|The clearances had a lot of sub factors which were responsible for the mass waves of emigration. The collapse of the kelp industry,extreme poverty, the potato famine all made a new life abroad seem desirable. Promised by landowners that emigration would give them a new beginning and afar better way of living, for many it was not until they reached foreign shores that they realised that it was in fact hardship and poverty they faced
'S i seo an dùthaich 's a bheil an cruadal
Gun fhios do'n t-sluagh a tha tigh'nn anall.
Gur h-olc a fhuaras oirnn luchd a' bhuairidh
A rinn le'n tuairisgeul ar toirt ann'.
|'This is the country where there is hardship though the people coming across don't know it. It was evil they brought on us, those enticers, who contrived through their fairy tales to bring us out here'.
Life did not necessarily improve for the first generation of emigrants. Parallels were often drawn with negro slaves. Malcolm MacLean writes:
"By 1851 Highland proprietors were clearing their estates with renewed vengeance in the aftermath of the (potato) famine, and being assisted by public money made available to them by the Emigration Advance Act of that year.... Conditions on board emigrant ships were often said to be worse than those prevailing on slave ships. The fitter and healthier a slave cargo the higher the price they fetched, but emigrants paid their fare on embarking and were they to die in mid‑ocean that would save on the cost of provisions and make for a higher profit margin. Two ships which sailed from the West Highlands for Nova Scotia in 1801 with seven hundred emigrants would only have been permitted four hundred and eighty‑nine 'passengers' had they been slaves putting out from the Gambia. Three out of every twenty emigrants died on board one of these ships ... and in the six years between 1847 and 1853 at least forty‑nine emigrant ships were lost at sea."
On arrival in Australia or the New World, emigrants sometimes ended up forcing other native peoples off their lands: oppressed turned oppressor.
Many of those left at home found themselves pressed into military service to do the dirty work of Empire building, it sometimes being quipped that "The Queens Own Highlanders" might be more honestly dubbed, "The Queens Owned Highlanders". Still more migrated within Scotland to domestic service or industrial labour in the cities. Often a racked rent was paid by a crofter's children from the growing slums of Glasgow. Through the effects of intergenerational poverty, the foundations were thus laid for the post industrial despair of "areas of multiple depravation" around all our major modern Scottish cities today.
From all the crowded districts movement to the colonies went forward.
Lucille H Campey, in A Very Fine Class of Immigrants writes,
‘It was widespread concerns over the suffering caused by overcrowded ships which mobilised the Highland Society of Edinburgh to campaign for changes in the legislation governing passenger travel by sea.’
It is certainly true that the lobbying of this Society helped bring about the passing of the 1803 Passenger Act but the belief that this was as a result of concern over suffering, unless it was economic suffering to the landlords, is naive in the extreme. Other than the occasional nod to Highland culture, with the publication of a Gaelic dictionary, the Highland Society of Edinburgh was effectively a pressure group of Highland landlords, their factors and their Edinburgh law agents. Prominent among these was MacDonald of Clanranald’s factor Robert Brown. He pushed the view, also promulgated by that other font of benevolence, Lord Macdonald, that emigrants were the victim of unscrupulous emigration agents skilled in the ‘arts of deceit and imposition’. Their opposition to emigration, then, was concealed in a humanitarian cloak but what was the real reason for their opposition?
In 1838, following an extensive voluntary emigration from Lochaber during the previous two years, 1200 persons now prepared to emigrate to Australia under the Colonial Act, which provided for free or assisted passages. In the same year a ship with 280 emigrants from the counties of Ross and Inverness sailed from Cromarty, and had a sad experience, as the vessel was leaky and the food insufficient. Evictions were occurring at this time in the Island of Harris and there were riots at Durness, in Sutherland, caused by evictions which the local tacksmen attempted to carry out.
|In 1840 Sir Robert Inglis called attention in the House of Commons to the sad circumstances of the Highland people, asserting that many of them had taken a pledge to confine themselves to one meal a day. The editor of the "Courier" said he had never heard of such a pledge, and at the moment there was no unusual crisis, but thousands lived constantly on the verge of destitution, "dependent solely on the potato crop."
|The Inverness Town Council declared that an organised system of emigration was imperiously called for. In August 1840 it is recorded that three vessels, represented by one firm of agents, had in course of the season carried away 463 persons from the North Coast, and that 248 were from Caithness.
|Over 500 persons went away from Uig and Tobermory in 1840. The parish minister of Croick, in Ross-shire, accompanied a band of emigrants from that district and from Assynt to Nova Scotia. In the spring of 1841 a ship with 190 emigrants, most of them from the parish of Reay, sailed from Scrabster.
|The Inverness Courier informed people about life in the colonies. Schedules for ships were also published, and ships from Aberdeen or Dundee would stop at Cromarty on the Black Isle before sailing to Canada if a sufficient number of passengers sent an early application.
|The Hector was one of the first emigrant ships. She sailed from Loch Broom in 1772 with Hihland families on board bound for Pictou, Nova Scotia.
NEW SOUTH WALES AUSTRALIA
SOUTH AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIA
ANTIGONISH COUNTY, NOVIA SCOTTIA CANADA
BRANT COUNTY, ONTARIO CANADA
BRUCE COUNTY, ONTARIO CANADA
CAPE BRETON COUNTY, NOVIA SCOTIA CANADA
CARLETON COUNTY, ONTARIO CANADA
COLCHESTER COUNTY, NOVIA SCOTIA CANADA
CUMBERLAND COUNTY, NOVIA SCOTIA CANADA
DUNDAS COUNTY, ONTARIO CANADA
Eastern Townships, Québec CANADA
Elgin County, Ontario CANADA
GLENGARRY COUNTY, ONTARIO CANADA
GREY COUNTY, ONTARIO CANADA
HALIFAX COUNTY, NOVA SCOTIA CANADA
HALTON COUNTY, ONTARIO CANADA
HANTS COUNTY, NOVA SCOTIA CANADA
HURON COUNTY, ONTARIO CANADA
The ship "Brilliant" departed from Aberdeen on April 12, 1842, headed for Quebec.
|The ship "Brilliant" departed from Aberdeen on April 12, 1842, and picked up the passengers at Cromarty on the North-Eastern tip of the Black Isle. John Prebble (in The Highland Clearances) noted that conditions for steerage passengers were very poor aboard ship. They paid a fare of six to eight pounds for a narrow berth and food, but adults were expected to perform additional duties during the voyage.
|The berth of pine shelves, stacked a couple of feet (60 cm) apart and measuring three feet by six feet (90 cm by 180 cm), was often shared by at least two people and lacked privacy. Defying obliteration in this unlit space between decks, a steaming stench was held captive from previous voyages.
|Food was prepared by one of the emigrants, whose provisions and imagination might limit the passengers to an unvarying diet of stew topped by an occasional dumpling or biscuit. If luck prevailed, a gruel of oatmeal and tainted water might serve for the final days of the crossing. Conditions below decks guaranteed a fast deterioration in quality of such staples as potatoes, onions or turnips.
|According to the records of Lloyd's of London, the 332-ton "Brilliant", had been built there in 1814. After twenty-eight years on the high seas, maintenance details had to be assigned watches in the hold to repair leaky seams. Lack of ventilation encouraged fungi to attack the oak hull and to produce the ever-present dry rot.
|Captain Elliot docked the ship at the Port of Quebec on May 23rd of 1842, and thirty-eight surviving steerage passengers made their way to the immigrant sheds. Another ship, the Bark "James Dean" from Glasgow arrived with twenty-nine passengers shortly afterwards, and both ships were confined under quarantine at Grosse Isle.
The Hercules sailed from Campbeltown in 1853, bound for Australia. She had already picked up passengers from Skye There were 830 passengers on board. During a voyage to Adelaide of seven months 56 die. According to a doctor on board the passengers were:
The Georgiana sailed from Greenock, 13 July 1852.
||The ship in the picture is The Hector, moored in Pictou, Nova Scotia it is a replica of the original which brought 200 Scots sailing from Ullapool, West Ross-Shire, Scotland in the Highlands arriving in Pictou, Nova Scotia on Sept 15, 1773. By one count in 1802 & 1807, during the Highland Clearances, twenty five thousand people went to Cape Breton in Nova Scotia alone. This wave of immigration from Scotland, which has contributed so much to the heritage of a large part of Nova Scotia and other parts of Atlantic Canada, began with these intrepid souls that sailed on "Hector".
|Settlements of Scots Highlanders in America
Highlanders in North Carolina
|The earliest, largest and most important settlement of Highlanders in America, prior to the Peace of 1783, was in North Carolina, along Cape Fear River, about one hundred miles from its mouth, and in what was then Bladen, but now Cumberland County. The time when the Highlanders began to occupy this territory is not definitely known; but some were located there in 1729, at the time of the separation of the province into North and South Carolina. It is not known what motive caused the first settlers to select that region. There was no leading clan in this movement, for various ones were well represented. At the head-waters of navigation these pioneers literally pitched their tent in the wilderness, for there were but few human abodes to offer them shelter. The chief occupants of the soil were the wild deer, turkeys, wolves, raccoons, opossums, with huge rattlesnakes to contest the intrusion. Fortunately for the homeless immigrant the climate was genial, and the stately tree would afford him shelter while he constructed a house out of logs proffered by the forest. Soon they began to fell the primeval forest, grub, drain, and clear the rich alluvial lands bordering on the river, and plant such vegetables as were to give them subsistence.
In course of time a town was formed, called Campbellton, then Cross Creek, and after the Revolution, in honor of the great Frenchman, who was so truly loyal to Washington, it was permanently changed to Fayetteville.
The immigration to North Carolina was accelerated, not only by the accounts sent back to the Highlanders of Scotland by the first settlers, but particularly under the patronage of Gabriel Johnston, governor of the province from 1734 until his death in 1752. He was born in Scotland, educated at the University of St. Andrews, where he became professor of Oriental languages, and still later a political writer in London. He bears the reputation of having done more to promote the prosperity of North Carolina than all its other colonial governors combined. However, he was often arbitrary and unwise with his power, besides having the usual misfortune of colonial governors of being at variance with the legislature. He was very partial to the people of his native country, and sought to better their condition by inducing them to emigrate to North Carolina. Among the charges brought against him, in 1748, was his inordinate fondness for Scotsmen, and even Scots rebels. So great, it was alleged, was his partiality for the latter that he showed no joy over the king’s "glorious victory of Culloden;" and "that he had appointed one William McGregor, who had been in the Rebellion in the year 1715, a Justice of the Peace during the late Rebellion (1745) and was not himself without suspicion of disaffection to His Majesty’s Government." [North Carolina Colonial Records, Vol. IV, p. 931.]
The "Colonial Records of North Carolina" contain many distinctively Highland names, most of which refer to persons whose nativity was in the Scottish Highlands but these furnish no certain criterion, for doubtless some of the parties, though of Highland parents, were born in the older provinces, while in later colonial history others belong to the Scots-Irish, who came in that great wave of migration from Ulster, and found a lodgment upon the headwaters of the Cape Fear, Pee Dee and Neuse. Many of the early Highland emigrants were very prominent in the annals of the colony, among whom none were more so than Colonel James Innes, who was born about the year 1700 at Cannisbay, a town the extreme northern point of the coast of Scotland. He was a personal friend of Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia, who in 1754 appointed him commander-in-chief of all the forces in the expedition to the Ohio,—George Washington being the colonel commanding the Virginia regiment. He had previously seen some service as a captain in the unsuccessful expedition against Carthagenia.
The real impetus of the Highland emigration to North Carolina was the arrival, in 1739, of a "shipload," under the guidance of Neil McNeill, of Kintyre, Scotland, who settled also on the Cape Fear, amongst those who had preceded him. Here he found Hector McNeill, called "Bluff Hector," from his residence near the bluffs above Cross Creek.
