----------------- Electric Scotland News
Scotland on TV
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
Scottish Canadian Newspaper
Clan Newsletters and Information
Clan Donnachaidh (Robertson)
Poetry and Stories
Proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Fourth Congress at Atlanta
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland in 1876
The Island Clans During Six Centuries
Book of Scottish Story
Reminiscences of Old Scots Folk (new book)
A Chat with Alan Axelrod author of Blooding at Great Meadows
Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
I note that Canada did well in the World Pipe Band Championship in Scotland.
Second place in the coveted competition went to the Simon Fraser University
band from Vancouver in British Columbia. Another Canadian pipe band, the
Scottish Lion 78th Fraser Highlanders, came in third. So well done to them.
In first place were the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band from Northern
For Canadian readers you might be interested that you can get your home
insulated for free thanks to grants available through the Canadian
government. I was told about it this week and the way it worked is that a
contractor gave me a quote for doing the insulation which was around $6,000.
I then pay between $300-$400 to get an inspector in to do a house audit. The
inspector will then approve the contract quote and when the job is done do
an inspection to ensure the job was done properly. When approved the
inspector approves the grant payment and within 60 days you get a cheque
which covers 100% of the cost. Seems too good to be true but you can read
about it at
There might be a similar system in other parts of the world so would be
worth while checking it out.
Got the advertising link up for STV so those interesting is Scottish News
will be able to click the link and get your fix of Scottish News. See
I might add that in the next few weeks you will be able to post up your own
videos to ScotlandOnTV and once up folks with web sites will be able to
embed these videos into their site. We'll certainly look at making this
service available on our site :-)
Scotland On TV have arranged to send me a What's New each week for this
newsletter which I hope you will find useful. They will thus have a regular
section in here from now on.
I might just correct a mistake in the last newsletter where I mentioned that
Jeanette had married an Englishman and was now living in England. In fact
the latter remark was accurate but it appears that the first was incorrect
as he is in fact a Scotsman :-)
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
Last weekend, Flora, Nigel and Richard from the Scotland on TV team visited
the Cowal Highland Gathering in Dunoon. They all managed to catch the ferry
along with the pipers, and got to see all sorts of Highland events,
including Highland Dancing, Pipe Bands and Heavy Athletics. Details of all
the clips from the event can be found on the special Cowal Highland
Gathering page at
The very first Cowal Highland Gathering took place over 100 years ago on
11th August 1894.
Our friend and stv North cameraman from Aberdeen, Alistair Watt, has been to
visit the Alford Heritage Centre. A fascinating treasure trove of a place
which is helping to capture the times back when the area had farming and
fishing as its traditional industries, rather than oil. We get a guided tour
which includes a traditional classroom, cobbler's shop and model railway.
And Alistair's made a great film, which really shouldn't be missed:
I might add that you will soon be able to read about the Parish of Alford in
our Statistical Account.
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks Flag is compiled by Ian Goldie. This issue he reminds us "Our
‘national conversation’, instigated by First Minister Alex Salmond, has
taken off. If you want to take part on the web, then google ‘a national
conversation in Scotland’ and you get a variety of websites to choose from."
Ian has also started his own conversation about Anti and Pro Independence
which makes a good read.
In the Synopsis we learn...
Tribute to Scots soldiers at Passchendaele
Minister for Europe Linda Fabiani has unveiled a Scottish Memorial in
Flanders which pays tribute to all Scots who were involved in the First
World War. The Celtic Cross symbolises the importance of Scottish engagement
in the Great War and commemorates those who gave their lives in battle.
Linda Fabiani said:
"I am deeply honoured to be unveiling the Scottish Memorial. Scotland's
soldiers contributed so much to efforts in the First World War and it is
only right that we honour their sacrifice.
"This is an important landmark - there is now finally a memorial which
acknowledges the contribution made by Scottish troops. On behalf of
Scotland, I want to thank all those involved in erecting this Celtic Cross.
"It is fitting that the Cross is situated on the Frezenberg where the 9th
and 15th Scottish Divisions fought during the Battle of Passchendaele and
only a few kilometres away from where the 51st Highland Division were
engaged in battle.
