Celebrating the identity, heritage, & culture of Ulster & the Ulster-Scots (a.k.a. "Scots-Irish") people worldwide!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

America and Ulster

Some poetry,Ulster speaks to America


My sculptured glens where crystal rivers ran
My purple mountains misty in the sun
My coastline little changed since time began
I gave you birth

I watched you go,
You saw me fade into the distant sky,
You sailed away from me with your tear-filled eye
You said you'd ner forget though years passed by,
But time rolled on

Your young land grew,
And new sons fought to keep their country fair,
And at the Alamo and Shiloh they were there
And with pride they filled the Presidential chair,
My Ulstermen

Remember me
Though battle-scarred and weary I abide,
Though Americans their heritage denied,
When you speak of history say my name with pride
Iam Ulster.


Hi Uncle Sam
When freedom was denied you
And imperial might defied you,
Who was it stood beside you?
At Quebec and Brandywine?
And dared retreats and dangers,
Redcoats and Hessian strangers,
In the new lean long rifiled Rangers
And the Pennsylvania line.

Hi Uncle Sam
Wherever there was fighting,
Or wrong that needed righting,
An Ulsterman was sighting
His Kentucky gun with care,
All the road to Yorktown.
From Lexington to Yorktown
From the Valley Forge to Yorktown
That Ulsterman was there

Hi Uncle Sam
Virginia sent her brave men,
The north paraded grave men,
That they might not be slave men
The first to face the Tory
And the first to lift Old Glory
Made your war an Ulster story
Think it over Uncle Sam

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ulster & Dixie

As a Southerner with Ulster-Scots roots I found this video to be particularly inspiring! They begin playing "Dixie" about half way through the video.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Conference medal

A meeting of the Scotch-Irish Society was held in Columbia Tenneessee in 1889. This medal commemerates the event.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Early Ulster-Scots in America

The early Ulster-Scots on the frontier

James McCullough left Belfast in 1745 and landed at Newcastle on the Delaware. He was a weaver by trade but then....'I began to plow corn June ye 23'. Then the first clouds began to gather: 'July ye 12 was put to flight by a fals Alarm from ye Ingens'. The Indian raiding parties were now coming across the Appalachians into the Cumberland Valley. At first their attacks were by night,then they became bolder and struck even in the middle of the long summer days.Behind McCullough's terse entries lies a story of offical blundering and cowardice and of terrible suffering endured by the people of the Cumberland Valley. The British commander General Braddock had been killed and the headlong flight of his troops left the frontier settlers without protection,and for the next two years McCullough records with monotonous regularity the murder and kidnapping of friends and neighbours: 'Robert Clogston his son and Betty Ramsey her son was killed.....Nov ye 9th John Wood and his wife and mother in law and John Archer's wife was killed and 4 children carried off....Alexander Miller killed and 2 of his children taken.' The diarist leaves to the imagination the gruesome details of these events.
McCullough's intelligence,humour and his stocial acceptance of the situation comes though his laconic prose. But then on 26 July 1756 came McCullough's personal tragedy: 'John and James McCologh was taken Captive by ye ingens.' These were his two sons,aged eight and five. ( McCullough was inconsisent in the spelling of even his own name) The boys were snatched while playing in a ravine close to their home. Beside the date of the capture McCullough transcribed a quotation from the Book of Jeremiah: 'Weep not for the dead....but weep sore for him that goeth away,for he shall return no more,nor see his native country.'
In the case of the younger boy the words were prophetic; James disappeared comepletely. But,after years of agonizing search,the father found John at an Indian camp. The boy could no longer speak English and wept bitterly when he was taken from his Indian family. He had to be tied up for the journey home.

This happened with other families too, and as mentioned some were never seen again The movie The Light In The Forest is loosely based on James McCullough's son

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Most Priceless Heritage

From their earliest arrival in America 350 years ago the Scots-Irish left a lasting legacy, a heritage that was firmly grounded in freedom and democracy. The pioneering instinct of this proud race from Ulster and Scotland opened up America from the Atlantic coastline to the Pacific shore---"Sea to Shining Sea." The history of the United States is interwoven with the outstanding personalities from the Scots-Irish diaspora and the distinctive characteristics of a people who pushed the frontiers to new horizons. This comprehensive study of the Scots-Irish in America by Northern Ireland author Billy Kennedy has created a much greater awareness of the accomplishments and the durability of the hardy settlers and their families who moved to the 'New World' during the 18th century and created a civilization out of a wilderness. President James Buchanan, son of a Co. Tyrone man, said: "My Ulster blood is my most priceless heritage." This is a sentiment echoed by many, many people in the United States today!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

