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Mini Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (H)
Louis Hobson

This letter came to us through Donna Flood which she shared with us on Electric Scotland. Donna has provided us with information on her family at

Hi Donna,

                I’ve very much enjoyed your writings about Lee’s passion.  Very lyrical and poetic.  I’m afraid my writing is scientificese, and as such somewhat dull.  Currently, I think that I’ve taken the history of my/our family about as far as information supports.  However, I continue to be interested in our European connections and have used religious information to provide the following. 

I became interested in religions as a young man when my parents suggested that if I were to marry a Catholic girl that I would be expelled from the family.  Wow thought I, what did they do to us?  Turns out that my girlfriend through most of high school was catholic.  She subsequently married a man of the same faith and they had 9 children.  I guess that I dodged a bullet of sorts.  Anyhow, why this animosity?  It has a long history; at one time all of Europe became Christian united by the Catholic church.  To obtain entry into heaven required the Pope’s blessing.  King Henry VIII of England replaced the Catholic church with the Church of England in order to carry out his numerous divorces and marriages fearing excommunication by the Pope.  Meanwhile Scotland and Ireland remained Catholic.  During this time the English were raiding Scotland’s commerce and many young scot males were fleeing and hiding in France, Germany and Switzerland (see the movie Braveheart).  They were influenced by Martin Luther’s Presbyterian Reformation in Germany and the Methodist Church under Ulrich Zwingle in Switzerland and carried these religious practices to Scotland.  The two eventually became the dominant religions in Scotland.  So how does this apply to our families?

                My mother’s mother, my grandmother (maiden name Henry) carried lineages that can be traced to Scotland.  These were James Wilson, born in St. Andrews, Scotland, who emigrated to the north American colony of Pennsylvania in 1766 where he practiced law and helped to write the Constitution.  My great, great grandmother, Jane Wilson MacLaren was a descendent of his. The others were John and Patrick Henry, who emigrated from Aberdeen, Scotland, to the north American colony of Virginia in 1720.  One of John’s sons, Patrick, wrote the Bill of Rights.  My great, great grandfather, Samuel James Henry, was a descendent of this group.  These two were the well-to-do Scots.  On the other hand, there were the dirt-poor Scots, who were farming land owned by the Clan chieftains.  These people most likely included the Hobson’s, Collin’s, McCorkle’s and many others.  They were displaced from the land when the English paid the chiefs to allow them to graze their sheep in Scotland.  The prime ministers, particularly Oliver Cromwell, of England were trying to break the Catholic church in Ireland and promised poor Scots farm land in northern Ireland (Ulster) if they would emigrate.  Many did, including our ancestors along with their Presbyterian and Methodist ministers, and that was the start of the Irish “Troubles” that continue to this day.  Many of these displaced Scots moved on to the north American colonies with nothing but the shirts on their backs.  They wanted to farm and hence migrated up the river valleys to Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, etc., becoming the frontiersmen, the Crockett’s, Boone’s, etc.  Many took Aboriginal wives in order to survive in this harsh new world, well-known to the Aboriginals.  I know that Grandfather Hobson called himself Scotch-Irish, and that my great, grandfather McCorkle did come from Scotland via Ireland.  These people were not Irish, they were Scots although Scotland disowned them when they left for Ireland.  Hence, they were people without a country other than the United States and they hated the Catholic Church with a burning passion.  I have at least three Presbyterian ministers in my McCorkle lineage and the Henry’s were staunch Methodists, even naming my great grandfather, Ulrich Zwingle Henry, after the founder of the Methodist movement.  Thus, I’m primarily Scottish-American with small amounts of German and Cherokee Indian.  Speaking of the Cherokee’s.  For a really nice summary of the foregoing, see the book “How the Scots Invented the Modern World” by Arthur Herman.  2001(ISBN 0 609-80999-7).

                I have long wondered how such a small number of Cherokee genes in our lineage could be so concentrated in certain people.  For example, in a group picture of the Collins family, my grandmother Aleathea’s picture stands out as the only non Anglo-Saxon in the group.  The same occurs in my father’s family where Patrick, my uncle, was short, swarthy of complexion and could have passed for a full-blooded Cherokee Indian.  Of course there are other indicators.  The prevalence of blood sugar (diabetes) problems is related to a gene that can be traced to the Mongols of the Siberian Steppes, the forerunners of north American Aboriginals.  My aunt Walcy died from complications caused by diabetes.  My dad had and my brother have problems.  Also, my dad had and I have a nose that is Cherokee.  Also, I’ve always been able to make a sound with my tongue that defied description.  Recently I heard a re-enactment of a Civil War battle in which Cherokee’s fought on both sides.  They communicated by making turkey-gobble sounds, which were identical to my own sound.  Inherited??

                Anyhow, I hope that this long essay was of interest to you.



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