Samuel Fisher1722 - 1806
Birth 29 Jul 1722 Londonderry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK [1, 2]
- He was of Scottish descent. His father was a weaver. Name comes possibly from Scottish Clan Campbell.
Gender Male Anecdote
- According to the Tennessee census bureau, one in five Tennesseans can trace their roots directly to the Scots-Irish settlers of the 18th century. Most of these settlers are of Ulster Protestant/Presbyterian stock who were forced under British rule to flee their country. So claims Billy Kennedy, who has researched the topic and written about it in his book, The Scots-Irish in the Hills of Tennessee.
The Scots-Irish originated in Lowland Scotland and moved to Ulster throughout the 17th century. At the start things were good, as Ulster was under the rule of King William III who granted them civil and religious liberties.
The Scots, who were originally involved in farming, began to establish industries with the French Huguenots, allies of King William. The two groups came together and established churches and schools for their people.
William's reign ended in 1702 when he was succeeded by his sister-in-law, Anne. She passed a series of acts which were unfavourable to the Scots, placed severe restrictions on their Presbyterian faith and forced many of them out of their jobs.
Along with this, Ulster was experiencing an economic crisis; the textile industry was in a recession, small peasant farmers could not cope with the droughts of those years and landlords were charging exorbitant rents. Faced with this and the embitterment of the discriminatory religious policies, many of the Scots settlers found they had no choice but to leave Ulster and start a new life in America.
The first ship to leave Ulster was The Friends' Goodwill which set sail from Larne, Co Antrim, for Boston in April 1717.
Emigration continued throughout the century and became so widespread that the British Government was eventually forced to sit up and take notice. A commission was appointed to investigate the cause of emigration, and some of the religious laws were relaxed.
On reaching North America, the Scots-Irish headed for Pennsylvania, the Carolinas and Virginia. They were warmly received and noted for their honesty, independence of spirit and ability to work hard. They tended to stick together and, because they had little money, were driven to the frontier regions, the hills and inland areas where land was cheap.
In June 1796, when Tennessee became a state, the Ulster settlers moved to its hills and set up home. Once established, they began to set up churches and schools and became pioneers of education in the region. Presbyterianism became the first Christian denomination to be established in the state and today accounts for 132,344 members.
Along with religion, the settlers brought with them their traditions of storytelling, singing, dancing and making "moonshine", illicit whiskey. To this day, a lot of the country and Western music can be traced back to the Ulster settlers. Dolly Parton is said to be a descendant of the Scots-Irish.
The traditional square dance, clogging to fiddle-backed music, also comes from the settlers. In those days, the fiddler was one of the most respected people in the area.
The practice of distilling illegal whiskey had its origins in 16th-century Scotland, but was brought to Ulster when the Scots moved. Both whiskey and brandy were made from ingredients such as barley, raisins, rye and corn which grew in abundance around the hills of Tennessee. The moonshine, dubbed "white lightning", was very potent and readily available in the area.
After the Revolutionary War, whiskey was taxed and the mountain settlers threatened to take up arms against the government of George Washington. This incident became known as the "Whiskey Revolution" and was eventually settled.
When the alcoholic prohibition was imposed in the 1920s, the distilling of moonshine became widespread throughout the US, although it eventually died out in most states. However, moonshine-making persists in the Appalachia region of Tennessee, a tradition carried on by the distant relatives of the 17th-century settlers.
Although most Scots-Irish made a career of farming, several became involved in politics and went on to great things, including the establishment of great cities.
Of the 56 signatures on the Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1776, eight were of Scots-Irish descent. Eleven US Presidents, including Jackson, Wilson and Nixon, can trace direct ancestry back to the Ulster settlers. Also, Sam Houston, the man responsible for wresting Texas from Mexican control, was the grandson of an Ulster Presbyterian, as was the frontiersman and later Congressman, Davy Crockett.
So it is with great pride that Tennesseans trace their blood back to Ireland, and remember their ancestors who left the hillsides of Antrim and Down to create a civilisation in a wilderness and help to lay the foundations of what today is possibly the greatest nation on the earth.