Neil McNeill, with his countrymen, landed on the Cape Fear during the month of September. They numbered three hundred and fifty souls, principally from Argyleshire. At the ensuing session of the legislature they made application for substantial encouragement, that they might thereby be able to induce the rest of their friends and acquaintances to settle in the country. While this petition was pending, in order to encourage them and others and also to show his good will, the governor appointed, by the council of the province, a certain number of them justices of the peace, the commissions bearing date of February 28, 1740. The proceedings show that it was "ordered that a new commission of peace for Bladen directed to the following persons: Mathew Rowan, Wm Forbes, Hugh Blaning, John Clayton, Robert Hamilton, Griffeth Jones, James Lyon, Duncan Campbel, Dugold McNeil, Dan McNeil, Wm. Bartram and Samuel Baker hereby constituting and appointing them Justices of the Peace for the said county."
These were the first so appointed.. The petition was first heard in the upper house of the legislature, at Newbern, and on January 26, 1740, the following action was taken:
"Resolved, that the Persons mentioned in said Petition, shall be free from payment of any Public or County tax for Ten years next ensuing their Arrival.
"Resolved, that towards their subsistence the sum of one thousand pounds could be paid out of the Public money, by His Excellency’s warrant to be lodged with Duncan Campbell, Dugald McNeal, Daniel McNeal, Coll. McAlister and Neal McNeal Esqrs., to be by them distributed among the several families in the said Petition mentioned.
"Resolved, that as an encouragement for Protestants to remove from Europe into this Province, to settle themselves in bodies or Townships, That all such as shall so remove into this province, provided they exceed forty persons in one body or Company, they shall be exempted from payment of any Public or County tax for the space of Ten years, next ensuing their Arrival.
"Resolved, that an address be presented to his Excellency the Governor to desire him to use his Interest, in such manner, as he shall think most proper to obtain an Instruction for giving encouragement to Protestants from foreign parts, to settle in Townships within this Province, to be set apart for that purpose after the manner, and with such priviledges and advantages, as is practiced in South Carolina."
The petition was concurred in by the lower house on February 21st, and on the 26th, after reciting the action of the upper house in relation to the petition, passed the following:
"Resolved, That this House concurs with the several Resolves of the Upper House in the above said Message Except that relating to the thousand pounds which this House refers till next Session of Assembly for Consideration."
At a meeting of the council held at Wilmington, June 4, 1740, there were presented petitions for patents of lands, by the following persons, giving acres and location, as granted:
Name. Acres. County.
Thos Clarks 320 N. Hanover
James McLachlan 160 Bladen
Hector McNeil 300
Duncan Campbell 150
James McAlister 640
James McDugald 640
Duncan Campbell 75
Hugh McCraine 500
Duncan Campbell 320
Gilbert Pattison 640
Rich Lovett 855 Tyrrel
Rd Earl 108 N. Hanover
Jno McFerson 320 Bladen
Duncan Campbell 300
Neil McNeil 150
Duncan Campbell 140
Jno Clark 320
Malcolm McNeil 320
Neil McNeil 400
Arch Bug 320
Duncan Campbel 640 Bladen
Jas McLachlen 320
Murdock McBraine 320
Jas Campbel 640
Patric Stewart 320
Arch Campley 320
Dan McNeil 105 (400) 400
Neil McNeil 400
Duncan Campbel 320
Jno Martileer 160
Daniel McNeil 320
Wm Stevens 300
Dan McNeil 400
Jas McLachlen 320
Wm Speir i6o Edgecombe
Jno Clayton 100 Bladen
Sam Portevint 640 N. Hanover
Charles Harrison 320
Robt Walker 640
Jas Smalwood 640
Wm Faris 400 640 640
Richd Canton 180 Craven
Duncan Campbel 150 Bladen
Neil McNeil 321
Alex McKey 320
Henry Skibley 320
Jno Owen 200
Duncan Campbel 400
Dougal Stewart 640
Arch Douglass 200 N. Hanover
James Murray 320
Robt Clark 200
Duncan Campbel 148 Bladen
James McLachlen 320
Arch McGill 500
Jno Speir 100 Edgecombe
James Fergus 640
Rufus Marsden 640
Hugh Blaning 320 (surplus land) Bladen
Robt Hardy 400 Beaufort
Wm Jones 354350
All the above names, by no means are Highland; but as they occur in the same list, in all probability, came on the same ship, and were probably connected by kindred ties with the Gaels.
The colony was destined soon to receive a great influx from the Highlands of Scotland, due to the frightful oppression and persecution which immediately followed the battle of Culloden. Not satisfied with the merciless harrying of the Highlands, the English army on its return into England carried with it a large number of prisoners, and after a hasty military trial many were publicly executed. Twenty-two suffered death in Yorkshire; seventeen were put to death in Cumberland; and seventeen at Kennington Common, near London. When the king’s vengeance had been fully glutted, he pardoned a large number, on condition of their leaving the British Isles and emigrating to the plantations, after having first taken the oath of allegiance.
The collapsing of the romantic scheme to re-establish the Stuart dynasty, in which so many brave and generous mountaineers were enlisted, also brought an indiscriminate national punishment upon the Scottish Gaels, for a blow was struck not only at those "who were out" with prince Charles, but also those who fought for the reigning dynasty. Left without chief, or protector, clanship broken up, homes destroyed and kindred murdered, dispirited, outlawed, insulted and without hope of palliation or redress, the only ray of light pointed across the Atlantic where peace and rest were to be found in the unbroken forests of North Carolina. Hence, during the years 1746 and 1747, great numbers of Highlanders, with their families and the families of their friends, removed to North Carolina and settled along the Cape Fear river, covering a great space of country, of which Cross Creek, or Campbelton, now Fayetteville, was the common center. This region received shipload after shipload of the harassed, down-trodden and maligned people.
The emigration, forced by royal persecution and authority, was carried on by those who desired to improve their condition, by owning the land they tilled. In a few years large companies of Highlanders joined their countrymen in Bladen County, which has since been subdivided into the Counties of Anson, Bladen, Cumberland, Moore, Richmond,
Robeson and Sampson, but the greater portion established themselves within the present limits of Cumberland, with Fayetteville the seat of justice. There was in fact a Carolina mania which was not broken until the beginning of the Revolution. The flame of enthusiasm passed like wildfire through the Highland glens and Western Isles. It pervaded all classes, from the poorest crofter to the well-to-do farmer, and even men of easy competence, who were according to the appropriate song of the day,
"Dol a dh’iarruidh an fhortain do North Carolina."
Large ocean crafts, from several of the Western Lochs, laden with hundreds of passengers sailed direct for the far west. In that day this was a great undertaking, fraught with perils of the sea, and a long, comfortless voyage. Yet all this was preferable than the homes they loved so well; but no longer homes to them! They carried with them their language, their religion, their manners, their customs and costumes. In short, it was a Highland community transplanted to more hospitable shores.
The numbers of Highlanders at any given period can only relatively be known. In 1753 it was estimated that in Cumber- land County there were one thousand Highlanders capable of bearing arms, which would make the whole number between four and five thousand,—to say nothing of those in the adjoining districts, besides those scattered in the other counties of the province.
The people at once settled quietly and devoted their energies to improving their lands. The country rapidly developed and wealth began to drop into the lap of the industrious. The social claims were not forgotten, and the political demands were attended to. It is recorded that in 1758 Hector McNeil was sheriff of Cumberland County, and as his salary was but £10, it indicates his services were not in demand, and there was a healthy condition of affairs.
Hector McNeil and Alexander McCollister represented Cumberland County in the legislature that assembled at Wilmington April 13, 1762. In 1764 the members were Farquhar Campbell and Walter Gibson,—the former being also a member in 1769, 1770, and 1775, and during this period one of the leading men not only of the county, but also of the legislature. Had he, during the Revolution, taken a consistent position in harmony with his former acts, he would have been one of the foremost patriots of his adopted state; but owing to his vacillating character, his course of conduct inured to his discomfiture and reputation.
The legislative body was clothed with sufficient powers to ameliorate individual distress, and was frequently appealed to for relief. In quite a list of names, seeking relief from "Public duties and Taxes," April 16, 1762, is that of Hugh McClean, of Cumberland county. The relief was granted. This would indicate that there was more or less of a struggle in attaining an independent home, which the legislative body desired to assist in as much as possible, in justice to the commonwealth.
The Peace of 1763 not only saw the American Colonies prosperous, but they so continued, making great strides in development and growth. England began to look towards them as a source for additional revenue towards filling her depleted exchequer; and, in order to realise this, in March, 1765, her parliament passed, by great majorities, the celebrated act for imposing stamp duties in America. All America was soon in a torment. The people of North Carolina had always asserted their liberties on the subject of taxation. As early as 1716, when the province, all told, contained only eight thousand inhabitants, they entered upon the journal of their assembly the formal declaration "that the impressing of the inhabitants or their property under pretence of its being for the public service without authority of the Assembly, was unwarrantable and a great infringement upon the liberty of the subject." In 1760 the Assembly declared its indubitable right to frame and model every bill whereby an aid was granted to the king. In 1764 it entered upon its journal a peremptory order that the treasurer should not pay out any money by order of the governor and council without the concurrence of the assembly.
William Tryon assumed the duties of governor March 28, 1765, and immediately after he took charge of affairs the assembly was called, but within two weeks he prorogued it; said to have been done in consequence of an interview with the speaker of the assembly, Mr. Ashe, who, in answer to a question by the governor on the Stamp Act, replied, "We will fight it to the death." The North Carolina records show it was fought even to "the death."
The prevalent excitement seized the Highlanders along the Cape Fear. A letter appeared in "The North Carolina Gazette," dated at Cross Creek, January 30, 1766, in which the writer urges the people by every consideration, in the name of "dear Liberty" to rise in their might and put a stop to the seizures then in progress. He asks the people if they have "lost their senses and their souls, and are they determined tamely to submit to slavery." Nor did the matter end here, for, the people of Cross Creek gave vent to their resentment by burning lord Bute in effigy.
Just how far statistics represent the wealth of a people may not be wholly determined At this period of the history, referring to a return of the counties, in 1767, it is stated that Anson county, called also parish of St George, had six hundred and ninety-six white taxables, that the people were in general poor and unable to support a minister Bladen county, or St Martin’s parish, had seven hundred and ninety-one taxable whites, and the inhabitants in middling circumstances. Cumberland, or St David’s parish, had eight hundred and ninety-nine taxable whites, "mostly Scotch—Support a Presbyterian Minister."
The Colonial Records of North Carolina do not exhibit a list of the emigrants, and seldom refer to the ship by name. Occasionally, however, a list has been preserved in the minutes of the official proceedings. Hence it may be read that on November 4, 1767, there landed at Brunswick, from the Isle of Jura, Argyle-shire, Scotland, the following names of families and persons, to whom were allotted vacant lands, clear of all fees, to be taken up in Cumberland or Mecklenburgh counties, at their option:
These names show they were from Argyleshire, and probably from the Isle of Mull, and the immediate vicinity of Oban.
The year 1771 witnessed civil strife in North Carolina. The War of the Regulators was caused by oppression in disproportionate taxation; no method for payment of taxes in produce, as in other counties; unfairness in transactions of business by officials; the privilege exercised by lawyers to commence suits in any court they pleased, and unlawful fees extorted. The assembly was petitioned in vain on these points, and on account of these wrongs the people of the western districts attempted to gain by force what was denied them by peaceable means.
One of the most surprising things about this war is that it was ruthlessly stamped out by the very people of the eastern part of the province who themselves had been foremost in rebellion against the Stamp Act. and, furthermore, to be leaders against Great Britain in less than five years from the battle of the Alamance. Nor did they appear in the least to be willing to concede justice to their western brethren, until the formation of the state constitution, in 1776, when thirteen, out of the forty-seven sections, of that instrument embodied the reforms sought for by the Regulators.
