| THE SCOTS-IRISH|
THEIR CHARACTER AND PATTERNS OF MIGRATION
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|(N:Monday 25 August 1997, 6:15:58)|
R: (Thursday 1 January 2004)
People from a Place - The Scots-Irish:
Migrations from Ireland:
Arrivals in America:
Characteristics - Physical, Mental, Dispositions:
The American Melting Pot:
Flow of Migration Shifts to Canada:
Transportation to Australia:
Napoleonic War - Effect on Economy:
The Timber Ships:
Effects of Industrialization on Emigration:
Transplantation of Irish Placenames:
Canadian Migration Patterns:
Australian Migration Patterns:
Fostered Emigration Schemes:
End of Page
In the term "Scotch-Irish", or "Scots-Irish", the "Irish" is a place designation, not a nationality. The words mean nothing more than a convenient name for people whose ancestors were Scots living in Ireland before they immigrated to the United States or Canada. They were "Ulster-Scots" while in Ireland. The term Scotch-Irish was probably first applied to them 200 years ago in America by Episcopalians and Quakers who did not intend the term to be complementary. 3
They were chiefly, but not exclusively, Presbyterians from Ulster. A considerable number were Episcopalians or Methodists, particularily among those who emigrated in the later 18th century and into the 19th century. The northern province of Ireland consisted of about 1/4th the area and population of Ireland. While it has been claimed they were not intermarried with the Irish, 4 there is considerable proof that they were indeed intermingled with Irish who had converted, as well as with English Episcopalians and Puritans, French Huguenots, and German Palatines. Never the less, by their numbers they gave a character to the entire population of Ulstermen.
They came to Ulster to better themselves economically, and to gain the comparative freedom of worship which existed in Ulster as opposed to 17th century Scotland. When first they arrived in Ireland, there was prosperity from lush harvests of the fertile land and from the newly established woolen and linen weaving industries. The prosperous conditions ran counter to the interests of the English merchants and led to repressive measures by the British Parliament against the Irish wool trades. Additionally, each year from 1714-1719 was noted for having insufficient rainfall. The continuous drought ruined the crops which in turn ruined the linen industries. 5
Religious restrictions were imposed in Ireland in 1703, facing them with a renewal of the persecution they had experienced in Scotland in the prior century. A great number of the Scots had arrived in Ulster in the 1690's, and had taken up 21 year or 31 year leases at attractive rates offered by the land lords to attract the Scots for the purpose of improving the lands and estates of the landlords. 6 At the expiration of the leases, the landlords either raised the rents exorbitantly (rent racking), or put the leases up for auction, causing many immigrants to leave. 7
Migrations from Ireland: In 1717, more that 5000 Ulstermen left for America. There followed five great waves of migration to the thirteen original American Colonies, in 1717-18; 1725-29; 1740-41; 1754-55; and 1771-75. In the period 1714-1720 alone, some 55 shiploads of immigrants sailed from Ireland to ports in New England. Each of the succeeding waves arriving in America roughly coincided with the termination of lease terms: 8
1696 leases for 21 years terminated in 1717.
1696 leases for 31 years terminated in 1727.
1717 lease renewals for 21 years terminated in 1739.
1717 lease renewals for 31 years terminated in 1749.
1727 lease renewals for 21 years terminated in 1748.
1727 lease renewals for 31 years terminated in 1758.
1739 lease renewals for 21 years terminated in 1770.
1739 lease renewals for 31 years terminated in 1780.
1749 lease renewals for 21 years terminated in 1770.
1749 lease renewals for 31 years terminated in 1780.
All of the forgoing lease terminations, save the last, occurred prior to the American Revolution, and apparently resulted in a new wave of emigration to the colonies. 9. If one projects this pattern into the years following the American Revolution, some idea can be gained of the subsequent effects of lease terminations on emigration thereafter:
1758 lease renewals for 21 years terminated in 1779.
1758 lease renewals for 31 years terminated in 1789.
Here the pattern was interrupted by the American Revolution.
1770 lease renewals for 21 years terminated in 1791.
1770 lease renewals for 31 years terminated in 1801.
Here the pattern was interrupted by the French Revolution and start of the Napoleonic Wars. Convict Transportation to Australia commenced in 1791.
1780 lease renewals for 21 years terminated in 1801.
1780 lease renewals for 31 years terminated in 1811.
Here the pattern was interrupted by the Napoleonic War; transportations to Australia continued, but the vast majority of convicts were pressed into the British Army and Navy instead.
1790 lease renewals for 21 years terminated in 1812.
1790 lease renewals for 31 years terminated in 1822.
Here the pattern was interrupted by the Napoleonic War and it's American offshoot, "The War of 1812"; with peace finally reasserting itself in 1815, and a resumption of emigration to the Americas slowly emerging, with an increasing awareness of "the Canadas- Upper and Lower" as a destination.
1801 lease renewals for 21 years terminated in 1822.
1801 lease renewals for 31 years terminated in 1832.
The resumption of English, Scots, and Irish emigration to the Americas focused on Canada rather than the new United States.
