1776 1976
A Bi-Centennial




"There were three reasons why these streams of Ulstermen went so far from the settled part of the country. The first was that they might have liberty to worship God as their fathers' did: there was burned into their very soul the memory of English ingratitude and English persecution. The second reason was that they were determined to have nothing more to do with a settled government, which to them had proved in Ireland only another name for tyranny, and they went to those regions where they would be beyond the reach of any civil authority. The third reason was that the land beyond the pale of civilisation was cheap, and large families could be supported at small expense."
- J. B. Woodburn.

The emigrants from Ulster found that the most welcome door by which to enter America was the Delaware River ports. Those who went to Boston found great problems and a frosty reception, whereas those who entered by Philadelphia or Chester or New Castle found a real home-coming welcome. Indeed so enthusiastic was their welcome, and so convincingly did they persuade their friends back in Ulster of that fact, that "to go to America" for an Ulster emigrant was to take ship to Pennsylvania. It is reckoned that well over three-quarters of all Ulster emigrants entered America by the State of William Penn.

With the coast towns as their spring-board the Scotch-Irish leaped forward to the western frontier. The three major settlements of the Ulster emigrants were in South-eastern Pennsylvania, in the Valley of Virginia and in the Piedmont of the two Carolinas.


Pennsylvania was as the Promised Land to the Ulster settlers. They came from a land with bad harvests and famine to a land with rich soil where it did not look likely that harvests would ever fail. Meat could be got by the shot of a gun for game was very plentiful, and wood was abundant for the construction of their new homes and their furnishings.

Further, the church to which they belonged was already established there. It had been founded in America, as we have already noticed, by one of their own fellow countrymen, Rev. Francis Mackemie.

James Logan, the Provincial Secretary of the State, and himself a native of Lurgan, Ulster, wrote in 1720: "At the time (of the arrival of the first large number of Ulster emigrants) we were apprehensive from the Northern Indians . . . I therefore thought that it might be prudent to plant a settlement of such men as those who formerly had so bravely defended Londonderry and Inniskillen as a frontier in case of any disturbance."

The Scotch-Irish settlers were determined to make good. President Theodore Roosevelt writes of them: "It is doubtful if we have fully realised the part played by this stern and virile people. They formed the kernel of that American stock who were the pioneers of our people in their march westward."

They travelled from the coast mostly on foot. A few who could afford a horse made easier going. As there were no roads on the Pennsylvania frontier a wheeled vehicle would have been useless anyway. The emigrants followed the river valleys, the flowing waterways pointing the way onward and forward for them and its magnetism was irresistible.

The emigrants eventually crossed the Susquehanna and commenced settling the Cumberland Valley. In fact that rich valley became as one writer puts it, "the seed-plot and nursery of their race (Scotch-Irish), the original reservoir which, after having filled to overflowing, sent forth a constant stream of emigrants to the northward and especially to the South and West. For a generation other racial groups were but scantily represented here."


Eventually the continued waves of emigration swept onward into the Valley of Virginia. If the Cumberland Valley was the seed-bed of the Scotch-Irish in Pennsylvania the central valley of Virginia became the same in that State. What seems to be a never-ending flow of Scotch-Irish poured into the valley, and so created a highway which eventually led to Kentucky. However, at the first, the tide of emigration flowed toward the Piedmont of the two Carolinas. As the Virginia settlement resulted from the overspill from Pennsylvania so the Piedmont settlement resulted from the overspill from Virginia, or in other words Pennsylvania and Virginia were but the stepping stones in the onward march of the Scotch-Irish occupation.

Those who followed, after the settlements in Pennsylvania and Virginia had been established, found these now occupied territories more expensive to live in, and pressed on to those lands still unclaimed.

The second generation of the Scotch-Irish also felt the urge forward and onward, and the call of lands, cheap and plentiful, lured them to join the immigrant trains.

A restlessness had become part of the character of the emigrants from Ulster. They had to be on the move. They loved to strike out on their own. They all had the conviction that the far off fields were the best.


The leaders in North Carolina's State affairs did everything in their power to encourage the Scotch-Irish settlers. In fact two of the most prominent, Rowan, President of the Council, and Dobbs, the Governor 1754-1765, were themselves Ulstermen.

Soon the emigrants' restlessness led them on to South Carolina, the Governor there had secured large areas of the Cherokee Indian territory. This was a welcome signal for the emigrants and of those emigrants, the Scotch-Irish were preponderant. The descendants of those settlers eventually crossed the Appalachian Mountains and blazed the trail finally to the Pacific coast.

All the settlements felt the power of Indian raids and the awful barbarity of Indian warfare.

"The Scotch-Irish, by their constant incursion into western territory and their often complete insensitivity to Indian rights and feelings, were destroying the Indian way of life and making the future seem bleak indeed. On the other hand, the pioneer had made a home in what, to him, had been wilderness and empty land; he had no intention of retiring supinely from what he had created with his own toil. Because his settlements were nearest the Indians and most subject to forays, he had personal reasons for bearing the brunt of years of guerrilla fighting.

"The Scotch-Irish soon got over any Old World notions of the `proper' way to fight; they quickly adopted Indian methods. If the savages butchered the white man, the only way to fight back was to butcher the Indians, to scalp him, burn his villages in surprise attacks. There is no doubt that this is brutal and that whatever finer sensibilities the people may have possessed frequently became dulled. Chivalry and honour to Scotch-Irish now felt to be fantastic whims if applied to a savage opponent. The policy of appeasement so long followed by the Quakers seemed now more obstinate stupidity; in its place the rule must be blow for blow, death for death - and woe to the vanquished. The Scotch-Irish carried the war informally into the Indians' territory and wrought desolation at every opportunity.

