Chapter 7: In the Kingdom of the Apalache


Here is a discussion paper representing the next, and penultimate chapter of the new book More Real People Who Proved the Geneticists Wrong. Comments are welcome!

Chapter 7: In the Kingdom of the Apalaches

The 1600s brought an almost unbelievable degree of admixture and population change to the Southern Highlands. In fact, little of what demonstrably occurred has been believed. Hang onto your colonial cap because it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

The Apalache capital Melilot

Fig. 1: FACT OR FANTASY: The Apalache capital Melilot identified by Richard Thornton as the Nacoochee Valley in North Georgia depicted by Edouard Graeves in 1653.

A link between the English colonists who disappeared in 1590 and the new demography of the following century is Virginia Dare. Did the first white child born in Virginia perish sometime between her birth on August 18, 1587, followed a few weeks later by her grandfather John White’s sailing for England, and his landing on a deserted Roanoke Island on August 16, 1590 on his return, or did she live on as one of the survivors of the “lost” colony? Most historians favor the first alternative. Some imagine she died as a baby with a tomahawk embedded in her skull. In the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina she and Manteo have been elevated to the status of martyrs.

Icon created by Cheryl Hendrick

Icon created by Cheryl Hendrick for the feast day of Manteo and Virginia Dare (August 18). All Saints Episcopal Church, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

There is a tiny minority of historians who believe the Lost Colony was never lost to begin with. A quartz tablet was discovered by L. E. Hammond in Chowan County, North Carolina in September 1937, engraved with a record signed by Eleanor Dare, Virginia’s mother, the daughter of John White. It described the slaughter of the entire colony save seven:

FRONT

Ananias Dare & Virginia went hence Vnto Heaven 1591
Anye Englishman Shew John White Govr Via

BACK

Father soone After yov goe for Englande wee cam hither/ Onlie misarie & Warre tow yeere/ Above half DeaDe ere tow yeere more from sickeness beine fovre & twentie/ salvage with message of ship vnto vs/ small space of time they affrite of revenge ran al awaye/ wee bleeve yt nott you/ soone after ye salvages faine spirts angrie/ suddiane murther all save seaven/ mine childe—ananias to slaine wth mvch misarie–/ bvrie al neere foure myles east this river vppon small hil/ names writ al ther on rocke/ pvtt this ther alsoe/ salvage shew this vnto yov & hither wee promise yov to give greate plenty presents E W D[1]

In other words, Eleanore Dare wanted anyone who found the inscription to let her father, the governor of the colony, know that soon after he went back to England in 1587 the colonists removed themselves from Roanoke. After two years of nothing but war and misery, and after two more years of sickness, with a false report having been received of White’s ship sighted, half the colonists were dead. They were then fallen upon by the Indians in a rage and murdered, all but seven. These the survivors buried upon a small hill four miles east with memorial stones. “My child and Ananias, too, slain with much misery.”

That seven colonists survived seemed to be echoed by Secretary William Strachey’s intelligence at Jamestown in 1610:

…at Ritanoe, the Wewroance (king) Eyanoco preserved 7 of the English alive—fower men, twoo boyes, and one young Maid, who escaped and fled up the River of Choanoke—to beat his copper.”[2]

The Choanoke find was followed by other inscriptions coming to light over the next couple years. These are all currently preserved in a collection at Brenau College in Gainesville, Georgia, a few miles north of Atlanta.

Wait, weren’t the Dare Stones proven to be forgeries?

As the author of a detailed monograph on the mysterious stones points out, it must have been a diabolically clever forger to mix truth and lies in such a fashion, in Elizabethan English. Why so many iterations of the same fantastic tale, scattered across several states? “The simplest forgery is the best.” No gloating hoaxer ever came forward, and no forgers were ever exposed. The story is much like that of the ninth-century Latin and Hebrew texts on the Tucson Artifacts excavated in the 1920s, branded by academic authorities as “manufactured history.”[3] Both finds turn American history as it is complacently conceived on its ear.

In 1939, there were twenty-four stones in the museum of Brenau College. College officials convened a number of scientists and historians on October 21-22 for the purpose of discussing them. Presiding was Samuel Eliot Morrison, the professor at Harvard who had just written the maritime history of New England and who was soon to publish a series of classic books on Columbus, Portuguese voyages of discovery and related subjects in early American history. No more august and fitting figure could be imagined. At the close of the conference, Morrison was placed in charge of appointing a committee of five with himself as chairman to publish conclusions, “if any,” and a verdict on the stones.

