Search billions of records on


Denison oral history has it that the Denisons came to America around 1740 and that they were Scots Irish. Although this has yet to be proven, the then frontier area of Virginia, where they settled, was indeed settled by Scots Irish. Also, the families historically linked to the Denisons, such as the Given, and McClung families have had their roots traced back to Northern Ireland (The Given family is from Antrim County, Ireland [1680] and the McClungs from Ulster and Antrim, Ireland [1690]). Each of these families immigrated around 1738 and 1740, respectively. The Henderson family originated in Fifeshire, Scotland (County Fife) and also immigrated to America about 1740. Mr. Coleman says of the Hendersons, "John Henderson was most certainly the son of an Ulster Scot . . .". The Denisons and all of these families were, in all likelihood, Ulster Scots.

There is much information available on the Ulster Scots and the Ulster Plantation, but perhaps the best article is put together by Larry D. Smith (text and graphics on his webpages are Copyright 2000). The link to his website is:

For fear of future broken links, I have chosen to copy and paste some of the more germaine information from his article locally on this web page. Other excellent informational links on Ulster Scots are listed at the end of this article.

It must be noted that Mr. Smith refers to the Ulster Scots as "Scotch-Irish"; the author of this website, on the other hand, prefers "Scots Irish".


"The immigrants who came from the "Emerald Isle" have been commonly referred to as Scotch-Irish. The so-called Scotch-Irish were descended almost purely from Scottish ancestors from the Lowlands of Scotland. Many Scottish Lowlanders had emigrated and settled in Ireland after King James I began his "Plantation" of a colony in the province of Ulster in 1610. Although the Lowland Scots would have acquired a few customs of the native Irish, they became associated with the "Irish" and separated from their Scottish brethren only so far as having taken up residence in that island. The so-called Scotch-Irish developed customs and manners that were somewhat different than both, their Scottish cousins and their Irish neighbors.

The name of Scotch-Irish was coined as early as the year 1573 by Queen Elizabeth. But in that instance she was referring specifically to a small group of Highlander Scots of Celtic ancestry who had gone to Ireland and intermarried with fellow Celts. The name, Scotch-Irish, is a bit deceptive; one might be led to believe that it implies the intermingling and marriage of people of the two nationalities. The available records have shown that there were very few intermarriages between the Scots and the Irish. According to social-anthropologists, the more appropriate term for the people who emigrated from Ireland in the 1700s would be Ulster-Scot. . . "1


Scotland during the Medieval and Renaissance periods was divided, both physically and culturally, into two sections: the Highlands and the Lowlands. The people of the mountainous Highlands to the northwest remained primitive and uninfluenced by the cultural and scientific advances which made up the "Renaissance". The Highlanders descended almost exclusively from the Celtic tribe known as the Picts, and fiercely retained their Celtic ancestral traditions. One of the things which distinguished the Highlanders from the Lowlanders was that the Highlanders tended to adhere to the clan system of self-rule. The Highlands of Scotland through the latter half of the 18th Century has been likened to the American "Wild West" due to the fact that each of the family clans made and lived by their own laws. The mountainous terrain of the Highlands, offering natural isolation, would have contributed somewhat to the Highlander's separatist temperament.

The people of the Lowlands, on the other hand, descended from an intermingling of at least nine different races: the aboriginal natives, the Gaels, the Britons, the Romans, the Teutonic Angles, the Saxons, the Normans, the Flemish, and the Scots. The last named group, the Scots, were a Celtic tribe which originated in Ireland and had, during the Third and Fourth Centuries AD, invaded and established colonies in Alba, as Scotland was then known.

The Lowlanders, being descended from so many different races, could not help but influence, and be influenced by, each other. That intermingling contributed to the process of civilizing the people as a whole. And as the people of the Scottish Lowlands became more civilized, the concept of the clan as a political and social structure gave way, around the Twelfth Century, to the concept of feudalism. That meant that the people pledged their loyalty to the feudal lord rather than to a particular family or clan.

