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Terry McMaster will close his photography exhibition, "Ancient Gravestones of The Elbow/Palmer, Massachusetts, and Vicinity," on view at Harmony Hall from October 2 to October 30, with this lecture focused on the Scots-Irish of the area.
Although Ulster Presbyterians had immigrated to the shores of Colonial America prior to the eighteenth century, it was in 1718 that the floodgates opened. In that year 700 Ulster Scots arrived in Boston Harbor in five ships from “the North of Ireland.” Many of them had signed a petition, sent to Gov. Shute earlier that year, “to assure His Excellency of our sincere, and hearty Inclinations to Transport our selves to that very excellent and renowned Plantation upon our obtaining from his Excellency suitable incouragement.” By the “Plantation” was meant New England.
During the next two years, approximately 2,600 Scots-Irish came to New England. The passengers of the initial five ships were not welcomed in Boston, and most of them formed three settlements within six months: Worcester, Nutfield (Londonderry, NH), and Casco Bay, Maine. Over the next decade the Worcester settlement was joined by kinsmen and co-religionists from Ulster, and their communities spread across central and western Massachusetts to include Rutland, Blandford, Pelham, and, of course, Palmer. This presentation will examine the gravestones of many Scots-Irish and other early settlers of Palmer and central Mass., and will look at the impact those pioneers had on that landscape.
Terry A. McMaster has been studying the early history of The Elbow Tract/Palmer, Massachusetts, for 20 years, and has photographed many of the gravestones of the pioneer settlers. His ancestors John and Katharine McMaster emigrated from County Antrim, Republic of Ireland, in 1720 to Boston, and they settled in “The Elbow” in 1733, along with many families from their homeland. Terry’s interest in the ancient gravestones erected for the early settlers began in 1986, when he first visited the Old Palmer Center Cemetery and saw the stones of his ancestors and their neighbors. Terry is an independent historian, artist, photographer, and psychotherapist. He has recently created ARCHETYPAL PHOTOGRAPHY, LLC. He works as an addiction therapist at Professional Counseling Services, Camillus, New York, and is an adjunct instructor for SUNY Canton, New York.
Admission to the lecture is free, though freewill donations are kindly accepted. There is no need to reserve a ticket in advance.
Event is co-sponsored by the Palmer 300th Anniversary Committee.