Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Graham Scottish Border Clan in the Raney Tree


The Brackenhill Pele Tower was built in 1584 by the infamous border reiver Ritchie Graham on the site of an earlier tower perhaps dating back to the 13th Century. Now a B&B
 While reading the book I've quoted in past blogs, Albion's Seed, by David Hackett Fishcher, I determined that most of our ancestors came to Virginia and Maryland from southwest England in the 17th century and were of the group called Cavaliers, who were Church of England (Anglican), which may have included the Raineys, although they appear to have immigrated from Northern Ireland in the 17th century. We don't have ancestors from the Puritan group that settled in New England (that we learned about in school). We don't appear to have ancestors from the early Quaker group that settled in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  I was beginning to think we didn't have anyone from the fourth immigrant group, the Borderers, who sailed across the Atlantic in the first half of the 18th century from Northern Ireland and the Border region of England and Scotland, and were mostly Presbyterian.  As I continued to research, though, there they were -  the Grahams and the Kerrs, traced up through wives' families. So now, I want to give you some Border history about the Grahams, a Riding Clan of the Scots Borders.

On both sides of what now is the western end of the Scottish - English border is territory that in the 14th century was called the Debatable Lands. Both kingdoms claimed it. Constant warfare raged between the English and Scottish crowns along the entire contested border, sometimes large armies battling, but mostly cross-border raiding by lords of castles. They burned towns and crops, stole cattle  (sheep, too, but were awfully slow) and killed anyone in their way. The Graham clan had moved into this contested area between the end of the 13th to the middle of the 14th century, where they became "a lawless people, that will be Scottish when they will, and English at their pleasure."

We have two Graham women in our line - 1) Mary Graham (b. Lancaster County, Penn. 1737- d. 1809 Randolph County, N.C.), our 6th great-grandmother, whose father Michael Graham allegedly came from Northern Ireland to Pennsylvania. She married Edward Sharp, future Revolutionary War colonel, about 1761. The Sharp family emigrated from Pennsylvania about 1763 with the Dougans, Grahams, Kerrs, and other Presbyterians to North Carolina Colony. It was the Sharp daughter, Hannah (our 5th great-grandmother), who married the future Colonel James Dougan, whom I wrote about HERE . 2) Isabel or Isabella Graham (b. 1744 in Monmouth, N.J. - d. 1833, Knox County, Tenn.) was our 5th great-grandmother, the mother of John Roberts, father of Millie Roberts, who married James Rainey in Pulaski County, Kentucky,, in 1832. James' story is HERE. Isabel's father was Nathanial Graham, who apparently immigrated from across the sea before her birth.

Brackenhill Pele Tower before restoration as a B&B
Back to the Border region. We are descended from Border Reivers, clan-loyal marauders, existing by intrigue and force of arms, often turning on one another. You can read about their violent history HERE.  More specifically, we are descended from the Graham clan (and the Kerr clan -Mary Kerr married Thomas Hill Dougan in North Carolina in 1745, and her brother married a Graham). By 1604, James I and IV of England and Scotland was ruling both kingdoms. He was fed  up with the reivers, especially the Grahams, who owned five pele towers (in red on the map below) in the Debatable Lands and lived on both sides of the Border.