Ancestry.com did a grave disservice to an outstanding, well documented Native American family known as Bunch. I am a descendant of an older Susannah Bunch and her husband Thomas Holder. Thomas Holder (a.k.a. Holdenby in deeds) is mentioned in the will of Paul Bunch of Bertie county.
To tell you the truth, I expected better work from someone who is supposed to be professional. The gross neglect of ancestry.com on the part of the Bunch family falls in line with the controversial works by Heinegg and even Plecker.
Ancestry’s False Assumptions
The biggest untruths and wild assumptions made by ancestry.com was that, “John Punch is the only man who bears a surname similar to Bunch.” (They prove this false themselves by mentioning John Bunch, transport of Mr. Dodson) Further ancestry.com says, ” ….John Bunch I was born in Virginia.” And they also say, “evidence strongly suggests that John Punch was the father of John Bunch I.”
I’m gonna have to call bullpoop on this one. Never say “strongly suggests” and back it with very bad assumptions. Never use “strongly suggests” unless you have the smoking cannon. These three false assumptions only started the paper full of bad assumption but, what can you expect from ancestry.com.
NUMBER 1: John Punch was NOT the only man with a name similar to the name Bunch.
Ancestry backs this assumption with another flakey statement that the Bunch name is very rare in England and Scotland. So rare that two Bunch men could not have been in the same county to be the father of John Bunch I and then discredits a man name John Bunch that was transported to Virginia by a Mr. Dodson.
One John Bunch came to Virginia before 3 March 1656, on which date a Mr. Gervase Dodson was granted 600 acres in Lancaster Co., VA for the transportation to Virginia of twelve persons, one of whom was John Bunch. Anyone who brought new settlers to the colony was entitled by law to fifty acres for each settler. (This was called headright). https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Dodson-714
Several researchers actual credit this man “John Bunch” as being John Bunch I. Ancestry says they traced him out to his death and assume him to be a white man, and with more blatant assumptions, they wiped him out of the picture for good.
“Punch was a common name in England there is no evidence he was a Bunch. John Bunch was transported in 1650s…the report States he left no legal heirs but many of the early traders were gone 2-3 years at a time and presumed dead but were not. Judging from the early connections with Gibson’s and Indian traders I believe they come down from John, Jeremiah, William, or even Elizabeth….all early settlers unaccounted for. IMO the E hg Bunch line descends from slaves from 1500 with de Ayllon, de Soto and Pardo that mixed with the natives.” From anonymous
NUMBER 2: It is a very, very bad assumption that John Bunch I was even born in Virginia. There is no evidence where he was actually born. Its not like there is a record of it.
NUMBER 3: There is no strong evidence here for John Punch to be the father of anyone. There is an even smaller possibility the mother was European. The only thing they had was haplo results for descendants of Paul and John II as possibly have African origins. That is even up for debate. And they had a court proceeding calling John Punch African. One and one equals four. Right! How elementary can you get? Everything here is left to assumptions, even John Bunch I as the father of Paul and John II is assumed. At least it is a “safe” inference.
The direct Y line for Bunch could have left Africa 2,000 years ago. Grabbing the closest E haplo person possibility as a father and then assuming he found a white wife or someone white just to lay with, in a time and place when there were very, very few white women, is not a good assumption. I think it is ironic that at the time of John Bunch I birth, they could tell you the name and place of every white woman in the colony, but can’t tell you the name of the mother of John, nor can they narrow it down to a few possibilities. They would have been much closer to the truth if they had just assumed it was a sister of Pocahontas. Which actually goes with Bunch oral traditions, and explains why we have DNA matches to the Powhantan.
JOHN PUNCH, RANAWAY
John Punch ran away several years after John Bunch I was born. In fact, ancestry, and others, calculate that John Bunch I should have been born in the early 1630s, and if John Punch ran away in 1640, wouldn’t his indenture have been completed already if the average indenture then was between 4 to 7 years.? Ancestry states that Gwyn might have refused to let Punch go after fulfilling his obligation and that this was the motivator for John Punch to run away. I find it hard to believe that the “courts” would not follow the written indenture and free him and that a man would run away leaving a “wife” and a child with the master Gwyn. A runaway has nothing to tie him to the area. But that is irrelevant now.
