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Scots and Scots Descendant in America
Part I - Scots in the Settlement and Development of The United States
Scots as State Governors


OF the thousand or more State and territorial governors in office between 1789 and1886, judging from the names alone, more than two hundred are of evident Scottish descent, and it is altogether probable that if a closer inspection were to be made a great many more would be found of that race, although bearing names alike common to Scotland and England.

When the independent State governments were formed after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence they elected among their first governors the following of Scottish blood: George Clinton (N. Y.) ; John McKinley (Del.) Thomas McKean (Pa.) ; William Livingston (N. J.) : Patrick Henry (Va.); Richard Caswell (N. C.) ; John and Edward Rutledge (S. C.); and Archibald Bulloch (Ga.). Jonathan Trumbull, the original of "Brother Jonathan," the resourceful war-governor of Connecticut, was descended from the ancient Scottish Border clan of Turnbull.

Of the State governors from 1789 to 1885, the Scotch furnished to Pennsylvania nearly one-half her chief executives; to Virginia, nearly one-third; to North Carolina, more than one-fourth; to South Carolina, nearly one-third; to Georgia, more than one-half; to Kentucky, about one-third; to Ohio, one-half; to Alabama, more than one-fifth; to Mississippi, about one-fifth; to Louisiana, more than one-fifth; to Texas, about one-third; to Tennessee, nearly one-half; to Indiana, more than one-third; to Illinois, nearly one-third; to Missouri, nearly one-half; and to other States in proportion (Hanna, v. 1, pp. 49, 50).

When General Arthur St. Clair was appointed the first governor of Ohio (the Northwest Territory), he set the precedent for a long line of chief magistrates of Scottish descent. Among the governors of Ohio we find such worthy names as Duncan McArthur; Jeremiah Morrow (or Murray), the father of the National Road; Allan Trimble, the founder of the public school system in the State; James E. Campbell; Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley.

Samuel Johnston (1733-1816), governor of North Carolina in 1788, was a son of Gabriel Johnston, a Colonial governor of that province. He was born in Dundee and came with his father to America in 1736. He was an ardent patriot; presided over the North Carolina Ratification Convention; and was a member of the United States Senate, 1789-1793.

David Bradie Mitchell (1766-1837) came to Savannah, Georgia, from Scotland in 1783. He was a widely gifted man and much interested in public education. He was Solicitor General, 1795; member of the legislature, 1796; and governor of Georgia, 1809-1813, and again, 1815-1817.

Governor Henry Huntley Haight (1825-1878), who accomplished so much in restoring law and order in California after the days of the Vigilantes, was of Scottish descent. He was a graduate of Yale; went to California in 1850; was appointed United States district judge by Abraham Lincoln; and was governor 1867-1871.


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