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Scottish Trivia

  • A quote from American President Woodrow Wilson, "Every line of strength in American history is a line colored with Scottish blood."
  • More than 100 governors of pre- and post- Revolutionary America were of Scottish birth or descent.
  • Others from Scotland or of Scots descent in American history:
    - 35 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 25 of them are in the Great Americans Hall of Fame.
    - Almost 1/2 of the Secretaries of U.S. Treasury and 1/3 of the Secretaries of State were Scots.
    - 9 of the signatures on the Declaration of Independence were from Scots descent.
    - 9 of the 13 colony governors made in the new USA were Scots.
    - James Pollock, of Scots descent, put the slogan "In God We Trust" on American coins!
  • 61% of American Presidents are of Scots or Scots-Irish descent.
  • A Scot, James Watt, developed the first efficient steam engine and in so doing started the Industrial Revolution.
  • A Scot, John Logie Baird, invented the Television.
  • A Scot, John Napier, invented logarithms and the decimal notation.
  • A Scot, Kirkpatrick Macmillan, invented the bicycle.
  • A Scot, John Paul Jones, founded the American Navy.
  • A Scot, Alexander Fleming, discovered Penicillin.
  • A Scot, William Paterson, founded the Bank of England.
  • A Scot, Alexander Graham Bell, invented the telephone.
  • A Scot, John Chalmers, invented the adhesive postage stamp.
  • A Scot, John Boyd Dunlop, invented the car tyre.
  • A Scot, Captain Patrick Ferguson, invented the breech loading rifle.
  • A Scot, Major General Lachlan Macquarie, know as the 'Father of Australia',
  • A Scot, Sir John Alexander Macdonald, was the first Prime Minister of Canada under confederation.
  • A Scot, Thomas Blake Glover, was one of the founding fathers of modern Japan.
  • A Scot, Henry Faulds pioneered the use of fingerprints as means of undisputed identity of people.
  • A Scot, Robert Stirling, invented the Stirling engine in 1850. Stirling engines are being studied at NASA for use in powering space vehicles with solar energy!
  • The Scots invented Golf.
  • “History credits the Rev. Elijah Craig, a Baptist minister, with being the first in 1789 to make bourbon.” He was a Scotsman. Kentucky is the place for bourbon because of the limestone which makes the water almost iron-free. “The first bourbon recognized by brand outside of Kentucky probably was produced by Dr. James Crow...a Scotsman who settled near the Rev. Craig’s place.” He was known by the locals as Jim Crow.
  • The Scottish-American Hall of Fame contains more plaques for the military than any other category. Twenty-one men are installed including Daniel Boone who is listed as an “Indian Fighter.” The list is as follows: George Rogers Clark, Frontier hero of the Revolutionary War; Stonewall Jackson; Joseph E. Johnston; Henry Knox; Arthur MacArthur, army general, father of Douglas MacArthur; George B. McClellan; Alexander Macomb, general and hero of the War of 1812; William (Billy) Mitchell, controversial air power advocate; William Multrie; George S. Patton, WWII exponent of mobile warfare; Winfred Scott, Mexican War and Chief of staff; J.E.B. Stuart, Confederate cavalry general; Christopher “Kit” Carson, frontiersman and explorer; William Clark, explorer with Merriwether Lewis; Davy Crockett, frontiers-man who died at the Alamo. Two individuals are listed under the category of “Naval.” They are David Glasgow Farragut, Civil War naval hero, and John Paul Jones, Revolutionary War naval hero.
  • Famous Quote: "If all else fails, I will retreat up the valley of Virginia, plant my flag on the Blue Ridge, rally around the Scotch-Irish of that region and make my last stand for liberty amongst a people who will never submit to British tyranny whilst there is a man left to draw a trigger." George Washington, Valley Forge.
  • Scottish Freemasonry is now officially recognised as being the oldest in the world and is now recorded as a Guinness World Record.
  • Scot invented suspenders.
  • Although the Scots comprise less than one-half of 1 percent of the world’s population, 11 percent of all Nobel prizes have been awarded to Scotsmen. Quote from "The Mark of the Scots" by Duncan A Bruce.
  • The world’s first university faculty of engineering and technical science was in Glasgow.
  • 67 US Politicians were born in Scotland that we know off.
  • There are estimated to be 20,000 Americans living in Scotland and half a million visit each year.
  • It is estimated that 15% of Canadians are of Scots descent.
  • Scotland invented branch banking and so brought banking facilities to the people and the world.
