Scottish and Scots-Irish Celts
by Cecilia Fabos-Becker
You may may not realize that more than half of ALL Americans today have many Scots, Scots-Irish, Anglo-Scots or Irish/Anglo-Irish ancestors. You may may not realize that our American Independence was born of the pain and oppression the majority of our founding peoples experienced, for centuries, here in America as in these well as in Ireland and Scotland. In fact, our U.S. Constitution, and the very government we live under, arose as a direct result of the abuse these Celtic ancestors received, primarily under English rule.
Scots and Scots-Irish comprised either fully or partly the ancestry of about half the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and nearly three-quarters of Washington's army and more than one-half of his officers corps, were Scots, Irish, and Scots-Irish. These revolutionary leaders, the founding fathers and mothers of our nation, were determined such tyranny would never happen again.'Many of our cherished rights are the direct result of such bullying. For example, in 1707, the citizens of Scotland lost their right to representative government.
The 'Act of Union' was a shot-gun marriage imposed on Scotland under the credible threat of English invasion, should the Scottish parliament not approve the Act. In so doing, the Scottish parliament dissolved itself, Scotland ceased to be a nation, and the 'United Kingdom' was created in it's place. At that time, Scotland had about 2/3 the population of England, but received only 4 seats in a parliament of over 100 members, fewer seats than tiny Cornwall! Scottish citizens were thus stripped of any influence in the so-called Union parliament, and also how their taxes were to be disbursed. No wonder that their descendants created our U.S. Constitution guaranteeing 'one man, one vote' in our new nation.'
You may not realize that in at that time, Presbyterians in America were virtually all Scots and Scots-Irish. Their influence on our revolt was strong and pervasive. One of the most eloquent and influencial was Rev. John Witherspoon, a Scots-Presbyterian minister and later President of Princeton University, but also a former friend and mentor of England's Prime Minister, Horace Walpole. In fact, upon hearing the news of the rebellion in America, King George III of England asked his Prime Minister, what had happened. Walpole replied, "Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson, and there is no help for it."
However, Witherspoon himself had been influenced by Scots-Irish Rev. Alexander Craighead, who as early as 1748, wrote in his 'Renewal of the Covenants, National and Solemn League; "... To the Calvinistic system of principles and the Presbyterian form of government, this nation (the newly evolved American people) is largely indebted for its civil independence and republican polity."
Rev. Craighead had been in Pennsylvania, Virginia and finally North Carolina leaving adherents in all three colonies, including other prominent ministers and members of colonial legislatures. His father, Rev. Thomas Craighead, held similar views, and had been in Massachusetts, New Jersey, what became Delaware and then Pennsylvania. They also expressed strong beliefs in religious freedom and that all religions should be treated by government equally and protected, made secure from persecution and harm to its leaders, but none should be part of government. The Presbyterian churches had elected councils of churches and both men and women voted and could serve as elders. Similarly, Quakers also had male and female elders elected from their meetings. Additionally, both of these churches believed in educating sons and daughters so neither men, nor their wives would be cheated in contracts they could not read, nor become impoverished through not being able to understand basic arithmetic and money and through ignorance, then become charity burdens on the churches and their communities. Public education started with the Scots, Scots-Irish and Quakers, who included Scots and Irish among themselves also.'Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure had its roots in part in the political persecution and imprisonment of people who were members of anything other than the official Church of England, especially the leaders.
The most numerous and worst of such persecutions took place in Scotland and Ireland, the worst starting in the mid-1600's. There were also more sinister experiences of searches, seizures, trials and imprisonments instigated by 'secret accusers,' and trials by secret accusers, using false-front witnesses and secret evidence. Neither the secret accusers nor secret evidence could be confronted or rebutted by the victims. People were tried and imprisoned in this manner on the cause of treason, which support of a non-official religion was, and could lose their entire means of sustenance or their lives without ever knowing who accused them and on what basis. The worst experiences were suffered by those who were not among the highest gentry. This led to a strong belief in the right of individuals to know their accusers and the evidence in trials and be able to refute them and to have an objective jury of their peers.'None of these so fundamental rights guarenteed in our American Constitution and Laws originated in England. English monarchs, often supported by their parliaments, had spent centuries denying and violently suppressing any expression of these now universally accepted human rights. As for the notion, sometimes expressed in PBS documentaries, that at the least the English kings were responsible for setting up the colonies and allowing the Scots and Irish to emigrate to them is also a distortion. The first king to set up and strongly support colonies in North America was James VI, who had been king of Scotland for about 15 years before being given the second crown of England as James I of England. This dual king was a Scot of the family name Stuart who spoke with a pronounced brogue and besides English, could speak Erse, Scots Gaelic, fluently.'All but one of the North America colonies were created/established under these Scottish-Stuart kings, in part as a deliberate effort to relieve the overpopulation of largely unarable Scotland and parts of Ireland as well. Until just about the mid-19th century, between 80 and 90% of all persons made their living by farming and at home 'cottage industries' related to their, and their immediate neighbors', farming products. Even small town and village tradesmen and craftsmen all had small farms to supplement their business incomes and feed their families.'