In the meantime, what was evidently a “hit job” appeared in a popular New York magazine. It was titled “Writ on Rocke: Has America’s First Murder Mystery Been Solved?” and was by-lined by the “reporter,” Boyden Sparkes. It made mince-meat of the whole affair in a long critical essay that seemed to leave no stone … well, unturned. Sparkes attacked the discoverers as bumptious amateurs and money-hungry adventurers. He questioned the style, sense and age of the inscriptions and concluded that the small Baptist girl’s college used the collection as a pretext for “publicizing the school” and angling to get a Hollywood movie offer. Some commentators suggested he had been explicitly commissioned to put an end before it even got started to a rival historical pageant in North Carolina. If that was its true purpose, Sparkes’ foray into American colonial history certainly had its effect. Paul Green’s outdoor costume musical “The Lost Colony,” premiered on Roanoke Island on July 4, 1937 with biblical amounts of hoopla and state and federal funding and went on to become one of the longest-running, biggest grossing spectacles in the world. As of summer 2019, more than four million visitors had seen it—probably more by now. It was not the first time North Carolina was to win out over Georgia in manipulating history. Green’s production inspired “Unto These Hills,” the outdoor drama that introduced a Hollywood version of Cherokee history to millions of people beginning in 1950.

But what about Professor Morrison’s blue-ribbon committee? Oddly, even Sparkes acknowledged things were looking bad for North Carolina and good for Georgia:

Last fall thirty-four scholars, headed by Dr. Samuel E. Morison [sic], of Harvard, president of the American Antiquarian Society, journeyed to Brenau and after two days’ study pronounced that “the preponderance of evidence points to the authenticity of the stones.”[4]

Notice that it is practically de rigueur for famous journalists to misspell the names of their most important sources, just as it has been customary since the earliest days to describe a trip from Boston or New York to the backwoods of Georgia as a “journey.”

Morrison, the acclaimed specialist and popular writer on the discovery of America, like the champion of the Tucson Artifacts at the University of Arizona, Byron Cummings, known as the Father of Southwest Archeology, never backed away from his verdict that the Dare Stones were authentic and of national importance. He believed they completely rewrote colonial history. Readers today can choose between taking the opinion of an academic and popular hero, a Rear Admiral who retraced Columbus’ voyages with his own ship and won two Pulitzer Prizes, or a forgotten hack from Madison Avenue.

The Dare Stones are genuine and very informative. They provide evidence that sixty-four of the Roanoke colonists died or were murdered by the Indians. After the massacre of seventeen colonists including Virginia and her father Ananias Dare in 1591, the remaining seven, guided by “four goodli men,” headed  southwest. “Goodly” indicates they were civilized, if not Christians.

Thirteen stones found by William Eberhart in Greenville County, South Carolina in the 1930s (nos. 2-14) continue the chronicles. One is the memorial of “Dyonis Harvie wife & Dowter, Wil Dye, spend love, 1591, Myrthered bye salvage.”  The last traces of the party are recorded on stones 15-47, found in Hall County and Fulton County, Georgia, in Apalache Country. Before Eleanor Dare died in 1599 (no. 25), we learn that the seven survived “here” from 1593, “here” being “a great salvage lodgement,” whose king took Eleanor “tow wyfe” (no. 26). In 1598, word is that “we have sent many savages to look for you” (no. 27). In 1598, Eleanor beseeches her John White to have her daughter with the savage king “goe to englande” (no. 28). In 1599, she sickens and dies. In the years down to 1603, someone else carves the memorials. The stones record the deaths of William Wythers, Robert Ellis, Henry Berry, Thomas Ellis, Griffin Jones, James Lassie and Agnes Dare, the half-blood daughter of the Indian king and Eleanor.[5]

Giving a daughter the name of Agnes provides a strong clue to the ethnicity of the Dares. There is a christening record of an Agnis Dare, possibly a relative of Ananias Dare, Eleanor’s husband, in Lyme Regis, Dorset, October 15, 1554. Her father was Thomas Dare (about 1530-1580), merchant and goldsmith. Thomas Dare came from an ancient West Country family that has been documented in records back to 1265.[6] The surname also appears as Deere, Dere and Deor, after the animal or a form of “beloved.” Ananias Dare was cut from the same cloth as the earliest English explorers and privateers, the Drakes, Raleighs, Hawkins, Gilberts and Grenvilles. It would make sense for him to marry Eleanor White, the daughter of an artist, lay minister and politician.

Like many of the Welsh, including the Tudor Queen Elizabeth herself, these Dares were probably of Jewish or crypto-Jewish descent.[7] In this period, however, and probably ever since the era when English Jews were proscribed in the thirteenth century, they identified as staunch Protestants. According to the author of a Dare timeline, the years between 1500 and 1700 were their heyday. It was a time when Lyme Regis with “its merchants and sea captains trading with the Mediterranean, West Indies and Americas,” was a major English seaport, even more consequential than Bristol or Liverpool.  John William Dare, who left a will in 1542, was a merchant of Madras, India. In 1563, Thomas Dare was elected mayor of Lyme Regis. And in 1588 the decisive battle with the invading Spanish Armada took place within sight of Lyme Regis.

