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Myths & Facts

While growing up I heard that the Mofford name traced its roots back to Scotland. The story goes that a Mofford (not necessarily spelled the same) fought on the side of Scotland against the English.
But which battle? Could it have been the battle of Worcester in 1651? In which seven to eight thousand Scots lost against the English, some of the survivors were sold to British plantations in the Caribbean. Or could it have happened many years later at the bloody battle of Culloden (April 16, 1746), where 5,000 Scots(Jacobites) lost the battle against 9,000 English(Hanoverian)forces?

Wallace Mofford (who passed away while visiting in Trinidad on Nov. 28, 1998), second son of C.L.Mofford and Mary O'beline Sampson, in a letter to his brother Larry dated November 8, 1978 states, "The Mofford surname was also written 'Moffatt' on early land titles in St.Vincent. The family carrying this name was believed to be exiled from Scotland in 1665 when Cornwall(Cromwell?) defeated the Scots. He sent 800 Scottish soldiers and peasants to Barbados to harvest sugarcane. Some were also sent to St.Vincent, St.Lucia and Grenada...(they)lived under very poor conditions, some turned to piracy, such as the 'Greave' surname." Indeed it is a fact that the Anglo-Scottish wars saw many captured Scots hanged by the English and the survivors were saved from the hangman's noose only to be shipped to "the Barbadoes". (If one was 'barbadosed' he/she was doomed to serve as an indentured slave) to work on one of the various plantations.

Another story has my ancestor as a coachman from either Scotland or Northern England. He had committed an offence (unknown what he did but possibly highway robbery) and was sentenced to work in the plantations in the Caribbean.
This latter story has some merit as a letter from Clara Mofford, written to her son Cuthbert on April 12, 1957 states,
"...Mofford was a short generation but you are all Bringing a larger one. There was a man, a coachman. He came to Barbados and a woman had a child for him, a boy. He became a man and married. They had four sons and one girl. One son, (Frank) married Sarah Gibson who became your grandmother...they were born in Barbados."

Sybil Mofford told the story that the Moffords were kicked out of England for rum running. Now I know why I like rum and coke so much.

The facts take over from the myths at this point. There was a man named Mofford in Barbados, as early as 1715 and possibly as early as 1651.
Cuthbert Lawrence (Bert) Mofford (my grandfather, also my father's name) was born at Kingstown, St.Vincent in April 1893. His father, Robert Adlophus (my great-grandfather) was a farmer from Barbados. Frank Mofford was the father of Adolphus and he was born in Barbados.

Frank Mofford was believed to be one of a group of people known as the "redlegs". The redlegs were, "decendants of condemned men, Scotts-Irish slaves and British prisoners of war exiled for life and sold for 1,500 lbs of sugar each." (Above quote written by Lindsay Haines, a.k.a. Juliet Mofford and titled, White Outcasts of the Caribbean.)

Thomas J. Keagy has written his Master's thesis on the Redlegs of Barbados and in an article (Americas, 1975, Vol.27 pp.14-21) taken from his thesis he sheds light on the origins and lives of the "redlegs" (Quote-"The term 'Redleg', unflattering as it may be, is traced to the era when the indentured white toiled in the sugar cane fields wearing a kilt and became sunburned on the legs."p.14 Americas, Vol.27).

It is interesting to note that the redlegs, who eventually became known as the 'poor whites' never, or very rarely intermaried with the negro population that was growing on the Island although, as Mr. Keagy notes, "there is a high degree of racial harmony and no ostensible social discrimination." (ibid, p.18).

Information for this branch of the Mofford Family is slowly coming together although there is a lot to learn yet. Records are difficult to obtain but I hope to uncover as much information as possible and to bring these pages alive with our history. Pages 4 and page 5 contain a more information regarding this branch of the Mofford Family.


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