THE SCOTCH-IRISH IN OHIO
The Scotch-Irish gave to Ohio seventeen judges of the Supreme Court under the old constitution. Among them was Jacob Burnett, the greatest of the pioneer lawyers. As a member of the legislative Council he was the author of many salutary laws. His character was marked by promptness, decision and inflexibility. Later, as a United States senator, he was noted for his fine presence, and courtly manners.
Judge John McLean, another Scotch-Irishman, was a tower of strength in the formation of the North-west Territory. He was a judge of the Ohio Supreme Court, Commissioner of the General Land Office, Postmaster-General under Presidents Monroe and Adams, and, afterward, judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. He also entered the field of literature—his most noted work being "Notes on the North-west Territory," an invaluable addition to a historial library. It could not be possible for one of Judge McLean's moral and intellectual worth to pass in view of a susceptible people, as he did during the many years of public life, and not exert a great influence.
Another distinguished jurist, Joseph R. Swan, for years chief justice of Ohio, came of Londonderry stock. A conservative judge, a stickler for the constitution, it is said that none of his decisions were ever reversed. He was the most voluminous legal author of his day, and his works are high authorities.
John C. Wright was also an eminent judge of the Supreme Court under the old constitution. His decisions were published as "Wright's Reports," and it is a standard legal work. He was an influential congressman also. Under the new constitution the Scotch-Irish gave the state such eminent Supreme judges as Thomas W. Bartley, W. B. Caldwell, William Kennon, Hocking H. Hunter, George W. McIlwaine, W. J. Gilmore, Rufus P. Ranney (whose decisions are of national reputation), Josiah Scott, John Clark, W. W. Johnston, John H. Doyle, and others.
The Scotch-Irish of Ohio have faithfully represented the state in the lower house of Congress, and nearly all the noted men, from William McMillen, the first delegate of the North-west Territory, to Major McKinley, now chairman of the most important House committee, sprang from that stock. We have also sent numerous representatives to the Senate of the United States, including the last man elected to that position—the railroad magnate, Calvin S. Brice.
The Scotch-Irish of Ohio have assisted to furnish the cabinet of almost every President of the United States. To name them would be a work of superfluity. Yet, as a specimen of what Ohio can do in that direction, let us recall the elder Ewing. Thomas Ewing, father of the present Thomas Ewing (late a general and now a distinguished lawyer) and also of other gallant soldier sons, was in the cabinet both of William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor. He stood for years in the front rank of American statesmen and jurists, and served in the upper house of Congress, where his influence was paramount. Nor is this all; we are indebted to Judge Ewing for General Sherman, whose energetic mind he trained and whose character he molded; and, if we can not claim General Sherman's lineage, yet Scotch-Irish influence is responsible for much of his success.
The list of persons who have held official position in Ohio discloses the fact that either the Scotch-Irish are gifted with the power of getting a full share of this world's honors, or that their pre-eminent merits have been readily recognized by an appreciative people. For instance, nearly every position of high trust in the state house at Columbus, today, is filled by persons having in their veins a greater or less infusion of this good old stock. Can it be possible that those people who accuse the "Ohio man" with being a trifle over-willing to hold office, have some slight justification? Lest this be true let us turn our eyes to other channels, and see what the Ohio Scotch-Irishman has done outside of office and politics. The first Presbyterian minister west of the mountains, Dr. McMillen, the founder of Washington-Jefferson college, in Pennsylvania, was also the founder of Franklin college. These schools have had an overwhelming influence in molding the intellectual character and achievements of the people of Ohio. Their pupils and graduates have gone over the state strengthening the name and fame of their race. Thus it happens, partially at least, that the Scotch-Irish have become a great factor in popular education. We have seen that Governor Trimble, a Scotch-Irishman, gave to Ohio her public school system, and it remained for that brilliant Scotch-Irishman. Samuel Golloway, to perfect it. He was known throughout the land as a finished scholar and orator, a thorough lawyer and teacher, and an active member of Congress. Robert W. Bishop, a Scotchman of broad dialect and hearty manner, long ruled over Miami University, the Oxford of Ohio. Robert W. McFarland, for many years its young president, was also a Scotchman. To-day its young president—Warfield—is of thorough Scotch-Irish stock, a descendant of John Preston Calhoun and the Breckenridges. Colonel John Johnson, a brave Indian fighter, one of the founders of the Protestant Episcopal church in Ohio, was active in the establishment of Kenyon college—the pride of the church. Stalwart in physique and bright in mind, his influence was wide spread for good. Who stood higher in educational work than Bishop Charles Pettit McIlwaine, professor of Ethics at West Point, bishop of the Episcopal church of Ohio, head of Kenyon college, author and orator?
