SCOTS-IRISH

Since before Roman times in 200 A.D., the border between England and Scotland was in almost constant warfare.  The people, whether English (like the Musgrave’s) or Scottish (like the Knox’s, McIntire’s), were living in a war zone. The men were warrior-like and often away at battle. With the men away, the women raised the many children and took care of the household and farm, as soldiers trampled crops and rustlers stole livestock. The extended family or clan was the only unit worth any loyalty.

Each family had a few acres where they raised their own food and grazed livestock. Families moved often. Their home was a simple building, built in a day, with few household possessions. As rents increased in the borderlands, Scots-Irish were encouraged to migrate to northern Ireland. Soon rents increased in Ireland and their farming/ grazing lifestyle was no longer economically feasible in Ireland.

When the first Scots-Irish first arrived in Pennsylvania about 1717, their behavior, provocative dress, and speech were very different from the Quakers, so they were rejected, ridiculed, and called “Scots-Irish”. In spite of their poverty, they were a proud people, which further irritated the Quakers. The Scots-Irish settled on the frontier of Pennsylvania and; when the roads south opened, they went down into the Shenandoah Valley to the Carolinas. Later migrations to America in 1760-1775 were directly to the Carolinas. The Scot-Irish families continued the old patterns of life first on the frontier, then to Tennessee,  and further west to Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma.  Since the Scots-Irish way of life was successful on the frontier, other frontier immigrants took on those characteristics, still seen today.

Weddings were wild affairs, full of ritual, and expensive. Sometimes brides were abducted, usually (but not always) willingly. First cousins often married to “keep it in the clan”. There was a shortage of clergy  and sometimes couples got tired of waiting. Premarital pregnancies were common and not scandalous. Most of the original Scots-Irish were Presbyterian, but became Baptists and Methodists as their population and migration outgrew the Presbyterian seminaries capacity to provide ministers.

Families were male dominant; women and children were to obey. Children, especially boys, were taught to exercise their wills. The Scots-Irish doted on their male children, reared to have pride, independence, and courage. Girls were taught the virtues of patience, industry, sacrifice, and devotion to others. Men shared in the care of their children from infancy. Corporal punishment was often used.

Formal education wasn’t important to the Scots-Irish, the most illiterate group. The main occupation was farming combined with herd grazing. There was no class system with everyone seen as equal. As in Scotland, this group moved often, creating scattered, isolated settlements, along creeks and streams.

Source

  • “Albion’s Seed, Four British Folkways in America,” David Hackett Fischer, 1989.
  • “Born Fighting – How the Scots-Irish Shaped America,” James Webb, 2004.

Copyrighted, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.

QUAKERS

Between 1675 and 1725, many Quakers left England and came to the Delaware River area of Pennsylvania. There were Quakers in New England earlier, who came as Puritans and were converted by Quaker missionaries.

 The Quakers in our Musgrave family line probably became Quakers in England and traveled to Ireland because of persecution.  They left Ireland (thus were called Irish Quakers), not so much because of persecution (although they were persecuted), but because of economic issues.  

 The Quaker view of the Bible was different from the Puritan view, with an emphasis on the New Testament and no formal doctrine, no formal worship service, and no ordained ministers. With their  different customs, Quakers were driven out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to Rhode Island and out from there. Quaker doctrine might be described as one of love and light, at least among Quakers.

The Quakers came from the lower middle class of English society. They were farmers, craftsmen, laborers, and servants. There were fewer servants in a Quaker household, but, when there were servants, they were treated as family. Fortunately for genealogists, Quakers did have a highly organized system of meetings and record keeping.

The Quakers had a strict set of marriage customs, with approvals required by the congregation and parents. The marriage ceremony was very simple. A Quaker could not marry a non-Quaker. If they did, they were disowned, with several example of this in our later family lines.

