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History, Tradition, Heritage As related to the subjects of piping, drumming and pipe bands.

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Old 07-27-2014, 02:10 PM   #1
ethnomuse
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Default Earliest Piper in New England

Does anyone have any documentation for the earliest known piper in New England (preferably southern New England)?
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Old 07-27-2014, 06:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: Earliest Piper in New England

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Does anyone have any documentation for the earliest known piper in New England (preferably southern New England)?
The earliest I know of any Scots arriving in New England is 1650, follwing the Battle of Dunbar, If I remember correctly. They arrived as indentured servants/ Prisoners of War assigned as laborers to the Ironworks in Saugus and Braintree, MA. I don't think any of them would have arrived with personal effects, but I'd love to know differently.
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Old 08-02-2014, 12:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: Earliest Piper in New England

Bob, my wife's Dad is a direct descendant of one of those POWs who were sold to the Saugus Ironworks in 1650. These poor guys were captured at the Battle of Dunbar, marched ("death march") to York, where they were kept in a cathedral for a month with no food. After that, the survivors were taken out and indentured(sold). Unless any pipers among them were lucky, they probably had little possessions other than the clothes on their backs. They might have eaten the leather bags and used the sticks for firewood.
BTW, if you've visited the Saugus Ironworks when they have the big hammer running, it's loud--they must have been nearly deaf after 7 years of working there!
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Old 08-02-2014, 04:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Earliest Piper in New England

I've visited The Saugus Ironworks years ago, before they restored the big hammer. I was born in, and live in Braintree,MA, where the other ironworks was and where some of those Scots prisoners were sent.
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: Earliest Piper in New England

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Originally Posted by Klondike Waldo View Post
The earliest I know of any Scots arriving in New England is 1650, follwing the Battle of Dunbar, If I remember correctly. They arrived as indentured servants/ Prisoners of War assigned as laborers to the Ironworks in Saugus and Braintree, MA. I don't think any of them would have arrived with personal effects, but I'd love to know differently.
Those prisoners were Scottish Covenanters, unlikely to have been bagpipes among them. Prior to arrival in New England, they were marched from Durham to Newcastle, without food or water, many of them ill. Some died on the way, others unable to march were shot by the roadside. They had no possessions, (most were barefoot), and were starving. When they reached Newcastle, some raided a field of cabbage, which they ate raw, which worsened their condition.

150 survivors were then loaded on a ship to London. They spent almost two months sitting on the ship in the Thames before finally being cleared to sail to Boston, having been sold to slavers for 5 each. The journey took around 6 weeks and they were in poor health on arrival. The new "owners" had planned to sell them for 30 each, but couldn't ask the full price due to their ill health. Out of the 150, 61 went to the ironworks, 17 to warehouse work in Boston, 15 to a saw mill and the others sold to local residents.

Looking at sales records, I can only find a total of 98 sales, so it's possible the other 52 Scots died en route or shortly after arrival.
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Old 08-03-2014, 02:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: Earliest Piper in New England

Adam, It's my uderstanding that the Scots prisoners taken at Dunbar and Worcester were Royalists captured by Cromwell's troops, which makes it surprising, at the least, to read that they were Covenanters. I would have thought Covenanters would have sided with Parliamant against the exiled King.

That's what I remember from local history (Remember Massachusetts Bay Colony was a Puritan theocracy at that time, and would have been sympathetic to Cromwell) as well as several other sources. I'm intrigued.
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Old 08-04-2014, 03:51 AM   #7
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Default Re: Earliest Piper in New England

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Originally Posted by Klondike Waldo View Post
Adam, It's my uderstanding that the Scots prisoners taken at Dunbar and Worcester were Royalists captured by Cromwell's troops, which makes it surprising, at the least, to read that they were Covenanters. I would have thought Covenanters would have sided with Parliamant against the exiled King.

That's what I remember from local history (Remember Massachusetts Bay Colony was a Puritan theocracy at that time, and would have been sympathetic to Cromwell) as well as several other sources. I'm intrigued.
History is never that simple, and this is a complicated tale, too long to recount in a forum. I believe the Scottish army was known as the Army of the Covenant. Commander of the army at Dunbar was Alexander Leslie, 1st Earl of Leven, a renowned Covenanter who led the Covenanter army that marched into England to fight against the King in January 1644. By the time of the Battle of Dunbar, he was 70 years old, and deferred much of his duties to David Leslie, 1st Baron of Newark. David Leslie had previously led a brigade of Scottish horse in the Covenanter army. The Scottish army was so heavily linked to the Covenanters that they had a "Kirk Party" that oversaw the generals actions, as well as ensuring that drilling/training, etc, was not done on the Sabbath. Another of the Kirk Party's roles was to make sure that there were not any Royalists in the Scottish Army.

The Scottish Army had fought alongside Cromwell's forces, the main reason being that they wanted to practice religion in the Scottish Presbyterian manner, and not have to adopt the Anglican religion, which was being imposed on them by Charles 1st. Charles 1st surrendered to the Scottish Army after his defeat at the battle of Dunbar, 1646. The Scots assured him that he would not be harmed and would be well treated. They made several attempts to convert Charles to the Presbyterian religion, but, despite sometimes leaning that way when it suited him, Charles stayed Episcopalian, as he believed in the Divine Right of Kings, only God was above him, and he only took orders from God.

Charles was taken to Newcastle and Cromwell told the Scots to leave England as he had "no further use" for them. The Scots left under the belief that the Presbyterian religion was to become the official religion not only in Scotland, but would be adopted in England too.

To cut a long story short, the Civil War continued in England, Charles escaped from Newcastle, was defeated and captured again. The Scots went against the English Parliament, as they had not adopted Presbyterianism, thereby breaking their treaty. A small faction of the Scottish Covenanter Army, known as the Engagers, went into England with the view of restoring Charles 1, but were defeated at the Battle of Preston. Sadly this action led to a Civil War in Scotland. Shortly afterwards Charles I was executed. This irked the Scots who had promised Charles I his safety. They were probably also miffed at not being consulted. The result was war with Cromwell's England, despite Cromwell being reluctant to fight the Covenanters, with whom he shared very similar religious convictions.

That's probably the limit on how much I can condense a 12 volume history.
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:46 AM   #8
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Default Re: Earliest Piper in New England

Thanks, Adam. It's interesting to find once again, at my age, that a good deal of homework awaits
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