Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. PATRICK'S DAY ~Ulster Scots in America

It was my intention to feature prominent Irish ancestors today. What I found, instead, were links to our Ulster Scot kinsmen and women, the "Scotch Irish"... who all, for the most part, made the 20-mile crossing to Northern Ireland in the mid-1600's to early 1700's and, later, on to America. 

Historians believe that the real St. Patrick (given name Maewyn) was born in the late 4th century, in Wales or maybe even Scotland.  At 16, Maewyn was captured during a raid and sold as a slave to an Irish landowner of Dalriada. During his time in Ireland as a shepherd, Maewyn began to have religious visions and dreams -- including one in which he learned how to escape captivity. Once free back in Britain, Maewyn moved on to France, where he studied and entered the priesthood under the guidance of the missionary, St. Germain. Eventually, he returned to Ireland to "care and labour for the salvation of others", according to The Confession of St. Patrick, and changed his name to Patrick, which means "father of the people." In the year 431, he was consecrated second bishop to Ireland by Pope Celestine I.  In his 30 year mission, Bishop Patrick converted thousands of Irish to Christianity and is famed for teaching the doctrine of the Holy Trinity with the three-leafed shamrock. St. Patrick died around 461 and was probably buried in Ulster, County Down, Ireland.
Some interesting St. Patrick trivia:
~though included on the official List of Saints of the Catholic Church, Patrick was not formally canonized as a saint. 
~St. Patrick is also honored by the Episcopal Church with the celebration of St. Patrick's Day on March 17th; recognized by the Anglican, Eastern and Coptic Orthodox, as well as Roman Catholic churches.
~The Irish have observed St. Patrick's Day as a religious holiday for over a millenium.  
~And, surprisingly, the FIRST St. Patrick's Day parade took place in BOSTON, not Ireland, on March 18, 1737. 
~Between 1717 to 1770, over a quarter of a million Protestants from the north of Ireland -the Ulster-Scots- emigrated to America. 

~Seventeen of the 44 Presidents of the United States have Ulster-Scots roots.
~Members of the Irish Society of Boston, a group of immigrants (mostly Scots-Irish merchants and tradesmen) were instrumental in organizing the first public celebrations for St. Patrick's Day.
~and, my favorite:  General George Washington allowed his Continental Army troops to take a day off from the American War of Independence on March 17, 1780 to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. 

 Please link to: Song & Tribute  to our family's Ulster-Scot heritage: 
Hi Uncle Sam
When freedom was denied you,
And Imperial might defied you,
Who was it stood beside you
At Quebec and Brandywine?
And dared retreats and dangers,
Red-coats and Hessian strangers,
In the lean, long-rifled Rangers,
And the Pennsylvania Line!

Hi! Uncle Sam!
Wherever there was fighting,
Or wrong that needed righting,
An Ulsterman was sighting
His Kentucky gun with care:
All the road to Yorktown,
From Valley Forge to Yorktown,
That Ulsterman was there!

Hi! Uncle Sam!
sent her brave men,
The North paraded grave men,
That they might not be slavemen,
But ponder with this calm:
The first to face the Tory
And the first to lift Old Glory
Made your war an Ulster story:
Think it over, Uncle Sam!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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