What motives might a forger have had to fake the Dare Stones and plant them in scattered locations across three different states? We cannot imagine. But we can imagine why the Eleanor Dare inscriptions might have disturbed opinion leaders in 1938. It was a time when a narrow WASP elite tightly controlled academia, education, government and the media. It would have been easy to squelch a national origin story that included the following elements:

  • A strong woman who heroically led the remnants of a failed European colony through the perils of the North American wilderness and inadvertently recorded their names and exploits for posterity
  • Indians who were quite civilized, and Christian to boot
  • A system of trade paths and, in effect, mail, or at least communications, that reached across tribal territories from the Carolina coast to the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • A king among the Indians who lived in a glittering metropolis in what is now North Georgia and took an Englishwoman for his wife, producing the first half white, half Indian child born in the territories that became the United States

What if word of this early start to North American history had gotten out at the time? If Indians, or at least some of them, were civilized, it could completely undermine the rationale for destroying or removing them. Indians were fully human and were not to be despised or injured. If they had already been converted to Christianity, they were not heathens occupying an undiscovered land. Their domains had already been reached by a “Christian prince.” And if they had kings, the aristocracy of Europe would have to recognize them, a dilemma that soon faced James I with Pocahontas. Finally, the thought that an Indian male could happily “take to wife” an Englishwoman in holy matrimony and have legitimate issue undoubtedly caused people no end of anguish. It was supposed to go the other way.

Little Ado about Much

Where did Eleanor Dare and her companions end up exactly? She fled to the kingdom of the Apalache in North Georgia.

What we know about the Apalaches in the early colonial period of American history is almost entirely derived from a single source. This is an early Huguenot emigration guide titled Histoire Naturelle et Morale des Les Antilles de l’Amerique by Charles de Rochefort (1605-1683). The work was published in 1658 in Rotterdam, a hotbed of French, Dutch and Walloon Protestant intellectual activity at the time. It was translated into English as The History of the Caribby-Islands, by John Davies, in 1666. After several other editions, a second, augmented edition was issued in 1681.

Rochefort’s long work extends to over 600 pages and is divided into two books, the first dealing with the islands Guadalupe, Tobago, Martinique, Antiqua, Montserrat, St.-Eustache, St. Croix and others, and the second with the people of the Caribbean, chiefly the Caribs and Arawaks. Chapters 7 and 8 of the English version in Book Two were excerpted and provided with a sort of running commentary, introduction and maps by Richard L. Thornton and Marilyn A. Rae in The Apalache Chronicles: An Englishman’s Remarkable Journey through the Southern Highlands 1653 (Ft. Lauderdale: Ancient Cypress, 2013). The Englishman was Richard Brigstock or Briggstock of Barbados, who supplied Rochefort with an eyewitness report based on his sojourn in the kingdom of the Apalache around 1653.[8] Chapter 7 is on the origin of the Carib Indians, called Caraïbes (pp. 53-84), and chapter 8 is “By way of Digression Giving an Account of the Apalachites,” or Apalache Indians (pp. 85-130). Supplementary materials, including corrections and three crayon sketches, were provided by Edouard Graeves, doctor of law and director of emigration among the Apalaches. Graeves read a 1658 edition and dated his letter Melilot in Florida, January 6, 1660.

Rochefort’s History of the Caribbean Islands has had a mixed reception with scholars and academics, and it has been treated in step-motherly fashion even by its admirers. “A classic New World utopia” and “fanciful empire” are typical verdicts pronounced upon it.[9]  Were the Apalachites a “fanciful flourish,” a mythical native kingdom in the southeastern part of North America?[10] Or were they real?

It is obvious that the work is not just an entertaining travel volume but a sober tome intended to impower Rochefort’s audience with in-depth information on where and when to emigrate and how to communicate with and proselytize among the Indians. Rochefort’s introductory letter is addressed to De Beveren, governor of the Hospitaller colony of Tobago. There follows a notice to the reader about the second edition with its special features. It speaks of the Colonie de la Palme and the “great river known in Florida under the name of the Holy Spirit.” This is the Chattahoochee. Rochefort says that after his party was carried through its swampy lower estuary deep into the hinterland to a place named Ochille (Cusseta-town of the Lower Creeks near Columbus) they ascended the river to the foot of the mountains. Here the domain of the Apalaches began. He sets down some practical advice about avoiding flooding of the riverbanks and attacks by the hostile Tagoesta Indians, urging those who make the journey “to bring with them our Reports.” So far everything is as serious as a heart attack.

There follow two letters by the Chevalier de Poincy, Knight of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. The second is dated at St. Kitts, December 10, 1658. After these there is a letter from the governor of the Colonie de la Palme, signed De Val Croissant. We can infer that the De la Palme colony was named after the same individual who was afterwards Governor of Plaisance in French Newfoundland from 1667 to 1670. At this time (1658), he has been been succeeded in his post by De Val Croissant, or De Valcroissant. This colony occupied both sides of the Chattahoochee River, which the French referred to as the River of the Apalache. It preceded the French entry into Mobile by half a century, though it has been overlooked by the history books.

Finally comes the ornate, very interesting letter of Edouard Graeves. He presents to the publisher three crayon drawings—the Mountain of Olaimy, the City of Melilot and the Sensitive Plant (probably a touch-me-not of the mimosa family, see p. 127)—and begs the learned Rochefort not to take it amiss if he makes some “trifling” corrections. He mentions specifically a “factual account of our little colony with everything the colonists believe you must be informed of,” which he hopes will be added to the second edition.