On March 10, 1771, Governor Tryon apportioned the number of troops for each county which were to march against the insurgents In this allotment fifty each fell to Cumberland, Bladen, and Anson counties. Farquhar Campbell was given a captain’s commission and two commissions in blank for lieutenant and ensign, besides a draft for £150, to be used as bounty money to the enlisted men, and other expenses. As soon as his company was raised, he was ordered to join, as he thought expedient, either the westward or eastward detachment. The date of his orders is April 18, 1771. Captain Campbell had expressed himself as being able to raise the complement. The records do not show whether or not Captain Campbell and his company took an active part.
It cannot be affirmed that the expedition against the Regulators was a popular one. When the militia was called out, there arose trouble in Craven, Dobbs, Johnston, Pitt and Edgecombe counties, with no troops from the Albemarle section. In Bute county where there was a regiment eight hundred strong, when called upon for fifty volunteers, all broke rank, without orders, declaring that they were in sympathy with the Regulators.
The freeholders living near Campbelton on March 13, 1772, petitioned Governor Martin for a change in the charter of their town, alleging that as Campbelton was a trading town persons temporarily residing there voted, and thus the power of election was thrown into their hands, because the property owners were fewer in numbers. They desired "a new Charter impowering all persons, being Freeholders within two miles of the Courthouse of Campbelton or seized of an Estate for their own, or the life of any other person in any dwelling-house (such house having a stone or brick Chimney thereunto belonging and appendent) to elect a Member to represent them in General Assembly. Whereby we humbly conceive that the right of election will be lodged with those who only have right to Claim it and the purposes for which the Charter was granted to encourage Merchants of property to settle there fully answered."
Among the names signed to this petition are those of Neill MacArther, Alexr. MacArther, James McDonald, Benja. McNatt, Ferqd. Campbell, and A. Macline. The charter was granted.
The people of Cumberland county had a care for their own interests, and fully appreciated the value of public buildings. Partly by their efforts, the upper legislative house, on February 24, 1773, passed a bill for laying out a public road from the Dan through the counties of Guilford, Chatham and Cumberland to Campbelton. On the 26th same month, the same house passed a bill for regulating the borough of Campbelton, and erecting public buildings therein, consisting of court house, gaol, pillory and stocks, naming the following persons to be commissioners: Alexander McAlister, Farquhard Campbell, Richard Lyon, Robert Nelson, and Robert Cochran. The same year Cumberland county paid in quit-rents, fines and forfeitures the sum of £206.
In September, 1773, a boy named Reynold McDugal was condemned for murder. His youthful appearance, looking to be but thirteen, though really eighteen years of age, enlisted the sympathy of a great many, who petitioned for clemency, which was granted. To this petition were attached such Highland names as, Angus Camel, Alexr. McKlarty, James McKlarty, Malcolm McBride, Neil McCoulskey, Donald McKeithen, Duncan McKeithen, Gilbert McKeithen, Archibald McKeithen, Daniel Mc-Farther, John McFarther, Daniel Graham, Malcolm Graham, Malcolm McFarland, Murdock Graham, Michael Graham, John McKown, Robert McKown, William McKown, Daniel Campbell, John Campbell, Iver McKay, John McLeod, Alexr. Graham, Evin McMullan, John McDuffie, William McNeil, Andw. McCleland, John McCleland, Wm. McRei, Archd. McCoulsky, James McCoulsky, Chas. McNaughton, Jno. McLason.
The Highland clans were fairly represented, with a preponderance in favor of the McNeils. They still wore their distinctive costume, the plaid, the kilt, and the sporran,—and mingled together, as though they constituted but one family. A change now began to take place and rapidly took on mammoth proportions. The MacDonalds of Raasay and Skye became impatient under coersion and set out in great numbers for North Carolina. Among them was. Allan MacDonald of Kingsborough, and his famous wife, the heroine Flora, who arrived in 1774. Allan MacDonald succeeded to the estate of Kingsburgh in 1772, on the death of his father, but finding it incumbered with debt, and embarrassed in his affairs, he resolved in 1773 to go to North Carolina, and there hoped to mend his fortunes. He settled in Anson county. Although somewhat aged, he had the graceful mein and manly looks of a gallant Highlander. He had jet black hair tied behind, and was a large, stately man, with a steady, sensible countenance. He wore his tartan thrown about him, a large blue bonnet with a knot of black ribbon like a cockade, a brown short coat, a tartan waist-coat with gold buttons and gold button holes, a bluish philabeg, and tartan hose. At once he took precedence among his countrymen, becoming their leader and adviser The Macdonalds, by 1775, were so numerous in Cumberland county as to be called the "Clan Donald," and the insurrection of February, 1776, is still known as the "Insurrection of the Clan MacDonald."
Little did the late comers know or realize the gathering storm. The people of the West Highlands, so remote from the outside world,, could not apprehend the spirit of liberty that was being awakened in the Thirteen Colonies. Or, if they heard of it, the report found no special lodgement. In short, there were but few capable of realizing what the outcome would be. Up to the very breaking out of hostilities the clans poured forth emigrants into North Carolina.
Matters long brewing now began to culminate and evil days grew apace. The ruling powers of England refused to understand the rights of America, and their king rushed headlong into war. The colonists had suffered long and patiently, but when the overt act came they appealed to arms. Long they bore misrule. An English king, of his own whim, or the favoritism of a minister, or the caprice of a woman good or bad, or for money in hand paid, selected the governor, chief justice, secretary, receiver-general, and attorney-general for the province. The governor selected the members of the council, the associate judges, the magistrates, and the sheriffs. The clerks of the county courts and the register of deeds were selected by the clerk of pleas, who having bought his office in England came to North Carolina and peddled out "county rights" at prices ranging from £4 to £40 annual rent per county. Scandalous abuses accumulated, especially under such governors as were usually chosen. The people were still loyal to England, even after the first clash of arms, but the open rupture rapidly prepared them for independence. The open revolt needed only the match. When that was applied, a continent was soon ablaze, controlled by a lofty patriotism.
The steps taken by the leaders of public sentiment in America were prudent and statesmanlike. Continental and Provincial Congresses were created. The first in North Carolina convened at Newbern, August 25, 1774. Cumberland county was represented by Farquhard Campbell and Thomas Rutherford. The Second Congress convened at the same place April 30, 1775. Again the same parties represented Cumberland county, with an additional one for Campbelton in the person of Robert Rowan. At this time the Highlanders were in sympathy with the people of their adopted country. But not all, for on July 3rd, Allan MacDonald of Kingsborough went to Fort Johnson, and concerted with Governor Martin the raising of a battalion of "the good and faithful Highlanders." He fully calculated on the recently settled MacDonalds and MacLeods. All who took part in the Second Congress were not prepared to take or realize the logic of their position, and what would be the final result.
The Highlanders soon became an object of consideration to the leaders on both sides of the controversy. They were numerically strong, increasing in numbers, and their military qualities beyond question. Active efforts were put forth in order to induce them to throw the weight of their decision both to the patriot cause and also to that of the king. Consequently emissaries were sent amongst them. The prevalent impression was that they had a strong inclination towards the royalist cause, and that party took every precaution to cement their loyalty. Even the religious side of their natures was wrought upon.
The Americans early saw the advantage of decisive steps. In a letter from Joseph Hewes, John Penn, and William Hooper, the North Carolina delegates to the Continental Congress, to the members of the Provincial Congress, under date of December 1, 1775, occurs the admission that "in our attention to military preparations we have not lost sight of a means of safety to be effected by the power of the pulpit, reasoning and persuasion. We know the respect which the Regulators and Highlanders entertain for the clergy, they still feel the impressions of a religious education, and truths to them come with irresistible influence from the mouths of their spiritual pastors. * * * The Continental Congress have thought proper to direct us to employ two pious clergymen to make a tour through North Carolina in order to remove the prejudices which the minds of the Regulators and Highlanders may labor under with respect to the justice of the American controversy, and to obviate the religious scruples which Governor Tryon’s heart-rending oath has implanted in their tender consciences We are employed at present in quest of some persons who may be equal to this undertaking "
The Regulators were divided in their sympathies, and it was impossible to find a Gaelic-speaking minister, clothed with authority, to go among the Highlanders. Even if such a personage could have been found, the effort would have been counteracted by the influence of John McLeod, their own minister. His sympathies, though not boldly expressed, were against the interests of the Thirteen Colonies, and on account of his suspicious actions was placed under arrest, but discharged May 11, 1776, by the Provincial Congress, in the following order:
"That the Rev. John McLeod, who was brought to this Congress on suspicion of his having acted inimical to the rights of America, be discharged from his further attendance."
August 23, 1775, the Provincial Congress appointed, from among its members, Archibald Maclaine, Alexander McAlister, Farquhard Campbell, Robert Rowan, Thomas Wade, Alexander McKay, John Ashe, Samuel Spencer, Walter Gibson, William Kennon, and James Hepburn, "a committee to confer with the Gentlemen who have lately arrived from the Highlands in Scotland to settle in this Province, and to explain to them the Nature of our Unhappy Controversy with Great Britain, and to advise and urge them to unite with the other Inhabitants of America in defence of those rights which they derive from God and the Constitution."
No steps appear to have been taken by the Americans to organise the Highianders into military companies, but rather their efforts were to enlist their sympathies. On the other hand, the royal governor, Josiah Martin, took steps towards enrolling them into active British service. In a letter to the earl of Dartmouth, under date of June 30, 1775, Martin declares he "could collect immediately among the emigrants from the Highlands of Scotland, who were settled here, and immoveably attached to His Majesty and His Government, that I am assured by the best authority I may compute at 3000 effective men," and begs permission "to raise a Battalion of a Thousand Highlanders here," and "I would most humbly beg leave to recommend Mr. Allen McDonald of Kingsborough to be Major, and Captain Alexd. McLeod of the Marines now on half pay to be first Captain, who be-sides being men of great worth, and good character, have most extensive influence over the Highlanders here, great part of which are of their own names and familys, and I should flatter myself that His Majesty would be graciously pleased to permit me to nominate some of the Subalterns of such a Battalion, not for pecuniary consideration, but for encouragement to some active and deserving young Highland Gentlemen who might be usefully employed in the speedy raising the proposed Battalion. Indeed I cannot help observing My Lord, that there are three of four Gentlemen of consideration here, of the name of McDonald, and a Lieutenant Alexd. McLean late of the Regiment now on half pay whom I should be happy to see appointed Captains in such a Battalion, being persuaded they would heartily promote and do credit to His Majesty’s Service."
November 12, 1775, the governor further reports to the same that he can assure "your Lordship that the Scots Highlanders here are generally and almost without exception staunch to Government," and that "Captain Alexr. McLeod, a Gentleman from the Highlands of Scotland and late an Officer in the Marines who has been settled in this Province about a year and is one of the Gentlemen I had the honor to recommend to your Lordship to be appointed a Captain in the Battalion of Highlanders, I proposed with his Majesty’s permission to raise here found his way down to me at this place about three weeks ago and I learn from him that he is as well as his father in law, Mr. Allan McDonald, proposed by me for Major of the intended Corps moved by my encouragements have each raised a company of Highlanders since which a Major McDonald who came here some time ago from Boston under the orders from General Gage to raise Highlanders to form a Battalion to be commanded by Lieut Coll. Allan McLean has made them proposals of being appointed Captains in that corps, which they have accepted on the Condition that his Majesty does not approve my proposal of raising a Battallion of Highlanders and reserving to themselves the choice of appointments therein in case it shall meet with his Majesty’s approbation in support of that measure. I shall now only presume to add that the taking away those Gentlemen from this Province will in a great measure if not totally dissolve the union of the Highlanders in it now held together by their influence, that those people in their absence may fall under the guidance of some person not attached like them to Government in this Colony at present but it will ever be maintained by such a regular military force as this established in it that will constantly reunite itself with the utmost facility and consequently may be always maintained upon the most respectable footing."
