A Plea by Carl Peterson
They were immigrants, sons of immigrants, grandsons of immigrants. They
were from different countries and states. As many as 70% were of
Scotch-Irish descent. But their blood was Scottish. Here are just a few
* Davy Crockett's
grandfather was Scotch; Crockett played Scottish tunes on his fiddle,
often accompanied by piper John MacGregor, who'd arrived in the New World
from Scotland not long before.
* Sam Houston's mother and
grandfather were Scottish. Sam Houston was known as "The Raven" by the
Native Americans; the Houston coat of arms, from Scotland, included three
* Jim Bowie's ancestry came
direct from Scotland a hundred years before, descended from Rob Roy
MacGregor. Bowie's ancestors were wine-keepers to James IV of Scotland.
The men brought with them
the spirit and knowledge of Scotland's fight for independence. They sang
the songs of Robert Burns, they read Sir Walter Scott's novels of chivalry
and heroism. One of the favorite songs was Robert Burns' "Scots Wha Hae",
written to an old Scottish tune that is reported to have been played the
night before the Battle of Bannockburn. This tune has been used at least 7
times for songs written about the Texians fight for freedom and
independence. In December of 1835 the Texas general wrote an appeal for
volunteers to fight for Texas freedom. The heading of that appeal reads:
"Now's the day and now's the hour!" These words were taken directly from
Burns' poem "Scots Wha Hae".
Generations of Scots have
been brought up knowing of Wallace's and Robert Bruce's fight for
freedom. It was with this knowledge and background that they faced Santa
Anna and the Mexican Army. Knowing this, we better understand the spirit
and bravery of the men at the Alamo, and the men of Texas.
Recently hundreds of people
signed up to be extras for a new movie about the Alamo, being produced by
The Disney Company. The movie is scheduled to begin shooting in January.
The movie set is being built near Austin, Texas. It would be a shame if
the Hollywood script writers, producers and music director were to
overlook the true spirit of the Alamo, as rooted in the Scottish love of
freedom and independence. Who wouldn't love to see a movie where the sound
of Scottish pipe and fiddle tunes emanated from the walls of the Alamo.
This could be a block-buster movie of "Braveheart" and "Rob Roy"
proportions, or it could be just another Alamo remake telling only parts
of the real story.
Join me in this fight for
recognition of the facts. Send your message of support to Texas Governor
Rick Perry, to the Disney Corporation, to the film's director John
Hancock. Post your message at
Tell them you want the whole story told.
Carl Peterson has spend
many years researching the music of this period and songs written about
the Texas Revolution and the Alamo. His research has taken him to places
such as the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and the Scottish Museum
of Music in Edinburgh. One particularly useful book was "The Rough and
Ready Songster", published in the 1840's. Carl has also visited The Alamo,
in San Antonio, TX, many times, where he met Dr. Bruce Winders, historian
and curator. Dr. Winders has been a great help, and has supported Carl's
efforts. Carl's research has culminated in his double CD release:
"Scotland Remembers the Alamo". He is currently working on a companion
book for the CD which will include the songs and their history, as well as
a history of the Scottish influence in Texas. The CD is now available at
The Alamo, in San Antonio, TX, and also from the web-site: