Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Transported from Scotland to the Americas in the 1650s

At the beginning of December reader Heather Rojo mentioned that she liked the suggested reading list but wondered which book listed individuals transported to the Americas in the early 1650s. The answer is none of them.

On 3 September 1650 the Scots Royalist forces fell to the Cromwellian forces at the Battle of Dunbar. Exactly one year later, the Scots faced the same result at the Battle of Worcester. After each battle a colossal number of Scottish prisoners of war were taken to England. A portion of these prisoners were transported to various places including: Venice, New England, Virginia, Jamaica, Tangiers, and Guinea.

Documents recording the transportation of Scots and others to the colonies are quite good when compared to voluntary movements. Unfortunately, the records for the Cromwellian transportations have not survived. According to David Dobson some Scottish prisoners were taken aboard the Unity to Boston in early 1651 where they were sold into seven years of indentured servitude. Many of these men stayed in Massachusetts or were taken to Maine and New Hampshire. Dobson did find a list of some 191 men who were transported aboard the John and Sarah which departed Gravesend bound for Boston on 13 May 1652.

For a bit more information on the events of the early 1650s see Dobson's Scottish Emigration to Colonial America, 1607-1785 and Tom Devine's Scotland's Empire 1600-1815.  For Scots transported to the Americas, consult Directory of Scots Banished to the American Plantations, 1650-1775. Second Edition by Dobson.


Heather Rojo said...

Thanks, Amanda, I have two ancestors who were aboard the John and Sara. They were both "sold" in Cambridge as laborers. One stayed and became a wellknown citizen of Lexington, and his grandchildren fought in the famous battle, the other was sent to lumber mills in Maine. Cheap labor.

Amanda E. Epperson said...

You're welcome Heather. It was a good question.


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