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The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
The Southern States of America
The Scottish-Canadian Newspaper (1890/1)
Skye Pioneers and "The Island"
Scotland's Road of Romance
History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Thistle & Broom
MacIntyre 2008 Gathering Update
Lots of technical work being done this week which is actually very time
consuming. For example I am trying to find a stats program for my
advertisers that will report page impressions and click throughs. While this
is not something that will be of any interest to yourselves it is important
for the advertisers so they know if it is worth while advertising on the
site. And of course as long as they deem it worthwhile, that in itself
provides me with the money to do more on the site and that does in turn
impact on yourselves as the more money I can raise the more I can do. For
example I have found a few really amazing antiquarian books but as they cost
upwards from $3,000 to purchase they are definitely on the back burner :-)
Steve May, my technical guru, is back on track and together we hope to bring
you some interesting new features for the site in the months ahead. Of
course some things we're working on might not see the light of day once we
look deeper into them but hopefully 2007 will see something new that will be
of interest other than just more history books.
I am still trying to come up with new histories on a range of topics. Like
in 2006 I added considerable new information on the wild life of Scotland
and also introduced some history on education in Scotland. So rather than
bring you more of the same I am trying to spread the topics.
As always I am more than happy to receive any suggestions from you as to
what you'd like to see. Many of you asked for more information on Clans and
so The Scottish Nation is giving you more on the names in Scotland which
includes general backgrounds on these names and clans as well as biographies
of significant people of that name.
I have made a start at the history of the Southern States of America which I
am certainly enjoying. I feel this helps to put into context what the Scots
would have found when they arrived in those states. Likewise the individual
histories of certain areas in Canada show how there has always been a
connection between Scots in Canada and other parts of the world including
the USA, Australia, New Zealand and also places like Jamaica and Barbados.
I am also still working on the Postcard program with Steve to see if we can
get it working reliably on our new web server. We do have a fall back
position as we have obtained a new postcard script which will do an
excellent job. One aspect of the script is that you get the option to send
the actual card in an email rather than pick it up on our site. I feel this
might be more realistic than the current offering as we are seeing spam
coming from Postcard sites so folk are more reluctant to click on a link.
Although hotmail and msn.com users won't be reading this we have at last
found out that the likely problem is us not having a SPF record or something
like this in our DNS. While it's not actually a standard Microsoft have
decided to make it one for their email customers and hence while they accept
the newsletters they won't forward them on to their customers. We will be
addressing this but our own DNS server, which has always worked fine, does
not have the capability of adding this record so we're going to have to
upgrade to a newer version.
Anyway... hopefully we'll come up with some interesting new features during
2007 which I hope you will enjoy but do come back to me with any suggestions
about what you'd like to see.
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
In a new series of occasional articles for Electric Scotland, I will list
some of the key sources for Scottish family history research that can help
to bring your ancestors stories back to life. First up this week are the
National Archives of Scotland .
The National Archives in Edinburgh holds one of the biggest repositories for
Scottish historical records in the country. If you think of the General
Register Office in Edinburgh as the source for the basic skeleton of your
family tree (with birth, marriage, death and census records), then consider
the NAS as one of your first stops to try and put some flesh onto the bones.
The archives hold an impressive collection of church records (including the
non-established protestant churches and the Roman Catholic church); records
of the various courts in Scotland including criminal trial papers; deeds and
sassiness of heirs; industrial records; maps and plans; government papers,
both pre and post the union with England; and much, much more.
There are two main search rooms at the NAS General Register House and West
Register House, which are about a ten minute walk away from each other on
either end of Princes Street (with WRH on Charlotte Square, just off Princes
Street). The General Register House contains two main search rooms, the
Historical Search Room (church records, government records, early Court
records pre 1800, valuation rolls, family and estate papers etc), and the
Legal Search Room (public registers and adoption records); and the West
Register House, which contains the West Search Room (for maps and plans,
court records post 1800, industrial records, and more).