The year 1775 witnessed the North Carolina patriots very alert. There were committees of safety in the various counties; and the Provincial Congress began its session at Hillsborough August 21st. Cumberland County was represented by Farquhard Campbell, Thomas Rutherford, Alexander McKay, Alexander McAlister and David Smith, Campbelton sent Joseph Hepburn. Among the members of this Congress having distinctly Highland names, the majority of whom doubtless were born in the Highlands, if not all, besides those already mentioned, were John Campbell and John Johnston from Bertie, Samuel Johnston of Chowan, Duncan Lamon of Edgecombe, John McNitt Alexander of Mecklenburg, Kenneth McKinzie of Martin, Jeremiah Frazier or Tyrell, William Graham of Tryon, and Archibald Maclaine of Wilmington. One of the acts of this Congress was to divide the state into military districts, and the appointment of field officers of the Minute Men. For Cumberland county Thomas Rutherford was appointed colonel; Alexander McAlister, lieutenant colonel; Duncan McNeill, first major; Alexander McDonald, second major. One company of Minute Men was to be raised. This Act was passed on September 9th.
As the name of Farquhard Campbell often occurs in connection with the early stages of the Revolution, and quite frequently in the Colonial Records from 1771 to 1776, a brief notice of him may be of some interest. He was a gentleman of wealth, education and influence, and, at first, appeared to be warmly attached to the cause of liberty. As has been noticed he was a member of the Provincial Congress, and evinced much zeal in promoting the popular movement, and, as a visiting member from Cumberland county attended the meeting of the Safety Committee at Wilmington, on July 20, 1776. When Governor Martin abandoned his palace and retreated to Fort Johnston, and thence to an armed ship, it was ascertained that he visited Campbell at his residence. Not long afterwards the governor’s secretary asked the Provincial Congress "to give Sanction and Safe Conduct to the removal of the most valuable Effects of Governor Martin on Board the Man of War and his Coach and Horses to Mr. Farquard Campbell’s." When the request was submitted to that body, Mr. Campbell "expressed a sincere desire that the Coach and Horses should not be sent to his House in Cumberland and is amazed that such a proposal should have been made without his approbation or privity."
On account of his positive disclaimer the Congress, by resolution exonerated him from any improper conduct, and that he had "conducted himself as an honest member of Society and a friend to the American Cause."
He dealt treacherously with the governor as well as with Congress. The former, in a letter to the earl of Dartmouth, October 16, 1775, says:
"I have heard too My Lord with infinitely greater surprise and concern that the Scotch Highlanders on whom I had such firm reliance have declared themselves for neutrality, which I am informed is to be attributed to the influence of a certain Mr. Farquhard Campbell an ignorant man who has been settled from childhood in this Country, is an old Member of the Assembly and has imbibed all the American popular principles and prejudices. By the advice of some of his Countrymen I was induced after the receipt of your Lordship’s letter No. 16 to communicate with this man on the alarming state of the Country and to sound his disposition in case of matters coming to extremity here, and he expressed to me such abhorence of the violences that had been done at Fort Johnston and in other instances and discovered so much jealousy and apprehension of the ill designs of the Leaders in Sedition here, giving me at the same time so strong assurances of his own loyalty and the good dispositions of his Countrymen that I unsuspecting his dissimulation and treachery was led to impart to him the encouragements I was authorized to hold out to his Majesty’s loyal Subjects in this Colony who should stand forth in support of Government which he received with much seeming approbation and repeatedly assured me he would consult with the principles among his Countrymen without whose concurrence he could promise nothing of himself, and would acquaint me with their determinations. From the time of this conversation between us in July I heard nothing of Mr. Campbell until since the late Convention at Hillsborough, where he appeared in the character of a delegate from the County of Cumberland and there, according to my information, unasked and unsolicited and without provocation of any sort was guilty of the base Treachery of promulgating all I had said to him in confidential secrecy, which he had promised sacredly and inviolably to observe, and of the aggravating crime of falsehood in making additions of his own invention and declaring that he had rejected all my propositions."
The governor again refers to him in his letter to the same, dated November 12, 1775:
"From Capt. McLeod, who seems to be a man of observation and intelligence, I gather that the inconsistency of Farquhard Campbell’s conduct * * * has proceeded as much from jealousy of the Superior consequence of this Gentleman and his father in law with the Highlanders here as from any other motive. This schism is to be lamented from whatsoever cause arising, but I have no doubt that I shall be able to reconcile the interests of the parties whenever I have power to act and can meet them together."
Finally he threw off the mask, or else had changed his views, and openly espoused the cause of his country’s enemies. He was seized at his own house, while entertaining a party of royalists, and thrown into Halifax jail: A committee of the Provincial Congress, on April 20, 1776, reported "that Farquhard Campbell disregarding the sacred Obligations he had voluntarily entered into to support the Liberty of America against all usurpations has Traitorously and insiduously endeavored to excite the Inhabitants of this Colony to take arms and levy war in order to assist the avowed enemies thereof. That when a prisoner on his parole of honor he gave intelligence of the force and intention of the American Army under Col. Caswell to the Enemy and advised them in what manner they might elude them."
He was sent, with other prisoners, to Baltimore, and thence, on parole, to Fredericktown, where he behaved "with much resentment and haughtiness." On March 3, 1777, he appealed to Governor Caswell to be permitted to return home, offering to mortgage his estate for his good behavior. Several years after the Revolution he was a member of the Senate of North Carolina.
The stormy days of discussion, excitement, and extensive Preparations for war, in 1775, did not deter the Highlanders in Scotland from seeking a home in America. On October 21st, a body of one hundred and seventy-two Highlanders, including men, women and children arrived in the Cape Fear river, on board the George, and made application for lands near those already located by their relatives. The governor took his usual precautions with them for in a letter to the earl of Dartmouth, dated November 12th, he says:
"On the most solemn assurances of their firm and unalterable loyalty and attachment to the King, and their readiness to lay down their lives in the support and defence of his Majesty’s Government, I was induced to Grant their request on the Terms of their taking such lands in the proportions allowed by his Majesty’s Royal Instructions, and subject to all the conditions prescribed by them whenever grants may be passed in due form, thinking it were advisable to attach these people to Government by granting as matter of favor and courtesy to them what I had not power to prevent than to leave them to possess themselves by violence of the King’s lands, without owing or acknowledging any obligation for them, as it was only the means of securing these People against the seditions of the Rebels, but gaining so much strength to Government that is equally important at this time, without making any concessions injurious to the rights and interests of the Crown, or that it has effectual power to withhold."
In the same letter is the further information that "a ship is this moment arrived from Scotland with upwards of one hundred and thirty Emigrants Men, Women and Children to whom I shall think it proper (after administering the Oath of Allegiance to the Men) to give permission to settle on the vacant lands of the Crown here on the same principles and conditions that I granted that indulgence to the Emigrants lately imported in the ship George."
Many of the emigrants appear to have been seized with the idea that all that was necessary was to land in America, and the avenues of affluence would be opened to them Hence there were those who landed in a distressed condition. Such was the state of the last party that arrived before the Peace of 1783. There was "a Petition from sundry distressed Highianders, lately arrived from Scotland, praying that they might be permitted to go to Cape Fear, in North Carolina, the place where they intended to settle," laid before the Virginia convention then being held at Williamsburgh, December 14, 1775. On the same day the convention gave orders to Colonel Woodford to "take the distressed High-landers, with their families, under his protection, permit them to pass by land unmolested to Carolina, and supply them with such provisions as they may be in immediate want of."
The early days of 1776 saw the culmination of the intrigues with the Scots-Highlanders. The Americans realised that the war party was in the ascendant, and consequently every movement was carefully watched. That the Americans felt bitterly towards them came from the fact that they were not only precipitating themselves into a quarrel of which they were not interested parties, but also exhibited ingratitude to their benefactors. Many of them came to the country not only poor and needy, but in actual distress. They were helped with an open hand, and cared for with kindness and brotherly aid. Then they had not been long in the land, and the trouble so far had been to seek redress. Hence the Americans felt keenly the position taken by the Highlanders. On the other hand the Highlanders had viewed the matter from a different standpoint. They did not realize the craftiness of Governor Martin in compelling them to take the oath of allegiance, and they felt bound by what they considered was a voluntary act, and binding with all the sacredness of religion. They had ever been taught to keep their promises, and a liar was a greater criminal than a thief. Still they had every opportunity afforded them to learn the true status of affairs; independence had not yet been proclaimed; Washington was still besieging Boston, and the Americans continued to petition the British throne for a redress of grievances.
That the action of the Highlanders was ill-advised, at that time, admits of no discussion. They failed to realise the condition of the country and the insuperable difficulties to overcome before making a junction with Sir Henry Clinton. What they expected to gain by their conduct is uncertain, and why they should march away a distance of one hundred miles, and then be transported by ships to a place they knew not where, thus leaving their wives and children to the mercies of those, whom they had offended and driven to arms, made bitter enemies of, must ever remain unfathomable. It shows they were blinded and exhibited the want of even ordinary foresight. It also exhibited the reckless indifference of the responsible parties to the welfare of those they so successfully duped. It is no wonder that although nearly a century and a quarter have elapsed since the Highlanders unsheathed the claymore in the pine forests of North Carolina, not
a single person has shown the hardihood to applaud their action. On the other hand, although treated with the utmost charity, their bravery applauded, they have been condemned for their rude precipitancy, besides failing to see the changed condition of affairs, and resenting the injuries they had received from the House of Hanover that had harried their country and hanged their relatives on the murderous gallows-tree. Their course, however, in the end proved advantageous to them; for, after their disastrous defeat, they took an oath to remain peaceable, which the majority kept, and thus prevented them from being harrassed by the Americans, and, as loyal subjects of king George, the English army must respect their rights.
Agents were busily at work among the people preparing them for war. The most important of all was Allan MacDonald of Kingsborough. Early he came under the suspicion of the Committee of Safety at Wilmington. On the very day, July 3, 1775, he was in consultation with Governor Martin, its chairman was directed to write to him "to know from himself respecting the reports that circulate of his having an intention to raise Troops to support the arbitrary measures of the ministry against the Americans in this Colony, and whether he had not made an offer of his services to Governor Martin for that purpose."
The influence of Kingsborough was supplemented by that of Major Donald MacDonald, who was sent direct from the army in Boston. He was then in his sixty-fifth year, had an extended experience in the army He was in the Rising of 1745, and headed many of his own name. He now found many of these former companions who readily listened to his persuasions All the emissaries sent represented they were only visiting their friends and relatives. They were all British officers, in the active service.
Partially in confirmation of the above may be cited a letter from Samuel Johnston of Edenton, dated July 21, 1775, written to the Committee at Wilmington:
"A vessel from New York to this place brought over two officers who left at the Bar to go to New Bern, they are both Highlanders, one named McDonnel the other McCloud. They pretend they are on a visit to some of their countrymen on your river, but
I think there is reason to suspect their errand of a base nature. The Committee of this town have wrote to New Bern to have them secured. Should they escape there I hope you will keep a good lookout for them."
The vigorous campaign for 1776, in the Carolinas was determined upon in the fall of 1775, in deference to the oft repeated and urgent solicitations of the royal governors, and on account of the appeals made by Martin, the brunt of it fell upon North Carolina. He assured the home government that large numbers of the Highlanders and Regulators were ready to take up arms for the king.
The program, as arranged, was for Sir Henry Clinton, with a fleet of ships and seven corps of Irish Regulars, to be at the mouth of the Cape Fear early in the year 1776, and there form a junction with the Highlanders and other disaffected persons from the interior. Believing that Sir Henry Clinton’s armament would arrive in January or early in February Martin made preparations for the revolt; for his "unwearied, persevering agent," Alexander MacLean brought written assurances from the principal persons to whom he had been directed, that between two and three thousand men would take the field at the governor’s summons. Under this encouragement MacLean was sent again into the back country, with a commission dated January 10, 1776, authorizing Allan McDonald, Donald McDonald, Alexander McLeod, Donald McLeod, Alexander McLean, Allen Stewart, William Campbell, Alexander McDonald and Neal McArthur, of Cumberland and Anson counties, and seventeen other persons who resided in a belt of counties in middle Carolina, to raise and array all the king’s loyal subjects, and to march them in a body to Brunswick by February I5th.
