Scotch-Irish-L Archives

Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1999-02 > 0919658014


From: "Kevin J. Grimes" <>
Subject: RE: Scots-Irish/Appalachia
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 20:33:34 -0800


Mac and List,

Many of us fall into this scenario and in thinking about it...

My family lines seem to have arrived in the Augusta Co, VA (USA) Colony,
and the PA Colony, from a time span of about 1630 to 1730. A 'few' are
even identified as to which ship.... a very few, the rest are still hiding
from the Census Taker, the Revenuer, the Excise man, the local Sheriff,
and I'm certain they considered these about as welcome as any government's
hangman, so they are staying well hidden. Only one immigrated later....
to Charleston, 1796, from Saxony area of Germany. Many of my lines could
be considered as 'founding' families of many of the points along the way.
I'm not alone here, many of you also share this distinction, so I'm not
trying to brag. I don't know, or have proof yet, in regard to the
'Mayflower' but I do have proof that one of mine was on the next boat in!
<grin> <GRIN>

I'm no expert here, but from my own research and observations, I'll try to
answer your question;

The Colonial Augusta Co., VA (USA) Scotch Irish followed many of the same
trails that the rest of those residing in Colonial VA did. The trail
that follows from VA, and PA, south thru NC >> SC >>, then west thru to
the Appalachia area was called the 'National Trail'. I only just learned
the name of this trail myself! For those who migrated on to TN there was
an extension. I can't remember what the trail from VA to KY was
called... I do know it had a name, along with the trail that ran south
from KY thru TN and then to LA.

The above trails were well traveled, going both ways, by many of my
ancestors. Their being on these trails together, was both coincidence,
and design.

In the beginning, the various clusters of same ethnicity found comfort
in being with people from the same lands and cultures, so they clung to
one another for support, protection and comfort. It's one of the reasons
why the Scot Tartan is so important to those who no longer live on their
original Scottish land... the Tartan is a symbol of that land and their
connection to it. In Scotland they are still standing on that land so
that the Tartan is of a secondary nature... not their only physical tie.
This I understand, accept, and appreciate. I have the feeling that our
ancestors were much more cognizant of this feeling of separation and why
all of us in the US are following, albeit on 'auto pilot', the traditions
that we are only now recognizing as Scotch Irish. The more I learn about
my history, the more I see it in the various cuisine's, and music, of my
family. We have taken the traditions that our ancestor's came with,
modified them to fit time, geography, and using only the material's that
were available (much like a dressmaker re-sizing a dress) and created a
whole new fabric of life....... without losing very much of the original
flavor. To this, I applaud our ancestor's, and their ingenuity. What I
especially like is the way the new ethnicity's were blended in, seamlessly
creating our new directions, with a distinctive SI flair without even one
permanently ruffled feather! The Christmas tree is ONE example here... it
is from a part of Germany, and became a tradition here around 1850, but
not as ornate as we know it today... the decorations were the presents.

When they started to spread out in the colonies they also traveled along
with the people that they had become familiar with in the new lands. Most
were of their own ethnicity, but as time passed, they assimilated into
this group of neighbors many ethnicity's and yes, they tended to lean to
those with the same value systems. I have a succession of 6 generations
that knew each other from the earliest Augusta Co., VA settlements... I
don't think that they knew that fact past the first 2 generations, and
they traveled along this 'National Trail' to TN and LA...... THEN points
further west, north, south, etc. but that's newer history.

The fact that you find so many SI in your lineage, as do I, along with an
occasional 'outlaw' ethnic group (Welsh, German, and 'even' some English)
isn't that much of a surprise. Based on the basic history of the various
migration patterns... we almost had no choice, these were the people our
ancestor's were surrounded with. Travel wasn't easy, even to the next
parish, so many of us have what I'd call 'line-bred' pedigree's which
would have the tendency to intensify whatever genetic factors go into the
choosing of a mate. Of these, genetic factors, I haven't the foggiest
clue...... and I'm just taking a 'somewhat' educated guess here. Those
who have studied genetics can pick up this one to dissect... not me.

In looking at my siblings (six of us)..... we all have married SI except
one, and that mate was German Palatine-Scotch Irish-Welsh. At this point
in my 'Americanization' I'm 80% Celtic (Irish, Scot, Welsh), 3% German,
5% split with French-French Acadian, and about 2% English. The English,
if one had asked last year would have been reported as larger.... except
I've discovered that both my MOSS and MASSIE(MASSEY) came across the
Mersey at Liverpool (yes) BUT they had migrated south from Scotland on
their way to the harbor. What a relief! <grin> Like all of you, the
percentages vary depending on which section of the tree one looks at.

The point that I will find interesting is who our children, and their
children marry, now that travel is much easier and our area of residence
is more transient. Not meaning that we're homeless... or shiftless, I
just mean that when a job shows up that pays better we have a tendency to
move on, and quickly. This makes it difficult to keep in touch with
the other 'adopted' families that we all tend to surround ourselves with.
My ancestor's did this spanning generations, I'm fairly certain that yours
did too, but now we have the new dynamic of travel and it has to change
the quotient. Or does it?

Thank you for a thought provoking question,

Lisa Grimes

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