It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning
the weekend is nearly here :-)
You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at
Time seems to be moving forward at a fast pace these days. Seems like it was
only yesterday that I did the last newsletter :-)
Got in a wee story...
Being an American I was real pleased when our country announced that we had
completed the teraforming of Mars and this new world was now open for
I decided that my family should be amongst the first to go and so we set off
on the long voyage and in due course arrived at the new world. We were
quickly directed to the 1000 acres that we'd been alloted and started to
break ground and get our farm started.
Some 10 years later we had done very well and were making good money and
looking forward to the years ahead.
At this time a certain percentage of the population on Mars decided that
they no longer wanted to have anything to do with America and decided that
Mars should become an independent world. They were definately not going to
pay any taxes to the old world and were going to become Martians. Anyone
that didn't agree with them were going to be driven from their homes and
sent to Pluto.
Some of us Americans wanted to stay loyal to America although we fully
supported not having to pay taxes and were willing to become Martians. That
wasn't really good enough though as we were being encouraged to actually
kill Americans to establish our new independence.
This just wasn't right and so we decided to become the American Loyalists to
fight on the side of America.
I am sorry to say that we lost and many of us had to move to Pluto to start
a new life there.
Mars is now more powerful than America on old Earth and now pretty much
rules our galaxy.
Note: For America read Britain, For Mars read America, For Pluto read
Canada, For American Loyalists read United Empire Loyalists.
Interesting way of looking at things for sure :-)
ABOUT THE STORIES
Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out
the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's
New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter and pick up poems and
stories sent into us during the week from Donna, Margo, Stan, John and
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks edition is by Allison Hunter where she makes the point that there
are too many vacancies for teachers and people in the health sector. I
couldn't quite understand why.. was this because there was no-one to fill
these posts or was there no money to employ them? Makes interesting reading
For those from Aberdeen you'll likely enjoy this weeks Scot Wit...
The young domestic had been in London for a long time before her mistress
discovered that she came from Aberdeen.
" Why didn't you mention this before, Annie ?" she asked
"Weill Madam" came the spontaneous reply " A didnae like fir ti boast."
You can read this weeks issue, see the pictures and listen to the Scots
Linda Fabiani has posted in this weeks diary and for the next two months
this will be a monthly report due to the Summer recess. You can read it at
Remember that Linda is always happy to get emails from you if you have
something to ask or indeed information to offer. You can email her at
You can see Margo's new index page at
Margo usually manages to add a children's story each day so do check our
"What's New" page.
This week sees the completion of the 44 Dragons series which you can read at
Here is another Ian and Mac bedtime story for you...
The snow fell, carried through the woods on the wings of a howling wind. Ian
and Mac lay curled up in the tree, shivering. “You know what I’d love right
now?” Ian rubbed his arms.
“What’s that, Ian? A thick blanket? A cup of hot cocoa?” Mac shook with
“A roaring fire! I’m freezing.” Ian’s teeth chattered.
“We’re raccoons. We’re not supposed to feel the cold,” Mac said.
“Who made up that rule? Probably some raccoon that lives on a tropical
island. I’d love to hear the crackling of a roaring fire, the smell of smoke
floating through the air and warmth making my paws thaw.” Ian shook so hard
he nearly fell off the branch. “Instead it’s cold, snow is sticking to my
fur and I can’t stop shivering.”
“Maybe a bedtime story will help you warm up. It can’t hurt.” Mac began.
“Driningham Castle stood at the top of a hill. It had Norman towers and a
huge wooden door and an iron gate made of bars. There was even a moat around
“How is that going to help me feel warmer? Castles are the coldest places on
earth.” Ian griped and rubbed his paws.
“This castle had a huge fireplace in the main hall. Sir Malcolm Dunn sent
his servants into the woods to chop trees down to burn in the fireplace. All
winter long the fire burned; twenty-four hours a day; seven days a week. Can
you imagine how many trees they had to cut down to keep the fire going?”
“Keep talking, Mac. I’m starting to feel my legs again,” Ian said.
“The servants cut down so many trees that there were only a few left. Sir
Malcolm’s fire was going to go out in a week if he didn’t find a different
way to keep it going. One day his servant, Jock McTavish, was in the woods
searching for a tree to chop down. He came to a patch of pines. He picked up
his axe and was about to chop the tree down when he heard a noise.”
“What sort of noise?” Ian’s eyes widened.
“A scary noise. Jock dropped his axe and asked who was there. Nobody
answered. He picked up his axe and was about to chop when he heard the noise
again,” Mac said.
“What sort of noise, Mac? Was it crying? Was it someone hurt? Was it the
sound of an airplane?”
“Ian, they didn’t have airplanes in those days. How many airplanes have you
heard here in the highlands? Not many, I assure you. Jock decided to go and
see what was making the noise. When he parted a bush, he saw a blue dragon.
