OUR KNOX/CRAIG FAMILY

Flag of Scotland

Our Knox/Craig ancestors emigrated from Scotland, to Ireland and then to America arriving in Charles Town, S.C. in 1767. South Carolina paid bounty to Scots-Irish willing to settle in the frontier acting  as a buffer between the coastal plantations and the Indians, a perfect role for the Scots-Irish warriors. Edith McIntire Holder, my maternal grandmother, was a descendant of these ancestors.

James Knox Sr. was born on July 26, 1713, in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland. His parents were John Knox and Agnes Johnstone. (Not John Knox, the Reformer, whose two sons did not have descendants.) On December 26, 1719, Lady Elizabeth Craig was born on the other coast of Scotland in Edinburgh. Her parents were John Craig and Elizabeth Moir/More. She was an only child. It is thought her father’s estate reverted to the Crown because he died without a male heir. Even after she married, it has been said, she used the honorific Lady with her married name. This is unusual, but I found one of her great aunt’s who was able to prove her claim to land and a title, because she never gave up her title. Perhaps, Elizabeth hoped the same could happen to her.

The Knox and Craig families had at least one connection over the years, with a Craig mentioned in conjunction with John Knox, the Reformer. Our James Knox and Elizabeth Craig married in Lanarkshire, Scotland. They were of the Covenanters Church, the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and raised their children in strict obedience to God’s laws.

Children born in Scotland:

1740-1830, Mary. Married Pollock/Polk by Reverend William Martin.  Mary Polk remained in Ireland. Some genealogists have said Mary’s children immigrated to the colonies and were the ancestors of President James Polk. I have found no evidence of either, with President Polk’s ancestors already in the colonies by this time.

1742-1839, Janet. Married John (JR) Gaston in fall of 1768 by his father Justice John Gaston.

1744-1818, John. Married Elizabeth Eoff on Feb 12, 1789. The groom was forty-five and Elizabeth was eighteen, the first marriage for both. It was said John didn’t marry until later in life since he was too busy taking care of the farm. He died in 1818 at seventy-four years of age, leaving three minor children.

1749-1781, James. Married Jannet Miller in 1770. James was murdered by Tory neighbors during the Revolutionary War.

1751-1830, William. Married Patience Gill about 1779.  Died Oct 31, 1830 at age 78.

 In 1752, the family traveled by ship from Scotland across the Irish Sea to Belfast, then settled in the  Ballymoney area of North Antrim, Ireland with other Covenanters, where they farmed rented land.

Children born in Ireland:

1753-1843, Samuel. Married Caroline Jones in 1780. They were married by her uncle John Simpson, a Presbyterian minister with Margaret Knox Eoff as a waiter (witness.) Caroline’s mother was a Simpson.

1755-1832, Elizabeth. Married Samuel Morrow in 1776, Chester Co, SC. Final move was to Laurence County Alabama, then onto Fayette Co, Alabama. She died by Sept 3, 1832. Samuel was born in 1743 and died March 8, 1835. He had emigrated from Ireland to the colonies at the age of fourteen.       

1758, April 11-1861, Robert. Married Elizabeth Gill in 1784. In 1817, Robert married (1) Elizabeth Gill, ca 1763-ca 1809. Then he married (2) Mildred (Milly) Bohannon ca 1792-1861. 

1763-1848, Margaret. Married Isaac Eoff on March 12, 1783, in her father’s home in Chester Co, SC. Rev. John Simpson performed the ceremony, with Margaret’s childhood friend, Catherine Jones Knox, now her brother, Samuel’s, wife and six months pregnant with her first child present at the ceremony. Isaac died Sept 26, 1848 in Carroll County, AR. (Now Boone County.) See Eoff, Elliott, and Todd stories for more on this family line.

1760-1850, Joseph. Never married. Was blind.

1765-1842, Nancy Agnes (Ann). Married Jacob Sutton (blacksmith) on Jan 1, 1784. He was born in 1758 and died in 1836. The wedding was most likely performed in the home of her parents with her father Justice James Knox, Sr. officiating.  Final move was to Laurence County Alabama. Named Agnes after paternal grandmother.

1767, Susan was born on board ship to America, where she died and was burned at sea.

 On July 25, 1761, South Carolina passed an act which paid the passage and, upon arrival, provided each head of household over 16 years of age a grant of 100 acres and 50 acres to his wife and each child. In March 1767, the family sailed (on the Earl of Hillsborough, disputed, more likely on the Prince of Wales) from Belfast for Charles Town, South Carolina. As they departed on the ship, Elizabeth was 48 years old and pregnant with her last child, with twelve other children ranging from 2-25 years of age.

On May 28, 1767, South Carolina Warrants and Petitions indicate Knox family received 450 acres in a land grant from the General Assembly of South Carolina in Chester County, S.C.,  100 miles into the Carolina upcountry. A wagon, head of oxen, plough, seeds and provisions were purchased in Charleston from grant monies. The family moved up the Santee/Catawba Rivers and settled on land close to Fishing Creek in Chester County. The family lived out of wagon until cabin was finished. After the cabin was built, they could enjoy a Saturday night bath in front of the fireplace. They attended the Old Richardson Meeting House on Fishing Creek for Sunday services, also called the Catholic Church, comprised of Covenanters, Associates and Presbyterians, on Rocky Creek. By 1772, the Covenanters had their own church, called Reformed Church, with Reverend William Martin as the minister. He was their minister in Ireland and came over from Ireland bringing the rest of the congregation.  Most of the family is mentioned in the Fishing Creek Presbyterian Church visitation list in 1771 – 1774.

Land had to be cleared and planted for fall harvest. The oldest son, John, took the lead in developing the family farm on Rocky Creek.

Shortly after the Knox/Craig family’s arrival in the colonies, tensions between the colonies and England began to develop, but didn’t really affect people on the frontier, who were busy clearing their fields, protecting their families from Indians and raising crops and kids.  

Passage of the Declaration of Independence  on July 4, 1776, did not pass unnoticed on the frontier, but most people carried on with their busy lives. However, ultimately the Revolutionary War affected all their lives. Subscribe to my blog to see other posts as they are posted.  

Source: “James Knox Sr. and Elizabeth Craig Knox and their Descendants,” compiled by Lorene K. Petersen and Jennie Bell Lyle, 1984.

Copyright, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.

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.