"We are very proud of the brave men and women who gave their lives in
defence of their country. I hope that this monument will be visited by many
people, young and old, as they come to reflect on the history of
Passchendaele and commemorate all the Scottish soldiers who played such an
important part in the Great War."
As part of the Scottish Weekend, the Minister also attended the
international tattoo involving Scottish and European bands and took part in
a walk at dawn through the areas of the Scottish attacks during the
In Peter's cultural section he continues his excellent time line of Scottish
31 August 1874
The Aberdeen Tramway Company horse-drawn tramway system opened for public
traffic with seven tram cars operated by 56 horses. The first year’s revenue
31 August 1946
The Edinburgh Film Festival, the first film festival in the United Kingdom,
was opened by Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Sir William Falconer at the Playhouse
Cinema. Originally showing documentaries the fledgling festival developed
into an international film festival ranking with Cannes and Berlin.
1 September 2006
Thirty-three people were rescued after an unexpected squall hit and capsized
28 racing boats in Largo Bay, Fife. The vessels were involved in two yacht
races in the Firth of Forth.
2 September 1812
Birth of Kirkpatrick MacMillan, blacksmith and inventor of the bicycle, in
the parish of Keir, Dumfriessshie.
2 September 1929
Birth of Joan MacKenzie, noted Gaelic singer and Mod Gold winner in 1955
(Aberdeen Mod), in Point, Lewis.
2 September 2006
A RAF Nimrod, based at RAF Kinloss in Moray, crashed in Afghanistan killing
all 14 men aboard.
3 September 1651
A Scots Royalist army under King Charles I and David Leslie, Lord Newark,
was defeated by Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester. David Leslie was
taken prisoner and spent nine years imprisoned in the Tower Of London.
3 September 2006
Two Scottish Socialist Party MSPs, Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne,
launched their own left-wing party Solidarity in Glasgow. The split with
their former party followed the court action by Tommy Sheridan against the
News of the World. The other four SSP MSPs had appeared for the defence.
5 September 1746
Prince Charles Edward Stewart joined Cluny of MacPherson in his hide-out
‘Cluny’s Cage’ on Ben Alder. He remained there until word came of the
arrival of the French frigate L’Heureux in Loch nan Uambh in which the
Prince escaped to France.
5 September 2006
The debating chamber in the Scottish parliament reopened after more than
£500,000 was spent repairing the roof after a 12-foot oak beam came loose
from its mounting bracket.
Taking you up to the crowning of Alexander III, King of Scots (1249)
From the crowning of King Alexander III (1249) to death of Robert I, King of
From the death of Robert I, King of Scots (1329) to the Scottish Reformation
From the Scottish Reformation (1560) to the Jacobite Rising of 1745
From the Jacobite Rising of 1745 to the Scottish Reform Bill (1832)
From the Scottish Reform Bill (1832) to the outbreak of the First World War
From the First World War (1914) to the reconvening of the Scottish
From the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament (1999) to the official
opening of new Scottish Parliament building (2004)
From the official opening of the new Scottish parliament building (2004)
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
Completed the H's with Hyndford and started the I's with Ilay, Inglis and
Here is how the account of Innes starts...
INNES, a local surname of great antiquity, derived from the British Ynys,
(Gaelic Inis,) and having the same signification as its derivative Inch, an
island. The name, as given to the barony of Innes in the parish of Urquhart,
in Moray, is very appropriate, part of it being an island formed by two
branches of a stream running through the estate. The word is also sometimes
used to denote level ground near a river. One Berowald, a supposed Fleming,
a person of considerable rank and distinction in the reign of Malcolm IV.
(1153-1165) got a charter from that monarch, for good services done against
the rebellious natives of Moray, of the lands of ‘Innes and Easter Ureart,’
wherein he is styled Berowald Flandrensis. This charter is dated, as was the
practice in those days, from a remarkable era, “apud Perth, in natali domini
proximo post concordiam regis et Sumerledi,” &c. As there were two
reconciliations of the Sumerleds to the crown, one in 1154, and the other in
1164, and as William, bishop of Moray, one of the witnesses, died in 1162,
the date must refer to Christmas 1154.
