As we know from history, the Scottish clans were nearly dismantled following the English suppression of the Jacobite Rebellion. The English:
- occupied or destroyed their historic seats;
- stripped land from the powerful families;
- banned the bagpipes and tartans;
- initiated the Clearances by removing tenants in favor sheep farming.
Many Scots moved to the British colonies in the New World - Canada and the US. Today's guest, Beth Trissel, explores what happened when the Scots arrived in North America.
Kim: What is your favorite castle?
Beth: Eilean Donan (the inspiration for Castle Donhowel in my Scottish time travel romance Somewhere My Lass)
Beth: MacKenzie (also favored in Somewhere My Lass)
Kim: Tartan? The red, blue, and green pattern of the MacKenzies
Beth: Drink? I’m a big tea drinker, very British of me!
Kim: Scottish saying?
Beth: ‘Teched’ meaning not right in the head, fitting for me.
Kim: Tell us about your books set in Colonial America.
Beth: My fascination with Colonial America, particularly stirring tales of the frontier and the Shawnee Indians, is an early and abiding one. My English, Scot-Irish ancestors had interactions with this tribe, including family members taken captive. These accounts inspired my passion. Intrigued with all things Celtic, much of my writing features these early Scot-Irish forebears who settled in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and surrounding mountains, spreading into Tennessee and the Carolinas.
This absorption with Colonial America also extends to the high drama of the Revolution. My ancestors fought and loved on both sides of that sweeping conflict. My research into the Southern face of the war was partly inspired by my great-great-great grandfather, Sam Houston (of Scottish descent) uncle of the famous Sam, who kept a journal of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, 1781, that is used by historians today.
Not only have I lived in the Old Dominion for most of my life, but also several previous centuries in the sense that my family were among the earliest settlers in the Shenandoah Valley (1730’s/1740’s). My Scots-Irish forebears settled Augusta County in the southern valley with names like Houston, Patterson, Finley, Moffett and McLeod. These clannish people frequently intermarried, so I can tie in with many other early families depending on how I swing through the ancestral tree.
Virginia is the site of the earliest successful English colony and rich in history. We’re steeped in it, especially in the Shenandoah Valley. How could I not be drawn to this wealth of stories? One account I came across in my studies of the early Scots-Irish influenced my writing more than any other, the tragic story of a captive woman who fell in love with the son of a chief. As the result of a treaty, she was taken from her warrior husband and forced back to her white family where she gave birth to a girl. Then the young woman’s husband did the unthinkable and left the tribe to go live among the whites, but such was their hatred of Indians that before he reached his beloved her brothers intercepted and killed him. Inconsolable and weak from the birth, she grieved herself to death.
Heart wrenching, it haunts me to this day. And I wondered…was there some way those young lovers could have been spared such anguish; what happened to their infant daughter when she grew up? I couldn’t let this happen to my hero and heroine, but how could I spare them. I schemed and dreamed and hatched more stories in the fertile ground of Virginia.
Paranormal/historical romance Daughter of the Wind sprang from this account which also had a strong influence on my Native American historical romance Red Bird’s Song. Daughter of the Wind is set among the clannish Scots-Irish in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies, a tale of the clash between peoples and young lovers caught in the middle. In Native American historical romance novel, Red Bird’s Song, Charity Edmondson, a young Scots-Irish settler, is taken captive by a Shawnee warrior to whom I am distantly related through my Scots-Irish forebears. The true story of Wicomechee is included at the end of the novel for those who read it. The Scots-Irish also figure prominently in my Native American historical romance novel, Through the Fire, and play a strong role in my colonial American historical romance novel set during the Revolution, Enemy of the King. The Scots-Irish (including Virginians) fought in many of the battles in the Carolinas and are responsible for turning the tide of the war with their victory over British led Loyalist forces at the Battle of King’s Mountain, featured in my novel.
The English/Scots-Irish and pure Scots make up my heritage, with a smidgeon of French, and the bulk of the characters in my novels, apart from the Native Americans, are comprised of these nationalities. I write fast paced romances, some with an added mystical weave. I also like the paranormal, must be from my superstitious Scots background. In my time travel romance novel, Somewhere My Lass, I hearkened back to my earlier Scottish roots.
To learn more about Beth, check out her website.
Tapadh leat (thank you) Beth for joining us during St. Andrew's Week! I will give away a Hawaiian trivet each day in the design of a quilt square (as unique as a clan's tartan). Each day will be a different design. To enter the trivet giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about Beth, the MacKenzies, and Scottish immigrants to the New World.
2. Make sure I know how to contact you - send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents. But if you live in Scotland, I will send you a Hawaiian treat!
Mar sin leat (good bye),
Kim in Hawaii
From the Clan MacKenzie website, MacKenzie strongholds included:
|Redcastle near Inverness|
|Kilcoy Castle near Inverness|
|Castle Leod, home of the Clan Chief|