'Stonewall' Plaque in Ulster

The Battle of King's Mountain

Who were these men whose courage and fighting skill won a key battle in the fight for independence? They were an unique group of the first and second generation Americans. Although their numbers were made up of Englishmen, Welshmen, Irishmen, Germans, Scots, and French Huguenots, the vast majority were Ulster Scots, or Scots-Irish as they referred to today. Their history is the story of a people molded by oppression, poverty and religious fevor into hardened patriots undaunted by adversity.
The story begins in the lowlands of western Scotland in 1610 when James 1 of England offered land to Scots willing to relocate to northern Ireland and take the Oath of Supremacy recognizing James as head of the Church of England, a royal plot to dilute the influence of the Catholic Church in Ireland by moving the protestant Scots to the area. The relocation plan was known as the Plantation. James found many willing pawns and six counties of northern Ireland were settled by the people known from that time forward as Ulster Scots.
From the outset, Ulster Scots were a distinct and separate part of the population. They were set apart by their language, dress and, most of all, by their fervent adherence to Calvinistic Presbyterianism. They believed wholeheartedly in the worth and equality of each individual. The discrimination they encountered in Ireland solidified their clannish ways, their sense of personal honor and their fierce distrust of the governmental authority.
In 1703, a law was passed which required any office holder in Ireland to accept the sacraments of the Church of England. Although the Catholic Church was recognized as a legitimate religion, the Presbyterian faith had no such standings and ministers were expelled from their pulpits, forbidden to preach, marry or bury parishioners, or teach the faith. The alienation of the Ulster Scots was profound.
Life in Ireland gradually became untenable. Years of drought devastated the economy, wiping out businesses and farmers. The land the Ulster Scots had settled on belonged to Anglican English and Irish landlords. The farmers paid rent to the “lairds” who capriciously raised rents in bad times as well as good. The finial insult to the devout Presbyterians was the legal obligation to tithe to despised Church of England.
Drought was the final straw. Beginning in 1717 and continuing until 1775, five separate waves of emigration carried Ulster Scots to the shores of the American colonies. The arrivals who emigrated between 1740-41 left Ireland to escape a famine that killed nearly 40,000 of their countrymen. These emigrants, in particular, were the people who arrived in Pennsylvania, and kept moving through the Valley of Virginia to the western borders of Virginia and the Carolinas. In all, by the early 1780’s, two hundred and fifty thousand Ulster Scots had crossed the Atlantic to America.
They came in family groups and individually. In several instances, entire congregations came together. Some, too poor to afford passage, indentured themselves as servants to new world masters for seven years.
They were among the first people to settle the western frontier of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas. They arrived on the east coast with few resources, but a terrible hunger for land to call their own. They were willing to risk their meager resources and their very lives for a better place to live.
They brought with them a deep distrust of authority, a thorough dislike of the British and a passion for a life where they could freely worship as they wished, own their own property and be free of the hated tithe to the Church of England. For this freedom, they were willing to risk the hardship of making a home in the wilderness, fending off hostile Indians and the isolation of frontier living.
The Ulster Scots influence on the frontier culture touched every facet of the new society. Their independence and their strict Calvinistic morals were the foundation of their “a man’s word is his bond” code of honor. Their language melted in to American English so completely that, to this day, especially in the southern states, we use Ulster Scots phrases every day. When you hear “y’all”, “younguns”, “nekkid”, “might could”, “wider women”, “I’m fixin to”, “critter”, “in ya go”, or a stranger calls you “Honey”, you are hearing the echos of Ulster Scots.
They brought the beautiful, haunting melodies of Scotland and Ireland with them, changing the lyrics to fit new occasions. They also brought the ancient skill of whisky distilling to the new world.
The Border Scot term for Presbyterians was “redneck” ,and it didn’t take long in the colonies for the meaning to morph into a hardworking, fiercely proud individual who was easily drawn into fight.
The Ulster Scots settlers lives were hard and filled with privation. Their homes were constantly in jeopardy from attacks by the Indian tribes the British incited against them during the Revolution, and, yet, time after time, they responded to the call to fight for independence.
It is no wonder that these proud and hardy people were quick to see the advantages of America becoming an independent nation. They had experienced the tyranny of kings and the loss of religious liberty. They instinctively understood the value of freedom. And they were willing to fight for it. General George Washington said: “If defeated everywhere I will make my stand for liberty among the Scots-Irish in my native Virginia”.
Major Ferguson might have lived to old age if he had not dismissed the Over-mountain Men as “barbarians …. and mongrels”. His contempt for them as adversaries was not only his undoing, it proved to be the catalyst that set the American patriots on the track for victory and independence.
Note: The Battle of King’s Mountain was the only battle in the American Revolution where no roster was kept of the participants. The Over-mountain Men joined the fight, fought the battle and most went home afterward.. It is almost certain that there were men among those patriots who had descendants in Giles County today. If any reader knows of an ancestor who fought in this battle on October 7, 1780, please send the information to the Research Office of Thursday afternoons from 12 noon to 5:00p.m. so that another piece of our history can be preserved.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ulster Day

A belated happy Ulster Day to everyone

Monday, September 26, 2011

Will marching bans impact Ulster?

The central government in London has banned marches in large parts of the city, reportedly with an eye towards banning marches and demonstrations in other cities. There is also ominous talk about the government shutting down social networking sites as it seeks to clamp down on public discontent. Will this draconian action which puts London at odds with the long tradition of British civil liberties be extended to Ulster? As reported by RT:
The UK government has granted police the right to prevent far-right groups from marching through five London boroughs for 30 days, prompting concerns that a dangerous precedent has been set in terms of police power and freedom of expression.

Scotland Yard says it applied for the ban over fears of violence and disorder planned by the English Defence League earlier this month.

The view of workers’ rights activists on the Home Office ban on marching is quite clear. “It is an attack on the basic democratic rights of working people in this country,” says Patrick O’Regan from the Workers’ Revolutionary Party.

