Ohio History Journal

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Associate Professor of History, Muskingum College

Historical appraisals of the contributions of various ethnic ele-

ments to the growth of American culture have seldom denied recog-

nition to the Scotch-Irish. "The cutting edge of the frontier," they

rarely hesitated to assume the vanguard of the westward movement

and made it impossible for the writer of history to ignore them,

deplore their unrefined individualism  though he might.   Their

apologists have made much of the participation of that hardy stock

in American politics and have delighted in calling the roll of the

great and near-great of Scotch-Irish extraction, too often including

both second-generation Ulstermen and Americans of cosmopolitan

ancestry who had one remote forebear who sojourned briefly in the

north of Ireland. Likewise Scotch-Irish cultural activities have been

recorded in lists of the colleges and academies they established and

the preaching engagements of pioneer Presbyterian ministers.

Equally interesting and too infrequently explored are the records

of their reaction to the social environment of the new West in the

years which followed the passing of the frontier, the notable ex-

ception being the excellent monograph of the late J. A. Woodburn.1

The evincement of some peculiar Scotch-Irish characteristics in the

community life of central Ohio may be illustrative of the transfer

of culture into the region from the older settled areas of America

and from abroad.

When the first Scottish Lowlanders participated in James I's

plantation of Ulster and thus created the element later to be desig-

nated as Scotch-Irish, economic factors were prime considerations

in the migration. To sustain him in his adjustment to the frontier

conditions of his Irish environment the Scot brought with him the

tough theology of Calvinism. Perhaps no other religious faith has

ever more nicely integrated man's spiritual and economic interests,


1 "The Scotch-Irish Presbyterians in Monroe County, Indiana," in Indiana Histor-

ical Society Publications, IV (1910), 437-522.