Tuesday, July 27, 2010

William McCown, White Slave

Everyone who gets into genealogical research of their family surname, dreads a
result such as this. In this case, we don't know when our earliest ancestor arrived in America or what his given name may have been or whether he was Protestant or Catholic or what his circumstances were.

I have said repeatedly that I have neither the right nor the knowledge to judge my ancestors, never mind apologizing for their circumstances, that is God's province and not mine. In this case, this particular William McCown, of County Donegal was captured by Oliver Cromwell's troops in 1650. He survived the the ocean trip to America but there was sold into slavery under the direction of Oliver Cromwell's government. White slaves were treated just like black slaves and if they ran away were beaten and if they did it again they were branded on their forheads with an R.

This William McCown ran away and was not caught. Praise God!

I doubt that he was either the first or last native of Ulster to suffer such a fate at the hands of Cromwell and his Ironsides, particulary since there were zero English Puritans among the native Irish. Since most of Ulster had been
through the great plantation of Ireland by 1635, and the native Irish were Roman Catholics, Cromwell used the expediency of killing a great many of them to get control of Ulster and remove the Roman Catholics. It was very effective.

If it should turn out that we find this William McCown in our family line, then we will celebrate his successful escape. But, feel shame on his behalf? Never in a thousand years! Each of us has enough to answer for without answering for our ancestors, and from what little I got from a Google search using the term, McCown, Donegal,this William did nothing wrong that I know of.

So, the genealogical research will go on as usual, remembering that most of the Irish in America were forced to leave Ireland by religious, economic conditions or outright warfare.

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