We have already noted the arrival of Germans, Swiss and Huguenots on the North Carolina seaboard
early in the century.  Later on, in 1745, after the suppression of the Jacobite rebellion, there came a
powerful reinforcement of Scotch Highlanders, among them many of the clan MacDonald, including the
romantic Flora MacDonald, who had done so much for the young fugitive prince.  But more important
and far more numerous than all the other elements in the population were the Scotch-Irish from Ulster,
who, goaded by unwise and unjust laws, began coming in large numbers about 1719, and have played a
much greater and more extensive part in American history than has yet been recognized.  There was
hardly one of the thirteen colonies upon which these Scotch-Irish did not leave their mark.

   It is impossible to understand the drift which American history, social and political, has taken since
the time of Andrew Jackson, without studying the early life of the Scotch-Irish population of the
Allegheny regions, the pioneers of the American backwoods.  I do not mean to be understood as saying
that the whole of that population at the time of our Revolutionary War was Scotch-Irish, for there was a
considerable German element in it, besides an infusion of English moving inward from the coast.  But
the Scotch-Irish element was more numerous and far more important than all of the others.  A detailed
account of it belongs especially with the history of Pennsylvania, since that colony was the principal
centre of its distribution throughout the south and west; but a brief mention of its coming is
indispensable in any sketch of Old Virginia and Her Neighbours.

   Who were the people called by this rather awkward compound name, Scotch-Irish?  The answer
carries us back to the year 1611, when James I began peopling Ulster with colonists from Scotland and
the north of England.  The plan was to put into Ireland a Protestant population that might ultimately
outnumber the Catholics and become the controlling element in the country.  The settlers were picked
men and women of the most excellent sort.  By the middle of the seventeenth century there were
300,000 of them in Ulster.  That province had been the most neglected part of the island, a wilderness
of bogs and fens; they transformed it into a garden.  They also established manufactures of woollens
and linens which have ever since been famous throughout the world.  By the beginning of the
eighteenth century their numbers had risen to nearly a million.  Their social condition was not that of
peasants; they were intelligent yeomanry and artisans.  In a document signed in 1718 by a
miscellaneous group of 319 men, only 13 made their mark, while 306 wrote their  names in full.  Nothing
like that could have happened at that time in any other part of the British Empire, hardly even in New

   When these people began coming to America, those families that had been longest in Ireland had
dwelt there but for three generations, and confusion of mind seems to lurk in any nomenclature which
couples them with the true Irish.  The antipathy between the Scotch-Irish as a group and the true Irish
as a group is perhaps unsurpassed for bitterness and intensity.  On the other hand, since love laughs
at feuds and schisms, intermarriages between the colonists of Ulster and the native Irish were by no
means unusual, and instances occur of Murphys and McManuses of Presbyterian faith.  It was common
in Ulster to allude to Presbyterians as "Scotch," to Roman Catholics as "Irish," and to members of the
English church as "Protestants," without much reference to pedigree.  From this point of view the term
"Scotch-Irish" may be defensible, provided we do not let it conceal the fact that the people whom it
applied are for the most part Lowland Scotch Presbyterians, very slightly hibernicized in blood.

   The same persecuting spirit which we have above witnessed as making trouble for the Carolinas and
Maryland found also a vent in the severe disabilities inflicted in 1704 and following years upon
Presbyterians in Ireland.  They were forbidden to keep schools, marriages performed by their clergy
were declared invalid, they were not allowed to hold any office higher than that of petty constable, and
so on through a long list of silly and outrageous enactments.  For a few years this tyranny was endured
in the hope that it was but temporary.  By 1719, this hope had worn away, and from that year, until
passage of the Toleration Act for Ireland in 1782, the people of Ulster kept flocking to America.   

