Scotch-Irish-L Archives

Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2006-06 > 1151261084

Subject: Re: [Sc-Ir] Re:Early ports before 1800
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2006 18:44:44 +0000

Hi Fran,

There are several types of immigration patterns. Only one involves traveling in groups. The belief that it was done a lot is based on our modern day notions that you went to a ticket counter and said "I want to by 500 tickets on the Sure To Sink leaving Lisburn on August 15 and arriving in Charleston on Sept 30."

First of all the ships were too small for groups to travel together. They were not passenger ships. They were cargo ships. Often they were transporting passagers on a return trip to avoid returning empty or partially full. If you read the book on Ulster migration you'll see that the number of passengers transported varied but was usually quite small.

Secondly ships didn't have fixed schedules or destination. They itinerated around Ireland going from one small port to the next, which might be a bank on the side of a river, picking up and dropping off. They might stop at ports on the English and Scottish coasts too. They
apparently usually stopped in Cork to top off the food and water and then headed across.

They advertised by agents who placed ads in the Belfast News. People arrived at the port
and waited -- often six weeks or even longer for the ship to arrive. Sometimes it didn't and people had to find another one, possibly waiting a long time. You can find the free
index to the Belfast Newsletter on line (Google or check our archives).

People in those days were cash poor. Raising cash was a problem for the British Gov throughout the early modern period as a bartering economy just didn't work to pay for
standing armies, for one thing. Ireland was particularly cash poor, as were the colonies.
So how did you pay for this trip? In Ulster you might be able to sell your long term lease.
Due to Ulster Custom, tenants in Ulster had more right, by custom, than the rest of
Ireland, though these were eroded as ther was no legal basis for it -- it was custom.

Some came as indentured servants, largely to the Middle Atlantic colonies. After working off their indenture, perhaps family followed. An unknown number of Irish came as criminals....
we don't have records so we don't know how many were sent.

Leaving, much as Ireland sucked in the 1700s, was risky. Often people sent one family member ahead. People saved and paid for his transport. He would go where? Did he
see an ad on TV and think "WOW, I'm tired of winters, I'm moving to Florida where it's
warm and I can snorkel." No. They relied on letters sent back by others of their
community. They didn't trust the government or its officials so attempts to recruit people
to places, started by large land owners, often didn't work because people had been
burnt already by these rapacious early capitalists. Why would they fall victim to them
again unless they were really stupid? So these larger settlement schemes often failed to attract the right kind of immigrant -- because those who were good farmers and skilled laborers went where their connections recommended. This added to gov. frustration
since they could not 'control' migration.

So maybe one went and wrote back. So what is called chain migration is much much more common. Ie one guy or one family came on one ship, wrote back, and over decades or more, others from the family and community arrived.

One easy way to see this is to view the migration of the Hillsborough Beatty family
who began moving to central PA. They are document in Egle's book on PA families,
which is fried into the Scotch Irish CD and on line at Ancestry as well as mouldering
in a library near you. It shows that generation after generation they went to the same
place where family could assist them. There are other stories in the archives of this list.

There were other problems in the colonies. The Rev. Martin's group, like the 1718ers
of New England, envisioned forming their own society where they could worship
together without harrasment from the gov or others. However in both cases they could not settle together. The colony of South Carolina had actually ceased giving head rights when they arrived....word travels slow! but the poor members of the group were able to obtain land BUT NOT TOGETHER. This was a major disappointment for them. THey were scattered throughout South Carolina much to their unhappiness.

And Ulster Covenantors from the eastern counties did not only come with the Rev. Martin. They continued to come after the Revolution. My ancestor Robert Black, a covenantor from
Ahoghill, settled in South Carolina about 1795. Why did he go there? Well, he could have
gone to Walkill, New York, or a handful of other places where the small but tight knight
Covenantors had established enclaves, like MOther Cumberland, in PA. I don't know
why he went to South Carolina except that he did go to one of a handful of places where
people of his persuation lived. He later relocated to another area where they lived after
the Revolution -- they migrated together, maybe not all at once, but in a chain migration.

However regarding churches. What is your mental picture of the backwoods of
Carolina in the 1770s or earlier? If there is a white clapboard church with a steeple,
you need to revise that picture. People went - traveling on Indian paths too narrow
to even lug wagons. There were no towns. The ones that lived long enough to breed
obtained a scout, born in America, who took them to wher they were going and helped
them build a blockhouse or fort to provide shelter from Indian attacks. He showed them
how to build their homes, what to eat, what not to eat, what to use for medicine. Without
one of these guys, they were murdered by Indians. It was as foolhearty to embark on
your own as it was later to be to go west alone without a wagon train with a similar
man at the head.

Building a meeting house was not a high priority. People in Ulster were often worshipping in fields like The Vow, in barns, and maybe a sod meeting house (outside of Belfast).
As late as 1800 in Wallkill, New York, the presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian
Church -- which had 4 ministers, but only 3 came, met in a BARN. They had no 'church'
that would hold a group as miniscule as themselves. (Many larger Presbyterian groups
did have meeting houses in 1800.)

What often happened was what happened to the Rev. Martin. The Presbyterians in the area he settled all built one church called Catholic to indicate that it was universal. The Reformeds, the 'main streamers', the Seceders -- they all met there. Eventually of course they fought and groups set off to form their own church when they had enough members.

Often instead of a church you had an itinerating minister who appeared every couple years to peform marriages and baptize children. Some early PA baptisms survive in the diaries of these ministers. They had no churches -- they met in people's houses. Their diaries say "Rode to John Black's house and baptised 4 children after preaching the gosple to 20 people". Throughout the colonial times Pennsylvania responded to requests for
itinerating ministers in North Carolina.