Space forbids us from disentangling the information on the Apalaches given by these three sober early witnesses, Rochefort, Brigstock and Graeves. That would be a worthy subject for a Ph.D. dissertation. Suffice it to say everything they commit to print seems to be reliable, accurate and thorough. Apalache territory is described as stretching from the 33rd degree latitude to the 37th, that is, from North Florida to the border of North Carolina with Virginia. The story of the metropolis of Melilot with its 2000 domiciles, the Sacred Mountain of Olaimy with its cave rites, copal and caged painted buntings can be picked up, with some caveats, in Thornton’s book.

Now for the caveats.

The English version of a description of the Apalache Indians reads as follows:

The men in these Countries are for the most part of high stature, of an Olive-colour, and well proportion’d, their hair black and long: Both men and women are very neat and curious in keeping their hair clean and handsomely order’d: the women tie up theirs about the crown of the head after the form of a garland; and the men dispose theirs behind the ears (p. 92).

But if we compare this to the French of the 1681 edition, we find something quite different:

The Apalachites are for the most part of great height, of olive color and well-proportioned of body. They are all born perfectly white, but they change the natural color of their skin by the frequent use of a certain ointment that they create with bear grease and the root of an herb that has the virtue of inuring them against heat and cold. They all have long, black hair, and it is like a prodigy to them to see foreigners who are blond and naturally curly and frizzy. They have no beard at all, and if they come across any hairs they pull them out with great concern and just like the Island Caribs, promptly apply to the spot some caustic oil that has the property of reclosing the pores and cauterizing the hair root so it cannot grow back (my translation, pp. 388-89).

It is apparent that Rochefort’s book only became more accurate and authentic with the last edition. There seems never to have been a large element of fantasy and polemics or anything like a cavalier approach as claimed by American anthropologists who dismiss the work. In Appendix D, we have translated some of the passages that significantly improve upon the English excerpts familiar to most readers. Included are paragraphs on the Apalaches’ origins, unusual birds in their country, clothing, religion and government.

Author’s great-great-grandfather James B. Yates

APALACHE LOOKS? Author’s great-great-grandfather James B. Yates, Jr. in a photograph from about 1880. Born on the Lower Oconee River in Washington County, Ga. about 1820, he was half Creek Indian. Note the long black hair piled on his head. Family tradition says the Yates arms and cattle brand were taken away from his father “for marrying an Indian.” Her name was never mentioned. James B. Yates, Jr. married a part-Cherokee woman from South Carolina, Mary Elisabeth Catherine Mitchell. Their children (or at least those born in Georgia) were noted on census records as Free Persons of Color.

Greek, Not Creek

The Apalaches had little to do apparently with the Cherokees though they experienced similar admixture events and were long neighbors. At one time it seems that the Apalache received tribute from the Cherokee. One can read about them in the many works of the Creek historian Richard Thornton online and in print. Since this is a book about Cherokee ancestry, we will only touch on some general similarities. The first common denominator that strikes us is language.

Since the eighteenth century, the Apalache have been confused with and overshadowed by the Apalachicola of the Spanish missions around present-day Tallahassee. The latter have left us a few specimens that might throw some light on the Apalache language, but little is proved by them. Rochefort (or his editor) laments that the subject could not be addressed in the edition of 1681:

We would have added at the conclusion of this article a small essay on their language in order to give a taste of it to the curious. But aside from the fact that the pronunciation of it by the native speakers gives it a sweetness and gracefulness that our letters and spelling can hardly capture, one of the directors of the Colony of De la Palme, working at the moment we write this to establish the correspondences and great similitude that exist between the majority of the languages of the Peoples of America and those of the Tartars and certain Arabs of Asia relieves us most happily of that entire task (p. 395).

This Frenchman is never heard from. In the nature of things, the language he would have set down was not the language of the capital in the mountains but that of minor provinces in the lowlands speaking Carib languages, named as De la Palme, Cosa and Bemarin. Beginning about 1000, the ancient Apalache accepted a foreign element into their midst, as recounted in Book 2, chapter 7. They incorporated some of their language. Later, they amalgamated with various Creek tribes, each of which had their own language or dialect.

Yet despite these challenges, it is possible to get a glimpse of the original language. There are a few securely documented Apalache words preserved in place-names and proper nouns in Rochefort’s account. Consistently, they seem to be cognate with Old World languages, not those of the New World as spoken either by Caribs or Creek Indians.

