This is the story of my life. I’ll share with you the major changing points and how they affected me.
I’m sure you will find this very strange, since I’m an American, that I’m publishing my autobiography using a Scottish firm. While I am a very proud American, I am of Scottish ancestry, and to me that is also a source of pride.
To help you understand my life story, you need to know something of the American Wizarding World. Like most Americans, the Wizards and Witches that immigrated to America during its colony days wanted a new start or adventure.
Since in the world’s population, the Wizarding folk are a small percentage, America didn’t have a permanent Wizarding community until the latter 1700s. The first was in the Salem, Massachusetts area in the early 1600’s. During the Salem Witch Trials of the 1620s, there were actually a few Witches and Wizards that were accused and burned at the stake. Some died because their wands were destroyed in the process. Most, however, were Muggles that were falsely accused by very young girls. Even The Salem Institute of Witchcraft and Wizardry was destroyed. The Salem Witch Trials were disbanded when the young girls falsely accused the Governor’s wife of being a witch. As all of my readers do know, magic is a gift from the forces of light. God and the forces of light give the gift and then allow the Wizard/Witch to use them as they may. It is not a tool of the Dark One or the Devil. Since Salem is an epicenter of magical forces, The New Salem Institute of Witchcraft and Wizardry was rebuilt and hidden with many of the same charms and wards that hide Hogwarts today.
Between immigration and native-born Witches and Wizards, there was enough of population for four European Wizarding Communities to spring to life in the ‘New World’. One is in Salem Massachusetts; another is near Baltimore, Maryland. The third and fourth communities lie in Raleigh, North Carolina (my ‘hometown’, now known as Marion Square). The last is Atlanta, Georgia. There is great contention between the mayors of the towns on just whose community was the ‘first’,
Unlike most of the Wizarding families here, my own didn’t come to America exactly by choice. My earliest ancestor that came to America was Ian Andrew Rotheri. My Great-Great-Great Grandpa Ian attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from 1683 to 1690. He was a man of conviction if all accounts I’ve read are true. He belonged to the clan McDonald. I’m not sure of what branch of the clan, his portrait wouldn’t ever tell me; though he did tell excellent stories of the early days of the family here. In 1693, his branch of the clan went to war. Ian Andrew went to the clan elders and offered not only his strong right sword arm but the power of his wand as well. In his opinion the use of a warrior-mage would turn the tide of any battle in the favor of the clan. Much to his chagrin, both the clan elders and the Ministry of Magic didn’t agree with him. While ignorance of the law is no excuse, Ian Andrew violated the International Statute of Secrecy of 1692. He was arrested in May. By the end of June, his trial was held and he was convicted of his crime. He was given the choice of a sentence; either fifteen to twenty years in Azkaban Prison or being sent to America.
In United States, most Wizards and Witches see themselves as Americans and then Witches and Wizards though there are some that just live their lives in the all-Wizarding settlements of the country.
Some of the more famous American-Wizards are Benjamin Franklin, Francis Marion (also known as the Swamp Fox) and George Patton.
Franklin formed the last house at The New Salem Institute of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He was noted there for his intellect and his inventiveness. (I still don’t know how I got into Franklin House. The only thing I absolutely hated about it was the house color. It looked like a light orange-pink to me, but I’ve been told it was ‘peach’.)
Francis Marion was from my part of the country. He led the Red Coats on many merry chases trying to find him. He and the town named after him hold a dear place in my heart.
George Patton was a maverick in both the Muggle/Technical and Wizarding worlds. After attending a Muggle magic show, he reported to the Council of Security (similar to the DMLE) that we could use Muggle techniques to confuse the forces of Grindewald and Hitler; this was just about the time he struck a soldier under his command. Both the Council of Security and the Army decided to take him out of the field and place him in command of a ‘Phantom Army’. Patton wanted to die by the last shot or spell fired in the last battle of the war. Through a fluke accident, he was injured in a car accident that ultimately cost him his life. The nearest healer of the AWEF (American Wizarding Expeditionary Force) was over five hundred miles away, by the time a healer was at his bedside, the injury plus the results of the attempts by the doctors prevented any potion or spell from saving him; he died a few days later.
