Sympathies with the Revolution and Fighting Ability

The term Scotch-Irish refers to those from Scotland who lived for a time in Northern Ireland, Ulster, before going to America as did the McCords.

The Scotch and Scotch-Irish peoples, heritage, and culture were then, and are, entirely separate and distinct from that of the Irish of Ireland.

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(Castle Moil on the left as you view the picture and Dunvegan Castle on the right)

The McCords (McKorda, MacCord) went from Scotland in the late 1600's to Northern Ireland (Ulster) and then on to America in the first half of the 1700's.

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Many of the McCords lived in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland (Ulster) before coming to America in the 1720-1738 period.

The term Scotch-Irish denotes only that they were in Northern Ireland for a time. Very little intermarriage occurred between these Scotch and the native Irish of Ireland.

The Scotch-Irish in Northern Ireland were predominantly Protestant and the Irish in Ireland were predominantly Catholic in the 1700's-1800's, as they are today. Most of the McCords who went through Northern Ireland or Ulster as it was called were in transit from Scotland, and were in Ulster for a few brief years and then on to America and religious and political freedom.

Many went to Pennsylvania.

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"Among the many who streamed to Penn's holy land, the Germans and the Scotch-Irish played a leading hand in the making of its civilization...but the Germans were politically indifferent...

"The Scotch-Irish were the descendants of Scotsmen who in the seventeenth century had crossed to Ireland to dwell (there)....Presbyterian, they hated the native Catholic and the Anglican landlord whose Established Church they had to support with tithes....

"The Scotch-Irish trekked inland, settling not only in Pennsylvania, but pushing on into western Maryland, the Virginia Valley, and the Carolina frontier lands.

"A rugged folk...individualistic, yet reared in the rough democracy of their church, they read their Bibles with their guns cocked as they made their way into the wilderness.

"To the Quakers whose pacifism...they could not fathom, they were a source of constant irritation.

"Contentious and self-assertive, as frontiersmen generally are, they (the Scotch-Irish) flouted government when it countered what they deemed to be their natural rights and interests.

"However, in their faults lay strength.

"Forged in struggle, they hardened into the crucible of America and they became the stuff of the later Jacksonian democracy."


"It was the Scotch-Irish who also struck the lustiest blows for learning. Although they often lived in primitive conditions, these Presbyterians--like their theological counterparts in New England--were bent on being literate.

"Not only did they rear their offspring in the company of the ABC's, the catechism and prayers; they also tried to provide themselves with a number of learned clerics.

"The school of William Tennent, conducted at Neshaminy (Pennsylvania) from 1726-42, was the first solid attempt in this quarter. Known as the Log College, Tennent's school, which was open to laymen as well as holy clerics, naturally emphasized the classics.

"It became the germ for Princeton and, prior to the founding of that college, it was the foremost intellectual training ground for future Presbyterian preachers.

"To gratify their yearning for the classical discipline and also, of course, to set the course for their coming men of God, the Scotch Presbyterians opened a number of grammar schools, among which was the Presbyterian Grammar School at New London, was probably the best known.

"It was founded in 1743 by the Rev. Francis Allison, and for a time it stood very high in Presbyterian favor, and was patronized even by the Philadelphia gentry. Its emphasis, as usual was on the ancient languages, particularly on grammatical and rhetorical subtleties, and on wisdom generally believed to be embalmed in the foremost classical writings.

"Intellectually, the Scotch Presbyterians easily surpassed the...Quakers, and as they gained in political power their trained leaders stood them in good stead in furthering their ultimate triumph."

Reverend Francis Allison, referred to above, was Chaplain of the Continental Congress, appointed in 1776.

The Robinson family intermarried with and were very close to the McCords in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Edward Robinson writing in his 1867 book, Fragments of Family and Contemporary History--written only 71 years after Washington's second term as President and only forty after the last Founding Father of the Nation had died--had the following to say about education and life at, and long after, the American Revolution. Much of what he described, in fact, continued on into the mid-1900's, as a way of life,

"Our fathers were an intelligent and moral people. School houses and churches rose in every settlement after the cabins of the settlers.

