Author Archives: heatherandolina

In Memoriam: A Tribute to Troy Williams

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It is with great sorrow that we share with all of you the passing of one of our own, Troy Williams. Troy was born and raised in the Vardy Valley and was a staunch supporter and member of both the MHA and the Vardy Community Historical Society.  Troy Williams was always proud of his Melungeon Heritage, and it showed in his commitment in educating others about the history of the Vardy Valley where he grew up and about the Melungeon people. Troy’s contributions to the VCHS and MHA were invaluable.

My own experience with Troy is one I will never forget. My brother’s and I had the honor and privilege of meeting and interviewing Troy for our documentary about our Melungeon Ancestry. Troy and his wonderful wife Nancy were warm, welcoming, and very hospitable. They made us feel like family, and well I guess we are family through our shared Gibson Genealogy. Both Troy and Nancy guided us in our research for our documentary. We couldn’t have gotten started without them. My brother’s and I are so grateful and lucky to have had the opportunity to have met and known Troy Williams. His knowledge and experience was one of a kind, and we treasured our short time we had with him.

From all of us here at the MHA, thank you Troy Williams, you will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. To read more about Troy, in the MHA’s Spring newsletter, Troy’s wife Nancy, wrote a beautiful piece about Troy and his mother, and about growing up in the Vardy Valley. There will be a special memorial service for Troy Williams in the Vardy Valley, near Sneedville, Tennessee on April 20th, 2019 for anyone who would like to attend. Below are a few pictures of Troy. One from about five or six years ago in the Vardy Valley and two from my interview with Troy last year for the documentary.


Schedule for the 23rd MHA Union June 20th, 21st and 22nd, Wytheville, Virginia

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23rd Union Schedule, Wytheville, Virginia
June 20, 21, and 22, 2019

Thursday, June 20
3:00 p. m. From Wytheville to the White House: A Tour of the Edith Bolling
Wilson Birthplace Museum. Meet at the Edith Bolling Wilson
Museum, 145 E Main St., Wytheville, VA 24382. $5/person. Optional
visit to the Edith Bolling Wilson cenotaph, East End Cemetery, 800 E
Main St, Wytheville, VA 24382

Friday, June 21- Tour of Burke’s Garden
10:00 a. m. Leave Wytheville (drive on your own or car-pool. Directions provided)
11:30 a. m. Arrive Tazewell and Lunch at Your Grate Escape, 2871 Fincastle
Turnpike, North Tazewell, VA 24630
12:45 p. m. Leave Tazewell
1:15 p. m. Arrive Burke’s Garden
1:30 p. m. Discuss—Burke’s Garden Geology and History
2:00 p. m. Burke’s Garden Artisan Guild Studio Tour
2:30 p. m. Discuss—Melungeon Connections in the Garden
3:00 p. m. Leave Burke’s Garden
4:00 p. m. Arrive Wytheville
7:00 p. m. Reception- Bolling Wilson Hotel, 170 E Main St, Wytheville, VA
24382 (light fare)

Saturday, June 22 – Wytheville Meeting Center, 333 Community Blvd, Wytheville, VA 24382
9:00-9:10 a. m. Scott Withrow, President; S. J. Arthur, Pres. Emeritus – Welcome
9:10-10:00 a. m. Katherine Vande Brake, PHD – Melungeon Women in Literature
10:10-11:15 a. m. Melungeon Woman Panel Discussion
11:15-1:00 Lunch
1:00-1:50 p. m. Lynda Logan and Stephanie Musick -Who Do You Think You Are?
Melungeon Mitochondrial DNA
2:00-2:50 p. m. Edward Davis IV, PhD – A Goins Grandmother
3:00-3:50 p. m. Wayne Winkler – The Walter Plecker Exemptions
4:00-4:45 p m. Book signing and family discussions
4:45-5:15 p. m. Scott Withrow, Heather Andolina – General Meeting