The Truth about the Origins of Old Thomas Collins and the Cover-Up

The Truth of the Origins of Old Thomas Collins and the Cover-Up

original article from 2013: edited

It has been written numerous times:

[Collected from the Internet]

According to documented family research old Thomas Collins Sr. born before 1710 was the father and or grandfather of the historical Tennessee Melungeon Collins. At least one of Thomas Collins parents (unknown) was probably full blood Saponi Indian.

Collins family history handed down from father to son was; “The Collins were living in Virginia as Indians before they migrated to North Carolina, and they stole the name Collins from white settlers” ( Will Allen Dromgoole’s 1890 interview with Calloway Collins, (Melungeons And Other Pioneer Families.)

Other Collins men who were associated with Thomas Collins Sr. in New Kent, later Louisa County, Va. were probably his brothers. They were Samuel Collins, John Collins and William Collins.

25 Jan 1745 Louisa County, Virginia Court: William Hall, Samuel Collins, William Collins, Samuel Bunch, George Gibson, Benjamin Brannum, Thomas Gibson, & William Donothan appear to answer an indictment for concealing tithables. Plead not guilty, Case continued. (Louisa County, Va., Tithables and Census)

[End of collected text]

No mention of Old Thomas Collins or his race can be found.

[Collected from the Internet]

Although this John Collins may, or may not be a brother to Thomas the court record below establishes that some Collins were Saponia Indians. “Alexander Machartoon, John Bowling, Manincassa, Capt Tom, Isaac, Harry, blind tom, Foolish Jack, Charles Griffin, John Collins, Little Jack, Indians being bought before the court for stealing Hogs. , Ordered that their Guns be taken away from them till they are ready to depart of this county, they having declared their intentions to depart this colony within a week.”.11 On pages 309-312 of Orange County Court Record book the above named men individually put up security.11

History states that John Suano went to the Catawba to bring back 80 or so warriors to secure the release of Captain Tom (a.k.a. Old Thomas Collins of Flatt River). Captain Tom was imprisoned with Mahenip (a.k.a. Henry Irvin). Records show Mahenip is hung, Captain Tom is not.

[End of collected text]
While one can assume this is Old Thomas Collins aka Capt Tom, nothing is evident to prove this claim. Records usually show men who are believed to be Old Thomas’ sons, but again no proof that Old Thomas was ever a Mulatto or Negro.

[Collected from the Internet]

This party of Saponia ( Monasukapanough) Indians left that county and some of these may have been the same group that formed the settlement near Hillsborough, North Carolina in 1750. Which was the same neck of the woods where old Thomas Collins migrated, as we follow him through land transactions.(Ref in Melungeons And other pioneer Families).

Old Thomas Collins land joined other families who were later to become known as the Melungeons of Newman Ridge, located in present day Hancock County, Tennessee.

[End of collected text]

It should be noted that geography does not make one a Melungeon.

Records for Verification:

1743 Saint Fredrick’s Parish Register (Published) Procession Gilbert Gibson, Thomas Gibson and 200 acres for Thomas Collings. (Louisa County, Virginia)

1747 Louisa Co VA: Thomas Collins sold 186 acres on Turkey Creek on the south side of the Southanna River to John Powell

1747 Thomas Collins sells 184 acres of land on the south side of the Pamunkey River on Turkey Run Creek to John Dowell for 25 Ibs.

1750 Tax List Granville Co., NC { William Bowling 1 Title, James Bowling 1 Title, Gideon Bunch 2 Titles, Thomas Collins Sr. 1 title (Lived on the Flatt River), Samuel Collins 1 title, John Collins 1 title, Thomas Gibson with titles, Charles and George Lived on Flatt River near VA border.

26 November 1745 he was presented for profane swearing [Orders 1742-8, 152, 157, 172, 174, 179]. He was a taxable in the 1750 Granville County list of John Wade [CR 44.701.23]. This part of Granville County became Orange County in 1752

1755 Flatt River, Orange County, NC Tax list: Gedion Bunch, Micajer Bunch, Thomas Collins, Samuel Collins, John Collins, Moses and Mary Ridle

1761-700 acres to Thomas Collins on Dials Creek of the Flatt River. Chain bearers: George Collins and Paul Collins (Land Grants in Orange County, NC.)

Thomas Collins, Sr., who was head of a white Moore County household of one male over 16, two females, and one slave in 1790 [NC:44], and there was a Thomas Collins, Jr., head of a white Moore County household of two males under 16, three over 16, and four females in 1790 [NC:43]. He was head of an Ashe County household of 7 “other free” in 1800 [NC:74].
While Old Thomas may or may not have been a “taxable Molata” is open to conjecture. Other than what some researchers claim, “born say” or “may have been,” I have concluded that no actual records exist to prove anything beyond a shadow of a doubt as to who or what race “Old” Thomas Collins was.