"In their schools, reading, writing, arithmetic, trigonometry and practical geometry were the branches chiefly taught, as they were of most immediate use.

"The Bible was the standard daily reader (in school) and on Saturday morning, the Assembly's shorter Catechism was recited by all the schools as a regular exercise.

"Religion was the ruling principle in the home, the school and the church--the religion of the Bible.

"The moral and religious sentiment of the community...was the great conservator and arbiter of right.

"The punishment for lying, for idleness, dishonesty or ill-fame of any kind was meted out with exactness.

"If a theft was something of value, a jury of the neighborhood would condemn the culprit to the penalty of Moses' law, forty stripes save one.

"But the stripes were laid on with able hands and the criminal was frequently given so many days to leave the settlement.

"A man who failed to do his military duty, to go out on a scout, a campaign, when it was his turn, found epithets of dishonor clinging to him for years.

"In many of the substantial virtues, these departed spirits of the olden time cannot be surpassed or hardly equaled by their sons of a more refined generation.

"They were hospitable and brave, honest in their dealings, constant in their friendships, and were of a hardy industry. While amongst them were many families of gentle and easy manners, courtly in their address, intelligent and refined, polite such as to this day are spoken of as 'the gentlemen of the old school.'

"Nor should we omit to speak of that quiet energy of character, that patient endurance of hardships, and submission to domestic privations which characterized the women of that day.

"Many of them were called to bear a prominent part in many a bloody scene and perilous adventure. Many a tale has come down to us of female suffering and of female presence of mind in moments of imminent peril.

"Our mothers were worthy of the men of their day, women who trained their children to fear God, to reverence the Sabbath, the Bible, and the church, to respect toil, to love honor and honesty, to scorn falsehood and meanness; who told their sons to be generous, brave, and manly, and their daughters to be helpful, patient and true."

For Independence from England

The Scotch-Irish were almost universally for independence from England.

The Scotch-Irish in America at the time of the American Revolution were overwhelmingly for independence from England, nearly to a man.

Washington's adopted son George Washington Parke Custis, wrote:

"In the War of Independence, Ireland furnished 100 men for every single man furnished by any other nation. Let America bear eternal gratitude to Irishmen."

Custis was obviously referring to Northern Ireland, Ulster and the Scotch-Irish who turned out in massive numbers to support the American Revolution. The Scotch Irish were referred to as Irishmen because of their living in and coming from Northern Ireland or Ulster.

The Irish from other parts of Ireland other than Ulster played a very small part in the American Revolution. Some units of that part of Ireland fought for the British, in fact, and had done so since the French and Indian War. But not the Scotch-Irish.

George Washington is quoted as saying the following:"When our friendless standards were first unfurled, who were the strangers who first mustered around our staff, and when it reeled in the fight, who more brilliantly sustained it than Erin's generous sons. Ireland, thou friend of my country in my country's most friendless days, much injured, much enduring land, accept this poor tribute from one who esteems thy worth, and mourns they desolation. May the God of Heaven, in His justice and mercy, grant thee more prosperous fortunes, and in His own time, cause the sun of Freedom to shed its benign radiance on the Emerald Isle." The source of this quote is unverified and it's reliability is unknown. The southern Catholic Irish had little to do with American freedom by serving in Washington's Army. They were few in number.

By contrast, the Protestants from Ulster or Northern Ireland were the largest in numbers of Washington's troops and had the greatest role of any ethnic group in America obtaining it's freedom from England. Even the British officials at that time said so in many quotes available to us today.

The battles of Derry, Northern Ireland and of The Battle of the River Boyne there attest to that long-running fight with England for freedom for the Scotch-Irish in Ulster.

While the population of the larger cities of Philadelphia and New York City was nearly equally divided, one half pro-British and the other half pro-Revolution, the Scotch-Irish, a large portion of which were out on the western frontier were nearly 100% for the Revolution and independence, wherever they were.

It is my own estimate that as much as 25-35% of Washington's Continental and Militia army was composed of Scotch-Irish frontiersmen. There are no hard figures on this estimate but we may be able to make a more exact estimate in a couple of years. The Scotch-Irish population in America during the Revolution was only approximately 6-8%.