The Scots-Irish in the Hills of Tennessee by Billy Kennedy. Causeway Press, costs £8.99 paperback, £14.99 hardback. See our Scottish Books section to order the book!
An Irishwoman's Diary
By Caroline McEldowney
- American History
The Old 300
contributed by Tex Rogers
By Tex Rogers (c)Copyright 1999 Southwest Scots
Although many cultures can stake a claim on the settlement of early Texas - mostly the Spanish, Indians and French - it was the Scots and others of Celtic descent who led the way in truly taming the wild territory and bringing it forward to a republic.
More than 85 percent of the pioneers who renounced their American citizenship to follow Stephen F. Austin into the Mexican state of Tejas were of Celtic origin, and half that number were of Scottish descent.
In all, 342 pioneers applied for the 297 grants (thus, the term Old Three Hundred) of land given to Austin by the Mexican government. Most were distributed from 1823-24 and the remainder in 1827. These pioneers were indeed hardy souls who were simply following an ethnic course established generations before on the border of Scotland and England.
Just who these people were and what drove them to give up being citizens of the recently-formed United States for the hope of land in the wild Texas territory is eloquently explained by the imminent historian T.R. Fehrenbach in "Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans" (MacMillan, 1968).
In his award-winning book, considered by many the most definitive one-volume history of Texas, Fehrenbach devoted an entire chapter to "The Anglo-Celts," in which he detailed in great length the history, migratory patterns and culture of that tough, stubborn people who were shoved from their Scottish borders to Ireland, and eventually across the Atlantic to the New World.
With the Calvinist teachings of John Knox still ringing in their ears, this latest wave of New Worlders were looking for new opportunities on new frontiers, Fehrenbach wrote. Pushing inward from the towns on the Atlantic Coast, these Anglo-Celts found themselves first in Appalachia, then in Kentucky and Tennessee, before finally finding Texas.
The author's explanation of the Anglo-Celtic ethos makes it easily understood why they followed Austin westward in search of land to an area between the Lavaca and Brazos rivers in southeast Texas which now encompasses Austin, Colorado, Washington, Brazos, Grimes, Wharton, Matagorda, Fort Bend counties and portions of Jackson, Harris and Chambers counties. On a Texas map, the colony encompassed territory from Anahuac east of Houston down the gulf coast as far west as Edna, and north to Bryan-College Station.
In taking up the quest for new land, they agreed to renounce their U.S. Citizenship and become citizens of Spain. They also agreed to become Catholics, but that requirement was waived tacitly by Mexican officials as long as no preachers were found in the new colony.
It was Moses Austin (Clan Keith), a Connecticut-born mine operator who had the initial dream of bringing Americans from the United States into Spanish Territory in Texas. Austin had a successful experience with the Spanish when he was allowed to settle 30 families in Spanish-held Missouri in 1797. Austin proved to be a very good Spanish citizen, and a prominent leader. And after Missouri became part of the United States again in 1804 after the Louisiana Purchase, Austin prospered even more, becoming a founder and principal stockholder in the Bank of Saint Louis.
Then in 1818 the young nation experienced its first national depression that left Austin completely broke when his bank collapsed. Having no loyalty to the United States because of its financial policies, the 55-year-old Moses Austin decided he could do better colonizing Spanish territory. So in the fall of 1820, he set out of an 800-mile trek to San Antonio de Béxar.
Austin wasn't welcome in San Antonio because the Spanish were still recovering from the escapades of Dr. James Long, who the previous year had led a small army into Texas and establish a republic, only to be executed in Mexico City. Austin found that no Americans were welcome in San Antonio, and he was told by the governor to get out of town before sunset or face arrest.
But before a dejected Austin left San Antonio he met an old friend, the Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop, whom Austin had dealings with formerly in Louisiana. Poor but still well respected in San Antonio, Bastrop was able to gain a new audience with the governor, and argued Austin's case for colonizing Texas with Americans who were willing to come.
Bastrop offered three arguments:
•The Indian in Texas would never end until the country between San Antonio and the Sabine was settled. The Comanches acted like the owned the entire territory at the time.
