British Influences in the Backcountry
”Scotch Irish” is a common but misleading cultural designation. Generally used to describe backcountry residents of British descent, the name fails to recognize the vast cultural differences that separated lowland Scots from their Highland counterparts, or “Ulstermen,”and from other groups around the Irish Sea. Scotch Irish also ignores the divergent views associated with Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Quaker, Baptist, and Catholic sects from Great Britain.
British immigrants often first settled in isolated areas of the backcountry. On a 1768 map of Virginia, one part of the central Valley was dubbed the “Irish Tract.” Even into the early nineteenth century, large sections of the South Carolina Piedmont remained almost exclusively English and Irish. On the other hand, some of became highly integrated, a pattern of cultural blending that is evident in many backcountry furniture forms.