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Outlander North Carolina Season 5 The Fiery Cross

ONC Admins Choice Awards, Season 5, “Better to Marry Than to Burn”

March 27, 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 voting on their “Bests/Mosts/Leasts” from the latest Outlander episode.  We enjoy this fun way to briefly recap each episode last season, and hope you enjoy it, too! This week’s voting contributors are Dawn Woo, Traci Thompson, and Susan Jackson. So, without further ado, the winners for episode 6, Better to Marry Than to Burn are…

Dawn: The end of the bedroom scene between Jocasta and Murtaugh where he says: “I love you Jocasta Makenzie. The world may change but that will never change. I only wish I’d been brave enough to say it sooner.”

Traci: Tie between Wylie as the over-the-top foppish dandy & Jamie’s expressions while looking at Claire in the stable. 

Susan:  Roger finally doing something well, even if it was smoking out some bugs (and I like to think he learned about that from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s On the Banks of Plum Creek!).

Dawn: Roger to Brianna in the field smoking out the grasshoppers: “When your father left me in charge I thought I might have to mend a fence; wrangle the odd runaway cow. But no! I get a biblical plague!

Traci: Aside from Roger’s Biblical plague line, Jocasta: “Her bones may be there still, on the road, gone to dust, while I’ve sat here for thirty years, growing old in a palace made from the gold that took her from me…My blindness is punishment for leaving her, for not looking back.”

Susan:  I guess we all liked Roger’s biblical plague line!

Dawn: Chris Donald/Phillip Wylie- I’m not sure anyone could play Phillip Wylie any creepier and over-the-top ridiculous! That face powder and mole!

Traci: Maria Doyle Kennedy, during Jocasta’s heartbreaking backstory. 

Susan: MDK–that scene with her leaving Morna was a gut-wrencher. I did enjoy seeing the true Phillip Wylie come to life, however–CD does a wonderful job! He had Wylie’s creep level at the top!

Dawn: Opening scene where a man is getting his wig powdered and he puts a mask to his face…It shocked me how timely the mask was given the health crisis our world is in right now. 

Traci: Jocasta leaving River Run to Jemmy after all – I wasn’t expecting that. 

Susan:  When Forbes told Bonnet about River Run being left to Jemmy.

Dawn: I would have to say when Brianna told Roger to “keep shoveling his shit.” It reminded me of the scene between Jamie and Geneva Dunsanny when she asked him what he was doing and he said, “shoveling shit”. 

Traci: Just about everything Philip Wylie said or did in his scenes with Claire! 

Susan: I loved seeing Wylie sitting down hard in the horse poo.

Dawn: Jocasta’s backstory and how it evolved into the bedroom scene with Murtaugh.

Traci: The ensemble of characters gathered again for a wedding, with the high point of the drama of Jocasta’s dilemma – I like the juxtaposition of “I shine not burn” with “better to marry than burn.” 

Susan:  Again, I finally felt like Roger was finding his place at the Ridge (though I would’ve like to have seen him enjoying the old music at Jocasta’s wedding like he did in the book).

Dawn: I’m missing Fergus. He seems to be just hanging around.

Traci: The rings and stable scenes.  These were tricky scenes that needed to be handled carefully to work on screen, and aside from Sam Heughan’s great facial expressions, they unfortunately were nonsensical & very poorly done in my opinion. 

Susan:  Jocasta treating her hubby-to-be like a servant–he seemed to be really trying, but she sent him off with a wave of her hand. I felt she would’ve been nicer.

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 506, Better to Marry Than to Burn. Leave it in the comments!

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!

Outlander North Carolina Season 5

ONC Admins Choice Awards, Season 5, “The Company We Keep”

March 14, 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 Susan Jackson, Tara Heller, Dawn Woo, Stephanie Bryant, and Nancy Roach. So, without further ado, the winners for episode 4, The Company We Keep are…

Dawn W.: I love that they are focusing on Roger’s singing. It’s so much a part of him and it’s a huge part of what he has to offer at this point when he feels he doesn’t offer much.

