A Nest of Rascally Rebels

Waterville Historical Society and the Village of Waterville presented a program by Terry McMaster, “A Nest of Rascally Rebels: Scots-Irish Revolutionaries of Currybush,” at the Waterville Village Hall, 122 Barton Avenue, Waterville, Saturday, July 25. Nineteen attended the event, which was free and open to the public, with masks and social distancing.  Participants signed up on our Facebook page.

In the early 1750s a few Scots-Irish families from central Massachusetts and south-central New Hampshire began trickling into an unsettled region about halfway between Schenectady and Fort Hunter, into what is today the Town of Princetown, Schenectady County. Those families greatly contributed to the cause of American Independence, the Scots-Irish being particularly critical of British control over the American colonies. We will explore seven families who settled in what was then called “Corry’s Brook,” their patterns of intermarriage and frontier lifestyle, and their fierce participation in fighting the British during the American Revolution.

Terry McMaster is an independent researcher examining ethnicity, settlement patterns, family connections and military engagement throughout the Mohawk and Upper Susquehanna Valleys prior to and during the American Revolution. He is especially interested in the emigration of Ulster Scots to New England and New York, and their sizable impact on the “War of 1776.” He is primarily researching the citizen soldiers who fought for and protected the homes and families of colonial Tryon County, the alliances and conflicts between Loyalists, Indians and Revolutionaries, and the part played in their lives by family ties, ethnic variation and religion. Terry’s ancestor Captain David McMaster was a member of the Tryon County Committee of Safety, led the 6th company of the 3rd Regiment, Tryon County Militia, and fought at the battles of Oriskany and Johnstown. His ancestors were living in Cherry Valley at the time of the attack on November 11, 1778. 

Terry is also involved in a large-scale Y-DNA project that traces Scots-Irish genetic and population patterns in Northern Ireland and America. He has presented his research at Fort Plain Museum’s “American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley” annual conference, at the Ulster-American Heritage Symposium at the University of Toronto, at the Oriskany Battlefield Commemoration and at historical societies throughout upstate New York. He is a photographer, artist and teacher, and works as an addiction therapist at Capital Counseling, Albany, NY.