Outlander North Carolina

From Scotland to North Carolina ~ Part 1: Scottish Emigration

January 17, 2018
Post by Contributing Author, Traci Wood Thompson

We all love the fact that Diana chose to send Jamie and Claire to North Carolina.  Undoubtedly, Diana made this decision due to her research findings; any investigation into Highland Scot emigration will reveal North Carolina as a major destination. But why did they come, and why did they choose NC?

First, let’s explore the circumstances that set the migration in motion. There were many of them! The following information is from Douglas F. Kelly’s Carolina Scots: An Historical and Genealogical Study of Over 100 Years of Emigration (Dillon, SC: 1739 Publications, 1998), Chapter 2, “Winds of Change.”

The first catalysts were changes in estate management and farming practices. The old Highland way of farming was unfortunately somewhat inefficient, but this was not considered very important, as long as it could sustain large numbers of clansmen to form potential armies. But over time, as the clan patriarchs aligned themselves more with the English, the Scots aristocracy became more like English landlords, and a “fewer people and more money” mindset dominated.

The result of this change was a social restructuring.  Traditionally, middlemen, or “tacksmen,” gathered the rents for the clan chiefs and kept a certain amount of the profit (we see Dougal filling this role in Outlander.)  As more money was needed, the chiefs raised the tacksmen’s rent, which burden was then passed on to tenants. Then, a movement to get rid of the tacksman position altogether occurred; this was to give land leases directly to tenants, with the entire rent payment going to the chief. While probably a sound financial move, many found it to be “a shocking abrogation of the time-honored kinship system; an undercutting of the values of extended family” (p. 53). While the raising of the tenants’ status was supposed to be a benefit, this was ruined by other factors coming to play at the same time.

One big factor was sheep. Large-scale sheep farming was introduced to the Highlands in the latter third of the 18th century. As the idea took hold of land as a means of revenue, not just to support the clan, landowners found that sheep were more profitable than tenants. English demand for wool helped fuel this change. By the 1770s time period, 136 persons on board the ship Jupiter bound for Wilmington, NC, gave displacement by sheep as a major reason for their emigration.

Forced and complete displacement was not the norm originally. Due to a rise in the kelp industry, many tenants were relocated to the coast to work there, while their former homes were used for sheep pastures. Resentment at being moved around still prompted many to emigrate. When the kelp industry went under, tenants were then forced out, an event known as the Highland Clearances.  The Clearances do not play a large role in the emigration to North Carolina, however; these events came later, from 1800-1820, while the major migrations to NC came in the 1730s to the 1770s from the other problems discussed.

On to these other problems…the next factor at work was a depression in cattle prices. We see and hear in Outlander a bit about the importance of cattle to the Highland culture. “Cattle were, after all, the lynch-pin of the Highland economy. There was usually little else to pay the rents…and a sharp fall in price or a severe winter…could be disastrous to tenants – and lairds.” (p. 63.) Low market prices and disease and death in cattle are seen in the records from the 1730-1740 time period, a time of massive emigration from Scotland to NC.

Another change beginning around the 1750s was a steady population growth.  It is speculated that this was spurred by the introduction of potatoes and kale into the Highland diet; with a healthier diet, more children survived, and the effects of disease lessened.  (Thanks, Claire!) Unfortunately, population growth in a country with limited land, a shaken societal system, and an economic depression led to high unemployment. “Problems of low wages, high rents, and unemployment are frequently mentioned as the main reasons for which Highlanders were emigrating to North Carolina…” For example, “John McBeath Aged 37, by trade a farmer and shoemaker, married, hath 5 children from 13 years to 9 months old. Resided last in Mault in the Parish of Kildonnan in the County of Sutherland, upon the Estate of Sutherland. Intends to go to Wilmington in North Carolina; left his own country because crops failed, he lost his cattle, the rent of his possession was raised, and bread had been long dear; he could get no employment…” (p. 66.)

 

Despite the Battle of Culloden serving as a plot device in Outlander to begin the movement of the characters toward emigration, whether voluntary or forced, in reality this event was only an indirect cause. Emigration to Carolina was well underway by the late 1730s, before Culloden, and rebel soldiers who were exiled to the colonies did not come to Carolina. The battle certainly was the final blow to the already-changing clan system in the Highlands, with the end of the clan chiefs’ judicial power, disarming, banning of Highland dress, etc.  As Kelly says, “Hence the failure of ‘the ‘45’ did not by any means start the process of disintegration, but it certainly strengthened and in a sense institutionalized it.” In other words, “it reinforced the process of social and economic changes which were causing such major upheavals.” (p. 70.) Although there were undoubtedly some Highlanders in NC with “Jacobite sympathies and displeasure at the continuing union of Scotland and England,” “Governor Gabriel Johnston denied in 1749 that any Jacobites lived in the colony.” (p. 71.)

