Black Dutch and the BUICE Family

Black Dutch and the BUICE Family

There has been some controversy on the BUCE Family list regarding the term "Black Dutch." Elizabeth BUICE STANDRIDGE was identified in one account as being "Black Dutch." Was she black, as in of African descent? Was she Dutch, as in from the Netherlands? Neither is likely. The term "Black Dutch could mean several different things in terms of racial ethnicity. But from a practical standpoint, it was a polite term to cover up undesireable ancestry.

If Elizabeth Buice had "colored" blood, the chances are highest that she was part Cherokee. There were many instances of Cherokee intermarriage into the BUCE family. When considering people who lived in the 1800's, one must keep a historical perspective in mind. The United States had been waging a campaign of genocide against the Native Americans for years. The Cherokee people had been the repeated target of government efforts to round them up and herd them onto reservations. If someone of Cherokee ancestry did not wish to be removed to a reservation, they had to disguise their heritage. There were also the social sentiments of the time... Native Americans were held in such low regard, that it was more socially acceptable to be a black slave than a red man. Thus the term "Black Dutch" was often applied to Native Americans as well as the original "Black Dutch" immigrants from the Black Forest area of Germany or the Melungeon.

Herein is a little info we've gleaned on the term "Black Dutch."

--Susan Buce

My family name was originally Mauney and we were said to be Black Dutch. It has nothing to do with complexion or skin color. Although controversial as to what it means exactly, most scholars believe the term was applied to people who came from the Schwarzwald, or Black Forest of Germany along Switzerland's northern border. " Dutch " is often found as a corruption of Deutsch, meaning German.The Pennsylvania Dutch were not Dutch, but German. It is accepted that there was a big migration of these people to this country in the 1600's and 1700's via the Netherlands and that many Germans and Swiss went up the Rhine River and sailed from Rotterdam, accounting for some family legends of " coming from Holland". A lot of these people, including my ancestors, landed in Pennsylvania and then went on south to North Carolina, primarily Rutherford, Lincoln, and Rowan Counties. I hope this helps.
--- Tom Mooney

Here's a quote from

"Cherokee By Blood" (Tennessee GenWeb project)

"How we may have warped the meaning of "Black Dutch" becomes apparent in both a
newspaper article and a letter. At a time when it was not fashionable to have Indian blood, here is what might happen:

"It used to be that if you had Indian blood in you and someone asked you what you were, you'd say 'Black Dutch' but now more and more of our people are coming out," said Morning Star, wife of Chief Neal McCormick, chief of the Eastern Creek Indian Nation. Another writer, descendant of a Creek Chief, wrote "the term Black Dutch is used to refer to one that has Indian Blood, and most particularly with CREEK INDIAN BLOOD. Although there were a few German/Swiss in the Creek Nation, they were in the minority. The term acutally does not refer be have any connection to this nationality. The Creeks preferred the Scotch, English or Irish in that order as far as marriage was concerned. There is no explanation as to why they preferred the Scotch." So you see the term used to distinguish and describe progeny of Hollander-Spanish marriages, was later the disquise used by Indian white descendants to cover their red heritage."

Here is another quote on the "black dutch" from
Pitter's Cherokee Trails

"The following is a quotation displayed on the Museum wall of "The Oakville Mounds Park & Museum" in Moulton, Alabama. Before the Indian Removal Act in 1830, many of Lawrence County's Cherokee people were already mixed with white settlers and stayed in the country of the Warrior Mountains. They denied their ancestry and basically lived much of their lives in fear of being sent West. Full bloods claimed to be Black Irish or Black Dutch, thus denying their rightful Indian blood. After being fully assimilated into the general population years later, these Irish Cherokee mixed blood descendants, began reclaiming their Indian heritage...

In my research of trying to find out just what a Black Dutch or Black Irish was, I found that some have associated them with the Melungeon. The Melungeons live mostly in the Appalachian Mountains. They are people whose ancestry has been shrouded in mystery. They are most likely the descendants of the late 16th century Turks and Portuguese stranded on the Carolina shores. Sir Francis Drake liberated some 200 young Turks on the North Carolina coast. They later intermarried with Powhatan, Pamunkey, Chickahominy, and Catawba Indians. These two groups combined later, settled in the Appalachians, and with further intermarriages with the Cherokees. The word Melungeon is both Portuguese and Turkish, and meaning "cursed soul." The Cherokee was type cast early in the white history of this country. We were light skinned, and they just assumed we were mixed with the whites. The Cherokee actually had complexions that ranged in a variety of skin colors. These ranged from very light to very dark. They assumed that the darker ones were part black. They drove many of our people off their lands because of the darker skin. Many would not leave. They hid out in the woods and in the mountains. Many were forced to live as "white" citizens just for survival. Most lost their Cherokee heritage. Very few were able to hang onto them. Until 1909 they could not vote or hold office. They drove away or forced many onto Indian territory. This forced our people into hiding, and making it better to be "Black Dutch, Black Irish" or anything that was dark, than to be an American Indian."


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