If you live overseas, the NAS have very helpfully put their entire catalogue
The buildings are open between 9.00am and 4.45pm, and access is free. Should
you wish to visit in order to check records, or should you wish someone to
attend on your behalf, it is always worth checking in advance whether the
documents are stored on site, as many are not and need to be ordered in from
Copies can be purchased of many records, subject to their condition, though
there are some peculiar rules around what you can and cannot do. On any one
visit, you can order up to a maximum of 20 copies to be made there and then,
or you can place an order to a maximum of 50 copies if you are happy for the
documents to be sent away (usually between 1 2 weeks for them to be done
for you). Larger orders may require the collection to be microfilmed, if it
has not already been so. For more on the copying services visit
Research work at the National Archives of Scotland is just one of the many
services on offer from Scotlands Greatest Story. Customers have in the last
two months commissioned research work into a double murder trial in 1913 for
which the father of two murdered children was subsequently hanged (including
the shock discovery that some of the childrens body parts are still
retained to this day by an institution in Edinburgh); successful research
into the Roman Catholic baptismal records to try and find an immigrant
family from Ireland which had fled their homeland because of the 19th
Century famine; and research into the Perth kirk session records to find one
individual who was subsequently discovered to have represented his parish as
an elder at the great Disruption of 1843 (where the Church of Scotland split
over the issue of patronage).
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
Mind that The Flag is now in two sections (1) Political and (2) Cultural.
The political section is compiled this week by Richard Thomson. I noted
Richard mentions the France 24 TV channel...
A new global TV station hit the airwaves towards the end of last year,
offering a round-the-clock diet of news and analysis. It's probably fair to
say that the big boys of international news coverage, the BBC, CNN and Al-Jazeera,
are not presently quaking with fear and apprehension at the arrival of the
upstart France 24. Nonetheless, the launch of the station, a joint venture
between TF1 and France Télévisions, is significant if only for the reminder
that not everyone in the Western world shares the slant on events offered by
newsrooms in London and Atlanta.
France 24 will broadcast for a global audience via cable, satellite and over
the internet, and aims to present the world through French eyes. While there
has been some Anglocentric one-upmanship about the fact the station will
have to broadcast in English to secure its coveted global audience, the
French have clearly taken the pragmatic decision that the perspective
offered by the channel is far more important than the language in which it
Of course, its not just the French who appreciate the significance of the
broadcast media. Governments have always realised the influence which
broadcasting beyond one's borders could bring, mainly because of the
importance of broadcasting at home. That's because our broadcasters have a
unique place in our national life, in that they reflect the interests of a
country's people, influence how issues are perceived, and help give people a
sense of who they are.
In the Cultural section Peter does his usual great job and has added a
reminder of all the Burns tips he's been offering on the run up to the Burns
Supper's a lot us will be attending this month.
The Scot Wit items this week is...
A Famous Name
The local Message Boy in a Scottish Border town was on his rounds and one of
the newer residents had, on this particular occasion, opened the door to
receive the household supplies. Anxious to put the boy at his ease on seeing
a comparatively new face he asked him his name.
"Walter Scott, sir" came the firm reply.
"Indeed, indeed" said the newcomer "That is very interesting. Yours is a
very well known name in these parts."
"Weill, sir" answered the boy proudly "It suid be. A hae been deliverin
messages here fir about thrie yeir!"
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us. She is still in a
plaster cast which needs to remain until end of January.
Now completed the D's and started the E's and added this week are Durham,
Durie, Durward, Dysart, Edgar, Edmond, Edmondstone and Eglesheim.
Here is the Edmond entry...