So, as we see, the major reasons that the Highlanders left Scotland were more social and economic than political. The social was “particularly hard because of the innate conservatism of this Highland populace: To persuade a peasantry to abandon an age-old method of cultivation is seldom easy…not least because of a wide-spread and justifiable suspicion that the proposed change would not be for the better.” (p. 61.) The economic obviously created a pressing need to seek opportunities to make a living elsewhere, in order to keep families from starving.

Next time, we will explore the question, why North Carolina. What questions do you have regarding Scottish emigration to America? Please post them in the comments. And as always, thank you for reading Outlander North Carolina!

 

Traci Thompson is a married mother of two who lives in eastern North Carolina, and is, of course, an avid Outlander fan.  Traci is a Certified Genealogist and Local History & Genealogy Librarian. She is a contributing author for Outlander North Carolina.
Giveaways Outlander North Carolina

We Have A Winner – Happy New Year Giveaway

January 5, 2018

Breaking News! We have a winner for this beautiful bracelet! Drum roll please!!!!  The winner is Andy Atalay!

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Andy, congratulations to you!!! To all of you who commented on the blog post but didn’t win, thank you so much for your kind and helpful comments! If you volunteered to write a blog post or contribute towards a giveaway, thank you and I’ll be in touch! If you offered suggestions on what you’d like to see on the blog, I’m already working on some of the great ideas I received! Thank you all so much for everything – even if you simply told me to keep up the good work which means more than you know!

Once again, congratulations to Andy and keep an eye out for more giveaways in the future! And as always, thank you for reading Oulander North Carolina!

Drums Of Autumn Edenton Outlander North Carolina Scottish Immigration Season 4

Backward, Forward and A Giveaway!

January 1, 2018

Happy New Year to you and yours! I pray that you all will have a happy, blessed 2018! For me, every new year comes with hopes for a year a little better than the last, but mostly, for good health and happiness for my family and my friends (that includes you!) and myself. It’s also a time to reflect on the happenings of the last year. The good and the bad, the sad and the happy moments, the things we might would change if we could and the things we wouldn’t change for the world. One of the things I wouldn’t change for the world is starting this blog and the companion Facebook group.  I have met so many wonderful friends who share my love and obsession for Outlander! (It’s nice to know there are other Outlander crazies out there who get it. Wink, wink.)  Of course, there have been some challenges as they come with every new venture but the challenges have paled in comparison to the blessings of you all allowing me a few moments of your lives to read the stuff I write – some of it being downright silly! Yet, you have stuck with me and I so appreciate that. The blog went live on August 5 with my first post and the Facebook group was created two days later. We now have 669 wonderful members in the group…and growing almost daily! I am completely overwhelmed and humbled! It has been an honor to make your acquaintance!

Just as no man is an island, certainly no woman is either and none of this could have happened without the encouragement and support of some very special people. First, my husband. He got dragged into my Outlander obsession and although he doesn’t completely understand it, he does completely support what I’m trying to do.  He even re-watches episodes with me and asks some pretty good questions from a strictly show watcher standpoint – he doesn’t read the books. He’s my Jamie and I so appreciate his love and support. Also, I have received a lot of encouragement and helpful advice from my good friend and group administrator, Susan Holmes Jackson.  Susan has even written a couple of blog posts for me and has been by my side in the group since the beginning.  What a blessing she has been!  Susan also makes Outlander jewelry as well as other beautiful items (I know because I have some of her pieces). You can find her jewelry on Facebook here.  Another big thank you goes to another administrator, Traci Wood Thompson, who has also contributed a blog post and has another one completed and waiting in the wings to be published very soon. More on that in just a bit. I also want to thank my other two administrators who have helped me keep things running smoothly in the group, Blair Beard and Nancy Roach (a/k/a The White Sow). You can find The White Sow on Facebook here or on Twitter @WhiteSow1.  All in all, Outlander North Carolina is an ongoing team effort and I am so thankful for my team! Lastly, but certainly not least, I couldn’t have done this without all of you who are reading this post right now, those of you who have subscribed to my blog, commented on and shared my silly posts, and joined and contributed to the Facebook group! You are what makes the wheel go round and I appreciate each and every one of you.