In the American Revolution, about 2/3 of the enlisted men in the entire Continental (patriot) army were Scots, Scots-Irish or Irish. More than half of the officer corps was likewise. The budding navy under John Paul Jones was nearly entirely Scots and Scots-Irish. Most of the members of the Continental Congress who wrote the Declaration of Independence, and later most of the members of the Constitutional Convention were of Scots, Scots-Irish and Irish descent.'Thus the United States of America is in reality, the greatest Celtic nation of them all and a testament to the perseverance across milennia of Celtic thought, culture and will. Its people should never forget who they and their nation are.
Celts in the American Revolution
by Thomas Fleming
Originally published in Journal of the American Revolution (allthingsliberty.com)
Another bold Scot, big beefy bookseller Henry Knox, fought as a volunteer at the 1775 battle of Bunker Hill. A few weeks later, General Washington met Knox in Cambridge, and was so impressed with his military knowledge that he asked him to join his headquarters staff.
The American army was desperately short of cannon. In the winter of 1776, Knox organized teams of men and oxen who hauled over sixty heavy guns from Fort Ticonderoga in New York to Boston — a 300 mile journey up and down the steep snowy slopes of the Berkshire Mountains. Some of the guns weighed more than a ton. Washington used the cannon to drive the British out of Boston. Knox soon became chief of artillery in the Continental Army.
The Irish were not far behind the Scots in the boldness game. John Sullivan of New Hampshire was the son of a schoolteacher from Ireland's County Limerick. In December 1774, four months before the shooting war began, Sullivan learned that the British planned to station a regiment at Fort William & Mary in Portsmouth, New Hampshire's capital, to intimidate the patriots.
Sullivan led a raid on the fort early the next day. His men overwhelmed the small British garrison, hauled down the flag, and carried off one hundred barrels of gunpowder. Some of that powder was used with deadly effect six months later at the battle of Bunker Hill. Sullivan was soon a major general in Washington's army, famed for his fearlessness under fire.
Another Irishman — in fact — a whole family of them — struck the first blow against the English on the sea. In May, 1775, a month after the battles of Lexington and Concord, the British sloop-of-war, HMS Margaretta entered Machias Bay, Maine, home of Maurice O'Brien of Cork, and his five sons. The O'Briens organized a group of local fishermen who put to sea in their boats and captured the befuddled British sailors by boarding them in a wild rush. In Boston, the infuriated English admiral sent two more sloops north to regain Margaretta. The salty O'Briens and their neighbors captured them too.
Mulligan still was, but only a few people knew it. One of these insiders was General George Washington. Another was Washington's aide, Colonel Alexander Hamilton, who was a close friend of Mulligan. Throughout the war, the Irishman was one of America's most valuable spies. Among other things, he warned Washington of a well-organized British plot to kidnap him.
At the end of the war, the British evacuated New York. Not a few American hotheads vowed that they would make Mulligan sorry for his treachery. Imagine their surprise when General Washington rode into the city at the head of his troops and announced that the following morning he planned to have breakfast with his friend, Hercules Mulligan.
Celts in the American Revolution
Tarleton gives no quarter in South Carolina
The Service of the Wallaces of Rockbridge County Virginia
by Celia Fabos-Becker
Celts in the American Revolution
Video:The American Spirit, 1780
by award-winning author Randell Jones
During the American Revolution, backcountry militiamen, overwhelmingly descendants of Scots and Scots-Irish immigrants, turned the tide of the War with their unexpected victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780.
This entertaining, engaging, and enlightening video tells the story of these heroes coming together from what is today five states and pursuing British Major Patrick Ferguson and his army of loyalists for over 200 miles across the mountains of North Carolina. That route is today the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail.
Award winning author Randell Jones transports you through this dramatic and daring episode of America's Revolutionary War history. Jones illustrates the story with images from 12 years of photographing 18th century reenactors portraying America's backcountry heroes, as well as historical artwork graciously provided by Richard Luce, who also contributes to the naration." The video includes the original Celtic music performed by The Forget-Me-Nots of Banner Elk, NC. Randell Jones, is the recipient of the 2013 National History Award Medal from the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution.
To watch the 'The American Spirit 1780' video, Click Here https://youtu.be/2mMDddd242w. Also find a link at Randell Jones home page at www.DanielBooneFootsteps.com, as well as information on his books, including 'Before They Were Heroes at King's Mountain' and 'In the Footsteps of Daniel Boone'.
