Pioneers of the Old Southwest:...
Twenty thousand Ulstermen, it is estimated, left Ireland for America in the first three decades of the eighteenth century. More than six thousand of them are known to have entered Pennsylvania in 1729 alone,
and twenty years later they numbered one-quarter of that colony's population. During the five years preceding the Revolutionary War more than thirty thousand Ulstermen crossed the ocean and arrived in America just in time and in just the right frame of mind to return King George's compliment in kind, by helping to deprive him of his American estates, a domain very much larger than the acres of Ulster.
"Pennsylvania Irish." Both were, however, of the same race--a race twice expatriated, first from Scotland and then from Ireland, and stripped of all that it had won throughout more than a century of persecution. To these exiles the Back Country of North Carolina, with its cheap and even free tracts lying far from the seat of government, must have seemed not only the Land of Promise but the Land of Last Chance.
The drumming of their feet along the banks of the Shenandoah, or up the rivers from Charleston, and on through the broad sweep of the Yadkin Valley, was a conquering people's challenge to the Wilderness which lay sleeping like an unready sentinel at the gates of their Future.