•No Spaniards or Mexicans were coming to Texas, even after several centuries of Spain trying to colonize the area. In fact, more were leaving Texas.
•Colonization by willing Anglo-Saxons had been successful in Louisiana, and there appeared to other way to put people on the land.
So on Jan. 27, 1821, a petition in the name of Moses Austin was granted. Mexican officials had become convinced that a band of American colonists in Texas might create a buffer between Spanish settlements and the Indians, and that the right kind of Americans who were loyal to be Spanish Crown would prevent future encroachments into Texas because they would have an immense stake in the land, as Fehrenbach wrote.
But Austin never saw his dreamed fulfilled. He arrived back in Missouri in time to die, but not before he asked his son Stephen to carry on the dream.
Stephen F. Austin needed no encouragement. He despised the land system of the United States, which encouraged speculation, while the Spanish system rewarded colonization.
The young Austin traveled from Louisiana to San Antonio where he met with the Spanish governor, who acknowledged him as his father's successor. By the time Austin returned to Louisiana, more than a hundred letters from applicants awaiting for him. People were already standing in line, wanting to come to Texas.
From 1823-24 Austin and the land commissioner Baron de Bastrop issued 272 titles. Bastrop was called away from the colony for a short period and an additional 35 titles were not issued until 1827, by Gaspar Flores de Abrego, a new land commissioner. In all, 307 titles were issued to 297 grantees.
Most of the families who followed Austin to Texas came as farmers, but several were already of substantial means from the Trans-Appalachia South. they were all were part of a large westward migration from the Eastern Seaboard states that had begun in the late 1700's. To avoid problems among the colonists, Austin attempted to select only those of "better" classes, and indeed, only four of the grantees could not read.
So, armed with an independent self-reliance strengthened by generational advances through Appalachia, and fortified by a Calvinistic code the stressed discipline, hard work and perseverance, those who followed Stephen F. Austin to Texas carried names linked to Scottish clans like Anderson, Andrews, Bailey, Barnett, Beard, Bell and Bowman. There were also Brown, Callihan, Carter, Charles, Clark, Clarke, Coats, Coles, Cooper, Cumings, Cummins and Davidson.
There were names like Duty, Dyer, Elder, Fenton, Fisher, Frazier, George, Gilbert, Gilleland, Gray, Guthrie, Haddon, Hall, Hamilton and Harris, as well as Harvey, Haynes, Hope, Hudson and Hunter. There were Ingram, Jamison, Johnson, Keller, Kelly, Kennedy, Kennon and Kerr, along with Linsey and Little.
Other among the grantees were McClain, McCormick, McCoy, McCrosky, McFarlan, McKinney, McKinsey, McNair, McNeel, McNutt and McWilliams, along with Martin, Mathis, Miller, Moore, Morrison and Morton. There were also Nelson, Nuckols, Parks, Phelps, Phillips, Prater, Ramey, Rankin, Richarson, Roberts, Robertson, Robinson and Ross. Also, Scobey, Scott, Sims, Smith, Spencer and Sutherland. Among the names were also Taylor, Thomas, Thompson, Walker, Wallace, White and Wilkins.
In all, there were only two names of German origin, eight from France, and two of Dutch extraction. The remainder carried names affiliated to Scottish clans or of Celtic stock from the British Isles.
The Celt's common quest in Texas was land, a commodity many of their ancestors had lost in Scotland and Ireland, and these new Texians were willing to face isolation, back-breaking work and Indian perils on new borders to hold on to it.
As Fehrenbach wrote in Lone Star: "The Anglo-Celts had not crossed the sea to become servile tenants."
The group of Scots, Irish and other Celts who followed Austin into Texas was just the beginning. Many more, with names such as Houston, Bowie, Crawford, Everitt, Grimes, Coleman, Bower, Carson, Latimer, Stewart and Briscoe would eventually declare their independence from Mexico, and some would die for that belief.
More information may be obtained from the organization Descendants of Austin's Old Three Hundred, by writing its president, Shirley Steadman, P.O. Box 185, Marion, TX 78124. Readers may also be interested in the new book "Austin's Old 300 - The First Anglo Colony in Texas: A Genealogical Profile," (ISBN 1-57168-291-0), $21.95, published by Eakin Press, P.O. Box 23066, Austin, TX 78735.
