As part of his plan to eradicate the Border Reivers, James VI had large numbers of them transported to the colonies of the New World and, nearer to home, to Ulster in Northern Ireland. These were known as “Plantation Scots”. In the 1700s, many of them emigrated to America and Canada. In the USA they are known as “Scotch-Irish Americans”. Now, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 4.3 million Americans claim Scotch-Irish ancestry.
Charlie Rich is a descendant of these people and has Carr (Kerr) blood flowing in his veins. To be more accurate he shares genetic markers in his DNA code with an ancestor named Carr - but it doesn’t sound nearly as romantic. Last year he contacted us asking for information on clothing and Reivers in general with the aim of setting up his own Society.
Charlie is located in Louisiana and his initial attempts, at Ren Faires, etc to explain to people with names such as Armstrong, Turnbull and so on that, as Borderers, they should not be wearing kilts or tartan met not only with downright incredulity but with some hostility. However, he has persevered, got his kit together and in April this year (2009) attended his first “Tartan Festival”, organised by his local Scottish Society, as the only non-tartan Scot.
The Borderers are now proud to have Charlie as our first and founding member of “The Borderers USA”. If you would be interested in joining him he can be contacted on Vulcan76@aol.com
Here are a few of the images of his inaugural event. We look forward to publishing more in the future.
Charlie’s Carr Banner. He has substituted “Suns” for the Kerr “Mullets” or Stars.
A map to show the distribution of the names of the Riding Families. The photos round the map are images taken at Buittle.
The Borderers USA “tent” set up at the Tartan Festival.
Charlie (at left) speaking to the Master of Ceremonies for the event. After this conversation, the latter spoke for an hour(!) and told everyone that those with Border names should get rid of their kilts.
Charlie in the “Parade of the Clans” (!!)
The temperature on the day got up to 80F - not a problem we face at Buittle all that often. Charlie has had to adapt his kit to make a “tropical Reiver-wear” while retaining the integrity of the 16th Century originals.