Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Sweet Hame Appalachia - "The principal element is Scotch and especially Ulster-Scotch, more familiarly known as Scotch-Irish"

Image: this cross-stitch sampler is one that I first saw in the Museum of Appalachia in Norris in east Tennessee, when we were there on our honeymoon in 1997. "Gang East, Gang West, Hame's Best" - Hame in the Appalachian Mountains, with the town of Maryville just about half an hour away.

The book The Southern Mountaineers was written by Samuel Tyndale Wilson (1858–1944) and first published in 1906. He was the President of Maryville College in east Tennessee, and was a prominent Presbyterian as clerk of the Synod of Tennessee. Here are some quotes from the book:

"... While it is undeniable that the mountain people of the South are a composite race, the fact remains that they are probably of about as pure a stock as we can boast in America. Almost all their ancestors came from the British Isles. The principal element is Scotch and especially Ulster-Scotch, more familiarly known as Scotch-Irish ... 
... It may be added, too, that there still survive most interesting phases of life and idioms of language that are Scotch or Scotch-Irish in origin...

... They were possessed by a fierce love of liberty, and so the birthplace of American liberty very appropriately was in the mountains. In Abingdon, Virginia, at the junction of the valleys of the Blue Ridge and East Tennessee, as early as January 20, 1775*, a council met that, as Bancroft says, "was mostly composed of Presbyterians of Scotch-Irish descent." "The spirit of freedom swept through their minds as naturally as the wind sighs through the fir trees of the Black Mountains. There they resolved never to surrender, but to live and die for liberty."

Samuel Tyndale Wilson was born in Syria in 1858 where his parents (Rev David Morrison Wilson and Emeline Tomlinson Wilson) were Presbyterian missionaries for a time.


Online here 

• His grandfather, Samuel Wilson (1787–1857), was an 'abolitionist and educator' (see here). He was born in Acworth in New Hampshire, which had been founded in 1768 by families from Londonderry, New Hampshire.

* This is a reference to The Fincastle Resolutions which I have blogged about here before.