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Alamance Outlander North Carolina Season 5

ONC Admins Choice Awards, Season 5, “The Ballad of Roger Mac”

April 3, 2020

Welcome back to the season five ONC Administrators’ Choice Awards!  Now until the end of this season, (we refuse to think about it), some of the ONC administrators and myself will be voting on our “Bests/Mosts/Leasts” from the latest Outlander episode.  We enjoyed this fun way to briefly recap each episode last season, and hope you enjoy it as we do! This week’s voting contributors are Tara Heller, Dawn Woo, Mitzie Munroe, Nancy Roach, and Traci Thompson. So, without further ado, the winners for episode 7, The Ballad of Roger Mac are…

Traci: The birthday conversation. A great part of the books, and this kind of Jamie & Claire intimate scene was needed in such an emotional episode. 

Tara: I agree with Traci! I’m glad to see show Jamie and Claire still have the moments that make them Jamie and Claire.

Dawn W.: The scene where Jamie gives the coat back to Tryon. Total disgust and repulsion and anger.

Mitzie: Claire seeing Jamie off to battle. I love their exchange – “Will you wish me luck then?” “I can’t let you go without saying something. I suppose good luck will do. I love you soldier.” “Good luck will do, and I love you does so much better”.

Nancy: I have to agree with everyone.Those intimate moments between Jamie and Claire are so special. I also liked when Jamie angrily throws the red coat on the ground at Governor Tryon’s  feet.

Susan:  Jamie not only gave his “coat” back to Tryon, he spoke loud and clear when he dropped it on the ground. (And Tim Downie has made such a great William Tryon!)

Traci: A lot of them, but I’ll go with a tie between 1.) “There might be a day we part, but it won’t be today.” and 2.) “I’d never betray your mother, no matter who asked.” 

Dawn W.: I love the book lines but I think Jamie’s response to Claire before he went to battle….”Good luck will do. But I love you does so much better.”

Mitzie: Tryon’s – “Fire! Fire, God damn you! Fire on them, or fire on me!”

Nancy: Again I have to agree with everyone on the lines. I also liked some of the humorous ones that really need to go under the funniest award. Jamie to Claire: “As for taking stock, I have all my teeth…none of my parts are missing, and my cock still stands up in the morning.” Morag: “I’ve a thick skull.” Roger: “ I’ve a thick skull too. It runs in the family.”

Susan: “Whatever tomorrow brings, I’m grateful to see it.” Jamie speaking of being older than his father–I remember the day I become just one day older than my mother–she died when she was 40–I can’t imagine dying that young, especially when you have a family to care for, and I totally related to Jamie’s feelings here.

Traci: Sam Heughan, hands down. How many ways is it possible for the man to look absolutely gutted?? But Caitriona too – she reflected his emotions like a mirror.  

Tara: Definitely Sam. So much face acting this episode. So many emotions.

Dawn W.: Sam Heughan…not just his words, but his body language, his demeanor, his facial expressions…wow!

Mitzie: Sam! So much emotion, all across the board! From swoon worthy bedroom eyes to utter disgust and hatred to heart retching anguish! WOW! Bravo!

Nancy: Again I agree with everyone. Sam Heughan. His impassioned plea to Claire to fix Murtagh, was heartbreaking. He ran the gamut of emotions from the start of the episode to the finish. 

Susan:  No doubt about it–Sam Heughan.

Traci: Of course, Murtaugh. I knew it was coming, but not… like that.

Tara: Other than Murtagh, Graham McTavish as Buck 🙂

Dawn W.: I was most surprised with the appearance of Graham McTavish as William Buccleigh. I was not expecting Murtaugh to be killed during the battle. I was expecting his death at another event.

Mitzie: Seeing Graham McTavish playing the role of William “Buck” MacKenzie. Best kept secret this season! I loved it! It makes me giddy thinking we could see more of him and his current character in future seasons (wink, wink).

Nancy: Graham McTavish playing Dougal’s son. When I first heard his voice and saw his face, I thought, “Wow, they really did a good job in casting Buccleigh McKenzie. He really looks like Dougal!” Then I realized it was Graham. They did a great job of keeping that secret from all of us.

