Thursday, January 21, 2021

Michael C Scoggins, 'Amazing Grace' – the early 'Scotch-Irish' in Charlestown, South Carolina – Charles County, Maryland

So Garth Brooks sang two verses of Amazing Grace at the Joe Biden & Kamala Harris inauguration yesterday. But he left out the best verse, some of the lines of which I once threatened to my wife I was going to have tattooed on my chest - "Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved"

The late Michael C Scoggins (October 21, 1953 - March 4, 2019) in his tremendous 2013 book The Scotch-Irish Influence on Country Music in the Carolinas: Border Ballads, Fiddle Tunes and Sacred Songs, painstakingly traced the journey of the tune which Amazing Grace is sung to, formally known as New Britain. Starting with the famous William Walker shape note hymnal The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion from 1835 Kentucky where it was first published, Michael tracked it all the way back through history to the Ulster-Scots settler townships of early 1700s Pennsylvania.

Michael Scoggins and I never met; we had become Facebook 'friends' and we emailed each other a number of times in 2018. He passed away in March 2019 aged 65. He was a fine historian and, as we say, he wore many hats - here is one of the many online obituaries.

One of the things he had offered to look into for me arose from this blog post of August 2018, of the Ulster-Scots settlement at Charleston in South Carolina led by a Thomas Ferguson in 1683/84. This was at the same time as Francis Makemie's arrival into the existing Ulster-Scots settlement at Maryland, 560 miles north.

During our correspondence he sent me this information –

"I have gathered several references to “Scotch-Irish” settlers living in Charles and Somerset Counties, Maryland in the 17th century. These are court cases in the Archives of Maryland, the earliest of which dates to July 1663 in Charles County. There are also several from 1689-1690 in Somerset County. I found these because I have been doing extensive research into the usage of the term “Scotch-Irish” on both sides of the Atlantic beginning in the 16th century.

In these court cases, “Scotch-Irish” is a  specific ethnic term used to refer to people who migrated (presumably from Ulster) to Maryland and settled there prior to these dates, and they prove that the term “Scotch-Irish” was already in common enough usage to be entered verbatim into court transcripts."


July 29, 1663:  

“Richard Dod and Mary his wife plantive John Nevill and Joane his wife defendants- the plantive declares against the defendant in an action of the Case upon defamation for that the sayd Joane Nevill did in or about the mounth of June last past falsly and Maliciously utter publish declare and expres severall scandalous words of and against the sayd Mary Dod much to the scandall Prejudice and defamation of the sayd Mary alleaging that shee the sayd Mary was the whore of Capt: Batten and further shee the sayd Joane woold aver and prove her the sayd Mary Dod to bee a whore together with severall other scandalous and ignominious expressions and Aspertions unto her the sayd Mary Relating did shee the sayd Joane utter and declare out of her malicious and fals suggestion which is highly to the Prejudice and defamation of her the sayd Mary whearfor the sayd Plantive sayeth that in fact thay are infinitly damnified in thear Reputations and impared in thear Credits whearfor your petitioner Craveth Reparation of this worshipfull Court against the defendants and for thear Cost of suit…

“Mary Roe sworne and Examined in open Court sayeth that Mary Dod Come into Goodie Nevills feeld and Goodie Nevill sayd thou jade get thow out of my ground for what buisnes hast thow come shee sayd I am in the Path I will goe when I Please and Goodie Nevill sayd if thow wilt not get thee out of my ground I will set thee out and with that Goodie Nevill followed her and Goodie Dod turned about and sayd stand off from mee or I will stricke thee and with that Goodie Dod did stricke her in the face and Goodie Nevill did say thow jade dust thow stricke mee in my owne ground and with that Goodie Nevill tooke holt of Goodie Dods hands and Goodie Dod sayd let my hands goe for the Child it will fall and Goodie Nevill sayd dont feare woman I wont hurt thy Child and with that Goodie Nevill Caled sumbodie to tacke the Child out of her Armes and Robert Cockerill thearupon Came and Goodie Dod thearupon sayd stand away I will not let goe my Child and with that Goodie Nevill strocke her a good blow in the Chops and sayd by God you shall have one for the other and sayd thow jade I will have my Revenge of thee yet and Mary Dod sayd Goodie Nevill doe not you threaten mee for threatened foulkes live long and Goodie Nevill sayd bauld Eagell get thee home and Eate sum of Gammer Belaines fat Porke and Mary Dod sayd if shee did eat fat Porke shee did not Eate Rammish boare and Goodie Nevill sayd who did and Goodie Dod sayd shee did not and with that Goodie Dod Cryed thee Troge and Goodie Nevill sayd thow whore who is that thow Callest Troge and Goodie Dod sayd she was no Scoatchmans whore and Goodie Nevill sayd that nether scotch Irish or English came amis to her and with that Goodie Dod sayd to Goodie Nevill cum will you go home and eat sum of Goodie Belaynes fat Porke if I have any and Goodie Nevill spit at her and sayd shee scorned to go with such Companie as she was and with that Mary Dod went away and Goodie Nevill held up her hands and hollowed at her and further sayeth not:”