"Easterners in the English parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia could now clearly distinguish between the characteristics of back-country settlers. Germans, in general, especially those in Pennsylvania, retired rather than fight the Indians; many of these Rhinelanders were as pacific as the Quakers and the others had taken pains to obtain Indian consent to their settlements. Scotch-Irish, on the other hand, were known to be excitable and hotheaded.

"Tidewater people generally saw them as 'invincible in prejudice,' frequently rude and lawless, implacable to enemies. Yet, as a later historian of the Braddock expedition put it, `they hated the Indian while they despised him . . . Impatient of restraint, rebellious against anything that in their eyes bore the resemblance of injustice, we find these men readiest among the ready on the battlefields of the Revolution.

"If they had their faults, a lack of patriotism or of courage was not among the number. Amongst them were to be found men of education, intelligence, and virtue. Ministers fought along with their congregations. Many accounts tell of sermons preached with the minister, gun at hand in the pulpit, keeping watch through the church door for signs of Indians."

Governor Gilmer, writing in the history of his State of Georgia, said: "Kentucky was first settled by Ulstermen from Virginia and North Carolina. East of the Alleghany Mountains they formed the protecting wall between the red men and the tide water. But not for long did our people endure the mountain frontier. Everywhere they leaped across it and opened out the country in the West."

It will surely be interesting for Ulster people to know that Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett, the famous Indian scouts and fighters, were of Ulster stock.


Dr. Marshall point out that . . .
"Ulster's mark on America is also visible in its place names. There are eighteen towns in the United States named after Belfast. There are seven Derrys, nine Antrims and sixteen Tyrones. There is a Coleraine in Massachusetts. New Hampshire has Stewartstown. Washington, Ohio and Iowa have each a Pomeroy. Hillsborough is in New Hampshire, Illinois, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Miami has Newry. Ohio has Banbridge. In twelve States there are twelve Milfords. In Michigan there is a town named after that river that is not in Ulster, but once was dyed red with Ulster blood, the famous River Boyne."

Perhaps at this stage a further word should be said about that early Scotch-Irish settlement, New Derry in New Hampshire and the influence of its people. Those early pioneers set the standard and way for the Ulster folk who followed them to the New World. They erected a fort for their general protection against the Indians. The second house erected was the Meeting House for the public worship of Almighty God. This demonstrated the value they placed on spiritual things.

The third building they erected was the School House and finally houses for themselves.

It was not for nothing they called it Londonderry. Many of its citizens had taken part in the famous seige. McGregore himself, their minister, had been a soldier at the time of the seige. The musket which he carried into the pulpit is still proudly displayed.

Dr. Marshall records that "into every walk of life this town of New Derry and its offspring towns sent out men of distinction, men like Matthew Thornton, signatory to the Declaration of Independence, and Horace Greeley, founder of the New York Tribune and a national figure in the anti-slavery agitation. In fifty years of New Hampshire history, nearly half of its State Governors had the Ulster blood while all through New England the Ulstermen rapidly forced their way to the front, and the Puritan and Quaker were left behind in the race for fame."


It would be a fitting conclusion to this section of our story to mention one notable emigrant from Ulster.

The reputation of Francis Mackemie made a unique impression on an Anglican clergyman in Ulster, the Reverend William Tennent. William Tennent was born in 1673. His birthplace was probably Scotland.

We know, however, that he was educated in Glasgow University and was received as a probationer in the General Synod of Ulster. His son, Gilbert, was baptised by the Presbyterian minister at Vinecash in Ulster. In 1704 Tennent was ordained a deacon and afterwards a priest in the Anglican Church. He remained in Orders in that Church for thirteen years. Becoming disgusted with the anti-Christian spirit of the State Church he returned to the Church of his fathers and having received from his relation, James Logan, the Secretary of Pennsylvania, a promise of help, he sailed to America with his wife, four sons and a daughter. The courage of the man was outstanding. He was forty-five years old, an age when most men would be settling down, when he set forth to the New World.

Shortly after he arrived at Philadelphia in September, 1718, he was accepted by the Synod of the Presbyterian Church and in November of the same year was installed as minister of East Chester, New York. Later he pastored the church at Bedford, New York.

At the age of 54 he moved to Neshaminy, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He built a Meeting House there and his influential friend, James Logan made over to his wife Katherine, some fifty acres of land. Here William Tennent started the school he always dreamed of in a log cabin beside his home with his own five sons as the first students. That log cabin school came to supply the Presbyterian Church of America with a galaxy of able ministers of the Word.

The "Log Cabin" as it was called brought great Opposition from many ministers in the American Presbyterian Church. Its graduates were men of zeal and those who had settled down into a dead and defunct orthodoxy felt condemned by their flaming soul-saving ministries. Eventually the American Presbyterian Church divided. Those who followed the Tennents and supported the "Log Cabin" became the Synod of New York.

The "Log Cabin" men without doubt dominated the American religious scene and were the means of arousing the church to a great revival and forward movement. George Whitefield, the famous leader of the Great Evangelical Awakening, and Gilbert Tennent, William's son, became close companions in the spread of the awakening in the New World.

The "Log Cabin" was in fact the forerunner of one of America's most famous Presbyterian schools - Princeton. All its twenty-one graduates attained to places of the greatest distinction.

Dr. Hanzsche says:
"William Tennent saved the Christian religion in America from dry rot on the one hand and ignorant emotionalism on the other. He made the Christian faith a fervent personal experience and an adventure for souls; yet he kept it on a scholarly Biblical basis. And he made the development of character the high purpose of education. This quiet man, in his little log cabin in the woods, did more than any other man of his day to mould and direct the leadership, the life and the form of the American Christian Church."



