The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania

By Wayland F. Dunaway | Go to book overview

6
The Pennsylvania Scotch-Irish of the
Dispersion

It may not have been revealed to them that they as a people were not henceforth to live in distinct communities, but were to be dispersed throughout the country . . . . yet such was to be their destiny. JOHN STEWART

HAVING CONSIDERED the early settlements of the Scotch-Irish in the province, it would seem to be appropriate to describe another phase of settlement in which thousands of them were dispersed beyond the borders of Pennsylvania. Other racial groups, especially the Germans, shared with them in this migration, but not in such large numbers nor yet so far afield. i. Among the Thirteen Colonies, Pennsylvania occupied a unique position as an early distributing center of population to the South and the West. 2.


CAUSES OF THE DISPERSION

The causes inducing the Pennsylvania Scotch-Irish to emigrate to other colonies, especially to the southward, may here be noted. By 1735, the advance guard of settlers, moving ever westward, had reached the foothills of the Alleghenies, and, being hindered by the mountain barrier, was deflected southward along the line of least resistance into the valleys of Maryland and Virginia and

____________________
2.
John Fiske, Old Virginia and Her Neighbors, II, 390- 391; see also Fiske's The Dutch and Quaker Colonies, II, 329-30.
i.
The broader aspects of this subject are discussed by the author in his article entitled "Pennsylvania as an Early Distributing Center of Population," in Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, LV, 134- 169, of which large use is made in writing this chapter.

-102-

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