EDMOND, -------, COLONEL, a brave and highly esteemed soldier of fortune,
was born in Stirling, about the end of the sixteenth century. His father was
a baker in that town, and when very young he ran off from his parents, and
enlisted in the army of Maurice, prince of Orange. By his valour and good
conduct he so greatly distinguished himself, as to rise to the rank of
colonel. Sir Robert Sibbald relates the following anecdote of him. While he
was serving on the continent, and was one day on the parade with several
brother officers, he was accosted by a stranger, who professed to have newly
arrived from Scotland, and left the colonels relations well, enumerating
several of them as of high rank. Edmond, turning from him indignantly,
informed those around him that, however this unknown personage might attempt
to flatter his vanity, he must, in candour, inform them, if they did not
already know, that he had the honour, of which he should ever be proud, of
being the son of an honest baker and freeman in the ancient burgh of
Stirling. He then ordered the abashed impostor out of his sight. Having
acquired a competent fortune, and settled in his native town, he proved
himself beneficent to his relations, who were all in the humble walks of
life. He would not visit any person in Stirling unless his father and mother
were also invited. The earl of Mar had asked him to his house to dine or
sup. Edmond agreed to go, provided he was allowed to bring with him his
father and mother. The earl politely assented, and thus escorted by the aged
pair, did the gallant colonel wait upon the lord high treasurer of the
kingdom. Colonel Edmond contributed largely towards the building of the
manse of Stirling. The manse so erected was taken down in 1824. His daughter
married Sir Thomas Livingston of Jerviswood, baronet, a cadet of the noble
house of Kilsyth, and of the noble and more ancient family of Linlithgow and
Callendar. Her eldest son, Sir Thomas Livingston, colonel of a regiment of
dragoons, a privy councillor, and commander-in-chief in Scotland, was by
William the Third, in 1698, created Viscount Teviot, by patent to male
descendants. As he died without issue, the peerage became extinct in 1711.
The date of his grandfather, Colonel Edmonds death, is unknown.
The Late Lieut. C. A. MacAlister of Glenbarr and Cour, Sketches of Highland
Life and Character, Gaelic Coinage, Caiptean Ruadh Ghlinn Liobhan, Gaelic
Lament, Gordon Highlanders, The Late Dr. George Grant, The Highlander of
Modern Fiction, MacMillan, Just a Minute, Records of a Famous Regiment - The
93rd Sutherland Highlanders, The Clan M'Farlane Society, The Highlands,
Notes on The Celtic Year, The Highlands as a Holiday Resort, The Story of
the Bagpipe, MacPhail of Inverairnie, Storm among the Hills, Incidents in
the Life of Dugald Buchanan, The Surname Douglas, Celtic Notes and Queries.
The Southern States of America
Published in 1909.
Added The History of West Virginia - Chapter II and III and here is a bit
from Chapter III
West Virginia's Part in The War of Secession.
In the war for Southern independence, to which West Virginia owes her
existence as a state, the West Virginians, in proportion to their number and
wealth, did as much as the people of any other state. That they were not
friendly to secession was shown by their vote of ten to one against the
Virginia ordinance of secession. That the determined character of this
opposition to the action of Virginia was underestimated by the authorities
at Richmond was shown by the persistent efforts of Virginia to secure
control of her western counties and to collect forces therein for the
Confederacy. Not until the failure of the Imboden raid was the true
sentiment of West Virginia understood by the Confederates. To the Union army
she furnished over 30,000 regular troops, exclusive of the 2,300 Home
Guards, consisting of thirty-two companies organized to defend thirty-two
home counties from invasion. For the Confederate service she furnished
between 7,000 and 10,000, nearly all of whom enlisted before the close of
1861. The importance of West Virginia's contribution to the war cannot be
estimated alone by the number of men which she furnished. The failure of the
Confederates to hold the territory and to secure the Baltimore and Ohio
Railway gave the Union forces a great advantage in the transportation of
troops between Ohio and the East.
Politics and Political Issues.
