The North Carolina. U.SA/Isle of Islay Scotland Connection
Copyright by Marcia Barnes
King George couldn't have imagined what a blessing he was actually bestowing upon the New World, and North Carolina in particular, when he gave reprieve to the Scots after the battle of Culloden in 1746 in the form of emigration to populate the English colonies in America and bear allegiance to the English crown. A great number of Highlanders chose his reprieve over death and imprisonment, and settled in North Carolina's Cape Fear River Valley. They greatly influenced the character of our state, endowing us with a legacy of colourful Scottish heritage and traditions that are cherished to this day.
Annual celebrations such as Scottish family reunions, Presbyterian homecomings, and Grandfather Mountains "Highland Games", mark our calendars today, and historical sites dot our countryside, all proudly touting our ancestral roots. Gaelic, the native tongue of Scotland, is still spoken occasionally, and bagpipers highlight the annual McFadyen Reunion at Longstreet Presbyterian Church in the eastern area of North Carolina, while the "Highland Games" (and "Gathering of The Clans") takes place every summer in the western portion of our state.
Our Scottish ancestry is also easily traced by the numerous "clannish" farming communities that sprang up throughout the fertile Cape Fear River Valley in the 1700s and 1800s, many of which are still thriving today. One such community, Lobelia, reflects a wealth of Scottish heritage, evidenced by the surnames of its citizens (McDougald, McKeithan McFadyen, Stewart, McDiarmid, McLauchlin, McMillan, Blue, Darroch, Cameron) and a number of Presbyterian churches (Longstreet, Bluff, Vass, Barbecue, Cypress). Some of the Lobelia families are able to link their lineage directly to the Island of Islay and one of them is the McFadyen family.
A brief sketch of the McFadyen family serves to trace their ancestral footsteps from Islay to the Sandhills of North Carolina. Archibald McFadyen, a native of Islay, married Mary Buie, who died in 1800. Archibald then married Mary McNeill, and one of their children, Dougald, was born in 1821. He later married Annie Black Lindsay, who was born in 1838 aboard a sailing vessel crossing from Scotland to America. They had eleven children who all settled in the Raeford, Fayetteville, Sanford, and Vass areas of the State. The youngest, Alexander (Alex, married Fannie Eliza Stewart, and they had three children: Clyde Iris, Neill Dougald, and Sarah Black (who is the author's mother).
Doug McFadyen, asked recently to reflect upon the Scottish influence in his community, says that "a lot of different clans are represented by the area, ours of course being a sept of the Clan MacLaine of Lochbuie, and many Scottish ways have been passed down from the generations".
The old Scots used to eat mutton a lot, way back, and they had large families of nine or ten children," he states, "and they passed on family trades; I remember that "old man" McFadyen's will stated that his crofting and spinning tools were to be left to his sons".
"And of course, some of them either drank a lot - they used to make liquor in their own stills down in the swamp over yonder - or were cold sober!" he says, laughing, and adding that "Arch MacGregor had lots of dances at his house, and the Presbyterian church brought him up for it at a session meeting, but he liked his dancing and told them that he was going to keep dancing, session or not!"
Describing the character of the old Scots, Doug says that "the ones who first came over were very loyal to England and against independence. They wouldn't fight for it in 1776; not one name beginning with 'Mac' is on the monument in Fayetteville for the Revolutionary War of 1776.
But after independence was won, the Scotsmen turned their fidelity from the crown to their new country and according to Doug, "during the Civil War in the 1860's there was one company that was nearly all Scotsmen". In fact, the Scottish men from the area were so highly represented in that war between the North (Union) and the South (Confederate) that no infants were baptised at Longstreet Presbyterian Church until sixteen years afterwards.
Through the years, the native Scottish tongue has somehow survived, if only spoken infrequently now. The three McFadyen children were acquainted with the Gaelic Ianguage at an early age by listening to kinfolk around them. Although she did not learn the language, one of Doug's sisters, Sarah Black, recalls "an aunt and an uncle on my father's side speaking in Gaelic".
Sarah describes the Scottish folk she grew up with as self-sufficient but neighbourly.
"They'd help anybody who needed help, but most of the time, each family took care of its own problems. I think they had a lot of pride in their ancestry", she says.
In addition to the Scottish pride and tenacity for survival that have been nurtured for generations are certain traditional beliefs, such as the presbyterian Church, and perhaps another, less well-known facet of faith concerning tokens and other superstitions.
According to some Scottish folklore, there is a belief that a seventh son will always grow up to be "different" and the McFadyen children's father, Alex, had an unusual quality attributed to him by the folks in the community. "He was a seventh son, and was supposed to have special healing powers. People said that he was able to remove warts from a person's body, and they would come by the house to see him about their warts. He'd get out early in the morning and go to a stump or do something; he never would tell us exactly what he did - but the warts did disappear".
