The Irish In North Carolina: A History Of Early European Settlement And Plantation Ownership (2023)

The Irish were some of the first European settlers in North Carolina, and they brought with them their rich culture and traditions. Many of the early Irish settlers were indentured servants, and they worked hard to establish themselves in their new home. Some of the Irish settlers eventually became wealthy landowners, and they established plantations where they grew tobacco, rice, and cotton. The Irish plantation owners in North Carolina were a small but important group of people who played a significant role in the state’s history.

Who Owned The Largest Plantation In North Carolina?

The Irish In North Carolina: A History Of Early European Settlement And Plantation Ownership (1)

There are remnants of one of North Carolina’s largest plantations at Historic Stagville, a state historic site. In addition to owning approximately 30,000 acres of land, the Bennehan-Cameron family enslaved approximately 900 people.

In North Carolina, there is a story about slavery. More than 900 people were enslaved at one point on the Stagville Plantation, which was purchased in the early 16th century. The goal of historians is to sift through tens of thousands of documents to create a comprehensive history. Many documents contain no names of the slaves, making research difficult. Because Stagville was so large, it resembled a small city. By 1860, the Bennehan-Cameron family owned 30,000 acres of land. Slaves did not know who they owned, but they did know Mr. Cameron.

(Video) How European Settlement Happened in the Deep South

The slaves who were born at Stagville spent the majority of their lives in captivity. Cecelski said some acts of resistance turned violent, which felt like an extremely last resort. There was an attempt to set fire to a house with members of the Cameron family living in it. When Union troops first arrived at Stagville in 1865, Cy Hart, 8, was among them. By the time the Cameron family returned to Stagville, a majority of the slaves had been released. Slaves in North Carolina would hear the same message from their masters: they were free. Those who worked in agricultural fields remained on the land and became sharecroppers.

Many of the families lived there for generations, and many of them lived there until the 1970s. Ricky Hart and his sister have traced their family back hundreds of years, according to their family history. Historians at Stagville continue to walk visitors around the site as Hart learns about his family’s history. People may one day say to you, “I wish we could just ignore those things.” What will you say, “I realise they are important?”

The Cameron plantation was an agricultural operation with over 1,000 acres under cultivation at its peak. Cotton was the staple crop, which was exported to Europe and North America. Those who worked on the plantations were housed in log cabins, which provided them with corn, pork, and chicken. The Cameron plantation is a testament to the economic and social power of the slave aristocracy in the antebellum South. This film reminds us of the injustices committed against African people as a result of slavery.

The Bennehan, Mantack, And Cameron Families: North Carolina’s Slave-owning History

The Bennehan, Mantack, and Cameron families owned Stagville Plantation, which was home to nearly 900 enslaved African Americans in 1860. The plantation is now an historic site in North Carolina and was once one of the state’s largest.

(Video) History of slavery in North Carolina

Where Did Most Of The Slaves In North Carolina Come From?

The Irish In North Carolina: A History Of Early European Settlement And Plantation Ownership (2)

The legacy of colonial rule. Slavery has been a part of the state’s history since Europeans arrived in the late 1600s and early 1700s. Many of the first enslaved people in North Carolina were brought to the colony from the West Indies or other nearby colonies, but a sizable proportion were brought from Africa as well…

When Columbus arrived in Europe, he believed that Indians would serve as slaves in his new country. By the middle of the sixteenth century, Spain’s experiments in enslaving Indians had failed. Slaves from Africa were brought in to meet the growing demand for labor in mining and agriculture by the Spanish in order to meet the growing demand for labor in these industries. Between 1492 and 1820, an estimated ten to fifteen million Africans were forcibly brought to the New World, while only two million white Europeans migrated. The Lords Proprietors of the colony encouraged slavery as a means of settling in 1663. By 1683, the black population and the white population had become equal. In 1770, Quakers in North Carolina attempted to end slavery.

In North Carolina, there was a large Quaker population that was against slavery. Rice was one of the crops used by early English and English-Caribbean immigrants. There’s a lot of debate about who actually brought rice into South Carolina.