West Virginia entered upon her career as a separate state of the American
Union at the most critical period in the War of Secession-two weeks before
the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg in 1863. After the President's
proclamation of April 20, the new government was rapidly organized. Arthur
I. Boreman for governor, and other state officers, nominated at a convention
at Parkersburg early in May, were elected the latter part of the same month.
Judges of the supreme court and county officials were elected at the same
time. On June 20 the state officers began their duties. On the same day the
first legislature (twenty senators and fifty-one delegates) assembled, and
on August 4 it elected two United States senators - Waitman T. Willey and
Peter G. Van Winkle. Soon thereafter congressmen were elected from each of
the three newly formed congressional districts.
The new state government, laying the foundation stones of state institutions
and of future order and development, was confronted by many serious
difficulties and obstacles-economic, social and political. The people,
separated into many detached local groups by precipitous mountains and
rugged streams, had not developed unity of action nor social and commercial
identity, except, perhaps, in the counties along the Ohio, and along the
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The most serious immediate political difficulty
was the sympathy for the Confederacy exhibited in various parts of the
state. Although the Confederates had soon lost control of the larger part of
the state, over 7,000 West Virginians had entered the Confederate army early
in the war-about one-fourth of the number who enlisted in the Union army-and
the Confederate raids and skirmishes into the state, at first to prevent
separation from Virginia, were continued until the close of the war.
Counties along the southern border of the new state were partially under the
control of the Confederates until near the close of the war, and "were
forced to pay heavy taxes to the Richmond government, and to furnish
soldiers for the Confederate army." Other counties along the border suffered
from irregular "bands of guerrillas and marauders" whom the state troops
were unable to manage. In the sad state of disorder, the governor
recommended that the citizens should organize to capture and kill the
"outlaws" wherever and whenever found, and appealed to the Washington
government, which organized the state into a military district under command
of General Kelley, who scattered many irregular bands and gradually rendered
life and property secure; but in some portions of the state the civil
authorities were helpless against lawlessness long after the close of the
Under these conditions the administration was seriously embarrassed by lack
of funds to meet ordinary expenditures. In 1864 the governor reported that
one-half of the counties had paid no taxes and others were in arrears. In
fourteen counties there were no sheriffs or other collectors of taxes,
"because of the danger incident thereto." The burdens of the counties which
paid were necessarily increased. One of the earliest measures of the state
government was an act (1863) providing for the forfeiture of property
belonging to the enemies of the state, including those who had joined the
Confederate army; but such property was seized only in a few instances and
the law remained practically a dead letter-because the citizens of the state
were usually unwilling to take advantage of the political disabilities of
Though in the election of 1864 there were only a few scattering votes in
opposition to the officers of the state administration, there were no means
of obtaining an expression of the people in some of the extreme southern
counties where the governor reported that, owing to the Confederate
incursions and local conditions, it was still impracticable to organize
Scottish Canadian Newspaper
This is the weekly newspaper that I acquired a years issues of. Some pages
are missing but not a lot so hopefully you'll enjoy reading this. Due to the
size of this newspaper I have no option but to photograph each page and post
it up as a picture.
Skye Pioneers and "The Island"
by Malcolm A. MacQueen (1929).
Now got up 5 chapters of this book
Here is how the Settlement of Orwell chapter starts...
It is believed that the first settlers on the Orwell River were the
Macdougalls and John Currie, all of whom took up land on the north bank.
They were soon followed, in 1818, by the Macdonalds from Scotchfort, who had
received their grant several years earlier.
On their way to their new home they blazed a trail from Head of Vernon River
through Uigg to Orwell cross-roads, thereby establishing the course of the
present Uigg road. Others soon followed, and when in 1821 the whole
territory from Orwell bridge to Kinross was taken up by the MacLeods,
Macdonalds and Rosses, the district had definitely emerged from the forest
The marsh lands along the river were of great value to the early settler for
pasture. Farmers came from miles around and cut the rank marsh grass with
scythes. They built a "stance" on upright posts above the high water mark,
and there they built their stacks. In the winter, when the marsh was frozen
over, they hauled these stacks to their barns, where it was, for the early
years of the settlement, the chief winter food for their cattle.
