Irish Americans

Irish American Heritage Month – March, more info

About: The first significant influx of Irish immigrants to Boston and New England consisted primarily of Ulster Presbyterians and began in the early eighteenth century.2 They comprised about ten percent, or 20,000 of a larger migration of over 200,000 Ulster Presbyterians who fled the north of Ireland to America between 1700 and 1775. The majority arrived in Boston between 1714 and 1750, as most Ulster immigrants went to the mid-Atlantic area via Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Charleston beginning in the 1750s. Those who came to Boston between 1715 and 1740 were escaping the discrimination that the English Penal Laws imposed on Protestant dissenters (non-Anglicans) and Roman Catholics alike. They were also fleeing the consequences of a succession of poor harvests, droughts, escalating rents, and the burdensome tithe payments demanded by the established Anglican Church in Ireland. Revs. James McGregor, James Woodside, James McSpartan, and John Moorhead were among the twenty or so Presbyterian ministers who promoted emigration and led their congregations to America, not only because of their own poor economic situation, but also because the Test Act of 1704 had eliminated their legal standing to perform marriages, officiate at funerals, and hold any civil offices. The British government’s cancellation of the annual Regium Donum paid to Presbyterian ministers, leaving many impoverished and searching for alternatives for themselves and their flocks.


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