Enjoy just a few minutes of the video right now or watch the entire 40-minute story unfold with art, music, narration, and the original Celtic music of The The Forget-Me-Nots.
Celtic Immigrants & Cultural Influence after the Revolution
by Cecilia Fabos-Becker
Celtic influence upon the development of America is pervasive. After the 1745 rising, Irish (and Scots!) continued to immigrate to America with a huge spike during and immediately after the famine of 1847. Although between 1707 and into the late 1800's, Irish Catholics continued to be denied land ownership, and Scots continued contend with the poor rocky and thin soils left by glacial erosion, and cold climate, these Celtic people continued to increase their numbers with their many children.
Freed from class limitations, in America, Irish, Scots and Welsh advanced on their merit, largely developing the manufacturing industries of America, and machinery to make its manufactured goods.'The old cliche figure of Scottish engineers or Irish glass makers and weavers is real. They are based in the real history of people who could not own and otherwise find enough land to make a living by farming. To stop competition with English manufacturers, the English did not encourage or promote industrial development in Scotland or Ireland. Scots and Irish packed up their energy, skills and ideas and brought them to America. From the late 1700's until just before the Civil War, many Scottish and Irish new Americans were not farmers, but skilled craftsmen and engineers in new industries that they had largely created, including fabrics, metals, ceramics and glass.'
In earlier America, industries started as crafts in the home and light or small scale industry of extended family coops and small communities, where particular resources were most plentiful. The products regularly displayed these Celtic American's cultural beliefs in form and decoration of their manufactured goods including those of fabric, ceramics, wood, stone and glass. In fact, glass was considered so important to early settlers, that the very first glass making efforts were made at Jamestown, Virginia, between 1607 and 1610. Ditto ceramics.' While Europe was pre-occupied with the Napoleonic Wars, Americans, mostly Celtic, were creating the first purely American industry of the Industrial Revolution; table and decorative glassware.
These primarily Scots, Irish, and French immigrants and their descendants created molds for molten glass and a new molding process, including the final wheel cutting and polishing of pressed glass that resembled cut crystal popular in the upper classes of England, but cheap enough for American households.'The styles and decoration were from their iconic Celtic beliefs and traditions familiar to their American compatriots. Over the next 75 years, this developed into a hugely successful American industry. By the mid 19th century to the mid 20th century glassware for table and decor was so abundant and varied, that this man made magic crystal could be molded and cut to realize the memories of those of ancient folk tales like no other product.
That molded glassware became so abundant and so detailed was due to an invention in the British isles; a two or more part metal mold for blowing and pressing glass. These original molds were made of bronze or iron and every one of them was a piece of art. They could only be used for so many pieces and then had to be re-cut or re-sharpened, or melted down and made into a new mold. The molds themselves started with carefully sculpted clay models and then were detailed in ways that resembled the finest intricate carvings of the old Celtic crosses and other ritualistic ornamentation and other stone and wood decor that had already made the Celts famous. After the molds were made of these metals, they themselves were hand-cut more and polished as though they were jewels and then the molten glass was poured into these metal jewels and finished by more cutting and polishing. There is nothing like what was produced in the heyday of glass 1870's to 1930's.'Pressed glass pattern molding began in the early 1800's in Massachusetts, among persons of Anglo-Scots, (northern England) and Scottish descent. It spread rapidly to parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and about the middle of the century took root in Ohio, where the Scots-Irish who had arrived earlier were moving, with their large families.
At the same time, new generations of Scots and Irish were arriving and joining them as the best combination of land and climate for agriculture is in these mid-western states east of the Mississippi. There were also abundant deposits of two things in the Ohio River valley: coal plus sand with high silica and calcium content; just what is needed for making glass.'Later generations of Scots, Irish and Welsh were quick to develop other industries, besides farming, for a livelihood, and incorporate their own traditions into them. This particularly appears in fabric arts, ceramics and glass. Look closely at the 19th century quilts, embroidery and glass. In glass, see the heather, the laurel, the oak, and holly in pattern glass. Look at the spirals and stars and remember the ancient sites like New Grange. Look at the quantity of detail in the glass, and crosses, columns, and more and remember the Book of Kells and the famous Celtic stone crosses of Scotland and Ireland. Look at the decorative seams of cottage flowers and wreaths in the ceramic, and even ships and boats. Look at the patterns in quilts.'All of this has come to us from Celtic ancestors, many hundreds of thousands, even millions of them, from 1650 to 1850.
Textiles, glass and ceramics were American alright--but Celtic American. So was furniture making. It's sad that these very same industries are the same ones that were most quickly sent to China and have not returned. So where are the expressions of our cultural traditions now?
To be continued.