Wild geese, ducks, brant, upland plover, curlews, yellow legs, snipe, sand
pipers, and other forms of wild game birds abounded to an extent that seems
incredible today. Sea trout were also in abundance, as well as other
varieties of excellent fish. Altogether it was a delightful spot.
About the same time Donald Nicholson moved to Orwell from Orwell Cove, and
took up the farm through which the Orwell River winds for over a mile.
In the primeval forest a clearing was soon made. Margaret MacLeod (Peggy
Neil), recalls the original dwelling house then built near the river on the
north bank. It was a long, low, comfortable house of several rooms. Between
it and the river was planted an orchard of cherry, plum, and apple trees.
Later, in this house, modern wall-paper was used for the first time in the
district, being then a great curiosity. For many years the family lived on
this site. After the milling business went down a home was built by a son,
Peter, to the west of the road near the site of the present bridge, and
beside a spring that still pours out its cooling waters.
Scotland's Road of Romance
Travels in the footsteps of Prince Charlie by Augustus Muir (1937).
Now up to chapter 14 and here is a bit from it to read here...
South by the Tummel - The Minister in the Motor-coach - Queen Victoria's
Hotel - At the Smoking-room Fire - A Great Fiddler - Millais and the
Carpenter - The Deer-stalker's Point of View - In the Old Cathedral.
THERE was a loud-voiced minister behind me in the motor-bus, and his
knowledge was awe inspiring. He boomed information into the ear of his wife
(I think she must have been his wife, she was so patient), and those around
him got the benefit of his running commentary. Here was a new kind of
travel-film, I said to myself as I settled down more comfortably in my plush
fauteuil; the countryside unrolled itself beyond the windows of the
motor-bus; and instead of the nasal voice of a Hollywood commentator, we
listened to the rumbling tones of a dogmatic Scot.
For a long way, the road ran alongside the railwayline, which cut off the
river Tummel from our view. But the high hills on the left were worth
looking at, and I could see that we were coming into a countryside even more
rich in trees than Blair Atholl. When we reached Ballinluig, where the river
lay low in the open strath, the minister in the seat behind told his wife
that across the burn was Logierait. I gathered that it wasn't much of a
place now; and the minister omitted to say that its name had once been
spoken with awe from end to end of Atholl, for there the Regality Court had
been held, and with fifteen of his tenants, the head of the Atholl family
sat by hereditary right and had power to drown or hang a malefactor (pit and
gallows, they called it), or to order him to be nailed by the ear to a
post-a power which was not abolished until three years after the
'Forty-five. At Logierait, the river Tay comes down from the west, and a
mile or two further on it joins the Tummel ; from this point onward,
although the honour should belong to Tummel, the united streams are called
the Tay; and the voice from behind me broadcast the information that this is
the biggest burn in Scotland. I have a particular affection for the Tay,
having spent some of the happiest days of my life at the foot of Ben Lawers,
and I wish the loch and the river had a more noble-sounding name; but
perhaps the old goddess after whom it was called would not have wished her
worshippers to choose a more suitable title than "the Silent One," for the
Tay is a silent stream, and there is a dignity in silence.
We swept at a great rate past a little grey hamlet in a hollow and came to
another with the quaint name of Guay. The minister behind me pretended he
knew how to pronounce it, but I felt sure he was bluffing. I forget what he
told us about Dowallay; and then, for the first time, he said something that
made me forgive him for all the twaddle which had poured from beneath his
big coffee-coloured moustache. The Duke of Atholl had planted those woods on
the hillside (he said), and had been showing them off to a friend, who
stared up at the larches on the crags. "And how did you plant trees up
there?" he asked the Duke. "Did you fire the seeds from a cannon?" That
pleased me at the time, and it pleased me still more afterwards when I found
out for myself that the minister's little anecdote was true, and the man who
cracked the mild joke with Atholl was Thomas Telford, our friend of the
Caledonian Canal. I was told the other day that it was not a joke at
all-that the Duke did actually scatter these high crags with larch-cones
fired from a cannon-but I refuse to believe a word of it.
