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I have often thought about a lengthy essay I read in the Boston Globe in 1997, the week after Labor Day on a Cape Cod beach (which is how I remember when). I think about it a lot when I am searching out my genealogy. I thought about it yesterday when I read jbeach's diary on How to Treat Conservative Delusion [http://www.dailykos.com/...]

That Globe essay suggested that these Scots-Irish emigrants were about the worst-of-the-worst they could send to America, specifically to the South, and how their attitudes to government and authority would find expression even today, guns, the revenuer, municipal zoning. It intrigued me at the time, being a political scientist of sorts. Later I began my search for my roots.

With some knowledge that my maternal grandmother was from Kansas, that "the family had moved generation by generation across several states ahead of civilizaton", and with some help from my mother's cousins, I discovered their story. They were Scots-Irish. Beginning in Virginia in the 1700's, the whole family of three generations left Fauquier County together in 1801 for South Carolina. One of the second generation, my 4th great grandfather, then moved to TN with his family. His son, my 3rdGGF, had been born in VA in 1789 and married about 1809 in KY and then moved to Indiana. My 2nd GGF was born there and moved to IL, where his daughter married a man, whose father was born in KY in 1820 and had married in 1843 in Greene County MO. They were also Scots-Irish. In any event this young couple left IL by wagon for KS, and later moved on by wagon in 1901 with their whole family to what is now Western Canada.

One of that family married a Canadian-born man, my mother's father. He too was Scots-Irish. His grandfather and his whole family came to Canada in the worst year of the Irish potato famine. This line comes from the most reknowned and feared of the Scottish border families, one that had left Scotland for Ireland, some generations before.

Now you are probably asking what this has to do with the price of eggs, much less conservatives' delusions. Maybe nothing, maybe everything. Patience.

Learn a lot about these peoples, before they left the lawless, warring Scottish borders for Ireland, how badly they fared in Ireland, why they left for the US, and where and how they have lived there since.

These two links require careful reading to discern the elements which may shape the attitudes of certain conservatives today, and what those attitudes may be.

[http://xroads.virginia.edu/...]

[http://clio.missouristate.edu/...]

Optional

[http://www.genealogytoday.com/...]

I believe there are linkages and would like to hear what others think. If you are interested in this as a genealogy matter, or if you think there is a link between forbears' attitudes and life experiences and some of their descendants and some relationship to the question posed by JBeach in his cited diary, I'd like to hear.

If someone wants to go down to the Archives of the Boston Globe to find the essay from 1997, I think it was in the colored week-end supplement to the paper.  

Originally posted to ontario on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 08:49 AM PST.

Also republished by Genealogy and Family History Community.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (26+ / 0-)

    "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage

    by ontario on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 08:49:53 AM PST

  •  I Keep Thinking There's a Missing Piece In This (12+ / 0-)

    because the Highland Clearances began 2 generations before the American Revolution, and I'm pretty sure we got a significant contingent of Gaelic Highlanders direct from that not via Ireland.

    They would've brought all the classic identifiers we think for the Scots-Irish: insular, warrior culture, whiskey, 8-to-the-bar dance music including a great many of the same tunes we hear today in Appalachian music. In fact the final hereditary clan bagpiper died in the Carolinas, I've heard.

    These would've been Catholics though. And I think many of them counter-intuitively were loyalists during our revolt.

    Maybe they're the ones who fled to Canada after the war, displacing the French down here to New Orleans and becoming a part of the Canadian Maritimes Gaelic crowd.

    ???

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:17:57 AM PST

    •  In Fact I'm Thinking the Music Is a Gaelic (12+ / 0-)

      identifier. I spent some time helping build a church in a deep Kentucky holler back in war on poverty days. All those people had Gaelic names and they looked fresh off the boat. Not like borderers, they're really not the same people. I think the Highlanders would've regarded the borderers as more Sassenachs.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:26:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know if the earlier ones would all have (10+ / 0-)

      been Catholics. My maternal grandfather, mentioned in my diary, was of Scots-Irish descent. He was born in Canada,  but his father and grandfather for sure were born in Ireland (south). They were Church of Ireland (Anglican) and I have the records from the church there. I am led to believe that many of the border people were Church of England (Anglican).

