Friday, 12 March 2010

Theodore Roosevelt and the Scotch-Irish

Later today I am flying to the USA to visit Nashville, which is a sister city to Belfast, and then on to Austin in Texas for the South by Southwest music festival and other engagements.

I was looking at the website of the Texas Scottish Heritage Society and came across the following quote about the Scotch-Irish by former American president Theodore Roosevelt, who held the office from 1901 to 1909.
The backwoodsmen were American by birth and parentage, and of mixed race; but the dominant strain in their blood was that of the … Scotch-Irish…  Mingled with the descendants of many other races, they nevertheless formed the kernel of the distinctively and intensely American stock… fitted to be Americans from the very start.
Roosevelt also said, I am partly of Scotch-Irish blood myself,' and indeed he was.  He was born in New York City on 27 October 1858 and was the son of Theodore Roosevelt (1831-1878) and Martha Bulloch (1835-1884). The Roosevelts were an old Dutch mercantile family but his paternal grandmother Margaret Barnhill (1799-1861) was the daughter of Robert Barnhill (1754-1814), a Scotch-Irish merchant in Philadelphia and the son of an Ulsterman, and Elizabeth Potts (1758-1807).  His mother Martha Bulloch came from an established Georgia family of Scotch-Irish and Huguenot ancestry. The Scotch-Irish ancestors included William Irvine of Gleno and Annie Craig of Carneal, near Larne, who emigrated from Ulster to America in 1729.


  1. I was at Brownlow house a few years ago in Lurgan. I was talking to the gardener and he told me that President Roosevelt had stayed here during the second world war. I can't find anything on the net about it, I know his wife visited Northern Ireland. If what the gardener said is true an American president has slept in an Orange hall lol .Would you have any information on this.

  2. The American president during the 2nd World War was Franklin D Roosevelt, who was a fifth cousin of Theodore Roosevelt. I don't think this story is true. However General Eisenhower, later President Eisenhower, visited Northern Ireland during the 2nd World War so possibly he stayed at Brownlow House.

  3. I might have got mixed up there. It was possibly Eisenhower. He seemed quite sure because he pointed to the room above the entrance of the building and told me he stayed in it. He knew the whole history of the place. It would be a quite interesting we bit of local history to know that the President of the free world stayed over in an Orange hall lol.

  4. I think that he stayed at least one night with Sir Crawford McCullagh,the Lord Mayor of Belfast, who had a large house on the lough shore at Newtownabbey. Was Brownlow House used as a billet for American soldiers during the war? If it was he might have been visiting them.

  5. I just read that there's an Eisenhower room in brownlow Houses webpage, the Americans where based here during the war. I know in larne the Americans would have been frequent visitors to the dances in the Orange hall and many a larne women ended up married in the US.


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