HERITAGE PROGRAM – TRAILS & SAILS
Scots for Sale: Scottish Slaves in Colonial New England
In the early 1650s, two ships arrived at Boston Harbor with hundreds of Scottish prisoners. These Scots, soldiers who fought bravely in defense of Scotland during the English Civil War, had been captured by Oliver Cromwell’s troops and deported to America. Sold to English colonists, the captive Scots labored at the Massachusetts ironworks, sawmills in Maine and New Hampshire, and towns and farms all over New England. This surprising true story—of Scottish slaves in colonial New England—is a dramatic and little-known chapter of American history.
Diane Rapaport, a professional genealogist and award-winning author, has spent years tracing the fate of these 17th-Century Scottish prisoners, who survived war and servitude to rebuild their lives in Puritan New England. She shares her discoveries—with a special focus on the Scots in Essex County—at the Wenham Museum, on Sunday, September 25 at 2:00 p.m. One of the featured Scots, Robert McClaflin, was the first resident of the historic house that is part of the Wenham Museum. There will be an opportunity after the presentation to tour the “McClaflin Room” where his family once lived.