South West Scots magazine (January, April, July, October) covering Scottish/Celtic culture and activities in the Southwest U.S.A.. To subscribe in USA send check or money order of $11.95 for 4 issues in U.S., or $19.95 for 8 issues to: Southwest Scots, P.O. Box 651, Columbus, TX 78934.) You can email them at email@example.com
- American History
Colonial Scots-Irish Immigrants: The Irish Records
This article was originally published in The Irish At Home and Abroad journal of Irish genealogy and heritage (volume 2 #1, 1994/1995). Published four times yearly.
By Kyle J. Betit
This article focuses on sources and techniques in American records for tracing Scots-Irish immigrants who came to colonial America. Many thousands of Scots-Irish immigrants came prior to 1776, with large-scale immigration beginning in 1718. Immigration to America was at a standstill during the American Revolution (1775-1783), but following the Revolution many Scots-Irish continued to come to the United States. However, this article focuses on the pre-1776 immigrants.
For the purposes of this article, the term "Scots-Irish" refers to settlers who were born in or resided in Ireland but whose earlier origins (whether personal or ancestral) were in Scotland. They have also been called "Scotch-Irish," "Ulster Scots," and "Irish Presbyterians."
Scots-Irish immigrants came from the historic province of Ulster (in the north of Ireland). Scottish settlers began to come in large numbers to Ulster in the early decades of the 1600s. James I, the English monarch, sought to solidify control by transferring land ownership to Protestants and by settling their lands with Protestant tenants (English and Scottish). Scottish settlers continued to come to Ireland throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Scots-Irish immigrants settled in the American colonies from the 1600s. However, the first major migration of Scots-Irish to America was a group that came with Rev. James McGregor from County Londonderry to New England in 1718. They arrived at Boston, and many of them moved to New Hampshire, establishing the town of Londonderry.
The majority of the Scots-Irish who came to America in the colonial period settled in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Carolinas. Nonetheless, there was significant Scots-Irish settlement in each of the thirteen American colonies.
Many of the earliest Scots-Irish immigrants (of the 1720s and 1730s) first settled in Pennsylvania. Many then moved down from Pennsylvania into Virginia and the Carolinas. From there immigrants and their descendants went on to populate the states of Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee in the 1780s and 1790s.
There are a myriad of possible reasons for the immigration of so many of the Scots-Irish to America in the 1700s. High rents and religious persecution have often been blamed. Most of the Scots-Irish came freely to the American colonies, although there were also some who were deported as prisoners or came as indentured servants. Others came with British Army regiments and remained in the American colonies.
It is important to keep in mind that just because an ancestor came from Ireland to America during the colonial period does not mean that he/she was necessarily Scots-Irish. Many Anglicans, Catholics, and Quakers also came from Ireland during this time period. An ancestor from Ireland can often be identified as Scots-Irish from: family tradition; the surname; the given names in the family; association with other Scots-Irish; or identification as a Presbyterian.
The Scots-Irish largely came to colonial America in family groups, often such that members of an extended family settled near one another in America, whether they immigrated together or separately. Some Scots-Irish immigrants came to America as part of larger group or congregational migrations, meaning that an entire group or congregation of Presbyterians together moved from one locality in Ireland to one locality in America. It is thus very important to trace persons that immigrated with a Scots-Irish ancestor or were associated with the ancestor in America.
In some cases, the immigrating group was led by a minister. In such instances, the minister may be traced back to the church he served in Ireland. Most of the immigrants who accompanied him would be from the same area. However, a group or congregational migration may have drawn from a larger area than just one town or parish in Ireland.
