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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.

David Thelan

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),

Beth

Fraser's Ridge Hillsborough Outlander North Carolina Pre-Revolutionary War Period Season 5 The Fiery Cross

ONC Admins Choice Awards for Outlander Episode 5, “Perpetual Adoration”

March 20, 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 will be giving awards for different aspects 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 Dawn Woo, Mitzie Munroe, Stephanie Bryant and Nancy Roach. So, without further ado, the winners for episode 5, Perpetual Adoration are…

Mitzie: The appearance of the long awaited, theatrical debut of ADSO!!!!! That little bit of fluff has certainly stolen my heart since the teaser stills had been leaked last year!

Dawn W.: The scene between Jamie And Claire on the porch at the end where she is telling him about Graham Menzies and how she never would’ve found him if it hadn’t been the sequence of events that resulted from knowing him.

Stephanie: Definitely Graham Menzies, reminding her of so much she pushed away and left in the past. Bonus: Seeing wee Adso!

Nancy:The much anticipated appearance of the adorable Adso.

Mitzie: Cait has this one for me! She wore lots of hats this episode.

Dawn W.: It’s a tie: Roger and Claire. 

Stephanie: Marsali and her expressive face!

Nancy: Both Cait and the actor playing Graham Menzies stood out to me in this episode. I do love when Cait does a voiceover of what Claire is thinking.

Mitzie: “Eureka”! It was so foreign to hear Marsali repeat it after Claire.

Dawn W.: The priest in the church to Claire: “No one’s lost who’s not forgotten.”

Stephanie:  Mr. Menzies “You have Scottish blood running through you somewhere” Like he sensed something about her, awoke her from a dream.

Nancy: I liked Claire’s passage at the end where she talks of standing before God to ask him all her questions about the universe. “But I won’t ask about the nature of time because I’ve already lived it.”

Mitzie: Well, I totally didn’t see Jamie killing Knox so abruptly; with his bare hands. I didn’t expect Knox would live to a ripe old age, but thought the correspondence from Scotland would have been intercepted by Fergus and thus delayed Jamie’s forced hand and Knox’s demise to possibly a battle casualty. DANG! Jamie is going down a dark path!

Dawn W.: The manner in which the tonsillectomy was performed. It didn’t seem well thought out. Kezzie must have no gag reflex whatsoever!

Stephanie: The storyline going back and forth to her Boston days before she went to Scotland, the beginning of her return to Jamie. Bonus surprise to see Dr. Joe Abernathy!!

Nancy: Jamie’s choking Knox was shocking and a little “Mafiaesque”.

Mitzie: The only thing that somewhat chuckled me was Rogers remark to Claire about almost shooting her, but followed that he would have most likely missed. Oh, poor Roger.

Dawn W.: I agree with Mitzie. Claire surprising Roger in the woods. “I probably would’ve missed you, but still….”

Stephanie:The beginning of the episode with Claire and Marsali finally finding the penicillin….”EUREKA”

Nancy: I agree with Stephanie. Claire teaching Marsali to say, “Eureka”.

Mitzie: I thoroughly enjoyed all the flashbacks. From the collage of past season snippets to Claire’s days in Boston. It was neat seeing so many memorable moments from the past 4 ½ seasons threaded together in a handful of seconds. And then the addition of more insights from Claire’s Boston days to help us understand what really led her back to Scotland and then to Jamie was really nice to watch.

Dawn W.: I was really drawn to the whole conversation that Jamie and Knox had once the Ardsmuir papers arrived. I think I was ready for Jamie to take a stand for Murtaugh and be the real Jamie, the protector and leader of his family.

Stephanie: Jamie doing what he needed to do to protect his family. This was the Jamie we all know and love from Scotland.

Nancy: Again I liked Claire’s flashback to her days as a surgeon in the ‘60’s and her interaction with Graham Menzies, Joe Abernathy, and Briana. Something about Claire’s look reminds me of the movie, “Valley of the Dolls”.  I also loved the opening and closing scenes with Claire seeking solace in the church sanctuary. 

Mitzie: Knox’s death face. Wide eyed and gapping? Something about it didn’t seem right or natural.

Dawn W.: Claire using the hypodermic she brought back with her. Isn’t anyone wondering what that is or questioning it?? 

Stephanie: Didn’t care for Bree’s explanation of why she went to see Bonnett. It was lame in my opinion.

Nancy: Jamie’s killing of Knox. I know he’s killed in the past to keep Dougal from divulging his plans before Culloden,  but he displayed more compassion and conflict of conscious shooting the nasty Mr. Beardsley than with choking Knox. It brought to mind the movie, “The Talented Mr. Ripley” where Tom Ripley killed anyone who discovered his secrets.

So, now that we’ve voted, it’s your turn! Agree? Disagree? Tell us in the comments who or what gets your vote for “Best” Awards for Episode 503, Free Will. Leave it in the comments!

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.”

Diana Gabaldon~The Fiery Cross

“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.”

Diana Gabaldon~The Fiery Cross

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.

From Outlander, Season 5, Episode 3

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,

Beth