AMERICA'S DEBT TO ULSTER
DEDICATION To my Constituents in North Antrim, for Friendship and
The story of the vital contribution of Ulstermen to that mighty achievement needs to be retold to this generation. It is also most fitting that Dr. Bob Jones, III, the President of the World's Most Unusual University, situated in the Piedmont of the Carolinas and himself of Scotch-Irish stock should write the Foreword. I am indeed grateful to him for a most valuable contribution.
The task of compiling this book has been done amidst heavy pastoral and
parliamentary duties but it has been a labour of love.
I trust that the re-telling of this story will give strength and courage to the much tried and gravely misrepresented loyalists of Ulster. The past can give us hope for the present and the future.
IAN R. K. PAISLEY.
"It was here in Northern Ireland that the American Army first began to
concentrate for our share in the attack upon the citadel of continental
Europe. From here started the long, hard march to Allied victory. Without
Northern Ireland I do not see how the American Forces could have been
concentrated to begin the invasion of Europe. If Ulster had not been a
definite, co-operative part of the British Empire and had not been
available for our use, I do not see how the build-up could have been
carried out in England."
Those who already regard Ian Paisley, MP, as an eyebrow-raiser will not be disappointed by this, his historical contribution to the American Bi-Centennial: Ever consistent with his outspoken truthfulness, he uncovers and reveals facets of American history which many ardent and devoted US citizens have never had called to their attention; but it is time they were. For too long the fabric of American history which is interwoven with that of Ireland has been coloured Green when, as this portrait of the past reveals, the colour of America's independence should be Orange even as much as Red, White and Blue.
Those Americans who speak in hushed, apologetic tones about the American Bi-Centennial, lest the English be offended, should have it called to their attention that there is at least one member of the British Parliament, Ian Paisley, who is proud of his Ulster forebears from whose courage and spilt blood American Independence from English tyranny sprang.
The incontrovertible facts of history recorded on these pages reveals that without the Ulster stock which emigrated to America in the late 1600's and which, by the time of the Revolutionary War, had increased to more than 200,000, America may not have prevailed against the British. A look at Northern Ireland history past and present would seem to indicate that prevailing against the English is the purpose for which God brings Ulstermen into the world.
With the help of certain prominent political Irish American families, Southern Ireland has received more favourable propaganda than is warranted, to say nothing of contraband weapons for the Irish Republican Army. Until this book, the truth about, to which Ireland, America owes her gratitude has been perverted. Equity has fallen in America's streets when she bestows praise and aid on terrorists while ignoring her profound debt to Northern Ireland. The pro-Catholic, pro-Irish press notwithstanding, Orangemen of Northern Ireland were America's truest friends in the Revolution and are her truest friends today.
Perhaps no people in the world love freedom any more than the
Scotch-Irish of Ulster; and perhaps no people have ever paid a dearer
price for it. From the year 1609 to the present, they have been
characterised by their strength and zeal in defense of their national
sovereignty, born of deep and abiding conviction in sacred principle.
America has no better example in all the world to which she can look and
remember her former devotion to right and principle. Our once great
nation, which until a few short years ago was the strongest in the world
and which now cowers, trembles, and apologises before the least of the
world's emerging upstart nations who hardly know what the word
"civilisation" means, would again benefit by turning to Ulster for example
worthy of emulation and re-creation. If only Ulster's present-day cry of
"no surrender" would ring through the halls of Congress and reverberate
from the colonnades of the White House to the most remote hollows and
crevasses of her most distant mountain regions, stirring the American
people again to throw off the chains of the bureaucratic regulators, the
State Department appeasers, and the legislative lunatics who have taken us
in the last four decades of our 200-year history back full circle to the
place we began. Only now we,
The Orange threads so important to the American fabric when it was first woven continue to play a vital role in the present day because they run parallel to those we are weaving and serve to instruct us by the patterns they now display. It was religious persecution that drove the first Ulsterman to America. Those who were truest to God were also the most loyal to the Crown and to the authority of the King. "They had defended their Province against the last effort of the native Irish to recover their lands." However, a narrow and evil clique in Queen Anne's government sought to discredit their loyalty in order to please a group of prelates. This base ingratitude "galled their freedom-loving souls." In America today the Bible-believing Christians -- that group of solid citizens true to their Constitution and the nation's founding purposes - are considered by many to be the state's enemies. "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn" (Proverbs 29:2).