Berowald’s grandson, Walter, was the first that assumed the surname of Innes
from his lands, and thus was the progenitor of all the Inneses in Scotland.
He got a confirmation of the charter of his estate from Alexander II. In
1226. Walter’s grandson, William, was the first designed, in the chartulary
of Moray, dominus de Innes, and his son, also named William, is mentioned in
the burgh records of Elgin as baron de Innes. The grandson of the latter,
Alexander, the seventh from Berowald and the eighth of his house, had three
sons. 1. Sir Walter, who, on his death in 1393, succeeded him, but died
unmarried. 2. Sir Robert, who continued the line of the family; and 3. John,
bishop of Moray, from 1406 to 1414. It appears from his tombstone that this
prelate gave great assistance to the rebuilding of Elgin cathedral.
There is also a mention of...
INNES, THOMAS, a Catholic priest, distinguished for his researches in early
Scottish history, was superior of the Scots college at Paris, during the
first part of the 18th century. In 1729, he published, at London, ‘A
Critical Essay on the Ancient Inhabitants of the Northern Parts of Britain,’
2 vols. 8vo, which contains much valuable information of interest to the
historian, the critic, and the antiquary. According to Wodrow, he was also
engaged collecting materials for an ‘Early History of the Church of
Scotland,’ which was never published. He died in 1744. He succeeded his
brother, Louis Innes, as principal of the Scots college, Paris. Louis held
that office when James VII. And II. Sought an asylum in France, and was made
almoner to the queen, and secretary of state to the expatriated monarch. To
Louis Innes is ascribed the compilation of ‘The Memoirs of James II.,’ an
abstract of which was published by Dr. J. S. Clarke, at London, in 1806, in
2 vols. Quarto.
And I might add that I will be publishing his book "The Civil and
Ecclesiastical History of Scotland AD80 - AD818"
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Have made a start at this huge publication which will likely be with us for
a few years. The first volume I am dealing with is the one on Aberdeen.
There are some 85 parishes in this volume and a write up on each.
Here is the Topography and Natural History of Fraserburgh...
Situation,—This parish is situated upon the east coast of Scotland, in that
part of Aberdeenshire called Buchan; and the town of Fraserburgh is eighteen
miles to the west of Peterhead, and twenty-one miles by the old road, but
twenty-six miles by the new one, eastward from Banff, the next town of any
consequence upon the coast.
Name.—From records of an old date, it appears, that the name of this parish
was originally Philorth; this being the name of the estate of the patron and
principal proprietor. A town and harbour, however, having been built early
in the sixteenth century, and the town erected into a burgh of regality in
October 1613, it was called Fraserburgh, no doubt in honour of Sir Alexander
Fraser of Philorth, who obtained the charter.
Extent, &c.—The parish is at an average about 3½ miles broad, and nearly 8
miles long : the land gradually rising from the coast to its most distant
and elevated district. Owing, however, to one of those irregularities, which
were fallen into in the division of many parishes, the upper part is
intersected for the space of nearly an English mile by the adjacent parish
of Rathen. According to measurement, it contains a little more than 10,000
acres, and though the soil, like that of other parishes upon the coast, is
in many places sandy and light, yet in others it is partly clay and loam.
The rest is more gravelly, and interspersed with a few mosses and moors. It
extends along the coast about 4 miles, nearly two of which to the south of
the town are low and sandy, bounded by hillocks, overgrown with bent. The
rest is rocky and flat, except Kinnaird's head, a high land projecting into
the sea, which is generally believed to be the "Promontorium Taixalium" of
Ptolemy, being the turning point into the "Æstuarium Varariae," or Murray
Frith. From Kinnaird's head the land trends due west on the one hand, and on
the other makes a curve to the south-east, forming the bay of Fraserburgh.