We saw Birnam Woods ahead; and if they were not the woods that came to
Dunsinane and scared Macbeth out of his wits, at least they were growing
upon the authentic hill of Birnam. I perceived that the old town of Dunkeld
lay in the hollow, and presently the motor-bus had stopped in the main
street. I looked about me anxiously, but the anxiety changed to relief. Here
were no sleek heads and bare legs; here were no pretty-pretty, damnably
ugly, natty little cottages, no chromium shop-fronts or the spurious glitter
of the cheap john. This was a good old robust glowering grey Scots town; it
pleased me immensely; and I decided to stop at Dunkeld for the night, if
Dunkeld would have me. I crossed the street and asked a man if he could
recommend a good hotel.
"Guid hotel?" he repeated, and then he pointed. "That yin," he said, "might
suit ye. And what for no'? It was guid enough for Queen Victoria!"
The hotel looked a pleasant old-fashioned place, with its front door opening
on the pavement, and the only sign of modernity about it was a petrol-pump
beside an archway that led through into a big courtyard at the side. But I
wondered why Queen Victoria made a habit of stopping here, and the landlord
explained. Last century, Dunkeld was a coaching centre, and it was here the
Queen broke her journey on her way to Balmoral. Dunkeld is the gateway to
the Highlands; it was not until the 'sixties that the railway was continued
into the North; and within the memory of living people, the pageantry of the
eighteenth century survived, and coaches came clattering in and out of the
town. In those days, you could get an inside seat in the coach that went
from Perth to Inverness for thirty-five shillings, but if you travelled
outside, the charge was only twenty-five shillings, while a seat in the
mail-gig cost you about twopence-halfpenny a mile. Breakfast in one of the
posting inns was a florin at the most; dinner was anything from a florin to
three shillings and sixpence; and if you travelled on horseback, you would
probably be given a bed in the inn free of charge. A meal for your servant
would cost you sixpence, and you could buy whiskey at three shillings the
pint. And if you liked your toddy of an evening-which you probably did-you
carried a bag of lemons with you. In the eighteenth century, many of the
inns were kept by the younger sons of gentlemen; and when German troops were
quartered in the Central Highlands in the closing days of the 'Forty-five,
the commanding-officer of the Hessian cavalry found to his surprise that the
inn-keeper at Dunkeld was a man of good family and could talk with him in
fluent Latin, the only language they both understood.
I had not chatted long with the landlord, a young Edinburgh man, before I
saw that he took his job seriously. He told me that the hotel was built a
hundred years ago, but there was not a single bathroom in it until 1919, and
four years later the rooms were still being lit with candles. "Now we've
even got central heating," he added, and then he laughed. "Look at this." He
pointed to a framed notice that hung in the hall. "The landlord who put that
up must have been a comic."
Here is the notice I read:
"This hotel has been built and arranged for the special comfort and
convenience of its visitors. On arrival, each guest will be asked how he
likes the situation ; and if he says that the. Hotel ought to have been
placed up upon the knoll, or farther down towards the river, the location of
the house will be immediately changed. . . .
"Baths, gas, hot and cold water, laundry, telegraph, restaurant, fire-alarm,
bar-room, billiard-table, daily papers, sewing machine, grand piano, a
clergyman, and all other modern conveniences in every room. . . . Every
guest will have the best seat in the dining-hall and the best waiter in the
"Any guest not getting his breakfast red-hot, or experiencing a delay of 16
seconds after giving his order for dinner, will please mention the fact at
the Office. Children will be welcomed with delight, and are requested to
bring peg-tops to spin on the velvet carpet, and hoop-sticks and shinties to
bang the carved rosewood furniture specially provided for the purpose. They
will be allowed to bang on the piano at all hours, yell in the halls, slide
down the banisters, fall downstairs, and make themselves as disagreeable as
the fondest mother can desire.