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This painting, begun three years after the end of the American Revolution, of the Surrender of the British General Burgoyne at Saratoga, New York, shows Brigadier General Daniel Morgan in gray buckskin in the foreground


Some of the most decorated units of Washington's army, such as Virginia's Brigadier Daniel Morgan's frontier regiment, were made up primarily of Scotch-Irish, although Morgan himself was of English parentage. The father of Scotch-Irish General Sam Houston of Texas fame, also named Sam, was a Captain (later a Major) in Morgan's Regiment. General Sam Houston's grandfather had fought at The Battle of Derry, Ulster.

General Morgan's Regiment saw major victories at The Battle of Saratoga in the North and at The Battle of Cowpens South Carolina in the South. Morgan lived near Winchester, Virginia.

In addition, General Morgan always felt he could have captured Quebec (and thereby Canada) earlier in the Revolution had different signals been used by his commander, General Richard Montgomery in Morgan's attack on the fortress gates in the upper level of the city there in December 1775.



Morgan was at the gates of the Quebec fortress with 500 of his frontiersmen and had already forced an entrance into the gate when his General was killed, unknown to him.

Morgan had been ordered to wait on the arrival of General Montgomery before proceeding further. No word came of Montgomery's death which thereby delayed Morgan and his Scotch-Irish frontiersmen from proceeding further and perhaps capturing Quebec.

"On the night of December 30...(General )Montgomery led the joint forces, numbering some 3000 against the city...Montgomery sought to gain the citadel. Montgomery had hardly passed the first line of barricades when he was shot dead, and his troops retreated in confusion.

"Morgan, with his 500 of his famous riflemen, forced an entrance into the lower town."

However, Morgan had to wait there rather than proceed on into the fortress, because of the orders Montgomery had given to wait for his arrival. But he never came.

Morgan always felt that he could have taken the fortress had he been allowed to go on in when he could have done so. He had already made a forced entrance.

Had Morgan been able to capture the fortress, Canada might well have been our 14th state in the Union today.

General Washington had sent General Montgomery to capture Quebec in order to block and to prevent the British from using Canada, and the British ships coming in there, from being used as a source of supply of men and munitions with which to fight Washington's forces. They could otherwise bring those munitions and men down through New York, as the British did later.

The Battle of Kings Mountain, South Carolina, a major victory for Washington's army in the South, was won by Scotch-Irish frontiersmen who made a forced march over the mountains from Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, surprising the British as they neared Kings Mountain.

These were the two major victories in the South by the Revolutionary army, at Kings Mountain and Cowpens, South Carolina.

And The Battle of Saratoga was perhaps the most important victory in the North.

Scotch-Irish fighters played an important role in each of these three victories. General Dan Morgan was at two of them with his Virginia Scotch-Irish frontiersmen.

General Daniel Morgan's Religious Faith

Daniel Morgan's biographer said Morgan wrote of his Christian faith in a letter to a friend,

"As to his own belief in God, Morgan set this forth with unusual clarity in a letter to Miles Fisher, a Quaker.

"The 'Old Wagoner' said his religion would differ greatly from Tom Paine's creed.

" 'I believe in one God, the first and great cause of goodness. I also believe in Jesus Christ, the rebirth of the world. I also believe in the Holy Ghost, the comforter.

" 'Here perhaps we (Fisher and Morgan) may differ a little. as I believe Jesus Christ was from eternity, and a part of the Godhead, was detached by the Father to do a certain piece of service which was to take on human nature, to suffer death for the redemption for mankind , and when that service was completely filled, that he returned to and was consolidated with the Godhead.

" 'I further believe that all must be saved through the merits of Christ. I believe the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) to be a part of the Divinity of the Father and Son, co-equal with both and left here to comfort all that hunger and thirst after righteousness, a spark of which inhabits the breast of mankind as a monitor--these are a part of my ideas on the subject of religion,' wrote Morgan." Morgan's theology was very solid.

" Not only did Morgan expound on his religious views, but he informed this Quaker as to how he felt about war," wrote Morgan's biographer.