Through September, in six areas of London, anyone marching as thousands of people did last winter is liable to be arrested and fined, or even imprisoned.

The ban was prompted by plans by the anti-Muslim English Defence League to repeat their February protest in Luton by marching through Tower Hamlets, the area with the highest concentration of Muslims in the country.

But instead of banning one march on one day, the Home Office banned all marches in six boroughs for an entire month. Activist Richard Seymour sees a wider motive.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pat Buchanan discusses Ulster ties

US media personality and former presidential candidate Patrick J Buchanan discusses his Ulster roots in an interview on Al Jazeera. He says that his family came from Scotland "all the way over to the plantation in Northern Ireland... and then they left there... and they arrived in North Carolina... around 1790 to 1820... and they went straight there to Mississippi and they immediately began to agitate for secession."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dalriada connections old and new

The 17th Century migration of Lowland Scots and Border Reivers to Ulster was preceded by many far more ancients connections across the North Channel. One of the most interesting connections was the Kingdom of Dalriada (also known as Dál Riata) in the late 6th and early 7th century which encompassed roughly what is now Argyll and Bute and Lochaber in Scotland and also County Antrim in Ulster.

The name has been adopted by an Ulster-Scots cultural society which is offering piping classes in Ballymoney.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Southern flags in Ulster skies

A friend of mine and Southern sympathiser from Belfast sent in the following picture taken outside his home there. I thought our readers might enjoy it. It is always nice to see folks, especially from closely related cultures, embracing our symbols and promoting connections between our peoples. Seen in the picture are (left to right) the South Carolina/Confederate flag, the Northern Ireland flag and the Ulster-Scots flag.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Protestants blamed for Belfast violence in US media

Despite admitting that it was unclear which side started the violence in Belfast yesterday, The Washington Post (a pro-Establishment media outlet which in the US as regards Ulster translates as anti-Protestant) ran as its headline: "Protestant rioters attack Catholic homes as sectarian unrest flares on streets of Belfast." The headline makes it seems as though the majority culture is aggressive and oppressive while the minority culture is the victim of oppression (those of us in Dixie are quiet familiar with this media tactic). Of course, the reality of the situation is not nearly as clear.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Flying the colours... around the world!

Here are two pictures showing the flags I've currently got flying in front of my home in South Carolina: the SC Secession Flag and the Ulster Nationalist Flag.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Red Hand Defenders march with Confederate flag in Newtownstewart

Proud sons of Ulster took to the streets of Newtownstewart in County Tyrone on 6 May, 2011 to show the colours and their loyalty to their country. For this son of Dixie it was especially stirring to see that they marched with the Confederate and Bonnie Blue flags, symbolising the many connections and close relationship between the Ulster-Scots and the people of Dixie. Check out the video below!

Note: Also see "Uniforms Impress in Dunmyrry and Lurgan" and "Crowds Come out for Bands Bonanza"

Monday, April 25, 2011

Scotch-Irish/Ulster-Scots settlement

Ulster-Scots settlement in America.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Hands of Ulster & Abkhazia

The people of Ulster are not the only folks on earth to use the hand as their national symbol. The people of Abkhazia (who recently gained their independence from Georgia) also employ the symbol on their flag and other national emblems. In the attached picture, notice the white hand on the Abkhazian lady's dress, which has her national colours on it. The stars around the hand represent the historic regions of the country.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Libya Rebels Apologise

This mentions also the Lockerbie plane attack in which Americans lost their lives.

Libya rebels apologise to families of IRA victims
By Lesley-Anne Henry
B.T. Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Rebels in Libya have apologised to the families of people killed or injured by IRA bombs boosted by Semtex supplied by Colonel Gaddafi.

The Government of Free Libya, an interim authority which has its headquarters in the embattled town of Benghazi, made the historic announcement to lawyers representing almost 160 victims last night.

The apology came as the former Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa faces a possible private prosecution over claims he sanctioned the move to supply Semtex to republican terrorists during the 1980s and 90s.

Jason McCue from London-based H2O Law, the firm which successfully sued four men over the 1998 Omagh bomb, is currently in Benghazi negotiating with rebels to secure more evidence against Mr Koussa.

He warned that large amounts of Libyan supplied Semtex which was unaccounted for after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 may have fallen into the hands of dissident republicans and may have been used to in the bomb that killed Constable Ronan Kerr last Saturday.

“I would not be surprised if Omagh was Libyan Semtex. The IRA connection with Libya goes back to the 1970s when Irish paramilitaries were trained in the Libyan desert. Gaddafi started

sending shipments of Semtex, originating from then Czechoslovakia, in the mid-1980s, McCue said.

“There were tonnes of Semtex. Gaddafi was waging war on the United Kingdom in this way.”

The human rights lawyer also claimed Mr Koussa — who defected to the UK last week — was the direct link between Tripoli and the IRA army council when he worked as a diplomat in the Libyan embassy in London.

Mr McCue said: “His role in this is unequivocal.”

He described last night’s apology as a step forward.

“It’s a clear turning point,” he said.

Victims — including campaigner Willie Frazer and Michelle Williams, who lost her parents in the Shankill Road bomb — are expected to launch a private civil or criminal action against Moussa Koussa within weeks. Their legal teams have already amassed a cache of 10 boxes of evidence.