The Quakers believed that souls had no gender. Men and women were equal and were to be helpmates for each other. So equal were they, that the Quakers even allowed women to be preachers. Their households were less male dominant. They believed that sex was to be confined to marriage and went to great pains in their style of dress to keep it that way.

The rearing of children was done in an atmosphere of loving, nurturing, and sheltering. Rewards were usually used and not punishments. Corporal punishment was rare. There was a strict behavior code and the community helped to instill it in their children. Children lived at home until married.

While many Quakers were literate, they were hostile toward public schools and home schooled their children, when possible.

Quakers lived on farms, surrounding a village. The village and surrounding farms made up a township.  

Source

  • “Albion’s Seed, Four British Folkways in American,” David Hackett Fischer, 1989.

Copyrighted, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.

MIGRATION TO THE NEW WORLD – PURITANS

My next few posts will be summarizing information from “Albion’s Seed, Four British Folkways in American,” David Hackett Fischer’s wonderful book published in 1989. Fischer describes four British Folkways who migrated to the United States. He describes these  folkways as Puritans, who came into New England; Distressed Cavaliers and Indentured Servants, usually the younger sons of British gentry and their servants who came into Virginia and Maryland setting up tobacco plantations; Quakers, who came into Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania;  and the Borderlanders, mostly the Scots-Irish who came in first through Pennsylvania and later through the Carolinas, settling on the frontier. Many of our family ancestors can be traced back to these four groups.

One of our earliest Puritan ancestors, through the Buckmaster, Dovey Piercy line, may have been the ship’s carpenter on Mayflower. Peter Browne lived only a few years after arrival, but he did leave a daughter who survived him. To prove this lineage, we need to more information on our Bedford ancestors who lived in Texas, west of Dallas. If you have more information on this family line or want to gather information on these ancestors, please contact me. From “Albion’s Seed,” here is more information on the Puritans.

About 21,000 Puritans left England because of religious persecution, arriving in the Massachusetts Bay Colony between the years 1629 and 1640.

Most Puritans were from the middle class of English society. They were educated and most could afford to pay their passage. They were usually skilled craftsmen or tradesmen. Those who did farm practiced a trade, as well. With Puritans, the family was very important; the extended family not as important as in other groups. When they settled in the new world, their settlements were similar to their English towns and villages with farmsteads outside of the village. As a group, they tended to stay in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (greater Boston area).

The Puritans were a part of what became the Congregational Church. They subscribed to a modified Calvinist Doctrine–which can best be defined by five words: depravity, covenant, election, grace, and love. Puritans screened immigrants coming into their Massachusetts Bay Colony. If someone anyone “unsuitable” showed up, they were asked to leave. Their sense of order was one that required unity.

The family ways of the Puritans came out of their religious convictions. Family relationships were covenants that could be broken. Marriages, therefore, were not usually performed by a minister, but by the magistrate. Divorce was allowed if the covenant was broken. Valid reasons for divorce were: adultery, fraudulent contract, willful desertion, and physical cruelty. It was against the law for husbands and wives to strike each other. Sex was supposed to be confined to marriage and offenders were punished severely–both parties were punished but the men more severely than the women. Both parents and children had to consent before a marriage could take place–and parents were not allowed to withhold consent without a valid reason. Weddings were simple affairs. First cousin marriages were forbidden and second cousin marriages were discouraged.

Puritans were strict parents who loved their children much but believed their wills needed to be broken (due to basic depravity of human nature). This will-breaking was achieved by strict and rigorous supervision in which the fathers took an active part. They tried to use mental discipline and love but, if it didn’t work, they were quick to use physical constraints. The practice of “sending out” was used. children often were sent to stay with other families for training, discipline, apprenticeship, etc.

The Puritans valued education. All children were taught to read by parents or masters; schools were available very early; and four colleges were founded prior to the Revolution.

Source: “Albion’s Seed, Four British Folkways in American,” David Hackett Fischer, 1989.

Copyrighted, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.