Donald MacDonald was placed in command of this array and of all other forces in North Carolina with the rank of brigadier general, with Donald MacLeod next in rank. Upon receiving his orders, General MacDonald issued the following:
"By His Excellency Brigadier-General Donald McDonald, Commander of His Majesty’s Forces for the time being, in North Carolina:
Whereas, I have received information that many of His Majesty’s faithful subjects have been so far overcome by apprehension of danger, as to fly before His Majesty’s Army as from the most inveterate enemy; to remove which, as far as lies in my power, I have thought it proper to publish this Manifesto, declaring that I shall take the proper steps to prevent any injury being done, either to the person or properties of His Majesty’s subjects; and I do further declare it to be my determined resolution, that no violence shall be used to women and children, as viewing such outrages to be inconsistent with humanity, and as tending, in their consequences, to sully the arms of Britons and of Soldiers.
I, therefore, in His Majesty’s name, generally invite every well-wisher to that form of Government under which they have so happily lived, and which, if justly considered, ought to be esteemed the best birth-right of Britons and Americans, to repair to His Majesty’s Royal Standard, erected at Cross Creek, where they will meet with every possible civility, and be ranked in the list of friends and fellow-Soldiers, engaged in the best and most glorious of all causes, supporting the rights and Constitution of their country. Those, therefore, who have been under the unhappy necessity of submitting to the mandates of Congress and Committees—those lawless, usurped, and arbitrary tribunals—will have an opportunity, (by joining the King’s Army) to restore peace and tranquility to this distracted land—to open again the glorious streams of commerce—to partake of the blessings of inseparable from a regular administration of justice, and be again,. reinstated in the favorable opinion of their Sovereign.
By His Excellency’s command:
On February 5th General MacDonald issued another manifesto in which he declares it to be his "intention that no violation whatever shall be offered to women, children, or private property, to sully the arms of Britons or freemen, employed in the glorious,. and righteous cause of rescuing and delivering this country from the usurpation of rebellion, and that no cruelty whatever be offered against the laws of humanity, but what resistance shall make necessary; and that whatever provisions and other necessaries be taken for the troops, shall be paid for immediately; and in case any person, or persons, shall offer the least violence to the families of such as will join the Royal Standard, such persons or persons may depend that retaliation will be made; the horrors of such proceedings, it is hoped, will be avoided by all true Christians.
Manifestos being the order of the day, Thomas Rutherford, erstwhile patriot, deriving his commission from the Provincial congress, though having alienated himself, but signing himself colonel, also issues one in which he declares that this is "to command, enjoin, beseech, and require all His Majesty’s faithful subjects within the County of Cumberland to repair to the King’s Royal standard, at Cross Creek, on or before the 16th present, in order to join the King’s army; otherwise, they must expect to fall under the melancholy consequences of a declared rebellion, and expose themselves to the just resentment of an injured, though gracious Sovereign."
On February 1st General MacDonald set up the Royal Standard at Cross Creek, in the Public Square, and in order to cause the Highlanders all to respond with alacrity manifestos were issued and other means resorted to in order that the "loyal subjects of His Majesty" might take up arms, among which nightly balls were given, and the military spirit freely inculcated. When the day came the Highlanders were seen coming from near and from far, from the wide plantations on the river bottoms, and from the rude cabins in the depths of the lonely pine forests, with broad-swords at their side, in tartan garments and feathered bonnet, and keeping step to the shrill music of the bag-pipe. There came, first of all, Clan MacDonald with Clan MacLeod near at hand, with lesser numbers of Clan MacKenzie, Clan MacRae, Clan MacLean, Clan MacKay, Clan MacLachlan, and still others,—variously estimated at from fifteen hundred to three thousand, including about two hundred others, principally Regulators. However, all who were capable of bearing arms did not respond to the summons, for some would not engage in a cause where their traditions and affections had no part. Many of them hid in the swamps and in the forests. On February 18th the Highland army took up its line of march for Wilmington and at evening encamped on the Cape Fear, four miles below Cross Creek.
The assembling of the Highland army aroused the entire country. The patriots, fully cognizant of what was transpiring, flew to arms, determined to crush the insurrection, and in less than a fortnight nearly nine thousand men had risen against the enemy, and almost all the rest were ready to turn out at a moment’s notice. At the very first menace of danger, Brigadier General James Moore took the field at the head of his regiment, and on the 15th secured possession of Rockfish bridge, seven miles from Cross Creek, where he was joined by a recruit of sixty from the latter place.
On the 19th the royalists were paraded with a view to assail Moore on the following night; but he was thoroughly entrenched, and the bare suspicion of such a project was contemplated caused two companions of Cotton’s corps to run off with their arms. On that day General MacDonald sent the following letter to General
I herewith send the bearer, Donald Morrison, by advice of the Commissioners appointed by his Excellency Josiah Martin, and in behalf of the army now under my command, to propose terms to you as friends and countrymen. I must suppose you unacquainted with the Governor’s proclamation, commanding all his Majesty’s loyal subject to repair to the King’s royal standard, else I should have imagined you would ere this have joined the King’s army now engaged in his Majesty’s service. I have therefore thought it proper to intimate to you, that in case you do not, by 12 o’clock to-morrow, join the royal standard, I must consider you as enemies, and take the necessary steps for the support of legal authority.
I beg leave to remind you of his Majesty’s speech to his Parliament, wherein he offers to receive the misled with tenderness and mercy, from motives of humanity. 1 again beg of you to accept the proffered clemency. I make no doubt, but you will show the gentleman sent on this message every possible civilty; and you may depend in return, that all your officers and men, which may fall into our hands shall be treated with an equal degree of respect. I have the honor to be, in behalf of the army, Sir, Your most obedient humble servant,
Head Quarters, Feb. 19, 1776.
His Excellency’s Proclamation is herewith enclosed."
Brigadier General Moore’s answer:
Yours of this day I have received, in answer to which, I must inform you that the terms which you are pleased to say, in behalf of the army under your command, are offered to us as friends and countrymen, are such as neither my duty or inclination will permit me to accept, and which I must presume you too much of an officer to accept of me. You were very right when you supposed me unacquainted with the Governor’s proclamation, but as the terms therein proposed are such as I hold incompatible with the freedom of Americans, it can be no rule of conduct for me. However, should I not hear farther from you before twelve o’clock to-morrow by which time I shall have an opportunity of consulting my officers here, and perhaps Col. Martin, who is in the neighborhood of Cross Creek, you may expect a more particular answer; meantime you. may be assured that the feelings of humanity will induce me to shew that civility to such of your people as may fall into our hands, as I am desirous should be observed towards those of ours, who may be unfortunate enough to fall into yours. I am, Sir, your most obedient and very humble servant,
Camp at Rockfish, Feb. 19, 1776."
General Moore, on the succeeding day sent the following to General MacDonald:
Agreeable to my promise of yesterday, I have consulted the officers under my command respecting your letter, and am happy in finding them unanimous in opinion with me. We consider ourselves engaged in a cause the most glorious and honourable in the world, the defense of the liberties of mankind, in support of which we are determined to hazard everything dear and valuable and in tenderness to the deluded people under your command, permit me, Sir, through you to inform them, before it is too late, of the dangerous and destructive precipice on which they stand, and to remind them of the ungrateful return they are about to make for their favorable reception in this country. If this is not sufficient to recall them to the duty which they owe themselves and their posterity inform them that they are engaged in a cause in which they cannot succeed as not only the whole force of this Country, but that of our neighboring provinces, is exerting and now actually in motion to suppress them, and which much end in their utter destruction. Desirous, however, of avoiding the effusion of human blood, I have thought proper to send you a test recommended by the Continental Congress, which if they will yet subscribe we are willing to receive them as friends and country-men. Should this offer be rejected, I shall consider them as enemies to the constitutional liberties of America, and treat them accordingly.
I cannot conclude without reminding you, Sir, of the oath which you and some of your officers took at Newbern on your arrival to this country, which I imagine you will find is difficult to reconcile to your present conduct. I have no doubt that the bearer, Capt. James Walker, will be treated with proper civilty and respect in your camp.
I am, Sir, your most obedient and very humble servant,
Camp at Rockfish, Feb. 20, 1776."
General MacDonald returned the following reply:
I received your favor by Captain James Walker, and observed your declared sentiments of revolt, hostility and rebel-, lion to the King, and to what I understand to be the constitution of the country. If I am mistaken future consequences must determine; but while I continue in my present sentiment, I shall consider myself embarked in a cause which must, in its consequences, extricate this country from anarchy and licentiousness. I cannot conceive that the Scottish emigrants, to whom I imagine you allude, can be under greater obligations to this country than to the King, under whose gracious and merciful government they alone could have been enabled to visit this western region: And I trust, Sir, it is in the womb of time to say, that they are not that deluded and ungrateful people which you would represent them to be. As a soldier in his Majesty’s service, I must inform you, if you are to learn, that it is my duty to conquer, if I cannot reclaim, all those who may be hardy enough to take up arms against the best of masters, as of Kings. I have the honor to be, in behalf of the army under my command,
Sir, your most obedient servant,
To the Commanding Officer at Rockfish."
MacDonald realized that he was unable to put his threat into execution, for he was informed that the minute-men were gathering in swarms all around him; that Colonel Caswell, at the head of the minute men of Newbern, nearly eight hundred strong, was marching through Duplin county, to effect a junction with Moore, and that his communication with the war ships had been cut off.
Realizing the extremity of his danger, he resolved to avoid an engagement, and leave the army at Rockfish in his rear, and by celerity of movement, and crossing rivers at unsuspected places, to disengage himself from the larger bodies and fall upon the command of Caswell. Before marching he exhorted his men to fidelity expressed bitter scorn for the "base cravens who had deserted the night before," and continued by saying:
"If any amongst you is so faint-hearted as not to serve with the resolution of conquering or dying, this is the time for such to declare themselves."
The speech was answered by a general huzza for the king; but from Cotton’s corps about twenty laid down their arms. He decamped, with his army at midnight, crossed the Cape Fear, sunk his boats, and sent a party fifteen miles in advance to secure the bridge over South river, from Bladen into Hanover, pushing with rapid pace over swollen streams, rough hills, and deep morasses, hotly pursued by General Moore. Perceiving the purpose of the enemy General Moore detached Colonels Lillington and Ashe to reinforce Colonel Caswell, or if that could not be effected, then they were to occupy Widow Moore’s Creek bridge.
Colonel Caswell designing the purpose of MacDonald changed his own course in order to intercept his march. On the 23rd the Highlanders thought to overtake him, and arrayed themselves in the order of battle, with eighty able-bodied men, armed with broad-swords, forming the center of the army; but Colonel Caswell being posted at Corbett’s Ferry could not be reached for want of boats. The royalists were again in extreme danger; but at a point six miles higher up the Black river they succeeded in Crossing in a broad shallow boat while MacLean and Fraser, left with a few men and a drum and a pipe, amused the corps of Caswell.
Colonel Lillington, on the 25th took post on the east side of Moore’s Creek bridge; and on the next day Colonel Caswell reached the west side, threw up a slight embankment, and de stroyed a part of the bridge. A royalist, who had been sent into his camp under pretext of summoning him to return to his allegiance, brought back the information that he had halted on the
same side of the river as themselves, and could be assaulted with advantage. Colonel Caswell was not only a good woodman, but also a man of superior ability, and believing he had misled the enemy, marched his column to the east side of the stream, removed the planks from the bridge, and placed his men behind trees and such embankments as could be thrown up during the night. His force now amounted to a thousand men, consisting of the New-bern minute-men, the militia of Craven, Dobbs, Johnston, and:
Wake counties, and the detachment under Colonel Lillington. The men of the Neuse region, their officers wearing silver crescents upon their hats, inscribed with the words, "Liberty or Death," were in front. The situation of General MacDonald was again perilous, for while facing this army, General Moore, with his regulars was close upon his rear.