The Lowlanders were a hardened people. The Lowlands acted as a buffer zone between England and the Scottish Highlands. The English and the Highlanders had been enemies for many centuries. The few instances of congeniality they showed to each other were largely the result of a few politically motivated royal marriages. The Highlanders had resisted the Romans and all the succeeding invaders who had attempted to subjugate them, and they occasionally launched raids against the English. In the process, the Lowlands region, lying between the two opponents, was invariably overrun by them. Life in the Lowlands was therefore neither easy nor particularly stable. The continual struggle to exist, which was the daily life of the Scottish Lowlanders, molded and toughened them, and despite the devastation that the Highlanders and English wreaked on their homes and farmlands, they survived.

Two things led up to the migration of large numbers of Scottish Lowlanders across the water that separated Scotland from Ireland. The one was starvation; the other was King James I of England's scheme of colonization.

Scotland, at the start of the 1700s, was a very poor country. The best farmlands were in the Lowlands, but those farmlands were overrun by the Highlanders and the English so often, that the Lowlanders were not motivated to work very hard to make their farms profitable. They simply did as best as they could to keep alive. In addition to that, the Scots were overall ignorant of "modern" farming methods. They knew little about the value of crop rotation. They tended to plant the same crop year after year until the ground was practically depleted of any nutrients. An English traveler who visited the Lowlands of Scotland in the early 1700s noted that, for the most part, the countryside was so barren that grass did not even grow there.

When Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603 the throne of England went to her nephew, James Stuart, who was crowned King James I. James had previously become King James VI of Scotland in 1567 upon the abdication of his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots. The kingdoms of England and Scotland were not formally united until the Treaty of Union was signed in 1707 under Queen Anne. Nevertheless, King James, by virtue of sitting on the thrones of both kingdoms, carried out a number of projects which affected both. James was particularly interested in establishing colonies, or as he called them "plantations", in foreign lands. He is most noted for the Jamestown Plantation established in 1607.

In 1610 King James put into operation his scheme for the plantation of the Irish province of Ulster. Like those he established in North America, the Ulster Plantation would prove to be a success.

The colony that was established in Ulster in 1610 was not the first attempt by the English to colonize and subdue Ireland. In fact, the English were not even the first foreign nation to attempt to conquer the island. The earliest noted instance of invasion against the natives of the island was made around the Fourth Century by Christian missionaries from Gaul. They established monasteries throughout Ireland and eventually converted the Celtic natives to Christianity. From the beginning of the Ninth Century through the year 950 AD, the Vikings made a number of invasions into the island and exerted their power over it. Then, in 1166, as a result of an Internal struggle for lordship over the province of Leinster, the Cambro-Norman barons under King Henry II were invited by the claimant, King Dermot to intervene in the civil strife. This was just the opportunity that the English monarchy had been waiting for. The Cambro-Normans invaded the island, conquered Leinster for Dermot and then proceeded to attack the surrounding provinces. They established a number of English strongholds, the most notable of which was in and around Dublin. From that point through the Sixteenth Century the English government treated Ireland the same as it treated the North American Continent - as if it had some inherent right to colonize it. The English court granted tracts of land throughout Ireland to the barons and knights who had assisted in the invasion. They, in turn, established feudal estates and brought peasants from England and Wales as colonists. The Irish natives resisted subjection and at times reconquered the lands taken from them. This process of English invasion and Irish revolt against the English continued sporadically for the next few centuries. Queen Elizabeth I made four attempts: one each in the provinces of Leinster and Munster in the 1560s and twice in Ulster in the 1570s. But each of those attempts ultimately failed because the English settlers either became disillusioned and returned home to England or intermarried with the Irish and adopted their customs and their hatred of the English colonization schemes. Although a small number of attempts at colonization experienced limited success, the English could not claim any clear victory until the Ulster Plantation scheme was undertaken.

