Tuckahoes and Cohees/Cohoes–More Scots-Irish

Tuckahoes:  gentlemen planters, lived on isolated plantations, descendants of English colonists, members of the Anglican church.  These men spoke with a “Southern Accent:” spent their lives engaged in horse sports, playing cards, and visiting among themselves plantation to plantation.  They were also actively engaged in politics and holding public office.  They held slaves and used the labor of indentured servants.

Cohees/Cohoes:  spoke English, with a different accent–Scottish, Irish, Welsh.  They were Presbyterians.  Most of them were independent farmers–yeomen who owned the lands they farmed and employed others to work under them.  Their workers included slaves, indentured servants, husbandmen, and farm laborers.   Semi-skilled craftsmen and merchant traders could also be Cohees/Cohoes.

Both groups could also include Huguenot families who blended their ideals and activities with those they lived among.  Like chameleons, the Huguenots survived by being exactly like their neighbors.

Catherine Hawes Coleman Seaman. Tuckahoes and Cohees: The Settlers and Cultures of Amherst and Nelson Counties, 1607-1807. 1992. Available from Sweetbrier College Printing Press, Sweetbrier VA 24595. http://www.sbc.edu

Business in Amherst and Nelson counties was transacted at ship’s landings on each river, plantations, tobacco warehouses, inns, ordinaries, churches, artisans workshops–and if close enough, courthouses.  Landholdings were of three types:

  1. Speculators holdings. Patented lands held for profit and re-sell. Lands were planted with tenants and slaves to produce crops and local products to sell. The overseer was usually a younger son or daughter and son-in-law to ensure the integrity of the profit.
  2. Settlers holdings. Patented lands were acquired to live on, support, and raise a family. Inheritance went to children and heirs. If there were tenants, they were usually kindred.
  3. “Quarters.” Title was shared among members of a group and the patent was acquired by the group. Each quarter was named for one of the members of the group. A common group was a church-oriented party of settlers under the care of a minister who traveled from Ireland with his flock. A large, extended family could also come as a group and apply for lands together. Later they divvied up the property and filed individual titles. Taxes assessed to the members were collected by the quarter. Creeks and local roads may carry the name of the quarter as well.

An important legality: it was rather common to patent lands in the name of the son/heir–who could be a minor. The patent would be issued in his name and carry his  name in the records. [Now you know the answer  to the question:  Could a minor own land?]

Naming patterns and designations were often connected to localities:

  1. Scots-Irish–Cohees in Virginia
  2. Ulster Irish–Northern Ireland
  3. Ulster Scots–Lowland Scotland, Scottish Highlands, settling in Ireland
  4. Anglo Scots–Northern England and Wales

Seaman found specific instances of these terms recorded in sources for these places.  In 1740, some 405 Cohees came to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia–94% were from Northern Ireland and brought their families with them.

[I might add that they were mostly related by blood and marriage and formed the core of Scots-Irish in that part of Virginia. These Cohees sat in the Anglican vestry because there were few Anglicans in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia . They fought the Indians and the British together for the right to establish a free government under God without interference from the Crown or the established church.

As Zachariah Johnston put it: “Mr. Chairman, I am a Presbyterian. I was born a Presbyterian. I will die a Presbyterian. But that day when Presbyterianism is established by law I will cease to be a Presbyterian!”]

Be sure to add these distinguishing terms to your growing checklist of identities.  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle   http://arleneeakle.com

PS  And add this title to your list of sources for the Scots-Irish.  You will build a good working bibliography of references as we continue our search into the makeup of the Scots-Irish and just who they are.

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