Saturday, March 7, 2009

"A Scotch-Irish Presbyterian Rebellion"

In 1778 an unknown Hessian officer recorded his observations on the Revolutionary War: "Call this war by whatever name you may, only call it not an American Rebellion: it is nothing more or less than a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian Rebellion."

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Elizabeth "Betty" Hutchinson Jackson (1737-1781)

Elizabeth "Betty" Hutchinson, Scots-Irish immigrant and mother of Andrew Jackson (who would become 7th President of the United States), had these last words for her son:

    “Andrew, if I should not see you again, I wish you to remember and treasure up some things I have already said to you: in this world you will have to make your own way. To do that you must have friends. You can make friends by being honest, and you can keep them by being steadfast. You must keep in mind that friends worth having will in the long run expect as much from you as they give to you. To forget an obligation or be ungrateful for a kindness is a base crime–not merely a fault or a sin, but an actual crime. Men guilty of it sooner or later must suffer the penalty. In personal conduct be always polite but never obsequious. None will respect you more than you respect yourself. Avoid quarrels as long as you can without yielding to imposition. But sustain your manhood always. Never bring a suit in law for assault and battery or for defamation. The law affords no remedy for such outrages that can satisfy the feelings of a true man. Never wound the feelings of others. Never brook wanton outrage upon your own feelings. If you ever have to vindicate your feelings or defend your honor, do it calmly. If angry at first, wait till your wrath cools before you proceed.”

Monday, January 19, 2009

Scots-Irish prayer:

"Lord, grant that I may always be right, for Thou knowest I am hard to turn."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Auraria, Georgia

Auraria is a ghost town in Lumpkin County, Georgia, southwest of Dahlonega, the county seat.
In 1828, a man walked along Findley Ridge and kicked a rock–and discovered it was full of gold. This was in Cherokee territory, and part of present day Lumpkin County, Georgia. The first American gold rush subsequently ensued.
The Indians were dismayed at the influx of unauthorized settlers. Cherokee leader Major Ridge (aka Pathkiller II, whose maternal grandfather was a Highland Scot) long opposed U.S. government proposals for the Cherokees to sell their lands and remove to the West. However, rapidly expanding white settlement and Georgia's efforts to abolish the Cherokee government caused him to change his mind. Advised by his son John Ridge, Major Ridge came to believe the best way to preserve the Cherokee Nation was to get good terms for their lands from the United States before it was too late. On December 22, 1835, Ridge was one of the signers of the Treaty of New Echota, which exchanged the Cherokee tribal land east of the Mississippi River for land in what is now Oklahoma. The treaty was of questionable legality, and it was rejected by Chief John Ross and the majority of the Cherokee people. Nevertheless, the treaty was ratified by the U.S. Senate. The Supreme Court under John Marshall forced the treaty on the Cherokees, and the Cherokee removal from Georgia began. The land east of Auraria was purchased by U.S. Vice President John Calhoun, and he established the Calhoun Mine there. The banks of Etowah River, Camp Creek, and Cane Creek had many mines (e.g., Barlow Mine, Battle Branch Mine, Ralston Mine, Whim Hill Mine, Hedwig-Chicago Mine, Gold Hill Mine, Etowah Mine).

(info from Wikipedia)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The North Georgia Gold Rush (part 2)

from The New Georgia Encyclopedia, by David Williams (Valdosta State University); the Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press:

    By late 1829 north Georgia, known at the time as the Cherokee Nation, was flooded by thousands of prospectors lusting for gold. Niles' Register reported in the spring of 1830 that there were four thousand miners working along Yahoola Creek alone. While in his nineties, Benjamin Parks recalled the scene in the Atlanta Constitution (July 15, 1894):

      The news got abroad, and such excitement you never saw. It seemed within a few days as if the whole world must have heard of it, for men came from every state I had ever heard of. They came afoot, on horseback and in wagons, acting more like crazy men than anything else. All the way from where Dahlonega now stands to Nuckollsville [Auraria] there were men panning out of the branches and making holes in the hillsides.