So, now that 2018 is here, what can you expect and look forward to from Outlander North Carolina in this New Year? Well, here are few things you can keep an eye out for:

  • Season 4! Need I say more! If you are a book reader, you know Claire & Jamie make their way to North Carolina! Because of that, it’s going to be an exciting year for us here at Outlander North Carolina! There will be much to discuss as filming progresses, the premiere draws nearer and as the new season begins. I can’t wait to have The Frasers as neighbors! I’ve been waiting for them for a long, long time!
  • Group Gatherings! Yay!!! We are hoping to have some gatherings throughout the state. If you don’t live in North Carolina but plan to visit, we’d love to meet you and plan a meet up around your visit. If you already live here or even if you don’t, we hope to plan gatherings in some key Outlander North Carolina locations – Wilmington, Edenton, New Bern, Hillsborough, Old Salem, Boone/Blowing Rock (a/k/a The Ridge) and perhaps, Fayetteville (a/k/a Cross Creek).
  • A new series by Traci Thompson which will delve into the topic of Scottish Immigration to North Carolina which should be very informative for all of us history buffs and Outlander lovers.
  • A new series by Susan Jackson on the Outlander North Carolina location of Edenton. You’ll recall Edenton from Drums of Autumn and subsequent books.  This should be a very interesting look inside the colonial Edenton of Jamie & Claire’s time.
  • More Guest Posts! You may even hear from The White Sow herself!
  • An Outlander North Carolina Travel Guide. We’ll be working on a travel guide so you can visit all the Outlander locations plus some in North Carolina. This will be offered as a free printable to group members and those who subscribe to the blog!
  • An Outlander North Carolina T-Shirt Design Contest. We’ve got to have an awesome T-shirt and we’re going to need your help to design it!
  • A Listing of Outlander Events and Appearances for 2018. Conferences, charity fundraisers, and gatherings – anywhere Outlander is celebrated or appearances are made by the cast and show runners, we will try out best to list them all.
  • A Scotland Travel Forum. I want to go to Scotland SO much and I know many others who want to also. Since some of you have already been, we’d love to tap into that knowledge bank and have a place where questions can be asked and answered plus where important Scotland travel information can be shared.
  • More Giveaways! Yes, stay on the lookout for more of these throughout the year. We’ve had a lot of fun with them so far. In fact, keep reading below for a chance to win in our newest giveaway!
  • Any number of things that just randomly pop into our brains!

Whew! I’m tired already just thinking about all of this but very excited too! Of course, there will be a roll out so don’t expect everything all at once. Patience, Grasshoppers! These things do take time.  Also, in order not to miss anything, you’ll want to make sure you are a member of the Outlander North Carolina Facebook Group (not to be confused with NC Outlander Fans which only accepts members who live or have lived in NC.)  Hop on over now to make sure you’re a member of the Outlander North Carolina Facebook Group since announcements will more than likely be shared there first. Here’s the link to the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/outlandernorthcarolina/ If you’re not a member, we’d love to have you join in the craziness!

A Happy New Year Giveaway

As I mentioned above, we’re having a giveaway right now to celebrate the New Year and all the good things we hope happen here at Outlander North Carolina in 2018! Facebook group member, Jennifer Pittman (no relation), who has her very own jewelry design business, has graciously contributed this gorgeous bracelet which will be given away to one lucky person.

For more of Jennifer’s designs, you can find her on Facebook at JenuineDesignsbyJP https://www.facebook.com/JenuineDesignsbyJP/

Now, to enter for a chance to win, you must leave a comment to this post. One winner will be randomly selected from everyone who comments. What should you comment about? Well, tell me what you’d like to see on Outlander North Carolina. Do you have an idea that I haven’t mentioned? Would you like to write a guest post?  Would you like to contribute towards a giveaway? Would you like to help organize some events and gatherings for the group? What are you most looking forward to in 2018?  How can we make Outlander North Carolina better? Want to simply say hello? See, there’s plenty to say so just say it! Je Suis Prest! Are you? Get to it then and good luck!!! And as always, thank you for reading Outlander North Carolina.

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Happy New Year Giveaway Rules

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY AND A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.  In order to enter for a chance to win the Sassenach bracelet by Jenuine Designs by JP, you MUST comment on this post. One comment and one entry per person. More than one comment by the same person will be automatically disregarded as an entry. This giveaway begins on Monday, January 1, 2018, at 12:15 PM EST and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Thursday, January 4, 2018.  The winner will be announced on the blog and on the Facebook group.  You must be 18 years of age or older to enter and must be a resident of the United States. (Apologies to our international readers. Giveaway laws vary widely in different countries and giveaways are totally prohibited in some.) Selection of the winner will be made by random drawing from qualifying entries within 48 hours of the end of the giveaway. Prize will be mailed directly to the winner by Jenuine Designs by JP. Questions regarding the giveaway can be directed to outlandernorthcarolina@gmail.com.

