Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Henderson Clan

Our family recently joined the Henderson Clan of the US and I'll be sending in a small genealogy report on our North Carolina line. Unfortunately, I've only traced it back to James Henderson born around 1815. Our new Henderson Family webpage is now up on Rootsweb. Check it out here.

In trying to determine when and where our Henderson line arrived in the Carolinas, I've discovered a few possibilities. There is a James Henderson Family that came in through Wilmington around 1720, but I haven't been able to tie them to our line.

Another possibility is a very large Henderson family from Granville County, North Carolina. There is evidence that this line arrived from Virginia, and possibly from Pennsylvania before that, down the Great Wagon Road.

My husband has agreed to a DNA test if it's needed. We did a DNA test in my Hudson line and it has proven to be quite beneficial.

If you have a Henderson line from the Carolinas, I'd be interested in hearing from you.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Highland Games Coming in May

May 9, 2009
9th Annual Historic Bethabara Park Celtic Festival & Highland Games
Games begin at 9 AM

Buildings open from 10:30 AM
2147 Bethabara Road
Winston-Salem, NC
For more information, click here.

May 22-23, 2009
5th Annual Mint Hill Highland Games
The Mint Hill Park on FairviewI-485,
Exit 44 (Highway 218)
Mint Hill, NC
For more information, click here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wolfstone Kilt Company

This past weekend we attended the Loch Norman Highland Games and discovered the Wolfstone Kilt Company, which provides authentic, custom-made costumes for highland attire. I'm looking for a late-medieval gown around 1473, similar to what my character Akira MacKenzie would have worn in my debut novel, Highland Blessings. The photo on the left is me in my new gown. It is for the Renaissance time period, but gorgeous just the same.

I spoke to the owner, Virginia Watson, and she worked with me to pick out a plaid pattern. I wanted something that would be authentic to one of my own family clans, but I could only order them in wool or silk. Since I'm allergic to wool, and silk is rather expensive, I settled on a generic plaid. She was very helpful and informative. I learned that the length of a gown's arms was based on a woman's station in life. 

We first ordered a gown for my daughter that would be custom-made to fit her size. They allow you to pay half down when you order, and you can pay the rest before they ship your order. This is very convenient for those of us on a budget. My daughter's gown should be ready in 6-8 weeks. 

If you would like to check out Wolfstone Kilt Company, visit their website at www.potomacleather.com. They are located out of Virginia and travel to many of the Highland Games and Festivals.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Loch Norman Highland Games

This weekend (April 17-19, 2009) the Loch Norman Highland Games take place at Rural Hill Farm in Davidson, North Carolina. A few of the highlights will included:

  • Children’s games and activities
  • Live Scottish and Celtic music with a Saturday night Celtic Jam and Concert
  • Genealogy Search – Council of Scottish Clans and Associations (COSCA), the Tartan Museum, and Family Tree DNA
  • Scottish Clans and their representatives
  • Piping and Drumming with sanctioned competitions and massed band performance
  • Highland Dancing with sanctioned competitions
  • Scottish Country Dancing
  • Harp and Fiddle sanctioned competitions
  • Heavy Professional and Amateur Athletics
  • Food Vendors
  • Merchandise Vendors
  • Historical Encampment with Long Bow shooting competition
  • Battle Axe throwing
  • Climbing Wall

    For detailed information on tickets, event registration, schedules and locations, visit here.
  • Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    Molly's Scottish Clan and Jennifer's Were Enemies

    Please welcome guest blogger, Molly Noble Bull, author of historical Christian fiction and Scots-Irish descendant. In this post Molly has been kind enough to share a bit of her heritage. ________________________________________

    The Clan Colquhoun originated in Luss, Scotland on Loch Lomand, and my branch changed the spelling of the name from Colquhoun to Calhoun when they arrived in America.

    According to legend, the Colquhoun Clan was an ancient enemy of the McGregor (Jennifer's ancestry clan) and McFarland Clans and especially Rob Roy McGregor.

    James Patrick Calhoun was born in Donegal Country, North Ireland in 1688 at Crosh House Estate, Newton-Stewart, and County Tyrone, Ireland. His wife, Catharine Montgomery, was born in 1684 at Convoy House, County Donegal, and Londonderry, Ireland. In 1733 they left Ireland and traveled to the United States with their four sons, Ezekiel, William, James and James Patrick Jr., and their married daughter, Mary Catherine Calhoun, and Mary’s husband, John Noble.
    My name was Noble before I married, and I am directly descended from John and Mary Catharine Calhoun Noble.