A civil prosecution would be relatively straightforward, with the lawyers seeking damages from Koussa on behalf of victims for loss, wrongful death and “trespass to the person”. Under a private criminal prosecution, Mr Koussa would face multiple charges for murder, conspiracy to cause murder and offences under the counter-terrorism laws.

Libyan-supplied Semtex is believed to have been used in bombings such as Enniskillen Warrington and Manchester and Canary Wharf.

Manya Dickinson from Kilkeel, whose father was killed by the IRA because he supplied building materials to the British Army, said she cannot move on until justice has been done.

She said: “He might as well have planted the bomb that killed my father. That’s the man who supplied the IRA. And the British Government are welcoming him. We seem to have been forgotten about and we are expected to be quiet.

“How are we supposed to move on?”

”They have to be held accountable in some way. This is the only way at the minute that we see that we can.”

Lawyers representing families of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing also want to speak to Mr Koussa.

The British Government said he has not been granted immunity from prosecution.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Terrorists kill Catholic policeman in Omagh

Tragedy has struck Ulster, as I'm sure our readers know. Terrorists have a killed a young policeman. IRA dissidents have long targeted Cathlics who join the NI police force. Our hearts go out to the family of the young man who was murdered.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

End Of An Era 1899.. American View

This is an extract taken from a book 'The End of an Era' by John Sergeant Wise. Published by Houghton,Mifflin and Company Boston and New York 1899.

Shortly prior to 1732, an immense number of Scotch-Irish[Ulster-Scots] and Germans poured into Pennsylvania and the Jerseys. Within thirty years, the population of Pennsylvania increased from about thirty thousand to two hundred and fifty thousand. The Scotsmen, who, for religious liberty, had originally sought the north of Ireland, were the people who saved Ireland to William and Mary from Catholic James. Their loyalty was rewarded by new persecutions for non- conformity, until they resolved to seek asylum in America. So, also, about the same time came to America a great migration of German Lutherans, who were induced to settle in Pennsylvania. The Scotsmen occupied the regions about Princeton, New Jersey, Easton, Carlisle, and Washington. The Germans settled about York, Lancaster, Columbia, and Harrisburg. Governor Logan, himself a Scotch-Irishman,[Ulster-Scot] enforced some laws about 1730 which were so offensive to the Presbyterians and Lutherans that great numbers of them left the Pennsylvania colony, crossed the Potomac west of the Blue Ridge, in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry, entered Virginia, and settled the Blue Ridge valley.

As if by agreement, the two bands separated. The lethargic Germans, as soon as they escaped the Pennsylvania jurisdiction, occupied the lower valley from Harper's Ferry to Harrisonburg. The aggressive Scotch Irish pressed on to the upper valley, then called West Augusta, now divided into the counties of Augusta Rockbridge, Botetourt, Roanoke, and Montgomery. From then until now, the two races have retained possession of and dominated their respective settlements.

And a very striking race of men are these Scotch-Irish so called yet with nothing Irish about them save them for a little while they tarried in Ireland. Hated by Irish because they were Protestants, persecuted by the English because they were Presbyterians, they in turn cordially detested both, and, in our Revolutionary struggles were among the earliest and most intense rebels against the king. For liberty, as they conceived it, whether it was liberty of conscience or liberty of the person, the Scotch-Irishmen and their descendants have never hesitated to sacrifice comfort, fortune, or life. Their mountain origin has always manifested itself by the places they have chosen in their migrations. The few who went to the Puritan settlements of New England soon moved from among them and sought the inhospitable highlands of New Hampshire, where they bestowed on their new settlement the name of Londonderry. The little band who found asylum among the Dutch of New York pressed onward from uncongenial associates to the mountainous frontier, and named the county where they settled Ulster, in memory of their Irish home. Those who wearied of Pennsylvania and went to Virginia avoided the light society of the Cavaliers in Tidewater and Piedmont, preferring the mountain wilds of West Augusta.

Wherever they appeared, they seemed to be seeking for some secluded spot, where, undisturbed by any other sect, they might enjoy liberty unrestrained, and worship God after their own fashion.

And great have they been as pioneers. They populated western New England, northern New York, western Pennsylvania, and the Virginia valley. Then they pressed onward through western North Carolina, even to northern South Carolina. Then they spread westward through Cumberland Gap to the settlement of Kentucky. In later days, their Lewis and their Clarke were the explorers of the Northwest; another Lewis was the first to view Pike's Peak, and even the territory of Texas was in part reclaimed by Sam Houston, son of a Rockbridge County Presbyterian. The pioneer work of the Scotch- Irish has been greater than that of all other races in America combined.

Great also have they been as fighters. John Lewis, their first leader in the Virginia valley, was the terror of the frontier Indians from the day of his arrival. Never after his coming did the Indians come east of the Blue Ridge. Another Scotch- Irishman, Patrick Henry, uttered the immortal sentence, "Give me liberty or give me death."

General Henry Knox, of Revolutionary fame, the only New England representative in Washington's cabinet, was a Scotch-Irishman.

