Interesting Things to Know
How the Irish saved the War of American Independence
Did you know that during the War, St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated on the orders of General George Washington? Washington also forbade the celebration of Guy Fawkes’ Day among his troops. At the time in England, that was celebrated throughout the country with anti-Catholic demonstrations – but it never became an American custom, thanks to Washington’s sympathy with his Irish troops.
The American War of Independence could not have been won if it were not for the Irish. It is certain that Irish soldiers constituted two-fifths of the Continental Army by the time Washington reached Valley Forge in 1778. That proportion grew as time went on.
Washington’s step-grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, wrote: “Ireland furnished one hundred men to any single man furnished by any other foreign nation.”
At that time, “Irish” meant anybody who sailed from a port in Ireland. According to historians, overall total Irish immigration might have been as high as 500,000 – or roughly one-quarter of the estimated two million population in America at the time of the American War of Independence.
Irish immigration to America reached its peak during the first half of the decade of the 1770s. By 1776, one-quarter of the entire population of North America was Scots or Scots-Irish.
Actually, probably 300,000 of those “Irish” were what today would be called “Scots-Irish,” namely descendants of mostly Presbyterian settlers from Scotland living in Ireland’s northern province of Ulster. Catholics from Ireland had come over earlier because, by 1770 in Ireland, only 5% of the land was owned by Catholics – who were 90% of the population.
The imported Scots had a difficult time in Ireland. First, they were caught in the middle of the Irish wars against England and then the English Civil War. It’s estimated that 100,000 Scots settlers died in the English Civil War – along with more than 500,000 Irish Catholics.
But it didn’t get better. In 1703, Queen Anne signed the Test Act. This decreed that Presbyterian ministers could not legally marry, baptize, or bury anybody. Presbyterians who did not marry in Anglican churches were legally considered fornicators and their children bastards! Presbyterians were not allowed to teach school or serve as officers in the militia – religious restrictions similar to those against Catholics.
In 1718, the first ships of Scots-Irish arrived in Boston to a chilly welcome. One group was led by the Rev. James McGregor, who delivered a farewell sermon before departure. They were fleeing Ireland, he said, “to avoid oppression and to have an opportunity of worshipping God according to the dictates of conscience and the rules of His Inspired Word.” But Boston didn’t want them. Only two years later, Boston passed an ordinance ordering “families arriving from Ireland” to move on. And move on, they did.
Scots and Irish, like the Welsh and Cornish, are Celts – not Anglo-Saxons, like the English. They were not tame city dwellers; they were (and still are!) known as intensely loyal to their clan and more obedient to their chief than to any written law. They are fierce fighters who would die rather than surrender. They became the quintessential American frontiersmen.
William Penn was a Quaker, a man of peace. He didn’t want the fractious fighting Irish in his City of Brotherly Love – but he knew they might be useful elsewhere. There were Indians west of Philadelphia, and Penn thought the Irish would be a good buffer between him and the Indians – so he allowed them to settle west of Philadelphia.
If you drive along the I-81 in Pennsylvania, you will see exits named Letterkenny and Antrim – both towns in Ulster, relics of those first settlements. And if you head south, where do you get? The Shenandoah Valley.
The Western frontier of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania contained the largest Irish populations.
This did not bode well for England — because the Irish and Scots, Catholic and Presbyterian, arrived on these shores with a deep hatred of England and the crown. They didn’t need to be persuaded by Tom Paine and Patrick Henry that the King didn’t have their best interest at heart – they knew it firsthand!
Those stirring tracts were written to convince the original settlers, who considered themselves loyal sons of England, not to trust the King or Parliament. Remember: most of the first English settlers in America thought of themselves as loyal subjects of a benevolent king who ruled by the Divine Right of Kings; those English settlers had to be convinced to break away from England.
The Scots-Irish Presbyterians were ferocious advocates of Independence: King George III, based on information he received from his military reports, denounced the conflict in America as that “Damned Presbyterian War.” He referred to “Those pestiferous Presbyterians [who] are always in unrest and will be until they are wiped out.” Presbyterian ministers were known as the “Black Regiment” because of the black robes they wore when they preached – not only the word of God but also rebellion against the King.
