The conference is over but the work is just beginning!

A post conference publication of submitted work will be published. Stay tuned for details on how to obtain you copy.  Click below and find out what you missed! 



Schedule of Events

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Please visit registration in Main Lounge, Moulton Union for receive your week long pass this afternoon. This is key for you to receive your lunch as well as daily admission

8:30 AM- 4:15 PM Full day Guided Bus Tour of Historic Portland for Pre-registered guests. (Meet the Bus at the Cedar Street Park & Ride)

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Conference Registration Bowdoin, Main Lounge, Moulton Union

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM Cocktail Hour – Join us for a pre-dinner aperitif. Cash bar, light hors d’oeuvres. (Main Lounge Deck)

6:15 PM seating for dinner (Main Lounge)

6:30 Dinner service begins

7:30 Opening Reception Event


Welcome by Rebecca Graham, President Maine Ulster Scots Project

Special host and speaker: Norman Houston OBE, Director of the Northern Ireland Bureau

Special Speaker: Colin Woodard, Journalist, & Author


Norman Houston, OBE - Norman Houston is the Director/Counsellor of the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington, D.C. Norman has over 38 years of experience working as a senior official in the Northern Ireland Civil Service, including 13 years working in a diplomatic role.

Norman's early career included spells with the Industrial Development Board (i.e. the predecessor to Invest NI), where he managed the organization's public relations campaigns in Asia Pacific and its trade development activities in Continental Europe. This is his second posting to Washington, D.C.; he was the First Secretary at the Bureau from 1998 to 2002.

Norman has spearheaded the Executive's international strategy in the U.S. and Canada since 2007; during Northern Ireland’s longest period of continuous devolved government in over 40 years. Norman was the first Northern Ireland diplomat to escort the First Minister and deputy First Minister into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush in December 2007. Norman facilitated similar meetings with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden during their tenure in the White House, as well as with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He has built up the Bureau's profile on Capitol Hill and with various branches of the U.S. government, including the White House, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Commerce. Norman has also developed the Bureau's footprint in Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles and New York.

Norman was born and raised in Larne, County Antrim. He has an adult daughter and son. He has a First Class Honors Degree in Modern History from the Open University.

Colin Woodard - Colin Woodard is a historian and journalist and author of five books including American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America and The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier. A longtime foreign correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chronicle of Higher Education, he has reported from more than 50 counties and seven continents, including five years in Eastern Europe during and after the collapse of the Soviet empire. He is currently State and National Affairs Writer at the Portland Press Herald – where he won a 2012 George Polk Award and was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize Finalist – and is a contributing editor at Politico.

A frequent public speaker, he has been a guest on CNN, PBS News Hour, MSNBC’s Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd, NPR’s Weekend Edition and On Point, BBC World Service, and other national programs and cable history documentaries. His third book, The Republic of Pirates, was the basis of the NBC series “Crossbones” and inspired an major video game by French software maker Ubisoft. He has written for dozens of major publications, from The Economist to Smithsonian and reviews books for the Washington Post.

Woodard has a B.A. in history from Tufts University and an M.A. in international relations from the University of Chicago, where he won the 1997 Morton Kaplan Prize for best thesis (on the causes of ethnic conflict in the Balkans.) He was an exchange student in the Fall of 1989 at the Karl Marx University of Economics in Budapest and a Pew Fellow in International Journalism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He is currently a trustee of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC, and serves on the advisory board of the University of Maine’s Maine Policy Review, a peer-reviewed public policy journal.



Wednesday, August 15, 2018

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM Conference Registration (Kresge Auditorium)

(Coffee and Tea Available)

9:00 AM-10:00 AM

Welcome & Opening Roundtable

 “Emigration Ulster to Maine Causes, Consequence, Conditions

 Kresge Auditorium, Bowdoin College

Moderator: Rebecca Graham

Panelists: Tad Baker, Chris Sockalexis, Linde Lunney, Alister McReynolds

10:00 AM -11:00 AM

Concurrent Presentations 1 &2

1.     “1718 Families Project” – Mr. Colin Brooks (Kresge Auditorium break out room in adjacent Searles Classroom)

Colin Brooks is a family historian and genealogist who specializes in research on the Scotch-Irish. As a lead conference speaker in Ireland, former Board member of the Scotch-Irish Society of USA, and speaker at American genealogy conferences he has shared the impact of the early Scotch-Irish in American history. With roots in the original Londonderry families of 1718, he realized the absence of source material and focused family research on the 1718 emigrants. In 2004, Colin began to develop the "1718 Project". Much like the earlier "Mayflower Project", this work documents the first families of 1718 Scotch-Irish to America. From Maine to South Carolina, the project has found families who made their influence felt throughout America. This project now extends back to Ulster, and has included work with media from BBC Radio to Ulster TV and BBC TV and local Ulster newspapers. Colin will be presenting a unique and challenging presentation based on 18th century material and family histories that show our Scotch-Irish families "in a factual light versus the historical fiction" used by many modern authors.