The sea has receded from the land in some places, and encroached on it in
others. Westward of Kinnaird's head, is a stony beach, evidently thrown up
by the sea. Many of the benty hillocks, which skirt the bay, stand upon moss
or clay; and in 1760, a tree with roots and branches, and a stem twenty feet
long, was found entire under the sand within the high water-mark. By a
strong south-east wind, the sands on this shore, if dry, are drifted; and,
were they not intercepted by the bents, would overspread the adjacent
fields. Bent, therefore, ought to be carefully preserved, especially that
kind of it which grows in the hay here, resembling the river-bulrush in
length of joint, thickness of reed, and largeness of leaf and top, and which
is seemingly upon increase. It would appear that this parish at one time
abounded with wood. Large roots of trees, mostly oak, still remain in the
mosses; and about Philorth House, the seat of Lord Saltoun, is some old
timber, to which several plantations have been added. But owing to the
marine atmosphere, and the strong winds which sometimes blow here from the
north and the east, trees and hedges are reared with no small difficulty.
The only hill of any magnitude in this district is that of Mormond, covered
with moss and heath, standing 810 feet above the level of the sea, and is
the more conspicuous, as the surrounding country is to a considerable extent
low and champaign. In various parts of the parish are mineral springs of a
chalybeate nature; one of which is at the south-east corner of the town,
which has been deemed useful as a tonic for weak stomachs, and over which a
well has been erected for the more convenient use of those, who choose to
avail themselves of it. From the upper end of the town a bed of limestone
runs to the south, out of which a quarry has been dug, and stones obtained
for building the houses of the town, and the piers of the harbour. There is
also abundance of granite in the upper part of the parish, and ironstone of
a good quality also abounds amongst the rocks on the coast, but which has
been seldom wrought, owing to the scarcity of fuel. Great attention has been
paid for many years to the improvement of roads in this district, and there
are now excellent turnpike roads from this to Aberdeen, Peterhead, Banff,
Being situated upon the coast, the atmosphere is here temperate, moist, and
saline, and, with no mountain but that of Mormond to attract and break the
clouds, there is less rain and snow than in the interior of the country, and
snow, when it does fall, soon dissolves. Hence it is, perhaps, that we are
seldom visited with any epidemic distemper, and escaped the cholera, when it
was prevailing elsewhere. Upon the south side of the parish flows the water
of Philorth, which takes its rise in the upper district, and increased in
its course by a few tributary streams, discharges itself into the sea. The
bay, to which we have already adverted, is the most interesting natural
object at Fraserburgh. It is about three miles long, and attracts the notice
of every stranger as he approaches the town from the south, and exhibits to
him a beautiful and delightful scene in a fine summer day, when there is
clear sunshine and a profound calm, and many vessels are there riding at
List of Chiefs
The Highland Crofter
The Burial Places of the Chiefs of the Clan Donnachaidh
The Breadalbane Evictions
Here is how The Breadalbane Evictions starts...
From 'Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian Highlander' by Duncan
Campbell. Inverness 1910.
THE BREADALBANE EVICTIONS.
As second Marquis, "the son of his father," contrary to all
prognostications, became, as soon as expiring leases permitted it, an
evicting landlord on a large scale, and he continued to pursue the policy of
joining farm to farm, and turning out native people, to the end of his
twenty-eight years' reign. But like the first spout of the haggis, his first
spout of evicting energy was the hottest. I saw with childish sorrow,
impotent wrath, and awful wonder at man's inhumanity to man, the harsh and
sweeping Roro and Morenish clearances, and heard much talk about others
which were said to be as bad if not worse. A comparison of the census
returns for 1831 with those of 1861 will show how the second Marquis reduced
the rural population on his large estates, while the inhabitants of certain
villages were allowed, or, as at Aberfeldy, encouraged to increase. When
such a loud and long-continued outcry took place about the Sutherland
clearances, it seems at first sight strange. that such small notice was
taken by the Press, authors, and contemporary politicians, of the
Breadalbane evictions, and that the only set attack against the Marquis
should have been left to the vainglorious, blundering, Dunkeld
coal-merchant, who added the chief-like word "Dundonnachie" to his
designation. One reason — perchance the chief one — for the Marquis's
immunity was the prominent manner in which he associated himself with the
Non-intrusionists, and his subsequently becoming an elder and a liberal
benefactor of the Free Church. He had a Presbyterian upbringing and lived in
accordance with that upbringing. His Free Church zeal may therefore have
been as genuine as he wished it to be believed; but whether simply real or
partly simulated, it covered as with a saintly cloak his eviction
proceedings in the eyes of those who would have been his loud denouncers and
scourging critics had he been an Episcopalian or remained in the Church of
Scotland. The people he evicted, and all of us, young and old, who were
witnesses of the clearances, could not give him much credit for any good in
what seemed to us the purely hard and commercial spirit of the policy which
he carried out as the owner of a princely Highland property. Such of the
witnesses of the clearances as have lived to see the present desolation of
rural baronies on`the Breadalbane estates can now charitably assume that had
he foreseen what his land-management policy was to lead up to, he would, at
least, have gone about his thinning out business in a more cautious, kindly,
and considerate manner, and not rudely cut, as he did, the precious ties of
hereditary mutual sympathy and reliance which had long existed between the
lords and the native Highland people of Breadalbane.
Proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Fourth Congress at Atlanta, GA., April 28 to
May 1, 1892
Added more sections to this volume...
Here is the Address by Judge James B. Gordon, Philadelphia, Pa.
Delivered at the Third Annual Banquet of the Pennsylvania Scotch-Irish
Society in Response to a Toast.
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen: The toast which has just been announced suggests
a theme that may be treated either historically or prospectively. It may
serve as a text for recounting the glory and achievements of the past, or
for sounding a call to future sacrifice and duty. The temptation is very
strong on an occasion like this to dally in the pleasant ways and safe
retreats of history. The good cheer and good fellowship under whose
softening influence "the horizon of the board" expands "into the horizon of
man," strongly invite the contemplation of that common heritage of greatness
and renown that so justly constitutes our ancestral boast. On such a theme
one may always rely upon having approving hearers. Even a slight "trace" (as
the chemists would say) of Celtic admixture in our composition would assure
the recital against being pitched in a minor key. Indeed, the pure Scot
himself has never been accused of minimizing the distinction of his
ancestors. Something of the redundant eloquence of Caleb Balderstone when
portraying the imaginary hospitality of the Lord of Ravenswood still lingers
with his remote descendants on this side of the sea. This disposition toward
an exaggeration of the merits and prowess of one's ancestors is universal,
and from this fact is probably not to be criticised. "He censures God who
quarrels with man's infirmities." And yet it is an infirmity, though a
generous one. The mistake is in confounding eulogy with emulation. The heir
too often extols the thrift of the ancestor and wastes his estate. It is so
much easier to praise than to practice; to write an epitaph than to earn a
monument. There is a self-consciousness in the laudation of progenitors that
is not infrequently satisfied with mere eulogy. But the eulogists only
narrate and generally distort history; it is the critics who make it. To
emulate is to strive, to imitate but to excel, and to excel is to improve
upon conscious defects.
Therefore it is, that I think something may bo gained by considering the
sentiment of the toast in relation to our duties and obligations in the
future as citizens of the republic.
The Scotch-Irish in America have fared well at the hands of the historians.
It has become almost trite to say that they were " the choice and master
spirits " who inspired, animated, and impelled the forces of revolution in
the rebellious colonies. Ample testimony has been borne by every chronicler,
even the most reluctant, to the enormous debt owed by the United States to
the Scotch-Irish race. Our laws, social observances, the spirit of our
institutions bear the impress of this race beyond all others. Call the
muster roll of our heroes, whether on the field of battle, in the conflict
of the Senate, in the strife of the forum, in ecclesiastical activity, in
the ranks of educators, or in the heterogeneous but honorable array of
social and political reformers, and the list will sound like a parish
register of the province of Ulster, into which a foreign foundling has now
and then been intruded. It is an incontrovertible truism to say that the
United States of America constitute the contribution of Scotch-Irish genius
to modern civilization.