" 'As to war, I am and always was a great enemy, at the same time a warrior the greater part of my life,' he said, 'and were I young again, should still be a warrior while ever this country should be invaded and I lived.

" 'A defensive war I think a righteousness war and justifiable in the sight of God.

" 'An offensive war, I believe to be wrong and would therefore have nothing to do with it, having no right to meddle with another man's property, his ox or his ass, his man servant or his maid servant or anything this is his.

" 'Nor has he a right to meddle with anything that is mine. If he does, I have a right to defend it by force.

" 'I have said here more than I intended nor have I ever said much on religion, but always wanted to support it, as I always thought it the first spring and best support to good government.

" 'Where you have no religion, you are sure to have no government, for as religion disappears, anarchy takes place and fixes a compleat Hell on earth till religion returns. ' "

Morgan wrote this in a letter of January 11, 1798 to Niles Fisher. The letter is contained in the records of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Morgan became a Christian in Virginia earlier through the influence of his Scotch-Irish wife, a Presbyterian.

The term above "Old Waggoner" refers to Daniel Morgan's service in Braddock's War in 1755 in which George Washington also served, and in which Morgan drove one of the wagons in that service.

Morgan's writings quoted above reflect that he had his act together regarding his own Christian faith and regarding the justification for a defensive war.

It is interesting that Morgan had little schooling, Washington had only 6-7 years, and Abraham Lincoln had one year only of formal schooling. Education has little to do with a man's character, of which these three men were well supplied. Religion can have a very great deal to do with a man's character. All three men, Washington, Morgan and Lincoln were very solid and well-grounded in their Christian faith.

George Washington said that his best and most dependable fighters in the American Revolution were the Scotch-Irish and his soldiers of German descent in his Army. They were expert marksmen.

The story is told of some of these Pennsylvania and Virginia frontiersmen at Boston in 1775, while awaiting the attack against the British there which never came because Washington had captured the heights overlooking the British down below, that the frontiersmen dressed in their buckskin uniforms had become legendary even then.

It is said that while awaiting the battle to start, the frontiersmen in the afternoon would wait for the British officers to come out of their tents in their resplendent uniforms. Upon seeing them, the frontiersmen with their long rifles would take aim and fire with deadly accuracy and take out the officers.

The long rifles could fire up to 300 yards and the muskets of the British could fire only half that distance, so the riflemen would remain out of range and fire with the deadly accuracy which came from their frontier living. It was pretty tough being a British officer in Boston at that time with those frontier riflemen around.

In the 13 colonies overall in 1776, about two-thirds of the population were for the patriot cause, or for independence from England. The Scotch-Irish were among the first to volunteer to fight the British in 1775.

Many of the Scotch and Scotch-Irish had been battling the English for nearly 100 years by the time the American Revolution came along, doing so earlier in Northern Ireland and, earlier still, in Scotland. They had fought them, at Culloden Moor in 1745,  in The Battle of Derry in Ulster, at The Battle by the River Boyne on July 1, 1690, and elsewhere in the 1600's.

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The Battle of Culloden Moor, 1745

"In 1745, 'Bonnie Prince Charlie,' Charles Edward Louis Stuart (1720-1788), Pretender for the English throne, grandson of the deposed James II of England tried to win back the throne with the aid of the Highland Clans of Scotland," but they were outnumbered and unsuccessful.


The grandson of John McCord who had fought at The Battle of Derry had the large broadsword used by his grandfather at that battle and took it into Preble County, Ohio with him in the early 1800's where it adorned the wall of his cabin for a time.


Earlier, the Scotch-Irish learned about the British when many of them had been forced by the British to leave Scotland (as the Irish were forced by the British to leave the plantation area) and settle in Ulster at the time of the "Plantation Settlements." The British wanted only to make money off the Scotch they re-settled there.

Later, after the Scotch had cleared the land Ulster, Northern Ireland, and made it productive, the British taxed them into oblivion and began to take away their property and marketing rights.

"(Among) the most numerous of the newcomers were the so-called Scotch-Irish--Scotch Presbyterians who had settled in northern Ireland (in Ulster) in the early seventieth century. The Ulster colonists had prospered for a time despite the barren soil...