(Video) Trail of History: North Carolina State Historic Sites

Slavery was historically the result of the belief that only whites could be truly free and that Black people were inherently enslaved in the United States. Slaveholdings were viewed as inherently inferior to Black people by those who saw slavery as a necessary condition of slavery, and they sought to control and discipline them.
The United States officially ended slavery with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865. Despite the abolition of slavery, Jim Crow laws and other forms of discrimination against black people persisted in the United States for a long time.
Black people continue to bear the scars of slavery and discrimination in the United States. Black people are more likely to be incarcerated, unemployed, and without health insurance. They are impoverished, have high levels of violence, and have low educational levels.
We must remember and honor the legacy of slavery and discrimination in the United States, as well as work to create a more equitable and just society for all people.

The Impact Of Slavery In North Carolina

The slave trade grew in significance in the early 18th century, and North Carolina became a major center of the Atlantic slave trade. During the height of the slave trade in North Carolina, an estimated one million slaves were transported from Africa to the United States. The majority of these slaves were brought from seven African nations: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Dagbon, and Gao. Slavery continues to be a significant part of the state’s demographics today. There are more African Americans in North Carolina than in any other state, and the state is home to the nation’s second-largest African-American population.

Where Did African Slaves In North Carolina Come From?

African slaves in North Carolina were brought over from Africa by European colonists. These slaves were then put to work on plantations in North Carolina.

Many African Americans are descendants of slaves who were displaced during the American Civil War. Many people saw the future as a source of hope, as they had come out of slavery and were left out of the upper class. Following that step, the passage of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in all 50 states, was the first step in this direction. Slavery in the Deep South was not abolished by the amendment, but it was a significant victory for freed slaves. Another historical milestone in Charleston occurred with the end of the Civil War: it marked the start of a new era for African Americans. They were able to live side by side with whites after decades of forced segregation. Although this change was gradual at first, by the end of the colonial period, the majority of African immigrants in Charleston came from Angola (40 percent), Senegambia (19.5%), the Windward Coast (16.3 percent), and the Gold Coast (13.3%), as well as the Bight of Despite the challenges of racism and segregation, African Americans in Charleston made a positive contribution to the city. Businesses were started, civil rights activists were engaged, and they fought in the Union Army during the Civil War. Their efforts helped to make Charleston more open and accepting, as well as a more welcoming and accepting environment.

(Video) The Canals Of North Carolina - Exploring North Carolina

Mask Plantation North Carolina

In the 18th century, North Carolina was a major producer of mask, a type of cane used to make walking sticks and canes. The majority of the crop was grown on plantations in the coastal areas of the state. North Carolina’s mask industry began to decline in the early 19th century, however, due to the competition from other cane growers in the South.

Irish Plantation Owners In The South

In the late 1600s, Irish immigrants began settling in the southern colonies of the United States. Many of these immigrants were indentured servants who had been promised land in return for their labor. However, after completing their terms of servitude, they were often unable to afford the cost of purchasing land. As a result, many of these Irish immigrants became tenant farmers or laborers on the plantations of wealthy landowners. Over time, some of these Irish immigrants were able to buy their own land and become plantation owners themselves.

Bondage to the Irish: Slave Ownership Among Irish Confederate Officers, 1835-1849. The rank of Colonel or General was granted to 16 Irishmen between the ages of 18 and 24. The most famous incident involving an Irish Confederate officer was Major-General Patrick Cleburne’s 1863 proposal to arm the slaves. Major-General Arthur Morgan was killed while serving as the Army of Tennessee’s commanding general in action in Franklin, Tennessee on November 30, 1864. Finegan is the second. On April 5, 1862, a Brigadier-General was appointed. ( 3) William Grace.