1812 lease renewals for 21 years terminated in 1833.
1812 lease renewals for 31 years terminated in 1843.
Here the pattern was accelerated by fostered emigration schemes, and then by the Great Potato Famine.
Note the coincidence of such lease renewals with the sequence of potatoe crop failures discussed in the previous chapter. The Irish Landlords were repeatedly cursed with adverse agricultural failures and poor economic conditions, yet persevered in attempting to raise, or "rack" rents... and while the yeoman tenantry in many cases attempted to stay loyal and remain in Ireland, they complained bitterly. Consider this quote from Alexander Crawford, one of the non-gentry tenants in the Parish of Killymard on the Murray of Broughton Estate, written to his landlord in July, 1736:
"... the miserable condition that I have brought myself and my family to in staying in your Honour's land these years past, depending on your Honour's promise that you made to me when you were in this country last, and after that imposed rents and burdens that I am obliged to groan under the burden thereof, when I cannot provide for my children but am obliged to transport myself and my family to the deserts of America. And had it not been for depending upon your Honour's promise I and my family might be living in that land where we might be freed from those burdens that we are labouring under... and there has been such famines for bread in these countries and great deaths of cattle and a kind of disease or murrain that the country is impoverished by it, which is the occasion, with rents and tithes, to cause the most part of the country to go to America. We are as bound hens to Bishop[s and] minister[s], by their hurrying us into Bishop's Courts. If we do not meet their time and leisure they may do what they please for there is not one either to take part with us or to stand our cause or to plead our interest. We are obliged to your Hounour's sparing us but at the same time the heavy burden continues the same and I's [sic] not able to stand it..." Quoted by Grame Kirkham in 'No More to be got off the Cat but the Skin: Management, Landholding and Economic Change on the Murray of Broughton Estate, 1670-1755'; pps. 357,367-368, "Donegal History & Society", ed. by Nolan, Ronayne, and Dunlevy, Geography Publications, Dublin, 1995.Given a certain degree of hyperbole in an attempt to gain negotiating position for a renewal of his lease, Crawford's letter is a direct testimonial from the times of the burdens which urged departure. In the event, Crawford signed a new lease of an annual rent of just under £24 in 1732. If tenants such as Crawford did not themselves emigrate, they often sent other family members away to America, Canada, and Australia in search of a better life.
There are some major research clues in the lease renewal vs waves of emigration patterns above... if we know when they left Ireland and to where they travelled, we may be able to find certain immigrants in the estate records of the places from whence they came... if the relevant estate records exist today. What can we descern about their origins from where they went???
Arrivals in America: Large numbers of "Irish" are known to have immigrated through the port of Boston and the Delaware ports in 1729. One estimate has it that 5,655 came in through Boston, and perhaps 10,000 through Delaware in that year. These numbers include those who emigrated from the south of Ireland, but it is clear that most were from the north of the country. Even among those who came from the south there were many Protestants, so it is clear that great numbers of Protestants were leaving Ireland. 10
Protestant emigration caused near-panic among the ruling classes in Ireland. The concern was that "No papists stir (up a rebellion)... The papists being already five or six to one, and being a breeding people, you may imagine in what condition we are like to be..." [A memorial from "the noblemen and gentlemen of Ireland" to the lords justices on the subject of emigration expresssed fear of a] "dangerous superiority of our inveterate enemies the papists, who openly and avowedly rejoice at this impending calamity and use all means and artifices to encourage and persuade the protestants to leave the nation, and cannot refrain from boasting that they shall by this means have again all the lands of this kingdom in their possession." 11
Historians estimate that more than 200,000 Scots-Irish landed at the American ports of Boston, Delaware (Philadelphia/Chester/New Castle); New York, Annapolis, Charleston, and the Virginia ports in the 18th century. R.J. Dickson estimated that the vast majority landed in Philadelphia, and New York, followed closely by Charleston. 12. In the first census of the United States, in 1790, the Scots-Irish were the second largest nationality group, with the English being first and the Germans third. Studies of passenger lists available from the period reveal a considerable number of Strongs arriving in these ports. 13 Records of Strongs gleaned from these sources are included as "passengers" in the Irish Strong database. The Rootsweb Ship Passenger studies are also potentially a very useful source of information.l
Indentured Servants: Through much of the 17th and 18th century, the practice of "indenturing servants" was used as a means of providing transportation of cheap labor to North America at a low cost for settlers who were willing to bid the highest price for individuals whose services were sold on the auction block in port cities. Indentured servants received, in return for passage, clothing, food and lodging. They became the property of the master for a specified term, lasting from five to fourteen years, after which freedom was granted. However, in some ways indentured servants were not much different from transported felons. Both were slaves and were part of the master's estate, to be bought and sold at will. 14
The headright system in Virginia enabled planters to claim 50 acres of land for every indentured servant they brought over. England practiced a long-standing and notorious practice of "spiriting"-- that is, kidnapping, inveigling and bribing youngsters onto ships bound for the labor-hungry colonies, where they could be sold at a good profit. As early as 1619, traders were rounding up vagrant children in London and shipping them to Virginia. 15
Certain "reforms" of the spiriting system were attempted. In 1654, the City Council of Bristol, a western English port enjoying a monopoly of trade with Virginia and the West Indies, passed an ordinance to discourage spiriting. It provided, "All boys, maids and other persons which for the future shall be transported beyond the seas as servants, shall, before their going on shipboard, have their covenants or indentures of service and apprenticeship inrolled (sic) in Council Books". There are several books treating the subject of bonded emigrants, 16, 17 , 18.