As we have seen, Rafinesque believed that the first Indian nations came from the Caribbean, before that from the Canaries and Iberian Peninsula. Thus he compared the Haitian (Taino) language to what he called Pelagic, a pre-Greek language spoken around the Mediterranean basin by ancestors of the Greeks and Italians. Modern-day linguists call it Pelasgian, a language spread by sea. Rafinesque found nearly 200 comparable words, “whereof about 160 offer more or less analogies… mutual affinity 80 percent… complete and near connection.” He concluded that the Haitians or Tainos were of Pelasgian or Mediterranean origin. The closest languages after proto-Greek were the “Atlantic [Iberian], Lybian, Egyptian, Bask [Basque], Sanscrit, Persian etc., which are all connected with the Pelagic nations.” His tabulations showed that Taino-Pelasgian affinities were “of course the greatest with the Aruac [Arawak] nations of South America, who are their brothers, and extend to the Taos of Tucuman and the Tinguis or true Patagons of Pigafetta.” Further, he observed that the “nearest affinities after these were the Apalachis, Nachez, Cadoz, Huastecas, Mexican, Tarasca, Maya, Chontal etc. of North America and the Darien, Betoy, Peruvian, Chili, Mbaya etc. of South America.” The converse was also true. There was little overlap with Asiatic-type languages like those in the  Algonquian macro-linguistic family. Pelasgian was the litmus test for American languages of eastern or Atlantic origin.[11]

Titmouse-like kinglet

Titmouse-like kinglet (genus Regulus), the paracousse of the Apalaches.

Paracousse.I think this word is pure Greek: parakoussa, a particle of parakio “to excel,” meaning “surpassing, nonpareil, without rival.” This literal meaning explains why it is applied to the resident king or supreme chief of a province (p. 374), especially the supreme ruler in Melilot to which the others pay court, as well as to a rare bird described at length on p. 383, obviously the golden-crowned kinglet or goldcrest, which the peoples of Europe and other places around the world recognized as the king of the bird kingdom. Richard Thornton says the Apalache word means “sea elite,” but this is a vague, not literal explanation. It may be a calque or translation rather than an etymology based on roots. He makes the first element the same as Panoan par “water,” as in Peru rather than a prepositional prefix para. This strikes me as akin to deriving a Latin word from French. French came after Latin, just as the Creek Indians followed the Apalache Indians in point of chronology.

Melilot. This the name of the Apalache capital. Melilot, a type of clover that produces the sweetest honey, is pure Greek. The root is melilot-,  meaning “talking as sweetly as honey. The meaning in Apalache is said to be The City of Council (p. 362).

One of the personal names of an Apalache kinglet is Mayrdok (p. 407). This seems very close to the Babylonian god-king’s name Marduk. It is not the first time a souvenir from Mesopotamia turned up in Georgia. In 1963, Mrs. Joe Hearn was digging in her yard when she found a “small tablet of lead, inscribed with strange symbols on both sides.” Over a period of years she unearthed other pieces of lead along with arrowheads. Finally, she submitted the lead tablet to examination by experts. The inscriptions were cuneiform, the script was from Sumer, and it was dated to about 2400 BCE. When translated, it said the scribe Enila in the 27th or 28th year of the reigh of Shulgi listed a gift of sheep and goats to the sun-god Utu and the goddess Lamma-Lugal of Sumer. “The lead tablet was apparently made on Hearn property by the lost-wax method.”[12]

The Apalaches specifically say the derivation and original meaning of Caraibe, their name for the intrusive Caribbean division within their population, is “added people, suddenly and unexpectedly coming in, strangers, stout or valiant men” (p. 357). This seems to be formed from Greek chaire “welcome” + the be suffix noticed in other compounds, “people.” The Caribs were the People Welcomed Among Us.

Theomi (p. 353). Perhaps the “themes” or provinces that surround the large lake.

Amana (pp. 358, 425). The “very pleasant” province relinquished to the Caribbean Indians. Evidently composed of Haitian Am “water, root, plenty” (or A-ma “of great, water) and An “man, people, folk,” or else from A-na “of bloom, a flower” (Rafinesque, 222, 226). If related to A-na, the name of this lower province could have been the original “La Florida.” The Apalache name, then, designated a “Great or Watery Land of Flowers,” an apt one for the vast Okeefenokee and lower part of Georgia together with northern part of Florida.

The Apalaches called the River of May or Altamaha system Basainim (p. 359) and explained the word as Delicious River or River Abounding in Fish. Ba- seems to be cognate with “bay, basin” and the other element suggests kinship with words like “savory.”

The Sacred Mountain of Olaimi (p. 362) seems to reproduce exactly Pelasgian *ALEIM “(Mountain of) the Gods” (Rafinesque, p. 150; compare Elohim in Hebrew).

Iaoüas. The priests of the Apalache are keepers of the rites of the temple, augurs and healers. They are responsible for incense burning, ritual baths, the annals of the kingdom and ceremonial release of six tonatzuli birds, or “messengers of the sun” each year symbolizing the freedom of the six provinces (pp. 365, 417, 429). The etymology of tonatzuli seems to come from Greek tunn– “little” and azul “blue sky,” and Graeves’ description clearly points to the splendid painted bunting. The name of the priests who are keepers of Apalache oral literature and religious customs provides incontrovertible evidence of the Apalache’s origins, for it means, quite simply, “Ionians, Greeks, Children of the Sun, Worshipers of Apollo.”  Egyptians used the word j-w-n(-n)-’ for the Greek race. Assyrians used the word Iawanu. Persians used the word Yauna. Babylonians used the word Yaman and Yamanaya. In Biblical Hebrew, the word was Yāwān, and in Modern Hebrew it is Yavan, Javan. Throughout antiquity, Javan was the ethnonym applied to Ionians, the Kittim or Cypriot and Aegean peoples (Rafinesque’s Kutans), Minoans and Mycenaeans and Tartessians of Spain.

