According to Scotch and Irish Seeds in American Soil by Rev. J. G. Craighead, an Ulster minister wrote to an associate in Scotland in 1718 saying, “There is like to be a great desolation in the northern parts of this kingdom by the removal of several of our brethren to the American plantations. Not less than six ministers have demitted their congregations, and great numbers of their people go with them…”
The Toleration Act briefly slowed emigration, but ten years later Archbishop Boulter wrote the English Secretary of State that "We have had for several years some agents from the colonies in America, and several masters of ships, that have gone about the country and deluded the people with stories of great plenty and estates to be had for going for in those parts of the world…But whatever occasions their going, it is certain that above four thousand two hundred men, women and children have been shipped off from hence for the West Indies within three years, and of these about thirty-one hundred this last summer.”
The Scotch-Irish immigrants who came to America in the 1720s moved north of the older Maryland settlements, and entered Pennsylvania which had been granted to William Penn in 1681 by Charles II. According to James Logan, the Quaker president of the Proprietary Council of Pennsylvania, “Six thousand two hundred and eight Europeans are said to have arrived in Pennsylvania in 1729 alone, and of these more than five thousand were from Ireland."
According to The Craig Family - 1956, between 1721 and 1732 the sons and daughters of William Craig emigrated from Ulster in North Ireland, and the most detailed accounts claim the Craig’s landed in Philadelphia. Wayland's Virginia Valley Records stated that the Craigs crossed in 1732, but Boogher's Gleanings of Virginia pushed it back to 1721 or 1722 and American Ancestry Vol. 11 pinpointed 1721. While records of the crossing are not found, early deeds and records place the Craigs in America well before 1728, and early documented movements verify Philadelphia.
The reason why the entire grown family left without their parents is unknown, but William Craig and his wife Elizabeth Lindsay Craig remained. Four brothers, and their families, and three sisters, landed in the Pennsylvania port: William (b. circa 1685), Margaret (b. ), Daniel (b. circa 1691), Jane (b. circa 1695), Thomas (b. circa 1695), James (b. ), and Sarah (b. circa 1706).
In the 1720s, the oldest brother, William, and his wife and sons are first identified in Chester County, southwest of Philadelphia, while brothers Daniel and James are found north of the city in Bucks County. Brother Thomas and sister Sarah, with her husband Richard Walker Esq., are known to have lived in Philadelphia. Around 1728 James, Thomas, and John Boyd (with wife Jane Craig), traveled north into the Lehigh Valley with other Scotch Irish pioneers, including James Ralston, Robert Lattimore, William McConnell, Samuel Brown, Joseph Horner and Hugh Wilson – sixteen families in all.
Along the Catasaugua Creek in the future county of Northampton, these families created the Craig Settlement, and by 1731 the growing town became known as the Irish Settlement. A few years later, Daniel Craig traveled to the farther north end of the settlement near the Monoquasy valley, to what would be known as Bath, and became the first white settler in that area. The Delaware Indians remained a prominent threat in these valleys throughout the mid-1700s.
James Logan wrote the Penn family in 1724 warning that the Ulstermen used “as their excuse when challenged for titles, that we had solicited for colonists and they had come accordingly.” The Scotch Irish ventured outside Philadelphia and into the wilderness, working and fighting to make it safer for later pioneers. But the land wasn’t theirs to settle; their claims and deeds meant nothing to the proprietors of Pennsylvania.
John, Thomas and Richard, the sons of William Penn, set aside 5,000 acres for Joseph Turner on 18 May 1732, but on 10 September 1735 Turner handed the land over to William Allen. While Allen was friendly toward the settlers, the homes in the Irish settlement were located on this estate and now belonged to Allen and his family. Some settlers purchased their properties, a few like James Craig were given their land, but in time most of the others just moved on.
When the colonies rebelled against the crown, Pennsylvania was filled with Tories like William Allen and has sons, but the Scotch Irish were strong and able supporters of the revolt. The Scotch Irish pioneers continued into the wilderness and settled Western Pennsylvania and Virginia, as the Dutch and German Quakers moved in around the original settlement, and later took over most of the Irish properties by the 1800s.