Drums Of Autumn Edenton Fraser's Ridge

Jamie’s Book “The Natural History of North Carolina”

December 28, 2017

Christmas is over! All the scurrying and preparations are over and I can now re-focus on all things Outlander! Yay! I hope those of you who celebrated Christmas had a wonderful holiday! I certainly did! I ate too much and now need my stretchy pants! The first of the year will bring many new things for the blog plus a diet for me.  Fun on the former; not so much fun on the latter!  However, I refuse to think about diet until the first of the year so, for now, let’s jump back to the subject of this post.

I get daily emails from “This Day in North Carolina History”. This morning’s email included an article about explorer John Lawson who on December 28, 1700, began his journey to the backcountry of North Carolina.  He started out from Charleston, South Carolina with five Englishmen and several Indian guides and crossed over into what is now North Carolina (near the present-day Charlotte area) in late January, 1701.  As he traveled through the Carolina backcountry, he journaled and recorded his observations in what became his book, “A New Voyage to Carolina“, which was published in 1709.  It is also known by the titles of “The History of Carolina” and “Lawson’s History of Carolina“.

The email made me think about the book Jamie had with him and referred to in Drums of Autumn but I couldn’t remember the specifics. Since inquiring minds have to know, I pulled out my trusty Kindle and searched “History of Carolina”, remembering vaguely that Jamie had told Claire the name of the book he was reading. Sure enough, the search garnered three results but it wasn’t at all what I expected – which sent me on another research expedition. Here are my findings.

The book mentioned in Drums of Autumn by Jamie is “The Natural History of North Carolina” and the author named in the book is Bricknell.

He held a book in his hand, thumb between the pages to hold his place, and now bent his head to consult the volume.

“I believe it is an alligator. They dine upon carrion, it says here, and willna eat fresh meat. When they take a man or a sheep, they pull the victim beneath the water to drown it, but then drag it to their den below ground and leave it there until it has rotted enough to suit their fancy. Of course,” he added, with a bleak glance at the bank, “they’re sometimes fortunate enough to find a meal prepared.”

The figure on the stake seemed to tremble briefly, as something bumped it from below, and Ian made a small choking noise beside me.

“Where did you get that book?” I asked, not taking my eyes off the stake. The top of the wooden pole was vibrating, as though something under the waves was worrying at it. Then the pole was still, and the V-shaped wake could be seen again, traveling back toward the riverbank. I turned away before it could emerge.

Jamie handed me the book, his eyes still fixed on the black mudflat and its cloud of screeching birds.

“The Governor gave it to me. He said he thought it might be of interest on our journey.”

I glanced down at the book. Bound in plain buckram, the title was stamped on the spine in gold leaf—The Natural History of North Carolina.

(Drums of Autumn, Chapter 8, Diana Gabaldon)


At the moment, he possessed one book—The Natural History of North Carolina, published 1733, brought along as guide and reference.

(Drums of Autumn, Chapter 19, Diana Gabaldon)


“Mmphm.” Jamie reached out a hand and patted absently around on the table, searching for the bread plate. His attention was wholly focused on the book he was reading, Bricknell’s Natural History of North Carolina. “Here it is,” he said. “I knew I’d seen a bit about rattlesnakes.” Locating the bread by feel, he took a piece and used it to scoop a healthy portion of egg into his mouth. Having engulfed this, he read aloud, holding the book in one hand while groping over the tabletop with the other.

“ ‘The Indians frequently pull out the snakes’ Teeth, so that they never afterwards can do any Mischief by biting; this may be easily done, by tying a bit of red Wollen Cloth to the upper end of a long hollow Cane, and so provoking the Rattle-Snake to bite, and suddenly pulling it away from him, by which means the Teeth stick fast in the Cloath, which are plainly to be seen by those present.’ ”

(Drums of Autumn, Chapter 25, Diana Gabaldon)

Well, that’s quite odd I said to myself.  Maybe there were two explorers who wrote two similar books. We all know Diana does her research! So, I googled Bricknell’s “The Natural History of North Carolina” and found a book by that title by one John Brickell, M.D. who was a native of Ireland. He explored and lived in North Carolina beginning in 1724 through at least 1731 and practiced medicine in Edenton, North Carolina (another Outlander location) from about 1730 to 1731. His book was published in Dublin in 1737 after his return to Ireland.