In his Haitian language notes, Rafinesque gives the core lexeme as Jovana “God.” He notes its currency in the Carib-speaking islands as well as in other Indian languages in both North and South America and lists the following analogies (p. 246):

Jan Janus of Etruscans, Ju Ombrian, Yu Ausonian, Jovis Latin, —Jona, Yauna, Juneva, Jaungoieva of Basks—Jo-cauna, Janum of Lybians, IEUE [Yahweh, Jehovah] of Moses, Joh Luchu, Yavang Sunda, Iona Troyan, Iunak Slavic, Achaman Ahican Guanch, etc. ——Yah, yoha vah Chactah, Hioh New Albion, Yaho Apalachi, Ohuae Old Peruvian, Jahuagon Huron, Wakon Ozages, Conome Yaruras, Oho Aleutian, Ogha Othomi, etc.

Finally, we come to the Apalaches’ or Apalachites’ name for themselves, their ethnonym. According to Richard Thornton, Apalache is the Europeanization of Aparasi,  “which means ‘From – Ocean or Upper Amazon Basin – Descendants of.’” He maintains most of the place-names in the Apalache country are Panoan from eastern Peru. For instance, Satipo, the name of a capital town at the mouth of the Satilla River, means “Colonists – Place of” in Panoan.  Another Satipo was in the Smoky Mountains at the confluence of the Little Tennessee River and Citigo Creek.  Citigo and Stekoah were derived from the Carib/Arawak version of Satipo –  Satikoa.[13] We’ve seen above, however, that probably the Antilles, Paria, Peru, Yucatan, Florida and the Appalachians were all colonized by the same Sea Peoples. The Atlans were joined by the Iztacans and there was a coming and going and even back migration of Caribbean and Mexican peoples. These movements are mirrored in the histories set forth in Rochefort. The tribal and linguistic history of the Southeast is a welter of influences. The genetic history of Cherokee and Creek Indians includes contributions from Scandinavia and the North of Europe, the Mediterranean, South and Central America, the Caribbean and other places, not only Mongolia and Siberia. These tribes also have a lot of Jewish, Armenian, Italian, Spanish and other admixture. Whether out of reverse racism, political exigencies or for whatever reasons, the academic establishment has set its face against this diversity.

If we are right about the central role of the Haitian or Pelasgian language, another discovery that emerges concerns Yu-chee, the name of the Uchi or Euchee “Indians.” This ethnonym resolves into the elements Yu “white, bright” (p. 228) and chee/see “people.”

Matching the King

In 2019, we applied our new forensic data for 60 American Indian tribes to a very special case, the autosomal profile extracted from 30-year-old blood believed to come from sheets slept on by Elvis Presley (1935-1977). The original lab feat was accomplished by Sorenson Genomics scientists in February 2006. The relic had fallen into the hands of Houston private investigator Bobbi Bacha, as described in our book Old World Roots of the Cherokee.[14]

How did Bacha get Elvis’ sheets? Attending a celebrity auction more than two decades ago, she put in the winning bid. Nearly 20 years old, stained with blood and soiled by semen, but carefully preserved, they were alleged to come from the hotel room where Elvis Presley stayed on his Farewell Tour in June 1977. She won’t tell us how much she paid but says, “I could have bought a comfortable medium-sized home.”

Elvis Presley in an MGM publicity shot from 1968

Elvis Presley in an MGM publicity shot from 1968.

Elvis, of course, is a Portuguese name, and Melungeon connections are not far off. Bacha is also of Melungeon descent. “As you know,” she told us in a phone interview, “Nevil Wayland is my grandfather, and it was he who first coined the term Melungeon.” She continued: “We believe his wife was the daughter of Chief Red Bird as his son was the Scribe to Chief Red Bird. Nevil built the first church in Arkansas after the family told of a great war against the Indians and he took them to Arkansas and built Stoney Creek Church. That’s the name of it.” And that was the name of the “mother church” back in Tennessee which still preserves the first mention of the word Melungeon in the minutes from 1813.[15]

I had mentioned at the time there were numerous American Indian matches both to Elvis’s autosomal and to his mitochondrial DNA. There was a strong Maya match for Elvis’s particular haplotype B. Elvis Presley’s maternal line has been traced to Nancy Burdine, a professed Jewess born in Kentucky, whose father was a Frenchman and whose mother was White Dove, a reputed fullblood, supposedly Cherokee. The direct male line was a Scottish type of I with numerous matches to the surname Wallace.

Probably many of our participants and readers have similar ancestry to Elvis. So we report here the top fifty population matches for his autosomal profile, as would be reported in our Basic American Indian DNA Test or Cherokee DNA Test or Native American Indian DNA Fingerprint Plus.

