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My passion is helping others defend themselves and their families. I am an NRA Certified pistol instructor, a NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - North Cincinnati, and the state leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - Ohio. I also have a heart for the Lakota people and lead mission teams to the Pine Ridge Reservation each year, am founder and director of Backpacks For Pine Ridge,, and do various volunteer work in my own community. My greatest joy is being a grandma and hanging out with my husband of 30+ years.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Interesting Family Story of Scottish-Irish Heritage

The other day my husband and I went for a drive through the beautiful southern Indiana countryside.  It was just a day to spend together, taking our time and enjoying whatever we found or chose to do.  One stop we made was at the Lemmon's Church in Ireland, Indiana.  There my great great grandfather, Albert C. Gray and my great great grandmother, Mary (Harris) Gray are buried. 

The Harris side has an interesting history.  Charles Harris (Herries) was from Scotland and had two sons, Edward and Charles.  Edward was born about 1620 in Aryshire, Scotland.  At some point they moved to Donegal, Ireland.  I don't know for certain why, but about that time in Scottish and Irish history some trouble was stirring. 

 The first major influx of Scots and English into Ulster had come in 1606 during the settlement of east Down onto land cleared of native Irish by private landlords chartered by James.[21] This process was accelerated with James's official plantation in 1609, and further augmented during the subsequent Irish Confederate Wars. The first of the Stuart Kingdoms to collapse into civil war was Ireland where, prompted in part by the anti-Catholic rhetoric of the Covenanters, Irish Catholics launched a rebellion in October. In reaction to the proposal by Charles I and Thomas Wentworth to raise an army manned by Irish Catholics to put down the Covenanter movement in Scotland, the Parliament of Scotland had threatened to invade Ireland in order to achieve "the extirpation of Popery out of Ireland" (according to the interpretation of Richard Bellings, a leading Irish politician of the time). The fear this caused in Ireland unleashed a wave of massacres against Protestant English and Scottish settlers, mostly in Ulster, once the rebellion had broken out. All sides displayed extreme cruelty in this phase of the war. Around 4000 settlers were massacred and a further 12,000 may have died of privation after being driven from their homes.[22][23] In one notorious incident, the Protestant inhabitants of Portadown were taken captive and then massacred on the bridge in the town.[24] The settlers responded in kind, as did the British-controlled government in Dublin, with attacks on the Irish civilian population. Massacres of native civilians occurred at Rathlin Island and elsewhere.[25] In early 1642, the Covenanters sent an army to Ulster to defend the Scottish settlers there from the Irish rebels who had attacked them after the outbreak of the rebellion. The original intention of the Scottish army was to re-conquer Ireland, but due to logistical and supply problems, it was never in a position to advance far beyond its base in eastern Ulster. The Covenanter force remained in Ireland until the end of the civil wars but was confined to its garrison around Carrickfergus after its defeat by the native Ulster Army at the Battle of Benburb in 1646.

At some point after they came to Donegal, Ireland, Edward must have been involved in this battle because on August 1, 1643 Edward was in Captain James Erskine's company of Raphoe in the regiment of foot soldiers commanded by (Sir) William Stewart.  Stewart was said to be from Ayrshire, Scotland so it is probable that his followers were from the same locality. 

In the Public Office of Dublin there is a roll containing the names of persons in the parish of Raphoe who paid the Hearth Tax in County Donegal on which appears the name Edward Harris.  There is also another Hearth Tax roll of Donegal in the Public Records Office, without a date, but about the year 1665. 

So we know that Edward lived in the parish of Raphoe in County Donegal where his old Commander Sir William Steward defeated the Irish in 1641.  It is likely that he received land for his military service. 

Many of the officers in the Scottish troops were Elders in the Presbyterian Church, and so it seems was Edward.  The minutes of the Laggan Presbytery, preserved in the Library of Mcgee College in Londonderry, Ireland, show that on Jan. 29, 1673, Edward Harris was a ruling Elder of Raphoe. 

At some point, Edward married Flora Douglass who was born about 1622 in Donegal, Ireland.  They had a son about 1660 in Donegal, Ireland - Robert Harris.  He immigrated with his family to America in the late 1720's - early 1730's.  Sadly, Robert died in sight of land and is said to be buried in Philadelphia, PA. 

Robert's son, James Harris was born in Donegal, Ireland and came to America with his father. 

From there, the line follows:

James Harris (born in Donegal, Ireland, died in North Carolina)
John Harris (born in Donegal, PA, died in South Carolina)
Nicholas Harris (born in South Carolina, died in Dubois County, Indiana)
Daniel Harris (born in South Carolina, died in Dubois County, Indiana)
and Mary Harris (born and died in Dubois County, Indiana)

It is believed that when they immigrated to America they found the coastal areas of the colonies to be already owned by previous immigrants, or too expensive and so they left for hill county where they could live more cheaply. 


Kay Harris said...

This is a story about my family. Nicholas Harris who was born in South Carolina and died in Dubois County, Indiana was the father of Richard Harris who was the father of Rachel O. Harris who was the mother of Charles Harris (born in 1874 out of wedlock and given his mother's maiden name)who was the father of my father, James Franklin Harris. My name is Helen Kay Harris. I don't know if the Mary Harris referred to was my grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Armstrong Harris or if it is another Mary Harris about whom I know nothing. I have been searching my Harris ancestry for a few years. I would be most happy for any information anyone might have to share with me, my brothers, and my cousins who have been working together and sharing information.

Kay Harris said...

An addition to my 1st comment: I re-read. I think that your great great grandmother, Mary Harris Gray, might have been the daughter of Daniel Harris, brother of Richard Harris, my great great grandfather. Daniel's first marriage was to Judith Lemmon who died very young leaving 2 young daughters who were raised by Nicholas, his sister, Catherine, and his brother, John, in the home of their parents, Nicholas Harris Jr. and Mary "Polly" Harris. I have not had the given names of those 2 daughters of Daniel. I would love to share information with you if you would be willing to do so.

Barbara said...

Amber - I believe we are related. I am trying to trace my Gray family roots. Would love your input if you wouldn't mind sharing.