Who are the “Scotch-Irish”? There are some who maintain “there is no such animal.” One must therefore consult the authorities.
The late Theodore Roosevelt in his “Winning of the West” says “The dominant strain in their blood was that of the Presbyterian Irish – the Scotch-Irish, as they were often called.” He further remarks that “It is doubtful if we have wholly realized the importance of the part played by that stern, virile people, the Irish, whose preachers taught the creed of Knox and Calvin.
The name ‘Scotch-Irish’ is an awkward compound, and is in many quarters condemned. Curiously enough, there is no one who seems to object to it more strongly as the Irish Catholic. While his feelings toward the ‘Far Downer’ are certainly not affectionate he is nevertheless anxious to claim him with his deeds and trophies, as simply Irish, and grudges to Scotland the claim to any share in producing him. It must be admitted, however, that there is a point of view from which the Scotch-Irish may be regarded as more Scotch than Irish. The difficulty might be compromised by calling them Ulstermen, or Ulster Presbyterians.
In Whitelaw Reid’s address in Edinburgh on “The Scot in America and the Ulster Scot,” after stating that the term “Ulster Scot” is preferable to Scotch-Irish, Mr. Reid makes mention of an Irishman born in Liverpool. The census enumerator was setting him down as English when he indignantly interrupted, “Sure, and is it any rayson for calling a man a horse because he was born in a stable.”
Mr. Reid then quotes our own ex-Congressman John Dalzell, as saying of Pittsburgh: “It is Scotch-Irish in substantial origin, in complexion and history – Scotch-Irish in the countenances of the living, and the records of the dead.”
Mr. Reid also quotes our greatest American historian, George Bancroft, himself a New Englander by birth, who closed his account of the Ulster Scots with these words: “They brought to America no submissive love for England; and their experience and their religion alike bade them meet oppression with prompt resistance. We shall find the first voice publicly raised in America to dissolve all connection with Great Britain come not from the Puritans of New England, or the Dutch of New York, or the planters of Virginia, but from “Scotch-Irish Presbyterians.”
In his book entitled “The Making of Pennsylvania,” Sydney George Fisher, in writing of the settlement of Scotch-Irish in eastern and western Pennsylvania, states “The western Presbyterians were almost exclusively ‘Scotch-Irish’; always sought the frontier and advanced with it westward. In religion there was but little difference between the two divisions, but in character and temperament the western Scotch-Irish were more excitable and violent.” The Whiskey Insurrection proves this, and it must be admitted that the Scotch-Irish were back of that.
For the purpose of making a record in the annals of the Historical Society, I would like to insert in this paper just a few names of those of Scotch-Irish descent who have been prominent in Western Pennsylvania affairs: (With apologies to those whose names have been overlooked. I am not making a directory, but have simply chosen rather hurriedly some fairly representative names.)
I will first mention a few names from the nearby counties, exclusive of Allegheny County.
Source: Robert Garland, The Scotch-Irish in Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Carnegie library, 1923. p 12-13