      "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage

      by ontario on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:45:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My mother's family came from central Scotland (7+ / 0-)

        to Nova Scotia in the early 1600s. They were Presbyterians. I guess they really don't fit into the migrations described here.

        It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

        by Timaeus on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:52:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My roots are about as Scots-Irish (10+ / 0-)

          as they come and our family was always Presbyterian.

          "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

          by Pandoras Box on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:37:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yep That's Lowlanders not Highlanders. (10+ / 0-)

          I've got 2 Scots connections, Scots-Irish Presbyterians on one side and Highlanders on the other.

          They're noticeably different in temperament. Our Highlanders are basically sort of mountain Irishmen; they talk constantly, tell stories where entertainment value has priority over strict factuality, everybody is playing music, lots of drinking, artistic and technological creativity for work when opportunity is available.

          My Highlanders got here 120+ years ago but if you walk into some of today's generation's houses you'll think you're in an Irish pub.

          Their Gaelic language was formally termed "Irish" in Scotland up to around 100 years ago.

          Maybe I'm overcounting Highland immigration here. Thing is, they ran a big fraction of the entire population out of the Highlands. They went somewhere and I'd always thought Appalachia was one of their major destinations.

          We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

          by Gooserock on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 11:23:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Aye, but the lowlanders are also no (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            edwardssl, Kimball Cross, ontario

            strangers to the whisky and the storytelling.

            As a long-time student of the subject, I maintain that nearly 100 percent of the Scots and the Irish are alcoholics, though they don't all drink. In families there are often intervening teetotaler generations.

            In contrast, only maybe half of the English are alcoholics.

            Personally, I support the alcoholic party.

            It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

            by Timaeus on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 05:21:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I've been told from many sources that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        edwardssl

        the reason there are so many Presbyterians in North and South Carolina is that the refugees from the Scottish Clearances settled there. Well, there certainly are plenty of Presbyterians in the Carolinas, but since many Highlanders were Catholic, I have to wonder where the Catholics went. Nova Scotia, maybe?

        For relevant sci-fi and fantasy, go to http://www.betty-cross-author.net/

        by Kimball Cross on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 04:08:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  ... loyalists during our revolt (6+ / 0-)

      Yes, like the famous Flora McDonald,who 30 years before had hid "Bonnie Prince Charlie" from her the-hated Hanoverians. She got rich in North carolina and became a militant (literally) Loyalist.

      Then let us learn our range: we are something but we are not everything - Pascal

      by jlb1972 on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:31:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  She Did?? I Never Knew That. Gotta Tell a Highland (5+ / 0-)

        dancer friend, "Flora MacDonald" is an old competition dance.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 11:14:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, check the wikipedia article on her - (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gordon20024, edwardssl, larmos

          It says the account of her exhorting the Loyalist troops (including her husband Allen) as they marched off to defeat at present-day Fayetteville is "Legend" but I read an article in a NC historical journal that went into great detail of the troops she and her husband raised and sent off with pipers and everything. She hid out from rebels for much of the war and then returned to the Isle of Skye in 1779. The article says that dance is supposed to be based on the dance she did to divert puir Charlie ...  

          Then let us learn our range: we are something but we are not everything - Pascal

          by jlb1972 on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 11:21:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Albion's Seed, book and diary from 2009 (10+ / 0-)

    Here's a diary from 2009 that examines the Scots-Irish border folks and modern politics:

    Here's What's Up with the Republicans

    That diary looks at the book Albion's Seed, which is also described in one of this diary's links.

    Albion's Seed:
    Four British Folkways in America
    by David Hackett Fischer

    Y'all might find those interesting and useful.