    The sudden influx of miners into the Cherokee Nation was known even at the time as the Great Intrusion. One writer said in the Cherokee Phoenix, "Our neighbors who regard no law and pay no respects to the laws of humanity are now reaping a plentiful harvest. . . . We are an abused people." But there was little the Cherokees could do; it seemed the louder they protested, the more eagerly the miners came.
    Gold rush towns sprang up quickly in north Georgia, particularly near the center of the gold region in present-day Lumpkin County. Auraria became an instant boomtown, growing to a population of 1,000 by 1832. The county seat, called Licklog at the time, in 1833 became known as Dahlonega, for the Cherokee word tahlonega, meaning golden. Within a few months after its establishment nearly 1,000 people were crowded into the settlement, with about 5,000 people in the surrounding county.

The North Georgia Gold Rush (part 1)

from The New Georgia Encyclopedia, by David Williams (Valdosta State University); the Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press:

    There are several popular stories of the beginning of Georgia's gold rush; but in fact, no one is really certain who made the first discovery or when. According to one anecdote, John Witheroods found a three-ounce nugget along Duke's Creek in White County. Another says that Jesse Hogan, a prospector from North Carolina, found gold on Ward's Creek near Dahlonega. Yet another finds a young Benjamin Parks kicking up an unusual-looking stone while on the lookout for deer west of the Chestatee River in 1828. Despite the popularity of these claims, no documented evidence for gold in Georgia is found until August 1, 1829, when a Milledgeville newspaper, the Georgia Journal, ran the following notice.

      GOLD.—A gentleman of the first respectability in Habersham county, writes us thus under date of 22d July: "Two gold mines have just been discovered in this county, and preparations are making to bring these hidden treasures of the earth to use." So it appears that what we long anticipated has come to pass at last, namely, that the gold region of North and South Carolina, would be found to extend into Georgia.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Virginia's Westward Expansion

from A History of Rockbridge County, Virginia, by Oren Frederic Morton, published 1920, The McClure Co., Virginia:

    The house that John Lewis built near the site of Staunton in the summer of 1732 was not within the recognized limits of any county. Until 1744 the Blue Ridge was the treaty line between paleface and redskin. The first county organization to cross that barrier was Spottsylvania, which became effective in 1721. Yet it came only to the South Fork of the Shenandoah, one extremity of the line touching the river in the vicinity of Elkton, the other about midway between Front Royal and Bentonville. Orange was created in 1734, and organized in 1735. It was defined as extending westward to the uttermost limit claimed by Virginia. Four years later, the portion of Orange west of the Blue Ridge was divided into the counties of Frederick and Augusta by a line running from the source of the Rapidan to the Fairfax Stone at the source of the North Branch of the Potomac. The present boundary between Rockingham and Shenandoah is a portion of this line.
    During the westward march of population in Virginia, the practical area of a county has always been co-extensive with its settled portion. The fact that Augusta once extended potentially to the Mississippi, did not mean that a juryman might have to travel hundreds of miles to attend court. When the first division of Augusta took place in 1769, probably not less than three-fourths of the inhabitants were living within a radius of fifty miles around Staunton. Of the other fourth, nearly all were within a few miles of a trail leading from Buchanan to Abingdon.
    The first county to be set off from Augusta was Botetourt, which became effective January 31, 1770. ...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pennsylvania: Enter the Scots-Irish

James Logan, Pennsylvania's provincial secretary, to John Penn, 1729:

    "It now looks as if Irel[an]d or the Inhabitants of it were to be transplanted hither.... [W]e may easily believe there are some grounds for the common apprehensions of the people that if some speedy Method be not taken, they will soon make themselves Proprietors of the Province."
(from Our Savage Neighbors, by Peter Silver, pub. W.W. Norton & Company, 2008)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Washington Irving, re: North Carolina settlers

from The Life of George Washington, Volume IV, by Washington Irving, published 1857:

    "The original settlers were from various parts, most of them men who had experienced political or religious oppressions, and brought with them a quick sensibility of wrong and a strong appreciation of their rights, and indomitable spirit of freedom and independence. And this part of the state was of a hard Presbyterian stock, the Scotch-Irish, as they were called, having emigrated from Scotland to Ireland, and thence to America, and was said to possess the impulsiveness of the Irishman 
with the large resolution of the Covenanter. The early history of the colony abounds with instances of this spirit among its people. 'They always behaved insolently to their governors,' complains Governor Burrington, in 1731; 'some they have driven out of the country—at other times they set up a government of their own choice, 
supported by men under arms.' It was, in fact, the spirit of popular liberty and self-government which stirred within them, and gave birth to the glorious axiom: the rights of the many against the exactions of the few. It was this spirit that gave rise to the confederacy called the Regulation formed to withstand the abuses of power, and the first blood shed in our country in resistance to arbitrary taxation was at Alamance, in this province, in a conflict between the Regulators and Governor Tryon. Above all, it should never be forgotten that at Mecklenburg in the heart of North Carolina, was culminated the first Declaration of Independence of the British crown upward of a year before a like declaration by Congress."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Origin of the McDowells

from History of the McDowells and Connections, by John Hugh McDowell, pub. 1918, C. B. Johnston, pp. 381, 383:

By William McDowell.
    The McDowells are of Pictish origin and natives of Scotland, and away back about 200 B. C. one of them, the first that I can find anything about, had a duel with one of the Kings Habakon. You will find another William McDowell—was governor-general of Scotland in 1293, and had charge of Sterling Castle. You are further aware that this name is as old as the Creation. They are not of Celtic origin, they are not Irish; but the best blood that ever landed upon the American continent. They were early settlers in America. A great many of the McDowells that are in America are from Ireland. They went over there the time of the Cromwell settlement, in Ulster. You will find a great settlement of the McDowells near Belfast, along the Legon River, about fourteen miles from Belfast. You can find out there where the McDowells came from that landed there; some in the County Derry, County Monaghan—all over the north of Ireland. You likewise will find out that in Renfrewshire, Scotland, there are a great many, and in Ayrshire, and in Dumfrieshire, and in Gallowshire; there would be very little difficulty of finding out all about the McDowells in America—the McDowells that came later from Scotland. Sometimes the name is spelled McDowall, but after the Scotch Revolution the settlers in Ireland spelled it McDowell. They are all of Presbyterian, Covenanter origin.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Watauga Association

from the Tennessee Historical Society, The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, © 1998:

    By 1772 about seventy homesteads or farms had been established along the Watauga River in northeastern Tennessee (now Carter County). The area lay outside the boundaries of British colonial government and within the recognized boundaries of Cherokee territory. Disregarding the British mandate, the settlers negotiated a ten-year lease with the Indians for "all the country on the waters of the Watauga."

    In 1772 the settlers established the Watauga Association to organize the region. The "constitution" of the association incorporated the Virginia code of laws and outlined the organization of government. Five elected magistrates formed a court and conducted the business of government, including executive, legislative, and judicial matters. A clerk recorded deliberations of the court, and a sheriff executed judgments. The first five commissioners of the court are unknown, but a plausible list can be reconstructed. John Carter likely served as the first chairman. James Robertson was probably a member, and he may have suggested the name "Watauga Association." Charles Robertson and Zachariah Isbell may have been members, and the fifth member was probably either John Sevier or Jacob Brown.

    The court existed for four years, regulating affairs of the Watauga community. The court probably concentrated on judicial business, since the adoption of Virginia laws alleviated the need for legislative action; the only surviving record of the association is a lawsuit handled by the court. The court also conducted negotiations with Indians, agents of the British government, and colonial governments of North Carolina and Virginia. To provide military defense for the area, the court created and directed a militia.

    For about two years general peace and order prevailed in the Watauga settlement, before lawlessness and Indian attacks disturbed the peace of the community. After 1775 the Watauga Association participated in the American Revolution. In 1777 the area became a part of North Carolina, and the Watauga Association disappeared the next year.

"The Over Mountain People"

from The Road to Guilford Courthouse, by John Buchanan, ©1997, John Wiley & Sons, pp. 206-207:

    The Over Mountain People were largely Scotch Irish, but the mixing had already begun, for among them were sizable numbers of English and some Germans and Welsh. At the time of which we write they lived in the extreme northeastern corner of what is now Tennessee, along the Watauga, Nolichucky, and Holston Rivers, where Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina meet. They were squatters on Cherokee land, for it was the official policy of the British government to keep white settlers east of the mountains, so to that end the Proclamation Line of 1763 was established. The line followed the watershed of the Appalachian Mountains. The country west of the line was Indian territory under the charge of the commander in chief of the British Army in America. That did not prevent sixteen families from North Carolina, led by James Robertson and his deputy John Sevier, from crossing the mountains and stopping their wagons on the banks of the Watauga River, at a beautiful spot called Sycamore Shoals (modern Elizabethton, Tennessee). There they established the Watauga settlements and leased two large tracts of land from the Cherokee.