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From Scotland to North Carolina~Part 2:Why North Carolina?

July 3, 2019

guest post from Traci Thompson

In past blog posts, we’ve looked at the circumstances that led to many Highland Scots emigrating from Scotland. Our next question is, why did they immigrate to North Carolina? 

A major impetus appears to be Gabriel Johnston, a Lowland Scot who served as Governor of North Carolina from 1734 to 1752. “He felt it would be good for the future of the Cape Fear Valley for it to be settled by large numbers of Protestant Highland Scots, so he began writing enthusiastic letters to friends in Scotland, inviting them to come to a land where there were two crops each year…land grants and possible exemption from taxation for time.” [Douglas F. Kelly, Carolina Scots (Dillon, SC: 1739 Publications, 1998), p.82-83.] 

Gabriel Johnston’s Coat of Arms bookplate

Not everyone was enthusiastic about Governor Johnston’s partiality, however. “Among other charges brought against the Governor [in 1748] was his inordinate fondness for his brother Scotchmen, even Scotch rebels. His partiality for this latter class of Scotchmen, it was said, was so great, and his lack of joy at the king’s ‘glorious victory at Culloden’ was so conspicuous, that he was accused of a want of fealty to the House of Hanover…” Nevertheless, “…like other Scotchmen, he was fond of the people of his native country, and sought to better their condition by inducing them to emigrate to North Carolina…” [William L. Saunders, ed., The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Volume IV, 1734-1752 (Raleigh, NC: P.M. Hale, 1886), prefatory notes, p. ix-x.] 

There were some Scots living in the colony earlier; before 1700, several Lowland Scots were present, and it is believed that Highlanders were living in the Cape Fear area as early as 1725. After Governor Johnston began to promote immigration into the colony, the first large group of Highlanders disembarked in September 1739. A party of 350 from Argyllshire, they made their way up the Cape Fear to settle in the Cross Creek area; the Cape Fear was convenient due to the ports of Brunswick and Wilmington, and the river for transportation farther upstream. In February 1740, two of the leaders of the Argyllshire colony appeared before the Colonial Legislature asking for special consideration for ”themselves and several other Scotch Gentlemen and several poor people brought into this province” and for “substantial encouragement, that they might be able to induce the rest of their friends and acquaintances to come over.” The Upper House responded favorably with tax exemptions and land grants, and the immigration to North Carolina continued. [Saunders, p. viii-ix; Duane Meyer, The Highland Scots of North Carolina (Raleigh, NC: Carolina Charter Tercentenary Commission, 1963), chapter III, “Settlement”; R.D.W. Connor, History of North Carolina, Vol. I (Chicago, IL: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919); digital transcription, http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/America/United_States/North_Carolina/_Tex ts/CBHHNC/1/10*.html : accessed 2018.] 

Names associated with the 1739 party include McNeil, Forbes, Hamilton, Jones, and Campbel. “At a meeting of the council held at Wilmington, June 4, 1740, there were presented petitions for patents of lands, by the following persons, giving acres and location, as granted.” Note the prevalence of Highland names – do you recognize any from Outlander? 

