Date of Award

Spring 1984

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This dissertation examines the Scotch-Irish as a distinct ethnic group in eighteenth-century New Hampshire. The Scotch-Irish are seen in light of their ethnicity as well as the role they played in the growth and development of provincial New Hampshire.

When the first "wave" of Presbyterians from Ulster came to New England in 1718, they were confused with native, Catholic Irish. Boston rejected them, and they were sent to frontier areas in Maine and central Massachusetts, where they suffered at the hands of land speculators, unsympathetic neighbors, and hostile Indians.

In New Hampshire, a substantial number of New England's Scotch-Irish immigrants found a haven in the vicinity of Nutfield, or Londonderry. Yet it was a haven threatened by conflicting interpretations of town and provincial boundaries. The Scotch-Irish story in Londenderry had both ethnic and political dimensions. The Scotch-Irish proprietors of Londonderry sought to control town affairs in order to preserve their community's ethnic identity. Toward that end, they encouraged emigrants from Ulster to join them. Yet out of political necessity, town proprietors had to align themselves with New Hampshire's political leaders. Officials in Londonderry and Portsmouth worked together in order to prevent New Hampshire from being absorbed by its much larger southern neighbor. In the end, they succeeded. New Hampshire not only survived, but the boundary decision of 1740 expanded New Hampshire at the expense of Massachusetts. Ironically, political victory led to assimilation. As Scotch-Irish settlers left Londonderry to settle townships in western New Hampshire, ethnic barriers broke down.