"But in the first years of the eighteenth century, the English government prohibited Ulster from exporting to England the woolens and other products that had become the basis of the northern Ireland economy; at the same time, the government virtually outlawed the practice of the Presbyterian religion in Ulster and insisted on conformity with the Anglican church.

"After 1710, moreover, the long-term leases of many Scotch-Irish expired; English landlords doubled and even tripled the rents. Thousands of tenants embarked for America in successive waves of emigration."

This British pattern of persecution began to repeat itself in America in the 1760's after the French and Indian War.

"Taxation without representation," the forced selling of the American colonist's products only as England dictated, and the taking away of their religious and personal freedoms only infuriated the Scotch-Irish colonists and they resisted it.

The Scotch-Irish were attuned to despotism in all its variety of shades from a 100 year's experience with England, and fought England's efforts to take away their liberties and freedom with all their might and strength. They were willing to lay down their lives, if necessary, in order to gain freedom. Many did lay down their lives for the cause of liberty and freedom, including some of the McCords.

Brigadier General John Stark


Scotch-Irish John Stark from Londonderry, New Hampshire served in Rogers Rangers in the French and Indian War and later gave the British a crushing defeat at Bennington, Vermont during the American Revolution

During the French and Indian War, the Scotch-Irish in Major (later General) John Stark's colorful and daring 'Rogers Rangers' were America's first Special Forces. They operated behind French and Indian lines, dressed as Indians with blackened faces and war paint as appropriate.

They recaptured American prisoners at Ft. Detroit and other locations and harassed the French and Indian forces with warfare of their own kind.They were tough and rugged fighters.


Later, in June 1775 at The Battle of Bunker Hill, General John Stark's Scotch-Irish fighters were the ones who held the crucially important left flank against the British there.

He, in the New York campaign, also scored a dramatic victory over the British at Bennington, Vermont in August 1777 helping to cripple the British army.



Again, at The Battle of Saratoga in October 1777 Stark was with his Scotch-Irish troops, blocking British General John Burgoyne, thus helping Brigadier General Daniel Morgan force the British to surrender at Saratoga with 6000 troops.

It was said of General Stark that "he was always at the right place at the right time." He was also a deeply dedicated Christian.


The counterparts of rugged fighters on the frontier in the French and Indian War of Rogers Rangers were the Mounted Frontier Rangers armed with long rifles which they used with deadly accuracy.

They were mostly Scotch-Irish, patrolling on the then-western frontiers of Pennsylvania and Virginia, protecting their families and the eastern populations of Pennsylvania and Virginia from massacre. Some of the McCords were in the frontier ranger forces there at Ft. McCord, Pennsylvania.


Religious Support for Independence

For the Scotch-Irish, their Scottish Presbyterian faith under John Knox--who had confronted the Queen of England earlier for religious and personal freedom and independence--undergirded and supported their fight in America and gave them a legacy in fighting for religious and political independence from England.

Their Scotch-Irish Presbyterian pastors were for independence and openly preached it from their pulpits. There was no such thing as "separation of church and state" at that time. That phrase was a misnomer and it has been grossly misused and misinterpreted by the U.S. Courts in the past 40 years.


The Scotch-Irish, almost all Presbyterians, were located along the Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania, the Valley of Virginia along the Blue Ridge, and on the Western frontier of the Carolinas as shown on the map above. The Scotch-Irish are the colors in orange, the Germans in brown.

The English of the Anglican faith were to the east toward the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia. Congregationalists (today's Church of Christ) predominated in New England. The Quakers predominated in Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania.

Political Legacy: Some Scotch-Irish Presidents

One of the most intriguing articles about the Scotch-Irish is the report which appeared in the British press a couple of years ago stating that, of all of America's Presidents in the 1800's, nearly 60% of them had one or more parents or grandparents who came from the small postage-stamp sized area of Northern Ireland where the Scotch-Irish came from. Thus these Presidents were Scotch-Irish themselves.

And that of all the American Presidents in office from 1790 until the early 1990's, 40% of them had one or more grandparents who came from Northern Ireland and were thus Scotch-Irish.

