New Hampshire Glossary: Scotch-Irish

Scotch-Irish– i.e. Ulster-Scots,” a term used to refer to the descendants of Lowland Scottish people

who live in Ulster, Ireland. “Scotch-Irish” or “Scots-Irish” are terms used to refer to the same people, and in particular, their descendants who migrated across the Atlantic.

These families had lived in Ireland for 100 to 200 years but had remained completely separate from the old Irish and retained their Scottish character and identity. They were usually of the Presbyterian faith. Scotch-Irish farmers from Northern Ireland began the prosperous settlement of Londonderry, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire in 1719.

In the 2000 U.S. Census, 4,319,232 people claimed Scottish heritage and 4,890,581 people claimed Scotch-Irish heritage. The two groups represent just over 3 percent of the U.S. population.

The likeness above is of Matthew Thornton, one of the early Scotch-Irish settlers of New Hampshire, and signer of the Declaration of Independence.


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