It was huge, but it was crying. When Jock was brave enough he asked the
dragon what was wrong. The dragon told him that there were hardly any trees
left in the forest and he had no place to hide and no way to keep warm. Jock
had an idea. He whispered in the dragon’s ear. An hour later Jock went into
the main hall. Sir Malcolm was sitting at the table. The fire was dying. Sir
Malcolm asked where the wood was. Jock had no choice but to tell him there
was no more wood in the forest. Before Sir Malcolm could order his head
chopped off, Jock whistled. The blue dragon came through the arched door
into the main hall. At first Sir Malcolm was afraid. He grabbed his sword
and jumped out of his chair. Jock told him this was a friendly dragon and
then went on to tell Sir Malcolm that the dragon had agreed to live in the
castle, in the fireplace, and keep the castle warm, if we’d feed him every
“What a great idea, Mac!”
“It is a great idea. The dragon lived in the fireplace and whenever Sir
Malcolm came into the main hall, the dragon would blow fire and warm the
room immediately. All Sir Malcolm had to do was feed the dragon a cow every
day. The dragon was happy and Sir Malcolm was happy,” Mac said.
“What about Jock? It was his idea,” Ian said.
“Jock was rewarded. His job was to bring the cow every day for the dragon.
He also got a bag of gold and got to live in the castle. Now, Ian, do you
Ian looked around. “It’s not snowing anymore and the wind has died down. I
do feel warmer. Goodnight, Mac.” Ian yawned and stretched and went to sleep
with a smile on his face and a warm feeling in his heart.
Now completed the P's & Q's and working on the R's which you can read at
Good accounts of Pittenweem, Port-Glasgow, Portobello, Portree, Prestonpans,
Queensferry and Raasay.
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
This week we've added Bute, Butter and Byres which completes the B's. Here
is how the account of Bute starts...
BUTE, MARQUIS OF, a title in the peerage of Great Britain, possessed by a
branch of the Stewart family descended from Sir John Stewart, a natural son
of King Robert the Second. The Scotch title is earl of Bute, and dates only
from 1703. The higher title of marquis was conferred in 1796, on the fourth
earl, the son of the celebrated prime minister in the early part of the
reign of George the Third.
Sir John Stewart, the founder of this noble family, received from his
father, about 1385, a grant of lands in the Isle of Bute, the ancient
patrimony of the Stewarts, Malcolm the Second, sometime before the year 1093
having granted Bute to Walter the first lord-high-steward of Scotland, who
gave it to a younger son, with whom and his posterity it remained about a
century, when it was re-annexed to the possessions of the lord-high-steward,
by the intermarriage of Alexander Stewart with Jean, daughter and heiress of
James, lord of Bute. The island of Bute afterwards became subject to the
Norwegians, but did not long remain so, and it would appear that on its
restoration to the Scottish crown, it reverted to the possession of the
family of the high-steward, for in the fatal battle of Falkirk betwixt the
English and Scotch in 1296 the men of Buteshire, known at that time by the
name of the lord-high-steward’s Brandanes, served under Sir John Stewart,
and were almost wholly cut off with their valiant leader.
Along with the lands, King Robert the Second conferred on his son above
named, Sir John Stewart, the hereditary office of sheriff of Bute and Arran.
These Robert the Third confirmed by charter, ‘dilecto fratri nostro, Joanni
Senescallo de Bute,’ 11th November 1400. There is a tradition that Sir John
Stuart’s mother’s name was Leitch. Although designated “Sir” in Duncan
Stewart’s History of the Stewarts and by peerage writers, who generally
follow each other, no authority is given for the title, and he is not so
called in any contemporary document. Of the different varieties of spelling
of the name of Stewart, the Bute family have preferred that of Stuart, the
mode of orthography adopted by Mary queen of Scots on going to France, there
being no w in the alphabet of that country.
A descendant of this Sir John Stewart in the seventh generation, Sir James
Stuart of Bute, grandfather of the first earl, was created a baronet by King
Charles the First, 28th March 1627. He was a firm adherent of that
unfortunate monarch, and early in the civil wars garrisoned the castle of
Rothesay, and, at his own expense, raised a body of soldiers in the king’s
cause. He was appointed by his majesty his lieutenant over the west of
Scotland, and directed to take possession of the castle of Dumbarton. Two
frigates were sent to his assistance, but one of them was wrecked in a
storm, and Sir James was ultimately obliged to retire to Ireland, to avoid
imprisonment. His estate was sequestrated, and on recovering possession of
it, he was obliged, by way of compromise, to pay a fine of five thousand
marks, imposed by parliament in 1646. When Cromwell obtained possession of
Scotland, the castle of Rothesay was again taken out of his hands, and a
military force placed in it. Sir James was also deprived of his hereditary
office of sheriff of Bute, and declared incapable of any public trust. He
died at London in 1662, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. By his wife,
Isabella, eldest daughter of Sir Dugald Campbell of Auchinbreck, baronet, he
had two sons and three daughters. His eldest son, Sir Dugald Stuart,
succeeded him, and died in 1672, leaving a son, Sir James Stuart, the third
baronet of the family, and first earl of Bute.