2.   “Adversity and Diversity on the Early Maine FrontierDr. Emerson “Tad” Baker (Beam Lecture)

Emerson "Tad" Baker is interim dean of Graduate and Professional Studies and a professor of History at Salem State University. He is the award-winning author of many works on the history and archaeology of early Maine and New England, including A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience and The Devil of Great Island: Witchcraft and Conflict in Early New England. Baker has served as an advisor and on-camera expert for PBS-TV’s American Experience and Colonial House, as well as for documentaries on Smithsonian, National Geographic and The Learning Channel.


11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Concurrent Presentation 3-4

3.    Somerset Archaeology –Pam Crane (Kresge Auditorium)

The Somersett Site: An Archaeological Portrait of an Ulster-Scots Habitation on the Maine Frontier In 1718, a group of Ulster-Scots settlers arrived on the shore of Merrymeeting Bay, in what is now Maine. Among them were Andrew and Jane McFadden, who named their new homestead “Somersett” after their former home on the Bann River in Northern Ireland. Their house was burned four years later, during the border conflict known as Dummer’s War. The charred remains of the habitation remained largely undisturbed, thus becoming of a perfect capsule of Ulster life on Maine frontier In 2013, members of the Saint Andrew’s Society of Maine and the Maine Ulster-Scots Project initiated archaeological work on the site. Evidence shows that in making their new home, the McFaddens drew from their own roots in Ulster, as well as from knowledge borrowed from neighboring English colonists and the nearby native Abenaki. Structural remains show the prodigious use of wood, earth-fast construction, a dug cellar, and English-derived framing techniques more typical of New England construction than that of Ulster. Seed and pollen samples show the McFaddens planted their garden with native crops borrowed from the Abenaki, as well as food and medicinal plants from Ulster. Artifacts reflect the bare necessities of pioneers: tools for construction and cultivation, food preparation and consumption, and trade.


4.   Resistance and Reprisal: The Scots-Irish of Mid-Coast Maine During the French and Indian War –Mr. Michael Dekker (Beam Auditorium)

The Scots-Irish have established an enduring legacy of fierce independence, a willingness to resolve perceived transgressions through violent confrontation and grass roots resistance to the intrusions of outside authority. In Maine there is reasonable recognition of Scots-Irish contributions to the struggle for American independence. There is probably even more awareness of their role as “White Indians” who resisted the pressures of the great proprietors in the land claims crisis prior to statehood. Less well known and understood is the role they played in the unfolding of the last Indian war on the Maine frontier. During the conflict, the Scots-Irish residents of the mid-coast prosecuted a war against their native neighbors while simultaneously defying the government of Massachusetts and its representatives living in their midst. Growing up and residing in Mid-Coast Maine, Mike Dekker has developed a life-long passion for the region’s past. An avid student of early American history and material culture, he presents educational programs and lectures for historical societies, museums and historic sites including the Maine Historical Society, the Museums at Old York and Colonial Pemaquid. Mike is the author of the book The French and Indian Wars In Maine.



12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Free cafeteria style lunch for 5-day ticket holders with lanyard.

Food purchase possible for day ticket holders. Moulton Union, Bowdoin College


2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Afternoon Roundtable

“Exploring the Diaspora” -” Kresge Auditorium, Bowdoin College

Moderator: Bill McKeen

Panelist: Norman Houston, OBE; Councilor Joni Smith; John Mann; Chip Griffin


3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Concurrent Presentations 5-7


5. “By Another Route: The Ulster Scots and the Scottish Prisoners of 1650-51” – Dr. Carol Gardner (Kresge Auditorium)

A generation before the Ulster Scots arrived in Maine, two dozen Scottish prisoners of war were struggling to build families and livelihoods on New England’s eastern frontier. The parallels between this earlier group of immigrants and the Ulster Scots are many. Understanding what brought them to America and what they encountered when they arrived reveals a more complete picture of the events, trends and people who shaped 18th-century Maine.

