The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania

By Wayland F. Dunaway | Go to book overview
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Economic Activities of the Scotch-Irish

They had exceedingly stiff and strenuous notions touching strict integrity in business transactions. J. w. DINSMORE

THE SCOTCH-IRISH have been an important factor in the economic life of Pennsylvania, as elsewhere throughout the country. In the colonial era, however, they were so busily engaged in establishing themselves in the wilderness that their genius for industry lacked adequate opportunity for expression. The more significant story of their achievements in trade, manufactures, and finance belongs to the later period, which is beyond the scope of our subject. Despite the early obstacles encountered, however, their contribution to the economic life of provincial Pennsylvania was by no means inconsiderable. i.


The principal economic interest of the Scotch-Irish in the colonial era, like that of the population generally, was farming. Since so large a proportion of them lived on the frontier, the type of agriculture associated with them in this period was that of pioneer farmers, and it is in this character that we shall discuss them. This does not mean to say, however, that the whole body of Scotch‐ Irish practiced the primitive husbandry of the backwoods. On the contrary, as time passed, many of them dwelling in the Cumberland Valley and in Chester, Lancaster, Dauphin, and North

It is not claimed that the economic life of the Scotch-Irish as described in this chapter was much different from that of the other racial groups roundabout, but we do not, on this account, feel warranted in leaving untold an important part of the activities of the people we are describing.


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