Sir Robert Stuart of Tilliecultry, the second son, was appointed a lord of
session, 25th July, 1701. He was also a commissioner of justiciary and was
created a baronet 29th April 1707. He was member of parliament for the
county of Bute, and one of the commissioners for the union, which he
steadily supported. In 1709 he resigned his seat on the bench in favour of
his nephew Dugald Stuart of Blairhall, the brother of the following.
Sir James Stuart of Bute, the third baronet of the elder branch, succeeded
his father in 1671. On the forfeiture of the earl of Argyle in 1681, he was
solicited by government to take the management of the county of Argyle, and
in April 1683 he was appointed colonel of the militia of the counties of
Argyle, Bute, and Dumbarton, and in June 1684 sheriff of the district of
Tarbert. In the following February he was appointed sheriff of Argyleshire,
and on the 25th March was admitted a member of the faculty of advocates. He
supported the revolution, and early declared his adherence to King William
and Queen Mary. On the accession of Queen Anne, at which time he was member
of the Scots parliament for the county of Bute, he was sworn a privy
councillor. In 1702 he was named one of the commissioners to treat of a
union, with England, which did not then take effect. By patent, dated at St.
James’, 14th April 1703, he was created in the peerage of Scotland, earl of
Bute, viscount of Kingarth, Lord Mountstuart, Cumbrae, and Inchmarnock, to
himself and his heirs male whatever, and took the oaths and his seat as a
peer in parliament, 6th July 1704. He opposed the union with England, and
did not attend the last Scottish parliament, in which the union treaty was
discussed and finally agreed to. His lordship died at Bath, 4th June 1710,
and was buried with his ancestors at Rothesay. His epitaph in Latin is
quoted in Crawford’s Peerage. He was twice married, first to Agnes, eldest
daughter of Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, Lord Advocate in the reigns
of Charles the Second and James the Seventh.
You can read the rest of this account at
You can read the other entries at
Rev John Thomson of Duddingston
Pastor and Painter (1907)
This is a new book for the site and here is what the Preface has to say...
No adequate attempt has hitherto been made to give to the public a life of
this notable Scottish artist, or to bring together under review the
character of the work which has made him famous. This may possibly have
arisen from the fact that so many of his contemporaries and most intimate
friends—Sir Walter Scott, Lord Jeffrey, Lord Cockburn, Professor Wilson, and
others—bulk so largely in the literary annals of the first half of the
century as to have in some measure eclipsed the fame of the artist minister
The rise of the Scottish School of Landscape Art is both an instructive and
interesting story, and with the events of that story the life of the Rev.
John Thomson is so closely bound up that we feel justified in claiming for
him more recognition than he has as yet received.
Scotland at the beginning of the century was certainly not distinguished for
artistic culture, and landscape art especially was far below mediocrity.
With the finest scenery in the world, there was no one to interpret its form
and features, its hidden mysteries of colour and shade.
There were undoubtedly a few painters of portraits, some of them
distinguished enough in their own walk; but the painters of portraits were
too busy to have time to look at trees and rivers and lakes and rocks and
mountains. Patrons of Art were content to give commissions for pictures of
themselves and their wives to hand down as family heirlooms to their
children, but never dreamt of asking for a picture of a place. It is
possible there may have been love of locality all the same, and a certain
pleasure was doubtless taken in the beauties of the field, the garden, the
park with its trees, or even in the more rugged wildness of moor and
mountain; but what we call the love of Nature—looking at Nature through a
sympathetic perception of its innate beauty and soul-satisfying power—was
practically—at least so far as one can judge from outward manifestations—
True Art is the discovery of Nature. Like a coy maiden, she must be courted
to be won. The deep searching perception of the critic is not sufficient for
this. He may talk learnedly of what he thinks defective in an artist’s work,
but ask him to give his impressions of scenery in the concrete, and in
ninety-nine cases out of a hundred he will honestly tell you he cannot; that
he has neither the faculty of seeing in Nature what is artistic, nor of
interpreting her moods and humours for others. ‘I don’t see these colours of
yours in the sunset,’ said a lady once to Turner. ‘I daresay not, madam,’
said the artist, ‘but don’t you wish you could?’ This true artistic faculty,
the very essence of Art, which grasps as with unerring instinct the secrets
of Nature not always on the surface, is doubtless in some cases inborn, but
more frequently it is the result of years of patient study and observation.