 Carol Gardner has more than 30 years’ experience as a writer, journalist and communicator. She earned a Ph.D. in English from Johns Hopkins University; taught at Johns Hopkins, Wake Forest, and Florida State Universities; and has published pieces in a wide variety of books and periodicals, including the World of Baseball series, BluePlanet Quarterly, The Women’s Review of Books, Portland Press Herald, and The Washington Post. She is a past winner of a Maryland Individual Artists award and the author of the forthcoming narrative history, The Involuntary American: A Scottish Prisoner’s Journey, 1630–1705 (Westholme), to be released in fall of 2018. She lives in Alna, Maine.


6. “Hardscrabble and good old times amongst the Scotch Irish in Maine” – Mr. Alister McReynolds (Beam Lecture Hall)

Alister will examine the role played by 18th century Scotch Irish in developing the economy of Maine. He will do this through the lens provided by looking in detail at the case studies provided by the circumstances of family/dynasty development in Maine. This narrative will include the development of shipbuilding with the Pattons and McClellands and the simple yet unconventional way in which wealth accrued to the Orr family that allowed them to purchase 1000 acres of land on what became Orr’s Island. Alister’s lectures are known for their capacity to peer beneath the surface of events in a thoughtful and revealing manner. His presentations are clear and interesting and reveal a lifetime of educational experience and honing of presentation skills.


7.  From Kilrea to Kittery and beyond, the Sterret(t) Saga- Mr. Bob Starratt (Searles Lecture Break out to follow in adjacent Searles classroom)

Robert "Bob" Starratt has been doing family history research since he was 16 and for the past 20 years has taught courses in family, local and military history for the City of Edinburgh, as well as for East Lothian and West Lothian Councils. He holds post-graduate university qualifications in history and public administration, as well as a Certificate in Teaching Adult Learners. He has lectured on Scottish, Irish and English family history topics throughout Britain, Ireland, Canada and the USA. A regular participant at family history conferences, including Who Do You Think You Are? Live, he also does professional historical research and leads historical-cultural tours.


4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Concurrent Presentations 8-10


8. Relationships with the land: The Scots-Irish Experience in the District of Maine – Mr. John T. Mann, President Emeritus, Maine Ulster Scots Project (Kresge Auditorium)

John Mann, PLS will draw from 43 years of experience surveying property boundaries and researching ancestors in the “Casco Bay” and “Kennebec” settlement areas to present information on the relationships the Scots-Irish had with the land in Maine, colonial America’s “Eastern Frontier.” Land ownership was a primary attraction for our Scots-Irish ancestors.  John will use historic documents and maps from the period, as well as his experience “in the field,” to discuss: how the land was acquired; what obstacles needed to be overcome, conflicts arising from occupation; using the land for subsistence; creating an income, and sometimes wealth; the economics of location, and the dogged perseverance of those who won the land.

9. Scots-Irish Religious Folkways in Mid-Coast Maine; The Presbyterian Founding 1729-1763– Mr. Carl R. “Chip” Griffin III, Esq. (Beam Lecture Hall)

This talk will examine the enduring religious influence of Ulster-Scots migration to Mid-Coast Maine through the lens of the early Presbyterian Church in Maine. Chip has authored three books, Coming of Age on Damariscove Island, Maine, in 1980, a brief historical review of pre-twentieth century Damariscove Island and an oral and documented history of Damariscove from 1910 to 1922; I’m Different, in 2002, a biography of Ethelyn P. Giles and a history of our twentieth century in the Boothbay region; and co-authored Lively Stones:  The Evolution of the Congregational Church of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, from Its Origins in 1766 to 2016, in 2016.  He has published two articles in Harbor Journal, “A Distinctive Tradition of Equality in Midcoast Maine,” in volume 1 and “Safe Passage for the Children of the Guatemala City Garbage Dump,” in volume 2.  He has written and presented on many local history topics over the past 30 years.

