You just never know where a banjo is going to take you.
George Gibson wrote a very interesting article about his own Gibson genealogy research, spurred by his enduring interest in banjos and banjo-playing mountain men.
One of the areas where George’s ancestors were found is in the area near Cumberland Gap, just slightly east, on the Virginia/Tennessee border. This area is where the Melungeons were first documented in 1813 at the Stony Creek Baptist Church in Russell County, Virginia. Nearby is Big Stone Gap.
According to George, a song named “Big Stone Gap,” was popular around southwest Virginia and east Kentucky 75 to 100 years ago. Dr. Josiah Combs said the song was one
of many that came from African Americans after about 1880. George plays the song in the video below.
Eventually, George’s search would lead him to Chesapeake Virginia and back to Africa, historically speaking.
These adventures led him to research various mixed race communities and people including the Melungeons, the Moors and other tri-racial isolates. But George’s story is much more lively than my musings and quite well written, so take a look….
Hat tip to Don for this information.