But, Mr. Chairman, there is another side to this picture; and it is the one
I would like to exhibit in strong relief. Great as is the debt of America to
the Scotch-Irish, infinitely greater is the obligation of the Scotch-Irish
to America. Let us brush away the distorting mists of prejudice and look the
truth fairly in the face. We would depart from our traditions if we were not
veracious and were not grateful. Antedate American independence, and you
antedate the glory of Scotch-Irish history. Before that its fame is as the
first gray streaks of dawn; thereafter it is as the day star when he "flames
in the forehead of the morning sky." America presented a theater for the
development and exercise of the Scotch-Irish genius that it had never
enjoyed when confined to the knuckle end of an island, and wasn't on
speaking terms with its neighbors. No people will ever exhibit heroic
qualities where they neither govern nor are oppressed. This was the singular
fate of the Scotch-Irish. They were quartered upon a country that was not
their home by a power that never failed to remind them of their dependence
and obligation. It would be difficult to devise circumstances better
calculated to dwarf and repress all that was great, noble, and generous in
people. Nothing is more marvelous in the history of the Scotch-Irish than
that they survived the blight of so baleful a situation. They must have been
made of good stuff not to sink to the level of surroundings so depressing.
But they kept their pride, they kept their thrift, they kept the
schoolmaster always in commission, they read their Bibles and they never
revised their Shorter Catechism. It would be vain to speculate as to what
would have been their fate had destiny confined them to the contracted
situation and limited opportunities in which English diplomacy had placed
them. But America beckoned them across the wave, and they came with eager
steps. No great enterprise over found fitter agents for its consummation; no
people ever found a fitter task for the highest development and exercise of
all that is heroic and excellent in human nature. The most momentous social
experiment of the ages was to be tested here. The young republic was to have
her foundations laid, and on the soundness and solidity of that work
depended the hope of free government, the fate of unborn millions.
Good Words - 1860 Edition
Edited by Rev. Norman MacLeod
You should note that as this is a weekly publication you'll find larger
articles are continued week by week.
This week have added articles on...
The Crowded Harbour (Pages 71-72)
Sketches in Natural History (Pages 73-75)
Here is how The Crowded Harbour starts...
The storm is yet fresh in our memories which wrecked the Royal Charter,
strewing her rich treasures from the Australian shores upon the sands of
England, and sinking into their "dark and wandering grave" those priceless
human treasures, for whose anticipated return hundreds of hearts were
beating and bounding with welcomes of love—welcomes which were doomed to die
down into the silence of unceasing sorrow, until the day when the sea shall
give up her dead.
Many a lighter craft on that rock-bound coast, nor there alone, shared the
fate of the full-freighted ship. Many a fishing-boat never made port again.
Many a brave sailor never gladdened from that night the longing heart of
wife or child.
Like an hospital after the day of battle, the harbour of an English
sea-port, in the neighbourhood of which I was then visiting valued friends,
was crowded with disabled vessels from various quarters; and frequently a
foreign tongue was heard along that thickly-peopled quay.
Such an opportunity as this of sending far and wide messages of peace, was
not to be lost.
Cards of prayer, and little books, were heartily welcomed by the sailors,
and conversation on subjects of eternal importance was eagerly sought. The
captain of a large American barque courteously and cordially offered the
deck of his ship for a Scripture-reading. And the superintendent of police,
with the hearty and earnest sympathy of a genial nature and a Christian
soul, made it known along the lines of ships which filled the harbour.
When the appointed hour arrived, the captains and crews of almost ail the
vessels there had assembled on deck, and on the pier alongside the ship.
Foreigners, with their interpreters, mingled with the crowd of English and
American sailors. A policeman set a tune for the hymn, beginning—
"Come, let us join our cheerful songs
With angels round the throne,"
in which strong, manly voices joined with feeling and fervour; and then,
reverently, with uplifted caps, the seamen listened to prayer for the
presence and mighty working of God's Holy Spirit.
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
Am adding a variety of articles from this publication and this week have
On the Manufacture of Kelp
Report on Lord Blantyre's Improvements on the Cottages at Abbeymains,
Lennoxlove Estate, in 1844 & 1845
Here is how the report on "Cottage Premiums" starts...
Report of the Committee on Cottages for 1847; read before the General
Meeting of the Society on the 11th of January 1848, by Mr Baillie of
Coulterallers, the convener; the Chair being occupied by the Right Hon. the
Earl of Rosebery, one of the Vice-Presidents of the Society.
