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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1997-12 > 0881281656


From: John Giacoletti <>
Subject: Scotch-Irish Intermarriage
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 19:27:36 -0500


Lee & List,

Lee's remarks bring up an interesting point about the merging of the
Scotch-Irish with other groups:

>because the necessities of life on
the frontier caused the SI to intermarry with the Germans and
others they found themselves building communities with in the new
west<

And through this process there was a subsequent loss of identity.

This is an echo of one of James G. Leyburn's main contentions in THE
SCOTCH-IRISH: A SOCIAL HISTORY where he contends that after the
Revolutionary War the Scotch-Irish ceased to exist and they were no longer
transplanted Scotsmen from Ireland but had become Americans.

In one place, for example, Leyburn wrote, that "Western Pennsylvania
exhibits as clearly as any other transmontane region not only the western
push, but the merging of the Scotch-Irish with other Americans until they
were no longer a distinctive people."

I suppose that there were many exceptions to the generalization. In my own
research community of Cowansville in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, I
really don't find any intermarriage with Germans, of whom there were and
still are many in the rural community, until after the Civil War.

The ethnic stock of the community was continually strengthened by continued
inmigration through the 1850's; the presence in the community of two
Presbyterian churches perpetuated the mores and value systems that the
early pioneers had brought with them from Ulster; the immigration was not
of individuals but of families which added a cohesiveness to the
Scotch-Irish community.

I believe there were many such enclaves in Western Pennsylvania and that
the stock of Scotch-Irish really did not diminish until World War I. Life
on the cutting edge of westward expansion may have been different, but I
think that in many Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Tennesee communities,
the Scotch-Irish identity persisted long after the Revolution and the
westward expansion.

John Giacoletti


Cowan, County Down
McClay, County Tyrone

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