Stemming from French immigrant Martin Fugate, who moved to Kentucky in 1820, the blue people were to become legends in their own right. Apparently the arrival of coal mining in Kentucky in 1912 led to the Fugates moving away from Troublesome Creek. Cawein had just started work at the University of Kentucky’s Lexington medical clinic. There is no official record documenting that Martin was actually blue, but he and his wife both carried a recessive gene that gave their son Zachariah Fugate a startling blue color. The Fugate family of the Troublesome Creek region of Kentucky is but one example of a genetic disorder, scientifically known as Methemoglobinemia. In 1820, French orphan Martin Fugate and his wife Elizabeth Smith moved onto the banks of Troublesome Creek, a beautiful area in Appalachian Kentucky. He published his research on the family in 1964 in the Archives of Internal Medicine and talked about how he tried to treat the family’s condition using methylene blue. Image: via NClark Illustration of Martin Fugate and his family. If a good friend of usually normal… The Blue Fugates of Kentucky had an extremely rare skin condition called methemoglobinemia, which literally turned their skin blue. The Blue People of Kentucky The blue people of Troublesome Creek had methemoglobinemia, a metabolic condition affecting hemoglobin, the four-part protein that carries oxygen bound to an iron atom at each subunit’s core. Due to a recessive gene, some members of the Fugate family have a bluish tint to their skin. For almost two centuries, the “blue skinned people of the Fugate family” lived in the areas of Troublesome Creek and Ball Creek in the hills of eastern Kentucky. They eventually passed their unique characteristic from generation to generation, remaining largely isolated from the outside world. Meanwhile, much earlier in 1960, the stories of the blue people of Troublesome Creek caught the attention of a young haematologist Dr. Madison Cawein. Thereby causing the blue people begin to disappearing. This condition is a rare blood disorder that occurs when there are excessive amounts of methemoglobin in the blood. The family who continued to live in that area or around Troublesome Creek and Ball Creek came under Cawein’s radar. The progenitor of the Fugates family was a Frenchman by the name, Martin Fugate, who had traveled to America in 1820 in search of a better life. The Fugates, a family that lived in the hills of Kentucky, commonly known as the "Blue Fugates" or the "Blue People of Kentucky", are notable for having been carriers of a genetic trait that led to the blood disorder methemoglobinemia, which causes the appearance of blue-tinged skin. Some reports say Martin was not blue but was a carrier of the methemoglobinemia gene. He made frequent trips to Hazard in the hope of finding some blue people. 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