Hugh O'Neill, the Earl of Tyrone, a large portion of the province of Ulster, attempted to gain control of the entire province in the early-1590s. He raised an army with the help of some English adventurers and set about subduing the lesser officials in Ulster. The English settlers in Ulster began to fear that O'Neill's aims might be to likewise expel them from the province, and prepared to confront him. In order to bolster his own army of Irishmen, O'Neill illicited the aid of Spanish soldiers. King Philip III of Spain sent O'Neill a force of 4,000 men. Queen Elizabeth responded by sending an army of nearly 20,000 Englishmen against O'Neill's army. In 1601 the two armies collided at Kinsale in Munster. The Irish suffered a great defeat and the English army that had been sent to quell the rebellion did not stop at just that. The English destroyed all of the homes, food and livestock they came across in the province. The utter destruction of the native Irish farmsteads paved the way for a colonization scheme by Queen Elizabeth's successor, King James I.

With the defeat of the Irish under O'Neill, their lands in Ulster, which amounted to roughly six of the nine counties in that province, were declared to be forfeited to the English court. After he had divided up those lands, and designated portions which were to be granted to lords and gentry of England, members of the army that had participated in the Irish campaign, and the church, there was almost one half million acres for a settlement of the common people. It was originally King James' intention to settle Londoners and Scots in the Ulster Plantation. London was overly crowded with nearly 250,000 residents and the Lowlands of Scotland, as noted previously, had been struggling to survive for many years. By sending a large number of these two groups to Ireland, the king hoped to benefit all around.2


There were nine counties in the province of Ulster at the time of the Plantation. Of those counties, two were to be settled entirely by Scots, two mostly by English and two mixed. The remaining three counties were not part of the 1610 Plantation scheme, but they had already been settled by both, the English and Scots. King James specifically excluded Highlander Scots from the colonization scheme; he believed that they would simply team up with the native Irish to cause discord and unrest. The Scottish settlements succeeded very well, but most of the areas settled by the English failed for one reason or another. Many of the English settlers, having been farmers in their homeland, left Ireland because of the poorer farmlands they found there. The climate was not to their liking either. In many cases, the individuals who had been set up as landlords and had the responsibility of attracting and gaining the actual settlers went about that task only halfheartedly. As time went on, the majority of the settlers of the Ulster Plantation were Scots. Even the native Irish who had been dispelled from the region gained in numbers over the English when they were enticed to take the place of those Englishmen who left. The Lowland Scots were not discouraged like the English because they found much better farmland than they had left in Scotland. The Lowland Scots were also enticed by, and more satisfied with, the fact that they could build permanent homes without the constant fear of having them destroyed by the Highlanders and the English.

Another thing greatly contributed to the success of the Scottish portion of the Plantation. At the time of the Plantation of Ulster, Scotland was experiencing the Reformation and Presbyterianism was established as her official faith. There was a tremendous surge of religious fervor throughout the Lowlands. King James instituted a series of ecclesiastical reforms, which included the change from the presbyterian to the episcopal form of church government. Many of the Presbyterian ministers were in favor of the migration to Ireland in order to elude what they felt was a return to Catholicism. Their presence in the Ulster Plantation was an encouragement to the rest of the settlers.

The Ulster Plantation prospered despite some years of drought and poor crops and the occasional native Irish confrontations with the settlers. Historians have estimated that the population of Ulster was approximately fifty thousand by the year 1620 and nearly one hundred thousand by 1640.

A significant turn of events came about in the year 1641. The displaced native Irish staged a rebellion against the Ulster Plantation which developed into a war that lasted eight years. There were a number of causes for the rebellion, the primary one being that the Irish had simply reached the limit to what they would take from the intruding settlers. As the settlement flourished, the settlers' needs demanded more land, which they helped themselves to. They cleared woods and drained marshes so that the settlement could expand. The Irish became more and more embittered about being pushed away from their ancestral homes. They also were growing jealous of the prosperity of the settlers who had begun to establish industries such as wool and linen manufacture, while they remained poor. The missionaries who had originally carried the Christian religion to the Irish had converted the native Irish peoples to Catholicism; the fact that the majority of the Ulster settlers were Protestant had the effect of alienating the two groups. The final straw which broke the peace came in the form of rumors of an invasion to be carried out by the Scots and aimed at ridding Ireland of all its Catholics. Whether true of not, the rumors enraged the Irish and they decided that they needed to strike first instead of waiting for the Scottish army to arrive on Irish shores.