On May 12, 1863, General John Leonard led the 10th Tennessee Infantry. This group includes four individuals: James Hagan, Robert S. D’Agostino, and Gary P. D’Agostino. Colonel John “Red” Williams commanded the 3rd Alabama Infantry. A brigade that was commanded from 1864 to 1865. Michael Magevney, Jr. owned a total of 12 slaves, five of them adults and seven of them children. Robert McMillan worked as a Presbyterian minister in Marion County, Virginia. He owned 26 slaves, including 18 children, according to Patrick Theodore Moore’s obituary.

(Video) PRONI - Plantation Families Part 1

William Monaghan was the commander of the Louisiana 6th Infantry, also known as the 6th Louisiana Infantry, from November 7, 1862 to July 1, 1863. There were 33 slaves in total, including 21 children, for each of them, and each had at least one son or daughter. The Green and the Gray, by Ezra J Warner, Bruce S. Allardice, David T. Gleeson, and Bruce A. Gleson, is available for purchase from www.translated.

The Plantation Owners Of The South

Plantation owners in the South used to be active participants in the business, spent time taking leisurely breaks from it, and were isolated from one another. The cotton industry was their major source of revenue, and cotton was the primary source of income for the southern economy.


Why did the Scots-Irish come to North Carolina? ›

So, what's the connection between Scots-Irish and North Carolina? As with other settlers, many of the same issues were the prime cause for the Scots-Irish move across the Atlantic to America: conflict, hardships both financial and religious, and the search for a better way of life.

Why did Irish immigrants settle in North America? ›

Between 1845 and 1855 more than 1.5 million adults and children left Ireland to seek refuge in America. Most were desperately poor, and many were suffering from starvation and disease. They left because disease had devastated Ireland's potato crops, leaving millions without food.

When did the Irish come to North Carolina? ›

In the 1760s and '70s, Scots-Irish farmers settled in Western North Carolina in record numbers. They came from the southeast — from Charleston, Chester and the South Carolina backcountry.

Who were the first European settlers in North Carolina? ›

Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto landed in North Carolina in the 1540s but left without staking a claim. In 1584, explorers traveling for the English adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh arrived at Roanoke Island, North Carolina, and the first English settlement was established there in 1585.

Where did black Irish come from? ›

The term “black Irish” refers to persons of Irish descent who are supposed to be descendants of the Spanish Armada, which sailed around the middle of the 15th century, and had dark hair and or eyes. The term is used among people of Irish descent and sometimes confuses people since it doesn't refer to dark skin color.

Are Appalachians Irish? ›

Documented studies prove that the majority of the Appalachian Mountain people here were about evenly mixed between English, Scots and Scots-Irish.

Where did the Irish people come from? ›

From as far back as the 16th century, historians taught that the Irish are the descendants of the Celts, an Iron Age people who originated in the middle of Europe and invaded Ireland somewhere between 1000 B.C. and 500 B.C.

Why are there more Irish in America than Ireland? ›

Of course, a large part of this is because of the huge rates of migration from Ireland to the US during The Irish Famine (1845 –1849); approximately 1.5 million Irish people fled Ireland over that short period of time.

Where did the first Irish settlers come from? ›

Around 300BC, Iron Age warriors known as the Celts came to Ireland from mainland Europe. The Celts had a huge influence on Ireland. Many famous Irish myths stem from stories about Celtic warriors. The current first official language of the Republic of Ireland, Irish (or Gaeilge) stems from Celtic language.

What is the difference between Irish and Scots-Irish? ›

Who are the Scots-Irish? Many Americans of Celtic descent also mistakenly believe they are Irish when in fact they are Scots-Irish. Scots-Irish Americans are descendants of Scots who lived in Northern Ireland for two or three generations but retained their Scottish character and Protestant religion.

Are Scots and Irish related? ›

Oct 2021. Scotland and Ireland are close neighbours, and it is no surprise that commercial ancestral Y-DNA testing and the resulting hundreds of Y-DNA Case Studies conducted at Scottish and Irish Origenes have revealed lots of shared ancestry among males with Scottish or Irish origins.

Where did most Irish settle in America? ›

The majority of Irish immigrants settled in Pennsylvania, mainly because of the religious tolerance established by state's founder Quaker William Penn.

