REVOLUTION AND AFTERMATH excerpts from The Highland Scots of North Carolina 1731-1776
Author Duane Meyer
What can account for the furious transformation of the Highlanders, who in Europe had
rallied round the Stuart flag in the Jacobite uprisings known as the 15 and the 45, in
memory of the years of their occurrence, but who in North Carolina were the loyal
supporters of the House of Hanover. Thomas Wertenbaker, a noted historian, writes:
"American historians have been at a loss to explain the loyalty of the Highlanders to
the royal cause during the American revolution. Since many had fought and suffered
for the Pretender and almost all were victims of the recent changes in Scotland for which
the government was responsible, one might suppose they would have welcomed an opportunity
for revenge. It is only a little less remarkable that a people so imbued with a love
of a chief and clan and so attached to the braes and glens of the Highlands should have
emigrated at all.
Farewell. farewell, dear Caledon.
Land of the Gael no longer!
A stranger fills thy ancient throne
In guile and treachery stronger.
They brave and just fall in the dust,
On ruins' brink the quiver,
Heaven's pitying e'e is clos'd on thee,
Adieu! adeiu, adeiu forever.. Jacobite Relics
In the three decades following the Forty-five, thousands of Highlanders flocked to
America. More of them settled in North Carolina than in any other colony. What
was responsible for this migration?? American historians who have studied this
movement believe the North Carolina Highlanders were forced into exile. These
writers note that, although social and economic factors may have been involved, the
major reason for the migration was political - the persecution and expatriation of rebel
Highlanders after the Forty-five. This emphasis on the political origins of the
migration appears with some variations in North Carolina, and it is in need of careful
The first historical work to deal with the upper Cape Fear setlement was the History of
North Carolina by Francois-Xavier Martin, a refugee French printer who worked for a time
in New Bern. Martin wrote in 1829 of the Scots: In the latter part of
the year 1746, a general pardon passed the great seal exempting from trial and punishment
nineteen individuals out of twenty among the rest, on being transported to America:
they drew lots for this purpose. They were accompanied by a number of others, who,
though they had not taken up arms, favored the prince's cause, and voluntarily shared the
exile of their countrymen. A considerable number of them came to North Carolina,
settled on Cape Fear River and formed the settlement of Cambelltoun where the present town
of Fayetteville now stands.
Nearly two decades later, in 1846, the Reverend William Foote published his Sketches of
North Carolina a history of the Presbyterian settlements within that state. In the
capacity of Secretary of Foreign Missions, Foote visited most of the Presbyterian
congregations in North Carolina. He conversed with clergy and lay people alike
recording pieces of information that was later compiled into history. Foote was
greatly interested in the congregations of Highlanders and devoted a large part of
sketches of North Carolina to them. His book has been widely read. Referring to the
Highlanders imprisoned by the English, he wrote:
a large number were pardoned on condition of their emigrating to the plantations after
having taken the solemn oath of allegiance. For a large number who had taken arms
for the Pretender preferred exile to death or subjugation in their native land and during
the years of 1746 and 1747 with their families and the families of many of their friends,
removed to North Carolina and settled along the Cape Fear River, occupying a large part of
the country of which Crosscreek, afterwards Campbelltown and now Fayetteville, was the
center. The wilderness was a refuge to the harassed Highlanders and shipload after
shipload landed at Wilmington in 1746 and 1747.
....mysterious, intriguing, historical, a haven, a river...The history and the
present. Contributed by Lu Hickey -- freelance writer of Scots around the World.
Southport and Oak Island NC, the mouth of Cape Fear River, a bustling city now of many
diverse sites. Southport has 15 antique shops with 75 dealers. A Maritime Museum
where visitors can travel through Southport's maritime history.
The most popular park in Southport is Waterfront Park. From the park you can watch large
transoceanic ships from every country pass on their way up the Cape Fear River to the
State Ports, creating remarkable photographic opportunities. Southport is so
photogenic that motion pictures and television films have been made there..
To understand the history and to experience Southport, one must visit. The Southport 2000
Visitor Center have available maps, brochures, and self-walking guides through out the
city. Also in the visitor center, are numberous historical artifacts on display along with
pictures and writings.
Local beaches include Yaupon Beach that offers lush golf courses and King Mackerel fishing
Caswell Beach is named after the historic Fort Caswell located at the top of the island,
Caswell Beach is home to the brightes lighthouse in the United States and boasts a Coast
Guard Station remininiscent of the old coastal life saving stations.
Long Beach is the largest community on Oak Island offers an eight mile stretch of souther
facing ocean beach with quiet surf and moderate tides. This family-oriented beach offers
water related activities for all ages.
Southport 2000 is a non-profit corporation to act as the catalyst for a downtown
revitalization program to preserve the history of this unique area. The organization is
striving to rebuild and restore the Old Smithville Burying Ground, the cemetery of the
On the walking tour, one finds the old historic homes of the sea faring persons that
settled the area. One lovely home has a "look-out tower" that was equipped
with a telescope so the Lady of the house could watch out to the horizon to see what ships
were coming in.
One of the many buildings is the "quarintine center" where the ill and fevered
passengers of the many ships were taken for observation and treatment. Across the
street, the hospital. Further up this street is the remains of the Fort.
The Indian Trail Tree in Keziah Memorial Park is said to be over 800 years old and was
used by the Cape Fear area Indians. Bonnet's Creek was a haven for Stede Bonnet, The
Gentleman Pirate, who operated in the area was captured in the harbor during the Battle of
the Sand Bar in 1718.
The Maritime Museum houses among many artifacts, a 200 pound pile torpedo retrieved from
the historic waters of Cape Fear River, a 2000 year old Indian canoe fragment, the
shipwreck "City of Houston" treasures and many other pieces of the historical
area await your iminagination.
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