It would seem likely that similar spiriting practices prevailed in Ireland. However, according to R.J. Dickson, "spiriters" or kidnappers of youths sent to be sold into indentures were unknown in the north of Ireland. 19.
Indenturing was a common method for the laboring class to obtain passage to the colonies. The method most commonly used was to sign an indenture agreeing to serve the master of a ship or his assigns for an agreed period. On landing in America, the contract of indenture would be sold by the master to the highest bidder. Alternatively the emigrant could agree to pay the cost of passage with in a short time after arrival in the colonies, hoping to raise the necessary money either from friends or by indenting on the best terms he could then secure. If the redemptioner failed to raise the cost of his passage within a prearranged time the ship's master could sell his services to the highest bidder similarily to that of the pre-indentured servants. 20.
It is known that one James "Schim" Strong, born in Ireland, was indentured to Adam Ihmenheiser, of Pennsylvania, sometime between 1754 and 1763. Later marrying Ihmenhiser's daughter, Maria Magdalena, he founded a line of Strongs referred to as the "York County, Pennsylvania Strongs".
As early as the late 1600's Newfoundland received emigrants from the southeast of Ireland. Boys from the valleys of the Nore and Suir had been taken there to serve in the fisheries; Waterford merchants and the traders of New Ross and Youghal indentured young servants for two summers and the intervening winter to catch and cure fish and prepare provisions for subsequent arrivals. As time went on, temporary fishing stations became permanent communities, and as the British added Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to their domains, the flow of Irish and other British migrants quickened. 22 Both indentured and free settlers entered the colonies from Newfoundland to Georgia.
Characteristics - Physical, Mental, Dispositions: The greatest number of Scots-Irish arrived in the Delaware river ports of Philadelphia/Chester/New Castle. From there they headed west. The path they followed was determined by geography and circumstances. 23 The coastal lowlands were already settled; the vacant land laid to the west. The great Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania led west for a hundred miles. Then, blocked by the Allegheny mountains, they turned south into the Shenandoah Valley or the Valley of Virginia. From there the path led to the Piedmont regions of the Carolinas. The land lying along the "Great Wagon Road" that stretched from Philadelphia to the upper reaches of the Savannah River near Augusta, Georgia became the new home of the Scots-Irish in 18th century America. 24
Physically, the Scots-Irish were very fit for the tasks of pioneers. They were a strong, tough and hardy breed, somewhat tall in stature, strong-boned, heavily muscled, lean and sinewy. They were broad shouldered, robust, hard-handed and wiry. They did not shrink from the heavy labor of leveling the forest, building their log cabin, and tilling the soil, or from the hardships and deprivations of the frontier. They had been toughened for the tasks ahead by their experiences in the Scottish Lowlands and Ulster. Later, when the French and Indian War began in 1754, they endured with comparative ease the hardships of the military campaigns. The Indians apparently lived in some fear of the Scotch-Irish. 25
The mental and emotional qualities, as well as temperament and disposition, of the Scots-Irish stood out. They were a strong-minded group, with great common sense. They were practical, levelheaded, fearless, self-reliant, and resolute. They were serious in their outlook upon life, but had a good sense of humor and were fond of sports, and were by no means unsocial. Their rough exterior often covered a great tenderness of feeling, especially for animals. Their love of family was deep, strong, and enduring. Steadfast and loyal, they were hospitable to friends and unrelenting to foes. Prompt to resent an affront or to avenge an injury, their nature rebelled against anything that savored of injustice or deceit. Their thrift is proverbial, and it has been said, "the Scots-Irish keep the Commandments of God, and every other good thing they can get their hands on." 26
Along the Great Wagon Road are many unmarked graves of the great Scotch-Irish migration. The American West was romantic only to people who write and read about it. There was nothing gentle about small log cabins with no windows, women dying of the black vomit of milk sickness, or a million passenger pigeons devouring one's hard-planted crops. Somehow this strange hybrid people-- part English, Irish and Teutonic as well as Scottish made it to Dixie. They liked to drink and brawl. They liked to fight and loved politics, which explains a long list of Scotch-Irish soldiers and politicians such as John C. Calhoun, Jeff Davis, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, "Stonewall" Jackson, William McKinley, and Ulysses Grant, 27 in America, and others in Canada and Australia in later generations.