In October, 1641 an Irish army of over nine thousand troops attacked the settlements in Ulster. The attack was sudden and caught the settlers off guard. The English settlers, who had taken up residence in the central region of the province, suffered the most in this attack. Many of them were immediately killed or driven from their homes and their property was seized by the Irish. Roughly two thousand people were killed in the initial raid, a figure that would be exaggerated in the reports sent to England. The Scots had a bit more time to prepare their defences by the time the Irish army reached their settlements. During the course of the war, which lasted about nine years, nearly fifteen thousand people died.

King Charles I did not have time to react to the Irish rebellion. England's Parliament was, itself, rebelling against the king's authority. The English Civil War placed the Scots in Ulster in a difficult situation. They had, of course, sided with the English against the Irish when the war began. But the English Civil War forced them to choose sides between the King and the Parliament. They really didn't advocate the aims of either side, but because they had earlier taken the side of the Puritans the Royalists vented hostility on them. So at first they sided with the Parliamentarian roundheads being led by Oliver Cromwell. The English Parliament had, in 1643, signed the Solemn League and Covenant with the Scottish Parliament, which, in effect, called for the unification of the two countries under the Presbyterian theology. A force of 26,000 Scottish men joined forces with Cromwell's Parliamentary Army and defeated the Royalists in the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644. As the English Civil War progressed, and Oliver Cromwell's position as, not only the leader of the Parliamentary Army, but as a staunch advocate of Puritanism solidified, it became increasingly apparent to the Scots that their hopes of establishing Presbyterianism as the official religion of England would fail. Then, in 1648, when the Presbyterian members of the English Parliament were ousted from the House of Commons, the Scots in Ulster switched their allegiance to the cavaliers who rallied behind the exiled King Charles I. On 30 January, 1649 King Charles I was beheaded, and the Belfast Presbytery protested.

The king's beheading ignited a fuse that would prove destructive for Ireland and the Scots settled in Ulster. In Scotland, the eighteen year old heir to the Stuart monarchy, Charles II, was proclaimed king, and he was invited by the Catholics in Ireland to go there to establish his court. Cromwell sent an army under General George Monk with the overt design to secure Ireland under Parliamentary control. The underlying mission of the Parliamentary army was to wreak vengeance on the Irish Catholics who had started the rebellion, and who, it was believed (according to the exaggerated reports) had murdered all the Protestants in Ireland. When Monk failed to subdue the Royalist sympathizers, including the Scots in Ulster, Cromwell himself led a force to the island in 1650.

Cromwell's expedition to Ireland had three purposes. First and foremost was the subjugation of the Catholics and Presbyterians who had rallied behind the Royalist banner. The second purpose was to remove anyone associated with the Irish rebellion. The third objective was to convert all of Ireland to the Puritan faith.

Cromwell's army swept through Ireland in a single campaign that lasted nine months and effectively crushed the opposition staged by both Catholic and Presbyterian Royalists. An estimate has been given that approximately 616,000 people died during the course of the campaign, some from famine and plague incidental to the actual warfare. The majority of those deaths, though, were native Irish. In addition to the casualties of war, Cromwell had many of the survivors, primarily native Irish, but also some English and Scot Royalists, deported to the West Indies. A large number of the residents of the Ulster settlement were slated to be deported, but Cromwell relented and allowed them to stay in Ireland. Many of their estates were confiscated and they were forced to move to the province of Connacht to the west of the Shannon River. Through sheer force, Oliver Cromwell brought an end to the Irish rebellion begun in 1641, and the Scots in Ulster experienced peace for the first time in a decade.