    The families first settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where James Patrick Calhoun, Sr., died in 1741. Later, they resettled in Augusta County, Virginia where John Noble died in 1752. After John's death, Mary Catherine Calhoun (Noble) and her children moved with her widowed mother and her four brothers to the Long Cane area of South Carolina near Abbeville.

    In late January 1760, the Cherokee Indians began to worry the settlers of the Up-County of South Carolina. On February 1, 1760, the people of the Long Cane Settlement were fleeing to Augusta when the Cherokee attacked them. Twenty-three members of the Long Cane Settlement were killed, including Catherine Montgomery Calhoun, and her son, James Calhoun.

    The Long Cane tragedy is personal for me in two ways. My great, great, great, great grandmother was killed in the massacre, and my husband is part Cherokee—the very tribe that killed my ancestor. And of course, all of my descendents are part Calhoun and part Cherokee. My story proves once again that God is good. He can make something good out of a horrible situation.
    To see what Luss, Scotland looks like today, visit here.

    Sanctuary by Molly Noble Bull begins in France in 1740 and ends in Luss, Scotland. Sanctuary won the 2008 Gayle Wilson Award and tied for first place in the 2008 Winter Rose contest, both for published Inspirational authors. You can learn more about Molly and her books at
    http://www.mollynoblebull.com/. Two of her favorite scriptures are Proverbs 30: 4 and Genesis 9: 4.

    Thursday, April 9, 2009

    The Argyll Colony of NC

    Gabriel Johnston, was a lowland Scot who served as North Carolina's governor from 1734-1752. He wrote enthusiastic letters to friends and family back in Scotland encouraging them to migrate to the Cape Fear region of North Carolina. He offered them free land grants of two crops each year, and possible exemption from taxation for a time.

    Most likely they landed at the port of Brunswick and then traveled up the Cape Fear Valley about 90 miles to what is now Fayetteville. They established a number of Presbyterian churches in the area, many of which are on the present-day property of Fort Bragg.

    Gaelic was universally spoken throughout the area from about 1739 until around the 1860's during the Civil War. As with many Latino families today, most of these families were bilingual and spoke Gaelic at home and at church. Fayetteville had a Gaelic printing press in the early 19th century and some of their publications are preserved in the Presbyterian Historical Foundation in Montreat, NC.

    For more information, visit:

    Or read:
    Carolina Scots by Douglas E. Kelly and Caroline Switzer Kelly

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    Loreena McKennitt

    When I'm writing a book, I enjoy listening to music that inspires the creative muse in me. Since I write historical fiction, it helps to listen to a selection that is of the time period I'm writing about and helps me emerse myself in that era.

    As a result, I discovered Loreena McKennitt's music when I was writing my debut novel, Highland Blessings. My favorite CD of hers is The Book of Secrets. Two of the songs I enjoy most on this CD are: The Mummers' Dance and The Highwayman. A version of this story was told by the character Anne Shirley in the second movie of Anne of Green Gables, one of my favorite movies.

    Her music is Celtic. She has a beautiful voice that gives one a feeling of peace and contentment. Each song she sings has a drammatic storyline. As an author, I enjoy the stories as much as the music. If you've never heard her music, and you enjoy the Celtic sound, I would encourage you to visit her website and listen to some of her beatiful samples.

    Thursday, April 2, 2009

    Campbell Castle

    Castle Campbell was originally called Castle Glume (Gloom) when it was built in the late 15th Century. It was first owned by Walter Stewart of Lorne. It became Colin Campbell's keep, the first Earl of Argyll, when he married Elizabeth Stewart in 1465, an heiress of the estate. At his request, the name of the castle was changed to Campbell Castle by King James IV in an act of Parliament in 1489. The castle remained in the hands of Clan Campbell for several generations and hosted Mary Queen of Scots in 1563. The castle was occupied by Cromwell's forces in 1653 and partially burnt by General Monck in 1654. The castle was owned by the Taits and Orrs in the 19th and 20th centuries, until the National Trust for Scotland took it over in 1948.

    The buildings within the castle include a tower house, hall, chamber range, and an east range. The tower house has four main floors. The ground floor contains a vaulted storage cellar. An upper entrance, once reached by an outside staircase, leads into the hall, the principal reception room. An original narrow spiral staircase was replaced in 1600 by a more substantial one. The terrance gardens are located to the south.

    The second and third floors of the tower were most likely used as private chambers. It is possible that the hall and chamber range served as the residence for the Earls of Argyll, since the reception room and the east end were on a much grander scale. This part of the castle now lies in ruins.

    The east range dates from about 1600 when it was remodeled. The south-west corner of the rocky knoll is locally referred to as John Knox's Pulpit. To the west of the castle there would have been a kitchen garden.