Susan:  Surprising for me was realizing that the young man who shot Murtagh was one of the  soldiers that Jamie was encouraging earlier that morning.

Traci: Hard to find a bright spot in this one, but Jamie checking himself out under the sheet is always good for a chuckle. 

Dawn W.: Roger always has a way of slipping snide comments in. I loved it when he called William Tryon “Billy Tryon” when he was talking to Bri before he left Hillsborough.

Mitzie: I didn’t really have a haha moment but I think one of Jamie’s looks could be seen as somewhat amusing in a comparison. After Jamie dons the red coat and grabs his hat back from Myers, he had a look on his face that my husband best equivalates to a Carolina fan being strong-armed into a Duke jersey after losing a bet; and when he walks by his fellow UNC pals, that look on his face says “Don’t…. you…. freaking….. say…. a…. word”! LOL! Once my husband said that I thought it kinda fit and I giggled.

Nancy: As I mentioned under best lines, Jamie taking stock of himself on his birthday and Roger Mac bumping heads with Morag.

Susan:  Roger mentioning that his thick skull ran in the family.

Traci: Jamie, Jamie, and Jamie. 

Tara: The way the writers and producers brought everything crashing down in one big episode and did it mostly by the book, might I add. Fantastic!

Dawn W.: I went back and tried to skim over the chapters that this episode covered. There were a LOT! I agree with Tara….so much material beautifully blended plus having to add Murtaugh’s storyline. I think it’s the best episode in the series…Faith being right up there with it.

Mitzie: The final moments we got to spend with Murtagh and Jamie’s anguish at losing his Godfather. It was so heartbreaking seeing Jamie go through all those emotions and also for Claire. Murtagh was so dearly loved by them both and this was an expected and fitting ending for our beloved Murtagh.

Nancy: Best overall goes to Toni Graphia for giving us an episode that followed the book. I agree with Dawn that this is the best episode.

Susan: The entire episode was the best moment for me–so well done, so much compressed into an hour of great, great television.

Traci: Overall, it was just too much…war, death, hanging, Jamie in a red coat, even Claire’s precious syringe & penicillin stomped into the ground…have mercy!! 

Tara: The way we are literally left hanging, for two weeks!

Dawn W.: I was hoping they’d stay true to the book and use Morag to deliver the news Jamie about Roger being hanged.

Mitzie: Bree’s dumbstruck stance at seeing Roger hanging. I think I would have preferred her screaming her bloody heart out, saying “GET HIM DOWN!!! CUT HIM DOWN!!!!!” Jamie was just so slow at getting him down. I didn’t like that passive, air of resignation that said “Whelp, he’s gone. Nothing we can do”. I did not like how that played out.

Nancy: I didn’t like when Buc McKenzie slammed Roger in the forehead with the butt of his rifle. I also agreed with Mitzie about Brees’ underwhelming reaction to discovering Roger hanging. I expected all of the Fraser’s to be crying, screaming and rushing to cut his body down.

Susan:  I’m still thinking about what I liked least, and it’s hard to come up with anything.  Maybe how perfect Claire’s hair is pinned back when she wakes up in the morning?

So, now that we’ve voted, it’s your turn! Agree? Disagree? Tell us in the comments who or what gets your votes for Episode 507, The Ballad of Roger Mac.

18th c. Culture Alamance Hillsborough NC History Season 5 The Fiery Cross

The NC History Behind The Outlander Story

March 21, 2020

Episodes 504 & 505

So, Sassenachs, are you ready for some more fun North Carolina history facts as they relate to Outlander Episodes 504 and 505? Well, I’ve been exploring and researching some things from the last two episodes. I’ll be honest, there’s so much to share I should have broken this into two posts but I didn’t start working on my research until this week. I’ll try to keep things as brief as possible with lots of links.  Ready, set, go (or as the MacKenzies would say, Tulach Ard)!!

Perfume for Lizzie

In colonial America, perfumes would have been easily made concoctions made from a single herb or flower. Orange blossom, which is what Bree gave Lizzie in Episode 504, was very common. Some perfumes were imported from London to the colonies. Want to make your own orange blossom perfume? Check out this recipe from The Toilet of Flora published in London in 1779 by Pierre-Joseph Buc’hoz. 