He who so evolves Nature’s mysteries, that they appear as in a mirror,
charming the sense and feeding the imagination, is an artist indeed. We are
immersed in beauty—the very air is full of it—the vault of heaven above and
the fields around all speak of light and colour and grace of form, but only
the eyes of the few are open to the clear vision which can detach objects
from one another, and so group them as to satisfy the sense of beauty which,
if not common to all, it is possible to develop in even the most uncultured.
Tom Purdie, Scott’s gamekeeper and factotum., was many years in his service,
and being constantly in the company of his betters, had picked up insensibly
some of the taste and feeling of a higher order. ‘When I came here first,’
said Tom to the factor’s wife, ‘I was little -better than a beast, and knew
nae mair than a cow what was pretty and what was ugly. I was cuif enough to
think that the bonniest thing in a countryside was a corn-field enclosed in
four stane dykes; but now I ken the difference. Look this way, Mrs. Laidlaw,
and I‘ll show you what the gentle folks likes. See ye there now the sun
glintin’ on Melrose Abbey? It‘s no’ a’ bright, nor it 's no’ a’ shadows
neither, but just a bit screed o’ light, an’ a bit daud o’ dark yonder like,
and that‘s what they ca’ picturesque; and, indeed, it maun be confessed,’
said honest Tom, ‘it is unco bonnie to look at. Thus it may happen that the
individual in whom simple tastes, combined with susceptibility to the best
and noblest of human influences, may prove himself, in spite of the
accidents of birth and the want of early training, one of the best of Art
critics. But Tom Purdie’s experience only went the length of admiration. The
power to discriminate between the useful and the beautiful, between the
purely utilitarian and what is aesthetically educational and soul. stirring,
and so to apply it either through the medium of the pen or the pencil, is
reserved to the artist; and he only is a great artist who follows after the
beautiful in Nature in a loving, reverential spirit, with earnestness of
purpose and increasing ardour following where she leads, and pointing out
her secrets so that others are forced tc follow and to admire.
What Sir Walter Scott by his living voice did for Tom Purdie, he also did
for his countrymen and the world by his pen; and what he did with the pen,
with no less truth, it may be said, his friend John Thomson of Duddingston
accomplished by means of his pencil and his brush. Both were artists. Their
materials or mediums were different. The one was a word painter, the other
‘To paint the finest features of the mind,
And to most subtle and mysterious things
Give colour, strength, and motion.’
If the poetry of the one was a painting that can speak, the painting of his
friend was, we may say, a dumb poetry—speaking in silent whispers—the
adaptation of poetry to the eye.
Thomson, like Scott and Burns, had the fine, far-seeing sense of the
painter-poet. His Art was not imitation merely. He was too thoughtful for
that. It partakes far more of the creative, and so reveals to us Nature’s
harmonies in skilful combination. Ralph Emerson, in his Essay on Art, has
said: ‘In landscape the painter should give the suggestion of a fairer
creation than we know. The details, the prose of Nature he should omit, and
give us only the spirit and splendour. He should know that the landscape has
beauty for his eye, because it expresses a thought which is to him good; and
this because the same power which sees through his eyes is seen in that
spectacle; and he will come to value the expression of Nature and not Nature
itself, and so exalt in his copy the features that please him. Thus, the
Genius of the Hour sets his ineffaceable seal on his work, and gives it an
inexpressible charm for the imagination.’
In the following pages we have endeavoured—imperfectly it may be—to trace
the development of Thomson’s art genius, and the influence of his mind and
work over the thought and Art of his day and ours. We should have liked had
we been able to give more details of his life; but after half a century such
details are difficult to get. Few of his letters have survived the ravages
of time. He has left us no journal or diary; and even his sermons have all
but disappeared. This paucity of written material at our disposal has in
some measure been counterbalanced by a careful gleaning of contemporary
literature, the personal reminiscences and letters of relatives and old
parishioners, and Church Records of Presbytery and Parish.
In the circumstances anything like a connected narrative of events in
consecutive order was a task surrounded with peculiar difficulties. It;
therefore, a want of cohesion should here and there occur to interrupt the
current of the story, our readers will we hope sympathise with rather than
blame us in our endeavour so far to make bricks without straw.
Where so many have been willing to help, it may seem invidious to make a
selection; but even at the risk of possible omission of some whose kindness
ought to be acknowledged, we must specially express to the following
noblemen and gentlemen our sense of our obligations and sincere thanks :—His
Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, the Right Hon. the Earl of Rosebery, the Right
Hon. the Earl of Wemyss and March, the Right Hon. the Earl of Stair, the
Right Hon. J. H. A. Macdonald (the Lord Justice-Clerk), the Right Hon. Lord
Young, Sir Charles Dairymple, Bart., M.P., H. T. N. Ogilvy, Esq. of Biel, R.
S. Wardlaw Ramsay, Esq. of Whitehill, Lockhart Thomson, Esq., Derreen,
Murrayfield. Examples taken from their collections will be found among our
illustrations. They have been selected from canvases large and small rather
as typical specimens, than from Thomson’s finest or most notable pictures.
