This Family Has Blue Skin
Wed, April 21, 2021

This Family Has Blue Skin

 

All of us have been accustomed to white-, fair-, or black-skinned people. But, decades ago, there was a family who lived at Troublesome Creek who was known for their blue skin. Since they remained largely sealed off from the outside world for many years, they were able to pass their blue skin from generation to generation.

 

Credits: All That's Interesting

 

It all started when French orphan named Martin Fugate, who settled in Troublesome Creek in the hills of eastern Kentucky in 1820, married a woman named Elizabeth. Both of them possessed a recessive gene that resulted in them having kids being born with blue skin. The place where they lived was isolated from towns, which is why no people could reach that part of the state until the early 1910s. Thus, many of the Fugates began to marry and have children within their own bloodline.

“It was hard to get out, so they intermarried. I’m kin to myself,” Dennis Stacy, an amateur genealogist and descendant of the Fugates, said. 

 

Credits: All That's Interesting

 

However, the Fugates family also became victims of discrimination as people began to associate their skin color with the family’s history of inbreeding. Two of their family members then decided to approach Madison Cawein, a hematologist at the University of Kentucky’s medical clinic at the time, in search of a cure. Cawein later found out that the family carried a rare hereditary blood disorder that causes excessive levels of methemoglobin in their blood.

 

Credits: History Collection

 

While the Fugates family was much more active decades ago, their bloodline still very much exists. According to All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they see on the news or read in history books, Benjamin “Benjy” Stacy was born with dark blue skin in 1975. His doctors were so surprised by the color of his skin that they sent him to the University of Kentucky Medical Center to be tested. 

 

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