It was the Scotch-Irish of Mecklenburg, North Carolina, who framed the first resolutions embodying the principles of the Declaration of Independence. It was of the Scotch-Irish and their valley home that Washington was speaking when, in the darkest hours of the Revolution, he declared that, if the worst came to the worst, he would retire to the mountain fastnesses of West Augusta, and there, with a few of his brave followers about him, defy forever the power of Great Britain. It was from the same spot that Stonewall Jackson, another of the stock, went forth in our great civil war, followed by his brave men of Scotch-Irish ancestry recruited here, to revive, by his grim prowess and their unshaken valor, the mentors of Old Ironsides and his Presbyterians.

And great have they been as disseminators of learning. They founded the ancient college of New Jersey now known as Princeton University. To their efforts are we indebted for the colleges of La Fayette at Easton and Washington Jefferson College at Washington in Pennsylvania and Liberty Hall Academy, now called Washington and Lee University, at Lexington, Virginia; and Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

And successful politicians and statesmen have they been; for Calhoun, Andrew Jackson, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Ulysses S. Grant, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinley were all rich in this Scotch-Irish blood.

In his great work upon the Puritans, Douglass Campbell has admirably sketched the Scotch-Irish. Much has been written of them of late years by writers less distinguished and just now Professor John Fiske, under the title of "Old Virginia and her Neighbors," has published a most interesting account of the great Scotch-Irish migration and its influences on our American civilization.

At Lexington, Virginia, these folk were and are, as their ancestors have been for centuries, men of earnest, thoughtful, and religious natures; simple in their lives to the point of severity, sometimes severe to the point of simplicity; intense in their religious fervor, yet strangely lacking, as it seems to us, in that quality of mercy which is the greatest attribute of religion; loving and possessing education, yet often narrow-minded, in spite of thorough training; almost ascetics in their wants, not bountifully hospitable, but reasonably courteous and considerate towards strangers, and methodically charitable; regarding revelry and dissipation of body or mind as worthy of supreme contempt; of dogged obstinacy, pertinacity, and courage; dominant forces in all things wherein they take a part.

I had heard of their race, and heard them described, long before I went there; and now I was among them, - those old McDowells, and McLaughlins, and McClungs and Jacksons, and Paxtons, and Rosses, and Grahams and Andersons, and Campbells, and Prestons, and Moores and Houstons, and Barclays, and Comptons, and all the tribe of Presbyterians of the valley. All they possessed, and what they were, I curiously scrutinized as a type of humanity wholly new to me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

From God's Frontiersmen

Excerpt from the book God's Frontiersmen 1989

The popular image of the Ulster Protestant purveyed by much of the world's press and television and by the authors of instant studies of the Irish question is that of a red-faced man, his features contorted,beating a large drum. This simple visual clich'e has been used repeatedly to convey violence,intransigence and bigotry,neat labels under which,in the high speed information world of to-day,a busy journalist can package an entire people. Each television documentary or book on the Ulster troubles offers a history of the so-called native or Catholic Irish but usually nothing on the background of the Protestant people. It is almost as if they were destitue of features,emotions or even intelligent life,without existence in time,a monolith whose only purpose is to be the granite against which the national aspirations of an Irish people are dashed. The intention of this book is to explode that myth.

The ancestors of the Protestant population of Ulster arrived there in a series of immigrations during the seventeenth century,coming from the Scottish Lowlands and Borders and to a lesser extent from various parts of England,as far apart as Lancashire Norfolk and Devon. Within a hundred years they had transformed the north of Ireland from a land composed largely of woods and swamps,interspersed with small areas of modest culivation,into a province with roads,market towns and ports,supported by an increasingly arable system of farming,a thriving cattle trade and a domestic textile industry. Into a country where Catholic medieval values and an indolent pastoral economy pervaded, they brought Calvinastic Protestantism and a stern work ethic.

Although they came into what was an English colony and many of them were originally part of the official settlement of Ulster by the English Crown,the Scots so predominated in numbers,in the toughness of their culture and in the determination with which they acquired land, that the whole Plantation enterprise took on Scottish characteristics and the name 'Ulster Scots' came in time to be applied to the entire non-Irish population of the province which included large numbers of English, much smaller numbers of Welsh and some refugee French Protestants. In America the term 'Scotch-Irish',which had originally been used by Ulster students training for the Presbyterian ministry at Scottish universities,was applied to the Protestant immigrants from Ulster to distinguish them from the Catholic Irish who arrived later. For the purposes of this book,the terms Ulster Scots-or Scotch-Irish are regarded as interchangeable; they are also applied for the sake of identification in chapters dealing with Canada,Australia and New Zealand, lands where these terms would not have been known.

Cowpens & the Presbyterians

Whitelaw Reid, in his 1912 book The Scot in America and the Ulster Scot, writes about Colonial South Carolina and the Scots and Ulster-Scots people who fought for independence:

Two of the most noted battles in South Carolina, where half the population was Uster-Scottish, were those of King’s Mountain and Cowpens. At the first, five of the Colonels were Presbyterian ruling elders, and their troops were mainly recruited from Presbyterian settlements. At the Cowpens, General Morgan, who commanded, and General Pickens were both Presbyterian elders, and most of their troops were Presbyterians. Several other Presbyterian elders held high commands in the same State throughought the war.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Grandpa worked for the railroad

Walter McClain (born in 1927 near Waycross, GA) tells his story about working for the railroad in southern Georgia. He is of Ulster-Scots ancestry.

