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“S” is for Scots

“S” is for Scots. The 1707 Treaty of Union allowed Scots free access to the British Empire and large numbers made their way to the southern colonies. Scottish immigration to South Carolina was distinctive, however, for while Georgia and North Carolina received waves of poor highlanders, South Carolina attracted lowlanders, the educated younger sons of the landed and professional classes. A self-conscious Scottish elite of merchants, planters, and professionals coalesced in the cities. They founded churches, schools, and a Charleston-based St. Andrew’s Society, creating a social network that attracted still more of their countrymen and countrywomen. Representative of these were Dr. John Moultrie who brought his Scottish medical training (then the world’s best) to Carolina. By 1790 more than 21,000 South Carolinians—about fifteen percent of the state’s White population were ethnic or immigrant Scots.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.