As I said in a paragraph above, my ever-so-great Grandfather Ian Andrew was forcibly immigrated by his government to America. He took with him his bride of two months Rebekka. Not known to Ian at the time they left, Rebekka was with child. Six weeks after they arrived in the country, the first American Rotheri was born. The next spring after the winter’s snows had melted and Rebekka and her baby boy were ready to travel, they started to explore their new country. They settled near an area that is known today as Roxboro, North Carolina. Through hard work and dedication, he ended up owning approximately four square miles of land; he named his parcel or plantation, Rotheri’s Reprieve.
Many things seem to run in circles. I feel I’ve completed one for my family.
Flash forward three hundred years; here I am in London preparing for my first-born son’s funeral. He married a beautiful witch by the name of Linda Weatherby. He and his bride of less than twelve years were killed by a terrorist’s bomb. This left my grandson, George Thomas Rotheri, IV, who has spent all of his life in the London area, an orphan. I was named in his father’s will as George’s guardian.
At midnight on July 3, 1992, I heard a familiar tapping on the window. It was a post owl; when I let it in, it had George’s Hogwarts letter. I wondered how my grandson, an American received one. Professor McGonagall explained this; there is a book that records the births of magical children. After many hours of discussion with Professor McGonagall I learned that with a few exceptions, his education would rival the one I received at The New Salem School. Part of me wanted to pack the boy up and take him ‘home’. He has a rich family history in North Carolina. Another part of me that won out decided to let him stay and attend Hogwarts. With the deaths of his parents, that would be enough of a change in life. He didn’t need the extra stress that moving would bring.
After a semi-veiled threat to Professor McGonagall, I signed a form that allowed her to be George’s temporary guardian while I served my last eight months in The Corps. Note to the wise: I was young and foolish at the time; it is semi-suicidal to issue any sort of threats to Headmistress Minerva McGonagall.
Well, being the second in line of four Georges; I decided to give young George IV a nickname. At home, I’m G.T. to my family and Papa is George. In my home I was George and my namesake was G.T. When we were all together, he was called Trey. Papa told me that he enjoyed the game craps while he was in the navy. In that game, a four was called ‘Little Joe’, thus is the way George IV, was nicknamed ‘Joe’.
For the next eight years, Joe and I visited North Carolina in the summer for a few weeks during the summer vacation months. We spent most of our time split between Hogsmeade and our home in Aberdeen. I’ve watched the boy become a Wizard that is respected on both sides of the ‘pond’.
It has been said that the differences between the American and UK citizens is that they are separated by a common language. Each group has their own slang and regional dialects, this is doubly so for my family. Since Wizarding folk are very long lived, I was brought up in a multi-generational environment. To help you understand parts of my life’s story let me ‘translate’ Rotheri-ese to English for y’all.
To tell you the truth, I think we use these terms basically for the children. It’s easier to say Papaw for young ones than grandfather, and Mammaw for grandmother. We use GrandDad and GrandMaw for the great-grandparents. In my family you can tell you are really, really ‘old’ when they call you GrandFather or GrandMother meaning great grandparents.
Now that I’m in my dotage looking back at my long life, I’ve seen many, many things. From men walking on the moon to my country’s bi-centennial and tri-centennial, with luck I will see the dawning of the twenty-second century. I’ve either seen or helped along in the downfall of many of dark personages both Muggle/Technical and Wizarding. Voldemort has fallen-twice. I’ve sent many of Wizarding criminals to Area 51 and even a few to Azkarban.
Join with me now as I tell my tale. Like any story, it is best to start at the beginning. You will learn just why I proudly proclaim myself a Muggle Mage.
Master Gunnery Sergeant George Thomas Rotheri, Jr. U.S.M.C. (Ret.)
Professor Emeritus Potions - The New Salem School of Witchcraft and Wizardry