One old Indian fighter from North Carolina in the Revolution was General Griffith Rutherford. He beat the Cherokee in the big campaign of 1776, and George Washington gave him a silver snuff box. Rutherford was pretty typical of Ulster folk of the day. One writer called him uncultivated in mind or manners. Perhaps that makes sense: In 1776 he ordered the arrest of a man who was charged with being "an Enomy of Ammerican Liberty" and was thus ordered to be kept in a "Gale Till under furder Orders." 28.
Culture: The Scots-Irish cared little for the beautiful, with the exception of a beautiful Bible Story. They did not trim the edge of the roadways leading to the front door. Utility required nothing of these things and utility was their law. With their great force of character, they were inclined to be dogmatic and inflexible in their views. They were great believers in education, especially the trained ministry, and made large contributions to the ministry and educational institutions. 29
Once they had completed their initial task of conquering the wilderness, they became politically active, with many entering politics. It is claimed that they did not bring literature or art to the American continent, 30 but that can be disputed. Anyone who has spent much time pondering the roots of "Blue-grass" or of "country" music knows the debt it owes to the Scots-Irish. The foot-tapping rythyms of the country fiddler have their roots in the mountains of the Scottish Borders and in the melodys of Ireland. From merrymaking to melancholy, the pervasive themes in "Country" come from across the sea, 31 and have their counterparts in the folk-music of rural Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario, also heavily settled in parts by the Scots-Irish. Today, the ballads of the Scots-Irish that travelled here during the eighteenth century are imitated and reproduced from Arkansas to Alberta, by singers like Americans Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, and Canadians Gordon Lightfoot, Ian Tyson, and groups like "Tanglefoot" and "Great Big Sea" who have internationalized a style that once was confined to the hill country. 32
They have a great oral tradition, and are renowned as the best story tellers in the world. An example are the "Jack Tales" brought from Scotland and handed down from one generation to the next over centuries. Today they can be heard in the hills of the Carolinas. The rythms of their speech and the very words themselves, such as "cabin", "you-all", and "sook-cow", can be traced from Scottish roots to destinations as wide spread as Ontario, North Carolina, Washington State, Nova Scotia and Australia. 33 In Canada, Australia, and elsewhere they brought with them the Orange Lodges. There, and in the United States they have been stalwart members of Masonic Lodges, and have contributed to the organizating cultural impact these organizations have had on their communities.
In the early 1900s, descendants of the Scotch-Irish left the depressed logging areas of North Carolina and Kentucky and moved to the North Cascades mountain area of Washington State. These "Tarheels" brought their families and culture with them, and their descendants are numbered among the finest families of Washington's Skagit Valley today. These were not drifting loggers, but family men who lived in the woods near the camps, worked during the day and went home to their rough cabins at night. Hard-working, family loving, and fiercely independent, these mountain men influenced the attitudes that prevailed in the upper Skagit Valley and other places where citizens honored those who took care of themselves. 34
Along with their self-sufficiency, their homemade sausages and hams, the Tarheels brought with them another custom, born in Scotland and carried through Ireland to the Carolinas... the traditional mountain moonshine still. [See "uisce beatha", the "Water of life" .] "White Lightning" bubbled away in the back barn of many a remote farm, most of it consumed by the man's family and friends; but during prohibition, a few sold their alcoholic products to big-city runners. Cockfighting, also frowned upon by the law, flourished in clandestine meetings in the backwoods. 35
The American Melting Pot: The Scots-Irish did not have the frontier to themselves. With them were the German Palatines who were mostly Lutherans. The two groups hop-scotched their way across the country. One can thumb a telephone book in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and see by the surnames where the German flow ebbed and the Ulster people kept on. 36 They generally stayed apart from each other at first. Contact between them was minimal during the first few years because of differences of language, religion, and customs. They eventually became closer, and intermarriages became more and more frequent. 37
Most of the Scots-Irish settlements in Pennsylvania were initially in the Philadelphia, Chester, Berks and Lancaster areas. By 1730 they included York County, and by 1740 they were into Adams county. There were settlements in Dauphin, Lebanon, Franklin, Fulton, Cumberland, and Perry Counties, with Bedford County being settled by 1750. They generally avoided the disputed borderland between protestant Pennsylvania and Catholic Maryland. After 1730, they spilled southward, across Maryland into the Virginia Valley, where they settled into what has been claimed to be one of the most Scots-Irish counties in the United States-- Rockbridge and Augusta Counties. 38
At the time of the Revolutionary War, the Scots-Irish tended to be ardent patriots. By contrast, those immigrants who came directly from Scotland were generally Loyalists, faithful to the Crown. 39 The difference was likely in the experiences they had had in the preceding 100 years. Those who had been in Ulster had suffered from the persecution of the English Crown under the Irish Test Act, etc., while those who had been in Scotland had experienced the economic benefits of the 1707 Act of Union, and freedom of religion. This broad generalization might further be disected into the Catholic Highland Scots, who were largely Jacobite Rebels until about 1760, and the Episcopalian High- and Lowlanders who were somewhere in the middle but tending toward Tory.
