Scottish Heritage

The 33rd Charles Bascombe Shaw Memorial Scottish Heritage Symposium

Sponsored by the Scottish Heritage Center – St. Andrews University

(with support from The North Carolina Scottish Heritage Society)

* Due to the lingering COVID concerns in the weeks leading up to this event, we are once again offering this event VIRTUALLY. Watch and enjoy Scottish and Scottish-American History and Culture come to life from world recognized scholars in the privacy of your own home or office.

Speakers for 2022

Dr. Donald Meek  “An Arran Preacher in North Carolina: Scottish Gaelic perspectives on the Raft Swamp Sermons (1791) of the Rev. Dugald Crawford.”

Dr. Meek’s presentation will address the life and contributions of Rev. Dugald Crawford, an Island of Arran native who was a Gaelic speaking minister in North Carolina in the years following the American Revolution.  Crawford returned to Scotland after ministering in America – not being lost at sea which was one folk myth which continued for a number of years following his departure.  His sermons printed in Fayetteville, NC were quite significant as they were the first items known to have been printed in Gaelic in North America.   Donald Meek is a native of the Island of Tiree. A graduate of the Universities of Glasgow (MA, PhD, DLitt) and Cambridge (MA, LittD), he worked at the Universities of Glasgow (Assistant Editor, Historical Dictionary of Scottish Gaelic, 1973-79), Edinburgh (Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader in Celtic, 1979-92, and Professor of Scottish and Gaelic Studies, 2003-2008) and Aberdeen (Professor of Celtic, 1993-2002). He has published many articles and books, concerned mainly with Medieval and Modern Gaelic literature, and also with the history of the Christian faith in the Scottish Highlands.

Alison Diamond  “An introduction to the Argyll Papers at Inveraray Castle with a focus on Kintyre before 1800”

Alison Diamond is the Archivist for the Argyll Papers – the family and estate archive of the Campbell family, Earls and Dukes of Argyll at Inveraray Castle. Her responsibilities include the preservation and development of the archive as well as managing access to the archive for researchers .  Before Inveraray, Alison worked as a Curatorial Officer for the National Records of Scotland. Alison has also worked for the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (Project Manager. A Union for a’ That), for Access to Mineral Heritage and for Unilever plc.  This presentation is specially prepared for our audience, as our initial “Argyll Colony” of 1739, as well as many who followed in the ensuing years came from this particular region of Argyll.  Nonetheless, anyone with pre-19th century connections to the Kintyre region will doubtless find this presentation of great interest.

Dr. Ronald Black   “Alexander MacDonald’s Songs: The Carolina Copy of 1802”

This presentation will deal with the recent discovery of a copy of the Gaelic Songs and Poetry of Alexander MacDonald (Alasdair MhicMhaighstir Alasdair) which were found among the belongings of Duncan McLaurin – a 1790 emigrant to North Carolina from Ballachulish, Appin Argyll.  The presentation will examine the questions of what the significance of a book of Gaelic poetry may have been for an emigrant to Carolina and why this rare edition was preserved among his descendants for over 200 years.   Ronald Black is Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Celtic, University of Edinburgh, and Gaelic Editor of ‘The Scotsman’ and of the Uist community newspaper ‘Am Pàipear’. He is a regular broadcaster, contributes to a wide variety of newspapers and journals, and has published widely. Among his publications are ‘An Tuil: Anthology of 20th Century Scottish Gaelic Verse’ (Polygon, 1999), ‘Smuaintean fo Éiseabhal: Thoughts under Easaval, the poetry of Dòmhnall Aonghais Bhàin of South Uist’ (Birlinn, 2000), and ‘An Lasair: Anthology of 18th Century Scottish Gaelic Verse’ (Birlinn, 2001)  Many Carolina Argyll descendants may also be familiar with his more recent three-volume work ‘Campbells of the Ark:  Men of Argyll in the 1745’ (John Donald, 2017).

Amy Sinclair Dahm and Phyllis Lonon Arnold  “From Tiree to Nova Scotia to North Carolina:  A Sketch of Rev. John Campbell Sinclair, His Son Rev. James Sinclair, and Family”

This presentation, given by the third- great granddaughters of the Ministers Sinclair, will tell a little-known story of a family of ministers who had a significant impact on the Highland settlement of North Carolina.  Being among the last full-time Gaelic-speaking ministers of this “Carolina Gaidhealtachd” their story not only gives insight into the decline of that language in this region but also tells a story of men who were true to their beliefs even though challenged with the turmoil of a Civil War and the unfortunate aftermath of Reconstruction – in an area whose history of racial relations were hugely impacted by events in which they participated in and or witnessed.  These men and their family served as ministers of the historic congregations of Barbecue, Galatia, Longstreet, Ashpole and Smyrna, as soldiers in the Confederate Army, as a newspaper editor and attorney, and as an officer of the Reconstruction era establishment whose acquaintances likely included the famed Lumbee folk-hero Henry Berry Lowrie and members of his “gang” as well as numerous freed slaves whose conditions they sought to improve.  The story of this family has incredible twists, turns, and ironies which are for the most part unknown to most historians – even those of this region.  You will hear the story and learn of its documentation directly from descendants – and a fascinating story it is!

