On Tuesday, May 17, at 4:30 p.m., Boothbay Region Historical Society will hold its annual meeting with guest speaker Chip Griffin, who will speak about “First Maypole Dance in America: Damariscove in the 1600s.” The meeting and Chip Griffin’s talk are free and open to all.
This is the 400th anniversary of the very first maypole dance in America, which took place on Damariscove Island. In the spring of 1622, English adventurer Thomas Weston sent his ship Sparrow from England toward the Plymouth Colony, but the ship “wanting a pilot” arrived at Damariscove Island instead. On May 1, 1622, Sparrow crew member Phinehas Pratt reported: “The men belong to ye ship, there fishing, had newly set up a maypole and were very merry.”
Damariscove fishers differed dramatically from Plymouth settlers, who farmed and relied on Native Americans. Damariscove fishermen were primarily there for profit, catching cod and returning fish to England each year. Damariscove fishermen primarily harked from the west coast of rural England, differing in temperament and purpose from the Plymouth colonists.
Carl “Chip” Griffin III grew up in Boothbay. He received a Ford Fellowship to teach Maine history as an undergraduate at Bowdoin College. He has a passion for Boothbay history and has written books and articles on the subject, including “Coming of Age on Damariscove Island, Maine,” “I’m Different,” “Lively Stones: The Evolution of the Congregational Church of Boothbay Harbor, Maine,” and “Reflections on 300 Years of the Scots Irish in Maine.”
Admission is free. Currently all talks will be offered both in-person and on Zoom. If Covid changes, this may change. In-house seating is limited and if offered will be on a first-come, first seated basis. Call us at 207-633-0820, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or check our website for the latest information. To request a Zoom link please email us at email@example.com. Boothbay Region Historical Society is located at 72 Oak St. in Boothbay Harbor.