"The chief reason of the difference is religion. The men of Ulster took their Christianity in the early centuries to Scotland, and Scotland repaid that debt many centuries later by giving them the Reformed Faith when she sent her sons across the channel to the North of Ireland, and it was the Reformation under God that made the Ulster Scot what he is." - J. B. Woodburn

The whole weight of evidence goes to prove that the Scotch-Irish were foremost in the Revolutionary War and the Declaration of Independence.
They were eager to fight in that war and were in fact the first to declare it. Their Calvinism had taught them that tyrannical rulers, whether kings or parliaments, ought to be resisted and that Constitutional Rights must be defended.

Indeed the first drawing of blood in the campaign was on the Alamanac River in North Carolina on May 14th, 1771, when the Scotch-Irish clashed with British Forces under Governor Tryon.


A formidable array of witnesses testify to the contribution made by the Scotch-Irish in originating and supporting America's independence.
President McKinley said of the Scotch-Irish, "They were the first to proclaim for freedom in these United States: even before Lexington the Scotch-Irish blood had been shed for American freedom. In the forefront of every battle was seen their burnished mail.and in the rear of retreat was heard their voice of constancy."

The American historian Bancroft states:
"The first voice publicly raised against Great Britain came, not from the Puritans of New England, nor from the Dutch of New York, nor from the Cavaliers of Virginia but from the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians."

As a matter of fact, before the American Declaration of Independence, the Ulster settlers in North Carolina called a convention at Charlotte and passed Resolutions of Independence and so became the first public voice in the Colonies advocating this course of action. These resolutions became known as the Mecklenburg Resolutions.

A similar course was followed by the settlers of Ulster origin in New Hampshire. They issued their own Declaration of Independence prior to that of the Congress.

President Theodore Roosevelt speaking of those early declarations by the Scotch-Irish said:

"The West was won by those who have been rightly called the Roundheads of the South, the same men who before any other declared for American lndependance."

There was Scotch-Irish unity on the issue of Independence. So much so that it was recorded, "a Presbyterian loyalist (ie someone supporting Britain in the Revolutionary war) was a thing unheard of."

Froude writes: "Throughout the revolted colonies, and, therefore, probably in the first to begin the struggle, all evidence shows that the foremost, the most irreconcilable, the most determined in pushing the quarrel to the last extremity, were the Scotch-Irish whom the bishops and Lord Donegal and company had been pleased to drive out of Ulster."

In 1778 an army officer wrote, "Call this war by whatever name you may, only call it not an American rebellion; it is nothing more or less than a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian rebellion.

No wonder King George III called it "a Presbyterian war" and Horace Warpole summed it up with the jibe, "I hear that our American cousin has run away with a Scotch-Irish parson."

The epitaph of John Lewis, Ulster pioneer settler in Augusta County, illustrates the fighting spirit of the Scotch-Irish:

"Here lies the remains of John Lewis, who slew the Irish lord, settled Augusta County, located the town of Staunton, and furnished five sons to fight the battles of the American Revolution."


General George Washington had the highest possible regard for those of his troops of Ulster origin. "If defeated everywhere else" he declared, "I will make my last stand for liberty among the Scotch-Irish of my native Virginia."

In the war for Independence the Scotch-Irish were the first to start and the last to quit. At times they formed the major part of Washington's army. Evidence goes to show their predominance.

Those who appeared before a Committee of the House of Commons testified that Ulstermen made up half of the rebel army.

Plowden records that most of the successes in America were immediately owing to the vigour and courage of the Scotch-Irish emigrants.
The Scotch-Irish showed their valour and more than proved their worth in the day of battle.

At one period when Washington admitted that he did not know "what is to become of us" the Scotch-Irish won a victory which put fresh heart into the whole independence struggle. After a march of some four days a group of Scotch-Irish militia utterly defeated a British force, numbering twice their size, at King's Mountain, killing the Commander and one hundred and eighty of his men and taking some one thousand prisoners. The five colonels of the militia were all Presbyterian elders. This encounter marked the turning point of the war. At the battle of Cowper, Morgan and Pickens, both elders in the Presbyterian Church, both Scotch-Irish, and leading a force of Scotch-Irish, overthrew the British, killing one hundred, wounding another two hundred, and capturing five hundred.

As no large armies were engaged in the war, this was another decisive victory.


The Ulster-Scotch also helped to finance the war. Dr. Marshall states:

"In 1780 the army of the United Colonies was in a sad condition, imperfectly supplied with equipment and munitions of war, disgracefully clad and poorly paid. A number of patriotic citizens, hopeless of Congress action, subscribed a large sum of money to purchase equipment, clothing, and food for their fighting men. Among those patriots was Blair McClenaghan who gave 50,000 dollars. He was born in Ulster. James Mease gave 25,000 dollars. He was born in Strabane. His uncle John, born in the same town, gave 20,000 dollars. John Dunlop gave a similar sum, and he was also born in Strabane. John Murray was born in Belfast. He gave 30,000 dollars. John Donaldson gave 10,000 dollars. John Nixon, Thomas Barclay and John Nesbitt were three men of Ulster origin wha gave 30,000 dollars apiece. The list could be extended, and these are only a few out of those who might be named. The acid test of enthusiasm for a cause is generous support in the form of hard cash. It is clear our folk passed the test."

