X Marks the Scot - An on-line community of kilt wearers.

   X Marks Partners - (Go to the Partners Dedicated Forums )
USA Kilts website Freedom Kilts website Scotweb websiten Burnetts and Struth website The Scottish Trading Company
Xmarks advertising information Celtic Croft website Xmarks advertising information Celtic Corner website Xmarks advertising information

User Tag List

Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Join Date
    14th April 18
    Location
    Wales
    Posts
    54
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Slaves in America wearing tartan

    I found this interesting article about tartan wearing among slaves. https://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2...tartan-slaves/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    8th September 16
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    433
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    In the late 1700's during the Scottish Clearances, many Scotts settled Cape Haterias, and outer banks in South Carolina. Doing some research on Slavery in the outer banks of Carolina and Virginia, I ran across an interesting story. Two Scotts ironically MacDonalds, deported an English ship in the Charleston, South Carolina. The were walking in the downtown section, as they were on a English ship for many weeks, they spoke English and did not speak Gaelic even to each other. As they came to a corner of a street on the blind corner they heard two people speaking Gaelic talking about harvesting rice. One Scot turned to the other and stated, see so many Scots are here, it should like we are back in Moire. They turned the corner and sitting on a bench were two black slaves who were speaking Gaelic. Did not know English at all. Point is the Scottish settled much of the coastlines of North and South Carolina, and were slave owners, and they language used was Gaelic. Just thought that was very interesting.

    One other point, many of those plaids were used throughout the 17th 18th and 19th centuries. Many in the Confederate Army wore homespun cotton shirts, in various plaids. Slaves would weave the material and sew clothing, and of course make clothing for themselves too. Not unusual at all to see the browns, deep reds, yellow. Most dyes were from acorns, and various barks from trees. During the late years of the Civil War, Confederate Gray was hard to get, so they work "Butternut" a brownish Tan, color like a dark mustard yellow, or brown. Dyes were home made by boiling the bards and various nuts and berries to make the colors.. Even Stonewall Jackson had a "Butternut" uniform given to him by his wife. He wore it once, and his troops called him a Jim Dandy, so he resumed wearing his blue Union Frock Coat, same coat he wore the night he was shot by his own men in Chancellorsville. South had a long history of those types plaids.
    Last edited by CollinMacD; 29th August 18 at 02:33 PM.
    Allan Collin MacDonald III
    Grandfather - Clan Donald, MacDonald (Clanranald) /MacBride, Antigonish, NS, 1791
    Grandmother - Clan Chisholm of Strathglass, West River, Antigonish, 1803
    Scottish Roots: Knoidart, Inverness, Scotland, then to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

  3. The Following User Says 'Aye' to CollinMacD For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Join Date
    10th January 15
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    107
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There's an anecdote from the slavery era where some slaves escaped. The description of them included the fact they spoke no English, only Gaelic. Perhaps it relates to the same plantation or even region as the slaves mentioned speaking Gaelic in town. It's thought that the black gospel tradition of singing in the southern churches was influenced by Scottish highlanders who'd sing psalms in their churches.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    11th July 05
    Location
    Alexandria, VA (USA)
    Posts
    260
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    With regard to tartan being worn by the slave/servant class in pre-Civil War America, I've seen references that indicate it was done because in those days hard tartan was classified as a cheap, coarse cloth that was fit for slaves/servants to wear. Additionally, in the 19th c., tartan was considered fashionable amongst the better sort (suits, dresses, wall hangings, even wallpaper), so it is not surprising that it was woven as linen/cotton cloth and used for lining clothing. As to African slaves speaking Gaelic, I've seen reference to that, too, although it was not necessarily limited to coastal Carolina near the Highland settlements in the Cape Fear River valley or Cross Creek (now Fayetteville, NC). I attended a Highland Settler conference (organized by Dr. Michael Newton), and evidence was supplied that indicated Gaelic survived until the early 20th c. in the old Highland settlement areas in North Carolina.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    26th September 05
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    458
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Unfortunately the author of that blog didn't realize that the Scots plaiding given to so many slaves and indentured servants was not what we think of as tartan, but rather twill woven cloth from Scottish weavers. It was most often un dyed and was wool an occasionaly linen.

    Not understanding the terms used for cloth in the period, it is a common problem with people who have not spent a great deal of time studying the cloth of the period. Hint; Osninburg was not cotton cloth, but linen from the low countries, Bearskin is not the skin of a bear, nor is spotted swanskin something that you took off the Ugly Duckling before having him for dinner..... So you have the misunderstanding we have here today.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    26th September 05
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    458
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you have access to JSTOR or a good Uni Library check out this article for more information:

    Baumgarten, Linda. "'Clothes for the People': Slave Clothing in Early Virginia." Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts 14 (1988): pp. 26-70 for discussion of the widespread use of plaid stockings for slave clothing. Baumgarten identifies these as being cheap and plain (ie-- unpatterned)

  8. #7
    Join Date
    2nd January 10
    Location
    Crieff, Perthshire
    Posts
    3,399
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Luke MacGillie View Post
    Unfortunately the author of that blog didn't realize that the Scots plaiding given to so many slaves and indentured servants was not what we think of as tartan, but rather twill woven cloth from Scottish weavers. It was most often un dyed and was wool an occasionaly linen.
    A point well made. A letter of 1797 to Wilsons of Bannockburn orders:

    Send us 200 yd Linsay the The Inclosed pattern the article is fr negro wear and must be very low priced if possible not above 1/- or under if you can. It must also be had befr 1 January as a vessel sails early in the Year from Port Glasgow.

    The term Linsay has been misunderstood by some, not least in the Blog comments, to mean the Lindsay tartan. In fact, it referred to linsey-woolsey cloth. Helpfully the letter includes a specimen and so there can be no doubt.

  9. The Following 4 Users say 'Aye' to figheadair For This Useful Post:


  10. #8
    Join Date
    22nd January 07
    Location
    Morganton, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,093
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    A point well made. A letter of 1797 to Wilsons of Bannockburn orders:

    Send us 200 yd Linsay the The Inclosed pattern the article is fr negro wear and must be very low priced if possible not above 1/- or under if you can. It must also be had befr 1 January as a vessel sails early in the Year from Port Glasgow.

    The term Linsay has been misunderstood by some, not least in the Blog comments, to mean the Lindsay tartan. In fact, it referred to linsey-woolsey cloth. Helpfully the letter includes a specimen and so there can be no doubt.
    What does one make of this?

    http://www.tartansauthority.com/tart...1409/kidd-clan

  11. #9
    Join Date
    2nd January 10
    Location
    Crieff, Perthshire
    Posts
    3,399
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by davidlpope View Post

    I'm familiar with the story but I've never seen the evidence to support the claim. Until I do I'll remain sceptical.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

» Log in

User Name:

Password:

Not a member yet?
Register Now!
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.2.0