The Mysterious Coin

When Brianna finds the silver coin in Jemmy’s basket in Episode 504, my first thought was did it hold any meaning specifically related to Bonnet. She did turn the coin from front to back and we got a pretty good quick look at it.  My grandson was into coin collecting a couple of years ago and I was intrigued by the discoveries he made. What better thing to do than put on my coin collecting hat to go searching for Jemmy’s mystery coin. I believe the coin is either a King George II Sixpence (1757) or a King George III Sixpence (1787). If it’s the former, King George is turned the wrong way. If it’s the latter, then that coin traveled through time to be in Jemmy’s basket in 1771.  Take a look and tell me what you think. 

Coin Collage

It’s A Bird, It's A Plane, It's A...?

No, I don’t think Bree heard a woman screaming when she went out to get wood for the fire in Episode 504. I think that might have been a Carolina panther (or a painter, as the mountain folk call them). Take a listen to this YouTube video…

The panther in the YouTube video is a Florida panther, a very close cousin, but it sure sounds like what Bree heard, doesn’t it? The panther has been supposedly extinct in North Carolina since the early 1920’s but there have been many reported sightings in recent years. Does the panther still exist in North Carolina? Check out these articles and I’ll let you decide. 

The Militia

Militia (1)

Who and what comprised the militia in Colonial North Carolina? This episode accurately portrays that militia members didn’t wear uniforms but dressed in their day to day clothing.  For a look at what a member of the militia might have worn in the 18th century, check out “Building a 1750’s Militia Impression” by Fort Dobbs Historic Site in North Carolina. Also, the show got the age minimum for joining the militia right. Our friends at Alamance Battleground State Historic Site have shared that young men had to be 16 years of age of older to join the militia. Josiah will just have to wait a couple of years. For even more information on colonial militias in North Carolina, read this article.

Isaiah Morton from Granite Falls, NC

Isaiah Morton (1)

Fraser’s Ridge is a fictional place (gasp!) and so is the oft-mentioned Woolam’s Creek but Granite Falls is not. The love-smitten Isaiah Morton in Episode 504 hailed from Granite Falls, an actual location in Caldwell County, North Carolina.  The town of Granite Falls itself wasn’t officially established until 1899 but don’t despair that the show writers got it wrong! Named for the falls and the granite boulders on Gunpowder Creek, this town does have plenty of 18th century history! Pioneer, Andrew Baird, established an iron works next to the creek in 1791.  Find out more about Granite Falls, Caldwell County and other places to visit in the area here

William Reed's Ordinary

Speaking of actual places, in Episode 505, Jamie found Colonel Knox at William Reed’s Ordinary in Hillsborough. I was thrilled to find that this establishment actually existed in Hillsborough as a tavern and place of lodging during the time of Jamie’s visit!  William Reed’s Ordinary dates back to 1754 when it was built and it still stands today.  From the Historical Society of Hillsborough’s Newsletter No. 31:

There are various references in early COURT MINUTES to William Reed’s dwelling house “near the Court House.” Reed and his wife, Elizabeth Douglas, were living in Orange County in December, 1752, when he was appointed deputy to William Churton, and in 1753 deputy clerk of the Court. In the COURT MINUTES Reed petitions for a license to keep an Ordinary or Tavern at his house on Lot 30. The dwelling house being located on “The GREATER KING STREET,” the Road to Halifax, and the old Indian Trading Path, was well-placed to be used as a tavern. DB No. 1 reveals that on Sept. 8, 1755, William Churton sells to William Reed, Tavernkeeper, “Two certain Lotts of Land (No. 30 and No. 40) in Corbinton on the north side of the great Street commonly called King Street, and a Lott (No. 29) on the West for the sum of 15 shillings for each Lott.” (Included in the deed is a provision for building within two years.)

C.J. Sauthior drew his map of Hillsborough in October, 1768, and on it, on lot 30 there is a dwelling house where the present house stands. There were two outbuildings behind the main house, and a garden to the East, where oral tradition says it stood within living memory. There seens to be a structure to the stream call the Still-house Branch running through the Western edge of lot 30. Very likely this was an early still-house to supply William Reed’s Tavern.