The desperate plight of the Revolutionary Army at times is best summed up in the words of Washington himself:

"If Historiographers should be hardy enough to fill the page of history with the advantages that have gained with unequal numbers (on the part of America) in the course of the contest, and attempt to relate the distressing circumstances under which they have been obtained, it is more than probable that Posterity will bestow on their labours the epithet and marks of fiction; for it will not be believed that such a force as Great Britain has employed for eight years in this country could be baffled in their plan of subjugating it by numbers infinitely less, composed of men sometimes half starved; always in rags, without pay and experiencing, at times, every species of distress which human nature is capable of undergoing."

How welcome the dollars from the Scotch-Irish must have been to Washington and his army in those unbelievable circumstances.


Many of the high ranking officers in Washington's army, who served with such distinction, were of Ulster origin.

The General sent by Congress to attack Quebec was Richard Montgomery, a Donegal man.

The Commander of the Washington artillery was General Harry Knox, the son of an emigrant from Donegal and a native of New Londonderry.

He became Secretary for War in Washington's first cabinet.

The grandfather of General Anthony Wayne, another of Washington's officers, fought at the Boyne. Wayne told Washington he would storm the gates of hell if he was ordered.

So the list could go on. It would include General Andrew Lewis born in Donegal, General Dan Morgan who came from Co. Derry, General Walter Scott born in the Maiden City, General William Thompson born in Maghera, General John Clark born in Antrim, Washington's Quartermaster, General Ephraim Baine - born in Donegal, Washington's Adjutant General, Joseph Reid - the son of Ulster parents, and General William Irvine, born at Enniskillen.One of the principal squares in Savannah is named aster Sergeant William Jasper, and there is also a monument there to his memory. He was born in Ulster.

The military record of the Scotch-Irish in the war of the Revolution is second to none. No one acknowledged this more than George Washington himself. The money given to him by the American people as a gift after the war he donated to the founding of a school in a predominantly Scotch-Irish part of his native Virginia.


What was true of the Scotch-Irish in the Revolutionary War was also true of them in the War with England in 1812 and in the Civil War.

General George Croghan received the thanks of the Congress for his magnificent leadership in the war of 1812. He was of Ulster stock. His memory is honoured by a State monument in Ohio.

The victor of New Orleans in that same war, Andrew Jackson, later president of the United States, was born in North Carolina shortly after his parents arrived from Ulster.

In the Civil War soldiers of Ulster stock distinguished themselves both in Federal and Confederate sides.

Ulysses Grant, later United States President, was Commander-in-Chief at the end of the war of the Federal Army. His mother was of Ulster stock.

General "Stonewall" Jackson, the hero of the Confederate Army, famous for his piety and genius, was also of Ulster origin.

General Robert E. Lee, of the South, was asked, "What race do you think makes the best soldiers?" He replied, "The Scotch who came to this country by way of Ireland, because they have all the dash of the Irish in taking a position, and all the stubbornness of the Scotch in holding it."


The Introduction of America's Declaration of Independence gives us a good idea of the manner of men who framed it and those who afterwards appended their names thereto.

"When in the course of human events," it begins, "it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connect them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government laying its foundations on such principles and organising its powers in such a form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

It can be easily seen that those who drew up the Declaration were men of religious convictions and steeped in the Calvinistic tradition. That Ulster men and men of Ulster stock had a leading hand in it will come as no surprise to those who have read what has gone before.

The Declaration is in the handwriting of an Ulsterman, Charles T hompson of Maghera, Perpetual Secretary to the Congress. He was a man of great integrity, so much so that a proverb was coined, "It's as true as if Charles Thompson's name were on it."

The Declaration was first printed by another Ulsterman, John Dunlop of Strabane. Its first public reading was by the son of an Ulsterman, Colonel John Nixon. The first and only signature on the Declaration for one month after it was drawn up was that of John Hancock, Governor of Massachusetts, and President of Congress. Hancock's forebears were Presbyterians hailing from the Co. Down area of Northern Ireland.

The committee of five which drew up the first draft of the Declaration was chaired by John Rutledge, who was the son of an Ulster emigrant.

Dr. Marshall lists some of the other signatories who were of Ulster origin: "William Whipple-his parents came to Maine from Ulster in 1730. Robert Paine - his grandfather came from Dungannon. Thomas McKean - his father was born near Ballymoney. Thomas Nelson-his grandfather came from Strabane. Matthew Thornton - his father sailed in one of the five ships in 1718, and settled in New Derry. George Taylor - his father was an Ulster minister. Edward Rutledge - like his great brother John, was the son of an Ulster emigrant."

The resolve of these men is seen in the last paragraph of the Declaration.

"We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good people of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce and do all other acts and things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honour.
John Hancock."

The best way we could bring to an end this part of our story is to record the testimonies of two prominent witnesses.

First, President Theodore Roosevelt who said, "it is a curious fact that in the Revolutionary war, the Germans and the Catholic Irish should have furnished the bulk of the auxiliaries to the regular English soldiers; but the fiercest and most ardent Americans of all were the Presbyterian Irish settlers and their descendants."

Second, the American Owen Wister, who states, "Americans are being told in these days that they owe a debt of support to Irish Independence, because the Irish fought with us in our own struggle for independence. Yes the Irish did and we do owe them a debt of support. But it was the Orange Irish who fought in our Revolution not the Green Irish."

"In all the historic achievements of Scotland is there any more remarkable than the conquest of leadership in a land by men (ie Ulster Scots) half a century behind other and strong races in entering upon the scene?"
- Whitelaw Reid.



For fifty-six years Presidents of direct Scotch-Irish descent occupied the White House. In all, there were ten of them, a very large proportion from the small group from which they sprang.

Of these ten five had their roots in Co. Antrim, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnston, Chester Alan Arthur, Stephen Grover Cleveland, and William McKinley.