Click here for the audio (Warning: contains a few curse words)

Fort St Andrew & the Scots in Colonial North America

Many Scots and Ulster-Scots migrated to British North America in the 1700s, following the Puritan and Cavalier migrations. The early stage of this migration is described at this link in Whitelaw Reid's 1912 book The Scot in America and the Ulster Scot.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Mr President

Happy Birthday Mr President!

Tuesday 15 March has been declared Andrew Jackson Day in Carrickfergus
as the Borough prepares to step back in time to mark the birthday of
the 7th President of the United States with a day of American and
Ulster-Scots themed activities and entertainment.

President Jackson’s family lived in Boneybefore, just outside
Carrickfergus, before they emigrated to Carolina where Andrew was
born. Today The Andrew Jackson Cottage visitors’ centre at Carrick
cements that historic association.

From 2pm – 4pm on Andrew Jackson Day it will be the atmospheric venue
for a series of interpretive tours and re-enactments and the cottage
will ring to the sounds of bluegrass music. From 6.pm – 8.30pm the
free family entertainment will move to the Castle Green in the heart
of Carrickfergus for live music from The Broken String Band and the
Transatlantic Hillbilly Band plus themed arts and crafts activities
for children and a finale fireworks display courtesy of the Army
Benevolent Fund.

The great man himself (a.k.a. actor/ re-enactor Ronald Kane from The
Living History Company) will visit both events.

Looking forward to the day of celebrations, the Mayor Alderman Jim
McClurg said, “All of us in Carrickfergus are of course extremely
proud of the ancestry of the 7th President of the United States, but I
suspect there are still a great many people out there who know very
little about this historic figure – and we’d like to help put that

“Thousands of visitors from right around the world have already passed
though The Andrew Jackson Cottage, enjoying both its authentic
ambience and the opportunity to brush up on a fascinating period of
history. Andrew Jackson’s birthday gives us a great excuse to add
another layer of entertainment and fun to the discovery process and we
are looking forward to a birthday party with a difference – and on a
grand scale.

“We are particularly pleased to have secured the support of The United
States Consulate for this venture and I am sure that the combination
of American and Ulster-Scots traditions will make for a fantastic
day-long party!”

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Disagreement at US Post Office over Ulster

I had an interesting experience at my local post office yesterday with a man who isn't from the South and who displayed a bit of hostility towards Ulster identity.

Click here for the mp3 audio of me telling the story

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Junior Orange Trip to America

County Tyrone Juniors on memorable trip to USA

Members of a County Tyrone Junior Orange recently returned after a memorable trip to the States,during which they visited places with Ulster-Scots links. Three officers and seven boys belonging to Glengeeragh Junior LOL No 257 visited South Carolina,and the trip was made possible by a generous 50 per cent grant from the McCrea Memorial Fund. The party flew from Dublin to Philadelphia and from the 'City of Brotherly Love' to Greenville, South Carolina.

In Greenville, the Ulster party were taken on a historical tour of the city,and this included a museum which had a large section dealing with the immigration of huge numbers of Ulster-Scots families to what were then the British colonies of North America. These hardy settlers,known in America as the Scotch-Irish, settled in the Carolinas, and played a leading role in the American War of Independence, and the early development of the United States.

The Ulster Junior Orangemen were able to attend a baseball match,and on the Sunday,attended Faith Free Presbyterian Church in Greenville, where the minister,the Rev Mercer,is an Ulsterman. The boys and their officers were guests of Mr and Mrs Mercer for dinner following the morning service. The boys were able to take part in water sports in the city's river.

One of the highlights was the visit to several parts of South Carolina which were settled by Ulster-Scots,and they had the opportunity of meeting members of two families,the McMullans and McGarritys, who could trace their links to N.I. Another high point of the visit was a tour of the historic city of Charleston,with many historic buildings, and modern facilities, including swimming pools and beaches. The officers and boys were overwhelmed by the hospitality of the people they met, and said their bus driver who was called Barney, a born-again Christian, was a great help.

On their return to Ulster, the party were the centre of attraction at an event held in Glenageeragh Orange Hall. The boys were interviewed, and a short tape of the trip was shown.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Virginia, Ulster and the Reivers

From a booklet about the Elliott Clan and the Border Reivers... with thanks to my daughter.


The death of Queen Elizabeth 1 set the Borders alight. Both Scots and English tried to do as much damage as possible to each other without fear of retribution. Robert Ellot, 17th Chief, invaded England with almost 400 horseman carrying battle flags. Several other clans followed their example. Unfortunately James succeeded to the united throne much faster than anticipated and declared the Borders were no longer the extremities of the two kingdoms but the middle of one United Kingdom. All laws and usage of the Borders were declared finished and the peculiar justiciary system that had existed for over 400 years was swept away. James V1, that ungainly, unlikely King,succeeded in pacifying the Borders as he had the Highlands where his predecessors had failed.

The King's authority was stamped on the Borders and the first crop of executions resulted in thirty two Elliots, Armstrongs,and Johnstons going to the gallows. Iron gates were orderd removed from the old peel towers and turned into plough shares,arms were banned, and horses forbidden to have saddles. Forcible emigration to Ulster began, as did transportation overseas for the King declared, ''the most notorious and lewd persons on the Middle March are to be sent to Virginia.

