The Grand Design
The Chronicle of a Scots-Irish journey to the New World
In July, 1741, a group of 200 people from Northern Ireland left Derry bound for Philadelphia. Battered by hurricane, wrecked on a desolate island and abandoned by their captain, some had the strength and courage to survive through the winter.
Based on 18th century documents and narratives, this is the story of their journey.
Historically, I believe that the Grand Design was an emigration scheme circa 1741 with the goal of bringing about 200 Scots-Irish Presbyterians to Philadelphia. The ship, called Martha & Eliza, left Londonderry, Northern Ireland in July, but encountered a storm which disabled the masts. In November, after drifting about 10 weeks in the North Atlantic, they were cast on the desolate shore of Grand Manan Island, now part of New Brunswick, Canada.
Many of the passengers had succumbed to stress and deprivation. The captain and crew left the survivors and sailed in the longboat to Fort Frederick at Pemaquid where, twelve years earlier, Colonel David Dunbar had brought a group of Scots/Irish from Ulster to rebuilt the fort and they had remained a thriving colony.
The captain and crew of the Martha & Eliza tarried here for several weeks. Eventually they returned to the wreck intending to salvage the goods on board and, finding passengers still alive, removed some of them to New Harbor. These were charged an exorbitant fee for their rescue.
This first group registered a complaint with the Governor in Boston who caused another ship to be sent for the remaining survivors. Another group was removed, but because the captain had originally dispersed the people around the island, some were left to endure the entire winter. These were finally found in April by Native Americans (Passamaquoddy) who carried letters to settlers at the fort in St George, Maine, over 100 miles from the island, and arranged their rescue.
The last group consisted of ten women including Isabel Galloway, and her infant child. She married a local man, Archibald Gamble, also from Northern Ireland. Many of the survivors were taken in by the people of New Harbor, Damariscotta, Warren, and Boothbay. Many remained in Maine, married locally, and their descendants still live in the area.
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The Grand Design can be presented as a fully staged production, a concert version, and as readers theater using our musicians and projections.
The Grand Design may also be licensed for production by your company.
To host or collaborate a performance call 207-529-5438, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Castlebay, PO Box 168, Round Pond, ME 04564
First run produced by the Heartwood Regional Theater adapted and directed by Griff Braley.
2019-09-02 © Castlebay, Inc.