As a rule, we have avoided reproducing pictures which have already been
engraved or etched, and so may be known to the public, preferring to
illustrate his work from pictures not generally known.
To the Secretaries of the National Galleries of London and Edinburgh, and of
the Royal Scottish Academy, we are indebted for much valuable information;
while we cannot sufficiently recognise the invariable courtesy and kind
assistance extended to us by Mr. Hugh A. Webster of the University Library,
Mr. Hew Morrison of the Public Library, the Officials of Advocates’ Library,
Edinburgh, and Dr. Thomas Dickson of the Register House. Our dear friend,
the late Nr. J. M. Gray of the National Portrait Gallery, whose interest in
the work was sincere, and whose aid was invaluable, is, alas, beyond our
thanks. His untimely death has caused a blank in our Scottish Art literature
which may not easily be filled.
Among others whose names must not be overlooked are the Rev. J. Hunter Paton
of Duddingston and the Rev. George Turnbull of Daily, both of whom have
willingly contributed such local information as was within their knowledge;
while of the Rev. John Thomson’s relatives now living, we gratefully tender
our thanks to Lockhart Thomson, Esq. (a nephew), Mrs. Isabella Lauder
Thomson (a grand-daughter), Mrs. Captain John Thomson (daughter-in-law),
Mrs. Neale, Leicester (a grand-daughter), and Mr. H. H. Pillans of the Royal
Bank, Hunter Square, Edinburgh.
Last of all, we would specially mention our obligations to the Hon. Hew H.
Dalrymple, F.S.A. Scot., of Lochinch, whose assistance in bringing to our
knowledge and procuring access to Thomson’s works in the private collections
of our nobility has been cordially given, and is now gratefully
PORTOBELLO, 1st December 1894.
You can read the first couple of chapters and also read a small biography of
Sweeter Than Elderberry Wine
By Donna Flood
Donna has continued this series with another couple of pages which means
we're now up to page 23. Here is page 23 for you to read here...
“This is a time to remember,” Zona’s mother, Elizabeth Ann Brewer Collins
turned to her husband, Nathaniel Stewart Collins and smiled, “It does my
heart good to see Bill has found such a good wife. She’s one of the best
cooks in the county. She’ll be a fine mother one of these days.”
‘True to Elizabeth Ann’s word, Fannae did become a mother to Bob and Paul
Collins. Bob and Paul made history with their music during the days when
electronics allowed them to record what they played.’
The next day after the wedding found Zona up as usual at 4 a.m. There was
much to do so that they could ready themselves for the trip back home. She
had lunches to prepare and pack, as well as clothes. And, of course, the
good-byes she must say to her mother, father, brothers and sisters. There
was to be no whining among these people. They knew what had to be done and
they did it. It was with this attitude Zona started her day.
She closed the lid of her fiddle case and paused for a moment. The resin
stored in the little bag was there and, on a whim, Zona took it out. As the
little piece was turned over and over in her fingers her thoughts were that
she loved the feel of it. It had its own texture and somehow, it was
“I must ask Bill if he has any extra,” she thought while she was brushing
the white flecks of it off the dark violin wood. Carefully she put it back
into the sack with a drawstring which had its own small box before placing
that at the top of her violin case.
“Are you getting ready to leave?” Leatha, actually Aletha Artemis, came by
just then and poked her head through the doorway.
“It will be soon, I expect,” Zona told her.
To my reader: Let us take advantage of the freedom to flash forward to the
year of 1943, September 19, for reading the obituary for the funeral of
William Matthew Collins, held at Stratford, Oklahoma in the Methodist Church
with Pastor H.D. Ragland, officiating. The nine children surviving were
listed as: Mrs Hugh Callen (Juanita), Paul Collins, Mrs. Tom Burleson
(Thelma Collins), Silas Collins, Jr. Collins of Stratford, Mrs. Noel Watson,
(Bonnie), Mrs. Douglas Griffin (Bernice) and Mrs. Cecil Klutts, (Maxine) of
Bill Collins homesteaded in Oklahoma in 1904. He settled then in Tyron,
Texas Country. In 1927 he sold out there at Tyron and went to Stilwell,
Oklahoma where he lived until he moved to Stratford, Oklahoma where he lived
until his death.
Bill Collins had a love of music and his home was a place of music making
for his family and his friends. He was at one time champion of the state of
Oklahoma as the best old time fiddler. He also was a watch maker and a
He was survived by his wife Mary Frances (Fanny) and his three sisters: Mrs.
Joseph H. Jones (Nancy Bellzona) Foraker, Mrs. Nathaniel Hobson (Leatha) of
Ralston and Mrs. Elijah (Lidge) Dunlop (Parilee) of Tahlequah. The Dunn
funeral home has charge of the body which was interred in McGee Cemetary,
Stratford. ‘Mrs. James Griffith (Margaret) was not mentioned.
