History and Origins

The Scotch-Irish Society of the United States of America was founded in 1889 to promote and preserve the history and culture of America's Scotch-Irish heritage and to keep alive the esprit de corps of the Scotch-Irish people.

The transatlantic migrations of the Ulster Scots began around 1684 and became heavy after 1718. They had sailed from ports in Ulster, the northern province of Ireland, but their language and customs were manifestly not Irish: one could still recognize the signs of their migration from Scotland earlier in the seventeenth century: the name Scotch-Irish was coined for these people, and is borne with pride. The migrations have continued to this day.

The contributions of the Scotch-Irish to American culture include their political and legal philosophy, language and literature, education, religion, material culture, and music. They led the way westward, and opened up vast tracts of frontier wilderness. They were in the forefront of the movement for independence. They left their mark on every institution of American life.

The Scotch-Irish Society of the USA is truly American. We believe that we can broaden, deepen, and enlarge the principles from which our nation has drawn the sustaining power for its development by recalling past achievements, remembrances, and associations.

We invite you to join with us in Membership of the Society and to share in the prospering and strengthening of the Society as guardian of the history of the Scotch-Irish.



1st Scotch-Irish Congress - May 8-11, 1889 - Columbia, TN
2nd Scotch-Irish Congress - May 29 to June 1, 1890 - Pittsburgh, PA
3rd Scotch-Irish Congress - May 14-17 1891 - Louisville, KY
4th Scotch-Irish Congress - April 28 - May 1, 1892 - Atlanta, GA
5th Scotch-Irish Congress - May 11-14, 1893 - Springfield, OH
6th Scotch-Irish Congress - June 7-10 1894 - Des Moines, IA
7th Scotch-Irish Congress - June 20-23, 1895 - Lexington, VA
8th Scotch-Irish Congress - June 4-7, 1896 - Harrisburg, PA
9th Scotch-Irish Congress June 7-10, 1900 - Knoxville, TN
10th Scotch-Irish Congress - May 30-June 2, 1901 - Chambersburg, PA

History of Congresses
The Scotch-Irish Society of the USA (SIS) first began in 1889 in Columbia, Tennessee. Credit for the idea is afforded to Thomas T. Wright of Florida, but no doubt the main mover and shaker was William Tennant, its first President. Tennant was one of the biggest publishers in America at the time and a very wealthy man. Getting the Society started in such majestic fashion was quite an undertaking and somebody covered that cost.

The quality of the Journals also provides evidence of a professional touch. Up to that point the record of the Scotch-Irish people in America literature had been modest. The new society would provide a fresh spark and several excellent histories, such as George Hanna's 2 volume History of the Scotch-Irish, published in 1902, began to appear in the bookstores.

Also taking note were the Catholic Irish. Within a decade (1898) the American Irish Historical Society (AIHS) in Boston published its first annual Journal of 140 pages which looked remarkably similar to the (SIS) Congress Journals. The first 9 AIHS Journals would be published in Boston, then for two years in Providence, RI. In 1911 the 10th edition was published in New York and would continue to be published there annually until the present day.

The NY edition of the American-Irish Historical Society Journal took an extremely anti Scotch-Irish position under its editorship of Michael J. O'Brien, a native of Fermoy Co. Cork, Ireland. Titles regularly appeared such as: "How the Descendents of Irish Settlers in America Were Written into History as 'Anglo-Saxons' and 'Scotch-Irish,' (Vol. 18 Page 99) and "The 'Scotch-Irish' Myth." (Vol. 24, Page 142).

The first 32 editions of AIHS Journals are available in their entirety on line, and while they have some strong anti Scotch-Irish material, a considerable amount of positive material is also published there regarding the history of the Scotch-Irish in America.

In addition to the Congress Journals posted above, the SIS has produced modern Journals covering a wide range of material on the history, culture and legacy of the Scotch-Irish in America. Details of these modern Journals can also be found on this web site.

For information please contact the Society secretary:
or write to:
ATTN: Pat McKee Mulvey, Secretary
The Scotch-Irish Society USA
P0 Box 15
Verbank, NY 12585-9998