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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
Clan Colquhoun of North America Newsletter
3rd Edition


The 2002 Cahoon-Hayth Reunion was held Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Springwood Baptist Church in Buchanan, VA. More than 100 people attended this first reunion of these two families. Hollis (Skeets) Cahoon led the event. Plans are being made for the next reunion likely to be held Spring 2004.

The 27th Savannah Scottish Games were held on May 10th. We were pleased to greet Lucy Avery and her granddaughter Lisa.

Mrs. Avery is one of our longest standing members and was present at the ceremony when this Society was formed in 1980 at these games. Also, the 2nd annual Sgt. Rufus Calhoun Hodges Georgia Hussar award was presented at the Savannah Games for overall Amateur Athlete.

Each year a different photo of “RC” is featured from his time in New Guinea with this Savannah based GA National Guard Unit.

The Two Great Southeastern Games (Part One).  The Southeastern US was settled by a large number of Scots and their descendants abound throughout the land! A large number of these immigrants to the New World in the roughly 172 years before the “American War Of Rebellion” settled in the American Southeast. Clenath Brooks of the Agrarian Movement of Southern Literature wrote an essay in the 1930’s that compares Southern accents with “English” accents. It pointed out how closely the accents were of this region and the Mother Nations (England, Ireland, and Scotland). Not surprisingly we in the American Southeast have many Highland/Celtic Games and Festivals. One of the largest gatherings happens the second weekend of July at MacRae Meadows in the shadow of Grandfather Mountain, NC. One of the founding members, Agnes MacRae Morton, was a descendant of the original settlers. We especially like the fact that Mrs. Morton owned a wheaton Scottie, like our aged Seumas Colquhoun (a picture of whom you can see in the Family Tree and the jigsaw portion of www.electricscotland.com.) This past year was the 48th annual Gathering at this field. These Games officially begin on the Thursday evening, making them essentially a 4 day event, but for some it starts even earlier in the camping area. Live music from the many entertainers gathered begins Thursday as well as “The Bear”-an amateur athletic event with hard demands on the participants’ stamina. The Bear is a 5 mile uphill run/climb up to the top of Grandfather Mountain.

Clan Colquhoun had two participants (please tell me if there were more!). 10 year old Mary Chesnut Smith and her brother 15 year old Nathaniel Smith (descended from a Kirkpatrick ancestor) both ran and finished The Bear. Nathaniel was the 18th to finish the entire race!

Mary and Nathaniel belong to the family of Theodore Fitz Randolph of Birmingham, AL and Banner Elk, NC who attend the GMHG sponsoring their own Kirkpatrick family tent! Many of Ted’s grandchildren participate in the track and field competitions. Events and the camping area are blocked off as The Bear passes through the Meadow that has started at the base of the Mountain. Later, an ancient tradition takes place at the Meadow. “Raise the Clans” has been depicted in some of our modern literature including Diana Gabaldon’s bestsellers. Representatives of all clans present are gathered from the 4 points of the compass to answer the call and place their torch in a saltire shaped holder. Clan members all join hands in a circle around the cross when all the torches are in place, hear a prayer, and then disembark to the four winds. This ends the first night of the event. On Friday, many clans start setting up their tents. Events on the field start at 9am and continue through Sunday. They include athletics, dance (Highland and Country) competition, sheep dog demos, Gaelic language classes, and music. Music is prominent at this gathering all through the weekend. Besides the expected pipe and brass bands, harpists, and fiddlers, there are 10 professional entertainers and groups that perform at the Friday night Celtic Jam and all through the weekend at the Celtic Grove bandstands situated all through the grounds.

There is unique problem with the GMHG. They are held on a mountain. There’s only so many people that can be shuttled in a timely manner up and down a mountain. As the popularity of the event has grown, so have the crowds.

Not having any official figures, I believe the average number of visitors for a typical GMHG weekend is between 20 to 30 thousand. The weekend the year Mel Gibson’s movie Braveheart was released we heard estimates of 40 to 45 thousand people. It was obvious there were more people there than we’d ever seen and talked to before. Options open to you getting to this festival: You can stay somewhere as near as possible off the mountain and purchase a sponsor’s package that includes a parking pass to get you up near the event site. Or you can park at the base of the mountain and wait in line for the school bus shuttle to take you up. Either one of these options require you to get there early. When parking pass lots fill up, you have to park off the mountain. Get there any later than 10am and it can take hours to park and ride the bus up. Another option is to camp on the mountain. There are 5 acres of primitive camping. There are two definite sides to the campground divided by Hwy. 221: the curfew side, closest to MacRae Meadows and able to accommodate RVs; and the uncurfewedMacRowdy” side across the street. HQ for the Colquhouns is “Fort Potter” maintained by Danny Potter at the same site since 1980. Danny started coming to GMHG with his parents 28 years ago. Ft. Potter is located behind the large rocks where the school bus lets the people out who shuttle up. If you look to the left as you travel down the path to MacRae Meadows, you may see a wooden sign stating “Dun Creadhadair”, identifying it in Gaelic. Besides the obvious advantage of not maneuvering up and down the mountain each day, camping here has a few other advantages. Drawbacks include the lack of privacy and the convenience of modern bathrooms for several days. The campground turns into something resembling an almost medieval Scottish village for a week (we did say primitive camping). Long time campers have many stories to tell. The rocks in front of Ft. Potter have been the scene of many weddings and handfasts. A baby was born in the campground about 15 years ago. A planned event with a midwife in tow, campers contributed to a pool to guess the day, time, sex, and weight. Half the pot was to go to the baby and half to the winner, but the winner ended up giving his winnings to the baby also. All sorts of noise come from across the road at the MacRowdy’s camp during the night. One thing that you won’t see unless you stay on the mountain until 11:00 PM Sat. night or camp is an old tradition involving the Clan MacNaughton pipe band. The band plays off and on for several hours throughout the curfew side. At 11:00 Hwy. 221 is blocked off and the band leads a contingent of the curfew side over to the MacRowdy side where we are pelted with marshmallows. The band stops and plays several tunes for the MacRowdys as they set off fireworks. We are then marched back across the street to go to bed while the other side carrys on. If you’re willing to forego some creature comforts for a few days, the Saturday night procession alone is worth camping “with the big dogs” one year.

Thanks to Norman Bliss of Mystic, CT for manning a tent at the Rhode Island Scottish Festival May 17th. This was Norman’s first tent and it was a job well done!


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