My wife's grandparents were born in Hancock County, Tenn so I have spent sdome time checking out that county.
Vardaman ("Vardy") Collins was one of the founders of the Melungeon families of Newman's Ridge. By 1850, there were dozens of Collins families there.
These Melungeons did have roots in Indian tribes in Virginia despite all the wild stories about "lost tribes", "Portugee" ancestry, etc. etc.
Related Collins families also branched out into Lee County, Virginia so I would think you should explore the Collins of Hsancock Co.
Go to the Collins Gen Forum and type in "Vardaman" and/ or "Vsrdy" You can try it on this forum also. There is also a Melungeon web-site. A fascinating study.
Naturally, there could have been non-Melungeon Collins also.
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