The Elliots had fought in more than their fair share of all the Border battles. They were to suffer most in the forcible pacification that followed. Thirty of their towers in Liddlesdale were destroyed. One third of all the Borderers banished from Scotland were Elliots and over 3,500 of the name were living in Ulster in 1900. Many were transported to the Virginian plantations. The last major hanging of Border reivers took place in 1609,and when the Elliots made a final raid against the Robsons in Tynedale in 1611 this really marked the end of a traditional way of life.

Click here to visit the Ulster Virginia website

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Francis Hutcheson: Teacher of Adam Smith (early Ulster-Scots philosopher & economist)

Francis Hutcheson (August 8, 1694 – August 8, 1746) was a philosopher and economist born in Drumalig in County Down to a family of Ulster-Scots Presbyterians who became one of the founding fathers of the Scottish Enlightenment.

(mp3 audio) Francis Hutcheson: Teacher of Adam Smith

Ulster Plantation... who got what

The Ulster plantation (or homecoming) was said to be a forerunner for the settlement of Virginia.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ulster + Dixie + Eagle

This is a picture I took today of multiple flags laying upon each other with a light behind them. It turned out pretty cool, I thought.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

North Carolina

Sketches of North Carolina,by Rev William Foote

Rev William Foote (1794-1869) was of English descent. In 1822 he married Eliza Glass a minister's daughter of Ulster-Scots descent whose grandparents had come from Banbridge in Co Down

His writings are full of admiration for the Ulster-Scots who came to America and who made up the Scotch-Irish communities and congregations with whom he shared spiritual conviction and cultural values, and among whom he spent his life. The notes he collected in North Carolina formed the core of his 600 page epic Sketches of North Carolina, Historical and Biographical, Illustrative of the Principles of a Portion of Her Early Settlers which was published in 1846. It's freely available online. The first four chapters are about American history, but chapters 5 - 9 are a detailed retelling of Ulster-Scots history and seem to be largely based on James Seaton Reid's account. Chapter 5 is entitled "Origin of the Scotch-Irish": –

"...Ulster began to send out swarms to America; shipload after shipload of men trained to labor and habits of independence, sought the American shores; year after year the tide rolled on without once ebbing; and many thousands of these descendants of the emigrants from Scotland, disdaining to be called Irish, filled the upper country of Pennsylvania, Virginia and the Carolinas. Ulster, in Ireland, has been an exhaustless hive, a perennial spring..."

The book is free on Google Books online.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Ulster-Scots come to the North American frontier

The following two videos are part of a series from a while back. This particular part of the series (videos 4 and 5) is about the Ulster-Scots, their migration to North America, their travels down the Appalachian trail and their influence on the culture and speech of the people of the American South.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Born Fighting 2

Part of a preview from the Record newspaper.

Senator Webb, author of Born Fighting: How The Scots-Irish Shaped America, is a direct descendant of the Scots whose centuries-long journey to the US via Northern Ireland was propelled by the reformation of the church in the 1500s
The series, Born Fighting, delivers a fascinating historical account of the Scots-Irish exodus.

Webb, a democrat who represents Virginia, said: "The Scots-Irish culture has had incredible impact in the US. And yet the most incredible thing about it is how little today's Scotland, Ireland and America know about them. The culture, values and fighting spirit of the Scots-Irish have shaped America. It's vital we know more about these people."

Webb said: "I have many ancestors who endured the Siege of Derry and left Ireland for America.
"In the early years, the siege burned in their memories as evidenced in the letters which I still keep. As the generations passed, those memories faded, but not the motivations which had compelled them to resist. This has been in the Scots-Irish DNA since the time of Hadrian's Wall.
"It was there before Derry, it would sustain them on the American frontier and it is with us still."

Soon after the Siege of Derry in 1689. Queen Anne's penal laws slowed the Scottish surge into Ulster, decreeing that all office holders must be Episcopalian.
Presbyterian Scots-Irish leaders lost their jobs and prospects, and turned their attention to the promised land across the sea.
"If the English government wasn't going to let them live freely in Ulster, then they would take their labour and values elsewhere. And they'd all heard of the promised land across the sea.
"The early exodus also represented economic opportunity and the chance to look after both body and soul.
"Some were motivated by religion, some by money, others had had enough of the turmoil. But all were carrying their Ulster Scots tradition with them. And each had agreed to take a one-way trip to the wilderness of America."

The first settlers endured horrific conditions, crossing the Atlantic for three months in returning cargo ships which had carried flax seed to Ulster. They arrived in New Hampshire, naming the town Londonderry, the first Scots-Irish community in America. Hundreds of thousands followed throughout the 18th century.

"They must have wanted it pretty badly," said Webb, "considering the conditions they endured. But their arrival made America the land it is today.
"Their willingness to fight helped America win the War of Independence, their daring spirit helped open up the frontiers, and the music, drinks and prayers they carried became the life-blood of America.
"They transformed it. Everywhere I look I see the impact of the Scots-Irish on modern American life - our military, our churches, our music."

The earliest Scots-Irish settlers to the east-coast colonies were used as "buffers" between the Amish folk of Pennsylvania and the native Americans "over the hill", where their combative spirit, farming skills and freedom to exercise their religious beliefs were well-placed.
Webb said: "The Ulster Scots believed God wanted them to work hard to improve their lot."
Scots-Irish brought whisky and the roots of folk music, a tradition continued in the country sound of Nashville and singers like Johnny Cash, who had Scots ancestors.

