How "The Grammar Tip of the Day" inspired me to find my Scots-Irish roots
When I went back to Knoxville, Tennessee, recently on a visit with my Aunt Florence as a part of a quest to learn more about my family roots, I had dinner with my lifelong friend Brooks Clark. When I told him I had traced my ancestry to Ulster, he shared with me the 2004 non-fiction book by Senator James Webb (D-Va.), “Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America,” which is especially thought provoking in its insights into the influence of Scots-Irish culture that carry forward to the present. Brooks summarized from the book that common character traits of the Scots-Irish are a loyalty to kin, mistrust of governmental authority, fierce independence and military readiness. Another trait is the tendency of Scots-Irish culture to absorb members of other groups. Many of these defining traits are exemplified in my Wray ancestors as we shall see by exploring their common but fascinating lives.
Brooks had written about this book in his blog titled “The Grammar Tip of the Day”:
“The word redneck was first cited in 1638, when Scots -- riding the wave of the Protestant Reformation -- adopted the Presbyterian Church (in which each church is run by its own Presbyters, or elders) and rejected the Church of England and its episcopacy (rule by bishops). Scots signed a National Covenant, often using their own blood. Many wore red pieces of cloth around their neck to signify their position to the public. Hence, they were referred to as Rednecks …. the idea of choosing to govern one's own religion of course led directly to the idea of choosing one's own government. This latter idea was carried over from Scotland, planted in America and brought to flower in the American Revolution.”