Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Irish in the Allegheny Mountains #genealogy #northcarolinapioneers

The Irish in the Allegheny Mountains

Belfast IrelandDuring the 19th century, the Irish began to flocking to America. Settlements were in Maine, New Hampshire, the greater part of Vermont and west Massachusetts, west Pennsylvania, a large portion of Maryland, the western part of Virginia between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghany mountains, into North Carolina along the French Broad river, to the upper part of South Carolina, and into the territory now forming Tennessee and Kentucky and into the region of the Ohio River which belonged to Virginia at the time. This land was entirely settled by the Irish who did not change their names before or after leaving Ireland. These circumstances makes it possible to trace the surnames of the first settlers back to their origins in Ireland. While some of these Irish emigrants may have been of English descent, most of them became Irish by birth and were no longer in sympathy with English interests. No doubt the severe penalties inflicted upon the Irish by the Irish was a major factor in immigration. As the English invaders sympathized with the Irish, their progeny became often more Irish than those from the original Celtic stock. Thus, the descendants of many a Cromwellian soldier can be found in Ireland and abroad who ultimately opposed English rule in Ireland. "I have found reported among the debates in the Irish Parliament, a speech by the Hon. Luke Gardiner, delivered April 2d, 1784, on Irish Commerce, and from which I quote: "America was lost by Irish emigrants. These emigrations are fresh in the recollection of every gentleman in this house. I am assured, from the best authority, the major part of the American army was composed of Irish, and that the Irish language was as commonly spoken in the American ranks as English." I am also informed it was their valor determined the contest, so that England had America detached from her by force of Irish emigrants, etc. I find in (the work of) Marmion, The Ancient and Modern History of the Maritime Ports of Ireland, some interesting facts bearing upon a portion of the exodus to this country." In 1771, 1772, and 1773, over twenty-five thousand emigrants left Belfast, and other ports in that immediate neighborhood, for the American colonies, in consequence of having been evicted from one of the estates of the Marquis of Donegal, in Antrim. Marmion states, "The emigrants were chiefly farmers and manufacturers who, it was calculated, by converting their property into specie, which they took with them abroad, deprived Ulster of one fourth of its circulating medium, which then consisted altogether of specie; and also a portion equal thereto to the most valuable part of its population." Source: The Journal of the American-Irish Historical Society by Thomas Hamilton Murray, Secretary General, Vol. II, Boston, Mass. (1899). 

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