Weíre Indians Sure
Enough: The Legacy of the Scottish Highlanders in the United States,
by Michael Newton, published by Saorsa Media, 320 pp., US $24, UK £15
ISBN: 09713858-0-7 is the first critical examination of the cultural
record of the Scottish Highlanders in the United States. This book
includes the first extensive collection of Gaelic poetry composed about
their experiences in their adopted home, as well as providing first-hand
accounts written by Scottish Gaels as they fled oppression, became engaged
in the conflicts in North America, and settled in unfamiliar territories.
Their songs, which can be
heard on the companion album The Songs of the Scottish
Highlanders in the United States, give voice to a people who have
previously been known only through impersonal records written in what was,
to them, a foreign language. This literature enables us to under stand
their lives from their own perspective in a way which dry historical
documents cannot and forms a backdrop for their adventures and their
interactions with the other peoples of America.
Dr. Douglas F. Kelly, V-P
of Scottish Heritage USA commented, "Michael has plowed a largely
neglected field of study. I predict that his pioneering work will bear
rich fruit and will stimulate other research in an area important to the
cultural history of both Scotland and North America."
For more information,
contact Saorsa Media, 506 Maple Avenue, Richmond, VA 23226 or e-mail
This is Angus MacHare
Although he isnít a "bear",
Lois Seamon thought Angus MacHare Colquhoun would be interesting to our
readers. Each year Angus stands guard at the Clan Colquhoun tent at Thomas
Point, Maine; and he does an excellent jobÖ.except for a time a few years
ago when the marauding MacGregors (outnumbering the Colquhouns 10 to 1)
captured him and left a ransom note. He was discovered later at the
offenderís tent. Poor Angus was shamefaced, his pipes were silent, and he
was draped in the MacGregor tartan. But the feisty Colquhoun women- Lois,
Carl and Liz Ė met the MacGregors with such force that Anus was piped back
to his rightful place at his home tent. The Colquhouns! Cnoc Elachan!
Association Scotland, 18 Hanover Street, Edinburgh EH2 2EN Scotland,
UK, will celebrate its 10th birthday in 2002. In that same
year, they plan to have completed their second childrenís hospice with the
help of generous supporters, including Scots in Australia, New Zealand,
Canada and the United States. Financial help will be appreciated.
At this time they are still
searching for a suitable site. CHAS is optimistic that a site will be
found that is in the west of Scotland; peaceful and with a pleasant
outlook; private and sheltered within an accessible location; near rail
and bus routes and motorways; 10-15 miles from a large town; within flat
walking distance of good local facilities such as cafes and shops; within
30 minutes' drive of a hospital; and approximately 5 acres.
Aftermath of WW2 in
Aberdeen, By Eric Duncan
Being born in 1941 I was
almost 5 when the war ended and my memories are not too clear. But some
memories do filter through, along with stories I heard from my parents and
I was born in Torry,
Aberdeen, Scotland. Torry is a part of Aberdeen, which grew up right on
the Coast of the North Sea, at the mouth of the river Dee and Aberdeen
harbour. It was a fishing community until the oil boom of the late 70s.
There was the modern Torry and what was called "OLD TORRY". The latter had
been there for many, many years, how many I really donít know, and was a
fishing village in the days of wooden ships and iron men.
As in fishing villages all
over Scotland, family surnames follow generations. Sons are expected to
follow their fatherís footsteps and go to sea, or to follow in their
fatherís trade. They very often married in the community to daughters of
other fishing families.
As I remember it, Old Torry
was at the end of Sinclair Road right on the water. The houses were built
next to each other in a row on both sides of the street, with other small
houses scattered behind them. Completing the picture, most of them were
white painted, while the others were left showing the brick, with slate
roofs and a chimney on top,. The doors and windows were small compared to
todayís standards. (I wonder why that is? They say that people were
smaller in the past, castle doors were small, and suits of armor were
small, yet Sir William Wallace was over 6 feet. It may be the tradition of
small doors was for easier defense and the knights were small people. Who
knows, thatís another story.)