Oliver Cromwell did not carry out his intended religious conversion of Ireland. In fact, he made many allowances to the Presbyterian Scots in Ulster which enabled them to flourish as part of the Protectorate Commonwealth. When, in 1660, the Stuart monarchy was restored, there was the possibility of Catholic persecution, but Charles II proved to be as lenient as Cromwell towards the Presbyterian Scots.

Ulster prospered throughout the latter part of the Seventeenth Century. Woolen manufacture had increased during the Protectorate period and there was a migration of English from the northern counties of England to northern Ireland. A large number of Scots from the Lowlands fled to Ulster to escape what became known as "the killing times" in Scotland. Advocates of the Solemn League and Covenant had not been silenced by the Puritan Cromwellian Protectorate and became known as the Covenanters. King Charles II advocated the Covenant only in order to obtain the Covenanters' aid in his restoration to the throne of England. As soon as he was reestablished as king in 1660, Charles II began to institute a series of restrictive measures that were aimed as stripping the Presbyterian ministers of their rights and privileges. The 1680s in Scotland saw increased conflict between the Covenanters and the governmental forces and many Scots migrated to Ulster where there was relative peace and quiet.

In addition to the Scots and English, there was a migration of Huguenots to Ireland in 1685 when the French government revoked the Edict of Nantes which had protected religious liberties since 1598. The Huguenots were Protestants whose religious beliefs were similar to those of the Presbyterians in Scotland and Ulster and for that reason they blended in easily with the Ulster Scots. The French immigrants brought with them improved methods of linen manufacture, which benefited the Ulster economy.

The peace which Ulster experienced from Cromwell's Protectorate government through the early1680s ended when King James II came to the throne. James II was an ardent Catholic. He hated the Scots in general and the Presbyterians in particular. Between 1685 and 1688 James waged war on the Presbyterian Scots both in Scotland and in Ulster. In Ireland a complete overhaul of the army was King James' first order of business. The regiments which were primarily Protestant were disbanded and Catholic Irishmen were enlisted to replace them. Even the English soldiers were removed from the army. Then a native Irishman by the name of Tyrconnel was named to the position of general and given the directive to rid Ireland of all English and Scottish Protestants. These actions led hundreds of families to leave Ulster. But King James' reign of terror was shortlived; unable to convert the whole of the British Isles to Catholicism, he had abdicated the throne and fled to the safety of France. William of Orange landed on the shores of England in November of 1688 to make a bid for the throne. James had, by that time, raised a Catholic army in France and with it he journeyed to Ireland to join forces with General Tyrconnel's Irishmen. The combined army headed northward to attack the province of Ulster.

The people of Ulster had received word of the possibility of attack and had taken measures to deal with it. The defences of the few fortified towns in the province were beefed up and the residents throughout the province made their way to those fortified towns. As they left their homesteads they burned all of the buildings and destroyed whatever they could not carry with them. By the time James and Tyrconnel's army arrived at Ulster, there was nothing but desolation. One of the French officers with that army likened the countryside to the barren deserts of the middle east.

The Irish/French Catholic army laid siege to the town of Londonderry on 18 April, 1689. James expected the town to fall quickly, but it held out for 105 days. The timely arrival of supply ships and the formation of an army composed of local residents ended the siege and forced the Catholic army to retreat.

William of Orange's army crossed over to Ireland shortly after James' army retreated from Ulster. William led his army of ten thousand troops southward and confronted James' army near the Boyne River. The Battle of the Boyne took place during the 30th of June and the 1st of July, 1690 and ended in James' defeat. James promptly fled to France and William and his wife Mary assumed the throne of England. William granted freedom of worship to the Irish and permitted any of them that wished to go to France to do so. It is estimated that approximately eleven thousand took up the offer and eventually formed the Irish Brigade of the French Army. Over the following fifty years more than 450,000 Irish migrated to France.

