Scotch-Irish Frontiersmen and Soldiers

Source:The Scotch-Irish in America
Author:Samuel Swett Green

The Scotch-Irish settlers who came to this country repaired, for the most part, to the frontiers of the colonies. This is true of those who went to the Middle and South Atlantic States, where they were found mainly in their western portions. It was true, also, of such as came to Maine, to Londonderry, New Hampshire, and to Worcester, Massachusetts. The result was that it was in very large measure people of this nationality who were engaged in the Indian struggles which preceded the Revolution.

We find men of this race actively engaged in the Old French war, which began in 1744, and in the later contest between Great Britain and France on this continent, upon the renewal of hostilities in 1756. Thus, soldiers from Londonderry served under Pepperell in the expedition against Cape Breton. During the later attempt upon Crown Point, three companies of hardy men, who had adroitness in traversing woods, were selected from the New Hampshire regiment to act as rangers. Many of the men selected were from the Scotch-Irish town of Londonderry, and the three captains, Robert Rogers, John Stark, and William Stark, had all been residents of the same place. The two latter were brothers and sons of an early Scotch-Irish inhabitant of the town.[44] Rogers, a brave and skilful officer, was soon made Major, and his body of rangers performed active and efficient service. A company of soldiers from Londonderry aided in the reduction of Canada in the campaign when Quebec was taken by Wolfe.

In the Colonial wars which preceded the Revolution, it is stated that the soldiers of Virginia were principally drawn rom the Scotch-Irish settlements in the valley west of the Blue Ridge and in the Piedmont Counties. Previous to the encounter at Lexington, three British soldiers deserted from the army in Boston and found their way to Londonderry. Their hiding place was disclosed and a detachment of soldiers was sent from Boston to arrest them. They were taken prisoners, but had not gone far before a company of young men, which had been hurriedly raised in Londonderry, by Captain James Aiken, caught up with their captors and demanded and secured their release. The rescued men afterwards lived unmolested in Londonderry.[45] As soon as the news of the battle of Lexington reached New Hampshire, 1200 troops immediately repaired to Cambridge and Charlestown. Among these was a large company from Londonderry, commanded by George Reed, who upon the organization of the troops at Cambridge was made a Colonel. The New Hampshire Convention held at Exeter, April 25, 1775, formed the troops of that State then near Boston, into two regiments under the command of Colonels Reed and Stark, natives of Londonderry.

At the first call of Congress for soldiers to defend Boston, Daniel Morgan, of Scotch-Irish blood,[46] immediately raised a company of riflemen among his people in the lower valley of Virginia, and by a forced march of six hundred miles reached the beleaguered town in three weeks.

The passage of more than one hundred years since The Scotch-Irish in America by Henry Jones Ford was first published in 1915 has rendered the book no less fascinating and gripping. Written in a thoroughly accessible way, it tells the story of how the hardy breed of men and women, who in America came to be known as the ‘Scotch-Irish’, was forged in the north of Ireland during the seventeenth century. This book is a comprehensive and very informative account of the history of the Scotch-Irish in America.