Toward the end of the Revolutionary War and thereafter, many of the new Americans who prior to that time had settled east of the Appalachian Mountains, now turned west. There is little doubt that the vanguard of the pioneers who settled in Kentucky, Tennessee, and the areas to the west were children of the Scots-Irish. This generation of pioneers was, however, American. They did not place any great emphasis upon their Scots-Irish origin. They became known to themselves as North Carolinians, Pennsylvanians, or Virginians. Only near the middle of the 19th century did they revive the term "Scotch-Irish", in a deliberate attempt to distance themselves from the Catholic Irish of the South of Ireland who were then arriving in great numbers because of the potato famine. 40
It can be said that because of the lack of emphasis upon origins of these people and their desire and intent to be Americans, they did not have any great consciousness of their history. Indeed, they may have been victims to some extent of attempts like that of the "American Irish Historical Society", organized in 1879, which devoted a great deal of time deflating what they called the "Scots-Irish Myth". The claim was made that the people who came to America from Ulster were Irish, not only geographically, but also in patriotism for Ireland. 41 The confusion engendered in many minds by this type of propaganda was encouraged by the negative attitude many of the Scots-Irish had against the British Crown. Simply put, many of the Scots-Irish in America have forgotten their history, and do not understand what they do know of it.
Flow of Migration Shifts to Canada: The American Revolution brought the flow of immigrants from Ulster to America to a halt for a time. Then the Scots-Irish began immigrating to Canada and Australia. One can again begin to trace the flow of emigration to the termination of leases. However this flow was rapidly overwhelmed in the 1840's and 1850's by the impact of the potato famines. Scots-Irish as well as Catholic Gaelic Irish fled Ireland in huge numbers.
Following the American Revolution, the number of Scots-Irish in Canada was not great. According to the Beards 42:
"The Scotch-Irish and Scotch were about one sixth of the population of the colonies, most of it having passed through Pennsylvania to Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and even Tennessee." The Scots-Irish formed no important part of the original Loyalist settlement in Canada and they did not begin to come in increasing numbers until the conclusion of the War of 1812."
There were few persons of Scottish background among the early settlers in Upper Canada largely because as Scotch-Irish they were much opposed to Britain and had fought against her during the Colonial War. This point of view is borne out by Hall 43:
"It has often seemed strange that the States that fought most fiercely to free the West from the influences of France, and to make the Mississippi Valley English, should thirteen years later have been not one bit behind New England in fighting England. The reasons lie largely in the influence of the Scotch-Irish group. When in 1719 the Scotch-Irish began to come to America they were the bitter enemies of England, and particularly of the Anglo-Catholic tradition of England as established in Ireland. It was French Catholicism that they fought in America, and when the battle was over they were as eager as ever to fight the English; especially when the threat of a bishop and a really active Anglo-Catholicism seemed to be on the horizon. For the Scotch-Irish grew up in bitter opposition to all Catholicism, in both its Roman and Anglican forms. It's hatred of the papacy and of Episcopal Catholicism amounted to a passion...
"Without any doubt the Scotch-Irish Presbyterian ministry was almost to a man on the side of the Revolution, and the General Synod that had been meeting since 1717 was in 1776 one of the most thoroughly interstate associations the colonies possessed."
Following the American Revolution, a number of Scotsand Anglo-Irish United Empire Loyalists were included particularly in those flowing to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia from New York, New England, and the Middle Colonies. However, for the three decades (1789-1819) after the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists in Canada, emigration to British North America was insignificant. 44 The Napoleonic Wars largely took the ready supply of men who might otherwise have been emigrants.
Transportation to Australia: In evaluating the situation of transportation of Scots-Irish "indentured servants" and forced laborers to America in the 17th - 18th centuries, it may be instructive to review late 18th and early 19th century convict transportations to Australia. The first Irish convict ship, the "Queen", sailed from Cork in April, 1791, arriving at Sydney on 26 September, 1791. Of the 148 convicts on board, one-sixth, or 24, had been tried and convicted at assizes in the nine counties of Ulster. Ulster in the period of the 1790s was in a turbulent political and social disturbance. 45
The United Ireland movement flourished in Ulster from 1790 through the 1798 Rebellion, and had intellectual roots in the French Revolution. Of the estimated several hundred specifically political prisoners removed to Australia by the early years of the 19th century, and of the further group of estimated 1800 social rebels by 1815, there are sufficient identifiable individuals from Ulster to confirm the provinces's tempestuous decade of upheaval and disaffection. 46 Of those not caught, convicted and transported, many others fled to America or the Continent, then under Napoleon Bonaparte's sway.