Here’s a picture of William Reed’s Tavern which stands at 157 E. King Street in Hillsborough.  It is on Hillsborough’s self-guided walking tour and is now on my bucket list of places to see this year. 

You might also be interested to know that the house is considered haunted. Plan your visit to Historic Hillsborough here

Chanterelle Mushrooms

What the heck is a chanterelle mushroom? That’s the question I found asking myself during Episode 505. Am I the only one who asked that question? Anyway, chanterelle mushrooms do grow in North Carolina and here are a couple of articles about them that you may find of interest.

Apparently, they are very tasty and would make a wonderful soup.  Here’s one recipe I found that you might want to try.  Have you ever seen a chanterelle mushroom?

Claire's Goldenseal

In Episode 505, when Claire was out in the woods before Roger tried to shoot her (LOL), she was foraging for goldenseal. I had never heard of it but after doing some research, I found that it is grown in the mountains of North Carolina as a medicinal plant and is on the endangered list in the state. It is also suggested that it cures just about anything that ails you. Read here to learn about all of the illnesses it could possibly cure. 

Today's Outlander NC History Lesson

The challenge of history is to recover the past and introduce it to the present.

I told you there was a lot to share. Wonderful history that changes the way we look at things – past and present. As I said in my last post, the history that Diana Gabaldon has revealed to me is astonishing! And I’m just beginning to learn all that there is to know.  It is so much fun dissecting these episodes and learning things about my own state. I’m sure enjoying my self-imposed history project and I hope you are enjoying reading my discoveries.

Did you learn something you didn’t know before? Do you have something you’d like to share?  If the answer to either question is yes, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Thank you so much for reading!!

Your History-Obsessed Outlander Friend (or is it Your Outlander- Obsessed History Friend),


Alamance Hillsborough NC Historic Sites NC History Outlander North Carolina Pre-Revolutionary War Period Season 5 The Fiery Cross

The NC History Behind The Outlander Story

March 7, 2020

Episodes 502 & 503

I don’t know about you but I’m loving the new season of Outlander! There is so much HISTORY in this season, I can hardly contain myself. OK. OK, I confess. I have become a history nerd but it’s all Diana’s fault. When I fell in love with Outlander, I also fell in love with all of the wonderful history that surrounds the story. I’ve been watching the show, rereading the book and doing some research on my own. So, bear with me, as I share a few things that I’ve discovered as a result of Episode 502, Between Two Fires, and Episode 503, Free Will. Just consider it the Outlander North Carolina version of CliffsNotes. Hang on ’cause here we go! P.S. There are a lot of links in this article and they should all open in a new tab.

Hillsborough Riots

Did they actually occur? Yes! There were some pretty brutal mob riots by the Regulators in Orange County, North Carolina, more specifically in Hillsborough, in September, 1770. You’ll be interested to know that there is NO record of anyone being tarred and feathered during the riots. Edmund Fanning, the Crown Attorney, was dragged out of the courthouse by his feet with his head reportedly hitting each step on the way down plus they beat him and at least one other man with clubs and whips. Read more about the true story of the Hillsborough Riots and what ignited them here.

The Hillsborough Riots weren’t the beginning of violent hostilities. In fact, in 1765, there was a skirmish called the War of Sugar Creek in Mecklenburg County between the backcountry settlers and a survey crew. Once again, our friend, Edmund Fanning, is involved. He’s such a tattletale. 

Edmund Fanning

Not being willing to stay out of anyone’s business, Fanning reappears in 1766 after a meeting of Regulators at Hart’s Mill. I’m really beginning to not feel sorry for this guy. 

Sidenote to that last link, what is James Fraser doing at Hart’s Mill and why is he a reverend?

Historical Marker at Eno River Bridge Northwest of Hillsborough

Rowan County

Complete Map of NC by John Collet From Survey 1770

You may remember Jamie calling the men of Rowan County to form a militia in Episode 3. (Can someone please tell me what paper Fergus grabbed and was writing Jamie’s instructions on?) Anyway, did Rowan County actually exist? Yes, it did and still does today; however,  in 1770, Rowan County, North Carolina, was HUGE. Check out this map of North Carolina in 1770 which shows just how much territory comprised Rowan County in relation to the map above.  At  that time, the county would have encompassed at least 20 of North Carolina’s existing 100 counties today. Jamie would have had a wide pool from which to gather men for a militia as you can see. 

