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The Scot-Irish of Rowan County North Carolina

Submitted by: William N. Greer --- greerswest@aol.com
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THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA The James Sprunt Historical Publications
PUBLISHED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF The North Carolina Historical Society,
J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, Henry McGilbert Wagstaff, Editor VOL.
16 No. 1

The chief contributors to the population were the Scotch-Irish
Presbyterians from the north of Ireland, the Germans, usually known as
Pennsylvania Dutch, who adhered to the tenets of the Lutheran and German
Reformed Churches, and the Moravians, or United Brethren, from Moravia
and Bohemia. From time to time men belonging to no one of these groups
came to the frontier, but such settlers formed a small part of the total
number of inhabitants. The Scotch-Irish were the most active and probably
the most numerous part of the population. These people were Scotch in
blood, being descendants of the Scotch whom the English rulers had placed
on the confiscated lands of Irish rebels in the Province of Ulster, in
north Ireland, during the seventeenth century. To distinguish them from
the natives of Scotland they have received the name of Scotch-Irish.
Some forty years prior to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War they
began to flock to America. Foote, in his "Sketches of North Carolina,"
assigns their migration to three causes, namely: religion, politics, and
property. Disabilities were imposed upon them because they were not
members of the established church of Ireland; they desired more political
liberty than they enjoyed in the old world; and the ease with which land
could he obtained in America was a third powerful incentive to their
coming hither. Some came to Charleston and pushed into the frontier
country from that place, but most of them landed in Pennsylvania and,
after making some settlements in that. province, turned southward, and
by1739 located in the Valley of Virginia. The administration in Virginia
was constantly opposed to religious freedom. Earl Granville disposed of
his lands in Carolina upon favorable terms, for he desired to increase
their value by rapid settlement. Therefore, influenced by the inviting
nature of the climate and soil, the peacefulness of the Catawba Indians
and the laxity of North Carolina laws in comparison with those of
Virginia on the subject of religion, the Scotch-Irish passed through the
vacant lands in Virginia, in the neighborhood of their countrymen, and
made homes for themselves in western North Carolina. As early as 1740 a
few families were located on the Hico, Eno, and Haw rivers in the
territory just east of Rowan. By the year 1745 the Scotch-Irish had
established themselves in the fertile and well-watered area between the
Yadkin and the Catawba, and previous to 1750 their settlements were
scattered throughout the region from Virginia to Georgia. The
Scotch-Irish settled mainly in the country west of the Yadkin. Among
these immigrants were the Nesbits, Allisons, Brandons, Luckeys, Lockes,
McCullochs, Grahams, Cowans, Barrs, McKenzies, Andrews, Osbornes,
Sharpes, Boones, McLauchlins, and Halls. The Scotch-Irish have ever been
known as a religious, brave, and liberty-loving people. Among other
families from the British Isles who appeared in Rowan at an early date we
find the names of Cathey, McCorkle, Morrison, Linville, Davidson, Reese,
Hughes, Ramsay, Brevard, Winslow, Dickey, Braley, Moore, Emerson, Kerr,
Rankin, Torrence, Templeton, Houston, Hackett, Rutherford, Lynn, Gibson,
Frohock, Smith, Bryan, Little, Long, Steele, Bell, Macay, Miller,
Blackburn, Craige, Stokes, Caldwell, Dunn, Gillespie, and many others.

This is an excerpt from A Colonial History of Rowan County


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