They were Scotch-Irish
in character and in name; of Irish vivacity, generosity, and daring; Scotch in frugality, industry, and resolution; a race in whose composition nature seems, for once, to have kindly blended the qualities that render men interesting with those that render them prosperous.
Their habits and their minds were simple.
They lived, for many years after the settlement began to thrive, upon the fish which they caught at the falls of Amoskeag
, upon game, and upon such products of the soil as beans, potatoes, samp, and barley.
It is only since the year 1800 that tea and coffee, those ridiculous and effeminating drinks, came into anything like general use among them.
It was not till some time after the Revolution that a chaise was seen in Londonderry
, and even then it excited great wonder, and was deemed an unjustifiable extravagance.
Shoes, we are told, were little worn in the summer, except on Sundays and holidays; and then they were carried in the hand to within a short distance of the church, where they were put on
I There was little buying and selling among them, but much borrowing and lending.
‘If a neighbor “killed a calf,” ’ says one writer, ‘no part of it was sold; but it was distributed among relatives and friends, the poor widow always having a piece; and the minister, if he did not get the shoulder, got a portion as good.’
The women were robust, worked on the farms in the busy seasons, reaping, mowing, and even ploughing on occasion; and the hum of the spinning-wheel was heard in every house.
An athletic, active, indomitable, prolific, long-lived race.
For a couple to have a dozen children, and for all
the twelve to reach maturity, to marry, to have large families, and die at a good old age, seems to have been no uncommon case among the original Londonderrians
Love of fun was one of their marked characteristics.
One of their descendants, the Rev. J. H. Morrison
, has written—‘A prominent trait in the character of the Scotch-Irish was their ready wit. No subject was kept sacred from it; the thoughtless, the grave, the old, and the young, alike enjoyed it. Our fathers were serious, thoughtful men, but they lost no occasion which might promise sport.
Weddings, huskings, log-rollings and raisings—what a host of queer stories is connected with them!
Our ancestors dearly loved fun. There was a grotesque humor, and yet a seriousness, pathos and strangeness
about them, which in its way has, perhaps, never been ’