Brownsville, North Carolina

Brownsville, North Carolina was mentioned in Episode 3 and in the books. Did it really exist? No, not that I can find BUT you will be interested to know that there was a Brownsville Plantation (ca. 1800) in Granville County, North Carolina . Granville County in 1770 would have been two counties east of Rowan. Click here for map.  

From The Fiery Cross…

“Brownsville was the outer point of our journey, before turning back toward Salisbury, and it held the possibility of a pothouse—or at least a hospitable shed to sleep in—but Jamie thought better to wait.”

“Brownsville was half a dozen ramshackle huts, strewn among the dying brush of a hillside like a handful of rubbish tossed into the weeds. Near the road—if the narrow rut of churned black mud could be dignified by such a word—two cabins leaned tipsily on either side of a slightly larger and more solid-looking building, like drunkards leaning cozily on a sober companion. Rather ironically, this larger building seemed to operate as Brownsville’s general store and taproom, judging from the barrels of beer and powder and the stacks of drenched hides that stood in the muddy yard beside it—though to apply either term to it was granting that more dignity than it deserved, too, Roger thought.”

Brownsville Plantation was owned by Thomas Brown of Scotland. How about that? He was born in 1776 and died in 1856.  The plantation also had a post office, a store and a school. As thorough as Diana is, I wonder if she happened upon Brownsville Plantation in her research. Although Brownsville Plantation would have been outside of Jamie’s “jurisdiction” plus the time frame doesn’t match, it is interesting to think about and wonder, isn’t it?

Herman Husband

Historical Marker in Randolph County, North Carolina

We met Herman Husband with Murtagh very briefly in Episode 2. He didn’t look at all like I envisioned him. But did he actually exist? Yes! In fact, he was instrumental in the Regulator movement, stirring up tensions in the backcountry settlers who felt unfairly treated by Governor Tryon, the local sheriffs and the wealthier Eastern North Carolina landowners. Since Husband was a Quaker, his leadership in the Regulator movement was somewhat controversial, I think we will see more of good ole’ Herman (I say that with a wink) as the season progresses. 

One last thing on Husband from Episode 2, it appeared that the Regulators were assembled in a camp. Rocky Creek Baptist Church was the site of many meetings of the Regulators plus Herman Husband participated in the early history of the church. I think I’ll just imagine that’s where they were meeting in the show.  Wink. 

Historical Marker in Chatham County, North Carolina

Reward For Fighting For Tryon

Roger: Governor Tryon's orders. All able-bodied men are asked to join His Excellency's militia.
Mrs. Findlay: Poor men must bleed for rich man's gold and always will, eh? Their father has gone to his reward in heaven, or he'd join ye.
Roger: My condolences, Mistress Findlay.
Roger: Is there a reward for my sons? 40 shillings each from the governor's treasury and two shillings a day for as long as they serve.

Thanks to our friends at Alamance Battleground State Historic Site Facebook Page for sharing the following cool bit of history with us: Circular Letter from William Tryon to commanding officers of the North Carolina militia.  Among other things, Tryon’s letter spells out what each man who volunteered would receive in terms of “reward”, as Mrs. Findlay put it. It’s a very interesting letter. If you haven’t already liked the Alamance Battleground State Historic Site Facebook Page, you might want to do so by clicking the link above. Season 5 will revolve around this battle to a large extent. 

Back To The Present

Welcome back to 2020! Did you enjoy your trip through time and the history as it relates to Outlander Episodes 502 & 503? I’m no scholar so I’d love to hear what you think. There are so many things I didn’t mention, either because of complete ignorance (probably) or because they might be spoilers, so I’m waiting for things to play out on the screen before I discuss them.  I’m really excited about the rest of the season though and I hope you’ll join me for some more history lessons!!

Want to come to North Carolina to see these places for yourselves? Check out the following:

You won’t regret it!! Until next time, I remain…

Yours truly in North Carolina,