Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Maybe it's in the genes.

From the dawn of time I came… Well okay not really, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to quote Highlander. Since today is Tartan day, I thought I would share some of my Scottish ancestors that came here to America.

Back in 1836 my Great, Great, Great Grandfather on my mothers side left Scotland and was one of the First settlers in Northern Illinois. According to the stories that had been passed on to me, he left Scotland for financial reasons. As his family and he were getting ready to board a ship, he was arrested for his debts. He told his family to go on with out him as he knew he had kin waiting for them in the US. His wife with 6 children, the youngest being 2 and the oldest 15 set sail with out him. He escaped from the guards, making his way to America one step ahead of the law. He had a hand in settling the small town of Argyle in Northern Illinois as well as neighboring Caledonia. They were the first Scottish settlers in Northern Illinois. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of ready available material on him. I would like to give more information. Most of the records my maternal Grandfather had on his ancestor were lost in a house fire. I’ve been searching for more information; however I have been pretty unsuccessful at this time.
My maternal relatives seemed to keep the Scottish blood flowing in the family as they tended to only marry others of Scottish decent. There was a Norwegian, Swedish and Irish immigrant on her side, however the rest where Scot or Scottish decent for 6 generations. To try to explain the genealogy of my Mothers side of the family would take forever so I’m going to leave it at that.

My Father’s side is much easier. Back in the 1920’s my grandfather left Scotland after his first family died of the plague. I kid you not, the plague. That is what is listed in the family documents as to reason of death. With his first wife and two young children dead, he decided to start a new life. My Grandfather packed his belongings into a trunk and left for America. I have an aunt that still has this trunk in her house. He settled in northern Wisconsin up by Menomonee and Colfax. He was in his 40s and married a second time to my grandmother, a woman 19 years younger then himself. Together they had 8 children, 1 died at birth and the other dead before her first birthday in 1945. I never had a chance to meet my grandfather. He died in 1967 of pneumonia over 6 years before I was born. I discovered a couple of years ago that he left Scotland one step ahead of the law as well, unfortunately I have found nothing to substantiate this. However the aunt that told me that was doing a lot of genealogical research into the family at the time. If this is true, that makes at least 7 relatives I know that left Scotland one step ahead of the law.

These are the only two that I have any detail on. I have many other relatives that came over from Scotland. Unfortunately time and fires have erased a lot of their stories.