Doug adds that the "Scottish folk believed in tokens, which might be an image out of
the ordinary that a person would notice, and that would be a special sign, or a message, from God to that person".
Another superstition was about ghosts. Doug's father called ghosts "haints" and,
according to Doug, said that "the way to get rid of a haint is to cuss 'em, then turn around and praise him three times, and he'll leave you alone!" (The object being, apparently, to totally confuse the ghost and scare him away by such erratic behaviour).
Superstitions aside, the McFadyens were faithful church members, and attended Cypress Presbyterian Church regularly, where the children studied the Child's Catechism. "I think it's a real shame that the Catechisms aren't taught in our church today. "We've really missed the boat," Sarah reflects thoughtfully. She attributes the church with having a great deal of influence on the community, and states that "there have been a lot of people who grew up in Cypress and Longstreet Churches and have family connections between those those two churches. They have served the community well". Cypress Church still maintains its close-knit heritage and ancestral ties by holding homecomings each year.
The McFadyen children's parents (Alex and Fannie Stewart McFadyen) and their maternal grandparents (Neill and Sarah Catherine Morrison Stewart) are buried at Cypress, while their paternal grandparents (Dougald and Annie Black Lindsay MacFadyen) are buried at Longstreet Presbyterian Church, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Longstreet Church and its rock-walled cemetery stand proudly today as a tribute to the Highianders of Scotland, who emigrated as early as the 1730's to the Cape Fear River Valley (near present-day Fayetteville, North Carolina), bringing with them such traditional values as devotion to home and family, love of liberty, the Presbyterian Church and thriftiness born of self-sufficiency.
Longstreet was founded in the mid 1750's when a small congregation was gathered under the leadership of Rev. Hugh McAden. Recognising the Highlander's need for Presbyterian leadership by someone who could understand Gaelic, McAden invited a friend of his, Rev. James Campbell, to move from Pennsylvania down south to the Cape Fear area. Rev. Campbell preached at three regular meeting places: Bluff, Barbecue and Longstreet and continued to minister to the Longstreet Congregation until 1770.
In 1918, the Federal Government decided to create an Artillery School of Fire that would encompass a large territory surrounding Longstreet, so the MacFadyens and others in the community sold their land to the government and it became the Fort Bragg Military Reservation. And so it evolved that Longstreet, after serving the community for so many years, no longer serves the community at large, but every June the doors are swung open for the MacFadyen Reunion and all descendants of the family and other members of Longstreet are welcomed.
The bare wooden floors creak from the wear and tear of generations of souls who have tread there and the straight backed, hard wooden pews remain divided down the middle of the church to keep females on one side and males on the other (very similar to the arrangement of the Round Church in Bowmore Islay). There are just two aisles in the church, leading from the pulpit area in front of the church directly into the sanctuary, arranged so that anyone entering or exiting the sanctuary must walk right by the pulpit.
The Reunion starts with a church service (on one occasion, Rev. James McKenzie preached the entire sermon in the beautiful language of Gaelic) and ends with a covered-dish, outdoor luncheon under a sweltering summer sun. Often the descendants eat and socialise to traditional Scottish bagpipe music, played by a hearty soul who is somehow willing to withstand the intense sun beating down from above only to be reflected back up by the white sands into his face, while dressed in full Scottish attire.
While socialising and re-kindling old kinships after enjoying a fine array of home cooked food, men, women and children stroll through the entrance to the rock-walled cemetery behind the church, first walking past the single monument erected for some thirty unknown Confederate soldiers and then weaving slow, erratic pathways past numerous other tombstones that mark the resting place of long departed ancestors.
Among the Longstreet Cemetery inscriptions are several that indicate direct connections with Islay; others mention Jura, Argyllshire and just Scotland. Tombstones for the following persons each bear the inscription "Native of Island of Islay, Scotland"
Daniel McArthur=died 9-8-1819 aged 74
Diarmid McDiarmid=died 23-7-1853, "Aged about 75 yrs"
Janette Gillis McDiarmid=died 11-8-1863, aged 55 "Consort of D A McDiarmid"
Capt. Angus McDiarmid=died 3-5-1856, aged 24 "Son of Diarmid and Janet McDiarmid
Archibald McFadyen=born 1754, died 1830
*Mary Buie McFadyen=died 20-11-1800, aged 37 "Consort of Archibald McFadyen"
*Dougald McFadyen=born 1-11-1821, died 14-9-1892
*Annie McFadyen=died 16-4-1925, aged 87, wife of Dougald
Janette McPhail=died 9-8-1899. aged 67 "Wife of Neill"
Margaret Ray=died 8-0-1849, aged 90 "Wife of Daniel Ray"
* Although these tombstones do not bear the Islay inscription, these names are included here because they are associated with the McFadyens from Islay.