10. Wilson Family in Maine- Ms. Delia Wilson Lunsford (Searles Lecture Hall)

This presentation will be a condensed and edited version of several of the book chapters in The Uncommonly Common, which tells the story of all documented descendants of James Wilson, one of the Temple ship arrivals in 1718-19. The book as well as this presentation focuses on genealogy methodology as well as the actual family tree with heavy emphasis on the first three generations in Topsham. The paper will concentrate on the first American generation and how they fared and lived in Topsham up until the very early 1800s. Delia will also include a bit about her next book on the Alexanders of Maine which includes branches never before extensively researched or written about. James Wilson’s daughter married William Alexander from another Scotch-Irish family and is still represented in Maine by hundreds if not thousands of descendants today – an important comparison as the Wilsons have virtually disappeared. Delia Wilson Lunsford is a writer, web technologist and genealogist. She holds a BA in English and has done graduate work in three fields. She has published one book, The Uncommonly Common, has one about to be published on her Vance ancestors, and is working on a third about the Alexanders of Maine.


7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Private Reception

 for presenters and 5-day ticket holders

Hosted by the Scottish Affairs Council, special guest Joni Smith,

at The Daniel, 10 Water Street Brunswick Maine. Cash bar, casual setting.


Thursday, August 16, 2018


Event at First Parish Church, Brunswick (Open to the Public)

9:00 AM -10:00 AM  “Greetings from First Dunboe Presbyterian Church” home of 1718 Rev. Woodside, offered by Rev. James McCaughan

Rev, Jim McCaughan will offer greetings from the first Dunboe Presbyterian Church in Articlave, Northern Ireland and briefly discuss early Presbyterianism in Dunboe and Ireland including a devotional "Thought for the Day and the Conference" at Brunswick, First Parish Church

Reverend Mary Bard will discuss the history of the First Parish Church, and Rev. Woodside's 1718 home parish.


9:00 AM-10:30 AM Walk in Conference Registration (Kresge, Auditorium)


 10:00 AM- 11:00 AM

Concurrent Presentations 11-13

(Coffee and Tea Available)

11. Using DNA in Family History Research: An Introduction-Presented by Tom Dreyer, Genealogist at New England Historic Genealogical Society (Kresge Auditorium)

Tom Dreyer, Genealogist assists patrons at the New England Historic Genealogical Society Library and Archives in Boston. A genealogical researcher for the past thirty years, Tom's areas of genealogical expertise include DNA, New England, Nebraska, Missouri, and Germany. Advances in DNA research over the last decades have had huge implications for the field of genealogy. Yet, with the growing number of companies and options, it can be difficult to know what test is best for you and your genealogical goals. NEHGS Genealogist Tom Dreyer will provide an introduction to this powerful genealogical tool, discuss what types of genetic tests are available to family historians, what genealogical problems they can—and can’t—assist you with, and ultimately how to choose the right test(s) to further your family history research. He will also discuss some genetic tools specific to those with Scots-Irish heritage.


12. 1718 Migration; Connections Coincidences, Consequences- Dr. Linde Lunney, Royal Irish Academy (Beam Lecture Hall)

This presentation will trace the unexpected connections between members of the elite groups who initiated and organized the exodus in 1718 and afterwards. Some of these connections, particularly those which apparently date back several generations before 1718, may turn out to be no more than coincidences, but are none the less thought-provoking. These elite family links provide further evidence for the importance of the early modern family-based mercantile networks of the Atlantic world.  Family connections held trans-national trade together, but are also of superlative importance for the less well-documented, less wealthy, Presbyterians who were persuaded to seek new settlements in America. The consequences of the exodus will occupy the last section of the paper. I will sketch in the hollowing out of Aghadowey and the scale of the losses from the area as a whole, and will suggest that, given the prime importance of kinship networks to people of Ulster Scots/ Scots Irish background, the events of 1718 and afterwards irreparably damaged families and possibly destabilized the community for generations afterwards. (Beam Lecture Hall)


13. The 1718 Emigration from the Lower Bann and Foyle Valleys to New England- Mrs. Alison McCaughan (Searles Hall)

A brief discussion of why inhabitants of Ulster left or the new World and what they experienced when they arrived. Alison will also speak about the ongoing relationships between Dunboe and Emigrants in America over the next 200 years while reflecting on how Emigration affects those who are left behind in the homeland.


11:00 AM – 12:00 AM

Concurrent Presentations 14-16


14. Role of Religion in Migration – Dr. William Roulston, Ulster Historical Society (Kresge Auditorium)

Among the many factors that encouraged individuals and families to leave Ulster was religion. Beginning with the unsuccessful Eagle Wing voyage of 1636 and working forward to the 1718 period, this talk looks at the relationship between religion and emigration from Ulster to America in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The talk will highlight the religious situation in Ulster in this era, especially as it concerned Presbyterians, and will consider the extent to which it contributed to the outflow from the north of Ireland to the American colonies. Dr William Roulston has been the Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation since 2006. He holds PhD in Archaeology from Queen's University Belfast. His books include Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors, 1600-1800 (2005), Restoration Strabane, 1660-1714 (Dublin, 2007) and Abercorn: The Hamilton’s of Barons Court (Belfast, 2014). He is a Member of Council of both the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland and the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.


