Tuesday, 11 January 2011 10:29

Irish Roots of the Ulster Scots settlers of the New England Frontier

Written by  Darren McGettigan
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The Great Migration

The Ulster Scots are a distinct group in the Irish population. Descendants of Scottish migrants, usually of Presbyterian religion, who settled on Plantation estates in Ulster in the seventeenth century, the Ulster Scots formed an industrious and independent people, who farmed and thrived on the frontier.

However, in the province of Ulster in Ireland in 1717-18 many of the the leases on the farms of the Ulster Scots settlers were due to be renewed by their usually established church landlords. Many of these landlords tried to issue very unfavourable new leases to their Ulster Scots tenant farmers which upset this wily people so much that they decided to migrate again, this time to the British Colonies of New England. Starting from 1717-18 and continuing into the 1720s and indeed for almost sixty years, hundreds of Ulster Scots families left the areas of the Bann Valley in County Derry and east and south County Donegal and took ship for New England. The majority of Ulster Scots settled in Pennsylvania but a substantial number settled on the Indian frontier of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Here the Ulster Scots founded towns with such well known Ulster place-names as Colerain, Belfast, Antrim and Hillsborough. There were two Londonderrys founded, one in Vermont and the other in New Hampshire, where for good measure a town called Derry was also established. Today these three sites are still thriving New England towns. On the New England frontier the hardy Ulster Scots often faced Native Indian attack but the lure of cheap land and religious freedom proved irresistable. In the end their settlements proved to be so successful that the Ulster Scots sent for many relatives and friends in Ulster. The impact of Ulster Scots settlement in the USA is often now forgotten, overshadowed by the great emigration of Catholic Irish in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. However, the contribution of the Ulster Scots to the successful early settlement of the United States was a major factor in the conquest of the New England frontier in the 1700s.


Last modified on Tuesday, 11 January 2011 16:15
Darren McGettigan

Darren McGettigan

Darren is an historian, author and genealogist from County Wicklow, Ireland. He provides genealogy services to help you discover your family history in Ireland.

Website: www.familyhistoryireland.com