Digital Heritage Moment: Migration of the Scots-Irish

Digital Heritage Moment: Migration of the Scots-Irish

The Emigrants Noonday Halt. Mary Lou Stone and Solomon Eytinge, artists. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library

In the early 18th century, new arrivals from Ireland appeared in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. They were descended mostly from emigrants who had earlier fled Scotland seeking better lives in Ireland. Sadly, their hopes in their new home in the northern Irish province of Ulster were soon dashed. They were driven out by explosions in population and land rents, and by religious discrimination.

Mostly Presbyterian, these Scots-Irish immigrants entered America primarily through Philadelphia. Seeking cheap land, they spread southwestward along the Great Wagon Road, through the Great Valley of Virginia, and into the mountainous regions of North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. The Scots-Irish had a major impact in shaping the history, religion and culture of the Southern Appalachian Mountain region.

Digital Heritage Moments are produced at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. To learn more, visit DigitalHeritage.org. You may also hear Digital Heritage Moments each weekday on radio stations WKSF-FM, WWCU-FM, WMXF-AM, WPEK-AM and WWNC-AM.

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