What nationality settled North Carolina? ›

North Carolina was first settled in 1587. 121 settlers led by John White landed on present-day Roanoke Island on July 22, 1587. It was the first English settlement in the New World.

Where were North Carolina slaves from? ›

Many of the first enslaved people in North Carolina were brought to the colony from the West Indies or other surrounding colonies, but a significant number were brought from Africa.

Who were the original inhabitants of North Carolina? ›

The first North Carolinians arrived over 10,000 years ago. These earliest North Carolinians are known as "Paleo-Indians." They lived in bands of no more than fifty people, staying in one place while they could and moving to find better food resources when necessary.

What are the oldest Irish surnames? ›

The earliest known Irish surname is O'Clery (O Cleirigh); it's the earliest known because it was written that the lord of Aidhne, Tigherneach Ua Cleirigh, died in County Galway back in the year 916 A.D. In fact, that Irish name may actually be the earliest surname recorded in all of Europe.

What does dark Irish mean? ›

Noun. black Irish (plural black Irish) An Irish person or person of Irish descent with dark hair, eyes, and skin quotations ▼

What are Irish genetic traits? ›

The MC1R gene has been identified by researchers as the gene responsible for red hair as well as the accompanying fair skin and tendency towards freckles. According to genetic research, genes for red hair first appeared in human beings about 40,000 to 50,000 years ago.

Which state has the most Irish ancestry? ›

1. New Hampshire. New Hampshire is the most Irish states in the whole country. An impressive 20.2% of folks in New Hampshire claim Irish ancestry.

Why did the Irish come to Appalachia? ›

They came to Appalachia in search of freedom, and they brought not only their whiskey-making knowledge but also their worms and stills.”

Who are Appalachians descended from? ›

Scots-Irish “Hillbillies”

About 90% of Appalachian settlers in the 18th and 19th centuries were Scots-Irish (a.k.a. Scotch-Irish) descendants of Ulster Protestants, whose ancestors had migrated to northern Ireland from the Scottish lowlands.

Who are the Irish most genetically related to? ›

They were also found to have most similarity to two main ancestral sources: a 'French' component (mostly northwestern French) which reached highest levels in the Irish and other Celtic populations (Welsh, Highland Scots and Cornish) and showing a possible link to the Bretons; and a 'West Norwegian' component related to ...

What is the typical Irish woman body type? ›

In Ireland they found that most women have an hourglass body shape, with 42 per cent of those surveyed having hips and shoulders that are in proportion, a visible waist and curvy-shaped legs. The second-most typical form was apple-shaped women, with a fuller tummy, slim legs and a small bottom.

What is the Irish blood disease? ›

Hemochromatosis symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle and joint pains, are easily confused as part of typical aging, and the disease often goes undetected until damage is done. Known in Ireland as the Celtic Curse, the disease is common in Northern Europe.

What are the physical characteristics of Irish descent? ›

What are Irish physical traits? The modern Irish usually have light features – pale blue or green eyes, reddish or brown hair and fair skin with freckles.

What percentage of Americans have Irish blood? ›

1 in 4 US adults have Irish ancestors or relatives. That's 25.75% of the adult population of the USA, equating to over 52 million people. 8.23% of US adults suspect they have Irish heritage, that's around 1 in every 12 people.

What is third generation Irish? ›

For example, a man with a US-born mother and an Irish maternal grandmother (a 2nd generation Irish mother) and a US-born father whose parents were both born in the US (a 3+ generation father) would be categorized as Irish third generation, mixed ancestry.

What are common Irish genetic diseases? ›

And compared with the rest of Europe, the Irish have higher rates of cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, and galactosemia, a serious metabolic disorder that prevents the breakdown of sugars in dairy, legumes, and organ meats. (Find out how Neanderthal DNA may be affecting your health.)

Why do Irish have red hair? ›

Irish people developed their red hair because of a lack of sunlight, according to new research from a leading DNA lab. Irelands DNA has revealed that one in 10 Irish people have red hair but it is thought that up to half the population could be carrying the redhead gene even though they are blonde or brunette.