    Cheers

  •  heard of Joe Bageant? (7+ / 0-)

    you might want to if you're talking about the Borderers.

    Joe Bageant

    don't always believe what you think...

    by claude on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:17:01 AM PST

  •  There was an earlier diary on this--maybe a year (9+ / 0-)

    ago?  I'll try to look it up.

    As I understand it (historians correct me) the English government thought it would be a good idea to populate as much of Ireland as possible with Protestants, so they made incentives for some Protestant Scots to move to Ireland--and these are the Scots-Irish.  My family is descended from that group as well as some from Wales.   My husband's family came over really early--they were French Huguenots boarding the boat just a few steps ahead of the King's ax man.  Also, there is Cherokee in his ancestry.

    As Will Rogers said when speaking to the DAR, "Your ancestors came over to this country when we would let anybody in."

    "Everyone is ignorant-but on different subjects." Will Rogers

    by Mayfly on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:22:08 AM PST

  •  There are questions about the Borderers (8+ / 0-)

    and just how "Scots" - meaning Celtic or Gaelic - they were. The Borders were overrun by Anglo-Saxons after the primary invasion of the South of England, and there may have been little traditional Celtic/Scots culture left. The point is really that historical shorthand can institutionalize errors beyond correction, at least in popular understanding. It may well be that the so-called Scots-Irish who passed through Cromwell's Ulster Plantation for a while on their way to the Carolinas were, like the Holy Roman Empire, really neither Scots nor Irish.

    Then let us learn our range: we are something but we are not everything - Pascal

    by jlb1972 on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:37:52 AM PST

    •  Yep See My Remarks About Highlanders Above; (6+ / 0-)

      There's no question that Appalachian music contains a lot of Highland music. I've heard recorded presentation of old time Appalachian church plain chanting that is vanishingly close to some old bagpipe airs, with nonsense vocables resembling Gaelic. I figure there must be a noticeable Highland component to what is getting labelled as Scots-Irish.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 11:27:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's fascinating, Goose, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        edwardssl, larmos

        and especially the "nonsense" vocables you mention, which remind me of the "mouth-music" sort of scat-singing of both Irish and Scots trad musics.

        Then let us learn our range: we are something but we are not everything - Pascal

        by jlb1972 on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 11:32:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The common bond between the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        edwardssl, jlb1972

        strictly Scottish immigration and Scotland-by-way-of-Ireland immigration is Protestantism.

        And some of them didn't stay in Ireland for very long. One of my "Scots-Irish" ancestors was the daughter of a man who lived in Ireland but his father moved from Scotland to Ireland. The family name was Cunningham, a Scottish clan.

        It's a chilly morning. Till the house warms up, I'm wearing a flannel shirt with the Cunningham tartan on it, or something close to it.

        For relevant sci-fi and fantasy, go to http://www.betty-cross-author.net/

        by Kimball Cross on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 04:13:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting stuff (9+ / 0-)

    my family identifies as Irish, but has on both sides names that don't sound quite so Irish - Graham, Mitchell, Barnett, Barrett. . .

    In Ireland, when I went to the natal town of my Grandfather's father, I found graves with the family name in a churchyard.  I mentioned this to the local Catholic priest, who advised me, archly, that I had been in the Church of Ireland cemetery.

    Now whether they had actually been church of Ireland, or whether they "took the soup" I can't say;  but there it was.

    Never had the heart to tell me dear old Ma.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:48:59 AM PST

  •  The Scots-Irish tended to be John Knox Puritans (6+ / 0-)

    and that can never be good. They made the Mass. Bay colonists look wildly liberal in comparison.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 11:07:20 AM PST

  •  An alternate take (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, edwardssl, larmos

    A lot of this stuff

    their attitudes to government and authority would find expression even today, guns, the revenuer, municipal zoning.

    is a bunch of corn-pone

    no community government, no organized religion, little social organization wider than that of family and clan, and only traces of organized industry.

    rot.