The royalists, expecting an easy victory, decided upon an immediate attack. General MacDonald was confined to his tent by sickness, and the command devolved upon Major Donald MacLeod, who began the march at one o’clock on the morning of the 27th, but owing to the time lost in passing an intervening morass, it was within an hour of daylight when they reached the west bank of the creek They entered the ground without resistance. See- ing Colonel Caswell was on the opposite side they reduced their
columns and formed their line of battle in the woods. Their rallying cry was, "King George and broadswords," and the signal for attack was three cheers, the drum to beat and the pipes to play.
While it was still dark Major MacLeod, with a party of about forty advanced, and at the bridge was challenged by the sentinel, asking, "Who goes there ?" He answered, "A friend." "A friend to whom ?" "To the king." Upon this the sentinels bent their faces down to the ground. Major MacLeod thinking they might be some of his own command who had crossed the bridge, challenged them in Gaelic; but receiving no reply, fired his own piece, and ordered his party to fire also. All that remained of the bridge were the two logs, which had served for sleepers, permitting only two persons to pass at a time. Donald MacLeod and Captain John Campbell rushed forward and succeeded in getting over. The Highlanders who followed were shot down on the logs and -
fell into the muddy stream below. Major MacLeod was mortally wounded, but was seen to rise repeatedly from the ground, waving his sword and encouraging his men to come on, till twentysix balls penetrated his body.
Captain Campbell also was shot dead, and at that moment a party of militia, under Lieutenant Slocum, who had forded the creek and penetrated a swamp on its western bank, fell suddenly upon the rear of the royalists. The loss of their leader and the unexpected attack upon their rear threw them into confusion, when they broke and fled. The battle lasted but ten minutes. The royalists lost seventy killed and wounded, while the patriots had but two wounded, one of whom recovered. The victory was lasting and complete. The Highland power was thoroughly broken. There fell into the hands of the Americans besides eight hundred and fifty prisoners, fifteen hundred rifles, all of them excellent pieces, three hundred and fifty guns and short bags, one hundred and fifty swords and dirks, two medicine chests, immediately from England, one valued at £300 sterling, thirteen wagons with horses, a box of Johannes and English guineas, amounting to about $75,000.
Some of the Highlanders escaped from the battlefield by breaking down their wagons and riding away, three upon a horse. Many who were taken confessed that they were forced and persuaded contrary to their inclinations into the service. The soldiers taken were disarmed, and dismissed to their homes.
On the following day General MacDonald and nearly all the chief men were taken prisoners, amongst whom was MacDonald of Kingsborough and his son Alexander. A partial list of those apprehended is given in a report of the Committee of the Provincial Congress, reported April 20th and May 10th on the guilt of the Highland and Regulator officers then confined in Halifax gaol, finding the prisoners were of four different classes, viz.:
First, Prisoners who had served in Congress.
Second, Prisoners who had signed Tests or Associations.
Third, Prisoners who had been in arms without such circumstances
Fourth, Prisoners under suspicious circumstances.
The Highlanders coming under the one or the other of these classes are given in the following order:
Farquhard Campbell, Cumberland county.
Alexander McKay, Capt. of 38 men, Cumberland county.
Alexander McDonald (Condrach), Major of a regiment.
Alexander Morrison, Captain of a company of 35 men.
Alexander MacDonald, son of Kingsborough, a volunteer, Anson county.
James MacDonald, Captain of a company of 25 men.
Alexander McLeod, Captain of a company of 32 men.
John MacDonald, Captain of a company of 40 men.
Alexander McLeod, Captain of a company of 16 men.
Murdoch McAskell, Captain of a company of 34 men.
Alexander McLeod, Captain of a company of 16 men.
Angus McDonald, Captain of a company of 30 men.
Neill McArthur, Freeholder of Cross Creek, Captain of a company of 55 men.
Francis Frazier, Adjutant to General MacDonald’s Army John McLeod,. of Cumberland county, Captain of company of 35 men.
John McKinzie, of Cumberland county, Captain of company of 43 men.
Kennith Macdonald, Aid-de-camp to General Macdonald.
Murdoch McLeod, of Anson county, Surgeon to General Macdonald’s Army
Donald McLeod, of Anson county, Lieutenant in Captain Morrison’s Company.
Norman McLeod, of Anson county, Ensign in James McDonald’s company.
John McLeod, of Anson county, Lieutenant in James McDonald’s company.
Laughlin McKinnon, freeholder in Cumberland county, Lieutenant in Col. Rutherford’s corps.
James Munroe, freeholder in Cumberland county, Lieutenant in Capt. McRay’s company.
Donald Morrison, Ensign to Capt. Morrison’s company.
John McLeod, Ensign to Capt. Morrison’s company. -
Archibald McEachern, Bladen county, Lieutenant to Capt. McArthur’s company.
Rory McKinnen, freeholder Anson county, volunteer.
Donald McLeod, freeholder Cumberland county, Master to two Regiments, General McDonald’s Army.
Donald Stuart, Quarter Master to Col. Rutherford’s Regiment.
Allen Macdonald of Kingsborough, freeholder of Anson county, Col. Regiment.
Duncan St. Clair.
Daniel McDaniel, Lieutenant in Seymore York’s company.
Alexander McRaw, freeholder Anson county, Capt. company 47 men.
Kenneth Stuart, Lieutenant Capt Stuart’s company
Collin Mclver, Lieutenant Capt. Leggate’s company.
Alexander Maclaine, Commissary to General Macdonald’s Army.
Angus Campbell, Captain company 30 men.
Alexander Stuart, Captain company 30 men.
Hugh McDonald, Anson county, volunteer.
John McDonald, common soldier.
Daniel Cameron, common soldier.
Daniel McLean, freeholder, Cumberland county, Lieutenant to Angus Campbell’s company.
Malcolm McNeill, recruiting agent for General Macdonald’s Army, accused of using compulsion.
The following is a list of the prisoners sent from North Carolina to Philadelphia, enclosed in a letter of April 22, 1776:
1 His Excellency Donald McDonald Esqr Brigadier General of the Tory Army and Commander in Chief in North Carolina.
2 Colonel Allen McDonald (of Kingsborough) first in Commission of Array and second in Command
3 Alexander McDonald son of Kingsborough
4 Major Alexander McDonald (Condrack)
5 Capt Alexander McRay
6 Capt John Leggate
7 Capt James McDonald
8 Capt Alexr. McLeod
9 Capt Alexr. Morrison
10 Capt John McDonald
11 Capt A1exr. McLeod
12 Capt Murdoch McAskell
13 Capt Alexander McLeod
14 Capt Angus McDonald
15 Capt Neil McArthur
16 Capt James Mens of the light horse.
17 Capt John McLeod
18 Capt Thos. Wier
19 Capt John McKenzie
20 Lieut John Murchison
21 Kennith McDonald, Aid de Camp to Genl McDonald
22 Murdock McLeod, Surgeon
23 Adjutant General John Smith
24 Donald McLeod Quarter Master
25 John Bethune Chaplain
26 Farquhard Campbell late a delegate in the provincial Congress—Spy and Confidential Emissary of Governor Martin."
Some of the prisoners were discharged soon after their arrest, by making and signing the proper oath, of which the following is taken from the Records:
"Oath of Malcolm McNeill and Joseph Smith. We Malcolm McNeil and Joseph Smith do Solemly Swear on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God that we will not on any pretence whatsoever take up or bear Arms against the Inhabitants of the United States of America and that we will not disclose or make known any matters within our knowledge now carrying on within the United States and that we will not carry out more than fifty pounds of Gold & Silver in value to fifty pounds Carolina Currency. So help us God.
Halifax, 13th Augt., 1776.
The North Carolina Provincial Congress on March 5, 1776, "Resolved, That Colonel Richard Caswell send, under a sufficient guard, Brigadier General Donald McDonald, taken at the battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge, to the Town of Halifax, and there to have him committed a close prisoner in the jail of the said Town, until further orders."
The same Congress, held in Halifax April 5th, "Resolved, That General McDonald be admitted to his parole upon the following conditions: That he does not go without the limits of the Town of Halifax; that he does not directly or indirectly, while a prisoner, correspond with any person or persons who are or may be in opposition to American measures, or by any manner or means convey to them intelligence of any sort; that he take no draft, nor procure them to be taken by any one else, of any place or places in which he may be, while upon his parole, that shall now or may hereafter give information to our enemies which can injurious to us, or the common cause of America; but that without equivocation, mental evasion, or secret reservation, he pay the most exact and faithful attention to the intent and meaning of these conditions, according to the rules and regulations of war; and that he every day appear between the hours of ten and twelve o’clock to the Officer of the Guard."
On April 11th, the same parole was offered to Allan MacDonald of Kingsborough.
The Pennsylvania Committee of Safety, at its session in Philadelphia, held May 25, 1776, ordered the Highland prisoners, mentioned on page 219, naming each one separately to be "safely kept in close confinement until discharged by the honorable Congress or this Committee." Four days later, General MacDonald addressed a letter to the Continental Congress, in which he said, "That he was, by a party of horsemen, upon the 28th day of February last, taken prisoner from sick quarters, eight miles from Widow Moor’s Creek, where he lay dangerously ill, and carried to Colonel Caswell’s camp, where General Moore then commanded, to whom he delivered his sword as prisoner of war, which General Moore was pleased to deliver back in a genteel manner before all his officers then present, according to the rules and customs of war practised in all nations; assuring him at the same time that he would be well treated, and his baggage and property delivered to him, &c. Having taken leave of General Moore and Colonel Caswell, Lieutenant-Colonel Bryant took him under his care; and after rummaging his baggage for papers, &c., conducted him to Newbern, from thence with his baggage to Halifax, where the Committee of Safety there thought proper to commit him to the common jail; his horses, saddles, and pistols, &c., taken from him, and never having committed any act of violence against the person or property of any man ;that he remained in this jail near a month, until General Howe arrived there, who did him the honour to call upon him in jail; and he has reason to think that General Howe thought this treatment erroneous and without a precedent; that upon this representation to the Convention, General McDonald was, by order of the Convention, permitted, upon parole, to the limits of the town of Halifax, until the 25th of April last, when he was appointed to march, with the other gentlemen prisoners, escorted from the jail there to this place. General McDonald would wish to know what crime he has since been guilty of, deserving his being recommitted to the jail of Philadelphia, without his bedding or baggage, and his sword and his servant detained from him. The other gentlemen prisoners are in great want for their blankets and other necessaries.
The Continental Congress, on September 4th, "Resolved, That the proposal made by General Howe, as delivered by General Sullivan, of exchanging General Sullivan for General Prescot, and Lord Stirling for Brigadier-General, be complied with."
This being communicated to General McDonald he addressed, to the Secretary of War the following:
"Philadelphia Gaol, September 6, 1776.
To the Secretary of War:
General McDonald’s compliments to the Secretary of War. He is obliged to him for his polite information, that the Congress have been pleased to agree that Generals Prescott and McDonald shall be exchanged for the Generals Sullivan and Stirling. General McDonald is obliged to the Congress for the reference to the Board of War for his departure: The indulgence of eight or ten days will, he hopes, be sufficient to prepare him for his journey. His baggage will require a cart to carry it. He is not provided with horses—submits it to the Congress and Board how he may be conducted with safety to his place of destination, not doubting his servant will be permitted to go along with him, and that his sword may be returned to him, which he is informed the Commissary received from his servant on the 25th of May last.
General McDonald begs leave to acquaint the Secretary and the Board of War, for the information of Congress, that when he was brought prisoner from sick quarters to General Moore’s camp, at Moore’s Creek, upon the 28th of February last, General Moore treated him with respect to his rank and commission in the King of Great Britain’s service. He would have given him a parole to return to his sick quarters, as his low state of health required it much at that time, but Colonel Caswell objected thereto, and had him conducted prisoner to Newbern, but gently treated all the way by Colonel Caswell and his officers.