RankWorld Population Matches
1Mexico- Huichols- Durango (n=57)
2Mexico – Nayarit and Jalisco – Cora (n = 64)
3Russia – Korean (n = 49)
4Colombian – Boyaca (n = 120)
5Costa Rican (n = 500)
6Hispanic – U.S. (n = 210)
7Polish – Central (n = 430)
8Costa Rican (n = 260)
9U.S. Cherokee Admixed (n = 92)
10Native American – Choles – Chiapas, Mexico (n = 109)
11Portuguese – Northern (n = 286)
12Slovakia – Saris (n=848)
13Colombian – Northeastern – Santander (n = 99)
14Hispanic – Florida (n = 100)
15U.S. Chippewa Indians (n = 22)
16Guatemalan – Mestizo (n = 200)
17Polish – Northern (n = 202)
18Hispanic – Arizona (n = 117)
19White – Marion County, Indiana (n = 170)
20Colombian – Bogata (n = 150)
21Native American – Lumbee (n = 106)
22El Salvadoran (n = 228)
23Native American – Minnesota (n = 191)
24Native American – Minnesota (n = 203)
25Polish – Podlasie (North East) (n = 413)
26Native American – Minnesota (n = 100)
27Chinese – Beijing-Han (n = 201)
28Mexican – Northeastern – Mestizo (n = 143)
29Mexican – Nuevo Leon (n =143)
30Belgian (n = 198)
31Polish (n = 136)
32Mexican-Southern Mexico (Guerrero) Mestizo (n = 251)
33Polish (n = 125)
34New Zealand East Polynesian (n = 20752)
35Poland – Lodz (n = 1000)
36Polish (n = 870)
37Venezuelan – Caracas (n = 255)
38Hispanic – Virginia (n = 183)
39White – Florida (n = 123)
40Asian – U.S. (n = 161)
41Colombian-Andean-Amazonian-Orinoquian (n = 846)
42White – Maine (n = 151)
43Iberian Peninsula – Basque (n = 50)
44Hispanic – U.S. (n = 199)
45Hispanic – Southwestern U.S. (n = 105)
46Chinese Han – Sichuan Province (n = 100)
47Malaysian – Chinese (n = 210)
48Chinese – Western U.S. (n = 98)
49Native American – Michigan (n = 29)
50Portuguese – White (n = 146)

If we examine Elvis’s metapopulations, the No. 1 match is Native American and the No. 2 Central American. This is consistent with the Maya match for his matrilineal haplotype. Similarly the megapopulations feature American Indian, which is twice as pronounced as European American.

Top MegapopulationsIndex
American Indian130.0
Central European73.6
European American60.2
Iberian American56.4
East Asian49.6
Iberian46.5
Northern European43.6

Elvis’ global matches light up almost every population in the Western Hemisphere, emphasizing his American Indian ancestry. Significantly, he has the Aztlan Gene, whose distribution is shown below, and which is virtually diagnostic of American Indian ancestry.

World Ancestry of The Aztlan Gene

As we reported when the new forensic samples first became available, a value matching that of the Aztlan Gene has a frequency of .37879 in enrolled Cherokees. In other words, almost 40% of Cherokees carry it. Navajos have a frequency of .739, almost twice as high as Cherokees, while North American Indians as a whole (population 467, n=533) have a frequency of .546. The world average is .29019153. One of the lowest frequencies, conversely, occurs in Ashkenazi Jews. Only about 18% have it.

In a forensic sense, Elvis Presley was more American Indian than anything else. His tribal affinities ran to Mexican and Central American, including, in ranked order:

Western Mexican Indians (Huichol, Cora)

Cherokee

Maya (Chiapas, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador)

Chippewa/Ojibway (Minnesota, Michigan)

Lumbee

South American Indian (Colombia, Venezuela, Amazonian, Andean)

The Maya was quite pronounced, backing up claims about Central American archeology in Georgia and the origins of the Hitchiti or Itsa People. Huichol one may recall from the list of Atlantic-founded Indian peoples or descendants of Ionians. Curiously, Elvis also got a match to Polynesians (#34), a new population in the database. This also has been confirmed in the DNA record of Cherokees and Creeks.

As for Elvis’ European side, his top matches were Croatian, Scots-Irish, Dutch and Portuguese—we’ve seen all these strains already. Central American ruins and South American languages were identified and brought to light again in the Appalachians only in the twenty-first century. But Elvis Presley’s diverse South and Central American Indian ancestors were welcoming Croatian, Scots-Irish, Jewish, Huguenot and Spanish/Portuguese colonists to the region long before we knew their stories from history books.

One of the Dare Stones

One of the Dare Stones.

[1] Robert W. White, A Witness for Eleanor Dare: The Final Chapter in a 400 Year Old Mystery (San Francisco: Lexikos, 1991), p. 230

[2] White, p. 2.

[3] See Donald N. Yates, The Merchant-Adventurer Kings of Rhoda: The Lost World of the Tucson Artifacts (Longmont: Panther’s Lodge, 2018).