Another parallel thread is that of the economic factor existing in
America today like unto that which existed from the years of 1714 through
1718 in Ulster when their mass emigration to America turned from a "tiny
trickle" to a "river which eventually ran in full spate." Throughout
history the Providence of God has often been called "economic disaster;"
but it always brings out the best in God's people and works for the
advancement of His purposes. America's inflation problems and her other
economic deterioration will hopefully again turn Christians in this nation
to their knees and, from there, to proclaim liberty throughout the land -
a cry that has been stifled in this nation for at least two decades. There
are no more continents to which we can emigrate as the Ulstermen did long
ago. It may soon be that a new generation of freedom fighters will be
called upon to resurrect the ideals of individual and religious freedom
and die, if necessary, to restore it. Nowhere in the world could those
20th century patriots find better inspiration than from the tenacity and
noble fortitude being demonstrated at this hour in Northern Ireland by the
hearty, misunderstood, and maligned Protestant people whose shout of "no
surrender" is no hollow cry but a holy creed.
In this Bi-Centennial Year of the United States of America, Ulstermen can lift up their heads with justifiable pride.
Today there is a fallacy given great credence both in the United States of America and in parts of Ireland that the United States is under an infinite debt to the Southern Irish for their foundation as a nation. Nothing could be further from the truth. It will be our purpose to set out the hard incontrovertible facts which will prove conclusively that the opposite is true - the American is under an infinite debt to the Ulster Scot. American Independence was in fact pioneered by men of Ulster stock.
It will be our aim to show the nature and the value of this vital Ulster contribution, to introduce some of the great Ulster personalities in this most intriguing epoch of American history and to emphasise the religious and spiritual context and content of the Ulster ingredient in America's Charter of Liberty, the Declaration of Independence.
A consideration of these matters at this time is both necessary and rewarding not only because this year marks the 200th Anniversary but because it will help to counteract the pernicious propaganda of Irish Republicanism, that Ulster is the natural enemy of the USA.
The success of Irish Republicanism in furthering that falsehood is astounding, and the enormous amount of dollars, flowing into the Irish Republican Army coffers from the USA as a direct result, is alarming. It is essential that the almost forgotten truths concerning Ulster's enormous and vital role in the founding and establishment of the great American Republic should be re-told both in the States and in Ulster. Every effort to do this must be greatly welcomed, and to that effort I would like to add this my mite. When the story is told, the claim that Ulstermen can lift up their heads with justifiable pride will be fully vindicated.
It should be said that the path we hope to traverse has already been well and truly laid for us by three great masters. One, an Ulsterman, Rev. Dr. W. F. Marshall (a name which will always be honoured amongst Ulster loyalists, especially in the. Sixmilecross area of County Tyrone) in his invaluable book, "Ulster sails West." Two, a Princeton Professor of Politics, Dr. Henry Jones Ford in his massive but most readable volume, "The Scotch-Irish in America." And three, another US Professor, Dr. James G. Leyburn in his scholarly volume, "The Scotch-Irish - A Social History."
The scripture poses the question; "What can a man do that cometh after a king?" As we come after these three kings in this particular field, we can but seek to distribute their wealth so that many may be enlightened and enriched by their wisdom.
"It is remarkable that this colony of English and Scots that settled in
the nine counties of Ulster in the years 1605-1618 is the oldest British
colony, It has been thought that Virginia, now one of the United States of
America, was colonised before Ulster, but although Sir Walter Raleigh
attempted in 1583 to establish a settlement on the coast of America, and
named it Virginia in honour of Queen Elizabeth, it was unsuccessful. It
was not until the end of the year 1606 that an expedition was sent out by
the London Companies, and a colony was not established there until May,
1607, a year or two after the counties of Antrim and Down were settled.