Are the Irish descended from Vikings? ›

Extensive research into the genetic spread across Ireland and Britain has found that we have massively underestimated Irish Viking heritage.

Are Irish Celtic or Germanic? ›

Irish is a Celtic language (as English is a Germanic language, French a Romance language, and so on). This means that it is a member of the Celtic family of languages.

What nationality is Scots-Irish? ›

Are Scots-Irish Scottish or Irish? Simply put: The Scots-Irish are ethnic Scottish people who, in the 16th and 17th centuries, answered the call of leases for land in the northern counties of Ireland, known as Ulster, before immigrating en masse to America in the 18th century.

Did the Scottish come from the Irish? ›

A tribe of Scots coming from Ireland reached the west coast of what we recognize today as Scotland about 500 AD. Their descendants bear the names of the McDonalds, the MacNeils, the Fergusons and many others.

Is McDonald a Scottish or Irish name? ›

MacDonald, Macdonald, and McDonald are surnames of both Irish and Scottish Origin. In the Scottish Gaelic and Irish languages they are patronymic, referring to an ancestor with given name Donald.

How tall are Irish people? ›

The average Irishman is 178.92cm (5 feet 10.44 inches) tall. The average Irishwoman is 165.11cm (5 feet 5 inches) tall.

Are Welsh and Irish DNA the same? ›

He said people from south and north Wales genetically have "fairly large similarities with the ancestry of people from Ireland on the one hand and France on the other, which we think is most likely to be a combination of remnants of very ancient populations who moved across into Britain after the last Ice Age.

Who were the first Irish settlers in America? ›

The first significant influx of Irish immigrants to Boston and New England consisted primarily of Ulster Presbyterians and began in the early eighteenth century.

Did the Irish built America? ›

Irish immigrants built America: Across the 18th and 19th centuries, the Irish helped build America, both as a country and as an idea. Physically, from the skyscrapers of Manhattan to the mines of Montana, this nation's infrastructure bears an indelible Irish imprint.

Why is Boston so Irish? ›

Irish heritage and culture run deep in Boston, with early settlers dating back to Colonial times and a big wave in the early 19th century. During the Great Irish Famine (1845–1852), the Port of Boston was a major immigration hub. By 1850, the Irish were the largest ethnic group in Boston and still are today.

What race lived in North Carolina colony? ›

The Royal Colony of North Carolina - The English Settlers. As the predominant group in both North Carolina and South Carolina, the English made up more than 50% of the population at the start of the Royal Period; by the end of British rule their dominance was a mere few percentage points versus the Scots-Irish.

What Scottish clans settled in North Carolina? ›

Highlanders are descendants of Celts who settled in the northern mainland and islands of Scotland, which is part of Great Britain. The Highland Scots are unique in the way they moved in large, organized groups directly from their homeland to the North Carolina colony.

Who owned the most slaves in North Carolina? ›

University trustee Paul Cameron was North Carolina's largest slaveholder in 1860 and one of the wealthiest men in the South. He owned 12,675 acres of land and 470 slaves in Orange County and more plantations in Alabama and Mississippi.

Who were the slaveholders in North Carolina? ›

Such families that owned from 50 to 100 slaves were the Haywoods, the Joneses, the Perrys, the Mordecais, the Rogerses, the Smiths and the Manlys, which included Gov. Charles Manly, who owned Ingleside plantation east of Raleigh.

What is the oldest plantation in North Carolina? ›

Sloop Point Plantation, located in eastern Pender County, was constructed around 1726, making it the oldest surviving house in North Carolina.

Who was the first European to land in North Carolina? ›

The first European expedition that is known beyond any doubt to have explored the coast of modern North Carolina was led by Florentine navigator Giovanni da Verrazano. Sailing in the employ of France, Verrazano sighted land near Cape Fear on 21 Mar. 1524.