"A discreet waiter who belongs to the Masons, Oddfellows, Knights of Pythias,
and who has never been known to tell even the time of day, has been employed
to carry milk-punches and hot toddies to the ladies' rooms in the evening.
"The office clerk has been carefully selected to please everybody, and can
lead in prayer, match worsted at the village store, play billiards, waltz,
amuse children, and is a good judge of horses. As a railway and steamboat
reference he is far superior to `Layer's ' or any other Guide, and can
answer questions in Hebrew, Greek, Choctaw, Gaelic or any other polite
language. . . .
"Dogs welcome in every room in the hotel."
The name of the dead wag who composed this genial squib for the education of
his guests, I do not know; but I doubt whether it made one troublesome
visitor the less troublesome, so ready are we to chuckle over satire in the
assumption that it is directed at some other fellow, never at ourselves.
Here is how chapter 11 starts about the Town of Inverness...
The town of Inverness lies about the middle of the county coast, and owes
its existence to a mine of bituminous coal. It is built on a pleasing
eminence overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Nature favored this locality. On the west is a curving, interesting beach of
sand, and a charming little sheet of water formerly called MacIsaac's Pond:
on the North the town is laved by all the pleasant and purifying properties
of the sounding sea: On the East is a sparkling stream finding its source in
the foothills of Cape Mabou, and coursing its sinuous way through the vales
of Glenville and Strathlorne until it mingles with the general world of
waters at the mouth of Big River: on the South loom the glories of
Strathlorne, and other triumphs of the Great Designer. Yes, the landscape is
a garland of Nature: but even Nature must sacrifice betimes to the ruthless
greed of industrial enterprise.
The first regular seam of coal found in this region was discovered :by John
Beaton (Red), who came here from South West Mabou and bought a farm at Big
River from Alexander McIsaac who, with his family, was moving away to the
distant Island of New Zealand. Mr. Beaton's crude work of development there
exposed a fine face of coal, and caused considerable excitement among the
people. But all means of transportation were lacking. Mr. Beaton afterwards
sold his property containing the newly discovered coal seam to Rev. Hugh
Ross. Mr. Ross was something of a speculator and a fine talker, but did not
excel in fruitful work. So the Broad Cove Coal Seam was des-tined to lie low
for a lengthened period.
Long before this discovery of Beaton's the pioneer settlers found out-croppings
of coal in different places along the shore bank. This outcrop appeared in
three seams of two or three feet. The principal of these out-croppings
appeared at Broad Cove Banks where for many years coal was won from the
steep shore bank by means of pick and shovel, and a rustic creel. The
Coal-cutter there carried, the creel on his back along an improvised track
cut in the face of the bank to the top. From the top of the bank this coal
was conveyed by cart or sledge to the Blacksmiths and others who required
it. The remuneration of those primitive coal-cutters was very small, their
labors were very arduous, and their families were usually very large; but
the good men never even once, considered the refined expedient of a
In the late Eighties of the century last past a stirring American by the
name of William Penn Hussey undertook to investigate the coal possibilities
of Broad Cove. Mr. Hussey's home was in Danversport in the State of
Massachusetts, but the home of his previous business (that of a coal
merchant) was conducted in the city of Boston. He came in person to Broad
Cove to make an examination of the, ground and prospects. The conditions
that met him were not encouraging. The Coal indeed was there, but there was
neither harbor nor railway in sight.