What race but ours gave to the country W. H. McGuffey? And where is the student who does not know McGuffey's school books? Ray's arithmetics were the product of an Ohio Scotch-Irishman. Dr. Jeffers, president of the Western Theological Seminary, is an Ohio-born Scotch-Irishman, the son of the famous schoolmaster of the early days; and how much is this renowned institution indebted for its influence to our Dr. Charles C. Beatty, who in his life-time gave half a million dollars in aid of colleges? This generous donor was the son of a Revolutionary soldier, and in no man were the mental traits of the sturdy Scotch-Irish more distinctly marked. In 1829 he established in Steubenville the first female seminary west of the mountains. From its walls have gone missionaries to every clime; and it is truthfully said that the sun never sets on the work of these consecrated women.
In art the Scotch-Irish of Ohio have been no less eminent than in other fields. Has any other race of any other state produced a sculptor the peer of J. Q. A. Ward, whose exquisite conceptions and creations adorn the most conspicuous art centers of our country? His masterpiece, the soldiers' monument to be erected in Brooklyn, is peculiarly appropriate in design—three of the four heroic figures being monuments of those typical Scotch-Irishmen, Jackson, Scott and Grant.
As we might demand and obtain distinction in warfare by resting our claim on the achievement of Grant, so might we go before the world with J. Q. A. Ward and obtain renown in the high arts; but the Scotch and Irish of Ohio do not rest here. Yesterday was dedicated in the beautiful city of Cleveland one of the most superb creations of the spirit of art in our great country. I feel that I speak within bounds of artistic judgment when I say that the monument created by Alexander Hoyle and erected to the memory of James A. Garfield, is an achievement in art that should fill the heart with a pride of race to the degree of exultation. James Wilson McDonald's statue of FitzGreene Halleck in Central Park, of Carter at West Point, and of General Lyon at St. Louis, are but monuments to the achievements of the Ohio Scotch-Irish in time of peace.
The admired portrait of Mrs. Jefferson hanging in the White House, is from the brush of E. F. Andrews, an Ohio Scotch-Irishman. I am also told that Hiram Powers, whose Greek Slave is one of the best known of American sculptures, was of the race that never flags in efforts to attain to the top round of the ladder.
The Scotch-Irish of Ohio have given to journalism its most brilliant writers, men whose influence in affairs is as extensive as newspaper circulation and powerful thought can make it. Where is there a more eminent journalist than the successor of that illustrious Scotch-Irishman, Horace Greeley? Whitelaw Reid, Ohio born, of stalwart Covenanter stock, with the sticking qualities that made them famous, and of the highest literary attainments, now represents the republic in France.
Colonel W. J. Brown, the amiable and brilliant editor of the New York News, is an Ohio Irishman, who has won fame in the literary and political world. Colonel Cockerill, of the New York World, is an Ohio Scotch-Irishman, else how did he reach the height of fame attained by those who boast the mental and physical characteristics of our race? We gave Chicago Joseph Medill, the forceful editor of the leading journal of the West; and to Pittsburg the late Dr. Alexander Clark, author and writer, one of the founders of the Protestant Episcopal church, for years the editor of its organ, and the founder of the "School Day Visitor," from which grew the St. Nicholas Magazine, that paragon of periodicals for children.
Our own journalists are from the race that has the courage to fight and the perseverance to win; among them the Farans and McLeans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, perhaps the most successful newspaper in the country; W. W. Armstrong, so long with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the sturdy editor of the Commerical Gazette, Richard Smith. Charles Hammond, one of the first editors of the Cincinnati Gazette, was as profound in law as eminent in journalism, and the first prosecuting attorney of the North-west Territory. He is regarded by many as the ablest and most influential editor in the history of the state.