15. From the Kailyard to the Dooryard: Gaelic and Scots Poetry from Transatlantic Bards- Rev. Holly Morrison (Beam Lecture Hall)

The old bardic traditions didn't sink under the waves, but rather re-emerged with vigor after the hard ocean crossings of Scottish and Scots-Irish immigrants.  In this survey of song and poetry of the immigrant experience, we'll “keek oor lugs” to a range of bardic voices by turns wise, witty, heart-breaking, righteous, and rambunctious. Rev. Holly Morrison is a farmer-poet in the tradition of Burns, and a “righteous rememberer” in the tradition of her Highland ancestors.  She has studied with Gaelic and Scots tradition-bearers on both sides of the Atlantic.  Her poetry is featured in “The Smeddum Test: 20th Century Poems in Scots.”  In addition to farming and screeving, she currently serves as pastor of the Phippsburg Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in Phippsburg, Maine

16. Coleraine in 1718- Ms. Helen Perry, Causeway Coast and Glens Museum Service (Searles Lecture Hall)

18th century Causeway – what was this place and why were people migrating into and out of the area?  At a time of considerable societal transitions, Helen will talk about the role of the landlords, governance and the impact of earlier conflicts, land use and emerging industries, trade and travel. She will also discuss the depth of the collections housed with the museum service and potential resources for deeper inquiry.


12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Free cafeteria style lunch for 5-day ticket holders with lanyard. Food purchase possible for day ticket holders. Moulton Union, Bowdoin College


2:00 PM- 3:00 PM

Afternoon Roundtable

“Somersett Archaeology in Context” -” Kresge Auditorium, Bowdoin College

Moderator: Rebecca Graham

Panelist: Pam Crane; John Mann; Brad McFadden


3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Concurrent Presentations 17– 19

17. Rathlin Island to Lubec, The Sam Henry Collection- Ms. Sarah Carson, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Museum Service Officer (Kresge Auditorium)

Sam Henry hoped to capture and share with others the folk music of Ulster. This music would find found its way into Maine, along with the Rathlin and wider Ulster diaspora. Come hear their stories told through Sam Henry’s collected ‘songs of the people’, the largest of its kind in Ulster, offering a glimpse into the rich tradition and story of the language and dialect of the time. Sarah's session will also showcase the work being done with local communities including Rathlin Island, Ballycastle, Limavady, Ballymoney and Portstewart, to draw inspiration from Sam Henry to create new collections of their place. Esmee Fairburn   Collections Fund is funding this valuable work which also includes documenting over 12,000 items donated to Coleraine Museum by Sam Henry's grandsons.

18. The Fighting Woodsides: Defending Scots-Irish Communities on a Hostile Frontier – Mr. Fred Koerber (Beam Auditorium)

Reverend James Woodside was a prominent force in promoting Presbyterian emigration to Massachusetts Bay. Despite being highly respected by many of the colony’s luminaries his tenure here was futile and brief. However, in the next stage of life in England, Woodside served as the voice of exploited New England Scots Irish communities before the royal court. His two sons William and James remained on the Maine frontier and assumed military prominence, commanding forts along the coast. Clever, well educated, ambitious, and bold they zealously defended communities of Ulster Scots settlers from Native American threats and subversion by Massachusetts Bay authorities.


19. Learning About Heritage - Ulster Scots in Education- Mr. Richard Hannah, Ulster-Scots Agency (Searles Auditorium) (Break out Session in Searles Classroom to follow)