The native people, frozen by the isolation of the past, could lend him no
inspiring hope. A more timid man would have taken to the tall timbers
instanter: but William Penn Hussey was not built that way. He loved to dance
He proceeded at once to organize a Company called. "The Broad Cove Coal
Company", of which he became himself the Manager. After securing a Charter
from the provincial Legislature, he issued an optimistic prospectus and went
to Europe to finance his `scheme. In Europe he attracted a very considerable
amount of capital, particu-larly in Switzerland. He was one brave booster.
Whatever else he did or did not, he it was who put Broad Cove on the map. He
was a master of map-making. We remember some of his letter-heads with
engravings showing "MacIsaac's Lake," bristling with the finest fleet of
merchantmen we ever saw in dreams.
And the dreams in this case materialized to a degree of reality. Mr. Hussey
at once addressed himself to the opening of "McIsaac's Pond" into a harbor.
He brought a dredge with a fleet of scows from Massachusetts, cut a channel
from the sea into the said Pond, built two well constructed piers at the
mouth, and a neat shipping wharf on the landing road inside the harbor. He
laid a narrow guage railway from his seam of coal at Big River to the
shipping pier at the harbor, where he shipped coal in vessels of respectable
We recall a day when we saw in the new made harbor eight of those
coal-carrying craft, with a Government Steamer having on board the then
Minister of Public Works of Canada, the late Honorable Israel Tarte. It was
a revelation to a Canadian cabinet Minister to see on the coast of Nova
Scotia, a neat new harbor with its substantial piers and breakwaters,
constructed and completed without a dollar of State aid. But the facts of
that day were even so in Broad Cove. The subsequent wanton neglect of The
Inverness Railway and Coal Company in allowing that handsome harbor, and
those substantial wharves and piers, to be utterly ruined, was a public sin
that cannot easily be forgiven. It is said that Hussey screened a cool
million out of Broad Cove.
As usual the update is full of interesting news and here is a bit to read
Speaking of Christmas we were obviously delighted with the following
excerpts of emails we received in conjunction with two different orders for
Jans Kelp Scarves
I found out about Thistle and Broom from my daughter, who is very keen on
being as environmentally friendly as possible. I imagine she found your site
scouring the Internet for environmentally friendly companies. As a
consequence she along with my wife placed the Kelp Scarves on their
Christmas Wish Lists.
The scarf was certainly the most unique gift of the season. My sister
really loved it and everyone else was impressed by it as well. I was shocked
that it made if here by Christmas. (A reference that our most charming
young male client in Connecticut waited until the 11th of December to order
and Air Sure actually managed to deliver his sisters truly gorgeous -
pink, blue and lavender Kelp Scarf before Christmas.)
First let me address the environmentally friendly aspect of Jans efforts.
Each of these fabulous, unique scarves is made of old wool jumpers! You
know, that favourite pink cashmere one that your husband (in doing you a favour)
accidentally put in the washing machine with the blue jeans thus shrinking
it to the size of a newborn child? Or that vintage Fair Isle that has been
worn so much that the elbow patches wont hold? Yep, those jumpers! She
works with a broker and magically stocks arrive via mail boat to her home in
the Orkney Islands where she systematically sorts for contrasting texture
and colour or compatible colour, cuts them strategically apart, sews them
back together and then chucks them into the wash to gently felt them so they
dont unravel. Priced at £38.00, plus shipping, these one-of-a-kind beauties
come in a range of colours designed to please every woman (or girl) on your
Valentine list. Snugly warm, kind of sexy or fun (depending on your state of
mind and personal style) Jans Kelp Scarves are a perennial favourite at
THISTLE & BROOM and are ideal to chase the chill of February, March and
April away. We only show six at any time on the THISTLE & BROOM site so if
you are interested in one of the above Kelp Scarves and dont see it drop me
a note and well get you sorted.
I had a grand wee meeting with Teresa over the Christmas holidays and she
has promised to send in articles for the site and each will profile a
Scottish company in the art, craft or fashion sector. I've asked for around
3,000 words and pictures so hopefully that means they will be meaty articles
for us to enjoy and learn from.
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