Fraser's Ridge is a tract of land in western North Carolina, which covers about ten thousand acres. Its proprietor, Jamie Fraser, lives there with his extended family, and by 1779 there are over 60 tenant families living on the land.
When Jamie and Claire arrive in Wilmington, they discreetly set about finding a buyer for one of their gemstones, in order to turn its value into cash that they can use. While in town, Jamie encounters a cousin-by-marriage, Edwin Murray, who happens to be the secretary of Governor William Tryon's wife, and Jamie manages to secure an invitation for Claire and himself to dine with the governor. The true goal of the night is to persuade a wealthy German guest at the dinner to purchase the gemstone, but after the rest of the guests have left the party, the governor has a private conversation with Jamie (on which Claire eavesdrops) about another matter: an offer of a land grant in the North Carolina wilderness where, under Jamie's sponsorship, tenant families would be induced to settle and work the land.
It's an offer not without its drawbacks. As Jamie explains to Claire later, the reason the governor might make such an offer to Jamie so soon after meeting him, might include the fact that Jamie is a soldier by nature and experience, and having someone like Jamie with a certain amount of control over remote areas of the colony, where unrest has already bubbled up in the past, would be very beneficial to the governor. Jamie also notes that, even though the governor waved off the fact that Jamie is Catholic and the law allows only Protestant men to hold such land grants, this would be a sort of leverage the governor holds over Jamie – as long as Jamie complies with what the governor wants of him, there's no problem, but if Jamie doesn't, the governor could easily use it against him.
In late summer of 1767, Jamie and Claire travel through the wilderness for a suitable place to settle, if they were to accept Tryon's offer. By September, they begin building shelter in the form of a one-room cabin, in which Jamie, Claire and Young Ian will live through the winter. They also construct two sheds, one for storing and curing meat, and another for Claire's herbs and other foraged goods.
By late 1770, the Ridge had more than thirty families inhabiting the land under Jamie's sponsorship.
Jamie starts building a one-room cabin that will shelter him, Claire and Young Ian in September 1767. The cabin's hearth is blessed upon arrival of John Quincy Myers and Duncan Innes, and the cabin is finished later that month.
In early September 1769, when Brianna surprises both of her parents with her arrival, Jamie sets to work building an additional room onto the original cabin while the construction of the new, much larger house on a hill nearby is yet to be finished.
The Big House
Jamie starts to build the Big House in the summer of 1769. In early September, he goes to Cross Creek to buy glass windows for the house as a surprise for Claire. The foundation for the house is laid and the rooms are marked out.
Construction of the house is delayed by several months following the tumult of rescuing Roger from the Iroquois. Upon their return in early summer of 1770, Jamie continues work on the house, his progress spurred on by the cramped, tense conditions in the small cabin. By autumn it is complete, a two-story "modest frame house, white-washed and shingle-roofed" with glass windows.
On December 21, 1776, the house is burglarized by Wendigo Donner and a group of his accomplices. They break one of the containers with Claire's highly flammable ether. When Young Ian lights a match, the house goes up in flames and burns down overnight.
The malting floor, where the Frasers ferment the grain for whisky-making, is located about two miles from the original cabin "in a small clearing at the foot of a hollow," while the still is located up the mountain in its own clearing "near a small spring that provided fresh, clear water." Jamie distilled the Ridge's first batch of whisky in the autumn of 1768, and by 1770 he was selling it at the Gathering at Mount Helicon. As of 1771, there were fourteen small kegs set aside for aging in the cache.
The whisky cache, where the finished casks are stored and well-hidden, is located in a cave about a half-mile roughly northwest of the whisky clearing.
In October 1773, the malting shed was burned down by a roving gang of men, who assaulted Marsali and violently abducted Claire. The attack also resulted in a loss of a season's worth of whisky, the Frasers' most valuable trading commodity. By March 1774, the new malting shed was being rebuilt, and the Frasers were making whisky again by the following autumn.
- Lizzie Wemyss Beardsley (since 1769)
- Josiah and Keziah Beardsley (since 1770)
- Rodney Beardsley
- Daughter (born March 1777)
- Son (born ca. 1778)
- Joseph Wemyss and Monika Berrisch Wemyss
Ardsmuir Men and their Families
Fisher-Folk from Thurso
On arrival in 1773, the emigrants from Thurso numbered twenty-two families, with seventy-six individuals.
- Hiram and Mairi Crombie
- Grannie Wilson †
- Orem McCallum † and Amy McCallum Higgins
- Padraic MacNeill and Hortense MacNeill †
- Angelica †
- elder daughter
- Old Grannie Abernathy
- Young Grannie Abernathy
- Arabella Abernathy ("Grannie Belly")
- Hugh Abernathy
- Jocky Abernathy
- Maisie MacArdle and former boatbuilder husband
- Six children
- Seumas Buchan
- Fergus and Marsali Fraser (1768–1774)
- Thomas Christie (1771–1775)
- Arch Bug † and Murdina Bug † (1770–1776)
- As of the end of Written in My Own Heart's Blood.
- Drums of Autumn, chapter 19.
- Drums of Autumn, chapter 41.
- Drums of Autumn, chapter 43.
- The Fiery Cross, chapter 22.
- Drums of Autumn, chapter 26.
- The Fiery Cross, chapter 2.
- The Fiery Cross, chapter 76.
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 27.
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 40.
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 73.
- Brianna arrived on the Ridge in autumn of 1769. Roger joined her in summer of 1770. They left with their children in October 1776, and returned in summer of 1779.
- Germain moved with his family to New Bern in 1774. He returned to the Ridge with his grandparents Claire and Jamie in late spring of 1779.
- Young Ian lived on the Ridge from 1767 to 1770, and returned in 1772. Ian married Rachel Hunter in 1778, and they settled together on the Ridge in 1779.
- Manfred left the Ridge in June 1774 (A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 46). In 1775, he returned with Hepzibah, who is his fiancée or wife (chapters 105 and 112).
- Amy McCallum married Bobby Higgins in late 1776.
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 39.
- Great-uncle of Maisie MacArdle. Spelled in the books incorrectly as "Seaumais".
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 58.
- Owner of the smithy. The Fiery Cross, chapter 76.
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 78. Betrothed to a Quaker girl from Woolam's Mill.
- Spelled MacAfee in A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 60. Both spellings are used throughout the novel, and it is unclear whether there is more than one family.
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 62.
- Written in My Own Heart's Blood, chapter 138.
- Written in My Own Heart's Blood, chapter 144.
- The Fiery Cross, chapter 95.
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 119.
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 57.
- Owner of a small general store. The Fiery Cross, chapter 76.
- Gabaldon, Diana. "Fraser's Ridge Question." MSG: 79801.18. Diana Gabaldon. Books and Writers Community. Compuserve. Published 22 March 2014. Accessed 1 December 2017.