The politically disaffected were not only in the north. The 1798 Rising had serious consequences in County Wexford in the south, and elsewhere. Here is an example of how events of the time can create serious confusion for the modern researcher trying to establish locations on the basis of such legends. Benjamin Dwight included a short discussion in an Appendix at the end of Volume II of his "History of the Strong Family", concerning "Brief Notices of other Families of Strongs not descended from Elder John Strong of Northampton". The discussion concerning "John Strong of Albany, Ky", states that:
"John, Michael and William Strong, brothers were involved in the .... Rebellion in 1798, in Ireland. When that collapsed the three brothers escaped secretly and landed in 1799, in Philadelphia, and after tarrying in that city for a few months they separated from each other,... (John) never heard either from them or of them... (John)...was born in Cork, Ireland, but of English descent, was a Presbyterian, and an intense hater of popery. He claimed descent from some of the conquerors of Ireland, who came thither after the Londonderry massacre. He was a merchant before coming to America. He was six feet two in height and his sons were each six feet high.... he was wise and just enough to implant the hatred of wrong in the minds of his children... None of us who bear the ancestral name have been given to strong drink, but are teetotalers..." 47
To explain a bit, there was no "Londonderry Massacre"... but Robert Steward, Viscount Castlereagh, the son of Lord Londonderry of Mountsteward near Newtownards was involved in quelling insurrection of the 1798 Rebels in County Down. See also The Castlereagh Estate; and consider the Tulliniskey discussions in tracing the origins of these brothers. Probably they were not "born in Cork", but merely escaped through the southern Irish port city of Cork.
Napoleonic War - Effect on Economy: Between the Irish rebellion of 1798 and the end of the Napoleonic Wars, much of the rural disturbances and social crimes occurred elsewhere in Ireland than in Ulster. 48 Expansion of the war economy reduced the demand for emigration. The hostilities required manpower that might have otherwise migrated abroad and the wartime risk to shipping drove up the price of passenger fares. Constraints on emigration impinged on all sides. While Irish soldiers were needed in Europe for wervice against Napoleon and while the rebellious conditions in Ireland crated employment outlets in the local militia units, there was little emigration. 49
However, while emigration was reduced as a result of the war conditions, the period brought a major change in the economic relationship between England and British North America. Demand for Ship timber and naval stores to replace traditional sources in Scandinavia cut off by Napoleon led to development of a timber trade that would last for at least half a century. The forests of the Miramichi and Saint John river valleys spewed forth the needed timber. Irish labor contingents from Leinster, Ulster and the south made their way to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Quebec. When peace came in 1815, Canada was better known as a result of the letters home from laborers, and the demand for emigration grew. 50
The post Napoleonic Wars period resulted in severe economic slumps in Ulster. The region was, of all Ireland, most given over to tillage, so the post war fall in prices for foodstuffs affected the Ulster tenant farmer badly, all the more so since there was no commensurate fall in the levels of rents. 51 By 1818, trans Atlantic passenger fares began to fall drastically, and emigrants poured into the Irish ports. They were headed to familiar destinations. South-easterers went to Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and the Miramichi valley in New Brunswick. Cork beople went to Halifax, Nova Scotia; Quebec; and Saint John, New Brunswick. Ulstermen generally avoided these places, favouring the Bay of Fundy and the St. Lawrence Valley. 52
The Timber Ships: Trips to Canada for timber across the Atlantic were taken in the spring and summer months. Most traders tried to avoid the winter seas. Barques, brigs, and schooners which plied European coastal waters during the winter picked up passengers and goods for the colonies in the spring and summer in the expectation of returning with timber before the Atlantic winter gales. The passengers going out were in fact human ballast that enhanced the profitability of the timber. Such human ballast could be removed rather quickly, it paid a fare, and if it made it across the Atlantic letter home about safe arrival and perhaps the remittance of passage money would encourage another load next spring. As ballast, passengers often received poor treatment and the conditions of passage were miserable. 53
Passengers provided most of their own provisions. About 175 pounds of basic foodstuffs were required for each person making the crossing to North America. Cooking facilities were provided in a makeshift "camboose" built on the upper deck. Most emigrants were below decks, between temporary decks with little headroom. They moved about in aisles between the staked pallets upon which they slept. These were erected each time ships went out with passengers and were dismantled to open space for the timber coming back. Privacy disappeared. The conditions on many ships were bordering on the inhuman. Fetid water, rotten food, human waste, smoke and other rank odors made steerage in some timber ships a fearful fate. However it was a risk half a million Irish took. 54
The geographical spread of the likelihood of emigration among the Irish at home is illustrated by the case of the origin of emigrants arriving in the port of Saint John, New Brunswick. In 1818, about 75 per cent of the Irish arriving in Saint John embarked from the port of Derry, in Ulster. Less than 10 per cent left from Belfast. Fifteen years later, in 1833, Derry sent out about 40 per cent of Saint John's immigrants and Belfast only 11 per cent. Ulster was still the main source of emigrants, but other parts of Ireland had become more important. In the 1840's, Cork was pre-eminent, contributing probably at least half of all those arriving during the Famine. Comparable changes occurred in Quebec. 55