From Newbern he was conducted by a guard of Horse to Halifax, and committed on his arrival, after forty-five miles journey the last day, in a sickly state of health, and immediately ushered into a common gaol, without bed or bedding, fire or candles, in a cold, long night, by Colonel Long, who did not appear to me to behave like a gentleman. That notwithstanding the promised protection for person and property he had from General Moore, a man called Longfield Cox, a wagonmaster to Colonel Caswell’s army, seized upon his horse, saddle, pistols, and other arms, and violently detained the same by refusing to deliver them up to Colonel Bryan, who conducted him to Newbern. Colonel Long was pleased to detain his mare at Halifax when sent prisoner from thence to here. Sorry to dwell so long upon so disagreeable a subject."
This letter was submitted to the Continental Congress on September 7th, when it "Resolved, That he be allowed four days to prepare for his journey; That a copy of that part of his Letter respecting his treatment in North Carolina, be sent to the Convention of that State."
Notwithstanding General Sir William Howe had agreed to make the specified exchange of prisoners, yet in a letter addressed to Washington, September 21, 1776, he states:
"The exchange you propose of Brigadier-General Alexander, commonly called Lord Stirling, for Mr. McDonald, cannot take place, as he has only the rank of Major by my commission; but I shall readily send any Major in the enclosed list of prisoners that you will be pleased to name in exchange for him."
As Sir William Howe refused to recognize the rank conferred on General McDonald, by the governor of North Carolina, Washington was forced, September 23, to order his return, with the escort, to Philadelphia. But on the same day addressed Sir William Howe, in which he said:
"I had no doubt but Mr. McDonald’s title would have been acknowledged, having understood that he received his commission from the hands of Governor Martin; nor can I consent to rank him as a Major till I have proper authority from Congress, to whom I shall state the matter upon your representation." That body, on September 3oth, declared "That Mr. McDonald, having a Commission of Brigadier-General from Governor Martin, be not exchanged for any officer under the rank of Brigadier-General in the service either of the United States or any of them."
On the way from North Carolina to Philadelphia, while resting at Petersburg May 2, 1776, Kingsborough indited the fololwing letter:
Your kind favor I had by Mr. Ugin (?) with the Virginia money enclosed, which shall be paid if ever I retourn with thanks, if not I shall take to order payment. Colonel Eliot who came here to receive the prisoners Confined the General and me under a guard and sentries to a Roome; this he imputes to the Congress of North Carolina not getting Brigadier Lewes (who commands at Williamsburg) know of our being on parole by your permission when at Halifax. If any opportunity afford, it would add to our happiness to write something to the above purpose to some of the Congress here with directions (if such can be done) to forward said orders after us. I have also been depressed of the horse I held, and hath little chance of getting another. To walk on foot is what I never can do the length of Philadelphia. What you can do in the above different affairs will be adding to your former favors. Hoping you will pardon freedom wrote in a hurry. I am with real Esteem and respect
Your very obedt. Servt.
June 28, 1776 Allen MacDonald of. Kingsborough, was permitted, after signing a parole and word of honor to go to Reading, in Berks county. At the same time the Committee of Safety
"Resolved, That such Prisoners from North Carolina as choose, may be permitted to write to their friends there; such letters to be inspected by this Committee; and the Jailer is to take care that all the paper delivered in to the Prisoners, be used in such Letters, or returned him."
The action of the Committee of Safety was approved by the. Continental Congress on July 9th by directing Kingsborough to be released on parole ; and on the 15th, his son Alexander was released on parole and allowed to reside with him.
Every attempt to exchange the prisoners was made on the part of the Americans, and as they appear to have been so unfortunate as to have no one to intercede for them among British officers, Kingsborough was permitted to go to New York and effect his own exchange, which he succeeded in doing during the month of November, 1777, and then proceeded to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Highland officers confined in prison became restive, and on October 31, 1776, presented a memorial, addressed to the North Carolina members of the Continental Congress, which at once met with the approval of William Hooper:
"Gentlemen: After a long separation of eight months from our Families & Friends, We the under subscribers, Prisoners of war from North Carolina now in Philadelphia Prison, think ourselves justifiable at this period in applying to your Honours for permission to return to our Families; which indulgence we will promise on the Faith & honour of gentlemen not to abuse, by interfering in the present disputes, or aiding or assisting your enemies by word, writing, or action.
This request we have already laid before Congress who are willing to grant it, provided they shall have your approbation.
Hoping therefore, that you have no particular intention to distress us more than others whom you have treated with Indulgence, we flatter ourselves that your determinations will prove no obstruction to our Enlargement on the above terms; and have transmitted to you the enclosed Copy of the Resolve of Congress in our favor, which if you countenance; it will meet with the warmest acknowledgement of Gentn.
Your most obedt. humble Servts.,
Alexander Morison, Ferqd. Campbell, Alexr. Macleod, Alexr. McKay, James Macdonald, John McDonald, Murdoch Macleod, John Murchison, John Bethune, Neill McArthur, John Smith, Murdo MacCaskill, John McLeod, Alexr. McDonald, Angus McDonald, John Ligett."
It was fully apparent to the Americans that so long as the leaders were prisoners there was no danger of another uprising among the Highlanders. This was fully tested by earl Cornwallis, who, after the battle of Guilford Courthouse, retreated towards the seaboard, stopping on the way at Cross Creek hoping then to gain recruits from the Highlanders, but very few of whom responded to his call. In a letter addressed to Sir Henry Clinton, dated from his camp near Wilmington, April Jo, 1781, he. says:
"On my arrival there (Cross Creek), I found, to my great mortification, and contrary to all former accounts, that it was impossible to procure any considerable quantity of provisions, and that there was not four days’ forage within twenty miles. The navigation of Cape Fear, with the hopes of which I had been flattered was totally impracticable, the distance from Wilmington by water being one hundred and fifty miles, the breadth of the river seldom exceeding one hundred yards, the banks generally high, and the inhabitants on each side almost universally hostile. Under these circumstances I determined to move immediately to Wilmington. By this measure the Highlanders have not had so much time as the people of the upper country, to prove the sincerity of their former professions of friendship. But, though appearances are rather more favorable among them, I confess they are not equal to my expectations."
The Americans did not rest matters simply by confining the officers, but every precaution was taken to overawe them, not only by their parole, which nearly all implicitly obeyed, but also by armed force, for some militia was at once stationed at Cross Creek, which remained there until the Provincial Congress, on November 21, 1776, ordered it discharged. General Charles Lee, who had taken charge of the Southern Department, on June 6, 1776, ordered Brigadier-General Lewis to take "as large a body of the regulars as can possibly be spared to march to Cross Creek, in North Carolina."
Notwithstanding the fact that many of the Highlanders who had been in the battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge afterwards engaged in the service with the Americans, the community was regarded with suspicion, and that not without some cause. On July 28, 1777 it was reported that there were movements among the royalists that caused the patriots to be in arms and watch the Highlanders at Cross Creek. On August 3rd it was again reported that there were a hundred in arms with others coming.
As might be anticipated the poor Highianders also were subjected to fear and oppression. They remained at heart, true to their first love. In June, 1776, a report was circulated among them that a company of light horse was coming into the settlement and every one thought he was the man wanted, and hence all hurried to the swamps and other fastnesses in the forest.
From the poor Highland women, who had lost father, husband, brother in battle, or whose menfolk were imprisoned in the gaol at Halifax, there arose such a wail of distress as to call forth the attention of the Provincial Congress, which at once put forth a proclamation, and ordered it translated into the "Erse tongue," in which it was declared that they "warred not with those helpless females, but sympathized with them in their sorrow," and recommended them to the compassion of all, and to the "bounty of those who had aught to spare from their necessities."
One of the remarkable things, and one which cannot be accounted for, is, that although the North Carolina Highland emigrants were deeply religious, yet no clergyman accompanied them to the shores of America, until 1770, when Reverend John McLeod came direct from Scotland and ministered to them for some time; and they were entirely without a minister prior to I757 when Reverend James Campbell commenced to preach for them, and continued in active work until 1770. He was the first ordained minister who took up his abode among the Presbyterian settlements in North Carolina. He pursued his labors among the outspreading neighborhoods in what are now Cumberland and Robeson counties. This worthy man was born in Campbelton, on the peninsula of Kintyre, in Argyleshire, Scotland. Of his early history but little is known, and by far too little of his pioneer labors has been preserved. About the year 1730 he emigrated to America, landing at Philadelphia. His attention having been turned to his countrymen on the Cape Fear, he removed to North Carolina, and took up his residence on the left bank of the above river, a few miles north of Cross Creek. He died in 1781. His preaching was in harmony with the tenets of his people, being presbyterian. He had three regular congregations on the Sabbath, besides irregular Preaching, as occasion demanded. For some ten years he Preached on the southwest side of the river at a place called "Roger's meeting-house.’ Here Hector McNeill ("Bluff Hector") and Alexander McAlister acted as elders. About 1758 he began to preach at the "Barbacue Church,"—the building not erected until about the year 1765. It was at this church where Flora MacDonald worshipped. The first elders of this church were Gilbert Clark, Duncan Buie, Archibald Buie, and Donald Cameron.
Another of the preaching stations was at a place now known as "Long Street." The building was erected about 1766. The first elders were Malcolm Smith, Archibald McKay and Archibald Ray.
There came, in the same ship, from Scotland, with Reverend John McLeod, a large number of Highland families, all of whom settled upon the upper and lower Little Rivers, in Cumberland county. After several years’ labor, proving himself a man of genuine piety, great worth, and popular eloquence, he left America, with a view of returning to his native land; having never been heard of afterwards, it was thought that he found a watery grave.
With the exception of the Reverend John McLeod, it is not known that Reverend James Campbell had any ministerial brother residing in Cumberland or the adjoining counties, who could assist him in preaching to the Gaels. Although McAden preached in Duplin county, he was unable to render assistance because he was unfamiliar with the language of the Highlanders.
Town Coat of Arms
The Town of Pictou Coat-of Arms was granted by Royal Warrant April 6th in 1980 by the Court of Lord Lyon in Edinburgh, Scotland, as Nova Scotia is legally under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of Scotland. Being granted a Coat of Arms is referred to as becoming "armigerous" or arms-bearing. The record of the Town of Pictou Armorial Bearings in the Public Register of all Arms and Bearings in Scotland reads:
Videlicet: - Gules, upon a base undy Argent and Azure: an ancient one masted ship in full sail Or, its mast flagged of Scotland, the sail emblazoned of the Arms of Nova Scotia: (Argent, on a saltire Azure an Escutcheon of the Royal Arms of Scotland)and in dexter chief a mullet Or; Above the Shield is placed a coronet appropriate to a township: - Argent, embattled and of two towers all Argent port and windows Azure; and is Escrol below the same this Motto: "As Constant as the Northern Star" by demonstration of which Ensigns Armorail the said town is, amongst all Nobles and in All Places of Honour, to be taken, numbered, accounted and received as an incorporation Noble in the Nobelese of Scotland".
In 1988 the Governor General of Canada was authorized to assume Royal Prerogative of granting arms and the Canadian Heraldic Authority was founded. In May 2005 the Town of Pictou Coat-of-Arms was also registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority and is included in the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada, which can be found online at www.gg.ca.
The Arms were designed by R. Mingo Sweeney, a resident of Pictou, and long-time members of the Heraldry Society of Canada, and assisted by the Heralds of the Court of the Lord Lyon, Edinburgh, Scotland. The symbolism of the Armorial Bearings of the Town of Pictou is depicted in the following summary
Arms: The classic ship refers to Pictou's heritage of the sea, from which came its original settlers and founders. The flag of Nova Scotia forms the ship's sail. From its mast flies the cross of St. Andrew, the national flag of Scotland, in recognition of Pictou as the first home of the Highland Scots who came to Nova Scotia aboard the Hector in 1773, and who established the Town as the Birthplace of New Scotland. The shield is red, denoting courage and sacrifice, and the "star of the sea" is the guide that brings the ship into a safe harbour. The arms are surmounted by a "mural crown" indicating that Pictou is an incorporated township, and is classified as "Noble" in the Noblese of Scotland.