Thus the plantation of Ulster may be rightly called the oldest British
colony. Great Britain has sent out many sons and daughters since then to
many lands, but surely she ought to remember with feelings of the deepest
affection her earliest offspring."
As Northern Ireland, colloquially called Ulster, was the womb from which the Ulster-Scotch were begotten and the cradle where they were weaned, we must glance, for a moment, at how it all came to be.
The Ulster-Scotch are in fact the direct result of one of England's many attempts to solve the so-called Irish Problem.
Dr. Thomas Hamilton, in his "History of the Irish Presbyterian Church,'' graphically describes the momentus event which led to the foundation of modern Ulster.
"One September day in the year 1607, a small vessel of the old-fashioned type of naval architecture which prevailed two hundred and fifty years ago might have been seen working its way out of the wildly beautiful Lough Swilly, on the north-western coast of Ireland. Sailing cautiously along, with the lofty Slieve Snaght towering to the sky from out the wilds of Innishowen on the right, and the other Donegal mountains frowning down on the left, she at length leaves the calm waters of the picturesque lough behind, and finds herself on the rougher surface of the open sea. On her deck, as she rounds the point, may be discerned the figures of two gentlemen, who ever and anon, as the little vessel leaves Ireland farther and farther behind, cast many a regretful look at the mist-crowned hills and woods beginning to assume their ruddy autumn tints, and the rolling corn fields, already yellow for the reaping hook. These were O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and O'Donnell, Earl of Tyrconnel. For long they had been the leading spirits of Irish disaffection. Followed by thousands of devoted followers, they had faced the soldiers of Queen Elizabeth on many a battlefield. Now, their power broken, and all their plots disconcerted, they leave Ireland for ever, to seek an asylum on the Continent."
AN ABORTIVE REBELLION
After the flight of the two earls an abortive rebellion broke out headed by Sir Cahir O'Dogherty, the Irish Lord of the district of Innishowen on the coast of Derry. The rebellion ended with the death of O'Dogherty in an encounter in the neighbourhood of Kilmacrennan on the 18th July, 1608. O'Dogherty seriously implicated some of the other Irish lords of Ulster, including Niall Gary O'Donnell and his son Naghtan who were seized by the British authorities and eventually confined in the Tower of London, where they died.
So the two great families of Ulster, the O'Donnells and the O'Neills, in a few years became almost extinct. Their lands, moreover, along with those of O'Dogherty and other lesser Irish chiefs, amounting in all to 2,000,000 acres and embracing the counties of Donegal, Tyrone, Derry, Fermanagh, Cavan and Armagh, were forfeited to the British Crown. The escheated lands did not include the counties of Antrim and Down, as these were already occupied by Scots through the energy of Montgomery, Hamilton and Chichester.
THE ULSTER PLANTATION
With such a vast territory at the disposal of the Crown the way was opened for James I to put into operation his project to secure perpetually "the back door of the kingdom" as Ireland was styled, by planting it with Scotch and English settlers.
In transplanting such settlers from the Border of England and Scotland, James also hoped to achieve the quieting of a very unruly area of his united kingdom. Moreover, the borderers were the right type of hardy stock for the difficult work of pioneering the plantation and in contrast to the natives, they were all exclusively Protestant. E. W. Hamilton, in "The Soul of Ulster" describes the operation of the scheme.
"In 1609 the work of deportation started and continued for several years, Armstrongs, Elliotts, Johnstones, Pattersons, Watsons, Thompsons, Riddles, Littles, Scotts, Bells, Turnbulls, Pringles, Routledges, Andersons, Blacks, Bairds, Nixons, Dicksons, Crosiers, Rutherfords, Beatties, and a host of other Border clans crossed the seas, with their wives and families, and turned their backs for good and all on the land of their birth. So was carried out the great Ulster plantation. There was no armed opposition; the natives withdrew into the mountain districts, and the colonists settled down on the granted lands. They increased and multiplied; they utilised the water-power for factories; they reclaimed the bogs and tilled the land so gained. All went well in the planted districts. Peace and prosperity took the place of rapine and misery, and before the first quarter of the Seventeenth Century was passed, the justification of the Ulster Plantation seemed beyond dispute."