Tthe American south is not full of Presbterian churches but Baptist and methodists. The Presbyterian church's standards of education was very high and it could not supply ministers. Thus itinerating baptist and methodist preachers rapidly replaced saddle sore Presbyterian ministers who could read Greek (not a survival skill in the backwoods). Churches were eventually built. Their origins may have been obscure -- ie people just knew that for 3 generations, people gathered in a glade or barn when a minister was in the area to preach the gospel.

Still church histories are very important to us. I have a copy of the Tinkling Springs
history (on film in LDS). I learned a lot of what is in this email from it. I read every one
I can get, frankly. There is also a lot of information in Hanna "The Scotch-Irish". He
ids every known congregation in colonial America and provides its history. There
are also histories of Presbyteries and various groups, many on film in LDS. You use
the catalog to find them. Try searching for "Presbyterian". If you read all of what you
'find, you'll be an expert.

Try to google to find information unless you don't mind paying a lot to get it after a long wait! There's a lot of info on the Internet but you do need to find it. I just goggled and found this: It of course says:
"The early settlers of Rutherford County were of Scotts-Irish origin. They had traveled down the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania . It is assumed that the community of Westminster was the first area of the county settled. This assumption is based on Brittain Presbyterian Church being formed in 1768. "

Google for Brittain Presbyterian church history. Check Hanna. Buy the SI CD -- it's faster to search. Your ancestors probably like 95% of the rest came down the wagon road so you will need to learn the history of a new locale over and over and over. And when you get them back to Mother Cumberland or New England, you will need to then learn the history of new locales in it's a skill we must learn well and then apply repeatedly. Having the books right there really helps. Hanna does treat this group. I'll type it in a little later.

Two warnings: Presbyterian is a form of church organization, not a church like the Catholic CHurch! There have been many groups calling themselves this. Three major ones, for starters, and they all hae their own version of histories, both of congregations and of America. You will find missionaries mentioned in one history who are ignored in another.
Because settler groups eventually split when they reached 'critical mass' into the traditional three as well as over other issues (the ARP in 1800 was formed when the RP split over
the issue of slavery), you find contradictory histories.

Vol II pp 32-4 of Hanna "The Scotch-Irish" details the settlement of North Carolina by the Scotch Irish. In 1736 Henry McCulloch "induced" a colony from Ulster to a grant he
expected in Duplin County. They established the congregations of Goshen and The Grove.
The early records of the Orange Presbytery were lot, so it is unknown at what date the
congregrations at Orange, Granville, Rowan, Mecklenburgh, and the part of the state
from Dan to the Catawba were settled. Most of the info he gives is available on the
Internet at . He mentions that before the Scotch Irish came that
Scots lived along Cape Fear. Apparently an Alexander Clark, a native of Jura, settled
in 1740 with 'a ship load' of emigrants. There he found a good many countrymen.
In 1739 350 settlers from Argyle had settled with Neill McNeill. This Scots colony grew
after Culloden as many lives were spared on condition that they migrated to America. He goes on and on....

P 37 discusses the SI, saying they generally entered via the Delaware River (Newcastle
and Philadelphia ports) or Charleston. Ones entering via Charleston went up country
"approaching North Carolina on one siad and Georgia on the other". Folks landing in
Delaware , once the lands east of the Alleghenies in PA were occupied, overran the
Cumberland and Shenandoah valleys, went south along the Blue Ridge base to the
plains of the Yadkin and Catawba. Meeting the flow up from the south, after the
Revolution, they crossed beyond the mountains to the foundations of Tennessee:
the Wautauga, Hoston, French Broad and Clinch rivers.

He then goes on to discuss early explorers like John Harris (son founded Harrisburg, PA).

He also mentions ministers sent there from 1744 and various meeting houses. The
journal of the Rev. Hugh McAden who visited NC in 1755 is printed in Foote's "Sketches
of North Carolina". At that time there were at least 50 settlements. He identifies them
as: "At Anderson's on the Eno; 13th and 19th, Sherman's on Tar River" etc....If you
know your NC history WELL this makes sense to you....Hann a says that most of the
settlements he visited were of Pennsylvania and Virginia families excepting two Welsh
and one directly from Ireland (probably Henry McCulloch). He records meeting survivers
of the Cow or Calf Pasture River settlement of Virginia (Congregation of the Rev.
ALexander Craighead), now in Bath Co, VA. This was on 22 Sept 1755 when McAden was
at what would be Center Congregation, Iredell County. These people were routed from
Virginia by Indians and a brutal massacre in the 1740s.

A long history of the Rev. Craighead follows, who lived in NC at Rocky River in
Mecklenburgh County. We are told on p. 42 of his religious intolerance which led to
his leaving PA. He found in Carolina "a people remote from the seat of authority"
where the conservatism of the people matched his own and so "he was the teacher of
the whole population". These people on the Catawba were among the first to vocalize
a desire for independence in 1775. His other congregation was at Sugar Creek, which
is said to be the oldest congregation in the upper country.

This book is free as "Scots-Irish" at My knowledge of NC
is not good but you may glean a lot from what I cannot by reading the section on North
Carolina if you know the names of the rivers in Rutherford County. North Carolina is
a big black hole for me. I have ancestors in South Carolina and I've done a fair amount
of research in the New River area and Greene Co TN, but not North Carolina.

Linda Merle
-------------- Original message --------------

> Thanks for the information about the early ports. Too bad there weren't
> manifests then. If church members traveled together, then maybe there is a way
> to
> find what church was established by the Ulster-Scots in Rutherford Co,
> the late 1700"s.
> Fran

This thread: