The first white people to come to Hoke County were from Scotland. They settled first in the area of Little and Big Raft Swamp which is now Antioch. Many Scottish immigrants came with Alexander Clark in 1736. The Scottish people established churches such as Sandy Grove Church, Longstreet Church and Antioch Church.
In 1911 Hoke County was established because State Senator John W. McLauchlin, a Scot, introduced and supported a bill that made Hoke County a county. Raeford, the county seat, was named for John McRae and A. A. Williford, both Scots. John McPhaul started "McPhaul's Mill" which was a meeting place for Scots. During the Revolutionary War, there was a battle fought at McPhaul's Mill called, "The Battle of McPhaul's Mill." Scots fought on both the English and American sides during the war.
The Scottish people brought with them their heritage and culture. Most Scottish traditions begin with the clans. The clans are made up of families who have a common ancestor and many had the same last name such as MacDonald and MacGregor. In Hoke County, we have names such as these as well as others such as McLauchlin, McFadyen, McNeill, and McLeod.
Scottish people brought the language of Scotland, Gaelic, to Hoke County. Gaelic and the Scots are today studied at nearby St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Lauringburg, which is about 10 miles from Hoke County. A reminder of the Gaelic language in Hoke County is the community named Dundarrach which is a Gaelic word. In an interview, Mrs. Miriam McNeill shared her knowledge of Scottish traditions that are still celebrated in our area, such as the playing of bagpipes, wearing of kilts, and the Highland Dance of strength and athletic ability. Most Scots attend the Presbyterian Church, which once a year celebrates the Scot heritage with a "kirkin of the Tartan" service. At that service church members wear Scottish clothes, listen to bagpipes, and remember their heritage.
While Scots were the first white people in Hoke County, other Caucasian ethnic groups are also present. In the 1990 Census these groups were listed: English-998; Irish-804; German-1338; Scotch-Irish-1214; Scotch-634; French-185.
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