Learning about our own culture is an important factor in understanding who we are. Confidence in the knowledge that our culture has value, and is valued, helps create the conditions for understanding and respecting the cultures of others. The Ulster Scots Agency was established following agreement between the Governments of Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland and is funded by both. Building a strong and shared community is an important objective for the Government of Northern Ireland and a commitment to enhance Ulster-Scots language, heritage and culture at home and abroad has been the basis for the work of the Ulster-Scots Agency. This presentation explores the context for raising awareness and understanding of Ulster-Scots in Northern Ireland and abroad using examples of past and present work. Attendees will have the opportunity to see - a new website designed to engage those in the United States about aspects of Ulster-Scots history, heritage, culture and genealogy along with providing information about places of interest in the USA and Ulster. There will also be the opportunity to see a new multimedia teaching and learning resource about emigration of Ulster Scots to America in the 18th century called ‘Land of Promise’. It is hoped that this will provide curriculum-based learning experiences for schools in Ireland and the United States, leading to collaboration between them. Richard is the Director of Education and Language joining the Ulster Scots Agency in December 2017. Prior to that he had been Director of Education Strategy in the Northern Ireland Council for Curriculum Examinations and Assessment (CCEA). He was responsible for the development of teaching and learning resources for the Northern Ireland school curriculum, in service training for teachers and statutory assessments in schools. Richard was a high school teacher before joining CCEA and has Masters Degrees in Education from universities in the United States and Northern Ireland. He is a Board member of Stranmillis University College, a teacher training institution in Belfast.

4:00PM – 5:00 PM

Concurrent Presentations 20-22

20. Bygone Ballads of Maine, -Ms. Julia Lane, Castlebay (Kresge Auditorium)

Ulster Songlines in Maine Scottish and Irish based traditional music of southern Appalachia in the U.S. has received a good amount of attention, due in part to the 19th century ballad collections of Francis Child, as well as more recent publications, but there is a wealth of this same music in the folk culture of New England. Immigrants from Scotland and Northern Ireland arrived in this area from the mid 1600's developing thriving communities. They naturally brought their folkways and songs with them. In the late 19th and early 20th century song collectors ranged across the region from the coastal communities to the woodland camps in search of vernacular songs. Journals and recordings preserved hundreds of songs many of which can be traced to ancient sources. These are archived at the Univeristy of Maine’s, Maine Folklife Center, the Library of Congress, Harvard's Houghton Library, the Helen Hartness Flanders collection in Middlebury Vermont, among many others, and contain well over 5000 songs. The titles, tunes and lyrics reveal that a large percentage of these songs came from Scotland and Ulster. For the last twenty years, Julia Lane, of the Maine folk music duo Castlebay, has been examining, transcribing and interpreting these collections with the intention of making them accessible to a modern audience and revealing the social history of our region through music, song and story. In addition to performing these songs in her regular concert programs, she has recorded a number of them and is preparing a book and website of her transcriptions. Julia Lane, of Round Pond Maine USA, has researched and presented traditional songs for over 40 years. With her partner Fred Gosbee, she has recorded over 20 albums and has created and performed several multi-media productions blending music, history and lore. They tour both the eastern US and the British Isles and Ireland playing at educational institutions, museums and arts centers. For more information see


21. European Occupation of Maine’s Eastern Frontier: The Influence of Fort Richmond on Settlement of the Merrymeeting Bay Region - Dr. Leith Smith, Maine Historic Preservation (Beam Lecture Hall)

The Pejepscot Proprietors, a group of investors based in Boston, purchased vast tracks of land in the area of present Merrymeeting Bay and Brunswick in 1715.  Settlement was immediately encouraged to generate profit from their investment, but local Abenaki inhabitants of the region were not keen to have Europeans return after being chased out in the 1670s.  The Proprietors petitioned the Massachusetts General Court to provide a contingent of militia to protect would-be settlers.  Soldiers were finally sent in 1720 and were housed in a garrison constructed by the Proprietors on Thwait’s Point at the junction of Merrymeeting Bay and the Kennebec River.  Two years later a fort was constructed by Massachusetts at the same location to demonstrate to the French and Abenaki its claim to what was then known as the Eastern Parts.  This was the first of four forts constructed in the region, where the policies of local Native Americans two European governments and a broad cast of characters played out over a 40-year period.  Despite complicated social and political entanglements, many Europeans who come to the frontier ended up making the region their place of operation and home.


22. The Irish New Settlement on Merrymeeting Bay- Ms. Barbara Desmarais, Brunswick Historian (Searles Lecture Hall)

In this talk Barbara will explore how the Ulster Scots hoped to escape onerous land rents and rampant crop failure by establishing themselves in New England. Using a variety of primary sources, Barbara will illustrate the Ulster Scots’ early years using sketches of three Brunswick families: Cochran, Dunning, and Woodside. Then she will follow the families as they find their places among the English as war-weary soldiers, shrewd traders, and town selectmen. Throughout, she will note the social and cultural differences between the Ulster Scots and the English, and the conflicts these may have caused. Barbara Desmarais has shared the stories of Brunswick’s past for nearly two decades, through her blog “Cemeteries of Brunswick, Maine” offering annual cemetery tours, presentations, and local history classes. She contributed to the book “Maine’s Visible Black History” by H. H. Price and Gerald Talbot. Recently Desmarais’s research led the National Park Service to accept Brunswick’s Heuston Cemetery as a Network to Freedom Underground Railroad Site.