The War of Independence got off to a rocky start. When the first enlistments were up, those New England boys, aka summer soldiers and sunshine patriots, headed back to the farm. The Continental Congress was not very happy with the Scots-Irish army: as English gentlemen, they had inherited contempt for the Scots and the Irish and didn’t think they would be able to fight. So they took their time to send funds.
Early on in the war, George Washington knew he was in trouble – and good leader that he was, he made plans for what if the worst came to the worst.
In November 1776, after the loss of New York and Long Island, he confided to his aide-de-camp Col. Joseph Reed that he might have to withdraw his reeling army first to the Shenandoah Valley, then farther west beyond the Allegheny Mountains to keep the ‘flames of revolution’ alive. He knew the Scots-Irish western frontier would provide “an asylum” for his rebel army.
Washington never needed to escape to our Valley, but it’s good to know that he thought so highly of our loyalty!
But the Irish re-enlisted, and more enlisted. When General Charles Lee was captured in 1778, he told the British that Washington’s army was half-Irish. Joseph Galloway, a member of the Continental Congress who defected to the British, later reported to the House of Commons that the Continental Army was ¼ native-born Americans, ½ Irish, and ¼ English and Scots.
In any case, the Irish were there in time to fight in the war’s major turning points: Trenton in December 1776, Princeton in January 1777, Saratoga in October 1777, Kings Mountain in October 1780, and Cowpens in January 1781.
When the British took Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, SC, 5,500 Continental soldiers surrendered in Charleston on May 12, 1780. English general Henry Clinton announced that “the most violent Rebels are candid enough to allow the game is up” and sailed back to New York to rest on his supposed laurels, leaving his second-in-command Lord Cornwallis in charge.
What Clinton didn’t know was that the Americans had only begun to fight. The great majority of the population of the Carolinas was in the mountains – and they were Scots-Irish, whose fighting skills had only improved with a generation or two of dealing with Indians.
The British thought they would advance on three fronts: the coast, the center, and the mountains. British Major Patrick Ferguson sent a captured prisoner back home across the Blue Ridge Mountains with the message to “desist from their opposition to British arms, or he would “march his army over the mountains, hang their leaders, and lay waste their country with fire and sword.”
Guess again, Major! Those were fighting words to the Celts – and rather than being intimidated, their resolve grew stronger. In the words of one British officer, the Scots-Irish mountain men were “more savage than the Indians.” The Kings Mountain battle in North Carolina defeated the British – Americans annihilated 1,100 Redcoats with only 28 killed and 62 wounded Americans.
That success solidified resistance to the British throughout the South. Six months later, in January 1781, came the Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina. The British saw nine-tenths of their force killed or captured there, while the Americans had 12 killed and 60 wounded. In Col. William Thompson’s South Carolina Rangers, the Irish immigrants outnumbered the South Carolina-born men.
On October 19, 1781, Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown.
Washington could not have won the war without his foot soldiers. At least two-thirds and possibly three-fifths or more of them were Irish. So indeed, the Irish saved the American War of Independence.
In the words of George Washington Parke Custis: “Who felt the privations of the camp, the fate of the battle, or the horrors of the prison ship more keenly than the Irish? Washington loved them, for they were the companions of his toils, his perils, his glories, in the deliverance of his country.”
So this year, on Saint Patrick’s Day, celebrate not only Ireland – but also Ireland’s first gift to America: victory in the War of Independence.
Interesting Things to Know
College recruiting becomes big money
When you think of high-paid athletes, you might think of Stephen Curry sinking long threes for the Golden State Warriors or Tom Brady slinging the pigskin for the New England Patriots (or, more recently, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). Yet many pro athletes got started in college, including both Brady and Curry. And just as in the pros, finding talent at the college level means winning games and making money. Now, uncovering high school talent has blossomed into a big-money industry.
For one, colleges are spending big on recruiting, trying to attract the most talent so they can win the most games. For the 2019 fiscal year, the University of Georgia spent $3.67 million on recruiting, while the University of Alabama shelled out $2.66 million. Both schools have won multiple national championships in recent years. Of course, many other schools are spending millions as well, with the Big 10 and SEC conferences combined spending more than $30 million in 2019.
