When we began our research for this series some six or seven years ago, we didn’t know it would create a keen interest in our heritage. Of course, we were aware of our Cherokee ancestry through Bessie’s great-grandmother Elisi but didn’t know of any other lineage flowing through our blood on our father’s side of the family. Although we both have a bit of fascination with all things Scottish, we never came across information or even suspected a connection to Scotland even though many Appalachians proudly claim that right … until this year’s Bluff Mountain Festival in Hot Springs when Peggy Huff McConnell came to the festival and stopped by our booth.
Peggy had read our books and came by to tell us that we are distant relatives. We love it when family members stop by to meet us at these events but Peggy had more to share: we are a part of Clan Henderson through Lucinda, Bessie’s mother, Mama in the books. Needless to say, we were thrilled. Not only did we meet another family member who informed us of our Scottish ancestry, but also, Peggy may have solved a mystery we’ve been puzzling over since the first time we visited the Genealogy Room at the Madison County Library where we found Lucinda’s family listed in the 1880 Census. Problem was, the names on the census didn’t match what we’d found online or the family tree our cousin, Jackie Burgin Painter sent us–both of which were different, by the way.
Peggy was kind enough to send us the official genealogy chart of Clan Henderson and information on how we could join. which she did a couple of weeks ago. Thanks, Peggy! You’ve been a great help! The Clan Henderson chart shows … drum roll, please! … Lucinda’s parents were Robert Henderson and Lydia Roberts. At last, we’re hoping we can finally lay to rest who Lucinda’s and Belle’s real parents were.
As for Clan Henderson, here’s some interesting information we’re proud to share with our readers. The family of Henderson is as old as any clan in the Highlands, descending from Eanruig Mor Nac Righ Neachtan (big Henry, son of King Nectan) in the 11th century. Henderson is the most common surname for the sons of Henry (MacEanruig). Clan Henderson has been involved in the mainstream of history from the clan battles in the Highlands to the plantation of Ulster, the Jacobite uprisings (fans of Diana Gabaldon’s series Outlander will recognize this!), the Massacre at Glencoe, and emigration to North America and Australia.
Clan Henderson’s motto is Sola Virtus Nobilitat! which means Virtue Alone Enobles!
The Henderson tartan is a predominantly green pattern with wide, alternating blue and black bands highlighted by facing alternating fine yellow and white stripes. It appears in several different versions – ancient, modern, weathered, dress – with the sett count remaining constant while the colors vary. For those like me who didn’t know what sett means, I’ll explain by first describing tartan: Tartan is made with alternating bands of colored threads woven as both warp and weft at right angles to each other. The weft is woven in a simple twill, two over — two under the warp, advancing one thread at each pass. This forms visible diagonal lines where different colors cross, which give the appearance of new colors blended from the original ones. The resulting blocks of color repeat vertically and horizontally in a distinctive pattern of squares and lines known as a sett. The average-sized sett for a kilt in modern times is 5 to 6 inches which gives around 250 threads per sett using a medium weight wool yarn. If you were using a much thinner yarn such as silk then that thread count could multiply by three or four.
Cyndi and I have recently joined Clan Henderson and look forward to learning more about our Scottish ancestors. For those family members we’ve met both online and off who are descended from Lucinda and anyone else who might be interested, you can find out more about Clan Henderson – just click on the name!
Now, if we can only solve the mystery of which grandmother it was who donated the Elliott land to the YMCA way back in the 20s to use as a camp. Well, actually, we think we’ve found her name but we’re not positive and would like confirmation before Wise Woman comes out, so off we go on another quest!