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Newsletter - Fall 2003

SDFA Updates

Lynn Rowland and her son, Christopher Cornett, have moved from NC to OH.  That's going to be quite a change for them in a couple months.  Sharon Harvey has moved in the opposite direction - from CT to FL.

David and Janet Battistoni have already started making plans for next year's AGM.  Keep an eye on the AGM section for updates.  If you would like to be on their e-mail list, send an e-mail to them so that they have your e-mail address.  Also check the SDFA website for links.

Tartan Day pins will be sent out in your winter newsletter at the end of January.  Several of our members have assisted in running a tent or split a tent with another group to represent us and now we have our first official convener.  Francis and Barbara Dyer have signed, sealed and delivered their convener and assistant convener papers and are ready to take on a few of the states in the Northwestern Region.  See the Northwestern Report section for a short note from Francis (Rick).

There is a list of current members with their districts accompanying this newsletter.  If you see someone in the list with a name that is in your heritage and wish to correspond, let me know and I'll get that member's permission to give you contact information.

New Members

Welcome to our new members.   The Scruggs-Maxwell Family (Ken, Tracey, 15 year old Sean, and 13 year old Logan) from Winston-Salem, NC is associated with the Roxburgh District through the name Scruggs.  They are also associated with Clan Maxwell.   James Blyth and Family are from Howes Cave, NY and are associated with the Tweedside District.   Robert Halley lives in Ravena, NY and is associated with the Gala Water District through the name, Pringle.  Mrs. Sally Park Saltsman Ready of Oneida, NY is associated with two districts - Fife and Tyneside through the names Dodds and Stevenson.  Jack Browning Greenshields is from Stillwater, MN.  His name is found in the Glasgow District though many of his ancestors appear to have come from Edinburgh.   Jack discovered us through Clan Hamilton at the Minnesota Renaissance Faire.   Cornelia Proctor-Jenness and Family from Spofford, NH are associated with the Angus District. Darin and Eric Long's name is associated with the Fife District.  They are from Lewiston, ME.  Francis Parker of Everett, MA is associated with the Perthshire District.  From Earlville, NY, Craig Muckle is associated with the Tweedside District.  Mary and Charles Savage from Hollis, NH are associated with the Mar, Strathspey, and Deeside (where Balmoral Castle is) Districts through the name Strachan.  Apparently there is or was a Strachan family tartan, also.  Robert Searles and Family from Weare, NH are Dundonians from the Dundee District. Our first members representing the Arran District are Jeanie and Clifford Sillars from Farmington, NH.  Jill and William Walls are from Willow Springs, NC.  Their districts include Dundee, Aberdeen, Angus, Inverness, Galloway, Tyneside, and Caithness. 

New Members, cont'd

The following picture is one of the folks who met at the SDFA tent this summer (see the last issue of the newsletter) and discovered that they were distant relatives.  Standing left to right are Lee Powers and member Phil Mulligan.  Seated are Lee's sister and Phil's wife, Cindy.


Annual Dues Renewal

If you joined the SDFA before October 15, 2003, then your renewal is due by the end of December.  On-time renewals are $10.00 for single members and $15.00 for family memberships.  If you wish to upgrade at this time to a family membership it is $20.00.   Please send your renewals along with the accompanying renewal form giving us your most recent information to Homer Phifer, Jr. ,  490 Burning Tree Road, Pinehurst, NC 28374.

Genealogy Queries

If you are having a problem finding a certain ancestor or line and would like the help of the membership - this would be the section to ask for general help by having it published in a Query.  Keep it short and mail or e-mail the query to me first.


Looking for Information: (Scotland)
James Wood-b. 1809 Sanend, d. 22 Aug. 1868 Fraserburgh m. 16 June 1832 Isobel Bruce
Does anyone have information on parents:
Alexander Wood & Janet Hutcheon?

Looking forward to hearing from everyone.


Diane Strout
24 Millbury Avenue
Millbury, MA 01527-4121.

Hogmanay & First Footing


Hogmanay is the celebration of New Year's for Scots.  Before midnight the entire house must be cleaned and all of the old ashes removed from the stove.  All debts should be paid.  Right after midnight Auld Lang Syne is sung.  Friends and strangers are welcomed with kisses and hugs, bad blood forgotten, and starting the new year is started with a fresh appearance and mind.   There is much celebrating, with bonfires and fireworks a mainstay of most of the festivities.  The most spectacular event involving fire takes place in Stonehaven, just south of Aberdeen, where huge fireballs are swung on 5 foot poles that require 60 men to carry them.

First Footing tradition is that a dark man (used to be a dark stranger) stepping foot over your threshold bringing coal, dark bread, or whiskey will bring luck for the oncoming year.  He should in turn be greeted with food and drink. There are probably many dark haired men in Scotland happily stumbling about the streets of Scotland between midnight and morning on New Year's Day.