So, you say, what’s the big deal with John Brickell? Well, it is widely acknowledged by most history buffs that close to 85 percent of his book “The Natural History of North Carolina” was plagiarized from John Lawson’s “A New Voyage to Carolina”.  In fact, whole sections of Lawson’s book were lifted out and copied word for word by Brickell.  So, if Diana’s Bricknell is history’s own real-life Brickell, the words Jamie was reading and the information he was gleaning were actually from John Lawson who started his exploration of the North Carolina backcountry exactly 317 years ago today!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick lesson from Today in Outlander North Carolina history. What do you think? Could the real life Brickell be the inspiration for Diana’s Bricknell? I vote yes!

For more information on John Lawson and John Brickell, click on the links below and, as always, thank you for reading Outlander North Carolina!

Drums Of Autumn Fraser's Ridge

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Fraser’s Ridge

December 23, 2017

Dear Outlander North Carolina, 

I am 39 years old (and holding). Some of my friends and family say there is no Fraser’s Ridge.  I told them “If I see it on Outlander North Carolina, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Fraser’s Ridge? 

– Virginia B. Fashing
1767 Drums of Autumn Road

Fourth Season, North Carolina

Oh, dear Virginia! I am so glad you wrote to me before you slipped into disbelief. Dinna fash yourself! Your friends & family sound most pitiful and have most likely been affected by some sort of weird reality check disorder. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds – minds which have not been exposed to Outlander, then Droughtlander, then Outlander, then Drou…. pardon me, I digress. All minds, Virginia, are not like the minds of those of us who have read the Outlander books and have watched the TV series. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect – which suddenly reminds me of Arch & Murdina Bug for some unknown reason. Let’s see, what was I saying?  Oh yes!  I think I was saying man is a bug but I have no idea why? Please disregard all of that!

Yes, Virginia, there is a Fraser’s Ridge. It exists as certainly as Craig Na Dun, Castle Leoch and Lallybroch exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Fraser’s Ridge. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginia’s. As awful as if there were no Jamie and Claire. As dreadful as if there were no Young Ian, Rollo, Fergus and Marsali. As horrible as if there were no Roger or Brianna. As terrifying as if there were no Lizzie and the Beardsley twins, Stephen Bonnet or Tom & Malva Christie! No, there would be nothing to look forward to, nothing to re-read and re-watch! There would be no Facebook groups, no Twitter & Instagram feeds, no blog articles and no NSFW videos to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. And although the sight of Jamie in that kilt could get us by for quite a while, in the end and at last, the light with which the Outlander fandom fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Fraser’s Ridge! You might as well not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies or time travel! You might scout out the path to Fraser’s Ridge, but even if you don’t find the cabin, the Big House, Clarence, Adso and The White Sow, what would that prove? Nothing, Virginia dear! Nothing!!! Nobody sees Fraser’s Ridge, but that is no sign that there is no Fraser’s Ridge! (The Tooth Fairy & The Easter Bunny are other fine examples.) Geez, Virginia!! The most real things in the world are those we cannot see, you clotheid!!! Did you ever see druids dancing on a hill? Well, of course, you have and though others may not have seen them, that’s no proof that they are not there!!! How dare you even question such a thing?!?! Ahem. Please forgive me. I apologize, Virginia. I forgot my medication this morning and am somewhat irritable….in fact, where ARE my meds?!?!

You may tear apart Jem’s toy car to see what makes it roll, but then Roger would get really mad with you! Oh my, where did that come from? Look, Virginia, what I meant to say is that there is a veil covering the unseen world which neither Jamie, nor even the united strength of Jamie, Murtagh, Dougal, Rupert and Angus could tear apart. Only real delusion, hysteria, obsession,  and Jamie & Claire’s romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory that is Fraser’s Ridge. Is it real? Hello?! Earth to Virginia?!?! In all this world there is nothing else real and abiding!!! (Next time before I respond to a letter, I will not put so much Fireball in the eggnog.)

No Fraser’s Ridge! You are kidding me, right? Thank God! it exists and it exists forever! A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, it will continue to make glad the heart of Outlander fans!

So, there you have it, Virginia!  Now, go tell your daffy friends and family to get a grip because you saw it on Outlander North Carolina and, Virginia … Merry Christmas!

Sincerely,

Dr. I. Fash Yeken, Ph.D.
NC Delusional Disorders Clinic for Outlander Addicts

Fall Through Time With Me In North Carolina!