Motto: "As constant as the northern star"
John Polson and Christina Ross
John Polson was born at Marrel, near Helmsdale, in the parish of Loth, Sutherland, Scotland. Christina Ross was born in West Helmsdale. She became John's wife in 1867, 12,000 miles away in New Zealand.
The crumbled remains of the Marrel Cottage, near Helmsdale, and Polson's Hut, at Morven Hills on the Lindis Pass in New Zealand, are similar small stone homes and both are surrounded with local history. They share one identical place name, Morven Hills
John's grandfather, Murdock Polson married Catherine Sutherland around 1800 and settled at Marrel prior to 1803. Any further information about where either were born or raised has not been found. Murdock was a crofter and occupied about two acres of stony ground on the south side of the Helmsdale River.
Murdoch and Catherine Polson had two children:-
James Polson born in summer on 23 July 1803 at Marrel.
Alexander Polson born 10 October 1805 at Marrel.
The younger brother, Alexander Polson lived in Marrel for all his life and worked as an agriculture labourer. He married Elspeth (Elizabeth) Sutherland at Marrel (?born 1802) on 23 January 1835. Their children were four daughters.
Hughina born 27 March 1837
Charlotte born 19 April 1841
Barbara born 10 October 1844
Johan Polson born 1848
In 1868 Alexander had suffered a stroke and the family are recorded as being on the Poor Roll from this date until his death. A little before Alexander's death on 26 July 1886, Hughina went to live at Balloch, which is further up the Kildonan Strath. Elizabeth's date of death is not known.
The Parish records for Loth show that in the period 1803 - 1819 there were six Marrel families living in the cluster of buildings that included Murdoch and Catherine Polson. These dates do cover sixteen years so they may not have all been there for the same length of time.
1. Innes McKay (or McCay), Isobel Mitchell and their son George McKay, born 21 July 1803
2. Murdoch Polson and Catherine Sutherland and their two sons James and Alexander
3. John Gunn, Christy (or Cursty) Matheson and their daughter Johanna Gunn, born 30 Oct 1803
4. John McKay
5. John Sutherland
6. David Sutherland
Were John, David and Catherine Sutherland and John and Innes McKay related? Where had they come from? One interesting point to note is the three children all born close together in the summer of 1803 - George McKay, Johanna Gunn and James Polson.
John's father, James Polson, eldest son of Murdock and Catherine Polson married Flora Mackenzie 12th December 1833, at Marrel. James is described as a lotter on his marriage entry, so by this date he probably had inherited the croft from Murdock. As his parents do not appear on the 1841 census for Loth, it could be assumed one or both were deceased by this time.
James and Flora had nine children.
Murdock Polson born 13 April 1835, the eldest. He was tailor by occupation and died unmarried of consumption aged 34.
John Polson born 5 December 1836 at Marrel. He was a cooper by occupation. He married Christina Ross, in New Zealand.
Alexander Polson born 1 August 1838 and died as an infant.
Ann Polson baptised on 1 August 1840 and died of consumption aged 15.
Catherine Polson baptised on 3 July 1841. She received her schooling in Helmsdale, sailed with John on his second voyage to New Zealand, married Murdock Bruce, settled at Seafield near Ashburton, produced 11 children and died aged 81 in 1922.
Janet Polson baptised on 23 January 1843 and died of consumption aged 33.
William Polson born 1848 and died as an infant.
Alexandrina Polson born 1850 and died aged 22 of consumption.
William Polson the youngest son born 1852. His occupation was a labourer and salmon fisher. He fathered seven children and lived until he was about 71. His wife Ann was known affectionately by one and all as Granny Polson and lived a long life at Marrel. There is one description of William Polson to be found in the book `Highland Heroes of the Land Reform Movement' published in 1917.
'In the Marrel district of Helmsdale there is Mr. Wm. Polson. Although quiet and unassuming, he always stands firm as a rock for the land reform cause, never failing to support the men who voice his views'. 21
William may have been involved with the Highland Land League, which was formed in 1883, or a similar cause.
By 1851 Murdock, the eldest son, aged 15 or 16 was away from home learning his trade. John following soon after, finding work in the fishing industry at Wick. He learned the trade of a cooper or barrel maker for the smoked herring trade. Such work was readily available in Helmsdale and at Wick.
The 1861 Census schedules state that James Polson aged 54 was `Head of the household', `crofter of two acres', Flora Polson aged 52, his wife, and their children Murdock Polson unmarried 25, tailor, Catherine Polson 19, Janet Polson 17, Alexandrina Polson 11, William Polson 9 were all living at the Marrel cottage. John's name does not appear on this census for the Marrel residence. He may be the John Polson listed as enumerator for the census at Kildonan, where he was staying with his uncle George McKay; or he was away working at Wick or perhaps already on the high seas for his first voyage to New Zealand.
By the 1881 census only James, Flora, son William, his wife and three children lived at Marrel. Six of the children born to James and Flora had predeceased them by this date. John and Catherine had emigrated to New Zealand in 1864.
James Polson died on July 7 1884 at Marrel. Flora continued living in the cottage with William and Ann and their seven children. In New Zealand, she had another 20 grandchildren she would never see. She died on 21 June 1892.
Christina Ross's father was Roderick Ross. He spent about 25 years in the 93rd Highlander regiment and served in South Africa and at the battle of New Orleans before he was eventually discharged on 20th May 1821 from Kilmainham, Ireland. He took up land in West Helmsdale, perhaps granted by the army. The Ross homestead was called `Rockfield' and Christine Murray still lives there.
On 11th Feb 1827 at Cracaig, about 6-8 miles south of Helmsdale, the adventurous Roderick married Christian McIntosh (Christy). He was aged about 45 at the time of his marriage and described as a lotter. Christian was the daughter of Donald McIntosh and Effy MacAuley.
Christian and Roderick Ross had 6 children:-
Barbara Ross, born 20th Dec 1827 and married Hector McLeod on 4th Nov 1853. Their children were Christina, Donald, Mary, William, another William, Roderick and Elspeth McLeod.
Donald Ross, born 14th June 1829.
Ann Gordon Ross, born 10th Sep 1831.
William Ross, born 21st April 1834 and married Mary Polson on 2nd May 1862 at Kildonan. Their seven children were Angus, Roderick, Donald and David (twins), Marion, Christina, and another Donald Ross.
Christina Ross, born 17th 1938 and married John Polson on 21st May 1867 at Christchurch, New Zealand. Their children were Roderick, William and George, James, Christina, Annie, Catherine, Rose, and John Polson.
Elspeth Ross, chr. 21 Aug 1841 and married Robert Findlay on 12 April 1872 at Kildonan. Their children were Christina and Johanna Findlay. Elspeth brought up her grand son Roddy Findlay, but it is not known to which daughter he was born.
The 1861 Census Schedule for Helmsdale shows:-
Roderick Ross 79 Head of household, Chelsea pensioner 93rd Highers
Christy Ross 63 his wife, born in the parish of Loth,
Ann Ross aged 29, born in the parish of Loth
Christina Ross aged 21, born in the parish of Loth
Elspeth Ross aged 20, born in the parish of Loth
Christina McLeod grand daughter born in the parish of Kildonan.
She was Barbara and Hector McLeod's eldest daughter. There is no mention on this date of Donald Ross, William Ross, or Barbara Ross living at Rockfield. Barbara was already married anyway.
Roderick died at his home in West Helmsdale, 12th April 1863, aged 80. His wife Christina (Christy) lived until she was 80 and died at West Helmsdale on 12th December 1880. She was described as a lotter and widow.
John Polson eventually left Scotland in 1861 or 1862 traveling to New Zealand on `The Canterbury' and arriving at the Port of Lyttelton in 1862. He journeyed on to Port Chalmers, Otago, in the same year. On his arrival he found a mob of sheep whose shepherd had taken ill. The flock of sheep was consigned to Morven Hills in the Lindis Pass region of Central Otago. Although totally inexperienced in shepherding he agreed to conduct the flock to its destination Morven Hills, a hundred and fifty miles away. He had little idea where the Morven Hills Station was situated and taking the chance he set out with the flock of sheep. There was little in the way of roads in 1862, so by walking across brown tussock covered hills and bare mountains and ridges, and by driving the flock across swiftly flowing rivers he reached the Lindis. When he arrived with the sheep, the owner of Morven Hills, Jock McLean, employed him, and John decided to make his future home here.
Sometime in the next twelve months, John returned to Scotland by cattle boat and talked his sister Catherine Polson, his future wife Christina Ross, his cousins Mina and James Mackenzie and possibly others, into joining him in New Zealand. John, Catherine, Mina, James, and a George McLeod Polson left England on 21st Sep 1863 on 'The Canterbury' to sail to New Zealand. Jock McLean, met John at the Port of Lyttelton. John could well have assisted in the hiring of several other passengers who were engaged as shepherds.
Later, on July 15th 1866, Christina Ross also left London for New Zealand on the ship the 'Blue Jacket'.
John and Christina married at Christchurch, on 21st May 1867, seven months after Christina's arrival in N.Z. After their marriage, John and Christina settled at Morven Hills and lived in Polson's Hut and John took on boundary rider duties. The hut was isolated and lonely, but it was their home for the next three years. On a sheep station as large as Morven Hills and with mostly shepherds and boundary-riders employed on it, small stone or corrugated iron cottages such as Polson's Hut were built and were scattered throughout the length of the run for the men to live in. Only traces of these lonely huts remain intact, but Polson's Hut still stands `as solid as the day it was built' and a perfect example of a cottage of this type.
During the winter of 1869 twins were born in Polson's hut to Christina and John. The eldest child Roderick had been born just over a year earlier and was little toddler. The family story records that some weeks before the babies were expected, a crazy drunken man came past the cottage and chased Christina. She ran to Polson's hut for protection, but the whole trauma brought on premature labour. She had no time to prepare for the birth, and with John, managed the birth as best she could. Snow was thick on the ground, and frozen hard, wood was scarce. John Polson took the twins by the fire to keep them warm, while Christina attended to her self. There was no doctor, no nurse, no midwife, and no neighbour. Within a few hours of the birth, one twin died and then, three days later, the other. There was deep snow everywhere so the police, 30 miles away at Cromwell, could not come to verify the deaths. The babes could not be buried because the ground was frozen hard. They had to be kept in the hut and frozen until the ground thawed and they could be properly buried. The grave is over the hillside, in front of Polson's hut. A big willow marks the spot and at the base there is a big stone slab inscribed `1869'. No names. The grave is officially on the list of N.Z. graves. The twins were both sons, named William and George, but seemingly their birth is unregistered. John and Christina had a further six children.
John Polson eventually rose to be Head Shepherd at Morven Hills and he and Christina lived as married couple at the Station House, moving there in 1871. John remained on Morven Hills Station until near 1879 when he purchased the first small farm in an adjoining district at Bendigo He lived in Central Otago for a total of 49 years until his death in May 1910. Christina died in 1894.
I know about my paternal grandmother. I'm quite sure my grandfather
was born in Inverness. His father was Alexander and I have a copy of his
gravestone that said he was married twice. First to Margaret Scott who
died in 1883 and who I believe was my great-grandmother. His second wife
was Isobel Fraser who died in 1926. He passed away in 1947, age 88. It
also said he was employed as the permanent way inspector in Inverness. His
son Donald, my grandfather, eventually went to work for the Singer Co in
Glasgow where my father and his brother grew up. My father came to the
U.S. for a visit in 1929 and met my mother (who, by the way, he remembered
seeing in Glasgow) so he never got back to Scotland until he was much older.
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