  •  Thanks for that first link. My (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edwardssl, larmos, ontario

    maternal grandmother was Scots Irish, although I doubt she would have thought of herself that way because she was born in England and immigrated to Canada early in the last century.  So no American connections of any kind for her.   I never met her and know barely anything at all about her so I appreciate the chance to learn something about her ancestors.  Not sure I want to admit they're mine too.  :)

    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

    by Observerinvancouver on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 12:20:25 PM PST

    •  I understand what you mean. The Boston Globe (3+ / 0-)

      essay I mentioned, which started all of this for me, painted a very unflattering picture of them.  

      "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage

      by ontario on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 05:50:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Is there a difference (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      edwardssl

      Between Scots Irish and Orangemen?

      I grew up in London Ontario (my folks immigrated from England).

      Many Scots and Irish settled in SW Ontario of both Catholic and Protestant persuasion.

      Historically the Irish Catholics had to contend with a lot of prejudice based on both their country of origin and religion. A famous case happened in London and just north if it. Look up "Black Donnellys" on wikipedia. Not the group or the TV show. (If you ever did see the show, it was created by Paul Haggis who is also from London, so the name was not a coincidence.)

      Every year the Orangemen (Irish protestants) would march behind a flag of King Billy (William of Orange, of William and Mary fame) marking the Battle of the Boyne when William defeated James II and took control of Ireland. In earlier years these often gave rise to fights and bloodshed.

      the above was written off the top of my head. As so often happens when reading Dkos I've just been off to wikipedia to learn more.

      I thought you might find this interesting:

      The Orange Order played an important role in the history of Canada, where it was established in 1830. Most early members were from Ireland, but later many English, Scots, Italians[77] and other Protestant Europeans joined the Order, as well as Mohawk Native Americans.[78]  Toronto was the epicentre of Canadian Orangeism: most mayors were Orange until the 1950s, and Toronto Orangemen battled against Ottawa-driven initiatives like bilingualism and Catholic immigration. A third of the Ontario legislature was Orange in 1920, but in Newfoundland, the proportion has been as high as 50% at times. Indeed, between 1920 and 1960, 35% of adult male Protestant Newfoundlanders were Orangemen, as compared with just 20% in Northern Ireland and 5%–10% in Ontario in the same period.[79]

      In addition to Newfoundland and Ontario, the Orange Order played an important role in the frontier regions of Quebec, including the Gatineau- Pontiac region. The region’s earliest protestant settlement occurred when fifteen families from County Tipperary settled in the valley in Carleton County after 1818.[80] These families spread across the valley, settling towns near Shawville, Quebec.[81] Despite these early protestant migrants, it was only during the early 1820s that a larger wave of Irish migrants, many of them protestants, came to the Ottawa valley region.[82] Orangism developed throughout the region’s Protestant communities, including Bristol, Lachute- Brownsburg, Shawville and Quyon.[83] After further protestant settlement throughout the 1830s and 40s, the Pontiac region's Orange Lodges developed into the largest rural contingent of Orangism in the Province.[84] The Orange Lodges were seen as community cultural centers, as they hosted numerous dances, events, parades, and even the teaching of step dancing.[85] Orange Parades still occur in the Pontiac-Gatineau- Ottawa Valley area; however, every community no longer hosts a parade.[86] Now one larger parade is hosted by a different town every year.[87]

      The Toronto Twelfth is North America's oldest consecutive annual parade.


      •  Some of my ancestors belonged to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        edwardssl

        the Black Knights of Ireland

        "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage

        by ontario on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 03:43:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Billmon's take (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edwardssl, larmos

    ...was, as always, marvelous.

    borders people

    Shooting wolves from planes is to hunting, what hiring a prostitute is to dating.-Shannyn Moore

    by zzyzx on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 05:58:08 PM PST

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