Who lived in North Carolina before European settlers? ›

Historically documented tribes in the North Carolina region include the Carolina Algonquian-speaking tribes of the coastal areas, such as the Chowanoke, Roanoke, Pamlico, Machapunga, Coree, and Cape Fear Indians – these Natives were the first encountered by English colonists.

How many known tribes were there in North Carolina before European contact? ›

Native Americans around a Fire, 1590Over four hundred years ago, English colonists trying to settle on Roanoke Island encountered many Native Americans along the coast. At that time more than thirty Native American tribes were living in present-day North Carolina.

Why did the Scots-Irish move to Appalachia? ›

They came to Appalachia in search of freedom, and they brought not only their whiskey-making knowledge but also their worms and stills.”

Where did most Scots-Irish settle in America? ›

The majority of the Scots-Irish who came to America in the colonial period settled in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Carolinas.

Did a lot of Scots settle in North Carolina? ›

The U.S. Census of 1850 listed some 1,200 Scottish-born citizens in North Carolina, most of them residing in the counties of Cumberland, Moore, Robeson, and Richmond. In the census of 1880 the number was down to some 400.

In which North Carolina region did the most Scottish immigrants settle? ›

The Lowland Scots who migrated from Scotland to North Carolina in the eighteenth century primarily settled in the Lower Cape Fear region, around Wilmington. The 1790 US census lists 150 inhabitants of the Upper Cape Fear Valley who named Scotland as their birthplace.

What are Scots-Irish physical traits? ›

Most Scottish and Irish folks have dark brown hair, usually mixed with pale eyes. It's a phenotype that's shared with Wales and England to a big diploma as the populations are mostly quite comparable genetically, with a bit extra Germanic DNA floating across the East of England.

What state has the most Irish descendants? ›

However, when it comes to the states with the largest population of people identifying as being Irish (with single ancestry), New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania top the list. According to the most recent US census, this accounts for approximately 528,000 people.

Which US state has the most Scottish ancestry? ›

The states with the largest populations of either Scottish or Scotch Irish ancestral origin: California - 677,055 (1.7% of state population) Texas - 628,610 (2.8%) North Carolina - 475,322 (4.5%)

What is a cool Scottish name? ›

Along with Flora and Hector, other Scottish baby names popular far beyond Edinburgh include Esme, Elsie, Evan, Fiona, Graham, Logan, Lennox, and Maxwell. Blair, Cameron, Finley, and Rory are popular Scottish names that work for either gender.

Where are the Scots-Irish from? ›

Scotch-Irish (or Scots-Irish) Americans are American descendants of Ulster Protestants who emigrated from Ulster in northern Ireland to America during the 18th and 19th centuries, whose ancestors had originally migrated to Ireland mainly from the Scottish Lowlands and Northern England in the 17th century.

Did the Scots come from Ireland? ›

A tribe of Scots coming from Ireland reached the west coast of what we recognize today as Scotland about 500 AD. Their descendants bear the names of the McDonalds, the MacNeils, the Fergusons and many others.


1. Western North Carolina the beginning
(Kenneth Kitchen)
2. First Colonies: 1565-1700 | American Colonial History | Jamestown, Plymouth, Puritans, Quakers
(Jeffrey the Librarian)
3. Man unknowingly buys former plantation house where his ancestors were enslaved
(60 Minutes)
4. Using North Carolina Cohabitation Records to research your African American ancestors
5. The Irish in the USA | Glories of Ireland
(Brehon Academy)
6. Scottish Emigration to North Carolina ~ Part 1
(Fraser's Ridge Homecoming)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Golda Nolan II

Last Updated: 09/17/2023

Views: 6551

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Golda Nolan II

Birthday: 1998-05-14

Address: Suite 369 9754 Roberts Pines, West Benitaburgh, NM 69180-7958

Phone: +522993866487

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Worldbuilding, Shopping, Quilting, Cooking, Homebrewing, Leather crafting, Pet

Introduction: My name is Golda Nolan II, I am a thoughtful, clever, cute, jolly, brave, powerful, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.