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Recalling the Paxton Boys

April 1, 2019

By

Professor Kevin Kenny.

 

Kevin Kenny, Professor of History and Glucksman Professor in Irish Studies at New York University, will on Friday evening, April 12, tell the story of the Paxton Boys, a group of Pennsylvania militiamen that exterminated that last of the Conestoga Indians and then marched on Philadelphia,  Due in large measure to the efforts of Benjamin Franklin, what followed was a war of words rather than weapons, with Quakers, Anglicans, and Presbyterians engaging in an exchange of pamphlets rich with insights into the political culture of colonial America.

The lecture is part of the two-day (April 12-13) symposium at Glucksman Ireland House, about the Scotch Irish organized by the Scotch-Irish Society of the United States of America as part of Carnegie Hall’s “Migrations: The Making of America” series. Go to carnegiehall.org/events for tickets.

The London-born, Dublin-raised received his Ph.D. from Columbia University. His books include “Making Sense of the Molly Maguires” (1998), “The American Irish: A History” (2000), “Ireland and the British Empire” (editor, 2004) and “Diaspora: A Very Short Introduction” (2013).

 

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The symposium’s other speakers

Organizer, and a featured speaker, Michael Scoggins died suddenly last month.  His replacement speaker is Nancy Sambets, a former close associate. She received her BA in History from the College of Charleston and her Master’s Degree in Museum Studies from the University of South Carolina. She has worked at the Berkeley Museum, Old Santee Canal State Park and Andrew Jackson State Park. She is currently the Director of Archives at the Historical Center of York County under the Culture & Heritage Museums. Since 2004, she has written a monthly column in YC Magazine and in 2007 coauthored the book “Images of America: York” with Michael Scoggins.

Mary Burke, UConn Associate Professor of English, is author of “’Tinkers’: Synge and the Cultural History of the Irish Traveller” (Oxford UP), which considers a disregarded Irish minority identity. An internationally-recognized expert on Synge, she has published widely on twentieth-century Irish literature, identities, and culture in publications from James Joyce Quarterly to the Journal of Design History. She is a former NEH Keough-Naughton Fellow at the University of Notre Dame, and her current book project is a cultural history of Scotch-Irishness. Her talk will focus particularly on Henry James, the descendant of a Presbyterian flax farmer who left Ireland for America in 1789. She is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and Queen’s University, Belfast.

 

Henry James.

 

Dan Knight holds a B.A. from Washington and Lee University and M.St., M.Litt., and D.Phil. degrees from the University of Oxford.  He was a Fulbright Scholar at Oxford and a Slosson Fellow at the University of Michigan.  Since 2004, he has taught history at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley, where he is currently Associate Chair of the department.  He specializes in the colonial South and family history and is currently working on a history of the Wilson family, Scotch-Irish settlers in southwestern Pennsylvania who later became Presbyterian missionaries.  He currently is editor of the Studies in Rio Grande Valley Regional History Series, and has published in the Journal of Scotch-Irish Studies, the Encyclopedia Virginia, The American Genealogist, and Genealogy.

Richard MacMaster is a retired history professor and a former president of the Scotch-Irish Society.  His most recent book is “Scotch-Irish Merchants in Colonial America: The Flaxseed Trade and Emigration from Ireland, 1718-1775”  (Belfast, 2014). He is working on a narrative history of 18th century Ulster settlement in North America. He was a consultant for the Ulster-American Folk Park for years. His 1968 Ph.D is from Georgetown and he taught at Western Carolina and James Madison University.  In retirement he is affiliated with the University of Florida.

Michael Montgomery is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English and Linguistics at the University of South Carolina.  He was Honorary President of the Ulster-Scots Language Society from 2000 until 2015 and is the author of “From Ulster to America: The Scotch-Irish Heritages of American English” (2017), among many other works.  He lives in Columbia, SC.

Doug Orr is the president emeritus of Warren Wilson College. During his 15-year presidency he founded the Swannanoa Gathering summer five week music workshops, which today draws 1,500 people from throughout the world, with Celtic Week as the largest of the theme weeks. With Fiona Ritchie he co-authored the New York Times best-selling book “Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia.”  It is the top selling book in the history of the UNC Press. Orr also is a board member of Asheville Sister Sisters where he has led the establishment of a new Sister Cities partnership with the villages of Dunkeld and Birman.

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