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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
Judi Lloyd's Column

When I (and I'm sure many of you, including those of Highland ancestry) think of the evacuation of the Highlands we tend to think of it as a continuous trip out of the Highlands, onto a ship, and off to a new country.  

Not true, and if you think about it, definitely not possible for most of the average Highlanders who were on the run or had been evicted from their homes.  They left with most likely few personal belongings and little money to pay for ship passage. 

I received a letter from a lowlander who "spent the first 14 years of " his life there.  He now resides in Michigan.  In his letter he notes that "when the Highlanders were displaced in the Highland Clearances, most ended up in the Lowlands. Many of those who eventually emigrated to other countries first had to earn money for their passage, in the factories and coal mines "(collieries)" of the Lowlands.   These  "coal mines," were "mostly found in Lanarkshire" where "Canadian ore was used to make steel".  The manufacture of steel created the "need for scientists and engineers".  

Besides the use of coal as a fuel or as an ingredient to produce iron and steel there was also a process which obtained gas from the coal before the discovery and use of natural gas.  From the freedom of the glens to the depths of a coal mine must have been a very hard transition for these Highlanders. James Keir Hardie, one of the originator's of the Scottish Labour Party and the Independent Labour Party, worked in a Lanarkshire coal mine from a very young age (pre-teen) through his teenage years.

Lanarkshire was an old county area in the southwest of Scotland, just below and to the east of Glasgow, bordered on the east by the Scottish borders and to the west by Ayrshire.  North Lanarkshire extended along the eastern edge of Glasgow and was  bordered on the east by Falkirk and on the north by Stirlingshire.  The area in the north was quite industrialized and known for its coal pits, iron works, and ship building. The southern area was very rural. The River Clyde was within the area and there is now a walkway that follows the Clyde for approximately 40 miles through Lanarkshire.

Historically it was  the site of the Battle of Bothwell Bridge where in 1679 Covenanters were beaten by Graham of Claverhouse, the Duke of Monmouth and the Earl of Linlithgow. On the Clyde is Bothwell Castle, once owned by the Douglas's, which was built in the 1300s.  The castle was won and lost several times by both the English and the Scots. It was also in this area that William Wallace killed William Heselrig, an English sheriff (a sheriff in Scotland is the equivalent of our Supreme Court judge) of Clydesdale in 1297, an act which precipitated the Scots fight for independence, and where Mary, Queen of Scots', army was defeated at Langside in 1658. It was the fight for independence which caused the construction of Bothwell Castle to come to a standstill.

A few of the more familiar city and town names within Lanarkshire were Hamilton (which was the local coal mining center), Biggar (which now exhibits just how gas was derived from coal), and Lanark (where the Clyde Falls were harnessed in the 18th century to run a cotton mill after the American Revolutionary War interrupted  Scottish access to tobacco).

I imagine at the rate a coal miner or a factory worker was paid at the time that it would have taken years before the Highlander could save the money to pay for passage out of Scotland.  Not exactly the fast getaway I previously envisioned.


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