THE LEGACY OF THE SCOTCH FAIR | Laurinbourg Stock Exchange


LAURINBURG – The County of Scotland Highland Games have a much deeper and more colorful history than most might realize.

While many will date back to 2007, when Beacham McDougald and Bill Caudill began planning the transfer of the Highland Games to the County of Scotland after Flora MacDonald abandoned them, for back in the time when her roots were first sown. times locally, this was actually only when these roots received Miracle Grow.

Duncan McFarland, who was born in the Laurel Hill area between 1756 and 1760 to Scottish immigrants John and Catherine McFarland, planted the original seeds more than 230 years earlier for what would become the County Highland Games Scotland in 2009.

“(Duncan) built the first road from the inland ports of Fayetteville on the Cape Fear River to Cheraw, South Carolina on the Pee Dee River – charging tolls on bridges along the way to pay for it,” McDougald explained. “He had a large plantation and his house was right across from the ‘old’ Presbyterian Church on Laurel Hill, and there was an inn and tavern nearby. He also owned a flour mill.

“He envisioned a great city at a crossroads that would rival other great cities in America, and named it, appropriately, Laurel Hill,” he added.

This vision quickly led to a community event that would unfold for about 90 years, well after Duncan’s death on September 7, 1816.

“Scotch Fair,” as it was called, began in the late 1780s and was held on land behind the present Old Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church. The story goes that the word ‘Scottish’ was used – rather than ‘Scottish’ – due to the linguistic and educational challenges faced by these early residents.

The “Scotch Fair” included many activities still associated with most of the Highland Games: athletic competitions, dancing, music, food and drink.

“You can probably imagine that drinking was a key part of the day, because that’s what Scottish men often did,” said Philip McRae, a local volunteer with the current Highland Games. “And when the men start drinking, someone soon decides that they can throw a stone farther than someone else, or that they can lift a tree trunk farther and so on.

“Very quickly you had competitions,” he added.

McDougald said the “Scotch Fair” included the merchant trade and these “feats of strength and speed.”

Over the decades, the “Scotch Fair” drew people on horseback and buggy from all over the region and beyond – until 1878, when the General Assembly banned the event because most of the people who came to the Scotch Fair were only interested in drinking and fighting.

For the next 98 years, this region was devoid of Highland Games, until the Flora MacDonald Academy became the host. These Highland Games lasted 30 years and ended in 2007.

Enter Caudill and McDougald.

In less than 18 months, the two got the support and a group of others interested in bringing the Highland Games to the county of Scotland and in 2009 they were born again, growing bigger and bigger and bigger. best every year.


Learn more about Duncan

He served in the North Carolina House of Commons in the early 1790s and two terms in the State Senate in the late 1790s. He ran for a seat in Congress in 1802, but was defeated. He ran again in 1804 and was elected, serving a term in the 9th United States Congress before returning to North Carolina to pursue business and agricultural projects.

He served another term in the State Senate, from 1807 to 1809.

Duncan died at Laurel Hill in 1816 and is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery.

According to McDougald, Duncan’s father-in-law, John “Red” McNair, convinced him to donate the land in front of his home for a Presbyterian church. He did, but stipulated that there would be no cemetery on church property. The family cemetery is located in the middle of a cotton field near the church.

In 1797 the church was founded by John Buchanan, John “Red” McNair, and John “Hatter” McNair as elders. “Hatter” then moved to Mississippi, “Red” is buried with his wife Catharine as the head of Duncan McFarland, and John Buchanan is buried less than three miles west of the church.

Upon his father’s death, Duncan’s mother married John “Red” McNair, from Argyllshire, Scotland. Catharine and John became parents to other children, including Malcolm McNair, pastor of Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church, Central Presbyterian Church (Maxton), Rowland Ashpole Presbyterian Church, and Church Presbyterian of Red Bluff (Marlboro County, SC) – pastor to each for one Sunday a month from 1802 until his death in 1822.

“In 1861 the Wilmington, Charlotte, Rutherfordton Railway was completed through what is now the County of Scotland,” McDougald reported. “The faster, more reliable railroad led to a shift of the population four miles from Laurel Hill to the Laurel Hill depot or the current community of Laurel Hill. The original Laurel Hill became a sleepy country crossroads and began to be called Old Laurel Hill. The church remained and became known as the Old Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church.

He added that when Sherman’s march stopped at Old Laurel Hill on March 8 and 9, 1865, the McFarland House, which stood across from the present church and other buildings, was set on fire. The church was not, but the benches on the lower level were used to build a plank road above the swamp to the north.

Duncan is buried in a grave in Laurel Hill / McFarland Cemetery marked only by a rustic fieldstone at the foot of the only grave containing the earthenware vases of his mother, who died in 1784 at the age of 57, and his father. , died in 1819 at the age of 84.

W. Curt Vincen t can be reached at 910-506-3023 or [email protected]




8h00 – Opening of the field to the public

8:30 am – Solo piping and percussion competitions begin, as well as Scottish sporting events

9 a.m. – Beginning of competitions in Highland Dance

10:30 a.m. – Shepherd dog demonstration – North end of the field

During the day:

– Find your Clan or Scottish Connection – COSCA Tent – main playground.

– Scottish sellers, Scottish and American foods

– Scottish Reenactor of the 1746 Appin Regiment in Culloden

– Scottish artists and workshops at the Currie Cultural Tent

– Beer tent sponsored by Highland Brewing, wine from Cypress Bend Vineyards

– The main entertainment stage starts at 9:00 a.m. and continues until 4:45 p.m.

11:45 am – Opening ceremony assembly

Noon – Opening Ceremonies

Blowjob Bands Massaged

Parade of Tartans (Main Field)

12:45 – Resumption of competitions in Solo Piping and Drumming, Highland

Scottish dance and athletics

1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Entertainment stage shows

Currie Cultural Tent Shows and Workshops

Scottish sports competitions

Clan tents

1:30 p.m. – Beginning of the Pipe Band competition

2021 EUSPBA Southern Branch Championships for grades IV and V

Two circles at the southern end of the land

5 p.m. (approximately) – Closing ceremonies and prize-giving on the main court


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