This latest contribution from Scottish genealogist David Dobson names some 3,000 Scots who settled in the mid-Atlantic colonies prior to the Revolutionary War. In point of fact, Scottish settlement in the Middle Colonies of America dates from the early 17th century, and Mr. Dobson demonstrates that even before the establishment of English colonies in that region in the 1660s, there were a number of Scots pioneers living with the Dutch settlers of New Netherland, and probably also in the Swedish settlements along the Delaware.
Scottish immigration to the Middle Colonies was at first small scale and sporadic, with the notable exception of Quakers and Covenanters who settled in East New Jersey during the 1680s. The immigration of Highlanders to New York began in 1738, and by the year 1742 over 400 people had arrived from the island of Islay led by Captain Lauchlan Campbell. The main phase of immigration from Scotland during the colonial period actually occurred in the aftermath of the French and Indian Wars and before the outbreak of the American Revolution.
In the main, several distinct groups of immigrants made up the Scottish inflow: settlers of the Argyle Patent in New York, Covenanters and Quakers in East New Jersey, Highlanders, and a rather large and unexpected contingent of discharged soldiers. As would be expected, these new immigrants came from all over Scotland. While the Lowland Scots integrated quickly with the existing population, the Gaelic-speaking Highlanders tended to move as a group and settle along the frontier. In the Revolution of 1776, however, many of them took up arms in support of the Loyalist cause and later found it expedient to move north to Canada.