The whole history, not only of Ulster but of Ireland, was altered by.
this colonising scheme and through it Ulster politically, educationally,
morally and spiritually, became what the old Irish writers used to
describe her as, "the thumb on the hand which is able to grip and to, hold
against the four fingers, Leinster, Munster, Connaught and Meath."
The Plantation was a success although serious attempts were made to strangle it at its birth.
For example the awful rebellion of 1641 almost caused its end when an attempt was made to destroy the entire Protestant population. That rebellion was to Ulster Protestants what the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of the Huguenots was to French Protestantism. In both countries, however, the Reformation survived.
In Ulster there were some important underlying reasons for the survival of the Plantation.
As we have already noted the majority of planters were Scotch. Their native land was in close proximity to Ulster, twenty miles at its nearest point. On clear days it was easily seen from both the coasts of Co. Antrim and Co. Down. This meant that the lines of communication were not broken for the gulf which divided the Province from Scotland was none too great. Home, as it were, was still in sight to the colonisers.
They, brought the Church with them. The ministers of the Church of Scotland who ministered to them were mighty, men in Scotland's Kirk.
Blair, the minister of Bangor, was six years a professor in the College of Glasgow before coming to Ireland. He was a gentleman by descent. Welsh was the grandson of John Knox and the great-grandson of Lord Ochiltree. Livingstone of Killinchy was that pious young man, who, at the Kirk of Shotts on a communion Monday, 21st June, 1630, preached a sermon on Ezekiel 36:25, 26; which resulted in the conversion on the spot of 500 souls. He was also one of the most able linguists of his day. Bruce was of the highest descent, for his lineal ancestor John de Bruce was uncle to King Robert the Bruce. Ridge, a native of England, was the friend of Lord Chichester and was described by a contemporary as a "Judicious and gracious minister." Cunningham had been chaplain to the Earl of Buccleugh's regiment in Holland. Homilton, a man of learning, was a nephew of Lord Clandeboye.
The strong meat of Protestant Calvinism made the colonisers bold and courageous in spirit. They developed, as they hewed a garden out of a wilderness, the typical "no surrender" mentality. A great spiritual awakening under the above named ministers brought about a Second Reformation and was the granite upon which the Ulster Plantation was built. No potency could disintegrate that rock.
The hoary institution of feudalism which held men in servitude to a small ruling clique disappeared when Scotsmen crossed the Irish Sea. Once on Ulster shores they were indeed free men with the power to decide their own destiny. That love of freedom was henceforth to be deeply embedded in the Ulsterman's character.
THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION
After enduring the intensive fires of 1641 the Presbyterian planters entered a period of growth under Cromwell's lenient policy. Reid, the historian of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland says:
"It was during this period that Presbyterianism struck its roots so
deeply and extremely throughout the province, as to enable it to endure in
safety the subsequent storms of persecution, and to stand erect and
flourishing, while all the other contemporary scions of dissent were
broken down and prostrated in the dust. In the year 1653, the church
possessed scarcely more than the half dozen of ministers who had ventured
to remain in the country; now, however (that is in 1660), she was served
by not less than seventy ministers regularly and permanently settled, and
having under their charge nearly eighty parishes or congregations,
comprising a population of probably not far from one hundred thousand
souls." During the reigns of Charles II and James II the Ulster
Presbyterians again entered into the furnace of affliction. Their
ministers were especially marked down for savage treatment. Presbytery
meetings were proscribed and the streets of Ballymena rang on one occasion
with the armour of the dragoons sent to break up a Synod meeting there.
In 1661 sixty-one Presbyterian ministers were ejected including those of Bangor, Newtownards, Portaferry, Comber, Castlereagh, Killinchy, Saintfield, Dromore, Rathfriland, Magherally, Belfast, Carnmoney, Ballycanry, Larne, Donegore, Connor, Ballymena, Broughshane, Ballymoney, Dungannon, Minterburn, Brigh, Strabane, Glendermot, Omagh, Ballykelly, Aghadoey, Raphoe, Ray, Ramelton and Letterkenny.