Name. Acres. County.
Thos Clarks 320 N. Hanover
James McLachlan 160 Bladen
Hector McNeil 300
Duncan Campbell 150
James McAlister 640
James McDugald 640
Duncan Campbell 75
Hugh McCraine 500
Duncan Campbell 320
Gilbert Pattison 640
Rich Lovett 855 Tyrrel
Rd Earl 108 N. Hanover
Jno McFerson 320 Bladen
Duncan Campbell 300
Neil McNeil 150
Duncan Campbell 140
Jno Clark 320
Malcolm McNeil 320
Neil McNeil 400
Arch Bug 320
Duncan Campbel 640 Bladen
Jas McLachlen 320
Murdock McBraine 320
Jas Campbel 640
Patric Stewart 320
Arch Campley 320
Dan McNeil 105; 400
Neil McNeil 400
Duncan Campbel 320
Jno Martileer 160
Daniel McNeil 320
Wm Stevens 300
Dan McNeil 400
Jas McLachlen 320
Wm Speir ? Edgecombe
Jno Clayton 100 Bladen
Sam Portevint 640 N. Hanover
Charles Harrison 320
Robt Walker 640
Jas Smalwood 640
Wm Faris 400; 640
Richd Canton 180 Craven
Duncan Campbel 150 Bladen
Neil McNeil 321
Alex McKey 320
Henry Skibley 320
Jno Owen 200
Duncan Campbel 400
Dougal Stewart 640
Arch Douglass 200 N. Hanover
James Murray 320
Robt Clark 200
Duncan Campbel 148 Bladen
James McLachlen 320
Arch McGill 500
Jno Speir 100 Edgecombe
James Fergus 640
Rufus Marsden 640
Hugh Blaning 320 (surplus land) Bladen
Robt Hardy 400 Beaufort
Wm Jones 354; 350

“Occasionally, a list of emigrants has been preserved in the minutes of the official proceedings. Hence it may be read that on November 4, 1767, there landed at Brunswick, from the Isle of Jura, Argyle-shire, Scotland, the following names of families and persons, to whom were allotted vacant lands, clear of all fees, to be taken up in Cumberland or Mecklenburgh counties, at their option: 

Names of land grantees

These names show they were from Argyleshire, and probably from the Isle of Mull, and the immediate vicinity of the present city of Oban.” 

Those who came to Carolina and prospered wrote letters home, and thus word of mouth became a catalyst for emigration. “There was in fact a Carolina mania which was not broken until the beginning of the Revolution. The flame of enthusiasm passed like wildfire through the Highland glens and Western Isles.” [J.P. MacLean, An Historical Account of the Settlements of Scotch Highlanders in America… (Glasgow, Scotland: John McKay, 1900), Chapter 5, “Highlanders in North Carolina”; digital transcription, Electric Scotland (https://www.electricscotland.com/history/highlands/chapter5.htm : accessed 2018]. 

Drawing of the port at Charleston, SC, where many Scots first
set foot in the New Land.

As a result, “Shipload after shipload of sturdy Highland settlers sailed for the shores of America, and most of them landing at Charleston and Wilmington found their way to their kinsmen on the Cape Fear. In a few years their settlements were thickly scattered throughout the territory now embraced in the counties of Anson, Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Moore, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Hoke, and Scotland…The Scot’s Magazine, in September, 1769, records that the ship Molly had recently sailed from Islay filled with passengers for North Carolina, and that this was the third emigration from that county within six years. The same journal in a later issue tells us that between April and July, 1770, fifty-four vessels sailed from the Western Isles laden with 1,200 Highlanders all bound for North Carolina. In 1771, the Scot’s Magazine stated that 500 emigrants from Islay and the adjacent islands were preparing to sail for America, and later in the same year Governor Tryon wrote that ‘several ship loads of Scotch families’ had ‘landed in this province within three years past from the Isles of Arran, Durah, Islay, and Gigah, but chief of them from Argyle Shire and are mostly settled in Cumberland County.’ Their number he estimated ‘at 1,600 men, women, and children.’ A year later the ship Adventure brought a cargo of 200 emigrants from the Highlands to the Cape Fear, and in March of the same year Governor Martin wrote to Lord Hillsborough, secretary of state for the colonies: ‘Near a thousand people have arrived in Cape Fear River from the Scottish Isles since the month of November with a view to settling in this province whose prosperity and strength will receive great augmentation by the accession of such a number of hardy, laborious and thrifty people.’” [Connor, http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/America/United_States/North_Carolina/_Tex ts/CBHHNC/1/10*.html: accessed 2018]. 

