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Who Were the Scots-Irish?

Who Were the Scots-Irish?

Posted by ShamrockCraic on 12th Oct 2015

The term Scots-Irish (also Scotch-Irish) is an American term it was given to protestant Presbyterian, Lowland Scots. In native Ireland and England these people were called the Ulster Scots.

These people came about in the early 17th century when James I became King of England. One of his main priorities was to civilize what he thought were uncontrollable, autonomous Irish who were Catholic. His plan was to begin an extensive colonization plan where he would move English Protestants, Presbyterian Scots, and even some French and German Protestants into Ireland during the 1600’s. When this started James 1st focused on the Ulster region of Ireland that is the counties, of Donegal, Fermanagh, Cavan, Monaghan, Armagh, Down, Tyrone, Coleraine (later Londonderry), and Antrim. This Ulster region is in the North of Ireland and on a map is the closest to England and Scotland; on a good day you can see Scotland from this part of Ireland.

Land in the Ulster region of Ireland was confiscated, most of this land belonged to Irish Earls that left Ireland and went to Spain and Rome to try and get help to fight the English back. Upon hearing of their land being seized most of these Earls never returned to Ireland and their land was divided between the new immigrants. Some of the leftover land was given back to the Irish, this was very small amounts of and often unfertile and not suitable for much.

In the time of this colonization the Scots-Irish built their own towns and villages, they introduced new ways of farming and new industries to Ireland. There was a great amount of conflict in thee time and this escaladed when Presbyterian Church’s were established.

The Presbyterian Scots lived in Northern Ireland for a little over 100 years before they immigrated to American colonies. The English landlords found the Scottish settlers had too many similarities to the Irish so the started to resent them. Economic factors also affected the decision to immigrate to the colonies. Anglican ministers made the majority of their income by forcing tithes on the Irish. The Irish were also charged higher rents and taxes for their land.

The immigration of the Scots-Irish took place over 57-year spam from 1716 and 1773. They first landed and went to Pennsylvania and Virginia. These Scots-Irish that settled in American were decedents of Lowland Scots who were robust and rebellious. They have no furniture, artifacts or architectural styles attributed to them. They were Nomadic people. They settled across Philadelphia and left small settlements along the routes they took. These settlements were usually around springs or waterways. They adopted the Scandinavian housing of log cabins. Their music was Fiddles and Dulcimers unlike their other countrymen who played the Bagpipes.

The first Scots-Irish to be recorded as settled was Benjamin Chambers in Franklin County, a Scots-Irishman from Antrim in Northern Ireland. In 1730 Franklin then got permission from the Indians to settle in the land of his choice and that was Franklin County. The full history of the Scots-Irish is still being studies to determine their exact movements across America since they left Northern Ireland many years ago. The best place to find out more information about the Scots-Irish is at the Allison-Antrim Museum in Greencastle.