Bishop Leslie of Raphoe first excommunicated and then imprisoned four Presbyterian ministers and held them in confinement for six years. Their only crime was that they happened to be Presbyterian ministers. Their names deserve to be kept in everlasting remembrance. They were the Revs. John Hart of Taughboyne, Thomas Drummond of Ramelton, William Semple of Letterkenny and Adam White of Fannet. Another colleague of theirs Rev. Thomas Kennedy of Carland was imprisoned in Dungannon by the Primate for nonconformity.
Under the rod of persecution the Presbyterians thrived and around about 1668 they commenced building humble meeting houses.
Persecution however continued to blaze out from time to time and reached its zenith in 1684 when many Presbyterian churches were forcibly closed.
THE BEGINNING OF EMIGRATION
It was at this time that Ulster supplied to the American colonies the
founder of the first presbytery in the New World Rev. Francis Mackemie. He
was the honoured forerunner of that great company of Ulstermen and women
who were to follow in his steps. Thus Ulster Presbyterianism became the
mother church of American Presbyterianism. Mackemie went to America to
minister to the Ulster people who had already settled there. Those Ulster
emigrants were but the small trickle which was to become a mighty torrent
in the following century.
Francis Mackemie was born in Rameltown, Co. Donegal around about 1658. That was the year of Oliver Cromwell's death. Mackemie's parents had fled from Scotland to escape the bloody persecution taking place there.
The all important issue for young Mackemie as he grew up was the right of freedom to worship. He was ordained around about 1681 or 1862 by the Presbytery of Laggan and sailed for Maryland shortly afterwards. It is claimed that in 1648 he organised the first Presbyterian church in the United States at Snow Hill on the narrow neck of land between Chesapeake and the ocean.
Mackemie led in the formation in 1705 or 1706 of the first American Presbytery at Philadelphia, the city later to become the place of the Declaration of Independence.
By this act he set up the first purely independent American intercolonial church. In so doing he developed a new American Presbyterianism, a presbyterianism free from Old World control and free from government control, the harbinger of the new nation which would also free herself eventually from Old World control.
At its second meeting with Mackemie as Moderator, the General Presbytery proceeded to ordain John Boyd. Mackemie fought and won the battle in the New World for freedom to worship God and to that noted Ulsterman all Americans owe an enormous debt.
The story of Mackemie's battle for religious freedom should be recorded.
The principal opponent to religious freedom was, the Reverend George Keith, born a Presbyterian, subsequently a Quaker and finally a bigoted Anglican clergyman.
Keith sought to stop all Presbyterian worship, denouncing Presbyterian ordination.
Mackemie replied, "Ere I received the imposition of hands in that
scriptural and orderly separation into my holy and ministerial calling, I
gave requiring satisfaction to godly, learned and discerning judicious men
of a work of grace and conversion wrought in my heart at fifteen years of
age, by and from the pains of a godly school-master who used no small
diligence in gaining tender souls to God's service and fear." In those
days conversion to God was the first prerequisite for the Presbyterian
Mackemie resisted Keith's campaign to stop Presbyterianism in Maryland when the State became a Crown Colony. He was successful and licences were granted by the royal governor to two of Mackemie's ministers, George McNish, who became minister of the Manokin and Wicomico churches and John Hampton, of Snow Hill and Buckingham.
In 1707 he left for New York and the New England colonies, and on this journey he was arrested, at the instigation of the Governor of the New York Colony; as a "strolling preacher" spreading "pernicious doctrines." Although Mackemie was within his legal rights and was successful in demonstrating the fact before the court, he was retained in prison for two months, until he had paid the whole costs of the prosecution.
Released from prison, he continued his ministry, but his task was almost completed. In the summer of the following year, at fifty years of age, he passed away, leaving behind him as his imperishable monument, the church in America.
It was as a direct result of Mackemie's struggle that religious freedom was legally established in all the royal colonies, thus laying the foundation of religious liberty in the United States.