To the Methodist church we gave one of the most eminent men in the religious world of his time; one whose oratorical triumphs thrilled the people, and whose mind conceived the great enterprises that have planted Methodism on its abiding spiritual and material foundation. Bishop Matthew Simpson, the friend of Lincoln and Grant, during the dark days of our country had no little part in influencing action that is a part of history. He was born and educated in Ohio, and was led to abandon his chosen profession and enter the ministry by the sainted mother of a member of our society, Mr. W. H. Hunter, of Steubenville—a gentleman full of Scotch-Irish lore. The First Methodist church in the North-west was founded in Ohio by a Scotch-Irishman, the zealous Francis McCormic. The founder of the Free Presbyterian church of America was also an Ohio Scotch-Irishman, the intrepid John Rankin.
Indiana is indebted to the Scotch-Irish of Ohio for her Hendricks and McDonalds. The Scotch-Irish of Ohio gave to California her Samuel Wilson, the most noted lawyer of the Pacific slope, to Oregon her Benjamin Potts, to New York Anson G. McCook, sentry of the United States Senate, and to other states able jurists, eminent divines, teachers, enterprising men of office, including to New York Rockefeller, the head of the Standard Oil Company. To Japan we gave her first postmaster-general; and a Scotch-Irishman, John A. Bingham, a distinguished ex-congressman, represented the United States as minister to Japan, his term covering many years of ministerial service.
Passing from the Scotch-Irish civilian we come to the Scotch-Irish soldier; and here, Ohio, though she may glow with pride in the glorious record of each of her sister states, yet yields to none her own place at the head of the column. She wrote three hundred and twenty thousand names on the muster roll of the Union, and the Scotch-Irish names are written at the top. Recall some of them and ask yourselves where, without them, would be your boasted republic with its seventy millions of united people. Instinctively there comes first the name of that unconquered soldier, so unyielding in battle, yet so magnanimous to the defeated that the most illustrious of his foes bowed their tear-stained faces at his bier. The great captain of the Union army first opened his eyes on the bank of the "beautiful river," in the county of Clermont and the state of Ohio. His are the victories both of war and peace. Ulysses S. Grant needs no eulogy here. Gallant Phil Sheridan, "Little Phil"—the very incarnation of war—first saw the light in the rugged county of Perry. Whose monuments, erected by his comrades—one of them in a beautiful park at the national capital, the other in his native village of Clyde—bear witness to a nobler hero than James B. McPherson, the Chevalier Bavard of the Union armies? Where did the genius of battle ever shine brighter than over the yellow curls of Custer—the hard-riding cavalryman or the North, and the massacred victim of the red man's wrongs? When Charleston, the cradle of the war, was shelled by the destroying "swamp angels," it was Quincy A. Gilmore who directed their iron hail. What "Buckeye" is not proud of the "fighting McCooks?" The father and nine distinguished sons rallied around the flag together. There was "Bob," whose monument faces the great Music Hall in the city of Cincinnati; and Aleck, who commanded a corps; and their five cousins of the same sturdy stock, who were conspicuous soldiers too. Who does not love Jim Steadman, the "hero of Chickamagua"; or Durbin Ward, "the tribune of the people," or "Old Rosy" as the idolizing soldiers nicknamed Wm. S. Rosecrans? There were the Ewings, of honorable ancestry; Irvin McDowell, the early leader; George W. Morgan, the hero of two wars; John Beatty, the hard-hitting foe of shams; O. M. Mitchel, the great astronomer-soldier; and a legion whose names it would weary you to count—all, all of that indomitable, unflinching Scotch and Irish stock, which gave to both sides of the late dreadful struggle names which will forever "lead all the rest."
This little sketch has been a meager outline only of what the Scotch-Irish have done for Ohio. They have accomplished much more than has been told here; and in the future bid fair to outdo the past. They are the solid conservative basis of the population. Their fond affection cherishes the family; their conservative morality buttresses society; and their clannish adhesion to home government guarantees stability and perpetuity to the state.
Scotch-Irish of Tennessee
Scotch-Irish in New England
Scotch-Irish in Western Pennsylvania
Scotch-Irish in Virginia
Scotch-Irish Settlers in South Carolina
The Scot in America and the Ulster Scot
God's Frontiersmen: The Scots-Irish Epic
Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish shaped America
The Scots-Irish in the Shenandoah Valley
The Scots-Irish in the Carolinas
The Scots-Irish in the Hills of Tennessee
The Scots-Irish in Pennsylvania and Kentucky