Jackson Whites


Smarter than the average bear
PREMO Member
We were watching an episode of Law & Order. The episode name is Immortal. It's about a dead guy and his relatives. They use their blood cells for cancer research.

In the show they mention the people originally living in the Ramapo Mountains before they relocated to New York City. Growing up in that area, I heard a lot of stories about the Jackson Whites. They were reclusive hillbillies, descended from native Indians, slaves and German soldiers. It was insinuated that they would be violent against anyone that wandered onto their turf. Prior to hearing about it on the show, I haven't heard them mentioned in decades.

Anyone from outside the northern NJ area ever hear of them? It would be interesting to find out if there are other pockets of remote groups left in the US.

Some background:
“Jackson Whites” is a pejorative term for a group of people who have been living for centuries in the beautiful and remote Ramapo Valley, a breathtaking section of the Ramapo Mountains that crosses the New York/New Jersey border at Suffern, NY.

Many of these people have albinism that gives them notable facial and skin characteristics. Their mixed heritage, unique appearance, and secretive lifestyle have captivated the attention of journalists, sociologists, and other outsiders since the 19th century.

In addition to Native Americans, it is believed that these people are also descendants of Hessian soldiers who deserted during the American Revolution. Runaway and freed slaves make up the third major component of this group. The Ramapo Mountains are a forested, rugged chain of the Appalachian Mountains. The difficult topography has resulted in shyness, secrecy, and isolation among the natives there. This isolated lifestyle and harsh terrain severely limited fresh entries into the gene pool and possibly increased the likelihood of disorders such as albinism. Snuggled in the mountains since before the Revolutionary War, these people were largely forgotten and overlooked.

Myths regarding these elusive natives of the Ramapo Mountains are likely to continue well into the future, as will the undeserved stereotypes that have been assigned to them, especially if they decide to remain hidden in their lovely landscape.

mountain men


Well-Known Member
PREMO Member
In the late 70's lived for a time right off US 202 in Mahwah. The local had many stories of the Jackson Whites. I always thought the stories had been embellished and romanticized over time. I hunted and fished the area and never had any encounters. Maybe they have assimilated over time.