Dr. Henry Van Dyke, the well-known Presbyterian minister and author, sent the following poem to be read at the dedication of the Mackemie Monument. It sums up the thought of a grateful church to its noble founder:
CHAPTER TWO EMIGRATION: HOW THE ULSTER-SCOTCH BECAME THE SCOTCH-IRISH
"Summing up the causes of the emigration, we find the first was the
destruction of the woollen trade of Ireland by the repressive laws forced
through the English Parliament by English manufacturers, which caused much
unemployment, especially among the Presbyterians, who were chiefly farmers
and traders. The second was the continual persecution they endured at the
hands of the bishops of the Irish Episcopal Church. The third cause was
the payment of tithes to the Clergy of the Episcopal Church. The fourth
cause was a series o f poor harvests, which resulted in several famines in
the third and fourth decades of the eighteenth century. The fifth was the
raising of the rents by the landlords of the country. Our general
conclusion is that the emigration was due to `religious bigotry,
commercial jealousy, and modern landlordism' combined."
James Anthony Froude actually declares that the Ulster emigrants to America were driven out of Ireland.
We might well ask the question, "How did this come about?"
The reasons were religious and economic.
After the Relief of Londonderry, the Presbyterians because of their invaluable contribution to the City's defence, were treated for a short time more favourably than they had been before the Williamite Revolution. They still, however, were not granted full religious freedom.
The validity of the marriages performed by their ministers was called into question. They were forced, in many instances, to be buried according to Episcopalian rites. After William's death and the succession of Anne, the Sacramental Test was restored which forced all office holders to partake of the sacrament in the parish church, or in other words conformity was the price of office.
What is more the episcopal clergy insisted on the payment of the tithe.
"This Test Act was more than unjust; it was demeaning, and it was
stupid. In the truest sense of the word, the Ulster Presbyterian had
always been loyal. They had maintained the authority of the king, had not
supported the Parliamentary side in the civil wars, had protested the
beheading of Charles I. They had defended their province against the last
effort of the native Irish to recover their lands; and they had helped
make the Ulster Plantation not only a success, but a
THE ECONOMIC REASON
The other reason was economic. The years 1714, 1715, 1716, 1717 and 1718 were disastrous for Ulster's agriculture.
A severe drought which did not come to an end until 1720 was ruinous to many of the small farmers. A recession in both the woollen and linen industry resulted, and after the years of drought bad harvests from 1725 to 1728 pushed up the prices of food.
Another disastrous year was 1739 as far as crops were concerned, and the result was both famine and disease. In 1756 and 1757 there followed yet another blow in the failure of potato crops. When leases ran out rents were raised to exorbitant figures and with the higher rents came higher tithes.
The final blow was probably the expiry of Lord Donegall's leases in County Antrim and the wholesale eviction of tenants unable to pay the shameful increases demanded of them. When these came about the already large exodus from Ulster increased to a flood.
These were the two main reasons which forced Ulster to sail west and
turned the Ulster Scotch into the Scotch Irish in the New World.
THE YEAR 1718
The year 1718 was an important year. Before that, as we have already noticed, there had been a tiny trickle of emigration. Now it became a river which eventually ran in full spate.
In the summer of that year five ships from Ireland cast anchor in Boston harbour. They were all emigrant ships. Three of these had taken on emigrants at Belfast, one had sailed from Londonderry and one from Coleraine. In the autumn of the same year two more emigrant ships arrived -one from Dublin and one from Londonderry.
The emigrants who sailed on these ships came from the valleys of the Foyle and the Bann.
Most notable amongst them was the Rev. James McGregore, of Aghadowey, who brought a large section of his congregation with him.
In 1764 Dr. Clark of Cahans followed McGregore's example and emigrated with 300 of his congregation. As a matter of fact, one contemporary writes: "There is like to be a great desolation in the Northern parts of the kingdom by the removal of several of our brethren to the American plantations. No less than six ministers have demitted their congregations and great numbers of their people go with them." This highlights the fact that the emigrants from Ulster did not go out singly, but in groups as communities to settle as such or to join other communities of their own religion and race.