Immigration 1740 Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA 
- From Ireland to America. On "The starved ship." In 1740 he sailed to America on a vessel which was becalmed in the North Atlantic, the so-called "Starved Ship". The ship ran out of food, people died, and some ate the flesh of those who had died and became very ill. It was decided to kill and eat one of the passengers so the rest could survive. The lot fell on Samuel Fisher, but being Christian people thay gave him two days to prepare. In the meantime a ship hove in sight, saw the distress signals, and sent a boat to give them provisions - saving Samuel and his many descendants. The horror of that passage made a lasting impression on Samuel Fisher. He could not stand to see even a morsel of food wasted, or water thrown carelessly on the ground.
Name Fisher Occupation From 1740 to 1742 Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA an Indentured Servant: when the ship landed, the Captain sold Samuel to a man in Roxbury as an inden Occupation 29 Jul 1740 Londonderry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK  a Weaver. He was an apprentice weaver as a youth, his father was a weaver. Likely became a full weav Occupation 1742 Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA a farmer Religion Presbyterian. He was a ruling elder of the church in the West Parish, remaining such until old age m  Will 4 Jul 1797 Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA 
- witness: Thomas Patterson,Josiah Jones,Hughey Anderson
death_records/fisher_samuel-will_transcript.pdf Died 10 Apr 1806 Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA [1, 4]
- It is reported that of his 12 children, 11 lived to adulthood, 10 married, and 10 outlived him, most living to advanced ages. By 1850 his descendants numbered 915, scattered throughout the states and Canada. It was estimated at that time that 75% of those over twenty years of age were professors of religion/
Buried Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA  Address:
Forest Hill Cemetery
- Described as tall and commanding in personal appearance. His countenance was "grave and solemn, so that few would willingly be guilty of levity in his presence."
Person ID I685 Main Tree Last Modified 28 Mar 2012
Father John Fisher, III, b. 6 Dec 1675, Londonderry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK Mother Sarah, b. Abt 1677, Londonderry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK , d. Yes, date unknown Married Abt 1700 Londonderry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK Family ID F225 Group Sheet
Family 1 Sarah Agnes Taylor, b. 6 Mar 1725/6, Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA , d. 17 Apr 1747, Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA Married 24 Jun 1745 Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA [1, 5, 6]
- Agnes was the daughter of Samuel's landlord.
Children > 1. Agnes Nancy Fisher, b. 17 Apr 1747, Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA , d. Yes, date unknown Family ID F206 Group Sheet
Family 2 Agnes Wilson, b. 8 Aug 1728, Londonderry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK , d. 12 Mar 1755, Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA Married 29 Jul 1747  Children > 1. Gennett Fisher, b. 1750, Merrimack, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, USA , d. 5 Mar 1843, Truro, Colchester County, Nova Scotia, Canada > 2. Sarah Fisher, b. 26 Oct 1752, Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA , d. 20 Nov 1772, Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA 3. James Fisher, b. 26 Oct 1752, Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA , d. Yes, date unknown 4. Jane Fisher, b. 24 Oct 1753, d. Abt 1848, Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA Family ID F208 Group Sheet
Family 3 Sarah Barber, b. 26 May 1732, d. 2 Feb 1813, Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA Married 15 Feb 1756  Children > 1. Mary Fisher, b. 6 May 1757, d. 1827, Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York, USA 2. Samuel Fisher, b. 26 Aug 1758, d. 12 May 1812, Stewiacke, Colchester County, Nova Scotia, Canada 3. Margret Fisher, b. 18 Apr 1760, d. Yes, date unknown 4. William Fisher, b. 1 Dec 1762, d. 25 Oct 1775 > 5. Ebenezer Fisher, b. 9 Apr 1764, d. 1848 6. Martha Fisher, b. 14 Jan 1766, d. 21 Jun 1837, Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA > 7. John Fisher, b. 9 Jan 1769, Londonderry, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, USA , d. 13 Oct 1838, Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York, USA Family ID F213 Group Sheet
Event Map Event = Link to Google Maps = Link to Google Earth
- [S104] Personal Knowledge.
- [S16] The History of Londonderry, p.218.
- [S16] The History of Londonderry, p.219.
- [S16] The History of Londonderry.
- [S16] The History of Londonderry.
This volume states that Samuel Fisher married a daughter of Matthew Taylor when he (Samuel) was 25. This is conflicting information.
- [S18] Carter and Patrick Family.
- [S104] Personal Knowledge.