500,000+ Celtic Background Settlers in America Before American Revolution Broke Out

Celtic settlers sought freedom from English oppression.  Their enthusiasm for freedom, their physical strength and emotional hardiness, and their anti-English culture and perspective peopled not only frontier America, but also swept across the mainland like a breath of fresh air.

Irish Catholics.  To sugar plantations in the British West Indies as indentured servants (serving 5-7 years).  And to Maryland, under the Toleration Act of 1749 allowing Catholics to own land.  “Castle Catholics” went to Boston and into other major ports along the eastern sea coast.

Scots-Irish.  Descendants of Presbyterian farmers from the Scottish Lowlands to Ulster (Ireland) as colonists.  Then to the American Colonies.  A trickle as early as the 1690’s when the bad harvests collided with the enforcement of Anglican Church policies, marriage, and taxes.  Between 1710 and 1770, some 250,000 arrived in North America, many as indentured servants, to New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, as well as the South.

Lowland Scots.  Came direct to America.  By 1740, merchants and traders were dispersed widely through the Colonies.  Some remained loyal to England, seeking American freedom and hiding their true loyalty to make money.

Highland Scots.  5,000 families from the Islands and Skye to Carolina along the Cape Fear River Valley.  The savage reprisals and highland clearances after the Jacobite rebellions in 1715 and 1745 failed gave them reasons to move.  To Boston and to New York from the Irish Sea area of Scotland.

Welsh Methodists.  Wales was originally a conforming population–less than 5% dissented from the Church of England.   In 1737, Methodism was founded; circulating schools sent teachers throughout Wales educating over 160,000 students–1/3 of the total population.  This polity was especially effective in rural and isolated sections where chapels were established.  Religion became anti-English about 1775 in Wales.  In 1811, these Calvinist Methodists ordained their own ministers and established separate, non-conforming units.  All along, cluster settlements of Welsh migrated into Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia.

These distinct groups often become blended in America.  The fact that they shared the same surnames and settled in the same locations makes them easy to mix-up.  Beware!  Not all McCauleys are the same.  Neither are the Thoms.  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle   http://arleneeakle.com

PS  See my article “The People Differences” on my Home Page, under “Free Stuff.”  http://arleneeakle.com

PPS  See also Clint Twist, Atlas of the Celts.  Firefly Books, 2001.  Study from earliest times through 2000.  Very interesting and helpful publication.

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