The Scottish middle Lowland town of Paisley was a bustling village of weavers and craftsmen in 1774: Men with talent passed through generations of proud Scots and apprenticed by their fathers. The beautiful little town had become well known throughout Scotland as the 'weavers village'; producing the loveliest cloths in all of England. But with competition high in a village of over 1700 weavers, William Templeton began to entertain the thought of moving his craft to the new world: The American Colonies.
The weavers, printers and other Scottish craftsmen in Paisley were considered well read and intelligent and William was certainly among the best. With word of greater opportunities in the colonies for men of talent, he had grown more interested in the thought of venturing to America. A craftsman well thought of within the community, William and his wife Margaret were soon granted permission to embark on their Atlantic journey and make a new life in the colonies.
Disembarking from the port of New York, the Templetons traveled to the small community of Morristown, New Jersey: A quaint colonial village with some similarities to their homeland in Scotland. William and Margaret settled onto their land and began weaving and spinning their craft once more.
Quickly starting their family, the couple took roots in their community and William gained prominence as a freeholder. But the local politics began to infuse the villagers and growing tension with the British Monarchy seeped throughout the community. It was an unexpected and uneasy atmosphere for William: A Scotsman of strong loyalty and servitude to his British King.
It was May 1776 and the little village of Morristown was different than the town the Templetons first settled into just two years earlier; men taking up arms and joining the Rebel cause. Town meetings to discuss the tensions between the colonists and the British government brought an unsettling feeling for William Templeton. This was not the America he came to; the land of plenty, so well spoken of amongst the villagers in Paisley. And when the call was made for the town freeholders to gather in the village square to denounce the King of England thus signing an oath of allegiance to a new America, William Templeton would not place his pen to the paper. It was a pivotal moment for the proud and talented Scotsman; the loyalist from Morristown, New Jersey.
Taking a closer look into the research of my ancestors of Morris County, few records from the 1700's can be found. But feeling a nagging desire to search for possible evidence of Revolutionary War records for William Templeton, I dug deeper through every genealogical website and e-book found.
But with every New Jersey pension and militia list discovered, William Templeton's name was not there.
Until I happened upon a new list, a different kind of list: The Loyalists list.
And as I scrolled down the page, there he was; my proud, clannish, Scottish ancestor William Templeton.
The story of my ancestor can only be imagined as little records have been left but as I have delved deeper into the research of the Scottish colonists, I have discovered that many continued their loyalty to England before and during the Revolution. And as a result, many were tortured, tarred and feathered and others escaped to Canada. And although at first shocked with my discovery, looking at the events through my ancestor's eyes has provided a deeper appreciation of the gut-wrenching dilemma he must have felt.
Through the discovery of the numerous websites dedicated to Scottish genealogy, I am developing a new page: Links to Scottish records and indexes. Take a look through the sites and perhaps you, as I, will discover your Scottish ancestors: The often proud and sometimes very loyal 'Kings Men.'
Keep searching for answers,
*A 'cork' was the middleman who picked up the weaver's scarves to be sold by the larger manufacturers.
*A 'spinster' is a word derived from the wives in Paisley who spun the thread for their husbands.