Included in our ancestors, arriving in America in the 18th century, were the Highland Scots, refugees from the Uprising and Battle of Culloden in Scotland in '45. Most of the Highlanders who came to America came to North Carolina.
The first Highland Scots reached our coastal Cape Fear region in 1732. Even Flora McDonald, famous for helping save Scotland's Catholic Prince Charles from the British, settled around Cape Fear.
The Scots played huge roles on both sides of our Revolution. The Highlanders were mostly faithful to King George III, having taken oaths of allegiance after their defeat at Culloden Moor in 1746.
The Scots left their mark on North Carolina in place names, names on mail boxes and the numerous Presbyterian churches. Present Scotland County, was largely settled by Highland Scots as early as 1729, when North Carolina became a royal colony. After the Battle of Culloden, many Scots came up the Cape Fear River into the area of Cross Creek settlement, later named Campbelltown and still later named Fayetteville.
The Scots, forced to leave their homeland in the Scottish clearances, came in great numbers to North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Strong supporters of education, the Scots built Presbyterian churches and universities, as well as local schools.
The Scots, Irish and Welsh (Celtic) colonists outnumbered the English by two to one in the South, as proven in the 1790 census. Their mark of cultural and social heritage permeates the South and is responsible for the individuality of the South and her people. By the time of the Civil War, the South was fully three fourths Celtic in origin and even the Rebel yell harks back to an earlier Celtic war ritual of yelling in order to terrify the enemy, the cry of the Scots Highlanders revisited in America.
The Highland Scot settlements around Cross Creek, in North Carolina, spoke in the Gaelic language, dressed in Highland attire and continued to live as Highlanders in their new home. It is recorded as late as 1851 that Gaelic contined to be the language spoken in the area and that the ministers spoke Gaelic in the churches and even the Negroes spoke Gaelic.
The Cape Fear River
The Highlander never forgot his home, no matter how beautiful or plentiful was the new land. He constantly yearned in his heart to one day, return to Scotland. (There is nothing, perhaps, more stubborn than the heart of a Scotsman.) Their Highland home was revered and embellished in the stories they shared with their children and grandchildren and never forgotten. Forever, the call of the homeland was with them.
Driven from their Highland homes, the Scots found sights such as the one above once they reached North Carolina.
One of those Scots, landing at Cape Fear was Flora Macdonald, the heroine of '45, who arrived in Cape Fear in 1774. It was Flora Macdonald who aided Prince Charlie in his escape from Benbecula to the Island of Skye, for which act, she was later imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Flora and her husband, Alan Macdonald, were forced to leave their home in the Island of Skye due to economic circumstance. Gathering their large family, the Macdonald's joined relatives in North Carolina. Arriving just at the beginning of the American Revolution, the Macdonald's supported the British in the Revolution, as did most all the Scots from the '45. A people of honor, they had sworn allegiance to Britain following the uprising in '45 and even in 1776, they would not break their oath. Their Loyalist stand often made them unpopular in America and such was the case with Alan and Flora Macdonald, who were driven from the region where they had settled. Moving north and passing through Nova Scotia, the Macdonald's returned to Scotland in 1779, only five years after their arrival in America.
Many of these Scot Highlanders made their way southward and eventually into Georgia.
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