Tara: The moment away from everyone that Jamie and Claire had after the dance,

Stephanie:  I agree with Tara. That whole scene after the dance is the essence of Claire and Jamie’s love for each other!

Nancy: I liked Jamie’s dance. I knew it was coming this episode so I was especially waiting for it.

Susan:  I enjoyed seeing Marsali and Bree alone together, and learning about their relationship’s dynamics. I like them being “friends,” in spite of how Laoghaire when ham on Bree when she figured out who she was. 

Dawn W.: Ye want to tell me what kind of devil ye’re conjuring up?

Stephanie: “I have but no life but you Claire, but if you wanted another child, I thought perhaps I can give you one”

Nancy: When Roger tells Claire he doesn’t think Jamie respects him. Claire says, “He trusted you with the thing he loves the most.”

Susan: “Ye want to tell me what devil ye’re conjuring?”

Dawn W.: Claire

Stephanie: A tie between Sam and Cait. The scene again reminds me of the love we saw them show in the beginning of the series.

Nancy: I agree – Sam and Cait

Susan:  The actor that plays the first Mr. Brown. If he was my daddy, I’d definitely be afraid of him.

Tara: I was freaked out for Bree and not being able to find Jemmy. Where was Old Man Bug? Have him go fetch you the wood Bree!

Stephanie: The blooming relationship between Marsali and Bree, look forward to seeing more of this.

Nancy: Jamie sending Roger back with Claire.I guess that means Jamie won’t be there to help Claire with the Beardsley’s tonsillectomies.

Susan: When Richard Brown got sassy w/ Jamie, throwing shade at him for allowing Claire to be sleeping out in the open w/ the rest of the crew.

Tara: “You move fast Mi’lord.”

Stephanie: The whisky calming down the Browns. 

Dawn W.: I’m with Stephanie…the whisky being used to diffuse the situation with the Brown’s…and Roger’s reasoning as he tried to explain it to Jamie.

Nancy: Roger when he was signing up the Browns. When he gets to Abner, he interjects “Brown” before Abner says it.

Susan:  When Fergus joked w/ Jamie about wee Bonnie.

Stephanie: Isaiah talking to Jamie and Roger about his love for Alicia. We understand how he felt because of their love for Claire and Bree.

Nancy:  Jamie and Claire discussing keeping baby, “Bonnie” and their feelings on raising a child together. I love that Claire tells Jamie that she is happy with their life as it is now. Now that they are older they know exactly what they want in life and from each other.

Susan: I’m with Nancy on this one.

Dawn W.: I agree with this. They are in a different “season” of their marriage now and it’s ok to admit that you want to focus on your marriage and not so much raising small children.

Dawn W.: There wasn’t anything I disliked.

Tara:  Nothing. This season has been stellar so far!

Stephanie:  Not enough Fergus. Hopefully we will see more of him and his role expanded.

Nancy: I missed the part of the book where Jamie and Claire spend more time on the Ridge.  Claire develops a form of penicillin and performs two tonsillectomies. I know it will be covered in the next episode, but I love seeing Jamie and Claire working together. I also love every time the whole gang is enjoying life on the Ridge.

Susan:  I can understand Sam being a bit nervous about the sword dancing scene, because I’m not much of a dancer, but they could’ve used a dancing double and used them for some fancy footwork. I liked that scene in the book, and felt like Jamie kind of went home to the Highlands in his soul as he danced.

18th c. Culture Fraser's Ridge NC History Outlander North Carolina Season 5 The Fiery Cross Uncategorized

Fact or Fiction: Fanny Beardsley’s Baby & Inheritance

March 12, 2020

Guest Post from Traci Thompson

In our last Outlander “fact or fiction,” we examined  North Carolina land grants. In this installment, we will take a look at North Carolina inheritance law as it relates to the story. 

