Monday, March 31, 2014

The shaded areas in the map above show where Scots-Irish settled and became the dominate ethnic group.  These areas also represent where Scots-Irish are still found in large numbers in the 21st Century.  The Appalachian area contains a core Scots-Irish area and runs from West Virginia down to the Mississippi Hill Country.  There are two other core Scots-Irish areas, east Texas and the Arkansas mountains, both the Ozarks and Ouachitas.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sex and the Scots-Irish

An interesting quote from Anglican missionary Charles Woodmason when visiting Scots-Irish backsettlments in the Carolinas in the 1760s: "How would the polite people of London stare, to see the Females (many very pretty) . . . ," he wrote. "The young women have a most uncommon practice, which I cannot break them of. They draw their shirt as tight as possible round their Breasts, and slender waists (for they are generally very finely shaped) and draw their Petticoat close to their Hips to show the fineness of their limbs as that they might as well be in purl naturalibus indeed nakedness is not censurable or indecent here, and they expose themselves often quite naked, without ceremony rubbing themselves and their hair with bears' oil and tying it up behind in a bunch like the indians being hardly one degree removed from them. In a few years I hope to bring about a reformation." 

The Goliad Massacre

On 27 March 1836, some 342 Texan soldiers were executed by the Mexican army in what would be known as the Goliad Massacre.  This was in the opening phase of the Texas War for Independence. The majority of the Texican soldiers were Scots-Irish.  Many of the settlers in Texas were from Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arkansas and predominately Scots-Irish.

Troutman Goliad Flag

Above is one of the flags used by Texican troops at Goliad.  The single star flag had been used by Scots-Irish people since 1810. 

Link to roster of Texican soldiers at Goliad:  Colonel James Fannin's Command

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Battle of Horseshoe Bend 27 March 1814

Americans troops circa 1814
A very famous day in Scots-Irish history is 27 March which is the anniversary of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.  On this day in 1814 General Andrew Jackson led force consisting of 2,600 American soldiers, 500 Cherokee, and 100 Lower Creek allies to attach the Red Stick Creek fort  defended by 1,000 warriors on Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River.  The majority of Jackson’s men were Scots-Irish.

The battle began in full at 10:30 that morning with an artillery barrage which consisted of two cannons firing for about two hours.  However, the Red Stick Creek fort was expertly constructed of heavy timber and earth.  Very little damage was done to fortifications and the Red Stick Creek were entirely safe and well supplied behind their walls.
Horseshoe Bend today
Jackson ordered a bayonet charge and the 39th US Infantry led by Colonel John Williams charged the breastworks and engaged the Red Sticks in hand to hand combat.  Sam Houston was an officer that participated in the battle.  He distinguished himself greatly; he was the first man to survive going over the log barricade into the Red Stick lines.  He was wounded by an arrow, a wound that troubled him the rest of his life.  David Crockett was a scout for Jackson’s army, he was scouting when the engagement took place, and while was in the vicinity, did not participate in the fighting of that day.   

More of Jackson's army under General John Coffee crossed the river and joined in the battle.  The fighting was extremely intense and lasted over five hours.  Eventfully Jackson got the upper hand and the Red Stick defenses collapsed.  The Red Stick losses were heavy, between 800 to 1000 dead.  Their Chief, Menawa, was wounded, but survived and led a party of his warriors across the river to safety and escaped to Spanish Florida.  The Scots-Irish losses were between 30 to 40 killed and around 150 wounded. The victory made the area safe for the Scots-Irish settlers.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Laggan Redshanks

Mongavlin, the Castle of Iníon Dubh

 In the sixteenth century Scottish Highlanders settled in the Laggan district of east Donegal. They were called Redshanks.  The history of the Laggan Redshanks has many fascinating elements which include Clann Chaimbeul and their dynamic leader the fifth Earl of Argyll, Gaelic sexual intrigues, English Machiavellian manoeuvres, and the Redshanks themselves.  This book not only tells the fascinating story of how a Highland Scottish community became established in the Laggan, but also includes the surnames of the Redshanks and notes of their origins in Scotland, which will be of interest to family historians and genealogists.
This book has the complete Portlough Muster roll taken in 1630 and includes notes on each of the surnames.  It is available from Amazon as a paperback and Kindle version.

Link to Amazon:  The Laggan Redshanks

I have been asked many times about Highland Scottish surnames among the Scots-Irish.  Over the years as I worked with primary sources I did indeed notice within early Scots-Irish settlements there was a considerable Highland Scot presence.  One part of the story concerns the migration of Highlanders from mid-Argyll and Lennox to east Donegal circa 1569 to 1600.  This migration was sponsored by Clann Chaimbeul.  After the Plantation began in 1609 these Highlanders remained on their lands in the Laggan district.  Their experiences with the New Order in Ulster was different than other Redshank (Highland Scots) communities living in Ireland.  One reason was these particular Redshanks were of the Reformed faith.  Clann Chaimbeul, under the fifth Earl of Argyll were early converts to the Reformed faith.  While they retained their Gaelic language and culture they did in time become part of the general Ulster Scots community in the Laggan. When the Ulster Migration began in 1718 they were on the first ships that left for the Colonies and throughout the eighteenth century they continued to migrate in great numbers.  In the New World they were part of the people that became what we call today, the Scots-Irish.