Under William and Mary peace once more came to Ireland and Ulster began to prosper again. Most, if not all, of the native Irish families that had resided in the province of Ulster moved either southward or to France. Many of the families that had fled to Scotland began to return now and Ulster once more became predominantly Scottish.3


The Great Migration from Ulster to America began in 1717. In some instances Ulster families had immigrated to the New World before 1717, but those instances were few and isolated. Not all of them succeeded. In 1636 a group left Ireland but had to return because of violent storms enroute. A group of Presbyterian families from Laggan had better luck in 1684 and safely accomplished their voyage. Here and there, over the years individual families made the trip across the Atlantic Ocean.

Some families left Ulster for religious reasons, but most left in response to economic hardships. The English Parliament began to impose trade restrictions on the manufacture and sale of woolen articles in the late-1690s. Up to that time, Ulster had thrived on her wool and linen industries and had prospered more than any other province in Ireland. The immigration of the Huguenots in the 1680s to Ulster had strengthened her already strong wool industry by introducing some new methods for the manufacture of linen from flax. The prosperity Ulster was experiencing was seen as a threat by the English who, in 1698, petitioned the King to protect their own interests. The Irish Parliament, at the King's urging, passed the Woolens Act in the following year. The Woolens Act prohibited the exportation of Irish wool and cloth to anywhere except England and Wales. The Woolens Act resulted in a period of economic depression throughout Ulster.

Coupled with the economic hardships spawned by the Woolens Act, was a legal practice known as rack-renting which was instituted in the early-1700s. Rack-renting was the practice whereby a renter could legally raise the rent when a lease had run out. Although that practice does not seem unusual in this day and age, it was quite a departure from the traditional during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. The traditional practice was for a lease to run approximately thirty years with the option of being renewed at the same rate. The renter would be inclined to improve the property under the assumption that he would be able to reside there indefinitely and then pass the lease on to his own sons. Money was hard to come by and rack-renting forced many renters to default on their payments. A widespread hatred of the practice and those landlords who employed it swept through Ulster. Having received favorable reports from others who had gone to America, many families resolved to leave Ireland.

The thing that finally led to the Great Migration came in the form of a severe drought that stretched from 1714 to 1719. The drought affected not only did foodcrops, but also hindered the growing of flax and thereby adversely affected the linen industry. Lack of sufficient grass for grazing, and the disease known as rot, killed the sheep needed by the wool industry. It is often noted in a broad statement that the Europeans immigrated to the New World because of religious persecution, and that may well have been the reason for some of them. But the Ulster-Scots came primarily because of the droughts and the failing economy in their homeland.

There were five major waves of emigration from the Irish province of Ulster. It should be noted that there were very few instances recorded of any of the native Irish leaving their homeland; the Irish first immigrated to the United States after the mid-1800s when the failure of the potato crop caused widespread famine. The emigrants who left Ireland prior to the American Revolutionary War came solely from the province of Ulster. More than five thousand people emigrated from Ulster in 1717-1718. Those families sent back favorable reports, which helped to pave the way for future migrations. Between 1725 and 1729 there was another wave of emigration from Ulster, again induced primarily by the suffering caused by rack-renting. During that migration it was estimated that over six thousand people left Ulster in 1728 alone. In 1740 a major famine devastated Ireland and brought about the third major wave of emigration from Ulster. The fourth wave emigrated in 1754-1755, partly as a result of hardships occasioned by drought and partly because of an effort made by the governor of the province of North Carolina to attract settlers to that colony. Governor Dobbs had left Ulster himself, and his call was answered by many other Ulstermen. The last major wave of emigration occurred between 1771 and 1775. At least twenty-five thousand people are believed to have emigrated during this period. That great wave of departure from Ireland was motivated primarily by the eviction of so many families from county Antrim when the leases on the estate of the Marquis of Donegal expired and the settlers could not comply with the rack-renting demands. Altogether, approximately 200,000 people, primarily of Scottish descent and Presbyterian faith, left Ulster and sailed for America between 1717 and 1775.

