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
descended from the ancient Scottish Border clan of
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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