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Records for Vardemon "Vardy" Collins

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Vardemon "Vardy" Navarrh Collins

Birthplace: New River, Grayson, Virginia, United States
Death: Died in Tennessee, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of James Navarrh Henry Collins
Husband of Peggy Collins
Father of Lottie Williams; Morgan Collins Sr; Ethel "Ethie" Gowens; Alfred Collins; Claricia Biggs and 2 others
Brother of Solomon Collins and Benjamin Collins

Managed by: Private User
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About Vardy Collins

Vardemon Navarrh Collins

M, b. 1764

Vardemon Navarrh Collins settled in Blackwater Valley, Tennessee in 1797. In 1810 he had already acquired 100 acres of land, as listed for the Captain Looney Company, Puncheon Camp Valley (Pore Valley), along with Benjamin Colings, 90 acres; Hennery Collings, James Collings, 100 acres; John Denhan, Gerden (Jordan) Gibson, 100 acres; Yearby Gibson, Shepard Gibson, 50 acres; Charels Gibson, Tiry Gibson, 50 acres; Royal Gibson and Vallingtine (Valentine) Collins, 100 acres. The William Nichols list of 1812 includes Jesse Gibson 30 acres, and John Denhan, 30 acres.

Vardy Mineral Springs, operated by Vardemon Collins for many years and Vardy School, a Presbyterian Mission School, were both named for him. According to Court records of Wilkes County, North Carolina, Vardy Collins, born in 1764 in North Carolina, was involved in a lawsuit - Case 10, State vs Vardy Collins, as shown by Court Records of Wilkes County, of which Ashe County was a part at the time. In the same record, Case 11 was entitled, State vs Jordan Gibson.

Vardy Collins was said to be a full-blooded Indian. Probably half-blooded. His wife Margaret Gibson, was Spanish, probably full-blooded. Their descendents are mostly of dark skin, some with straight dark hair, though many have a wave in the hair, some have curly, even kinky hair. This may come from the Spanish or mixture of Irish.

Vardy and Peggy came in from North Carolina from near Red River, or crossed the Red River. They took practically all the land from the Virginia State Line to Mulberry Gap, between Newmans Ridge and Powell Mountain.

Vardy was the son of James Navarrh H. Collins (he was called Henry), born in 1699 in Virginia. Henry was the son of Henry Collins, the indentured servant of Thomas Wood. He is listed in the Court Book of the Virginia Company dated 15 December 1619 and 23 June 1620. See Manchester Papers #241, Public Records Office, London, England, List of Records #58.

Where they got the money for this much land we do not know. Possibly it was a grant for some Military service, though he is not listed as a pensioner or having been in any military outfits under the name of Vardy. Some sources said his name was Henry Navarrh Collins, and that later it was changed to Vardimon or Vardy. Possibly Peggy came from a rich family and had the money before they moved here. Or it is possible that Vardy came from a rich family, or was in business and made it before he came to Tennessee. Vardy built a big double log house near the Vardy Springs. It was counted as one of the biggest houses in the county at the time. It is rumored that travellers stopped to stay over night there and were never heard from again. From the nature of the case we can not be sure of the truth of these traditions. Perhaps it is better to think that he came by his money in honest ways, and freely practiced the open and free hospitality of the backwoods and the mountains, and likely being a man of force and resolute habit, he likely was envied by those who were less successful, and suspected where there was but little truth or little cause for it. Vardemon Navarrh Collins was also known as Vardy Collins. He married Peggy Gibson. Vardemon Navarrh Collins was born in 1764 at New River, Grayson County, Virginia.

Children of Vardemon Navarrh Collins and Peggy Gibson

Lottie Collins

Morgan Collins

Effie Collins

Clarkia Collins

Allen Collins+ b. 1802

Alfred Collins+ b. 1810

"Vardy Collins" was a landowner and owned an inn.

Vardy was mentioned in a journalist's account of a stay at the Inn that Vardy operated in the valley between Newmans Ridge and Powells Mt, in 1840;

   Littell's Living Age - No.254-31 March, 1848
                               The Melungens
 " The doctor was, as usual, my compagnon de voyage, and we stopped at

"Old Vardy's", the hostelrie of the vicinage. Old Vardy is the "chief cook and bottle-washer" of the Melungens, and is really a very clever fellow; but his hotel savors strongly of that peculiar perfume that one may find in the sleeping-rooms of our negro servants, especially on a close, warm, summer's evening."

  The legend of how Vardy and Shepard Gibson came to Hawkins/Hancock  Co was told in Will Allen Dromgoole's "Four Branches of Melungeon Tree" (1890's)

(refering to Shepard as "Buck") ;

"These two, Vardy Collins and Buck Gibson, were the head and source of the Melungeons in Tennessee. With the cunning of their Cherokee ancesters, they planned and executed a scheme by which they were enabled to “set up for themselves” in the almost unbroken Territory of North Carolina.

Old Buck, as he was called, was disguised by a wash of some dark description, and taken to Virginia by Vardy where he was sold as a slave. He was a magnificent specimen of physical strength, and brought a fine price, a wagon and mules, a lot of goods, and three hundred dollars in money being paid to old Vardy for his "likely nigger". Once out of Richmond, Vardy turned his mules shoes and stuck out for the wilderness of North Carolina, as previously planned. Buck lost little time ridding himself of his negro disguise, swore he was not the man bought of Collins , and followed in the wake of his fellow thief to the Territory. The porceeds of the sale were divided and each chose his habitation; old Vardy choosing Newman’s Ridge, where he was soon joined by others of his race, and so the Melungeons became a part of the inhabitants of Tennessee."

  Some researchers believe Vardy was the son of Samuel Collins, and grandson of Thomas Collins, and descended from the Saponi Indian tribe.
  It's highly possible that Vardy had other children besides the ones listed below, perhaps with Peggy or with a previous wife. 

More About VARDY COLLINS: Burial: Hancock Co, TN


 Peggy was called "Spanish Peggy" and was believed to be the sister of Shepherd Gibson. According to the Grohse papers, Peggy's family was believed to have once been involved in piracy.

Children of VARDY COLLINS and PEGGY GIBSON are: 2. i. LETITIA2 COLLINS, b. Abt. 1791. 3. ii. MORGAN COLLINS, b. Abt. 1798, NC. 4. iii. ALLEN COLLINS, b. Abt. 1802, TN. 5. iv. SIMEON COLLINS, b. Abt. 1803, TN; d. Abt. Aug 1836, Hawkins Co., KY. 6. v. ALFRED COLLINS, b. Abt. 1810. 7. vi. ETHIE COLLINS, b. Abt. 1810, TN. 8. vii. CLARKIA COLLINS, b. 11 Feb 1812, Hawkins Co., TN (?); d. 07 Mar 1878, Lawrence Co., OH.

More information on Vardy Collins and many other Melungeon people can be found in the book, Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia written by Wayne Winkler, published 2004, 2005.

view all 11

Vardy Collins's Timeline

New River, Grayson, Virginia, United States
Age 27
North Carolina, United States
Age 39
Hawkins County, Tennessee, United States
Age 46
Hawkins County, Tennessee, United States
Age 47
Tennessee, United States
Age 49
Hawkins County, Tennessee, United States
Age 53
Hancock County, Tennessee, United States
Age 54
Hancock County, Tennessee, United States
Age 96
Tennessee, United States