What is more, they protested vigorously when officialdom referred to them as Irish. They maintained that they were of the Scottish nation in Ulster who had come to America via Ireland, but were not to be identified with the Irish, whom they had given their lives and substance to oppose.
Many authorities could be quoted concerning the numbers of emigrants from Ulster. We will limit ourselves to the digest of statistics provided by Professor Leyburn.
THE VOLUME OF THE MIGRATION
'Two obvious questions about the migration from Ulster to America are impossible to answer exactly: How many came and how large was the Scotch-Irish element when the colonies became independent? There are no adequate statistics either in Britain or America for population and immigration during the colonial period. Records which cite figures are fragmentary, and figures given do not always agree.
"The conventional estimate of the total immigration of Scotch-Irish into America is 200,000, although Hansen's figure is around 225,000. Dunaway gives 250,000, and Barck and Lefler suggest perhaps 300,000. The lowest of these figures would mean that an average of some 3,500 people reached America from Northern Ireland in each of the fifty-eight years between 1717 and 1775. The highest estimate implies an annual average of at least 5,175. Hansen thinks that around 4,000 came annually, and remarks that this `emigration from Ulster was as much a feature of American history in the eighteenth century as Irish-Catholic emigration in the next and had a much greater effect on the development of the country.'
"For the peak years of the migration any of these estimates would be moderate; there is general agreement that more than 6,000 came in some years. The scholar must make his judgment of the total on partial evidence. My own conclusion is that the figure of 200,000 is most nearly accurate.
"The American Council of Learned Societies and the American Historical Association in 1931 published a report of a Committee on Linguistic and National Stocks in the Population of the United States. This committee refined upon the thesis of the Census Bureau of 1909, using all the expert advice available. Its conclusions were that in 1790 the white people of the United States of English descent numbered 60.9 per cent., those of Scotch descent 8.3, those bearing distinctive names of Ulster 6.0, and those with names characteristic of 'the Irish Free State' 3.7.
Since it would be impossible for all Scotch-Irish people to bear names distinctive of Ulster, and since thousands of them certainly had truly Scottish names, it might be contended that the just estimate of the Scotch-Irish element in the population of 1790 would be 14.3 per cent. - combining the Scotch and Ulster names.
"Using the lowest figure suggested (6.7 per cent.), this would give a
Scotch-Irish total of 21,554. Using the figure of 14.3 per cent., the
total would be 453,655. Using the highest figure suggested (16.6 per
cent.,), the total would be 528,731. It would be safe to say only that
considerably more than a quarter of a million Americans in 1790 had
Scotch-Irish ancestry. Certainly this element, next to English, was the
largest nationality group in the country, with Germans next."
THE SOUTHERN IRISH WERE NOT THERE
It is an undisputed fact that the first Roman Catholic bishop in America was not consecrated until nearly ten years after the last battle of the War of Independence. Arthur Young, writing in 1780, declared:
"The Catholics never went: they seem not only tied to the country, but
almost to the parish in which their ancestors lived."
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."
THE VALLEY Of VIRGINIA
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 PIEDMONT OF THE CAROLINAS
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 BATTLE WITH THE INDIANS Prof. Leyburn says:
"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.
ULSTER'S NAME AND FAME
Dr. Marshall point out that . . .
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:
"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
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.
ARRAY OF WITNESSES
A formidable array of witnesses testify to the contribution made by the
Scotch-Irish in originating and supporting America's independence.
The American historian Bancroft states:
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."
SOLDIERS OF THE 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.
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.
FINANCING THE STRUGGLE
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.
SOLDIERS OF THE REPUBLIC
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 DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
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
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."
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 - PRESIDENT 1829-1837
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
"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 - PRESIDENT 1845-1849
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 - PRESIDENT 1857-1861
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 JOHNSTON - PRESIDENT 1865-1869
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 - PRESIDENT 1869-1877.
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 - PRESIDENT 1881-1885.
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 - PRESIDENT 1885-1889 and 1893-1897.
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 - PRESIDENT 1889-1893.
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 - PRESIDENT 1897-1901.
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 - PRESIDENT 1913-1921.
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
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.
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.
IN OTHER FIELDS
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
"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.