  • "The Reverend Malcolm MacDonald, a native of Whitton, Quebec, a descendant of the early Scots settlers and of the first church established in the area, says:
    "‘The Book of Books was the library they opened, and the Church of Jesus Christ was the first institution they established and that in their homes, and the Gospel of Christ was the philosophy they espoused.’ "
    "The most casual observer and historian must admit that these early settlers played a leading part in setting the course in which the Nation travels today.
    "I am indeed grateful that we are privileged to stand in the stream of a noble, spiritual, national and cultural tradition, which has flourished in Scotland for centuries, and for some 150 years established firmly on this North American Continent, in both Canada and the United States.
  • And as for the first printed dollar sign, that was made on a Philadelphia printing press in the 1790s and was the work of a staunch American patriot – or at least a vehemently anti-English Scotsman – named Archibald Binny, who’s today remembered as the creator of the Monticello typeface.
  • SCOTS emigres to the US are five times more likely to become dollar millionaires than those from any other country, according to a study of wealth. Thomas Stanley and William Danko, in their book The Millionaire Next Door, analysed the ethnic backgrounds of the wealthiest members of US society and discovered that while people of Scottish origin make up 1.7% of the population, they comprise 9.3% of its millionaires.
  • At the battle of Trafalgar (The British under Nelson won a decisive naval battle off southern Spain against the French and Spanish.) in 1805 around 30% of the fleet's crew hailed from Scotland and Scottish industry provided timber products, sails, ropes, iron cannons and iron balls.
  • In 1969 during the inauguration of President Nixon, a news commentator with a Scottish bent, watching the ceremony on television, mentioned that on the inaugural platform, standing together, were President Lyndon Johnson, President Richard Nixon and American Evangelist Billy Graham - all descendants of the Border Reivers families, known for their lawlessness family feuds, lifting cattle and stealing women. Now 300 years later they are running and influencing one of the most powerful countries in the world.
  • During the early part of Nixon’s Presidency, the United States landed a manned spacecraft on the moon. Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder of the spacecraft and became the first man on the moon. He then gets a call from President Nixon, who’s family came from Dumfries-shire via Northern Ireland to the US (those we call “Scots-Irish” in the US) , congratulating him on his accomplishment. Both were members of the Armstrong clan and might have been distant kinsman. The conversation between Armstrong and Nixon was made possible by Alexander Graham Bell, another Border family and Gugliemo Marconi, whose mother was of Scots-Irish ancestry. And if was all shown on television - invented by another Scot, John Logie-Baird. And just to make sure that things would go right, five of the original seven American astronauts were of Scottish ancestry, and five of the original 12 men who have walked on the moon had Scottish ancestry. Another astronaut on that flight with Armstrong with Scottish ancestry was Edwin Aldrin. On a subsequent trip Alan Bean brought the MacBain tartan to the moon and in 1991 Jerry Ross wore a Clan Ross tartan patch into space. Astronaut Navy Captain Laurel Clark was an avid Scot descendant who died when the Columbia spacecraft broke up on its return flight. She had arranged with NASA to have “The Black Bear” and “Amazing Grace” recoded by The Black Watch Pipe Band played as a morning wake-up music during Columbia’s flight. As my children said: “How cool is all that!”

  • Scottish Explorers and Fur Trappers
    Read about how Scots dominated the Fur trade and by so doing opened up Canada and the West.
  • Scotland and the American Indians
    Read about the Scots and their ties with American Indians.
  • Historians and the Scottish-American Connection
    Read about Scottish American connections.
  • The Scot in British North America
    This is a 4 volume set about the Scots in Canada and the great part they played in its creation.
  • Scotland, a wee country wi' a BIG impact on the World
    This is a 45 minute Real Audio production telling folk about Scots that made an impact on the World.
  • There are 158 Scottish-born Victoria Cross recipients

Learn about Scots connections around the world


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