2004 Annual Meeting

To remind you - the SDFA Annual Meeting will be held at the NH Highland Games in Hopkinton, NH next year.   Hopkinton is within a half hour of both Concord and Manchester, NH.  The games will be held the 24th through 26th of September 2004.  David has blocked off condo units near the games.  He and Janet did this this year and it worked out very well for them.  The condos have 3 to 4 bedrooms.   They have a certain group set aside for SDFA members since there are also clan members who have joined them in the past.   From David's description of this year it sounds like everyone really enjoyed being all together at the condos, and they were the envy of other clans.  David would like anyone who wants any information on the AGM to e-mail him at  Keep watching this space as plans firm up.  You'll be receiving more information in later newsletters and you can visit the SDFA website for information and a link to the games site, also.

Northeastern Region Report

(CT, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, VT)

Janet and David Battistoni
18 Harvard St.
Red Hook, NY 12571
e-mail -

South-Atlantic Region Report

(NC, SC, GA, TN)

At the Triad Games in Archdale, NC young member, Matt Hitchcock wrestled, with Mad Max judging.  Matt placed 3rd place again against much more difficult competition (and bigger too!). He's happy that he is placing each time.

The picture is of member John McDaris, as he marched past in the massed bands at GMHG.

The Celtic Fest in Cary, NC was a success.   The weather stayed nice throughout the day and everyone seemed to enjoy the music and the camaraderie at the SDFA tent.  There was a special children's area where crafts from the different Celtic nations were done, face painting, a climbing wall, a couple more Scottish vendors (so new shopping could be done), and great music and dancing throughout the day.  The Welsh joined us this year.  Member, David Warren, had the honor of carrying the saltire in the Parade of Flags.   He and Michelle Mosco were there as long (perhaps longer) as I was Friday evening and Saturday volunteering for the games and assisting in the tent.  Lynda Pletcher also came to assist in the tent and keep us in stitches.  She was at her best with Black 47.   Christie and Matt Hitchcock were there helping out also. No wrestling this time for Matt. "Sword" fighting with one of the young Clan Hay boys had to suffice.  Also there and helping out were Bill Jarrett and Lee Caldwell. 

Member, Paul Smallwood, was manning the Ulster Scot tent and  Sheila Valentine came out for the Saturday evening portion of the Fest.

Our final games for this area was the Flora MacDonald Games.  Again great weather and a wonderful day.  I got to hear the Glengarry Buoys.  They do a mixture of rock and traditional music.  Members in the area all had prior commitments, but the tent was put to good use by people who had been identified as district people.  The tents as this game are right on the edge of the field so they are a great place for viewing the athletic competitions, sheep dog exhibitions, and the massed bands.  Member, Billy McKenzie, popped over from the MacKenzie tent for a quick hello and conversation.


Judi Lloyd
112 Riverwalk Circle
Cary, NC 27511

e-mail -

Mid-Central Region Report

(MO, CO, KY, NB, KS, IA)

[For those of you attending games in the Mid-Central  check the Ferguson tent for Paul.  Other Ferguson conveners are also aware of his involvement with the SDFA.]

We need to "talk up" the District Tartan concept when we meet folks at the games. It is hard enough for a lot of them to understand the tartan of their surname . . . or the concept of the septs . . . or we hear "that isn't my name, it isn't spelled right". Those of us who do understand the idea need to convey it to those who don't . . . the proliferation of  publicity for Tartan Day on April 6 helps. I already bought a button for next year at the St. Louis games Oct. 11th. This idea is catching on, thanks in part to the faithful promotion of the State Tartan idea by my colleague Rupert Furgerson II, FSA Scot, who was instrumental in getting the state of Kentucky to be one of the first. I understand California has recently joined the ranks. These are tartans based on geography,  where you live . . . like in the old days. I'm a Ferguson, but I also qualify for the Gala Water District near Edinburgh. Our goal is to reach those who do not have a surname tartan, but who might qualify by District. I wonder what the Schwarzenegger tartan will look like?


Paul's Cales, FSA Scot
No. 5 Park Dr., Apt 101
c/o Peachtree Village
Holiday Island, AR 72631

e-mail -

Greetings from Wisconsin

I have just returned from a great experience at the Wisconsin Highland Games & Celtic Fling, located in Waukesha, WI.  (Sept. 5th - 7th.) 

The event was held at the Expo Center and grounds and hosted by the Wisconsin Scottish Inc. a non-profit organization chartered to preserve the traditional arts, crafts, culture, heritage and traditions of the British Isles through educational activities, such as this event.

This was their second year, but you would swear it's been in existence for at least forty years because of how well the event came off. In addition to having perfect weather for the entire weekend, the event was well advertised by every television station and several radio stations in town. Their organizational skills, communication, teamwork, and tons of volunteer help were evident as the weekend progressed.   

