Scotland’s influence on the USA
John Paul Jones (1747 - 1792) is famous in the United States as the 'Father of the American Navy'. A gardener's son from Kirkbean, Kircudbrightshire, Jones went to sea at the age of 13 and went on to become America's first naval hero in the American Revolutionary War.
You might be surprised to learn that the world's most famous mouse was voiced for almost 40 years by a Dundonian. Jimmy MacDonald (1906 - 1991), who became a Disney sound effects wizard, was chosen by Walt Disney to provide the voice of his most well-known creation Mickey Mouse in 1947.
Dunbar-born John Muir emigrated with his family, aged 11, in 1849 to rural Wisconsin, USA. Muir had developed an early passion for the natural world, and pursued these interests across the Atlantic where he fell in love with the wilderness. He is credited with starting the national park movement in America - including Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. Muir has been voted ‘Most Famous Californian of all Time’, appeared on two US postage stamps and has dozens of places named after him. Muir died in Los Angles on December 24, 1914.
Scotland and America
Of the 43 men who have served as President, an astonishing 33 have been of either Scottish or Ulster-Scots descent. This includes George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. According to geneaologists, current president Barack Obama's ancestry can be traced back to William the Lion who ruled Scotland from 1165 to 1214.
‘Uncle Sam’, who is famously depicted on patriotic recruiting posters, is a national icon in the United States. The original ‘Uncle Sam’ is said to be Sam Wilson, a food business operator in New York, whose parents came from Greenock in Scotland. Wilson supplied meat to the US Army during the 1812 War and it was joked at the time that the ‘U.S.’ stamped on the crates stood for ‘Uncle Sam’, in reference to Wilson.
Many locations in America were nostalgically named after the places Scottish immigrants had left behind. There are eight Aberdeens, eight Edinburghs, seven Glasgows and eight places simply known as Scotland in the United States today. In addition, many places are named after Scottish clan names with areas named Campbell, Cameron, Crawford and Douglas throughout the USA.
Scots American connections
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, took a scrap of Armstrong tartan with him on his historic space flight of 1969, in tribute to his ancestors from Langholm, now in Dumfries and Galloway. The astronaut was made a freeman of Langholm when he visited in 1972.
Armstrong’s fellow-moonwalker, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, also boasts Scottish antecedents.
Buick is the one of the most famous brand names in the motor industry and is stamped on more than 25 million cars in the USA. The car is named after David Dunbar Buick, a plumber from Arbroath, who emigrated to the USA in 1856 and went on to set up the Buick Motor Company.
Glaswegian Allan Pinkerton founded the world’s most well-known detective agency in Chicago in 1850. He become famous when he foiled a plot to assassinate President-Elect Abraham Lincoln. The distinctive Pinkerton agency logo, the All-Seeing Eye, inspired the phrase ‘Private Eye’. A major crime-fighting force, the Pinkerton Agency and its methods are thought to have inspired the FBI.
Elvis Presley's roots can apparently be traced back to a village in Aberdeenshire. The musical icon is descended from Andrew Presley, who emigrated to North Carolina in 1745.
Scotland was the location for The King's only visit to the UK, a brief landing at Prestwick Airport in 1960.
Last updated 11 Dec 2012