FLUIDITY OF BUNCH AS INDIAN
There is no doubt about the haplo group of the Bunch men descendants of Paul Bunch or his brother John Bunch. There are studies suggesting its origins are North Africa or maybe Saudi Arabia. But this is irrelevant per se. There is no telling how long the Bunch have been out of those areas. Its like my own personal haplo group changed from RM269 to RM167 due to a shared mutation concetrated in Catalonia, Spain but my lineage can be traced in Longbuckby England through the 12th century. So my family possibly left the area of Spain when? Possibly never, or maybe 2,000 years ago. Same thing with the Bunch, mixed and well traveled. There is a greater possibility that our Bunch descend from the Bunce (sounds like Bunch) that Roger Bunch found on a ships manifest from Barbados to Virginia, along with one Gibson, than John Punch. Either way, the Bunch were mixed blood from the begining and continued as such. There are too many possibilities to concider that ancestry.com did not.
Joanne Pezzullo blog stayes, “No, there is no evidence John Punch left descendants, just as they said there is no evidence William Bunch of the 1665/66 record left descendants. They don’t tell you who twenty year old Eliza Bunch was that came over in 1635 or what happened to her. They don’t tell you Jeremiah Bunch was imported to King William County in 1671 or what happened to him. Or John Bunch who was imported (probably from South Carolina) by Robert Hix, Captain of the Saponi Fort, in 1716, or the mulatto (Indian?) slave who ‘went by’ John Bunch in the 1719 deposition.”
As found at: https://the-melungeons.blogspot.com/2012/08/we-wuz-riobbed.html?m=1
“1711 the Saponi were found residing near Windsor, Bertie County, North Carolina where just a few months ago a map was discovered to show a Fort, possibly that of the “Lost Colony”, so often mentioned with the Melungeons. The Bunch, Gibson, and possibly other families known as Melungeons lived in this area at one time. In fact Walter Gibson signed a Bertie County deed as a ‘chieftan‘ of the Tuscarora.”
By 1714 the Saponi were found at Fort Christianna with Captain Robert Hicks/Hix who was associated with John Bunch and Gideon Gibson.”
As found at:
Capt. L. M. Jarvis, an old citizen of Sneedville wrote in his 82nd year:
…..” personally knew Vardy Collins, Solomon D. Collins, Shepard Gibson, Paul Bunch and Benjamin Bunch and many of the Goodmans, Moores, Williams and Sullivans, all of the very first settlers and noted men of these friendly Indians.
As found at https://the-melungeons.blogspot.com/2012/06/yes-virginia-native-american-history-is.html?m=1
Hancock County Times1903
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 al 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.
As found at https://the-melungeons.blogspot.com/2012/06/yes-virginia-native-american-history-is.html?m=1
Volume 1. “Piedmont Catawba, Tutelo, Saponi, Nahyssan and Monacan Tribal History”. 522 pages. Mentions Bunch as Saponi Indian
“……..it should be noted that there is some evidence that the area of Alamance and Orange counties may still have had a few settlements of Indians who never left the region, and who consolidated with the Saponi to form the Texas settlement after the Revolutionary War. Various tax lists for Orange County in the 1750s include several families of so-called mulattos bearing the surnames Bunch, Gibson, and Collins. Jeramiah and Henry Bunch received land grants in the area, near the Eno River. The term “mulatto” had a somewhat different meaning in the 1700s; rather than defining simply a black-white mixture, the term was used to classify a wide variety of mixed-blood peoples, so the Bunches and others could easily have been mixed-blood Indians and not Africans (Forbes 1988).
“Gibsons, Sizemores, Collins, Bunch, etc., had came from Wilkes County, North Carolina before settling near the Cherokee boundary. Mulberry Fields in Wilkes County was identified as a Cherokee town as early as 1752 by the Moravians.”
