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Local history: Scotch-Irish

heritage significant in
Tuscarawas County
Monday the Times Reporter
Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 12:01 AM Updated Sep 30, 2013 at 1:54 PM
By Jon Baker

EDITORS NOTE: This is the first of a two-part series.

The Scotch-Irish are a key part of the ethnic mix of the Tuscarawas Valley.
Arriving here when the area was opened for settlement at the beginning of
the 19th century, they spread out across most of Harrison and Carroll
counties.

In Tuscarawas County, they were concentrated in the eastern and southern


parts of the county. The 1884 History of Tuscarawas County said that Union
Township was largely Irish in nationality.

Prominent residents of Scotch-Irish descent included A. Vic Donahey, who


served as Ohios governor and a U.S. senator, and the Patrick family of New
Philadelphia. Judge James Patrick, who established the first newspaper in
Tuscarawas County, was a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The Scotch-Irish as a people are the result of an attempt by the English


government to strengthen its hold on Ireland at the beginning of the 17th
century.

The English had ruled the island for 500 years, but their grip on Ireland was
tenuous at best. By the late 1500s, they were fearful that Spain the
worlds superpower at the time would use Ireland as a base to conquer
England.

So English authorities came up with the idea of colonizing predominately


Catholic Ireland with loyal English Protestant subjects, but early attempts
failed, according to the book The Plantation of Ulster by Jonathan Bardon.

Then a new opportunity arose. The Catholic Earl of Tyrone, based in the
province of Ulster in northern Ireland, rose up in revolt, aided by the Earl of
Tyrconnell. After nine years of war, English armies forced the two Irish
noblemen to sue for peace in 1603 by starving the Irish into submission.

Still dissatisfied, the two earls fled Ireland, and their lands in Ulster were
forfeited to the English crown. James I, the king of Scotland who had just
inherited the English throne, decided to parcel out those lands to the leading
men of England and Scotland on condition that they settle Ulster with
Protestants from both countries.

After a slow start, the plantation took off, fueled by people looking for a
better life. By 1620, an estimated 50,000 people from England and Scotland
had settled in Ulster, and the estimates for 1640 are twice that amount.

Contemporary observers held these first immigrants in low regard.

The Rev. Robert Blair, a Presbyterian minister who served a congregation in


Bangor in County Down, wrote in the 1660s, Divine Providence sent over
some worthy persons for birth, education and parts, yet the most part were
such as either poverty, scandalous lives, or, at the best, adventurous seeking
of better accommodations, set forward that way.

Another Presbyterian, the Rev. Andrew Stewart, termed many of the


immigrants the scum of both nations.

Meanwhile, the native Irish grew discontented as they were displaced from
their ancestral lands in Ulster. As a result, they rose in revolt in 1641, and
several thousand Protestants and Catholics were killed. The fighting
continued until 1653.

The Irish revolted again in 1688 when James II, the deposed Catholic king of
England, landed in Ireland at the head of a French army to reclaim his throne.
Irish Catholics rallied to his cause. Peace was restored after the English
defeated James army at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

In the years that followed, a new wave of settlers from Scotland and England
headed for Ulster. The number was estimated at between 50,000 and
80,000. Agriculture and the textile industry flourished there, and by the
beginning of the 18th century, Ulster was the most prosperous province in
Ireland. But that prosperity did not last for long.

NEXT WEEK: The Scotch-Irish sail for America.


Local history: Scotch-Irish
establish themselves in new
land
Monday the Times Reporter
Posted Oct 7, 2013 at 12:01 AM Updated Oct 7, 2013 at 7:14 AM
By Jon Baker

EDITORS NOTE: This is the final installment of a two-part series on


the Scotch-Irish.

The Scottish and English immigrants who settled the province of Ulster in
northern Ireland in the 17th century were relatively prosperous at the
beginning of the 18th century.

Then a series of misfortunes befell the people of Ulster, according to James


G. Leyburn in his book, The Scotch-Irish A Social History.

Several economic depressions hit the woolen and linen industry that many
families depended on. The leases on numerous farms in the province expired
in the first half of the 18th century, and landlords demanded substantially
higher rents when they renegotiated the leases. To make the situation worse,
drought and severe frosts hit farmers, causing the price of food to rise.

So the Scotch-Irish (more formally known as Scots-Irish or Ulster Scots)


began to think about emigrating again this time to British colonies in
North America.
The migration began in 1717 and continued off and on until the start of the
American Revolution in 1775. As many as 200,000 people from Ulster settled
in North America.

The majority of them came to Pennsylvania, settling in the back country


along the Susquehanna River. They pushed as far west as the Allegheny
Mountains and then turned south to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and
the Piedmont region of the Carolinas.

Within this seven-hundred-mile arc of back country, therefore, from


Philadelphia as far as the upper Savannah River, most of the Scotch-Irish
made their homes, Leyburn wrote.

Like other immigrant groups, the Scotch-Irish werent always warmly


welcomed in this country. In Pennsylvania, they had a tendency to settle
uninvited on tracts of land set aside for the Penn family, the proprietors of
Pennsylvania.

In 1730, James Logan, Pennsylvanias provincial secretary, wrote that a


settlement of five families from the North of Ireland gives me more trouble
than fifty of any other people.

When the French and their native American allies began raiding western
settlements at the start of the French and Indian War in 1755, the Scotch-
Irish bore the brunt of the assaults. But the emigrants from Ulster quickly
developed into skilled Indian fighters, who pushed into western Pennsylvania,
the Ohio Valley and Kentucky once peace was restored in the 1760s.

People of Scotch-Irish descent were among the squatters who illegally settled
in eastern Ohio before the territory was opened to white settlement. They
were driven out by U.S. authorities in 1785.

As Scotch-Irish Presbyterians filtered into this area at the beginning of the


19th century, they were followed by ministers of that denomination.

The pioneer preacher of Harrison County was the Rev. John Rea, a native of
Ireland, who began serving the Beech Spring Presbyterian Church, five miles
east of Cadiz, in 1804. Rea helped establish the Ridge Presbyterian Church
near Scio and a congregation at Cadiz.

Presbyterians had always stressed the importance of education, and they


founded the first college in Harrison County, Franklin College in New Athens,
in 1825.
Winthrop Sargent, in his book Introductory Memoir to the Journal of
Braddocks Expedition, offers this assessment of the Scotch-Irish as a
people:

They were a hardy, brave, hot-headed race, excitable in temper,


unrestrainable in passion, invincible in prejudice. Their hand opened as
impetuously to a friend as it clinched against a foe. ... Impatient of restraint,
rebellious against everything that in their eyes bore the semblance of
injustice, we find these men readiest among the ready on the battlefields of
the Revolution. If they had faults, a lack of patriotism or of courage was not
among the number.

Jon Baker is a reporter for The Times-Reporter. He can be reached via email
at jon.baker@timesreporter.com.