Was Elvis Presley Scottish?

Written by Cameron K
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Elvis Presley visited UK soil (Prestwick Airport) for the first and only time on March 3rd, 1960. He was on a stop-over on the way back from his two-year military service in Germany.

The King of Rock 'n' Roll would never perform in the UK despite many attempts to encourage his management to let him do so. In the event, Presley would not come to Scotland is it possible there was a wee bit of Old Scotia in Presley himself to appease his loyal following?

The family tree of Elvis Presley has attracted much attention by his fans and genealogists alike. Things are not entirely clear with some claims he was from German extraction but according to Allen Morrison resident of Greenock and author of The Presley Prophecy, Elvis Presley had Scottish ancestry. Morrison claims Presley’s father Vernon, could trace his family tree back to an Andrew Presley, a blacksmith, from Lonmay, near Buchan, Aberdeenshire.

It appears Presley Snr’s son was also called Andrew and immigrated to New Bern, North Carolina at the time of the Jacobite rebellion (1745/46) where he worked as a blacksmith. Previously there was some speculation the surname Presley was derived from the mispronunciation of Paisley. This was a common occurrence. Alternatively, Presley was spelt Pressley but it seems clearly in the Lonmay Parish Records the surname Presley was fairly common to the Aberdeen area in the 18th century.

Andrew Presley Junior had a son called Dunnan Presley born 1780. He was married twice and had 3 sons. Dunnan Presley Junior was born in 1827 He married had two children but when his wife died drifted into the army and then remarried Martha Jane Wesson at Fulton, Mississippi in 186. Together they had five children including two daughters, Rosella (1862) and Rosalinda (1864/65). Dunnan left his second family and although Martha Jane remarried she died in childbirth in 1868. Rosella (Elvis’s great grandmother) and her sibling were taken under the care of their maternal grandmother, Millie Wesson. Dunning Presley died in 1900 in Mississippi, at 73 years of age.

Rosella bore nine illegitimate children but never identifying her lovers or made any claim on them. Her son was dapper drifter, Jessie Dee (JD) McClowell Presley was born in 1896. JD was a handsome man who liked to dress well. He was a drifter and philanderer and liked to drink which often got him into trouble. He married Minnie Mae Hood in 1913 and together had 5 children: 2 girls and 3 boys. Their first child was born in 1916, Vernon Presley (1916-1978), who was Elvis Presley's father. Vernon had four siblings but his relationship with his father JD was always tenuous. Jessie and Minnie Mae were divorced in 1954. Elvis always called his grandmother 'Dodger.' Minnie Mae never remarried. She moved in with her son and daughter-in-law at their Berry Street home. Later, she would live in the Graceland mansion until her death in 1980.

Elvis Presley’s mother’s surname was Mansell. This is French in origin (Norman) and many French nobles moved to the Scottish borders after they were invited by King David I of Scotland (1084 – 1153). David was the brother in law of William the Conqueror's youngest son, Henry. Many Mansells later moved to Ireland before eventually settling in the American Colonies in the 18th century.

William (Bob) Mansell married Morning White Dove (1800-1835) a full-blooded Cherokee Indian and they settled in western Tennessee, in 1818. It was common for male settlers in the West to marry 'white' Indians as there was a scarcity of females on the American frontier. The appellation 'white' in Morning Dove's name refers to her status as a friendly Indian. Early American settlers called peaceable Indians 'white', while 'red' was the designation for warring Indians or those who sided with the British in the Revolutionary War. The Mansells became farmers and raised three children, the eldest was John Mansell, born in 1828. He married Elizabeth "Betsy" Gilmore and they had nine or ten children together. John Mansell squandered the legacy of the family farm. In 1880 he moved to Oxford, Mississippi, and changed his name to Colonel Lee Mansell.

The third of John Mansell's sons was White Mansell who married Martha Tackett. Their daughter Octavia Luvenia "Doll" Mansell was born in 1912. She was Gladys Presley's mother and Elvis's grandmother. She married her first cousin Robert Lee Smith (1873-1931) who was the son of White Mansell's sister, Ann. Marrying first cousins, was common in insulated communities of the agrarian South.

Gladys Love Smith and Vernon Elvis Presley eloped and were married in the County of Pontotoc in 1933. Gladys Love Smith and gave birth to Elvis Aaron Presley on January 8th, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi. Twin Jesse died at birth.

The joyful news Elvis Presley may have been part Scottish was enough for Mike King of Philip King Kiltmakers Aberdeen, accepted the commission to produce an unrestricted tartan called the Presley Tartan of Lonmay. The blue represents the nearby town of Peterhead; the grey for the skies; the green for countryside grass; and yellow for local cornfields.

Article used by Kind Permission and with thanks from ZANI


Read 4700 times Last modified on Friday, 16 August 2019 18:01
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Cameron K

Cameron K

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