This should be no surprise, given how much money is at stake. In 2021, division I colleges reported bringing in over $13 billion in revenue via their athletic departments. Teams and conferences that win more tend to bring in more, enjoying better TV deals and more support from fans.
Further, spending by schools accounts for only a portion of the total money spent on recruiting. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much is being shelled out, but in 2007, Yahoo paid $100 million to buy rivals.com, a recruiting service that scouts college athletes and assigns them rankings. Currently, another recruiting website, 247Sports, is estimated to pull in nearly $40 million in revenue annually.
Spending and revenues are likely to increase. Previously, students were forbidden from making money off their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL). These rules have since been rolled back, and as a result, many alumni and local businesses are pouring in millions to attract recruits to their favored universities. In the first year, NIL spending is believed to have topped $900 million. Sports news site The Athletic was shown a NIL deal for an anonymous but coveted recruit — a deal worth a total of $8 million over three years. With billions in revenue at stake, spending is likely to get bigger.
Interesting Things to Know
Golf tourism: a growing industry
Golf tourism has exploded over the last few years. In 2023, thousands of golf tourists are expected to travel to well-known courses to enjoy their favorite pastime and experience a fun-filled vacation. Here are a few tips to ensure your next golf trip is as enjoyable as possible.
• Survey the weather. The elements can have a significant impact on your golf game. Therefore, make sure you inquire about the weather conditions at your destination and choose the right time of year to visit.
• Research the course. Visit resort websites and scour the internet for honest course reviews from experienced golfers to avoid disappointment. Moreover, make sure you choose a facility suited to your experience level.
• Find out about attractions in the area. Although golfing is the primary reason for your visit, choosing a location with nearby attractions you can enjoy when you need a break from the fairways is a good idea.
Finally, make sure you learn about the golfing etiquette, dress code, and rules at your destination to avoid making faux pas.
Five popular golf destinations in the United States
Are you ready to pack your golf bag and explore some of the USA’s most famous golf greens? Here are five must-visit states for avid golfers.
4. South Carolina
The US is home to 42 percent of the world’s courses.
Interesting Things to Know
Mission to Mars ends with a fond farewell
After four years, the reddish Martian dust that coated the surface of the Insight lander won, as NASA engineers had expected all along. The grit built up on the lander’s solar panels, which in turn reduced the amount of power that the robot could generate for itself.
On Dec. 15, 2022, NASA communicated with Insight for the last time. After two more attempts to reach the robot with no response, NASA declared that the Insight Mars Lander Mission — a tremendous success for science and humanity — had ended.
Speaking in the voice of the lander on Dec. 19, 2022, NASA posted a final message on Twitter, along with its dusty last images taken on the surface of Mars: “My power’s really low, so this may be the last image I can send. Don’t worry about me; my time here has been productive and serene. If I can keep talking to my mission team, I will — but I’ll be signing off here soon.
Thanks for staying with me.”
Insight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport, landed on Mars in November of 2018 and contributed enormously to our understanding of the red planet over the course of its four-year mission’s interior, including the mantle and crust. Though its retirement was well-deserved, more than a few tears were shed as it joined its decommissioned predecessors, including Curiosity and the legendary Opportunity, which stretched a 90-day mission into 15 years and signed off with, “my battery is low, and it is getting dark.”
Mars and all its mysteries have captivated humanity for hundreds of years, from ancient astronomers to modern authors who spin tales about human settlements on its surface and interior. It is one of our most enduring icons — a god of war, the mythological father of ancient Rome, a symbol of virility, and the setting for countless sci-fi movies and children’s cartoons.
Perhaps no one summarized man’s fascination with Mars better than Carl Sagan, in a message he recorded for future Mars explorers just a few months before his death: “Whatever the reason you’re on Mars is, I’m glad you’re there. And I wish I was with you.”
Interesting Things to Know
The global hobby with millions of fans
They look exotic, like butterflies and ballerinas. They have faces like monkeys, figures like humans, or long trails of petals like hair.
They smell like nothing or chocolate, vanilla, mint, pepper, and roses. To a bee, they smell like a bee. Some smell like rot to attract flies. Their scents have been called liars and seducers, yet they are beloved.
They are orchids, and their fans are legion.