The Ulster-Scots chose the colony of Pennsylvania as their destination in the New World. When considering which colony to make their new homes in, the Ulster- Scots really had only limited choices. The southern colonies were not very enticing with their slave labor and plantation system of agriculture. Nor was Maryland because it had been established as a Roman Catholic colony. Although not Catholic, New York had made it clear to earlier immigrants that she would not tolerate religious diversity. Of the choices between New England and Pennsylvania, the earliest immigrants had been made to feel unwelcome at Boston, the primary port of entry. The single colony that welcomed the Ulster- Scots with open arms was Pennsylvania. As noted previously, Governor Dobbs of North Carolina invited fellow Ulster-Scots to settle in that colony, but that was only after Pennsylvania had become overly crowded with immigrants. In fact, that was one of the selling points the governor used to entice settlers southward from William Penn's colony.4


The initial settlements in Pennsylvania were made in the southeastern counties in the vicinity of the ports of Philadelphia, Chester and New Castle. As more and more families arrived, they moved further westward. The towns in the eastern region were inhabited by the Quakers, who had founded the colony, and the Germans, who had begun immigrating to the colony in the early-1700s. Many of the Ulster-Scots who were forced to emmigrate from Ireland because of the economic conditions in their homeland could make the voyage only by entering into indentured servitude. The services of those individuals and families were most often purchased by the wealthy Quakers, and therefore they settled in that region. As soon as they became freed of their obligations they generally. moved onward. The Ulster-Scots who had been able to finance their journey to America tended to move beyond the already inhabited sections of the province and homesteaded in the frontier regions.

In the period from the year 1717 through the 1750s the "frontier" was in the present-day counties of Berks, Lebanon, Lancaster, York and Adams. Through the 1760s and into the 1770s the "frontier" was pushed north and westward with the acquisition of lands from the Indians and the erection of Cumberland and Northampton Counties in 1750 and 1752 respectively. In 1771 Bedford County was formed out of Cumberland. In the following year Northumberland County was formed out of Northampton. Then in 1773 Westmoreland County was formed out of the western portion of Bedford. The erection of each new county points to the influx of settlers; as the frontier regions were settled and became more and more crowded, the demand for conveniently accessible courts of law arose. When the Pennsylvania Assembly saw that a particular region had reached a certain level of inhabitants and merited being separated into smaller jurisdictional regions, it granted the requests and erected a new county.

Of course the Ulster-Scots were not the only ethnic group which pushed into the Pennsylvania frontier. There were quite a number of German families who were also frontier homesteaders. The two groups coexisted somewhat peaceably in the frontier primarily because they were both outsiders in regard to the English. The mountainous region in the center of Pennsylvania was ideal for the way of life of both groups and sufficiently distanced them from the English in the eastern counties. The Germans sought out good limestone based farmlands and they found them in the Appalachian Mountains. The Ulster-Scots tended to find the solitary isolation of the Appalachians ideal to their own temperament.

The mountain range known as the Appalachians stretches in a curving arc from the northeast corner of the province of Pennsylvania, through the southcentral region of that province and on southward through Maryland, Virginia and into the Carolinas. At the time of the initial waves of the Ulster-Scot migration it served as a natural boundary line between the English colonies and the Indian lands. Apart from a few instances in which the white settlers (for the most part Ulster Scots) violated the Indian treaties and moved into the lands to the west of the boundary, the incoming settlers tended to homestead in the great valley just to the east of the Appalachian range. As the lands in Pennsylvania filled up, the incoming settlers moved southward into Virginia and eventually into the Carolinas. Then, in 1754 a new treaty was signed at Albany, New York with the Indian sachems by which they granted tracts of land to the Allegheny Mountains (which define the western edge of the Appalachians) to the province of Pennsylvania. With the prospect of new lands to homestead upon, many residents of the established counties along with new immigrants pushed into that region. In the 1768 New Purchase Treaty, the Indians conveyed lands to the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly which lay to the west of the Allegheny Mountain Range.5


1-Smith, Larry D.,, irish.htm, page 1

2-Smith, Larry D.,, irish2.htm, page 1-3

3-Smith, Larry D.,, irish3.htm, page 1-5

4-Smith, Larry D.,, irish4.htm, page 1-3

5-Smith, Larry D.,, irish5.htm, page 1-2