Three of the ten, Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan and Chester Alan Arthur were first generation Americans, their fathers having been born in Ulster. Presidents of the USA must, according to the Constitution, be American born. In US history these are the only three first-generation Americans to achieve the nation's highest office.

It should of course be mentioned that some other US Presidents, above these ten, were of Scotch-Irish descent. These include Presidents Truman and Eisenhower and the current President Ford.


Andrew Jackson was born 15th March, 1767 and died June 8th, 1845. He was the seventh President of the United States of America. His father, Andrew, for whom he was named, and his mother, Elizabeth Hutchinson, and his two brothers emigrated from Boneybefore, Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, in 1765. He was born in the "lean backwoods" settlement of the Waxhaw in South Carolina, just after the arrival of his parents in America.

He served as a boy trooper in the revolutionary war and took part in the Battle of Hanging Rock, being captured along with his brother, Robert, by the British. In prison they both contracted smallpox and were released in exchange for two other prisoners. Robert shortly after died from his war wounds and prison sickness. Mrs. Jackson, as a result of nursing the war-wounded at Charleston, died of prison fever. Andrew was thus left completely alone in the world at the age of fourteen, his other brother, Hugh, having been killed in 1779.

Jackson trained as a lawyer and eventually, when Tennesse was admitted as a state in 1796, sat as a delegate in the convention which framed its first constitution. He then became Tennesse's first Congressman to the Federal House of Representatives. Afterwards he sat for the same state in the Senate. When he resigned from the Senate he was appointed one of the superior judges of Tennesse.

He got elected Major General of the militia of Tennesse in 1802.

The war of 1812 gave Jackson his chance. The Creek Indians massacred the inmates of Fort Mimms in Mississippi Territory and a call came to Tennesse for help. Jackson did the seemingly impossible by defeating the Indians at Horseshoe Bend on 27th March, 1814.

As a result Jackson was commissioned a major-general in the US Army.

He made his real fame, however, as the defender of New Orleans against Wellington's veterans. At the age of 48 he thus became the hero of the nation and gained for himself the name, "Old Hickory" forever.

He was appointed by President Munroe as the first Governor of Florida. After resigning from that position he was in 1823 re-elected for Tennesse to the American Senate. He failed to be elected President in 1824 but in 1828 with his campaign managers conjuring with the name "Old Hickory," he reached the White House. He served as President for two terms from 1829-1837. He died in 1845. Jackson had all the characteristics of a son of Ulster.

"His temper was hot and his spirit high yet he could restrain emotions or play them up for the sake of effect. He spoke volubly, in a vehement and somewhat declamatory manner, but with perfect self-possession. He was tender and gentle with those whom he loved and loyal to those whom he considered his friends. He hated his enemies with unabated fervour and all who opposed him were his foes. He was strong willed and impetuous in action yet he reflected carefully before coming to a decision." - Dictionary of American Biography.

In his booklet, "The Scotch-Irish in America's History" Eric Montgomery states:

"In the middle of the nineteenth century the old Jackson homestead at Boneybefore was pulled down to make way for the railroad from Belfast to Larne and the stones were used to build another house beside the railroad, which is still standing and which incorporates also a window from the old Jackson homestead."

A plaque marks the original site. It reads, "Reputed site of the ANCESTRAL HOME OF ANDREW JACKSON, President of the USA 1829-1837."


James Knox Polk, eleventh President of the United States was born on 2nd November, 1795 and died on 15th June 1849.

His family originated in Scotland but removed to Northern Ireland where their name Pollock was contracted into Polk. The future President's great-great-great grandfather, Robert Bruce Polk, emigrated from Co. Londonderry to Maryland towards the close of the seventeenth century.

James' mother was a Jane Knox, a rigid Presbyterian from whom he derived his keen interest in religion and politics. Polk was a dedicated sabbatarian all his life although he finally became a Methodist.

After graduating from the University of South Carolina, he took up the practice of law.

On Ist January, 1824, he married Sarah Childress, a lady of great ability and culture, who became one of the most popular mistresses the White House has ever known.

He entered Congress in 1825 opposing President Adams and giving his support to Jackson. He failed to get elected to the Speakership of the House of Representatives in 1834. At the next session of the House he was, however, elected. His Speakership was noted for the volume of heckling and abuse which he had to endure. He became Governor of Tennessee in 1839. Largely through Jackson's influence he became a candidate for the Presidency and took office in 1845.

In office he showed one of the traits of his Scotch-Irish background, the trait of independence.. He even rejected advice from "Old Hickory" himself, and fully justified his affirmation on election to office, "I intend to be myself President of the United States." During his Presidency the United States acquired both New Mexico and California.

Polk undermined his health by ardous labour and died on 15th June, 1849, a few months after his term of office ran out.


James Buchanan, fifteenth President of the United States, was born on 23rd April, 1791, and died on 1st June, 1868. His ancestors - Buchanans, Russels, Speers and Patersons - were all Ulster Scotch Presbyterians.

His father, James Buchanan, was a descendant of George Buchanan of Blairlisk, Scotland, who settled in Deroran near Omagh, County Tyrone in 1674. James Buchanan, senior, emigrated from Ulster to Philadelphia in 1783. He married Elizabeth Speer, who was also of Ulster extraction.

James Buchanan was educated at Dickinson College, became a brilliant lawyer and one of the most able debaters in the United States. In 1814 he was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He was the friend of Andrew Jackson.

In June 1831 he became US Minister to Russia. On his return from Russia he was elected to the United States Senate. He refused the office of Attorney General. He became Polk's Secretary of State.

Under the Presidency of Franklin Pierce, Buchanan became US Minister in London.

He was nominated presidential candidate in 1856 and was elected, though on a minority popular vote.

His presidential career was marked by a most vigorous foreign policy, advantageous to the United States.

On the election of Lincoln it became evident that secession would take place. Buchanan vigorously denied the right of secession but confessed helplessness in dealing with it. His administration fell to pieces in the remaining days before Lincoln was inaugurated. Buchanan on retirement supported the administration throughout the war as a Union Democrat. It has been stated that by nature he was neither fitted "to ride the whirlwind or command the storm" to which awful test he was forced in the mysterious workings of Providence.


Andrew Johnson, seventeenth President of the United States, was born on 29th December, 1808, and died on 31st July, 1875. His ancestors from Northern Ireland lived in the neighbourhood of Larne, Co. Antrim. The President's grandfather, also Andrew Johnson, emigrated from there in or about the year 1750. Coming from poor circumstances Johnson was a self-made man and developed great power as a public speaker.

In 1835 he was elected to the Legislature of Tennessee and in 1840 he was elected to the State Senate. In 1843 he won a seat in the Federal House of Representatives where he served for ten years.

He was elected Governor of Tennessee in 1853 and again in 1855. He became a United States Senator two years later. He declared himself for the Union and was hailed by the North as a powerful ally. He was appointed by Lincoln Military Governor of Tennesse.

He became Lincoln's running mate in the great man's second election campaign and became Vice President on Lincoln's election to the Presidency. He succeeded to the Presidency on Lincoln's assassination. He immediately announced that he would carry on Lincoln's policy.

The most outstanding incident in his Presidency was his impeachment by the House of Representatives for high crimes and misdemeanours in office. The impeachment failed and was generally admitted to have been a blunder. He was re-elected to the United States Senate for Tennessee in 1875 and thus began the reversal of judgment on his presidential career. His last words in the Senate were memorable "Let peace and prosperity be restored to the land, May

God bless the people; may God save the Constitution."


Ulysses Simpson Grant, the eighteenth President of the United States, was born on 27th April, 1822, and died on 23rd July, 1885. He became Lincoln's Commander of the Federal Forces in the Civil War.

His father, Jesse Root Grant, a tanner by trade, married in 1821, Hannah Simpson, the daughter of a farmer. The Simpson family came from County Tyrone. Their ancestral home at Dergina, near Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, is still occupied by Simpsons.

Grant inherited many traits from his mother who was a deeply religious woman of great common sense and good judgment.

Ulysses was brought up on his father's farm and from an early age had a passion for horses. From seven until he was fourteen, besides attending school, he says, in his "Personal Memoirs," "I did all the work done by horses."

His father, eager to attain advantages for his family, secured for him at the age of sixteen an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Although his name was at baptism Hiram Ulysses Grant, it was stated by the authorities that his congressman had got the appointment for him as Ulysses Simpson Grant and from henceforth that was to be his name.

He soon became known as the best rider amongst the cadets but when he graduated, because there were no vacancies in the Cavalry he was appointed to the Fourth Infantry. He saw active service in the war with Mexico. He married Julia Dent on 22nd April, 1848. He was posted to California and in 1853 promoted Captain. He became addicted to drink and after admonition he resigned and found himself in 1854 after eleven years of service, out of the army, penniless, with no job and far away from home.

His chance came again when the Civil War broke out and Lincoln called for volunteers. He was eventually appointed Colonel of the Twenty-First Illinois Volunteers. A month after his appointment the regiment was ordered to Mexico, Mo., and much to his surprise he was promoted to Brigadier-General.

Grant proved himself by capturing Fort Henry and Fort Donelson which resulted in the surrender of 14,000 Confederate troops. Lincoln, amidst the frantic joy of the North, promoted him Major-General of volunteers.

The glory of his achievement at Donelson was soon eclipsed, however, by the Battle of Shiloh where because of his failure to take adequate precautions, the Confederates, though driven back, had the advantage over the Federal forces. Though pressed to relieve Grant of his commission, Lincoln refused saying, "I can't spare this man - he fights."

If Shiloh showed up Grant at his worst Vicksburg showed him up at his best. There, in one of the boldest strokes ever recorded in the annals of modern warfare he achieved a glorious victory. By this victory the Union gained control of the Mississippi from the rise to its mouth.

Once more Grant was hailed as a hero and promoted Major-General in the regular army. He saved the Union Army from starvation and capitulation at Chattanooga after their defeat at Chickamanga. He then proceeded to chastise the Confederates defeating them under their Commander, Bragg.

For the third time Grant was the man of the hour. Congress gave him a gold medal, he was promoted to Lt. General and Commander of the armies of the United States.

He refused to become a candidate for the Presidency stating that his one objective was to win the war. Lincoln remained his steadfast friend.

As Supreme Commander he conceived the overall plan to finish the war and brought the plan successfully to a conclusion.

He was elected President in 1868. His Presidency had some solid achievements, such as the harmony between the United States and the United Kingdom, the steering of the United States away from another civil war, the consolidation of the Government after the attempt to remove a President (Andrew Johnson) and the weathering of the panic of 1873 with its financial and moral uneasiness.

He was buried in a great mausoleum of granite at Riverside Drive in New York City.


Chester Alan Arthur, the twenty-first President of the United States, was born on 5th October, 1830, and died on 18th November, 1886. His father was the Rev. William Arthur, of Dreen, Ballymena, Co. Antrim in Northern Ireland. His father was a graduate of Queen's College, Belfast, and sailed for America with his father, Alan Arthur, in 1816. The ancestral farmhouse still stands at the Dreen.

William Arthur settled in Vermont and became a Baptist preacher. On 12th April, 1821, he married Malvina Stone. Their second child born at Fairfield, Vermont, was Chester Alan, the subject of this sketch.

After his election to the Presidency, A. P. Hinman published a book entitled "How a British Subject Became President of the United States." He claimed that the Rev. William Arthur preached on both sides of the Vermont-Canadian Border, that Chester Alan was born in Canada and that it was a second son who died in infancy who was born in Fairfield, Vermont. He also alleged that before accepting nomination as Vice-President, Arthur travelled to Canada secretly to see that there were no incriminating public records. Hinman's allegations fell on deaf ears and were treated a: totally false. Arthur graduated from Union College, Schenectady, New York, in 1848. In 1859 he married Ellen Lewis Hendon. While not serving in the Army during the Civil War he performed administration duties in the New York State with great ability. President Grant in 1871 made him Collector of the Port of New York where for seven years he was responsible for the honest handling of most of the customs revenue of the United States.

Arthur lost that important appointment because of his loyalty to the Republican Party. He was Garfield's running mate and became President on his assassination. His administration was dignified and honourable and he looked the part of President, standing six feet two inches high and carrying himself with constant dignity. He failed to gain the nomination for a second term and died early in the administration of his successor.


Stephen Grover Cleveland the twenty-second and twenty-fourth President of the United States was born on March 18th, 1837 and died on June 24th, 1908.

His father, Rev. Richard Falley Cleveland was a Presbyterian minister. His mother was Ann Neal the daughter of Abner Neal who emigrated from County Antrim, Northern Ireland to America late in the 18th century.

He became a lawyer, and on the death of his father became the breadwinner for the family. He was a Democrat and was elected Mayor of Buffalo on a ticket of Reform.

He was elected Governor of New York on January 3rd, 1883.

Cleveland won the Democratic nomination for the Presidency simply because it was believed that he would attract a large number of Republican dissidents alienated by the Republican nominee James G. Blaine.

A vicious campaign resulted and Cleveland was accused of personal immorality. He however defeated Blaine and became the first Democrat to occupy the White House after the Civil War.

He married on June 2nd, 1886, Frances Folsom.

After his first term, he was defeated by Benjamin Harrison and retired to New York to resume his practice of law.

He was re-nominated by the Democrats in 1892, mainly because of his opposition to the Republican protective tariff policy. When re-elected Cleveland found himself unable to satisfy the voters who returned him to the White House.

He retired to Princeton after his second term of office and became an even more impressive figure out of office.

He refused to accede to his friends when they wanted him to contend for the nomination for yet another term. His last work, was the re-organisation of the Equitable Life Assurance Society.


Benjamin Harrison, the twenty-third President of the United States, was born on August 20th, 1833, and died on March 13th, 1901.

His mother was Elizabeth Irwin whose two great grandfathers, James Irwin and William McDowell, were Ulstermen.

He graduated from Miami University in 1852 and the following year he married Caroline Lavinia Scott.

He became a lawyer and a staunch member of the Republican Party.

On the outbreak of the Civil War he became Colonel of the 70th Indiana Infantry which he helped to raise.

After seeing war service in which he distinguished himself he was brevetted Brigadier-General for "ability and manifest energy and gallantry."

On March 22nd, 1865 he returned to the practice of the law in which he rose to great prominence.

He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church and Superintendent of a Sunday School. He was defeated in his fight for the Governorship of Indiana. Later he was elected to the US Senate.

In 1888 he was the Republican nominee for the Presidency and defeated the incumbent Cleveland. When he sought a second term the result was reversed and Cleveland defeated him. He died of pneumonia on March 13th, 1901, and was buried in Indianapolis.


William McKinley, the twenty-fifth President of the United States was born on January 29th, 1843, and died on September 14th, 1901. He was the great great grandson of James McKinley who came from Conagher, near Ballymoney and emigrated to America about 1743.

The President's great grandfather David, fought in the revolutionary war.

A new dwelling has been erected alongside the old McKinley homestead on the farm at Conagher, close by the River Bush. The farm is still known as McKinley's farm though the last McKinley to occupy it was Francis who emigrated to the States in 1836. In 1897 F. A. Claypool published a book entitled, "The Scotch Ancestors of William McKinley."

At seventeen McKinley enlisted in the Union Army. He retired from the Army as a brevetted major and became a lawyer. He married Ida Saxton on January 25th, 1871.

He was elected to the Congress of the US in 1876, as a Republican.

With the death of Blaine, McKinley became the best presidential timber which the Republicans could supply, and so in 1896 he found himself the President by defeating that great Biblicalist William Jennings Bryan with a popular majority. He was the first President since 1872 to receive a popular majority.

The great event in his Presidency was the intervention of the US to secure Cuba's independence from Spain.

He was re-elected with Theodore Roosevelt as his running mate, but on September 6th, 1901 he was shot dead by an anarchist, Leon F. Czolgosz. His last words were, "it is God's way. His will not ours be done." He believed in the Divinity of Christ and by conviction was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His death brought to a close a unique era of American political development.


Woodrow Wilson the twenty-eighth President of the US was born on December 28th, 1856 and died on February 3rd, 1924.

Wilson was descended from a Scotch-Irish family, and his ancestral home is at Dergalt near Strabane. It is now in the possession of the National Trust. Wilsons still farm the lands around it.

In 1807 the President's grandfather, James, emigrated. He married an Ulsterwoman whom he met on the voyage to the New World, a Miss Annie Adams. Their son, Rev. Joseph R. Wilson, was the President's father. Woodrow Wilson became a lawyer after studying at Princeton and Virginia. John Hopkins University awarded him a Ph.D. degree for his thesis on Congressional Government.

He married Ellen Louise Akson on June 24th, 1885. At the age of thirty-four he became Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Economy at Princeton.