“This Jefferson Frye ismap of 1749 below shows Gist/Gyst with land at Mulberry Fields. Benjamin Cleveland was at Mulberry Fields in 1774 and in his list of tithables is John Gibson, son of Gideon Gibson of Marrs Bluff, South Carolina and his wife Agnes, daughter of the Cherokee Indian trader, James Adair.”
As found at: https://the-melungeons.blogspot.com/2013/04/cherokee-melungeons-part-ii.html?m=1
Incidentally, my Robbins/robins family were residents of Mulberry Fields in Wilkes county and knew these people. Judah James, sister of my 4th great grandmother Nancy James Robins, married an Owen Hall. An Owen Hall, a Cherokee, testified on the behalf of Ned Sizemore.
“In 1723, the House of Burgesses passed two acts expanding the definition of a tithable. As a result, those subject to the tax included all free negroes, mulattos, and Indians (except tributary Indians) above age sixteen and their wives (Hening, 4:133.) In addition to their tithable lists, all masters were required to list the names of every person between the ages of ten and sixteen “for whom any benefit of tending Tobacco is allowed by this Act.”
Paul Heinegg writes;
“The Collins and Bunch families were taxable “Molatas” in Orange County, North Carolina, in 1755 [T&C, box 1]. They were also associated with the Gibson family. Lucrecy Collins witnessed the 1775 Orange County, North Carolina will of George Gibson [WB A:195]. They probably came to Orange County from Louisa County, Virginia. George Gibson, Thomas Gibson, William Hall, Thomas Collins, Samuel Collins, William Collins, William Donathan, Benjamin Branham, and Samuel Bunch were living in Louisa County on 28 May 1745 when they were presented by the court for failing to list a tithable (probably their wives) [Orders 1742-8, 152, 157, 172].
As found at:
Free African American Taxables in Colonial Bertie County, North Carolina
File CCR 190: Bertie taxes of 1751, 1753 and 1754 are filed at CCR 190, among the Colonial Court records. These are summary lists, filed with the central government
1751 tax; This list provides some notations as to mixed-race people, but it is clear that many more are not so labeled. Only the total number of polls are given, with no racial breakdown. The following names represent most of the free mixed-race families:
Ashley, Thos.; Kate Demsey 2
Archer, Thoms., Mary, Baker, Abel free Mulatoes 4
Archer, John, Francis free mulatoes 2
Bunch, Ambrose 1
Bunch, Paul 2
Bunch, Jeremiah 3
Bunch, Jesse 1
Bunch, Henry, Cesar N. Man, Violet Womn 3
Bunch, Ismael 1
Thank you Joanne Pezzullo.
“There is no doubt there was mixing but to lump all these families together and declare them descendants of ‘Sub Saharan men and white women’ with no documentation whatsoever, nothing more than a few families with an E haplogroup and identified as a mulatto is irresponsible and does a great injustice to these ancestors and their descendants.”
Joanne Pezzullo writes,
Thomas Robbins, Well now this is interesting, there has been a Lumbee DNA Project for years. No More! It has turned into ROBESON COUNTY NC AMERICAN INDIAN PROJECT. Wonder why? When that 2012 paper came out [one of the author runs this DNA Project] they proclaimed they could find no source of Indians for the Melungeons, ‘African men and English women,’ they said. Yet half the names on the Melungeon Project were also in the Lumbee Project. This name change is sooo very interesting.
“Paul was granted 265 acres on the south side of Morattock River in Bertie Precinct, North Carolina, on 1 January 1725/6 joining land owned by Simms, Gideon Gibson, Wilkins, and Quankey Pocoson (recall that Paul Bunch was Gilbert Gibson’s immediate neighbor in Hanover County as well). ”
**The Gideon Gibson, son of Gilbert can be a key indicator of relationship between Paul and Henry.
1747 Louisa Co VA: Thomas Collins sold 186 acres on Turkey Creek on the south side of the Southanna River to John Powell..the land lies near Gilbert Gibson, Thomas Gibson and Sam Bunch land.