Pallbearers were: Sam Eldridge, Charles Perry, Fran Grifin, Charles Adams,
Arch Thompson and John Sharber
End of obituary.
Zona stored this newspaper clipping beside her brother’s wedding
announcement in her tin box with a lid on it.
You can read the other pages at
Wild Life in the West Highlands
By Charles Henry Alston with illustrations by A. Scott Rankin (1912)
Have added the final chapters to this book and here is a bit from MEMORIES
OF A RIVER: THE DEVERON
THIS river flows in a northerly direction, winding from its source in a
bleak and high-lying region of the north through a pastoral country,
becoming more highly cultivated and populous as it approaches the sea. As I
recall it, about the middle of its course, it is already of some
magnitude—such a river as the salmon-fisher may usually cover without
wading, but by no means to be forded, even at summer level, save at
infrequent places. To the eye of the fisherman it is a perfect stream; deep
pools break into foaming rapids which again flow on in glassy ‘glides,’ or
widen out into broad gravelly shallows—throughout diversified by boulders
and stones, great and small.
The little inn that is our resting-place stands on its bank at the end of
the village street where the bridge carries the main road across. Here,
under its high arches, the water ouzel, year after year, brings out its
brood in perfect safety from the most enterprising urchin. This cheery
little bird is our constant and welcome companion, bowing and curtseying on
some mid-stream stone. Should we be able to watch him from a higher level,
as he dips below the surface, we shall see him, as it were, flying through
the water, stemming the strong current with his powerful little wings. Anon
rising in a calmer corner, he floats high and buoyant on the water like a
tiny duck, then diving again, continues his pursuit of the aquatic insects
that form his food. It is pleasant to think that few are now so ignorant as
to persecute this harmless little creature.
This river is noted as being one of the most prolific of trout-streams,
excelling not only in the number but also in the size and beauty of its
trout. It is a sight to be remembered when on some fine day in spring one
happens to be witness of a great rise of March-browns, Blue duns or little
Iron-blues. The surface of the water is broken by a constant succession of
rings as the big and hungry trout suck down the delicate morsels as they
emerge for a brief moment on the surface; for many of them their life-span
may well, indeed, be termed ephemeral. The inexperienced youth who thinks
that now at last he has lit upon that day of days of which he has so often
dreamed is apt to be somewhat disappointed. Casting rapidly to right and
left into the middle of the `boil' he finds too often that his best
imitation is left severely alone; the genuine article is in too great
abundance, and eventually he learns that it is before and after the
exuberance of the rise that he will have his chief success, and that when
the natural insect is thickest on the water, some fly quite unlike it is
most likely to prove acceptable; just as with ourselves, `toujours perdrix'
will sometimes pall.
Looking upwards from the bridge we see a stretch a quarter mile in length of
water perfect to the fisherman's eye; pools large and small diversified by
streams broken and vexed by stones and boulders. We recall whole days spent
on this one portion, with the result that the pressure of the basket strap
on shoulder hinted that enough had been done for sport and pleasure; for, be
it noted, for the full enjoyment of one's river one must be alone.
A little way above the bridge a huge boulder stands half in the water which
surges round and under its base. Standing just above it one day, a long cast
towards the opposite side happened to hook an inconsiderable troutlet which
was quickly drawn, glancing and splashing, across the stream to be released.
As it passed the boulder a dim grey shadow shot from the black cavern
beneath, and missed the wriggling prize Here, then, was an opportunity, and
a plan quickly formed. From the shallows further down a four-inch baby trout
was soon procured, sliced through in proper slant, trimmed secundum, artem
and mounted on a big hook. A minute later this, too, came skipping and
jerking past the boulder, and then the reel sang pleasantly as some twenty
yards of line ran swiftly off; a beautiful trout, that presently pulled down
the scale at about two pounds.
and you can read the rest of this chapter at
You can read the rest of this book at
Celts, Scots, Ulstermen and American Pioneers - History, Heraldry and
Tradition by Capt. A. McGill (1910)
We're now up to Chapter 14 and here is a bit from the this chapter...
Arthur and Patrick McGill had no dealings directly with the Holland Land
company. Their titles and possessions were never called in question, and
their personal relations with the management were strictly formal. They were
not of the kind who fall in line and keep step with file leaders; they
acknowledged no leaders, and though always courteous, were never obsequious
to assumed authority. They made their own plans and executed them in their
own way—they blazed their own trail and followed it at will. Encroach upon
them wrongfully, and the spines of the thistle hardened— "Touch and I
pierce," was the ancient motto of their race, and it held good on French
Creek as it had for a thousand years on the banks of the Clyde.
Their holdings were comparatively small, but they were the free unimpeached
lords of the soil, owing no service to company or gang, and as such in the
sight of God and humanity, ranked high over sordid aims and lust of gain.
