Bunch Families of Cumberland Kentucky

By Russ Klicker

Jack Goins' Core Melungeon Website

Bunch Timeline  (By Penny Fergusson)

Lorenzo Dow Bunch Family Tree & Photos

James Bunch Family Tree & Photos - NEW!

Julius Bunch Family Tree

Drury Bunch Family tree

Micajah Bunch Family Tree

Bunches on the DAWES Applications (Russ Klicker)


Cherokee Stories

 Andrew Jackson's Treatment of the Cherokees, John Burnett's Story


Chief Benge & Powell Valley


About Me, Cherokee Bows & Hunting Stuff


Bunch DNA is being collected by Jack Goins as a Family Tree DNA sponsored project.  Use the links at the bottom of the page or the link to Jack's we site to the left to see how you can participate.  Right now based on only a hand-full of Bunch samples, there are at least two paternal lines from our Cumberland Bunches.    Of particular interest to me is the Dow Bunch/James Bunch family so if you are a descendent of Dow or James, please join our project.  DNA can augment our oral histories & genealogy to help us trace our ancestry.

The Bunch families that migrated into the Barren, Cumberland & Adair counties of Kentucky around 1800 came from southwest Virginia / northwest North Carolina.  They came from the Clinch River and Powell Valley areas where the Cherokee, Shawnee, Saponi, etc.  lived with, traded with and often fought against the pioneer families as settlements sprang up and competition over land increased. 

It's in that Powell Valley region during the mid to late 1700's that our Bunch Cherokee heritage connects with a group of people referred to as Melungeons.    "Melungeon" was a term used to describe the dark-skinned people who lived in that area before settlers began migrating west through the Appalachians.   Researchers and archeologists have recently been surfacing information that suggests the Melungeon people may have originally descended from remnants of the first Spanish explorations into North America as early as the 1500's.  Penny Ferguson has created a timeline showing key historical events related to this.   Jack Goins is an archivist in Rogersville, TN  who has lived near the Powell Valley all his life.  It's where his family is from.  He is studying the families, including his Goins and our Bunch family, that were the earliest recorded Melungeons - the "Core" Melungeons.  

Here is an excerpt from Jack Goins' website that lists some of the core Melungeon families via an article written by Lewis M Jarvis, an attorney born in 1829 that lived in area with the Melungeons:

“Vardy Collins, Shepherd Gibson, Benjamin Collins, Solomon Collins, Paul Bunch and the Goodmans, chiefs and the rest of them settled here about the year 1804, possibly about the year 1795, but all these men above named, who are called Melungeons, obtained land grants and muniments of title to the land they settled on and they were the friendly Indians who came with the whites as they moved west. They came from the Cumberland County and New River, Va., stopping at various points west of the Blue Ridge. Some of them stopped on Stony Creek, Scott County, and Virginia, where Stony Creek runs into Clinch River. --- The old pure blood were finer featured, straight and erect in form, more so than the whites and when mixed with whites made beautiful women and the men very fair looking men. These Indians came to Newman’s Ridge and Blackwater. Some of them went into the War of 1812 whose names are here given; James Collins, John Bolin and Mike Bolin and some others not remembered; those were quite full blooded."

Lewis M. Jarvis interview 1903 Hancock County Times.


About My Family

My family goes back to Lorenzo Dow Bunch, often referred to by folks down home in Kentucky as the "Big Indian".  Dow was born sometime between 1810 & 1820.   The earliest record I can find on him is 1836 where he paid taxes on land near Albany, KY.  It is believed that Dow's father might have been Joseph Bunch who stayed in the Cumberland area after Micajah (King of the Melungeons) & the others either died or moved on.

Dow Bunch's Cherokee & "Melungeon" Connections:

  • -  Dow's brother James married Israel Bunch's daughter Fanny Bunch (Bunch/Bunch).  Israel Bunch was a core Melungeon.

  • -  Dow's earliest record places him near Albany KY where Valentine Collins (Vardy Collins' line, Vardy was a Core Melungeon) is written about in the Clear Fork Baptist Church minutes (ref. the book "Lighthouse in the Wilderness").  In these minutes in 1802, Valentine Collins was paid for building a coffin for a bro. Bunch.  Valentine Collins is supposed to have led a band of Saponis in that area. 

  • -  Micajah Bunch (King of the Melungeons), a core Melungeon, along with Bird, Claiborne, Julius, Israel & Joseph are on the 1798 tax list for Adair KY.   Adair Co was formed in 1801 from Green Co just north of Cumberland which was formed in 1798.

  • -  Cherokee DAWES applicants 19506 and 44416 (below) show John Carr Bunch as their father.   In Louisa Co VA, on 6 April, 1782, there is a Deed of Trust that shows: "Joseph Bunch Thomas Carr, Garland Carr, Nathaniel Anderson and James Minor executors of John Carr dec'd.  357 for tract on Hudson's Creek containing 96 acres adjoining James Watson, James Bunch, Pouncey Bunch also Negro woman Vista and her child Ben. In trust Bunch to pay to legatees of John Carr dec'd.  68 1/2 ounces of gold no greater alloy than is contained in an English Guinea. sig. Joseph Bunch, wit. Turner Anderson, Robert Wilson, Wm. Hughes, Wm. Harris. Rec. 12 Aug 1782."


For more information, visit the links on the left side of this page.

                    Contact Me                          Contact Jack Goins

Contact Me                             Contact Jack Goins