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‘Brown Bag’ lecture focuses on Sots-Irish

In a Brown Bag Lecture on Wednesday, June 13, Mark Davidson will speak on the Scots-Irish presence in early Appalachia.

Just as they had in Northern Ireland and Scotland before that, the people known today as Scots-Irish had a strong resistance to English domination.

They filtered out of Pennsylvania into the Shenandoah Valley, then to the Carolina piedmont, and eventually west across the Blue Ridge to the Tennessee Valley and beyond.

Their Presbyterian faith continued and also became a seedbed for numerous sects and denominations now present both in and out of Appalachia.

Not only were the men strong proponents of autonomy, but there were some strong willed women among their numbers as well.

Retired as a Blount County school teacher, Mark Davidson now teachers the “Our Appalachia” series of no-credit classes at the Blount County campus of Pellissippi State Community College.

The Alcoa native holds B.S., M.S., and Ed.S. degrees from the University of Tennessee.

His ancestral roots are in the North Carolina’s Piedmont and Blue Ridge, as well as Blount County foothills of the Smokies.

Mark and his wife, Jan, a direct descendant of Cades Cove patriarch Russell Gregory, live in Blount County, along with their children and grandchildren.

The lecture is sponsored by the Bud and Harriet Z. Albers Memorial Fund and is free and open to the public and will begin at noon at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay Street, Knoxville. Guests are invited to bring a “Brown Bag” lunch and enjoy the lecture.

Soft drinks will be available. For more information on the lecture, exhibitions, or museum hours, call 865-215-8824 or visit the website at