They cringed to no man—it was theirs to strike hands with destiny on the
higher plane of the inalienable rights of man—and look down with scorn on
the mercenary tools of foreign wealth who were ravaging this fair "garden of
It was during this crisis from 1799 to 1824 that the "actual settlers" did
their most strenuous work in expanding and advancing the interests of the
people in the French Creek country. They were safe from the terror of
forfeiture and eviction that menaced so many homes, and they grappled with
strong arms the difficulties with which they were environed. They hewed ways
through the forests to open communication with the outside world. They built
flatboats and barges and constructed rafts to float lumber and anything
salable down the stream and subsidized keel-boats to bring up supplies.
Their numbers were limited, for the spoilers hewed close to the line. Four
tracts of land only in the McGill Settlement escaped spoliation, and they
were those of Roger Alden, Patrick and Arthur McGill and Thomas Campbell,
all adjoining - the last named being a triangle on the stream containing one
hundred and sixty-eight acres. All the remainder of Woodcock township except
the Humes tract (then in Rockdale) was seized and appropriated to the use of
"several wealthy gentlemen in Holland."
It will be readily seen that though the "actual settler" did not pay tribute
directly to the beast his hands were tied for want of money, all of which
was sent over the sea, and he had no means to break through to the markets.
However, he came to the front and did all that man could do. In this time of
sore need the plunging energies of Arthur McGill and a few more like him
were beyond value - they were a beneficence. It was these men who opened a
highway over the mountains and rivers to the city of Philadelphia, four
hundred miles away, and started the Conestoga to climbing the hills on its
voyage of relief. Many of them sacrificed every thing they had and went down
into obscurity and are never to be mentioned in the history of "Our Country
and Our People."
You can read the rest of this chapter at
You can read the other chapters at
A National Monument of Scottish Song
Edited and Arranged by John Greig, Mus. Doc. (Oxon.)
Have added the following songs...
The Lass O' Patie's Mill
Neil Gow's Fareweel to Whiskey
My Wife's A Winsome Wee Thing
The Ewie Wi' The Crookit Horn (and this has 17 verses)
Get Up An' Bar The Door, O!
Behave Yoursel' Before Folk
and you can read these in our current volume at
Kenneth has sent us in a couple of new poems which you can read at
Links to Scottish Clan Histories and their Tartans
Blair Urquhart has updated this page with many new entries which you can see
Got in the latest newsletter of the Clan Logan Society at
Frank has sent in a book review, Highlander and his Books - Rebel King, Book
Three, Bannockburn which you can read at
John sent in a new doggerel, Bonnie Quinie at
Kitchen Essentials in Pantry and Fridge
Chef Evan William McVey sent in a list for singles to use when looking at a
Flour, Baking Powder, Bicarbonate of Soda, Caster Sugar, Salt, Pepper,
Breadcrumbs (Fresh or Commercial), Cayenne Pepper and/or Paprika, Dried
Mixed Herbs, Dried pasta, Short and long grain rice, Caraway seeds, Cinnamon
Sticks, Vanilla Extract, Eggs, Brown Sugar, Milk, Cream, Tea, Coffee, Dried
Nuts and Fruit, Tinned Fruit, Tinned Crushed tomatoes, White Vinegar,
Worcestershire Sauce, Cooking chocolate, Tomato/BBQ sauce, Jams and Honey,
Mustard (preferably Dijon), Tinned of pulses eg Cannelini beans, Tinned
fish, Fresh seasonal fruit, Seasonal vegetables and ones suited for stock.
In true Scottish tradition, throw away nothing, but packaging, some of which
can be recycled into storage containers!
Hope this helps all the singles, of which I am one as well!
Evan William McVey
and he also sent in a wee list of recipes which you can read at
Annals of Dunfermline
Surprise! Got in the addendum to this book which you can read at
Here is a bit from it...
ROYAL BURGHS AND REGALITY BURGHS
ROYAL BURGHS—An eminent historian, referring to royal burghs, says, “Early
in the Twelfth Century, when the land of Scotland began to be divided into
royalty and regality, those parts which were known by the term ‘royal’ were
subjected to the jurisdiction of the king, he judges, or substitutes.” At
this period the sovereign and his deputies exercised supreme authority over
their royalties and the town which had been built on them. Some of these
towns were taken into peculiar favour by the sovereign, and invested with
limited burghal privileges. The kin, in his charter conveying gifts, &c, to
one of them, designated it burgo meo, viz., “my burg”—hence, a king’s or
royal burgh. Dunfermline appears to have been so designated as early as
1109, 1112, 1115. (See Annals under these dates.) As just noted, the
sovereigns were the supreme heads of these little burghs, and deputed judges
and other functionaries to “exercise and adjust” all cases in connection
with their rights. Afterwards, in may instances, when ecclesiastics were
invested with the power of “ruling in civil affairs,” they wee deputed by
the sovereign to act for him, reserving for himself the supreme authority of
reversing any judgment that appeared to him to be faulty. Subsequently these
burghs became differently constituted, and were ruled by aldermen, or
præpositi, who presided over a council elected from amongst the inhabitants,
and who for a long period gave “rule and law” to the burgh. In course of
time, when several trades became of importance, they were incorporated and
their heads, or deacons, became members of the burgh council. With slight
alteration this burgh council continued until 1834, when the Reform Bill
“completely deranged the old happy family system” and gave such burghs the
constitution they now “hold and have.”