I have yet to see the documentation other than what was written by Virginia DeMarce. Her statements that the Melungeon families began in Louisa County, Virginia, could not be farther from the truth. She and others of her ilk clearly had an agenda against Southern families as much as their predecessor Walter Plecker did. Recently, other researchers whom I will not name have taken up DeMarce’s mantle by promulgating and promoting the unproven theories of Paul Heinegg.
Heinegg’s initial quest was to prove that his African-American wife is in a line of descent from a union of an African slave male and white indentured servant female. He then expanded his hypothesis to include other African-American families and even ventured into including “Mulatto” and “Indian” families. To further develop his somewhat nonsensical work, it would be paramount for Mr. Heinegg to have his wife’s mtdna tested. A result in haplogroups H, U or X would give credence to his claims. However, this has yet to be performed, nor will it ever be. Why Not? The answer is rather simple. The other unnamed researchers jumped on his “work” as a pack of ravenous jackals. They soon applied the fantasy communities of black men and white women to include the Melungeons and any Caucasian male that tested positive for the E1b1a haplogroup.

I digress; this article is not about Melungeons. My own family did not live on Newman’s Ridge in Hancock County, TN. They were never classified or identified as Indians, Mullatoes or Free Persons of Color. There are more than enough articles, websites, blogs and books on Melungeons, that anyone who is rational and intelligent can come to their own conclusion. This article is not a personal attack on Paul Heinegg. I do not know him personally; therefore, I cannot vouch for the man himself. My critique is with his work and nothing else. The article is to deal with who Old Thomas Collins of Flatt River really was.
I have listed records and land transactions pertaining to who may or may not be Old Thomas Collins. In my own research, I have conducted extensive DNA studies upon myself. Beginning with a Y-DNA test then on to National Geographic’s GENO 2.0. The GENO 2.0 test covered deep subclade SNPs. This included deep subclade testing of the Y-DNA, MTDNA and Autosomal DNA. What was not found was Native American or sub-Saharan Africa DNA. If supposed Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA can found then it can be understood that the alleged slave progenitor of my direct paternal line could be discovered as well.

Another quite simple answer is; It is not true.
This branch of the E haplogroup lineage, E-Z365, was born in North Africa about 15,000 years ago. As the Sahara dried, many of the E1b1a lineage migrated south into sub-Saharan Africa, while the Caucasoid branch (E-Z365) remained in North Africa. More recently, some of our relatives took part in the spread across much of Southern and Central Europe. This is evident by three SNPs discovered (Z148, Z191, and Z365) which do not exist in sub-Saharan Africans or their descendants…..
I have reached the same outcome as the other groups; that only subclades of E1b1b carry these SNPs within the E haplogroups with the exception of the anomalous E1b1a subclades at

Through confirmation with a volunteer co-administrator from the E3b project, it was determined that this E-365 was in fact E-M34. Another SNP found was M123 which upstream from M34.*
However, I do have other questions… who was his father?

There is no mention of Old Tom before 1740.
U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s about Thomas Collins

Thomas Collins
Arrival Year: 1740
Arrival Place: Virginia
Source Publication Code: 6264
Primary Immigrant: Collins, Thomas
Annotation: Names mostly of Irish origin, 1628-1878. Also in nos. 6276 and 6280, O’Brien’s The Irish in America, pp. 48-53 and Irish Settlers in America, pp. 163-168.
Source Bibliography: O’BRIEN, MICHAEL J. “Grantees of Land in the Colony and State of Virginia, Copied from the County Records of Virginia.” In The Journal of the American Irish Historical Society, vol. 13 (1913-1914), pp. 214-219.
Page: 217
U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s about Thos Collins
Name: Thos Collins
Arrival Year: 1716
Arrival Place: Virginia
Source Publication Code: 6223
Primary Immigrant: Collins, Thos
Annotation: Abstracts of Virginia Land Office patent books 9 through 14, covering the early decades of the eighteenth century. Includes numerous references to land patented by “French refugees,” the Protestants (Huguenots) who fled France after Louis XIV revoked the
Source Bibliography: NUGENT, NELL MARION, abstractor. Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants. Vol. 3: 1695-1732. Richmond [VA]: Virginia State Library, 1979. 578p. Indexed.
Page: 187
Old Thomas Collins’ parents may never be found, Old Tom may be in fact a figment of Jack Goins’ and Virginia DeMarce’s collective imagination. Is this Old Tom really Capt. Tom or another figment of a collective imagination?




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