Such massive immigration to North Carolina has led to claims that the state now has more descendants of Scots than has present-day Scotland. In summary, favorable reports, support of the crown and governor, and financial incentives all conspired to make the ship route of Scotland to the Cape Fear a major migration pattern. As MacLean poetically described the aftermath of Culloden, 

“Left without chief, or protector, clanship broken up, homes destroyed and kindred murdered, dispirited, outlawed, insulted and without hope of palliation or redress, the only ray of light pointed across the Atlantic where peace and rest were to be found in the unbroken forests of North Carolina.”

Traci, thank you so much for this history lesson! Traci is our resident historian and genealogist! Learn more about the Scots heading inland along the Cape Fear River! Do you have ancestors that began in the Cape Fear Region? Tell us about it!

Cape Fear River Cross Creek Drums Of Autumn Native Americans Outlander North Carolina Pre-Revolutionary War Period Season 4 Slavery

Do No Harm – Outlander Episode 402

November 14, 2018

Post by Contributing Author, Susan Jackson

Whew. I was relieved when Outlander episode 402 was over. I felt heavy-hearted, and had to sit quietly for a while after it was over. One thing I can say is that this show has never been one to keep the awful harshness of 18th century life stuff out of front and center, but that’s what I love about this series. So, let’s dive in to my recap as well as a few thoughts of Do No Harm.

Listening to Jamie and Claire discuss Bonnet and his crew’s robbery is bringing back the “old” Jamie for me–he wants to protect all who are in his care, as he was brought up to do. I had thought he’d be a bit more beat-up looking, but realized that most of his abuse was taking in those amazing rock-hard abs–oh, wait–I can’t get those My Peak Challenge work-out Instagram pics that Sam posts so often out of my mind sometimes–sorry for the digression! But even though Jamie is feeling like letting Bonnet go is his “cross to bear,” it helps us see that Jamie is still a laird in his heart and mind.

Watching the scene of the boat floating upriver and into view of River Run almost took my breath–it was a beautiful sight! It was almost as how I’d pictured it, minus the Spanish moss dripping from the trees, but I was amazed at how “Southern” the house and land looked! Living in North Carolina and near a historic plantation site, I was afraid that they wouldn’t get this right, but this was one location I approve of.

Jamie seemed a little boy as he greeted his aunt, and then had to remember he had a wife to introduce, which I thought was adorable. Jocasta, played by Maria Doyle Kennedy, was much warmer than I remember from the books, and let on early enough that her eyesight had failed over the years. TV Jocasta is very proud of her plantation, almost to the point of bragging, as we hear during the scene when she is overseeing Claire’s fitting.

This is where I get disheartened by the portrayal of Claire so far. I feel like the producers/writers/directors are really trying to make the audience aware that Claire is opposed to slavery, and she speaks out every chance she gets, but in a bossy, pushy way, even to Jocasta, who is their hostess. Yes, Claire is outspoken and a woman of her time, but she knows when to be that 20th century woman while living in the 18th, as well as when not to be. I feel like it’s being overdone. I just haven’t felt any of Claire’s warmth or sense of humor so far–and I know it’s only the second episode of the season, but still.

During the fitting scene, where Phaedre (Natalie Simpson) is making sure Jocasta’s dress fits Claire perfectly, I was thrown by Phaedre’s accent. Trivial, I know, but I was surprised she was speaking with a slight Scots accent. Someone later reminded me that Phaedre was born at River Run, and Jocasta took her in for a house slave (a matter to be discussed later, I’m sure), was reared in the house, and so, learned to speak like Jocasta and Hector. Ulysses’ lack of any accent at all surprised me as well, and again I was reminded that Ulysses was born free, but sold into slavery after the death of his mother. He was bought by a schoolmaster, who educated him, and at the age of twenty, was bought by Hector Cameron, and brought to River Run. Colin McFarlane makes an absolutely amazing Ulysses–I can’t wait to see more of him!