6:30 PM (doors open) - 9:30 PM Evening Special Event:

Kresge Auditorium

“Fiddle Traditions in Ulster-Scots Music, Then & Now”

Open to the Public Tickets available to all. Free to 5-day ticket holders.

Frank Ferrel

2017 North American Fiddler’s Hall of Fame inductee, Frank Ferrel is considered to be one of the leading North American fiddlers performing today. In a Boston Globe article, music critic Scott Alarik referred to Mr. Ferrel as “One of the finest living masters,” of that genre.

Frank began his fiddling at age 8, influenced first by his grandfather, a traditional musician and native of Ohio and West Virginia.  His father's family originally came from the Longford area of Ireland via Maritime Canada. Frank rekindled his interest in traditional fiddling under the influence of local Irish, French-Acadian, and Canadian Maritime fiddlers while stationed at the old Charlestown Naval Shipyard in Boston in the 1960’s, playing with and learning from such legendary players as Irish fiddlers, Paddy Cronin and Seamus Connolly, Cape Breton Scottish and French Acadian players, Winston Scotty Fitzgerald, Bill Lamey, Tommy Doucet, Joe Cormier, John Campbell and Angus Chisholm, just to mention a few.

Over the years, Frank has appeared on the nationally broadcast popular American radio series, A Prairie Home Companion, and is included on their anthology recording, "PHC Tourists."  He has performed on numerous occasions with the legendary Celtic group, The Boys of the Lough, both as guest artist on their Scottish Highlands and Islands tours, as well as in concert performances throughout North America. The Library of Congress chose his major label CD release, Yankee Dreams, for inclusion in their Select List of 25 Recordings of American Folk Music. Throughout the 1990’s he performed with the legendary Irish-American accordion player, Joe Derrane, and was music director of the National Public Radio series, Say You.

Frank has published two collections of fiddle music for the international music publisher, MelBay, and a third collection of 325 of his original compositions including the classic Cape Breton Scottish jig, Spin-N-Glo. He has produced recordings of traditional music for such major folk labels as Rounder Records, Voyager, and Flying Fish Records. In addition, he has made a number of recordings, both as a solo artist, and as a studio musician. He was the Featured artist and cover story in the fall, 2016 issue of Fiddler Magazine.

Frank was asked to help in the development of the now legendary Festival of American Fiddle Tunes held in Port Townsend, Washington, and served as one of the first directors of that festival for ten years.


Castlebay members Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee treat the audience to a musical journey through time and across the Atlantic blending history and legend into their personable style. Since 1988 they have toured down the American east coast and to Ireland, Scotland and England performing at arts centers, museums, festivals and schools. Julia's ancestors were among the Scots Irish who came to Pemaquid in the early 18th century. These colonists brought their music with them to the new world as heirlooms. Ancient ballads would ease the cold and darkness of a winter night and were passed down, now appearing in Maine's traditional repertoire. The lives and adventures of these people also provided ingredients for new songs whose origins can be directly traced to Ireland and Scotland. Lane and Gosbee research archives and collections for these songs and interpret them for performance. Castlebay will present a sampler of these musical stories.

Castlebay has produced numerous recordings featuring both songs of the Maine coast as well as songs, stories and poems in the Scottish and Irish traditions. Their most recent CD, Bound Away, features seafaring songs of Maine selected from historical archives. They are working on a book of Maine traditional songs and lore. For more information, please visit

Maine Highland Fiddlers

Maine Highland Fiddlers are part of the traditional Celtic music revival that thrives throughout the North Atlantic rim.  The music of Scotland, Cape Breton Island, Ireland and the Shetlands resonates well with the rich heritage of Maine’s early Celtic settlements.  Along with fiddles, the group includes guitar, bodhrán, and vocals.  The group of six musicians gathers from throughout Southern, Western and Mid-Coast Maine to perform, pass on, and renew the Celtic fiddle tradition in Maine.  Their music recaptures the kitchen party atmosphere that is central to the Celtic tradition.