He was nominated as Democratic candidate in 1912 and secured the largest electoral majority up to that time. In 1916 he was re-elected. On April 6th, 1917, America declared war on Germany.

Wilson did not succeed in his peace plans but nevertheless he was a man of great sincerity and honour.

He confessed he became tired "swimming upstream" and on Sunday, February 3rd, 1924, died in his sleep.

Besides those of Scotch-Irish descent who reached the White House many more with Ulster blood in their veins became Provincial or State Governors. Dr. Marshall gives a list of these which number as many as thirty-seven.


It was not only in the political field however, that the Scotch-Irish made their mark. John Knox gave to Scotland a National Church and also a national system of education. That heritage the Scotch-Irish brought with them to the New World. They founded schools all over their settlements.
Dr. Hogg of New Jersey put on record that "Ninety per cent. of the primitive, religious, educational, and university work done in America was done by the Scotch-Irish."

Many a noble University of today in the US can trace its lineage from a rude log but built by an Ulster minister which acted as a school for the children of his congregation.

Not only in the field of education did the Scotch-Irish make their mark and prove themselves leaders, it was the same in every walk of life.


Dr. Marshall records, "Horace Greeley was the founder of the New York Tribune. Robert Bonner, from Rameltown, was the founder of the New York Ledger. Charles Halpine, of the same stock, founded the New York Citizen. John Dunlop, from Strabane, printed the first daily paper ever issued in the United States. Edgar Allan Poe's great grandfather was an Ulsterman.

"Of merchant princes, we can claim the Stuarts of New York, and the Armours of Chicago. Of financiers, Andrew Mellon, whose link is with Newtownstewart. We have Robert Fulton, of steam-boat fame, and Morse, the inventor of the Morse system of telegraphy and McCormack, the inventor of the reaping machine. McCormack's ancestors fought in the seige of Derry. But time would fail me to instance the countless further examples of Ulster-American industry and achievement. New York is proud of its `first families.' Which of them can compare in eminence and public service with the Routledges, the Calhouns, the Breckinridges, the Polks, the McClellans, the McDowells, the Pattons and the Prestons? The American writer. W. A. Robinson, thus describes the Prestons, the first of whom was born in Derry City: `They were Governors and Ambassadors and Senators; they were College Presidents and eminent divines; they were Generals and Statesmen from Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, California, Ohio, New York, Indiana and South Carolina. Four of them were Governors of Virginia. They were members of the Cabinets of Jefferson, Taylor, Buchanan and Lincoln. They had Generals by the dozen and Senators by the score, and officers by the hundred. They furnished three candidates for the Vice-Presidency of the United States. And all were from this Ulster emigrant from the City of Derry."'


My task is done. The story is told and what a story it is. As I said at the beginning, Ulster Protestants can this Bi-Centennial Year lift up their heads with justifiable pride. Our forebears carried the Torch of Liberty across the ocean and rested not till its Flame illuminated the whole land. While sinister forces battle in loyal Ulster today to extinguish that same Torch of Freedom, may we their sons and daughters, prove ourselves worthy of our heritage, and with God's help, both defend and maintain its Flame.


"Many Americans are misled by Republican propaganda. We ask them to remember to whom it is that they largely owe their freedom; we ask them to remember that it was our people from Ulster who were the first to start and the last to quit; and when appeals are made to them, with reminders of services said to have been rendered, let them remember that these reminders rest on no basis of fact, that Southern Ireland was no more in that war than she was in the last one, and that she made no mark on the United States till the 19th century.

"Let me emphasise, in closing, that we are not beggars for American help in our own struggle. We shall not rush cablegrams to American Presidents. We shall not beg for a hearing in an American Senate or House of Representatives. We shall not plead for American influence with Britain on our behalf. We can fight our own battle. We can still be the last to quit.

"But we do ask that American opinion on the Ulster question should be guided by knowledge and understanding rather than by Republican clamour. We do ask that the American people should thoughtfully and fairly consider the facts, the facts of our position here, and the facts of their own history over there. Knowledge brings understanding, and the child of understanding is sympathy. We ask for all three, and it is we who have the right to ask." - Dr. W. F. Marshall.


W. A. CARSON, Ulster and the Irish Republic, Belfast, 1950.
R. J. DICKSON, Ulster Emigration to Colonial America, London, 1969.
H. J. FORD, The Scotch-Irish in America, London, 1915.
E. R. GREEN, Essays in Scotch-Irish History, London, 1969.
T. HAMILTON, History of the Irish Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh, 1881.
C. A. HANNA, The Scotch-Irish or the Scot in North Britain, North Ireland, and in North America, 2 Vols., London, 1902.
W. T. LATIMER, A History of Irish Presbyterians, Belfast 1902.
J. G. LEYBURN, The Scotch-Irish - A Social History, N. Carolina, 1962.
W. F. MARSHALL, Ulster Sails West, Belfast, 1943.
E. MONTGOMERY, The Scotch-Irish in America's History, Belfast 1965. PROCEEDINGS, Congress of the Scotch-Irish Society of America, 1889-1896, 1900 and 1901.
RECORDS, The General Synod of Ulster, 3 Vols., Belfast, 1890.
J. S. REID, History of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Vol. 1, London, 1853.
T. ROOSEVELT, The Winning of the West, 4 Vols, New York, 1896.
J. B. WOODBURN, The Ulster Scot, His History and Religion, London, 1914.

'Published by Martyrs Memorial Publications,
356-376 Ravenhill Road,
Belfast, BT6 8GL
Printed by Puritan Printing Co., Ltd., Belfast.
Copyright Ian R. K. Paisley, 1976.