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


GEORGE ROGERS CLARK, McCulloch, the Lewises, McKee, Crawford, Patterson. Robertson, Johnston, Adam and Andrew Poe, Samuel Brady—a. good majority of the Indian fighters of the Northwest Territories during the Revolutionary period—-were Scots and Ulster-Scots, the pioneers of the great western empire stretching from the Alleghenies to the Rockies and the Pacific.

General Forbes, who christened Pittsburgh, William Paterson, who gave his name to Paterson, N. J., and Moses Cleaveland, who gave his name to Cleveland, Ohio, were of Scottish blood. John Kinzie, the first white settler on the site of Chicago, was a Scot; and John Whistler (1756-1829), grandfather of the painter, who was born in Ulster and fought in the British army under Burgoyne at the battle of Saratoga, afterward settling in America and joining the United States army in 1791, was sent there with his company in 1803 to build old Fort Dearborn.

John Clark, great-grandfather of General George Rogers Clark (1752-1818,), came to Virginia in 1630 from the southwestern part of Scotland. On both sides General Clark was descended from Scottish ancestors. In 1778, commissioned by Governor Patrick Henry to defend the Virginia frontiers, he made a complete conquest of the whole rich domain between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, the five great States of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin, that save for the daring of this one man would to-day probably have been a part of the Dominion of Canada. Early in 1777 Clark had begun to gather forces, mostly Scottish settlers like himself, on Corn Island, opposit the present city of Louisville, and July 4, 1778, marching day and night, captured the strong post at Kaskaskia, Illinois, without firing a shot. Governor Hamilton with a large British force marched against him from Detroit and in December went into winter-quarters in Vincennes, Indiana. Saying, "I must take Hamilton or he will take me," Clark set out with less than 170 men and marched across the submerged lands of the Wabash in midwinter. With but scanty food, his men were often up to their armpits in icy water. Hamilton was surprised and Vincennes surrendered, February 24, 1779; and it was only his inadequate forces that prevented Clark from marching on Detroit.

John Harris (1716-1791), an Ulster-Scot, was the founder of Harrisburg, Pa. He built the first ferry across the Susquehanna at that point and was the principal store-keeper of the frontier. He had, by his fair dealing, the implicit confidence of the Indians and many important councils were held at his house, which was built in 1766 and is still standing.

John and Samuel Finley, nephews of Rev. Samuel Finley, president of Princeton College, both served with distinction in the Revolutionary War. John was a noted Indian trader and in 1767 preceded Boone by two years into Kentucky.

Daniel Boone (1735-1820), the border hero, who conquered almost singlehanded the region comprising Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri, was the grandson of George Boone, who landed in Philadelphia from the North of Ireland in 1717, and a son of Squire Boone and Sarah Morgan.

Simon Kenton (1755-1836), Boone’s companion in many of his daring enterprises, was the son of a Scottish mother and an Ulster-Scottish father. At the age of sixteen he ran away beyond the Alleghenies. He joined with George Rogers Clark and was with him at Kaskaskia. Kenton County, Ky., is named for him. He was one of the last surviving of the early pioneers.

There were three Lewises, Andrew (1720-1781), Colonel William (1724-1811), and Charles (Va. -1774), all but one born in Donegal, and all of Scottish descent, who were distinguished in the border fighting on the frontiers of Virginia, and a brother, Thomas (1718-1790), also born in Donegal, in the House of Burgesses, where he firmly advocated the resolution of Patrick Henry.

Col. William Crawford (1732-1782), surveyor and friend and associate of Washington, was with Braddock at Fort Duquesne and in the Pontiac War. In 1767 he settled in Western Pennsylvania, but joined Washington and was in the battles of Long Island and in New Jersey. In 1778-1882 he was sent on frontier service in Ohio against the Indians, and was finally captured and burned to death after terrible tortures.

Robert Patterson (1753-1827) emigrated to Kentucky in 1775. He was with George Rogers Clark in 1778 and with John Bowman in 1779. Patterson built the first house on the site of the present city of Lexington, Ky., in 1779. He was one-third owner of Cincinnati when the town site was laid out, aiid in 1804 built the first settlement at Dayton, Ohio. He fought in many Indian campaigns and had many narrow escapes.

The Hon. Whitelaw Reid’s grandfather emigrated to Kentucky from the Lowlands of Scotland near the end of the eighteenth century. Afterward he bought several hundred acres of land on the site of the present city of Cincinnati and secured a franchise for a ferry across the Ohio River at that point. He parted with both, however, because his strong Covenanter conscience would not permit him to operate a ferry on Sunday, as required, and removed to Green County, Ohio, where he was one of the founders of Xenia.

General James Robertson (1742-1814), born in Virginia of Scottish parents, in 1759 accompanied Daniel Boone on his third expedition beyond the Alleghenies. General Robertson explored Tennessee and founded settlements at Watauga, and in 1779 the city of Nashville. His whole life was a bitter fight with the Indians. He was made a brigadier-general by Washington in 1790. General Robertson shares with Sevier the honour and affection of all Tennesseeans.

John Johnston (1775-1861), the famous Indian agent of the Ohio, was a native of Ballyshannon and of Scottish parentage. He was for eleven years canal commissioner of the State of Ohio.

"Davy" (David) Crockett (1786-1836) was the son of a Revolutionary veteran of Scottish birth. He joined the Texans in their fight for liberty and was massacred at the famous defence of the Alamo, March 6, 1836. He was a member of the state legislature of Tennessee, pioneer, hunter, and a member of Congress.

Sam Houston (1793-1863), president and father of Texas, was born in Rockhridge County, Virginia, and was of Scottish descent.

"Kit" (Christopher) Carson (1809-1868), the resourceful Indian fighter, was of Ulster-Scottish blood.


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