At the end of the street
were the docks. The trawlers would tie up there, and in the days of the
old wooden drifters and small fishing boats, it is said that they would
stretch out their nets to dry and repair them along the quayside. I can
imagine the smell of the tar as the fishermen worked on them in the warm
summer sun. On the other end of the street was a small corner shop, which
supplied the neighborhood with such things as candles, soap, grocers and,
of course, "sweeties" for the "wee" "loons" and "quines". "Loons" and "Quines"
being Aberdeen slang for boys and girls, and "sweeties" being candy. I say
slang but it probably had its roots in Celtic or Doric or some other
Incidentally, the shop was
converted into a small two-room flat. The living room was the shop front
and the small room at the back was their storage space. The back room
would hold a very small double bed and had a black cast iron sink with a
swan neck tap (faucet). A small gas stove was stuck in a corner for
cooking. The living room had the cast iron fireplace that was used to warm
the shop and room to barely hold a couch, chair and TV. The reason I know
this is that this was my first home when I got married. The address was
125 Sinclair Road, Torry.
I made mention of the fact
that changes were made in the 70s. You see the oil boom had started in the
North Sea and they needed more space for storage, warehouses, etc. So they
bulldozed down that area of "Old Torry". I guess we have to accept change
for progress. But if you think about it, we people get rid of good things
and replace them with capabilities of producing oil to burn that pollutes
the air and helps to destroy humanity and our ecosystem. So we destroy one
way of life so that we can destroy a bigger way of life. I personally
canít see the logic in this except for the ruin of mankind because of
money and greed. This is my personal opinion. I get carried away at times
about things like this, so back to my story.
In a small infant school
building down on Abbey Road, I remember crying as my mother left me at age
5. My first day at school was a traumatic experience.
My first visual in my
mindís eye was of being held up to our window at 151 Victoria Road and
seeing searchlights and aeroplanes shooting at each other above the
shipyard. My father, who was the one holding me, verified this later.
Aberdeen was attacked many times during the war. Not much was publicized
because of security reasons. The shipyards I talked about were Hall
Russell and Co., in Torry; but alas they are gone now also. My parents
told me of an attack by one enemy bomber on July 12, 1941, the year I was
born. The shipyard workers were repairing and building naval vessels. The
workers were eating lunch outside when the attack came which killed many
My mother told me about the
aeroplane that bombed the shipyard also killing four more men standing in
the doorway of the Neptune Bar, which was across the street from the yard.
It headed towards Rosemount where Spitfires engaged in gunfire with the
enemy, mortally damaging it. It came low over my grandmotherís house at
Ruthrieston; and that is when my mother said she could see the pilot
trying to stand up in the cockpit to bailout through the flames. Of
course, he never made it. He crash-landed on Anderson Drive running into a
partially finished ice rink.
Another incident told by my
father was when the air raid siren went off and he grabbed me in his arms
and rushed my mother and I towards the air raid shelter in the back yard.
Each tenement building had a shelter in the bottom of their yard. It was a
concrete structure like a box big enough to hold all the residents. It had
three rooms with a solid wood door to each. The doors were protected by a
concrete wall attached to the roof. You had to enter from the side to get
to the doorway. My father running down the yard past the coal cellars all
in a row (cellars were used to store coal for the fire) a bomb exploded
some distance down the street. The blast blew open a cellar door hitting
my father on the back as he ran past. Luckily he was not injured, but it
fare gave him a "fleg" (scare). We made it to the shelter ok. We would
stay there in the shelter until the siren would sound the all clear.
Sometimes this took a few hours, sometimes it was just a few minutes.
I moved from infant school
to Victoria Road school, which was also damaged from the war. The top
story had been burned out by incendiary bombs in July 1941. This type of
bomb did not explode but burned and could not be extinguished. Luckily it
was after school hours and nobody was hurt.
We sometimes walked or took
the bus when we would go to town. I remember that across the street from
the fish market, stood half of a building. It was a bank that had been
bombed in 1942. A nurse and two members of the rescue squad were killed,
searching the debris for victims. They were trapped by falling masonry.
There are many incidents I
could relate to you. Maybe we will do more at a later date if you are
interested; but let me give you just one more. They are all sad but this
one struck me hard. A raid in February 1942 hit a bar call McBrideís on
Loch Street. It was a direct hit. The revelers inside were having a good
time trying to forget the awful times they were going through and the
death and carnage that was around them. At lunch time in daylight they
raised their faces to the ceiling and listened to the whistle of a single
bomb; and that was that 17 people ever heard again. It was customary for
bombers to unload all their bombs so they flew home light and this may
have been the case here.
Here again is a case of
manís inhumanity to man.
I donít feel that I have
been traumatized in any way by this. Having good Scotís blood in me had
made me a caring and helpful person to my fellow man, after all the Scots
have endured many hardships and trials in their long history.
If you would like to
[email protected]. Yours aye, Eric.