The Scottish Settlers of America

The 17th and 18th Centuries


Author: Millett, Stephen M.
Publication Date: 1992-96
Reprint Date: 2004
Pages: iv 234 pp.

Item #: 9241-m Categories: , , ,


Originally published in thirteen installments of U.S. Scots magazine, Dr. Millett’s account of Scottish emigration to colonial America is, arguably, the best introduction to its subject. Based upon a careful reading of the recent secondary literature, the author draws the following conclusions about Scots colonists: (1) The principal motivation for Scottish emigration was self-improvement and economic gain; (2) Scottish settlers were ambitious and self-reliant; (3) Scottish emigrants arrived as families intending to stay; (4) Most Scottish settlers readily assimilated into colonial society; (5) The Scots favored certain parts of the colonies over others; and (6) The principal sources of identity for Scots were surname and family.

Dr. Millett develops these findings in considerable detail, of course, in chapters devoted to the Scottish homeland and its peoples, the push/pull of emigration/immigration, Scottish colonial settlements prior to 1707, and the establishment of the principal 18th-century Scottish communities along the Chesapeake, the Carolinas and Georgia, and throughout the Middle Colonies. In addition, a special chapter treats the role of Scots during the American Revolution, including the part played by Scottish Loyalists. While this is a book that is primarily historical and not genealogical, researchers will nonetheless find in it sketches of famous Scots like John Paul Jones and Hugh Mercer, not to mention invaluable narrative and statistical background information on the Scottish presence in the colonies.

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