1747 Louisa Co Va: Gilbert Gibson left a will naming sons Jordan, George and Gideon
**I match Gibson descendants from Gideon. I believe that Paul or John may have been married to a Gibson.
JOHN BUNCH, born about 1678–80, would have grown up in New Kent and Hanover
Counties, Virginia, but followed his father to North Carolina. William Stevens
Sr. sold John Bunch 270 acres on the south side of Morattuck Rover bounded by a
patent dated 1 February 1725/6. On
28 August 1728, John Bunch sold William Little (the man who purchased Fortune
Holdebee’s land) the tract “my father Paul Bunch bought of James Kelly on
**This makes sense that John was in North Carolina with his father Paul and with Henry who were all neighbors, along with Thomas Holder and wife Sussanah Bunch. And it could be plausible in the next paragraph where this John could own land on the Santee as this researcher concludes but, it does not make sense that there was a straight move from Hanover to the Santee in 1731 as suggested at http://pamsfamilytrees.weebly.com/john-bunch-jr-notes.html
The Sapony and Nottoway Indians met with the Governor and
Council. The Sapo-nies were given permission to join the Tuscaroras if
they wished, provided that neither Nation would hunt on any lands patented
in Virginia, nor go among the inhabitants in groups of more than three.
The Sapo-nies were permitted to stay at their town until their corn was
gathered. If they decided not to join the Tuscaroras, they were to move to
some place beyond the inhabitants between the Roanoke and Appomattox rivers.
“Soon after this they all left the Fort. Some joined the Catawbas, and
some eventually joined the Five Nations of the Iroquois in New York.
“After the Indians left the region, all their former lands were taken up
in grants. The site of the Fort became known as Fort Hill Plantation.
*** I do believe that John, son of Paul, possible father of Henry, was married to Mary Gibson. Proof, just naming patterns and a tight bond between the Gibson and Bunch. No smoking gun.
John Bunch purchased
100 acres on the south side of Morattuck River adjacent Tuckahoe Marsh in Bertie County from Barnabee McKinne Jr. on 12 May 1729.
John owed quit rent on 640 acres in Bertie Precinct on 12 June 1737 (he was listed next to Henry Bunch). John Bunch had a plat for 350 acres (on a bank of the Santee River) and a half acre lot (No. 177) in Amelia Township certified 15 November 1735, when it was part of Berkeley County, South Carolina. John Bunch Sr. and his wife, MARY(GIBSON?), gave their son John Bunch Jr. 175 acres (half the tract he patented) with the town lot by deed of gift on 15 December 1755.
***John Freeman mentions purchasing 640 acres from Paul Bunch in his will and left it to his son Elisha. Perhaps the quit rent John was collecting was from that land.
There is an established relationship with two men of particular interest to me within the writing of his will. One is Thomas Holder, and the other is John Bunch.
WILL OF PAUL BUNCH
“In the name of God Amen, I Paul Bunch this 16th Day of November 1726-being of sound mind and perfect memory do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament revoking all other Wills and Testaments by me dame in Manner and Form following Imprimis I bequeath my sole into the hands of God that gave it and my body to the Earth from whence it sprung trusting in the merrits of my only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to receive a joyfull Resurrection and as to what Estate it hat pleased God to bless me with in this World after my funeral charges and my Debts paid I give and dispose of in this manner following. I give a bequeath unto my son John Bunch that part of this land I now live on which he now lives on unto the line of marked trees right up and down as it is marked to him and his heirs of his Body lawfully begotten and further I give and unto my son John Bunch one Negro fellow named Dick to him and his Heirs of his Body lawfully begotten and I give one Iron Pott unto my son John Bunch and likewise I give and bequeath unto Fortune Holdbee this plantation that I now live on with all the lands that belongeth to the plantation unto John Bunches line to her during her life and then to fall unto Coziah [Kesiah] Holdbee