Season five episode Free Will, in a stellar adaptation, recently dealt with the creepy Beardsley family storyline. In both the book and the show, a child is born to Fanny Beardsley, and it is revealed that the baby (who is later named Alicia) is not her husband’s and is of mixed race. In the book The Fiery Cross, Claire and Jamie have this discussion: 

“Do you think we ought to take her?” I asked cautiously. “I mean – what might happen to her if we don’t?”  Jamie snorted faintly, dropping his arm, and leaned back against the wall of the house. He wiped his nose, and tilted his head toward the faint rumble of voices that came through the chinked logs. “She’d be well cared for, Sassenach. She’s in the way of being an heiress, ken.” That aspect of the matter hadn’t occurred to me at all. “Are you sure?” I said dubiously.  “I mean, the Beardsleys are both gone, but as she’s illegitimate –“ He shook his head, interrupting me. “Nay, she’s legitimate.” “But she can’t be. No one realizes it yet except you and me, but her father – “Her father was Aaron Beardsley, so far as the law is concerned,” he informed me. “By English law, a child born in wedlock is the legal child – and heir – of the husband, even if it is known for a fact that the mother committed adultery. And yon woman did say that Beardsley married her, no?” It struck me that he was remarkably positive about this particular provision of English law…”I see,” I said slowly. “So little Nameless will inherit all Beardsley’s property, even after they discover that he can’t have been her father. That’s…reassuring.”  “Aye,” he said quietly…”So ye see,” he went on, matter-of-factly, “she’s in no danger of neglect. An Orphan Court would give Beardsley’s property – goats and all” – he added, with a faint grin – “to whomever is her guardian, to be used for her welfare.”
– The Fiery Cross, Chapter 31, “Orphan of the Storm,” p. 510-511. 

Jamie is certainly correct that the colony of North Carolina was under English law. But should he be quite so certain about the nature of bastardy, adultery, and inheritance under that law?

The Beardsley property from Outlander episode Free Will

In reality, English law was not straightforward nor one-size-fits-all on the issue of legitimacy. Sir William Blackstone, in his commentary on English law (1765-69) declared that some circumstances would make children born in wedlock bastards in the eyes of the law:

“As bastards may be born before the coverture or marriage state has begun, or after it has been determined, so also children born during wedlock may in some circumstances be bastards…”1

One reason given by Blackstone was if it were known to be impossible for the man to have fathered a child, such as not being physically present with his wife at time of conception: 

“So also if there is an apparent impossibility of procreation on the part of the husband…there the issue of the wife shall be bastards.”2

Determining legitimacy was very important in an intestate situation because under English law intestate inheritance was by lineal blood3; thus such terms as “the heirs of his body” and “of the blood” are often seen in reference to legitimate children. By contrast, illegitimate children were legally considered a “filius nullius” or “nullius filii, “child of no one” or “sons of nobody”:

“BASTARDS are incapable of being heirs. Bastards, by our law, are such children as are not born either in lawful wedlock, or within a competent time after its determination. Such are held to be nullius filii, the sons of nobody; for the maxim of law is, qui ex damnato coitu nascuntur, inter liberos non computantur [the offspring of an illicit connection are not reckoned as children]. Being thus the sons of nobody, they have no blood in them, at least no inheritable blood; consequently, none of the blood of the first purchaser: and therefore, if there be no other claimant than such illegitimate children, the land shall escheat to the lord.4

Fanny Beardsley sharing her story of abuse with Claire, as well as the parentage of her new baby.