Effects of Industrialization on Emigration: Emigration to the British North American colonies petered out as a consequence of shifts in trading patterns that saw the industrialized city more closely linked to Europe. Waterford and the southeastern portion of Ireland were linked more traditionally to destinations in the mid-Atlantic states of America than to the St. Lawrence region of British North America. As the Canadian economies stagnated and their settlement potential was fulfilled, there were few opportunities for immigrants in either Newfoundland or Nova Scotia. Consequently, the migrant flow turned away from the north and toward the Atlantic seaboard cities of the United States. 56
Quebec and Saint John still received immigrants in the 1840s because of their function as transfer points to the United States. Saint John functioned then primarily as a crossing point. Quebec still functioned as a distribution centre for the St. Lawrence valley and the Great Lakes region where there was still land to be occupied. By 1842, approximately 400,000 Irish had arrived in the colonies of British North America, but the resident Irish born population was approximately only 160,000. Mortality undoubtedly contributed to the difference; however, trans-migration to the United States was probably the principal explanation. From the 1850's on, the majority of the immigrants to North America were Irish Catholics from the south of Ireland, most of whom went directly to the large cities of the United States, rather than to Canada. 57
The Irish contribution to the Canadian cultural mosaic persisted long after the main wave of immigration had ceased. In the Irish outports of Newfoundland, accents, folk traditions and language dialects traceable to southeast Ireland are still recognizable, and although less obvious, Scots-Irish cultural traits are still to be found in the more ethnically heterogeneous provinces of mainland eastern Canada. There, family names, the network of Orange lodges, the sporadic distribution of Presbyterian and Catholic churches, and allied religious-political beliefs testify to an Irish origin backed by collaborative evidence from material folk culture if one knows where to look. Politics in Newfoundland, Ontario and New Brunswick are still affected by the party allegiances of Irish communities. 58
Transplantation of Irish Placenames: Occasionally, the transferred cultural traits are augmented by a settlement landscape bearing distinctively Irish nomenclature. Thus in western Ontario near the shores of Lake Huron, placenames such as Orangeville, Newry, Tralee, Listowel, Belfast, Dungannon and Donegal distinguish local towns, hamlets and villages, and suggest beginnings as Irish settlements. In general, Irish place names tended to be transferred to smaller settlements and minor physical features which the individual settler encountered in the process of staking out claim to the land. The names of the major territorial units of Canada: provinces, counties, parishes and townships, represented the territorial claims of the state and were rarely connected to the geographical background of the majority of the settlers. 59 However, it will be noted that much the same divisions are to be found in Ireland today, eg., provinces, counties, parishes, and townlands.
These "Irish" met and mixed well with thousands of Lowland Scots settlers in a crazy-quilt pattern of communities across Ontario... places such as Ailsa Craig, Bruce, Kincardine, Dundalk and Barrie, Guelph, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, welcomed their Scots and Scots-Irish brethern. Admixed with German and Irish-German Palatine loyalists who came north following the American Revolution, and with French Hugenots (some of whom had also sojourned in Ireland), these people formed a new Canadian nation.
Canadian Migration Patterns: Many of the children and grandchildren of the immigrants, firmly the mainstream of second and third generation Canadians, continued westward. As land became scarce and expensive in the older central and eastern Canadian provinces, a new migration of Scots-Irish Canadians headed west in much the same way as their fathers had embarked on the Atlantic voyage a generation before. Settlers who had first come to the Bay of Quinte at the Lake Ontario end of the St. Lawrence river, moved west to the upper Canadian lake shores of lakes Ontario and Eire, and then on to the Huron peninsula. Subsequent generations moved even further west to Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and into the United States. Still, by the beginning of the twentieth century, two-thirds of the Scots and Irish were concentrated in their original Canadian heartland, Ontario. New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario are the homes of 83 per cent of the Canadian Irish. 60
Some of these websites may be of assistance to the researcher:
Ontario Census Records:
People Finder Search for Canada:
Census of Canada for 1901:
Library and Archives of Canada:
A few more sites of interest:
Graves in Ontario. About 85% of all buried people in Ontario are listed in this searchable site.
1881 Canada Census. You can search by surname. If you'd like a census from a certain place, just type the place name and the word "archives" and you'll get the archives of that town. [Thanks to Jessica Ross, Betsy Cushman and Marge Grossini of the Rootsweb Fermangh-Gold list].
Australian Migration Patterns: Ulster's economy in the late 18th century had been as much based on the development of linen spinning and weaving as upon agricultural produce, and with a broader base than the agricultural south enjoyed a greater degree of prosperity. 61. This prosperity had seen a population increase whose "biological carry over" into the depressed years after 1815 created "the cauldron of social and economic pressures which characterize Ireland during these years." Against this background of population pressure and economic depression, an increasing number of transportations from Ulster to Australia took place. 62
However, in spite of the image of the Australian colonies as being penal, an increasing number of Free Settlers began to flow from all of Ireland to Australia. By the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars, the flow of emigration was starting to increase again. It has been estimated that prior to the famine years, 1,000,000 Irish emigrated; perhaps 40 percent were Ulstermen, 63 and a large number of these went to New South Wales in Australia.
