The Scots who founded the Ku Klux Klan to ‘serenade girls’


The Scots who founded the Ku Klux Klan to ‘serenade girls’

Read more at:

**SCOTS who founded America’s oldest race hate group originally only intended to sing songs and serenade girls, according to a new documentary on Scotland’s part in the Ku Klux Klan.

The Ku Klux Klan was formed in the 1860s by six former Confederate officers of Scottish and Irish descent, after they returned from the Civil War. The fraternal society they set up in Pulaski, Tennessee, later became the most feared racist hate group in America. Speaking on “Scotland and the Klan”, to be shown on BBC Two Scotland on Tuesday [OCT 4], Pulaski historian Bob Wamble tells presenter Neil Oliver: “They were all confederate soldiers who had just come home and just didn’t have anything better to do than to form an organisation, just for amusement**

“They played their musical instruments, sang songs and went out and serenaded the girls. They were out hunting all the pretty girls in Pulaski. “In its very first stages, that’s all it was.”

**Scots archaeologist and historian Oliver said he had often celebrated the disproportionate impact Scots have had on the history of other countries, but in the documentary he investigates a darker legacy and the links between racism today in the American Deep South and the Scots who first occupied it.

Throughout the 18th century, hundreds of thousands of Scots emigrated to America. Many who resented being cleared from their land after the failed Jacobite rebellions **or by aristocratic landowners embraced the opportunity that the arrival of cotton gave to become slave masters and wealthy plantation owners.

When their world was threatened, the southern states opted for Civil War rather than give up their slaves. Following their defeat, six former officers, bored and fearful of the future now that black men had the vote, formed a fraternal society, and clan became Klan.

**In the hour long film, Oliver travels more than 2000 miles across the southern States of America, exploring how the effects of early Scottish immigration may have had an enduring impact on the area’s race relations today. **

Scotland and the Klan is on BBC Two Scotland, Tuesday 4 October at 9pm.


My ancestors were Scots. I can read this article and perhaps feel morally superior in large part because my Scottish ancestors settled first in New York, and then went on to Michigan where they fought for the Union during the Civil War. I wonder what I would think, however, if those Scottish ancestors of mine settled in Tennessee instead? I’m in no way defending the evil done by the Klan, just musing over how things might have turned out for me.


Census history

The number of Americans of Scottish descent today is estimated to be 20 to 25 million[1][2][3][4] (up to 8.3% of the total US population), and Scotch-Irish, 27 to 30 million[5][6] (up to 10% of the total US population), the subgroups overlapping and not always distinguishable because of their shared ancestral surnames.

The majority of Scotch-Irish Americans originally came from Lowland Scotland and Northern England before migrating to the province of Ulster in Ireland (see Plantation of Ulster) and thence, beginning about five generations later, to North America in large numbers during the eighteenth century.

The table shows the ethnic Scottish population in the United States from 1700 to 2013. In 1700 the total population of the American colonies was 250,888 of which 223,071 (89%) were white and 3.0% were ethnically Scottish.[20][21] In the 2000 census, 4.8 million Americans self-reported Scottish ancestry, 1.7% of the total US population. Another 4.3 million self-reported Scotch-Irish ancestry, for a total of 9.2 million Americans self-reporting some kind of Scottish descent.

Self-reported numbers are regarded by demographers as massive under-counts, because Scottish ancestry is known to be disproportionately under-reported among the majority of mixed ancestry,[22] and because areas where people reported “American” ancestry were the places where, historically, Scottish and Scotch-Irish Protestants settled in America (that is: along the North American coast, Appalachia, and the Southeastern United States). Scottish Americans descended from nineteenth-century Scottish immigrants tend to be concentrated in the West, while others in New England are the descendants of immigrants from the Maritime Provinces of Canada, especially in the 1920s. Americans of Scottish descent outnumber the population of Scotland, where 4,459,071 or 88.09% of people identified as ethnic Scottish in the 2001 Census.[23][24]

Just for a little wider perspective.
I myself can and do (proudly) claim Scottish ancestry, along with a variety of others.

Perhaps my favorite Scots American:

John Muir

John Muir (/mjʊər/; April 21, 1838 – December 24, 1914)[1] also known as “John of the Mountains”, was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada of California, have been read by millions. His activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas. The Sierra Club, which he founded, is a prominent American conservation organization. The 211-mile (340 km) John Muir Trail, a hiking trail in the Sierra Nevada, was named in his honor.[2] Other such places include Muir Woods National Monument, Muir Beach, John Muir College, Mount Muir, Camp Muir and Muir Glacier. In Scotland, the John Muir Way, a 130-mile-long route, was named in honor of him.

In his later life, Muir devoted most of his time to the preservation of the Western forests. He petitioned the U.S. Congress for the National Park bill that was passed in 1890, establishing Yosemite National Park. The spiritual quality and enthusiasm toward nature expressed in his writings inspired readers, including presidents and congressmen, to take action to help preserve large nature areas.[3] He is today referred to as the “Father of the National Parks”[4] and the National Park Service has produced a short documentary about his life.[5]

Muir has been considered “an inspiration to both Scots and Americans”.[6] Muir’s biographer, Steven J. Holmes, believes that Muir has become “one of the patron saints of twentieth-century American environmental activity,” both political and recreational. As a result, his writings are commonly discussed in books and journals, and he is often quoted by nature photographers such as Ansel Adams.[7] “Muir has profoundly shaped the very categories through which Americans understand and envision their relationships with the natural world,” writes Holmes.[8] Muir was noted for being an ecological thinker, political spokesman, and religious prophet, whose writings became a personal guide into nature for countless individuals, making his name “almost ubiquitous” in the modern environmental consciousness. According to author William Anderson, Muir exemplified “the archetype of our oneness with the earth”,[9] while biographer Donald Worster says he believed his mission was “…saving the American soul from total surrender to materialism.”[10]:403 On April 21, 2013, the first ever John Muir Day was celebrated in Scotland, which marked the 175th anniversary of his birth, paying homage to the conservationist.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit