The Scotch-Irish Of My Native Virginia

“If defeated everywhere else I will make my final stand for liberty with the Scotch-Irish (Ulster-Scots) of my native Virginia.” George Washington commanded the Continental Army during the revolution and served as the first president of the United States beginning in 1789. His ancestry was English and the quote is undocumented, the closest being this statement from McKinley. The note in the corner reads “History records that almost half of Washington’s army were Ulster-Scots”; the basis for this claim might be General (Charles?) Lee’s report that “half the rebel Continental Army were from Ireland.” (See Chapter 2 of Bagenal, The American Irish and their Influence on Irish Politics.)

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The War Of Northern Aggression

The confederate attempt to secede from the union is put in parallel with loyalist resistance to Home Rule, and both were driven by “sons of Ulster”:

The sons of Ulster who led the confederate army during the War of Northern Aggression [aka the Civil War]: “Do your duty as I have done mine – General [James Ewell Brown] Jeb Stuart”, “It is history that teaches us to hope – General Robert E Lee”, “All that I am and all that I have is at the service of my country – General Thomas Jonathan Stonewall Jackson”, “The government at Washington denying our right to self-government, refused even to listen to any proposals for peaceful separation. Nothing was then left to do but prepare for war – President Jefferson Davis, inaugural address at Richmond, Virginia, February 22nd 1862”.

The sons of Ulster who wrote and signed the Ulster Covenant during the Home Rule crisis of 1912: “Being convinced in our consciences that Home Rule would be disastrous to the material well-being of Ulster as well as the whole of Ireland, subversive of our civil and religious freedom … – The Ulster Covenant, written by Thomas Sinclair, Ulster Day, September 1912 inspired by Scotland’s Solemn League and Covenant, Greyfriar’s Churchyard, Edinburgh 1638.”

“My Ulster blood is my most priceless heritage” on the left-most panel is from James Buchanan. The right-most panel reads “From pioneers to Presidents”. Murals under this theme – including two of Buchanan – were painted in 1999 (see Visual History 08). This mural dates back to 2005 and perhaps earlier, part of a second wave of Ulster Scots murals that included Davy Crockett in Ballymena (2002), a gallery of famous famous faces in Newtownards (2005), and Andrew Jackson in the Shankill (c. 2007).

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Andrew Jackson

“Andrew Jackson was the 7th President of the USA and the first of Ulster-Scots descent, his family emigrated from Carrickfergus to North Carolina in 1765. After leading the army to victory in the Battle Of New Orleans in 1815 Jackson became a national hero and became known as “Old Hickory” after the tough wood of the native American tree. His “common man” credentials earned Jackson a massive popular vote and swept him into the Presidency for two consecutive terms (1829-1837).”
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