Monday, July 6, 2009

American Dream, Part 2

Some time in the year 1651, a young lad of about 16yrs, from Inverness-shire, was fighting alongside his clansmen in one of the many battles in the long history of Scotland. The Scots lost this battle to Cromwell, and as prisoners of war, especially of the time, they were not treated well. One cannot put into words the suffering these men endured. Facing possible execution, the Highlanders were marched through the streets,"All of them [were] stript, many of them cutt, some without stockings or shoes and scarce so much left upon them as to cover their nakedness, eating peas and handful of straw in their hands which they had pulled upon the fields as they passed." These men were not executed, however, but transported to the New World as prisoners of war. Bloodied by battle, and enduring severe physical discomfort, they were also mourning the loss of friends and brothers, separated possibly forever from their wives, children, and families. Facing the unknown of what harshness lay ahead, one can only imagine what they must have been feeling.

These indentured men, slaves in body but not in mind, would become a thread in the weave of a tapestry that few could imagine. Recorded history allows us to see such an unfolding of events, if one chooses to look. Is this the act of Providence and some unseen hand, or merely the random occurence of events built one on top of the other with no one at the conductor's place? For you see, this young lad was William Bean. A name amongst many other names, all important in their own way. Each with a life's purpose; their many stories lost to time. The importance of William Bean became perhaps known to the pages of history on account of another name, a man named Daniel Boone, who wished to see the other side of a mountain. The man who went with him, and who decided to live on the other side of the mountain in what is now Eastern Tennessee, was none other than William Bean, a decendent of the William Bean of Inverness-shire. The young lad who was indentured, became free of body and established himself well in the new land as had many others. His descendant, William Bean, established the first settlement in the Watauga valley; and, also established himself into the history books. He soon was joined by his family and friends. They made peace with the Natives in the area, and lived free from government intrusion, free to worship without recourse, free to take hold of opportunity and reap the reward of their labor. Until, that is, the government saw fit to disturb them.

"There is no security on this earth, there is only opportunity."
-Gen. Douglas MacArthur

(The tune is a slow Scottish air, and credit. Music often influences words, and sets a mood. I hope to write a bit on the American dream from a historical perspective, from my family's perspective, and from first accounts from people I've talked with. I'm only an amateur writer and historian, so please bear with me in this exploration of thought. Critique, though uncomfortable at times, is always permitted from my blog friends.)



Credit: maurteenderry, youtube
Traditional air "Archibald MadDonald of Kepoch"

5 comments:

His Girl Friday said...

the credit should read: maureenderry.
(I must have 'teen' on the brain, as I have a few of them who need to do their chores...) :)

James Higham said...

They made peace with the Natives in the area, and lived free from government intrusion, free to worship without recourse, free to take hold of opportunity and reap the reward of their labor. Until, that is, the government saw fit to disturb them.

Isn't that always the way? Let's remember them.

His Girl Friday said...

Hi James,
yes, it is always the way.

William Bean is my ancestor; and, I often feel quite insignificant when I read their histories; (the family from East Tenn. is reasonably well documented). I suppose that is one of the considerations when I think of 'the weighted life'. Many of my family could be considered those who took opportunity and risk, and were pathmakers or part of a group of pathmakers; as well as I'm married to one.
It can be quite humbling when you look at yourself and think, what footprint am I leaving?

Mrs Successful said...

Fabulous story - wonderful tune - thanks for an insight into the life of your ancestor, William Bean HGF. xx

His Girl Friday said...

thanks Mrs S :)x