About the Event

Holding this virtual event virtually this year enables us to have access to speakers who may not have been able to be with us live.  We hope to be able to resume a “live” Scottish Heritage Weekend Symposium event next year.  This is the 33nd Annual event, with only a one year gap in 2020 due to the pandemic outbreak.   The event provides an excellent opportunity to hear and learn from some of the top scholars and historians from both sides of the Atlantic who have been very kind to share their time with us.

This event will be held virtually on Saturday, March 26 starting at 9 a.m. EST.  This will help us account for our presenters who will be with us live from Scotland. Presentations will last slightly under an hour each, with all presentations and proceedings concluding by 2 p.m. EST that day.  A final schedule will be sent to all registrants.

Participants will need a good reliable connection to the internet to view and hear the presentations.   We cannot be responsible for any mishaps or lapses due to poor connections on the user’s part, however we do have the ability to share this event live via the ZOOM platform.  We will also record the event for sharing afterward for anyone who may have connection issues during the event. You will not miss out!

Participants will be sent an invitation to the online ZOOM symposium at least 48 hours prior to the event.  The event will be moderated.


The fee for this year’s symposium event is $20 per person for all sessions.  This will provide you access to the full event on Saturday, March 26 as well as to be sent a recording of the presentations for future use and reference.  Proceeds benefit the Scottish Heritage Center, its projects and immediate needs. REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS MONDAY, MARCH 21!  EARLY REGISTRATION IS ENCOURAGED. The PREFERRED registration method is via PayPal:  with the full fee of $20 being sent to: Make sure to account for any fees for PayPal use.

If you do not have PayPal you may send a check for $20 to “Scottish Heritage Center” :

Scottish Heritage Center

St. Andrews University

1700 Dogwood Mile

Laurinburg, NC  28352-5598    


The Scottish Heritage Center

The Scottish Heritage Center was established to highlight and preserve the Scottish heritage and traditions of the region and beyond. The Upper Cape Fear and Sandhills regions of the Carolinas were home to the largest settlement of Highland Scots in North America until well into the 19th century. In 1989, on the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the first group of Highland Scots (the now famed “Argyll Colony”) in North Carolina, the college undertook a number of projects aimed at providing educational resources relative to these Scots and others who settled in the region. The Scottish Heritage Center provides assistance and resources for hundreds of interested parties annually.

The Scottish Heritage Center, located on the St. Andrews campus, houses a notable collection of old and rare books dealing with Scottish and Scottish-American history, genealogy, and culture as well as current scholarly titles and periodicals. The Center also contains exhibits relative to the Scottish settlement of the southeastern region of North Carolina, as well as artifacts relative to the famed Scottish heroine Flora MacDonald who resided briefly in the region in the late 18th century. The Center also houses the “Fiona Ritchie Radio Archive for ‘The Thistle and Shamrock'” – the archive of the popular radio program heard over hundreds of National Public Radio stations nationwide.

This is the largest collection of Celtic music of its type in the United States. The Scottish Heritage Center sponsors a number of activities yearly which include special concerts and lectures. The most important event in the Center’s calendar is the annual “Scottish Heritage Weekend” held in March. This weekend includes the “Our Scottish Heritage” Symposium, an educational opportunity which features presentations of Scottish and Scottish-American history, genealogy, and culture by top scholars from Scotland and the United States. The annual Scottish Heritage Awards Banquet is also held during the Scottish Heritage Weekend. This gala event honors outstanding members of the Scottish-American community who have made outstanding contributions to the preservation and perpetuation of Scottish heritage and traditions. Past honorees include Fiona Ritchie, Jean Redpath MBE, Ellice McDonald, Jr., the late Lady Dorothy Dunnett, Sharyn McCrumb, Pipe Major Sandy Jones, the Honourable Flora I. MacDonald, Dr. Duane Meyer, the late Rev. Canon Dougald Lachlan MacLean, and many others who have made outstanding contributions to the Scottish community. The public is cordially invited to the “Scottish Heritage Weekend” and the event draws its large annual attendance from throughout North America and Scotland.

For further information on the Scottish Heritage Center, its resources, and the annual “Scottish Heritage Weekend” held annually in March, please contact the Director of the Scottish Heritage Center, (910) 277-5236.

Scotland County Highland Games