But they weren't the only key imports brought by the Scots-Irish.
Having spread south from the eastern seaboard, the lack of Presbyterian ministers forced them to seek spiritual comfort from Baptist and Methodist preachers.
Webb said: "They led to the foundation of what we know as the Bible Belt. The Scots-Irish attitudes have helped shape America. But this is a competitive culture and many of its members have reached the very top.

"The traits of individualism and ambition have sent no less than 17 men to the White House."
These include Andrew Jackson, James Monroe, Theodore Roosevelt, George Bush, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Senator Webb added: "Neil Armstrong's progress to the Moon began many centuries ago when his ancestors left Scotland for Ireland.
"The Scots-Irish are the core at the centre of the spirit of America.
"They helped build this country from the bottom up."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Born Fighting

Is on TV here. Its being produced by both Scottish Television and Ulster Television. Smithsonian Television (America) is also involved so it will probably be seen in America too.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The term Ulster Scots

1640: The first use of the term “Ulster Scots”

Wentworth’s adviser in Ireland was Sir George Radcliffe. He was deeply concerned that the Covenanter Army, under the command of the Earl of Argyle, might come to Ulster. On 8th October 1640 Radcliffe wrote (citing the famous assassination which had caused Robert the Bruce to flee to Rathlin Island over 300 years before):

“...Many thousands in the North never took the oath... they will shortly return, to any that dares question them, such an answer as Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, made to Sir John Comyn, who, charging him with breach of oath, taken at Westminster to King Edward, replies, with cleaving his head in two. None is so dim-sighted, but sees the general inclination of the Ulster Scots to the covenant: and God forbid they should tarry there till the Earl of Argyll brings them arms to cut our throats...”

Radcliffe was the first to use the term “Ulster Scots”.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

From Texas to Carrickfergus

Depending on your location in the world you may or may not be able to watch this video from the BBC about the Ulster-Scots connections of one man's roots in the Texas panhandle.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Americans visit Ulster

Recieved this in my email. Maybe one of the American channels will get it.

Dear All,

Please see below, details of a new 3 part documentary following a group of Ulster-Scots from the US as they visit Northern Ireland to trace their roots and discover a little more about their Ulster heritage.

I know this will be of interest to a lot of you - so don’t forget - “We’r Fur Hame” starts Monday 17th January 2011 at 19.00hrs on BBC2 - the series runs for 3 weeks.



Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stonewall Jackson's ancestral home near Belfast, Ulster

Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson is widely considered one of the greatest military geniuses in all of history. Jackson was both a devout Christian and a fierce warrior. His ancestral home is a just a short drive south from Belfast and its remains is pictured here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ulster has powerful enemy in Congressman Peter King

In the person of Peter King, the incoming Chairman of the US House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, the people of Ulster have a confirmed enemy. In fact, Congressman King has cheered for terrorists who have killed and wounded innocent people in Northern Ireland. It's frightening that such a man has as much power as he now does. Columnist and libertarian author Williams Norman Grigg writes:

After spending decades canvassing his fellow Irish-American Catholics to raise money for terrorists in Northern Ireland, King has promised to conduct a wide-ranging investigation of American Muslim congregations and cultural organizations in search of people providing "material support" for Islamic terrorism.... King, whose Long Island district has a large and well-organized Irish-American constituency, was one of the group's most effective fundraisers and one of the IRA's staunchest supporters.

"We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry," King declared during a 1982 rally on behalf of the IRA in Nassau County. The "Provos" heartily reciprocated King's affection.

"During his visits to Ireland, Mr. King would often stay with well-known leaders of the IRA, and he socialized in IRA drinking haunts," recalled Irish journalist Ed Moloney, author of the definitive work A Secret History of the IRA, in a 2005 New York Sun profile written after King's tardy and reluctant break with the group. "At one of such clubs, the Felons, membership was limited to IRA veterans who had served time in jail."

Granted, many honorable and decent men – from Northern Ireland and elsewhere – have become familiar with the inside of a prison cell. But the ex-convicts with whom King socialized during his visits to Ireland generally weren't innocent political prisoners.

1892 John C.Calhoun speaks

Not so sure about the 'yankee' bit! lol

At the 1892 convention of the Scotch-Irish Society of America in Atlanta, Georgia lawyer Patrick Calhoun, grandson of Scotch-Irish-descended John C. Calhoun had the following to say about the Scotch-Irish in Georgia:

The Scotch-Irish have stamped an imperishable impression upon Georgia. For those homely virtues of thrift, industry and economy which have caused the people of this State to be termed the Yankees of the South; for that dauntless and invincible courage which has immortalized the conduct of her soldiers upon the field of battle; for all those splendid qualities which enabled her people to erect the fabric of pure and honest government out of the corrupting chaos of Reconstruction, and to move forward so rapidly and successfully in the march of progress as to justly win for her the proud rank of the "Empire State of the South," Georgia is deeply indebted to that noble race in whose history, traced through their career here and their earlier settlements in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Pennsylvania back to old Ulster, and further still to the lowlands and craggy highlands of Scotland, the electric search light of the nineteenth century discloses not a single page blurred by servile submission to native wrong or foreigh yoke. (Quoted in: "The Georgia Scotch-Irish," Orville A. Park, The Georgia Historical Quarterly, June 1928, pp. 115-135)