While the law did generally lean towards a presumption of legitimacy in the case of children born to married women, this was only in absence of obvious evidence to the contrary.  As the racial factor made Fanny Beardsley’s child an obvious bastard to Claire, so her appearance would have to colonial society as a whole. “Judicial error was tolerated when it meant that a white child, unrelated by blood, would be made a white man’s legal heir. An African-American child becoming a white man’s legal heir, however, was unacceptable. Faced with this situation, the court essentially suspended application of the presumption.”5  Although it certainly happened – and often – miscegenation was against colonial law at this time, which would automatically render any marriage void, and therefore any offspring illegitimate:

North Carolina followed suit [with miscegenation laws] in 1715 providing that ‘no White man or woman shall intermarry with any Negro, Mulatto or Indyan Man or Woman under the penalty of Fifty Pounds for each White man or woman.’ In 1741, the North Carolina act was amended to more closely track the earlier Virginia statute: ‘And for Prevention of that abominable Mixture and spurious issue, which hereafter may increase in this Government, by white Men and women intermarrying with Indians, Negroes, Mustees, or Mulattoes, Be it Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That if any white Man or Woman, being free, shall intermarry with an Indian, Negro, Mustee, or Mulatto Man or Woman, or any Person of Mixed Blood, to the Third Generation, bond or free, he shall, by Judgment of the County Court, forfeit and pay the Sum of Fifty Pounds, Proclamation Money, to the Use of the Parish.’6

Sweet wee “Bonnie’s” future seems uncertain

As we see here, unfortunately for Fanny’s child, several strikes would be against her were she a real person. If Aaron Beardsley did not dispose of his property by will, intestate inheritance law would immediately come into play, and an inquiry into the identity of any legitimate lineal heirs would be undertaken by the county court.  Aaron Beardsley’s incapacity would not likely factor in, as he had only been in that state for about a month when Jamie and Claire showed up, and thus could have fathered a child before that time. However, the fact that he was not apparently able to father a child with any of his previous wives could have raised doubt and become an issue. But the definitive reckoning would be the child’s mixed-race parentage, which the books and show indicate was obvious by the child’s physical appearance. If it were known or believed that Aaron Beardsley was a white man, and it was thought that the child was anything other, then a status of illegitimacy would automatically follow, which would absolutely eliminate inheritance. 

Verdict: FICTION 

Bonus Trivia: Did you know? An “orphan” was legally a child whose father was deceased, regardless of the status of the mother.7 After 1799 in North Carolina, a change in state law recognized illegitimate children as heirs of their mother and were enabled to inherit from her.8

Sadly, the past was not kind to babies born out of wedlock, and little “Bonnie” would not have been an exception. Are you on Jamie’s side–hopeful that wee “Bonnie” will inherit the Beardsley property, or will she have to rely on her new adoptive parents for her raising? From the looks of the scene where Lucinda and her husband ask Claire if they can keep the baby, she will not lack for love at all. Tell us what you think!

Thanks, Traci, for this insight about bastardy and inheritance laws! 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.

Footnotes:
1.  Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 4 volumes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1765-69), 1st  ed., Volume 1, “The Rights of Persons,” Chapter 16, “Of Parent and Child”; digital transcription, The Avalon Project (https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/blackstone_bk1ch16.asp : accessed 2020).
2.  Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England.
3. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Volume 2, Chapter 14.
4. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Volume 2, Chapter 15.
5. Mary Louise Fellows, “The Law of Legitimacy: An Instrument of Procreative Power,” Scholarship Repository University of Minnesota Law School, 1993 (https://scholarship.law.umn.edu/ : accessed 2020), p. 502.
6.  Judy G. Russell, “Intermarriage and the Law, Colonial Style,” The Legal Genealogist 1 June 2012 (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2012/06/01/intermarriage-and-the-law-colonial-style/ : accessed 2020).
7. Raymond A. Winslow, Jr., “Estates Records,” in Helen F.M. Leary, editor, North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History, 2nd edition (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Genealogical Society, 1996), chapter 12, p. 189, “Guardians and Conservators.”
8.  John Haywood, Esq., A Manual of the Laws of North Carolina (Raleigh, NC: J. Gales, 1814), p. 274, “Intestate’s Estate,” section IV, 1799.
Photos from Outlander Online