Those are huge percentages inasmuch as Northern Ireland or Ulster was such a tiny area, and inasmuch as the Scotch-Irish in 1776 made up only 6% of the total population in America, a percentage which has not varied greatly from that figure since.

What was it about these Scotch-Irish Presidents which made Americans trust them and vote for them--these 60% in the 1800's, and 40% of all our Presidents up to the 1990's?

The names of these Presidents of Scotch-Irish descent will be listed in a future volume of this book.

In addition, many of the other leading civil as well as military in the American Revolution were Scotch-Irish or from Scotland, the Scotch. Some will be described in later volumes of this book, describing the important roles they played in the founding of this nation. Their role was most substantial.

They have included one of the most famous of all Americans, Governor Patrick Henry of Virginia ("Give me liberty or give me death") of Scotch descent and who the World Book Encyclopedia gives credit for our Bill of Rights; the most famous Texan of all, General Sam Houston who won independence for Texas from Mexico and whose father John Houston came from Northern Ireland; David Crockett, and many others.

In addition, those of Scotch-Irish descent also included famous Britons, including Viscount Montgomery who defeated the Germans in North Africa and who was General Dwight Eisenhower's assistant in World War II; Lord Alanbrooke, who led the British successfully from Dunkirk and became Chief of the Imperial Staff of Britain from 1941-46, and many others.

The Scotch-Irish in America have played most substantial roles in other fields. A few shown below are some of them.

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Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon. "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!"

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Amelia Earhart, first woman to cross the Atlantic ocean by air and the first to fly it alone, the first to fly across the United States alone in both directions, a nurse in World War II nursing wounded soldiers, and the first woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross. She lost her life in a nearly successful attempt to fly around the world.

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Edgar Allen Poe

"One of the great figures of American literature, writing fiction and some of the most musical poetry."


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Stephen Collins Foster, "one of America's best-loved songwriters, writing Beautiful Dreamer, Jennie with The Bright Brown Hair, Old Folks at Home, and many others." The Stephen Collins Foster Memorial at the University of Pittsburgh houses a collection of his music and material about his life and works

"In 1976 the Ulster-American Folk Park opened near Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. In its gift shop are found a full-color pictorial map, 'Ulster American Heritage Trail," that identifies the 'ancestral home' in Ulster of, among others, Neil Armstrong, Amelia Earhart, Edgar Allen Poe, and Stephen Foster."


For those interested in tracing their ancestry in Northern Ireland during the period 1826-1860, the following McCords were reported in the land survey recorded in the Griffith Evaluation of Northern Ireland during the following periods. County Tyrone is given below as an example

County Tyrone, Aratrea

There were 11 McCord householders recorded in the Civil Parish ('barony') of Artrea, Poor Law Union Cookstown, year of evaluation 1860, recorded as present in parish yes, year of survey 1833.

County Tyrone, Desertcreat

6 McCord householders, Desertcreat, Cookstown Poor Law Union, 1860 evaluation, 1860, living in parish, 1825 survey

County Tyrone, Ardboe

5 McCord householders, Cookstown Poor Law Union, 1860 evaluation, living in parish, 1826 survey

County Tyrone, Tamlaght

3 McCord householders, Cookstown, 1860 evaluation, not living in parish, survey year 1827

County Tyrone, Ballyclog

2 McCord householders, Cookstown, 1860 evaluation, living in parish, survey year 1826

County Tyrone, Drumragh

1 McCord householder, Omagh Poor Law Union, 1860 evaluation, not living in parish, 1830 year of survey

County Tyrone, Derryloran

1 McCord householder, Cookstown, 1860 evaluation, living in parish, 1826 survey

County Tyrone, Longfield West

1 McCord householder, Castlederg Poor Law Union, 1860 evaluation, not living in parish, 1826 survey

County Tyrone, Donaghenry

Zero McCord householders, Cookstown and Dungannon, 1860 evaluation, 1834 survey

County Totals:

Tyrone 30 McCord householders, Antrim 29 McCord householders, Londonderry 8 McCord householders, Down 4 McCord householders, Armagh 2 McCord householders, Donegal 1 McCord householder.