SCOTS IN DELHI
Submitted 11 December 1998 by John W. Jack
There seems to be a lot of interest regarding the Scots in Delhi, Bovina, Andes, Cabin Hill area of Delaware County. The current resurgence in interest regarding the Scottish settlers in Delaware county can probably be traced to an event that took place in June1997. At that time, 5 others- all with a combined Delhi, First Presbyterian Church, Scottish background-or heritage- joined my wife Sally [nee Edwards] and me in a visit to Scotland to participate in a special church service in Auchterarder [Perthshire], the community from which both my paternal line [Jack] and maternal line [Amos; Morrison] traveled to the USA in 1832, settling in Delhi area.
The special church service commemorated the 150th anniversary of the reunification of two factions of the breakaway branches of the Presbyterian church in Scotland. What was so very special about this particular church service was that it was held outdoors, on an area formerly called "The Old Tent Grounds". The breakaway church members were initially denied use of any buildings for their worship services, so recalling that in Biblical times congregations met outdoors under the heavens, they chose to do the same thing. [Remember, we are talking about events from the about 200 years ago!] The current owner of the parcel discovered that what is currently her backyard was formerly part of the "Tent Grounds" and decided to encourage the special outdoor worship service.
One may ask how 7 Americans, all present or former members of the First Presbyterian Church in Delhi, NY chanced to be invited to participate in this special service. The answer is really quite simple: after retiring in 1995, I became intensely interested in my family history/genealogy, especially the Scottish aspects. Growing up on a dairy farm in Delhi I always was aware of the fact that I was related to many others in the community, but it was seldom a topic of family conversation- no particular need to discuss what all of theadults already knew!
My mother lived to age 97 and was something of a local legend in Delhi. College educated, she elected to return to where she married a farm boy and proceeded to spend her life in a vocation she loved- farmer. Long before womens lib or feminism was discovered or invented she was a full and equal partner in all aspects of the dairy business. Widowed in 1947, she continued active management and involvement with the day to day farm activities until she was 85 at which time she retired to growing flowers & mowing her large lawn. At this point in her life she finally had time to think about genealogy & from her we learned that our ancestors were from Auchterarder, Perthshire.
In 1995 I established contact with the Local Family History center in Auchterarder seeking information regarding my ancestors.The Auchterarder
historian and I entered into a long detailed correspondence regarding all aspects of our mutual interests in political, religous, economic dimensions of why so many people left Scotland in the 1800-1850 era. The fact that he was: 1. formerly the top local elected official; 2. was trained as a lawyer; 3.had served as Clerk of the Presbyterian congregation; 4. had a long standing interest in history and 5. his family had lived there for several generations, combined to make him a truly remarkable resource.
The woman that owns the former "Tent Ground" is also involved with the Auchterarder Family History group & became interested in my correspondence with the man described above. As she planned the special church observance mentioned above she contacted me and asked that anyone from the Delhi Presbyterian Church that was interested consider joining the service in Scotland. For the other 5 & the Jacks, it was a most moving and interesting experience.
I realize this runs very long, but there seemed to be a need to answer some broad questions. Incidentally, I have a full set of the letters of transfer
carried to the New World by folks from Scottish congregations. They are a unique resource and I am deeply appreciative of the members of First
Presbyterian Church, Delhi that made them available. John W. Jack, December 11, 1998