Orchid cultivation is one of the world’s most widespread hobbies and is surprisingly social. In every state and every country, orchid enthusiasts meet regularly to exchange tips and tricks for growing this flower of many faces. Orchids attract every type of person, from farmers to attorneys. In fact, you can travel along ‘orchid trails’ to visit the greenhouses of growers in every state.
Travel destinations from California to Malaysia attract enthusiasts worldwide to see some of the 28,000 accepted species. In fact, there are more orchid species than species of birds and mammals. Only the number of species of bony fish comes close to the number of orchids.
Yet despite the orchid’s vast numbers, they were once very difficult to find and considered rare and exotic. So rare that in the late 1800s and early 1900s, people were thrilled with the adventures of orchid hunters who roamed the world looking to find unusual specimens.
Because of their historical link with wealth and style, growing orchids is sometimes said to be expensive and difficult, but it really is neither. You can buy a stem for about $20 at a grocery store these days. The flowers are best grown in pots since the microscopic seeds require specialized conditions. Orchids mostly require bright light but not direct sunlight. They require the grower’s attention since they need water and airflow, but not too much, and some may need mist, but only at certain times.
Interesting Things to Know
Key things positive people do differently
You’ve probably noticed that successful people seem to live in a different world than everyone else. They have an attitude of gratitude, exude confidence, and appear to be in a better place in life.
Many people are trying to succeed in their lives, but they don’t know how to get there.
Successful people do things differently, and it’s important for you to adopt those habits if you want to move forward in life.
Everyone has heard about positive and negative people. It seems like it should be easy to tell who is a positive person and who is a negative person, right? Well, it’s not quite that easy. Many factors go into determining who is a positive person and who is a negative person.
How do you become more positive? Is it possible to change your mood? Is there a secret to becoming more positive? If you’re like me, you’ve often heard the term “positive thinking” tossed around.
For a long time, I thought that positive thinking was all it took to become happy and successful. Then I realized that my mind was playing tricks on me.
So let’s take a look at the difference between positive thinking and genuine positivity.
Positive people are often the ones who appear to have it all together. They seem always to find a way to make things work. They always seem to have the energy and motivation to do what they need.
And while there are definitely benefits to being positive, there are drawbacks to being positive too.
If you want to understand the differences between positive and negative people, you’ll need to understand why each of them has the traits they do.
Positive people don’t think negatively. They don’t see problems everywhere. They don’t expect failure to happen every single time. Instead, they focus on being grateful for everything they have and on getting even better and better at what they do.
It’s easy to see what kind of people do this, but sometimes it can be tough for people who don’t do that to see that. If you’re one of those people, read on to discover some things to look for in others that tell you whether they’re positive.
If you see that they think negatively, they’re probably not positive. They’re focusing on the negative side of things and seeing problems everywhere. For example, you might think that you have a hard day at work, and then you come home, and your family is fighting. You’re already having a bad day, and that’s adding to the stress.
Then, you focus on all the other things you could do to fix the situation. You’re thinking about all of your problems, and you’re just expecting to fail at everything you do. You’re not expecting to succeed.
Instead, you should be focused on being positive and seeing what you can do to improve your current work. You should focus on what you’re grateful for and see the positive side of things. You’re not always going to get things perfect, but you can always get better and better each day.
You shouldn’t just focus on what you’re doing wrong, but you should also see what you’re doing right. Even if you’re not a very good cook, you can still be grateful for the fact that you can eat dinner tonight, and you can appreciate that even if you’re not perfect.
It’s not a matter of not thinking negatively but rather thinking positively. Think of yourself as a positive person and see the good in everything that you do. Don’t expect things to work out perfectly, but don’t be upset when they don’t, either.
The key to becoming a positive person and feeling good about yourself is to eliminate all the negative thoughts you allow yourself to think about yourself.
Sometimes, you might find it difficult to do, but you can easily learn to control your thinking. It’s much easier to think positively rather than negatively, so you need to be mindful of what you’re thinking about yourself.
One thing you can do is change the way you think about things that happen to you. When something negative happens, rather than saying to yourself, “I’m a loser” or “this person is mistreating me,” you can try thinking of it as “I’m a winner,” “this person is treating me nicely,” “I’m a good person,” or something else like that.
