|A Jackro aka a Brownie drawn from eyewitness encounter|
They came in great numbers and the migration had organization to it. Often whole families, extended families, even villages, participated. One family would settle, and cousins, uncles and aunts, etc., would follow a few years later. The pattern continue from 1718 into the late 1770s. It was quite a remarkable phenomenon. These people brought with them their values, their folk beliefs, from Ulster to the New World. One aspect of these beliefs was their Faerie Faith.
Some of the Faeries from Ireland followed these people to the Colonies. From the early 1700s into the early 1900s belief in Faeries endured. It was in the Southern Uplands and Backsettlements that these beliefs survived the longest and there are still a few people in these areas that see things and believe.
Among the Scots-Irish, one type of Faerie was called a Jackro. They were also called a Brownie. This type of Faerie was well known in Ireland. There it had several names, in Gaelic it was often called a Gruagach (said grew o gach) or a Fear Dearg (Gaelic for a Red Man, so called because of their red hats). Brownie was a Scots-Irish term from the Lallans language (a dialect of northern English spoken in the Lowlands of Scotland, and Ulster).
The Jackro and Brownie were simple Faerie folk. They were generally tutelary beings. These lived in or near settlements, in the attics, barns, and out-buildings, of some family they attached themselves to. There were also solitary Faeries. These lived in the lonely places; in the mountains, ridges, and hills, or in the deep woods, or near waterfalls.
|Sarah Pearl McCain née Tweedy circa 1900|
|The Ouachita Mountain in Arkansas|
The belief in Faeries has almost died out here, though not quite, and there is some revival of interest in them. An interesting sidebar, the belief in races of Faeries was also strong among some American Indians, particularly the Cherokee and Shoshone tribes. Their lore is remarkably like that of the Irish, Scots, and Scots-Irish.
I am collecting oral history on the Faerie Faith in America right now. If anyone has a story, part of your family history, of encounters, do send me a note through my blog McCain's Corner. I would love to hear it.
Link: Finding the McCains
© Barry R McCain 2019