Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Gettysburg - the Ulster-Scots connection

Battle of Gettysburg
This is the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, one of the most famous of all speeches in American and world history and thousands of people gathered today at Gettysburg in Pennsylvania to remember and ponder.

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought from 1 to 3 July 1863 in and around the town of Gettysburg and it is considered to be the turning point of the American Civil War.  Thousands of Union soldiers were killed in the battle and on 19 November 1863 President Abraham Lincoln delivered the historic speech at the consecration of the Soldiers National Cemetery.

Gettsyburg was named for Samuel Gettys (1708-1790), who emigrated from Ulster to America as part of the great Ulster-Scots diaspora in the 18th century.  In the course of that century as many as 250,000 Ulster-Scots sailed across the Atlantic in search of a new land and a new life.

In 1761 Samuel Gettys settled at what became Gettysburg and established a tavern.  Twenty-five years later his son James laid out a town of 210 lots with a central square on the land surrounding the tavern and this became the town of Gettysburg.

Samuel and James Gettys were the founders of Gettysburg and today as America remembers the great Gettysburg Address, Ulster folk can remember the Ulster-Scots whose name is embedded in the name of the address.

1 comment:

  1. Gettysburg, where the famous Marsh Creek Settlement was prior. It was the epicentre of Scots-Irish in the 18th Century. From the Marsh Creek settlement many generations of Ulster folk set out west and south. For the record many Southern soldiers also killed at the battle of Gettysburg, many of Scots-Irish ancestry. Sad event in the final analysis. Think we would be much better off if the South would have won the battle and the speech never happened.