At the moment when these thoughts come up, you can just think back on them and realize that they’re not true. These thoughts are the exact opposite of what you really are, and you don’t need to believe them because they’re only thoughts in your head.
The more you do this, the more you’ll get used to thinking positively about yourself and your achievements, and the more you’ll be able to control your thoughts and feelings. You won’t feel like a failure all the time, and you’ll be able to stop yourself from falling into negativity.
Another thing you can do to be positive is to be active, even when you feel like you’re not in the mood. You’ll find that you’ll be more positive and happier when you’re doing things you enjoy, whether watching television, playing a video game, or reading a book.
It’s okay not to feel like doing anything, but you can easily make up for it by doing something that makes you happy. Doing things you love can give you a much bigger boost than you might think, and it’s important to make sure that you don’t let your feelings of boredom get the better of you.
No matter what you’re doing, if you’re not positive, you’ll end up with no motivation or drive to keep doing it. That can make it very difficult to succeed in anything since if you’re not motivated, there’s little chance of you being productive.
When it comes to being productive, the biggest factor is whether you’re motivated or not. You can only be productive when you’re motivated to do what you’re doing, and you can only be motivated to do what you want to do when you’re positive.
Successful people are all positive and optimistic. They have a positive attitude that keeps them going even when the odds seem to be against them.
If you’re not positive, then you can’t expect yourself to be productive. You won’t have any confidence in yourself, and you’ll start to doubt yourself before you even get started. You might even start to worry about the fact that you’re not even doing what you’re supposed to be doing.
That’s not going to help you be productive or keep yourself motivated. Instead, you’ll just get yourself discouraged and demotivated, which is something that will only lead to failure.
How do you become a positive person? First and foremost, you need to start acting and feeling more positive. You might find that you feel negative about things you’re currently doing, but that’s not going to help you be more productive. Instead, you need to act more positively and start thinking more positively.
It’s much easier to think positively than it is to act negatively. You’ll get more done if you start to think more positively. You can do this by being more enthusiastic about your actions and keeping a positive attitude about them.
It’s also helpful to surround yourself with positive people. Having positive people around you makes it a lot easier to have a positive attitude and feel more energized.
Positive people don’t dwell on the negative things that happen but rather focus on the positive side of things. Being positive makes you more productive since you’re not worrying about the negative aspects of what you’re doing but instead are only thinking about the positive ones.
It’s not just a mental thing, though. It can affect your behavior as well. If you’re a positive person, you’re naturally going to be a more pleasant person to be around. It’s also easier to stay focused and get things done when you’re having a positive outlook.
Being a positive person also makes you happier. You’ll be much more motivated to do things.
Interesting Things to Know
5 things to consider when choosing golf shoes
A good pair of golf shoes can go a long way to improving your game and increasing comfort while walking long distances on the course. Here are five things to consider when choosing a new pair.
1. Material. Leather is the most popular choice because it’s breathable, flexible, and stylish. Many leather shoes also come with a waterproof lining. Gore-Tex has many of the same benefits as leather but comes with a higher price tag, which may be worth it if you often play in wet or cold conditions. Polyester shoes are ideal for occasional golfers looking for value.
2. Style. Golf shoes range in style from Oxfords and sneakers to sandals and boots. The first thing to remember is that many golf courses have dress codes, so not all kinds may be suitable. Additionally, consider the golfing you do. For example, sneaker-style shoes may be great if you’re a casual golfer. If you often golf at business meetings, you may want to choose a more upscale style.
3. Spiked or spikeless. The decision between spiked or spikeless shoes comes down to climate and landscape. For instance, if you play in wet environments or on hilly courses, the enhanced grip of spiked shoes is hard to beat. Spiked shoes can be heavy but provide excellent overall support. Spikeless, however, are lightweight and can be worn off the course.
4. Laces. Traditional laces are the most popular because you can easily exact the fit of your shoe. However, Velcro fastenings and mechanical fittings are gaining popularity for their ease of use.
5. Size. Golf shoes usually fit tighter than everyday shoes to keep your foot secure and close to the ground. You should have no pain or pressure when walking and have about 1/4- or 1/2-inch of toe space.
Visit your local pro shop for personalized advice and fitting recommendations.
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