In September of 1739, a large group of 350 Highland Scots arrived in Wilmington, North Caolina, under the leadership of Duncan Campbell, Dugald McNeill, Coll McAllister, Daniel McNeill, and Neill McNeill. Among the colonists was the family of Archibald Buie, the first documented Buies to set foot in the New World. In June, 1740, Archibald was granted 320 acres on the southwest side of the north-west branch of the Cape Fear River opposite the mouth of a stream which would soon be named Buies Creek. Malcolm Fowler contended that Daniel Buie was also a member of this group. Buies Creek branches into three streams coursing northward with the left, center, and right forks known as Archibald Buies Creek, Daniel Buies Creek and Hugh McCranies Creek.
Very few records of Buies' arrivals in North Carolina survive resulting in dependence upon sometimes unreliable family tradition. As mentioned, Archibald and Daniel Buie were the first settlers in 1739. There were probably more Buies in this group since only 22 of the 350 persons received land grants. Angus Wilton McLean stated that Neill McNeill of Jura disembarked at Wilmington with 1500 settlers in 1746 among whom were McNeilis, McMillans, Clarks, Kellys, Ballentines, Buies, and others. Some of these families followed Neill McNeill into the Brown Marsh area of Bladen County. In November of 1767, a ship from Argyllshire landed at Brunswick with 50 people from Jura including McDougalds, McLeans, Buies, Campbells, Clarks, Sinclairs, and Darrochs. Some of the Blue families relate that their ancestors arrived from Scotland with Buies, but by mistake landed in Virginia and had to travel to North Carolina. Indeed, there is record of a shipload of Scots being left in Virginia in 1769 and the Virginia legislature had to provide food and transportation to North Carolina. In 1775 a Mary "Bowie" arrived in North Carolina from Scotland. Miss Kate Power, in her discussion of the Smylie family, asserted that James Smylie and Jane (Watson) Smylie left Argyllshire, Scotland and reached North Carolina in early 1776 along with families of McNairs, Buies, Watsons, and others connected by marriage with the Smylies. Mrs. Kate McGeachey Buie wrote that Malcolm Buie of Robeson County came over with his three brothers, but did not state if any others accompanied them, nor did she mention the date. One can conclude that several families of Buies came over in 1739 and 1767 and a few others probably migrated in other years.
When Archibald Buie set foot on colonial North Carolina soil at Wilmington in 1739, he faced numerous challenges. His only possessions were the clothes on his back and the small articles he and his family could carry. Although he had a limited knowledge of the English language, the Scot felt definitely more comfortable conversing in his native Gaelic. The land and the climate were different, and he knew that adaptation would be necessary in order to make a living and provide for his family. But not everything was an adversity. His friends from Jura - the McCraines, the Clarks, the McDougalds, and the rest - were with him and would endure the same hardships. And the government was with him, for in February, 1740, "as an encouragment to Protestants to remove from Europe to this Province", the Colonial Council exempted persons arriving in groups of forty or more from paying any public or county tax for ten years.
After the landing, Archibald and his family boarded small pole boats or long boats and made their way up the Cape Fear River for about 100 miles. The journey lasted over a week. Archibald finally found the place he wanted where bottom land faced the Cape Fear near the mouth of a small stream. Archibald returned to Wilmington with his family in early June, 1740, and presented his petition for land grant to the Colonial Council, and after payment of fees, he received the title to 320 acres on the southwest side of the Cape Fear in the vacinity of what would be later called Buies Creek.
The same procedure would be followed by the other Buies who later came to the Cape Fear region; however, for convenience, they would be allowed to deliver their requests for grants at county courts rather than be compelled to travel to the council. Archibald was granted 200 more acres on the north side of the Cape Fear in 1746. Duncan and Gilbert Buie received their grants in 1750. Archibald Buie, Jr. was presented 200 acres on the Cape Fear in 1754. By 1755 Archibald Buie, Duncan Buie, Gilbert Buie, Daniel Buie, and Archibald Buie, Jr. were all landowners and listed on the Cumberland County tax list. In 1755, Archibald Buie the Piper bought 91 acres on the northeast side of the Cape Fear from Archibald McDonald. The Buies continued to acquire land by grant and purchase and in 1767 the tax rolls of Cumberland included Archibald Buie, Malcolm Buie, Archibald Buie, Junior, Daniel Buie, Gilbert Buie, John Buie, Duncan Buie, and Archibald Buie the Piper.
Not all of the early Scots owned land. Some could not pay the land grant fees. Many were indentured servants and spent years paying back others for financing their voyage. The poor frequently became tenant farmers and paid their landlords portions of their yearly crop and stock increases. Still others, not wanting to pay taxes, simply became squatters and did not bother to apply for grants or register their lands.
Neill Buie was one of the unfortunates who did not have enough money to purchase land or pay the grant fee. He farmed as a tenant. When Neill died in 1761, he could give his children only a small modicum of money and a few cows and hogs. His personal possessions included a pair of stockings and garters, a jacket, gloves, blankets, a razor and a knife, and a few other items of bare necessity. Old Daniel Buie, a man of slightly better means, owned a plaid cloak in 1764 which represents the last known article of Highland garb worn by an early Buie in North Carolina. The Scots seemed eager to break with their unfortunate past. There is no documented proof that the Buies of North Carolina expressed any allegiance to the McDonalds or tried to preserve the clan system. A landowner, Archibald Buie, Jr., in 1775 owned several slaves in addition to horses, cattle, hogs, and sheep.
Several Buies turned to other occupations to supplement their income from agriculture and animal husbandry. John Buie, a weaver, bought land on the Cape Fear in 1763 near Archibald Buie, a blacksmith. Malcolm Buie was liscenced to keep a tavern near Cross Creek in 1775. The 1777 Cumberland County tax list included Archibald Buie, shoemaker, and Duncan Buie, tailor. Another Buie used a talent learned in his youth on Jura. He played the bagpipes for his Highlander friends at their ceremonies and social gatherings and was appropriately known as Archibald Buie the Piper.
"Piper Archie" first lived on the Cape Fear and later in the Barbeque area. Piper Archie never married and went blind in his old age. When he became lost in the woods and swamps he just sat down on a log and wailed away on his pipes until someone found him and led the aged, bow-legged fellow to his destination. In 1759, Archie's neighbor Niall Ruadh or Big Red Neill McNeill fell ill with swamp fever at Smylie's Falls on the Cape Fear. Archie visited his old friend and droned on the pipes hoping their tones would perk old Niall Ruadh up, but after awhile, Red asked Archie to fell a tree for him. While Archie played on, the giant Scotchman took the log and carved himself a coffin while uttering ancient prayers in Gaelic, "Is e Dia fein a's buachaill dhamh cho bhi mi ann an dith...". As he weakened and the end drew near, Red motioned to Piper Archie and told him "Bury me across the river on the brow of Smylie's Hill where it faces west. When ye ha'e buried me, speed me on my way wi' a skirlin' o' the pipes." In a few moments, Niall Ruadh had passed on to join his ancestors in the New Caledonia. Piper Archie placed his friends body in the coffin, but the river was swelling from rains and he couldn't get it across, so he dug a shallow grave, lowered his friend below, covered the hole with dirt and played the McNeill lament.