This year among the new events added was a sheep dog trial.  It was a full trial with all classes of dogs and handlers participating from novice, pro-novice, nursery and open. There were approximately 115 dogs entered total.  Each class represents the level of training either the dog, and/or handler has accomplished. The nursery is for young dogs, (30 months or younger).  The course has been designed to resemble actual farm work.  From sending the dog out on a 350 yard outrun, to going through several freestanding panels, putting the sheep into a small pen and then separating one or more of them all within a 10 minute time limit, (on this course) each field size determines the amount of time allowed).   

The course proved to be a difficult challenge because the sheep kept trying to break and run off, but it was the dog's responsibility to keep them on course.  There were handlers from 7 or 8 states who came to participate, and some were on their way to compete in the National Finals held this year in Sturgis, South Dakota.  There was an award for the handler wearing the best Scottish outfit walking to the post and I humbly admit to winning that prize.  Typically, we run our dogs from sun up to sun down in order to fit in as many runs as allowed by daylight.  But we stopped running on Friday by 5:30 PM so all could attend the Opening Ceremonies.  

I was very honored to be asked to participate in the Opening Ceremonies on Friday evening.  I have never attended the Friday evening Ceilidh so I'm not sure if all festivals celebrate with such extravagant ceremonies or not.   Originally, I was to lead the procession by shepherding in a small group of sheep with the aide of my five-year-old border collie, Jan.  But because the event drew such a crowd, (and several small children were running amongst the sheep) it was decided to leave the sheep behind and so the "Calling of the Clans" was led in by a shepherd and his dog.  Although I had not a clue to what I was doing, I was told it looked very cool and everyone was happy with the way it worked out.  There must have been a hundred camera flashes going off as we walked down the hill leading the way!   

It started out with a lone piper standing upon a nearby hilltop with Jan and me standing off to one side.  One of the event organizers summoned a rider on horseback to, "...go call in the Clans" and off galloped the horseman up the hill.  Then the horse reared up and he shouted, "It's time to call forth the Clans." At that point the piper began to play Scotland the Brave and from all directions amongst the crowd came the Clan representatives carrying torches and they filed in behind the piper. Next he played another tune and the Pipes and Drum Corps marched up the hill and performed an about face in front of the lone piper and then at the command of the band major, the entire procession was lead back down the hill by a lowly shepherd and his dog.  It was, without a doubt, one of the coolest experiences in my life!

Once we were at the bottom I cut off to the right side and the Clan representatives all formed a semi circle.  Then one by one, each Clan person yelled out their Clan name and tossed their torch into a fire pit, by the time the last Clansman spoke, there roared a blazing fire that burned long into the evening.

As for the "official" word on who all was represented and how the games proceeded, I'll let Jim Cranston say it in his words:

"The Opening Ceremony itself is a way to introduce the Honored Celt, the Honorary Clan Chief of the games, and the Honored Clan.  Speeches and placing the torch in the communal fire is a way for each Clan to show pride in their Ilk (family) and to show unity with the other clans.  In the old days, they didn't always see eye to eye!  For the Highland Games and Celtic Fling, we kind of see the fire like the Olympic torch.... a sign of peace and fellowship to all who attend and compete."  This year we had 24 clans and organizations represented at our games.  This thing just keeps growing each year.  It is truly a unique experience to have the opportunity to share one's culture and heritage with so many different people over the course of the weekend.  Next year, we are planning on adding a proper "Presentation of the Haggis" to the ceremony with an honor guard, pipes and the traditional readings.  If you've never seen this ceremony I would urge you to attend.  It's a wonderful piece of our culture.  And everyone will have the opportunity to sample some Haggis.... a much tastier dish than you have been led to believe!  And of course, we'll have to make sure our four legged friends from the Stock Dog Trials are involved as well!  I'd like to invite people to join Wisconsin SCOTTISH, Inc. by having them visit our website.  You don't have to be Scottish or even of Celtic background to join.  All are welcome."  Our website address is  

Steve Riddle, SDFA member, Worden, IL
Roxburgh District

Northwestern Region Report

(WA, ID, OR, MT, WY, AK)

Barb & I are trying to get things together here for next year, and looking forward to meeting people from the Northwest or any place else. Hope to see them at some Festivals or Games. We are in the process of sending letters of introduction to different Festivals & Games, and hopefully by our next newsletter we will have some dates and places. We know we will be attending the Dave Cameron Highland Festival, Jackson Hole, WY.  Next year, I believe it is in August.  Will get the dates as soon as possible.  ( Rick & Barb Dyer )


Francis Dyer
P.O. Box 249
Black Eagle, MT 5941
e-mail -


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