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The Boston Five Ships

By Linda Merle

In August of 1718, five shiploads of Ulster Presbyterians arrived in Boston. They were the first shiploads of what was soon to be a major exodus. They came, unlike later immigrants during the Famine, in families -- closely allied families. Families who had known one another and intermarried in Ireland and who would continue to do so in America. The center of their lives and their communities was their church and its ministers.

Many of these New England Scotch-Irish came from the Bann Valley, many from the same estate.

They are credited with introducing the Irish potato to the American colonies. Apparently a family surnamed Young, in Worcester, Massachusetts, first grew the potato for food.

See Scotch Irish Pioneers by Charles Knowles Bolton for additional information. Ulster-Scots and Blandford [Ma] Scots by Sumner Gilbert Wood recounts the story of a group who eventually founded the Massachusetts town of Blandford. Both books are Heritage Classics.

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