REGALITY BURGHS—Those parts or districts which were comprehended under the
name of “regalities,” acknowledged the jurisdiction of such ecclesiastics or
nobles as had received a grant of land from the Crown, with the rights of
regality annexed to it. Thus originated Burghs of Royalty and Barony. It
would appear that the “ecclesiastics were the first who prevailed with the
Crown to convey to them the right of holding their courts in the fullest
manner and to five judgment by fire, by water, or iron combat, as also
immunity from the superior judges, together with all the privileges
pertaining to their court, including the right in all persons resident
within their regal territories of refusing to answer except in their own
proper courts”. These rights were endorsed generally by each succeeding
sovereign shortly after ascending the throne. We find such right granted to
the Bishop of St. Andrews and the Abbots of Dunfermline, Holyrood,
Aberborthic, Kelso, &c and perhaps possessed, at least to some extent, by
every religious house in the kingdom. (See Tyler’s Hist. Scot. vol. ii. pp.
246, 247.) Dunfermline stood partly on regality land, and its burghers paid
annually certain sums to the Abbot as rentals &c so that, in later times,
the Royal Burgh Courts and the Courts of Regality sometimes became hostile
regarding their “real or assumed rights.” Regalities and Regality Courts
were abolished in 1748. (See An. Dunf. date 1748.)
Tytler, in his History of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 246, 247, in referring to
the privileges possessed by Burghs Royal and Burghs of Regality, says:--
“At a very early period—probably about the middle of the Twelfth Century
(Reg. Mal. IV.)—when the land of Scotland began to be partially divided into
Royalty and Regality, those parts which were distinguished by the term
“Royalty” were subjected to the jurisdiction of the king and his judges. The
districts, on the other hand, which were comprehended under the name of
“Regalities,’ acknowledged the jurisdiction of those ecclesiastics or nobles
who had received a grant of land from the Crown, with the rights of regality
annexed to it. The clergy appear to have been the first who, in the charters
of land which they often procured from the Crown, prevailed upon the
sovereign to convey to then the right of holding their own courts, and to
grant them an immunity from the jurisdiction of all superior judges. As
early as the reign of Alexander the First a Royal Charter conferred on the
monks of the Abbey of Dunfermline and Scone the right of holding their own
court in the fullest manner, and of giving judgment either by combat of iron
or by water, together with all privileges pertaining to the court, including
the right in all persons resident within their territory of refusing to
answer except in their own proper court, which right of exclusive
jurisdiction was confirmed by successive monarchs. The same grants were
enjoyed, as we know from authentic documents, by the Bishop of St. Andrews,
and the Abbots of Holyrood, Dunfermline, Kelso, and Aberborthic and we may
presume, on strong ground, by every religious house in the kingdom.”
Got in a old poem found at the Oldest Fishing Club in Scotland and thanks to
Sandy for sending it in...
Come here wi yer rod an yer flees
An roam in the quite solitude
Whaur ye hear the hum o the bees
An yer business canna intrude
Whaur nature is never the same
An blesses a that are in need
Whaur whaups an the grouse mak their hame
An lucky troot are on the feed
Dae ye see that ripple oot there
Whaur the water wumples an glides
Gae aften ma hert is richt sair
Whan I think o the bonnie fat sides
O the fish that whumelt ma line
An scudet wa ower the pool
I thought he was sure to be mine
But noo I joost feel like a fule
I've tried him wi a butcher an teal
I've tried him wi woodcock an yellow
I'd try him wi dauds o oatmeal
Gin I thocht him likely to swallow
The insult as weel as the lure
But fegs that cunnin three-pounder
Is naething if no verra dour
Will onything tempt him I wonder
Stap yir forrit an try yir haun
Guid luck tae yer elbuck says I
An gin ye are happy to laun
A muckle broon troot by an by
Ye'll ken weel that big ane o' mine
Hes a billie to struggle an rin
He'll tak the best pairt o yir line
Afore ye can safe bring im in
We'll done lad ye've hookit the fella
Believe me your in fur a fecht
He'll mak aw the neeburs turn yellah
Its no ilka day sic a wecht
O a troot'll come to a flee
Ye've got im at last safe an soun
Noo gie me ma specs til' a see
Guid sakes he is hardly a poun.
And that's all for now and I hope you all have a great weekend :-)
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