and Jmiah [Jemima] Holdbee to be equally devided between them two sisters and if these two children die without heirs lawfully begotton of them to fall unto John Bunch and likewise I give and bequeath unto Fortune Holdbee two feather beds and half the household good and the other half of the household goods to Joseph Mecham and one half of my stock to Fortune Holdbee and the other half of my stock to Joseph Mecham only two cows and calfs first to be taken out of the stock and given unto Thomas Holder and then the rest of my stock to be equally divided between Fortune Holdbee and Joseph Mecham and likewise I give and bequeath unto Fortune Holdbee one Negro named Frank for her and her heirs as long as she lives
single and likewise my will is the Negro fellow named Daw to be between Fortune Holdbee and Joseph Mecham to help and —– one as much as the other in all his service and likewise I give and bequeath unto Coziah Holdbee one Mullatto wench named Pegg to her and her heirs of her body lawfully and in the care of her mother until Coziah comes to the age of eighteen years of married and likewise I give and bequeath unto Jmiah Holdbee one Negro girl named Betty to her and her heirs of her body lawfully begotten and in the care of her mother until Jmiah comes of age eighteen years or married and likewise I give and bequeath unto Joseph Mecham one Negro Wench named Moll and her child Fortune and one Negro Wench Roses and all my lands that I have over Roanoke River belonging to that plantation that I bought of Thomas Wilkens and one survey of land only 100 acres to Thomas Holdbee and likewise I give and bequeath unto John Bunch one Buchaneer Gun and lastly my will is that I appoint Joseph Mecham and Fortune Holdbee to be my Executors of this my last Will and Testament and my two Executors to receive all my Debts and pay all my Debts and what is coming after Debts paid to be equally devided between Joseph Mecham and Fortune Holdbee only I give Elizabeth Bunch one shilling sterling and my daughter Russell I give one shilling sterling this I appoint my last Will and Testament
As Witness my Hand and Seal this 16th day of November 1726- Paul Bunch
John E. Collon [Cotton]
Henry Irby [son]
Letters granted 10th day March 1726~”
The two names listed as Thomas Holder and Thomas Holdbee has been equated by some researchers as the same man. Thomas Holder is written as Holdenby in some deeds. Both names are thought to be derivatives of the name Holdenby. My Robbins tree has a matron with the maiden name de Holdenby and it is a name that seems to take on mutated form, so for now, I strike it as a possibility.
From Thomas Holder and Susannah Bunch, their son James Holder married Elizabeth Gilman?, their daughter Prudence Ann Holder married John Moore, their daughter Pheriba Moore married 2nd Charles King, son of Joseph King and Zilpha Powell, descendant of Bryant and grandson of Michael King and Mary Boone. Charles and Pheriba’s daughter Isabel married Jeptha Dean and are buried on the old homestead in Avalon, Texas, about 25 miles from me here in Waxahachie.
FYI: Obama’s mother is my cousin 3x through the Robbins/robins, Teague and Bunch families.
SOME BUNCH DESSCENDANT PICS
Lorenzo Dow Bunch, recorded as 7 foot tall, descendant of John Bunch II and member of the Cherokee Nation. More pics of his family http://bunchcousins.com/
Me and my youngest son Jeremy robbins. Outerbanks, NC
Middle Aunt Lucy Robbins Marlow. Right Great Grandma Minnie Vick Robbins, descendant of Southampton, VA Strickland and Vick, father’s haplo Qm242
Cousin Briggett Marlowe Parker, sons are 6′ 8″ and 6′ 6″ and grandson 6′ 6″.
My father, Gysgt. Thomas E. Robbins Sr.
Cousin Robert Furgeson, son of Eula Mae Robbins
Me, hangin in Mississippi with real good company.
Nephew Moses Ramirez, son of Georgeann Robbins, 6’5″
Wesley Little Bear Robbins at Indian Woods Baptist church
Adam Robbins, oldest son 6’2″
Aunt Alice Robbins
My little brother Michael on the right reached 6’5″ in high school
Pic below, grandma Georgia Bell Patman Robbins; Bunch, Holder, Moore, Powell, King, Dean, Boone, Lee, Ingram, Bryant, Strickland descendant
Grandpa George Thomas Robbins Jr.; Vick, Turner, Strickland, Bennett, Harmon, Gibson, James, Brewer, descendant