The big news at the dinner party was Jocasta’s decision to make Jamie her heir, and that she is making him her representative for all things River Run. We are soon introduced to Farquard Campbell, the local justice of the peace who schools Jamie on what would happen to freed slaves, if Jamie chose to do so as the new master of River Run, and how it has to be done lawfully. Jamie soon lets Claire know that he’s ready to ditch the plantation, take Governor Tryon up on his offer and head for the hills, where they can live as they please, without slaves. (Like Governor Tryon, Farquard Campbell was an actual figure in North Carolina’s history, and you can read a little about him here.

And then we come to the incident at Jocasta’s sawmill in the woods, where Jocasta’s slaves are working under the watchful eye of her overseer, Byrnes. Rufus had been hit with Byrnes’ lash, and Rufus retaliated by cutting off the overseer’s ear with an ax. By the time Jamie, Claire and Campbell arrive at the mill, Rufus is being hoisted in the air by a sawmill hook, as Byrnes decided to take the matter of the law in his own hands. It was enough of a shock to read this part of Drums of Autumn, and even more so to see it on screen. Jamie forces Byrnes at gunpoint to let Rufus down so Claire can see to his wounds. She, in her typical emotion-driven way, runs to Rufus’ aid almost immediately. Rufus is brought back to the main house, a place he’s never been, and Claire removes the hook, sutures the wound, and offers comfort to him by asking him about his family, (reminiscent of the boar-hunting scene with Geordie in season 1).

Claire receives a stern talking-to from Ulysses that she may not have done the right thing by saving Rufus, and may be risking the well-being all of the slaves at River Run. She definitely needed this jolt into the ways of Colonial laws and slave-owning culture, but she wasn’t convinced. Jamie’s action of handling the situation as he did angers other overseers and slave owners in the area, and the angry mob shows up at River Run, demanding Rufus be released to them so they may hang him, as is the law according to the law of bloodshed. Jocasta, in true blood-is-thicker-than-water fashion, blames Claire’s “foolish ways.” Jamie suggests that Claire ease Rufus’ suffering by giving him something before he has to be released to the mob. Jamie’s prayer by Rufus’ bedside was so moving–I have missed Jamie’s faith in the television series. In the books, it’s part of what makes Jamie Fraser Jamie Fraser to me. Hopefully they’ll pull more of that aspect of him into the show as time goes on.

Eventually, Jamie bravely carries a dead Rufus to the steps of the plantation house, a noose is placed around his neck, and the delirious mob drags him to the nearest tree, and hangs him there, for all of those at River Run to see.

In spite of the necessary plot changes, and what I can only describe as Claire’s haughtiness in this episode, I liked it–I can’t say that I “enjoyed” it. It was expertly acted–Jerome Holder, the actor who portrayed Rufus, was absolutely amazing, and moved me to tears as he spoke of fishing in the river at night, and dreaming of seeing his sister once more. The sets, the costumes–everything–is so well thought out, just like Diana Gabaldon’s research and writing. I am almost never not in awe of what I see on screen.

Thankfully, we have the comic relief in this episode of Rollo’s meeting with a skunk and meeting John Quincy Myers (Kyle Rees)–hernia-free, apparently. 🙂 His character, in book and on the show, reminds me of Mr. Edwards in the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder–a bit of a wild man, unmarried, and making a living in the frontier that is Colonial North Carolina. I hope we see a lot more of him–he makes me miss Angus and Rupert even more!

As darkly as the first two episodes have ended, I can only hope we will be able to see some happiness in episode three. The Frasers have been through so much already, and so have the viewers–I’m ready for some good times to come to them in North Carolina.Susan Jackson is a mother of four who lives in coastal North Carolina, and is an avid Outlander fan.  Besides reading, she loves cooking and baking, and music.  She is a thyroid cancer survivor and has worked in education most of her life. She hopes to one day blog about her thyroid cancer journey. She is a contributing author for Outlander North Carolina and, among other articles, has previously written about the infamous Stede Bonnet in Will The Real Stephen Bonnet Please Stand Up?