   Of all the migrations to America previous to the days of steamships, this was by far the largest in
volume.  One week of 1727 landed six shiploads at Philadelphia.  In the two years 1773 and 1774 more
than 30,000 came.  In 1770 one third of the population of Pennsylvania was Scotch-Irish.  Altogether,
between 1730 and 1770, I think it probable that at least half a million souls were transferred from Ulster
to the American colonies, making not less than one sixth part of our population at the time of the
Revolution.   Once planted in the Allegheny region, they spread rapidly and in large numbers toward
the southwest along the mountain country through the Shenandoah Valley and into the Carolinas.  At a
later time, they formed almost the entire population of West Virginia, and they were the men who chiefly
built up the commonwealths of Kentucky and Tennessee.  Among these Scotch-Irish were the
Breckinridges, Alexanders, Lewises, Prestons, Campbells, Pickenses, Stuarts, McDowells, Johnstons
and Rutledges; Richard Montgomery, Anthony Wayne, Daniel Boone, James Robertson, George Rogers
Clark, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Benton, Samuel Houston, John Caldwell Calhoun, Stonewall Jackson.  It
was chiefly Scotch-Irish troops that won the pivotal battle at King's Mountain, that defeated the Indians
of Alabama, and overthrew Wellington's veterans of the Spanish peninsula in that brief but acute agony
at New Orleans.  When our Civil War came, these men were a great power on both sides, but the
influence of the chief mass of them was exerted on the side of the Union; it held Kentucky and a large
part of Tennessee, and broke Virginia in twain.

   It was about 1730 that the Scotch-Irish began to pour into the Shenandoah Valley.  "Governor Gooch
was then dispensing the Valley lands so freely and indiscriminately that one Jacob Stover, it is said,
secured many acres by giving his cattle human names as settlers; and a young woman, by dressing in
various disguises of masculine attire, obtained several large farms."
[Conway's Barons, p. 213]   Small
farms, however, came to be the rule.  The first Scotch-Irish settled along the Opequon River; and their
very oldest churches, the Tuscarora Meetinghouse near Martinsburg and the Opequon Church near
Winchester, are still standing.

   This settlement of the Valley soon began to work profound modifications in the life of Old Virginia.  
Hitherto it had been purely English and predominantly Episcopal, Cavalier and aristocratic.  There was
now a rapid invasion of Scotch Presbyterianism, with small farms, few slaves, and democratic ideas,
made more democratic by life in the backwoods.  It was impossible that two societies so different in
habits and ideas should coexist side by side, sending representatives to the same House of
Burgesses, without a stubborn conflict.  For two generations, there was a ferment which resulted in the
separation of church and state, complete religious toleration, the abolition of primogeniture and
entails, and many other important changes, most of which were consummated under the leadership of
Thomas Jefferson between 1776 and 1785.  Without the aid of the Valley population, these beginnings
of metamorphosis in tidewater Virginia would not have been accomplished.

   Jefferson is often called the father of modern American democracy; in a certain sense the
Shenandoah Valley and adjacent Appalachian regions may be called its cradle.  In that rude frontier
society, life assumed many new aspects, old customs were forgotten, old distinctions abolished, social
equality acquired even more importance than unchecked individualism.  The notions which
characterized Jacksonian democracy, flourished greatly on the frontier and have thence been
propagated eastward through the older communities, affecting their legislation and their politics more
or less according to frequency of contact and intercourse.  This phase of democracy, which is destined
to continue so long as frontier life retains any importance, can nowhere be so well studied in its
beginnings as among the Presbyterian population of the Appalachian region in the eighteenth century.
Excerpts from the Scotch-Irish Chapters of
John Fiske, Published in 1897

I've excerpted all of the material on the subject of the Scotch-Irish from
this book; however, because of the author's tendency to mix subjects in
the same chapter, I haven't always included complete chapters.
Language and spelling is as it appears in the book.  NB
Oldest Masonic Lodge in America,
Williamsburg, VA; built in 1774
Baldridge and Turrentine Family Page    History of Lancaster County, PA