• Primary Source: Proceedings of the County Court of Charles County, Maryland, 1658-1666, 53: 376-379 [145-149 in original source].  [Archives of Maryland Online]


March 15, 1689/90:  

“I William Pattent was at worke at James Minders and one night as I was at worke Mr Matt: Scarbrough came into the house of sd Minders and sett down by me as I was at work, the sd Minder askt him if he came afoot, he made answer again and sd he did, saying that man, meaning me, calling me Rogue makes me goe afoot, also makes it his business to goe from house to house to ruinate me, my Wife and Children for ever. I made answer is it I Mr.Scarbrough[?] and he replyed and said ay you, you Rogue, for which doing ile whip you and make my Wife to whipp you, and I answered if ever I have abused [you] at any time, or to any bodies hearing, I will give you full satisfaction to your own Content. [At which Scarbrough said] You Scotch Irish dogg it was you, with that he gave me a blow on the face saying it was no more sin to kill me then to kill a dogg, or any Scotch Irish dogg, giving me another blow in the face. now saying goe to yr god that Rogue and have a warrant for me and I will answer it. Wm. Patent” 

• Primary Source: William Pattent, Affidavit, March 15, 1689/90, in Somerset County, (Maryland) Judicial Records, 1689-90, 106:67. (William Pattent filed this affidavit in order to bring charges against Matthew Scarbrough.) [Archives of Maryland Online]


June 10, 1690: 

“Their Maties [Majesties]
“ agt.   [against]
“William Scarbrough  

“Somersett County the Jurors for their Maties being sworne upon the holy Evangelists at a grand Jury held for the body of this County the second tuesday in March last doe present and find that Matthew: Scarbrough of this County Gent att Snow hill in Boga=toe norton hundred and within the jurisdiction of this Court, most proudly arrogantly and contemptuously and malitiously utter publish, and with a loud voyce did declare his contemptuous malitious and seditious mind agt their Maties authority now in - being in these words that mr. Samuel: Hopkins had granted a warrant to the Constable to sumon none to theese Burgesses but Scotch Irish men. which was a great abuse to your Maties Comrs for this County yr fore yr Maties attorney craves judgmt agt the sd Scarbrough according to Law.      

Somersett County  The Jurors for their Maties being sworne upon the holy Evangelists at a grd Jury held for the body of this County March Court last past doe present and find that Matthew Scarbrough of this County at the house of James Minor in the hundred of Bogete norton Ano. 89. his Maties peace then and their did not keep, but their Maties. Comrs did abuse and Contemne, Calling Capt David Browne Rogue & Dogg, and in an oppirous manner stiled him the scotch Irish mens God, and upon the matter aforesd did beat and wound ^ William: Pattent of this County: Taylor, saying affirming and his wished intent wth a loud voyce declaring that it was no more sin to kill the sd Pattent then it was to kill a dogg not regarding that due respect by the law of God he ought and should give to Magistrasy but in despite of their power & authority in it by law invested by perticularizing the sd Capt David Browne in the name of the whole did tacitly imply his contempt to the sd power. Their Maties Attorney Craves judgmt may be entered agt the sd scarbrough according to Law in that case made and provided. 

“James: Sangster. Clk. Judy.”

• Primary Source: Court case, “Their Majesties against Matthew Scarbrough,” June 10, 1690, in Somerset County (Maryland) Judicial Records, 1689-1690, 106:103-104. [Archives of Maryland Online]



Robert King (d. 1697), a northern English planter, merchant, and colonial officer of Somerset County, Maryland, was called a “Gentleman” upon his arrival in Maryland c. 1666, and in 1692 was described as “A Scotch Irish Man” and a chief supporter of illegal trade with Scotland.

• Primary Source: Edward C. Papenfuse, Alan F. Day, David W. Jordan, and Gregory A. Stiverson, A Biographical Directory of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789, 2 vols. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1979), 2: 511-512. Reprinted in the Archives of Maryland, Vol. 426. [Archives of Maryland Online]


Michael C Scoggins (October 21, 1953 - March 4, 2019)