What began as a group of friends gathering at someone's house to play Celtic tunes and talk Celtic times soon became a desire to share the music and traditions with everyone. They have played several popular venues in southern, central and mid-coast Maine; including Poland Spring All Souls Chapel, Araxine Wilkins Sawyer foundation, Maine Celtic Celebration, and Maine Highland Games.

Mike Boyd has been playing his bodhrán with the Maine Highland Fiddlers for 8 years.  He was first inspired by Rolf Wagels of the Irish band, Cara.  That was when Mike learned just what could be done on a bodhrán. He then went on to take lessons from Rolf.  Mike can often be seen at local sessions, playing with some of Maine’s best musicians.  Mike has performed on stage with some world class acts.  He makes tippers (drumsticks) for bodhrán players all over the world.  Mike teaches bodhrán at many of the festivals and music camps around Maine.

Frank Grant started playing guitar when he was 10 years old. With no formal instruction he is self-taught. Since he was a teenager he has played in public venues and for private parties with other musicians and as a solo act. Frank favored artists such as James Taylor and Paul Simon most of his life. In 2015, he attended a performance of the Maine Highland Fiddlers. Joining them soon after, he has developed a deep appreciation and affection for Celtic music.

Michele Stowe learned to love music listening to her older cousin play piano, and at age nine began her study of classical piano.  After grade school she auditioned and was accepted at the High School of Music and Art in New York City where she continued with the piano and began studying the violin which she played with their orchestra. She minored in music in college and then pursued a career in elementary education teaching third and fourth grades for twenty five years. After retirement, Michele discovered Celtic Music and took her old violin out of the closet after forty seven years, and found a love of playing the fiddle that she never felt playing the violin.  She fell in love with Scottish and Cape Breton music which reminded her of her Celtic roots from Galicia in Northern Spain.  She has been a member of Fiddle-icious since 2011 and joined Maine Highland Fiddlers in 2015.

Rhonda Bullock began her musical career at age seven.  Following the school years of violin lessons, orchestras, and festivals, she decided to explore a different style of music and attended the Maine Fiddle Camp in 1999.  After one weekend immersed in traditional fiddle music, she was hooked.  She has been fiddling ever since – attending various workshops and music camps from Maine to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and plays with several groups including Fiddle-icious and The Maine Highland Fiddlers.  In addition to performing, Rhonda teaches private violin and fiddle lessons at Fiddlehead Art & Science Center and especially enjoys sharing the art of traditional music with others. 

After seeing Eileen Ivers and John Doyle in concert, at the age of 36, Susan Volmer was inspired to learn to play fiddle.  Their passion for playing and the traditional music was contagious.  Sue started with private lessons learning by ear and quickly continued on with various workshops, fiddle camps, and classical violin lessons. Outside of Maine, Susan has performed in Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia individually and with varied groups of fiddle friends; Sue was an original member of Fiddle-icious for its first 4 years, and currently plays with the Cape Breton Fiddlers Association, “Cache-tes-Fesses” Quebecois Study group, Belfast Bay Fiddlers, and her beloved Maine Highland Fiddlers pursuing her interest in Cape Breton Music. 

Val Mann inherited her love of family, farming and fiddling from her Grandfather who proclaimed himself ‘of Scotch-Irish extraction’.  She took up fiddling when she received the first fiddle that ‘Grampy’ built, dated 1924.  He played for family and community dances as a youth.  Val claims that some of his tunes are still in his fiddle.  She has been a student of traditional music, learning from many of Maine’s and Nova Scotia’s best fiddlers.  She has taken her interest in all things fiddle into the workshop and is now re-hairing and repairing fiddle bows.  She and her husband, John, have been host to some of the Celtic genres very best traditional musicians for house concerts and jam sessions.  She has been a member of Fiddle-icious since its beginning in 2004.  She has performed with Maine Highland Fiddlers since the group began in 2008.


Friday, August 17, 2018


All Tours Meet at the Cedar Street Parking Lot


1:00 PM – 5:00 PM Historic Tour 4 “Archaeology: McFadden Site & Merrymeeting Bay

6:00 PM Special pre-games Ceilidh sponsored by St. Andrews Society of Maine- Topsham Fairgrounds – Free and open to the public!


Saturday, August 18, 2018

8:00 AM – 4:00 PM 40th Annual Maine Highland Games and Scots Festival, hosted by St. Andrews Society of Maine

Open to the public, Free to 5-day ticket holders. Tickets may be pre-purchased or purchased at the gate. Click here for more info.