[4] Quoted in White, p. 250.

[5] For transcriptions of nos. 1-47, see Haywood J. Pearce, Sr., “The Dare Stones,” in the Bulletin of Brenau College, Appendix B in White, pp. 229-240

[6] See John Dare message board Re: John E. Dare of Newport, Monmouth, Wales by doubleDare posted Jan 2, 2008 at  Message Boards.

[7] See Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman and Donald N. Yates, The Early Jews and Muslims of England and Wales (Jefferson: McFarland, 2014), pp. 154-62.

[8] Because of differences between editions, it is important to use the French version of 1681: Histoire Naturelle et Morale des Iles Antilles de l’Amerique, enriché d’une grand nombre de belles Figures en taille douce, qui representent au naturel les Places, & les Raretez les plus considerable qui y sont décrites. Avec un Vocabulaire Caraïbe. Dernière Edition. Reveuë & augmentée par l’Autheur d’un Recit de l’Estate present des celebres Colonies de la Virginia, de Marie-Land, de la Caroline, du nouveau Duché d’York, de Penn-Sylvania, & de la nouvelle Angleterre, situées dans l’Amerique septentrionale, & qui relevent de la Couronne du Roy de la grande Bretagne. Tiré fidelement des mémoire des habitans des mêmes Colonies, en faveur de ceus, qui auroyent de dessein de s’y transporter pour s’y établir. Rotterdam : Chez Reinier Leers, 1681.

[9] See, e.g., Owen Stanwood, The Global Refuge Huguenots in an Age of Empire (Oxford UP, 2019), or Raymond A. Mantzer and Bertrand Van Ruymbeke, A Companion to the Huguenots (Brill, 2016).

[10] A modern edition was edited by Bernard Brunberg, Benoît Roux and Josiane Grunbe in 2012.

[11] Rafinesque, pp. 219-20.

[12] Gloria Farley, In Plain Sight: Old World Records in Ancient America (Golden: Gloria Farley Publications, 2007), p. 11.

[13] Personal email to Donald Yates, June 10, 2019.

[14] Donald N. Yates, Old World Roots of the Cherokee: How DNA, Ancient Alphabets and Religion Explain the Origins of America’s Largest Indian Nation (Jefferson: McFarland, 2012), pp. 42f.

[15] See Phyllis E. Starnes and Donald N. Yates,  Ancestors and Enemies: Essays on Melungeons (Phoenix: Panther’s Lodge, 2014), pp. 1-14.

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  Comments: 3


  1. Hey Don,

    Keep in mind that the Paracusate were Coneheads like their ancestors in the Nazca Plain. They were not American Indians, but have been proven to be from the northern edge of the Black Sea.

    Very interesting chapter. I might have missed it, but did you mention that 26 of the Dare Stones were found by farmers in the Nacoochee Valley or Upper Chattahoochee Valley long before THE Dare Stone was found up near Roanoke Island? Archaeologist Robert Wauchope, a recent graduate of Harvard, urged the farmers to take them to Brenau. THEN Wauchope found two more himself while excavating archaeological sites. The public was never told this, because North Carolina quickly offered him a big raise, if he would immediately leave the University of Georgia, mid-semester and take a position at UNC. Apparently, another condition was that he would not publish his findings in the Nacoochee Valley for 20 years. He did not start writing the book (report) until 1959. It was published in 1966, but not to the general public. It was Wauchope who arranged for his former Harvard professors to inspect the stone tablets at Brenau. Brenau is now a university.


  2. This chapter 7 is great! I have many ancestors who settled in North Carolina, and have studied and read much of the history and historical fiction related to the 16th, 17th, and 18th Century of that area. The history of the Lost Colony, has intrigued me. I have traced many of my forefathers back to the Revolutionary war, many of them were Scotch Irish, and I knew there was some Native American Blood in my veins. I took two DNA tests from “Leading Companies” and none of the results showed Native American heritage, but they did show some of my ancestral heritage that Dr. Yates determines to be indicative of Native American blood.
    Then one day I came in contact with DNA Consultants, and their specific test for finding the Native American heritage I knew was there. I even have a gg grandmother who is on the Dawes Rolls and is listed as Cherokee!
    I took the DNA Fingerprint + Test and, and I didn’t give DNA Consultants any information at all concerning what I already knew. When I got the results back from the Test, Susan Levin, who was the Investigator on my test, found that I was associated with the Lumbee Tribe of North, Carolina! As far as I am concerned, this test had nailed it! The Lumbee tribe has an interesting history, and remnants of several tribes left behind during the removal, came together and stayed in North, Carolina, and the tribe got its name from the Lumbee river, where they lived. I assume some Cherokees and Catawba might have been part of that group. There is even a strong indication that the Lost Colony and Virginia Dare, may have been intermarried with this tribe.
    Am I happy with the results of my test? You bet! I have also now read most all the books written by Donald Yates and his associates, and find the research in them to to be fascinating.
    Dr. Jim A. Miller

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