The Clendenins

Clendenin was my mother's maiden name.  It is my middle name and I use it as an AKA in many of my feature articles as a journalist.


My mother’s people come from the lowlands of Scotland.  They are so low they don’t even have a tartan but wear the one from the Douglas Clan, whose borders they protected during the Middle Ages.  Actually, the Clendenins, as well as the Terrells, trace their lineage back to Robert de Brus, King of Scotland in the 13th century whose life was chronicled in the movie BRAVEHEART, although they each obviously claim different lines.  


The Terrells go back to Scotland through my great grandmother’s line.  Her name was Francis Pierce McGeeHee, a name derived from the McGregor clan, and she was a descendent from the famous Rob Roy line and the “Children of the Mists.”  The McGregor Clan had terrible land disputes with the Campbell Clan sometime back in the 1400s.  There were several awful murders with the McGregors being pushed into the highlands to live as they were outlawed for their behaviour.  As the years passed they immigrated to Virginia and changed their named to McGeeHee.  Francis married my great grandfather, Alexander Stuart Terrell and thus brought in the Scottish blood.


The Clendenins were Scottish to begin with, through and through, with their American descendants forming some sort of nobled, but impoverished aristocracy, upon reaching America and settling in North Carolina.  In fact, my mother, Nannie Belle, always felt that upon marrying Emmett she socially married beneath her station.  It’s a shame that she did not live long enough to see the amount of research that i have done on the Terrell side of the family.  She would not like to know that the reverse situation is more probably true.  


When Mike and Greg were 12 and 10, I took them to Europe for a summer, hitch-hiking through Wales, Holland, Germany, England and Scotland where I did research on the Clendenin Family.  Everyone  thought we were crazy at the time but that was in 1976 and times were easier and not as riddled with crime as they are now.  


The Clendenin family settled in North Carolina with my mother growing up in Greensboro as the youngest of seven.  Their history is rich in lore and their descendents, the Blackwell, Fordham and Grimes families, are close relatives.

The Clendenin Family 1926

1926 - The Clendenin Family from left to right - Nannie Bell (Nan), Dot, Sue, Wilna, Kemp, Ivan and Harry