Again, following the 1848 Rebellion, there were a significant number of Ulstermen transported to Australia. Happily, after serving their sentences in the Australian colonies, the male and female emancipated convicts made a strong contribution to the Australian settlement by becoming respectable citizens, skilled craftsmen, hard-working farmers, responsible wives and mothers. 64
Chain Migration: The phenomenon of "chain migration" time and again led immigrants to America, and to Canada and Australia. 65 The process was one by which a pioneer immigrant encouraged out another family member, who encouraged out a friend, who encouraged out her aunts, uncles, cousins, and so on. Various patterns have been discerned in the records: (1) one immigrant bringing out one member of the family, and no more; (2) a complex chain through interrelated families stretching over many decades back to specific parishes from areas of emigrant concentration abroad; (3) the regrouping of whole families in the new land; (4) a colonial middleman "nominating" a prospective emigrant from Ireland who would send him or her the required sponsorship money under the Remittance Regulations. 66
The Australian Remittance Regulations were a system of providing free passages, first introduced in 1848, whereby residents of the colony could pay a proportion of an immigrant's passage money in the colony and have their nominated friends or relatives brought out at government expense. These immigration patterns had the effect of regionalizing concentrations of emigrants from Irish localities in the new lands. Chain migration functioned as a social mechanism, easing the immigrants' inevitable sense of exile and loss by making it possible to surround themselves with some familiar faces. 67
For the newly landed emigrant, friends, neighbors, and kin who had emigrated in the years before would be sought out, accommodation secured and advice obtained on land grants or employment opportunities. The emigrants were links in a social chain that bound certain regions and even parishes in Ireland with specific districts in the new world. The persistence of those ties with a sustained process of emigration, the limited numbers of ports and avenues of arrival, and the relativerly restrcted set of settlement zones, in the United States and later in Canada and Australia, all served to reduce to meaningful proportions the scale and complexity of the new continent. They were not encountering the whole continent, only those parts of it that had already been spied out and surveyed by those who came earlier in the emigrant chains. 68
Fostered Emigration Schemes: In the period 1820 to 1860 and later, there were competing solicitations for emigrants to America, Canada, and Australia. From 1828 regular notices were inserted in the newspapers of Ulster by the Canada Company, whose London agent was A.C. Buchanen, a native of Co. Tyrone, advertising for farmers and labourers with families on the premise that family units would be a more stabilizing and reliable form of immigration than young mobile single people. 69 Under Buchanan's direction, and sometimes with financial assistance, the newcomers were encouraged to move out of the port city of Quebec, by-pass the growing commercial and manufacturing metropolis of Montreal, and settle on the frontier of Upper Canada, which became the province of Ontario. 70
In 1854, one Vere Foster subtitled a pamphlet on emigration to America "The advantages of emigration to America rather than to Australia." He listed such advantages as better prospects of work in the cities and the fact that the same money required for the passage of one person to Australia was nearly sufficient to carry five to America. Advertisements for sailings to Australia took pains to assure readers that the waiting time for the departure of sailing ships was minimal in comparison to that for ships to America, a significant factor as there was considerable expense incurred by immigrants in need of temporary housing, food and supplies while they waited in the port cities. 71
The social and economic difficulties of the 1840s saddled Ulster landlords and tenants alike for years with arrearages in rent. As in the case of landlords like Rev. James Hamilton, of St. Ernan's in Co. Donegal, 72 it was not merely philanthropy which was behind the assistance offered to tenants on the Shirley estate in Co. Monaghan in 1849 when passages to South Australia were arranged. Major Shirley in Monaghan, Hamilton in Donegal, and Caledon in Co. Tyrone and others had in fact been assisting passages for tenants to Canada from the mid 1840s, even before the full onset of the Famine. 73
The Emigrant Savings Bank was founded in New York City in 1850 (by the Catholic church?) to help Irish immigrants and others with banking business. The records were originally in the New York Genealogy and Biographical Society but it appears now that they have been microfilmed and are also in the New York Library. They can be a good source for research of emigrants arriving in the US subsequent to that date. See: 'Using the Records of the Emigrant Savings Bank' held by The NY Genealogical & Biographical Society and 'A Userís Guide to the Emigrant Bank Records' in The New York Public Library.
Displaced tenant farmers, Indentured servants, political prisoners, ordinary felons, tradesmen, already-established business and farming men, orphans and the rank and file of the migrant army poured from Ulster, the rest of Ireland, Lowland Scotland, and the northern Border counties of England in a chain of migration to the new lands. 74 Amongst these migrants were many Strongs. The task of the researcher is in trying to trace these people back across the Atlantic to their origins... See Chapter IX, "Research in the Aftermath of the Four Courts Fire".
People from a Place - The Scots-Irish:
Migrations from Ireland:
Arrivals in America:
Characteristics - Physical, Mental, Dispositions:
The American Melting Pot:
Flow of Migration Shifts to Canada:
Transportation to Australia:
Napoleonic War - Effect on Economy:
The Timber Ships:
Effects of Industrialization on Emigration:
Transplantation of Irish Placenames:
Canadian Migration Patterns:
Australian Migration Patterns:
Fostered Emigration Schemes:
End of Page:
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