Feature

Mar 2011

The Alamo and The Scots

Although made famous by many Hollywood movies such as The Alamo, starring John Wayne as Davy Crockett, a little known fact is that four native Scots were among the 189 ‘defenders’ who died. It has also been reported that anything from 50 to 80 per cent of the remaining 189 were of Scots or Scots Irish ancestry, including Davy Crockett himself.

Today the Alamo in San Antonio Texas, hallowed ground for many Americans, is the most visited tourist attraction in the state and one of the most popular across the USA.

Inside the church – the iconic building on the site (shown above) – stand the flags of all the countries, including the Scottish saltire, and states that lost men at the Alamo. The names of the defenders are listed inside the Church and inscribed on a large monument. But, until recently, there was no memorial to any nation's dead.

During Scotland Week 2010, after some significant planning and negotiation between the Government of Scotland and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (the charitable organisation that owns the Alamo) a ceremony took place to commemorate the Scots who died during the siege in 1836.

A memorial carved from Caithness stone was unveiled by the [then] Scottish Government Minister for Tourism, on behalf of the people of Scotland in recognition of the four Scots ‘defenders - John McGregor, Richard W Ballantine, Isaac Robinson, and David L Wilson.


lt is inscribed: "From the people of Scotland in memory of the four native Scots and the many other defenders of Scots ancestry, who gave their lives at the Alamo on 6 March 1836."

On the eve of battle, the leader of the defenders frontiersman Davy Crockett, is said to conducted a musical duel with McGregor to raise the spirits of the men facing certain death; he on the fiddle, McGregor on the bagpipes.

Find out more about Scotland's heroes and heroines