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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - December/January 2003
The Spirit of Scotland in Texas

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 examples:

* 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 ravens.

* 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:

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