro mixtures are both present on the basis that the degree of pigmentation in most of the people otherwise seems inconsistent with their general lack of negroid features (figs. 3, 4, and 5).

The surnames of the members of this group are, with few exceptions, Gibson (Gipson), Nichols, and Perkins. One or two other names have recently been added to the group by marriage. Some of the Gipsons aver that the Gibsons have a trace of Negro blood. In the summer of 1947 their number was determined to be at least 150; the population is said to have been somewhat larger in times past…

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