Roberts’ Home Place on Newman’s Ridge
A few years ago, Bill Williams contacted me on Facebook. His dad and my dad had been friends growing up. I recently asked him if he knew where my dad’s home was, since dad had never showed me. He told me that he knew exactly where it was and that it’s across the street from his grandfather’s old place. He even said that they had squirrel hunted up there and that the fireplace and chimney still stand.
Needless to say, I was excited. Dad said that he grew up on the ridge. But, I never knew that it was Newman’s Ridge. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because that is the famous homeplace of the Melungeon people. The Roberts are typically tanned and we have always thought to be Melungeon. However, my DNA tests only show a percentage of Sardinian blood. The rest of the results were English, Welsh, Irish, Scottish, and Scandinavian. My thought is that our tanned skin comes from the Wallens. Elisha Wallen was reportedly dark skinned, dark eyed, and dark haired. I have seen some reports that Thomas Wallen, son of the Ralph and Joyce Wallen who were at Plymouth Colony, was an adopted Shawnee child. However, I do not have any confirmation on that story.
The location is a cleared area between 604 and 610 on the Virginia side of Newman’s Ridge. Many thanks to my friend Bill Williams for showing me where it is. I plan to investigate it the next time I travel to Blackwater.
I grew up on Route 610, or Sarepta as it’s called, at the foot of Newman’s Ridge. The old Roberts home still stands and was once the home of my Grandma Vandevender. It’s been empty for decades.