So it is easy for the McFadyens to trace their ancestral home back to the Island of Islay, dating back to Archibald McFadyen, who was born in Islay in 1754. Today, some 243 years later, we trace another significant link to Islay.
In the 1970s Doug McFadyen's son Stewart, became very interested in the McFadyen genealogy and travelled to Islay to research the family history. While there, he met Hugh and Rose Gibson and Eric McKechnie, who befriended him and helped him with his task - even introducing him to the three McFadyen bachelor brothers living on Islay at the time! A few years later, Eric journeyed to North Carolina and stayed with Stewart and his family.
Letters of correspondence were written faithfully from both sides after Eric returned to Scotland, prompting other McFadyen family visits to Islay. Stewart's sister, Jane, and first cousin, Marcia (the author) also enjoyed visiting McFadyen "territory" and becoming acquainted with their Scottish heritage, thanks in large to Eric and his parents, Aldie & Flora McKechnie, who were excellent hosts. Thus a modern day bond to the Isle of Islay was born of friendship between the McKechnie family and the McFadyen family - a bond that has been kept intact for over twenty years so far.
Resources for this article include the "Historical Sketch of Longstreet Presbyterian
Church 1756 - 1923," by Rev. R..A. Macieod, and a list entitled "Longstreet
Cemetery Inscriptions, Cumberland County. North Carolina, compiled by the
Daughters of the American Revolution and J.A. Sinclair; and verbal accounts by the
McFadyens of Lobelia
An American Kirkin' of the Tartans
By Marcia L Barnes
Boldly-coloured tartans, tams and sashes were proudly displayed by the congregatlon during Cypress Presbyterian Church's 175th Homecoming Ceremony (near Lobelia, North Carolina) this past October. It was a visually stimulating portrayal of Scottish ancestry, enhanced by the euphonious drone of live bagpipes (played by Rev. Arnold Pope from Fayetteville, NC), and was the first Kirkin' of the Tartans to be held at Cypress.
The idea of having a Kirkin' at Cypress came to members Doug and Mary McFadyen when they attended one at Highland Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, NC. Other members of Cypress agreed that a Kirkin' would be an appropriate and festive way to simultaneously celebrate the Church's special homecoming and their Scottish heritage.
Eighteen clans were represented in the beautiful pageantry of this Kirkin' and, according to Stewart McFadyen, many of the clans originated from the families who settled in the Cape Fear RiverValley area in the 1700's & I800's from Islay, Jura, Colonsay and Kintyre.
The Clans and Clan Bearers were Johnson (Gunn) by J.D. Johnson, Keith by Ernestine McFadyen, Cameron (Modern) by Sherry Cameron Bowden, Blue by Gary Blue, Buchanan by Charles Ray Pope, jr., Cameron (Lochiel) by Audrey Burnett Stevenson, McDonald (Sept - McKeithan) by Elliot McDonald Taylor, McFadyen (MacLaine of Lochbuie) by Stewart Morrison McFadyen, Mclnnes by Richard Scott Mclnnes, McKay by James McKay, McLauchlln (Lachlan) by Mary McLauchlln Pope, McLean (Duart) by Harriett Thomas, McMillan By Sandra Wroe, McNeill (Barra) by Bill Kirby, Morrison by Clarence Blue, Monroe (Munro) by Mary Monroe Smith, SmIth (Chattan) by James Blue, and Stewart by Annette Stewart Gibson.
A bulletin insert for the Cypress Church 175th Homecoming worship service briefly describes the Kirkin' of the Tartans. According to Scottish Legend, the ceremony originated after the Parliamentary Act of 1746, when the kilt, plaid, or any other tartan garment was banned (including the bagplpes), In an effort to destroy Highland Clan identity. But the defiant Scots refused to completely surrender their identity to the Briish Crown, and clandestinely carried a remnant of their tartan with them, in their pockets, as they went to church.
The minister would slip a blessing into the service for the clans represented by the tartans.
Based upon this legend, the SaintAndrew's Society of Washington, D.C. held a Kirkin' in April, 1941. Since that time. the service has spread to other locations throughout the United Staets. The genuine purpose of the Kirkin' remains intact: to commemorate and honour Almighty God who cared for and blessed the Scots and brought them through difficult times. Symbolising more than just family loyalty, the Kirkin' serves as a glorious reminder that God is sovereign.
Catherine MacArthur, 23 Gifford Wynd Watermill Grove Paisley