As the object and design of the different premiums offered by the Highland
and Agricultural Society for the improvement of cottages, and for the
promotion of cleanliness and comfort among the peasantry, do not seem of
late years to be generally known even to the members of the Society, and
have not attracted the attention which they deserve, the committee consider
it their duty to give a short account of the different forms in which this
class of premiums has been offered to the public.
Many years ago, the Society, with a view of improving the condition of the
poorer classes, and of removing the reproach which our Southern neighbours
had long cast on the peasantry of Scotland, of being deficient in habits of
order and cleanliness, proposed to give premiums under certain regulations,
to a limited number of parishes, for the best kept cottages and gardens. As
it was assumed that landed proprietors would gladly avail themselves of the
Society's premiums, it was resolved, that they should be offered in turn to
every county in Scotland; certain counties being selected from the north,
and an equal number from the south. This plan was pursued for several years,
but was ultimately changed, as some districts seemed indifferent about the
premiums, and others frankly avowed that the cottagers were not in a
condition to derive benefit from them—their houses being so bad, as to
preclude them from joining the competition with any hope of success. It was
therefore considered advisable to discontinue the premiums to the counties,
and to allow any parish, wherever situated, to compete, provided a guarantee
was given by the parties applying for the premiums, to contribute one half
of the amount offered. This, it was hoped, would have had the effect of
interesting proprietors and other influential persons in the different
parishes, and of leading them personally to superintend and stimulate the
competitions. The change seemed at first to promise well; for, on looking
back to reports made some years ago, not only was the number of competing
parishes allowed by the rules complete, but many more applications were made
than could be complied with in any one year. This zeal, however, on the part
of proprietors, was more apparent than real; for in many instances, parishes
applied for and obtained the right to premiums, but never held a competition
nor sent in a report. The committee regret to say that for several years
there has been a falling off in the number of applications ; and it has been
suggested, notwithstanding the pains which the directors have always taken
to publish the premiums, and to invite competition, that this may be owing
to landed proprietors not being in the habit of reading the lists, and to
their being consequently unaware of the benefit offered-—the committee are
of opinion, that it may be attended with some advantage, to lay before the
General Meeting a short statement of the different premiums connected with
cottages, and of the manner in which they may be applied for.
Hitherto, premiums have been offered for the best and second best kept
cottages, and the committee now propose that a third prize should be added.
If a third prize be given, the first premium may be reduced to one pound
five shillings and a medal, as at present, where there are five competitors;
the second will be one pound; and the third, fifteen shillings. This
alteration has been suggested by several gentlemen who take an interest in
cottage competitions, and who have observed that the merits of the several
competitors are frequently so nicely balanced, as to make it difficult to
decide who should have the preference, and that, in such cases, the
difference between the first and second premium is, under the present
arrangement, too great. As it is desirable that a cottager who has won the
first premium, and who is therefore precluded from again competing for it,
should not afterwards retrograde, and that the habits which he may have
acquired should be confirmed, it is proposed that, in future competitions,
he shall be allowed to enter the lists; and if it is found that his cottage
is kept equally well with that which shall be declared to be the best for
the current year, he shall receive an additional medal, but no money
It is proposed that the garden premium still should be one pound; but as
this prize has hitherto failed to excite the interest among the peasantry
which it so highly deserves, the committee suggest that a medal shall be
also presented to the winner. The cost of a silver medal is inconsiderable,
and there is no doubt that the honour of acquiring a prize, which can be
exhibited to his neighbours, and transmitted to his children, is generally
more valued by a competitor than double its intrinsic value in money. The
conditions and regulations applicable to the cottage and garden
competitions, are too numerous to be mentioned here; but they may be
consulted at length in the general premium list, which is appended to the
present number of the Transactions.
I should imagine that no country in the world is richer in folk-lore than
the West Highlands. The ceilidh was an institution, and our people loved to
gather together on a winter's evening, and to tell each other again and
again the old stories which they had received from their forbears.
Many of these traditions are of great historical interest. They record, more
or less accurately, events which really happened in the past, and, indeed,
the history of every clan largely depends on information obtained from this
source. Many of the old stories which relate to my own clan have been
recorded in my two volumes on the History of the MacLeods. One or two of
those which follow I have heard since these books were written, and two or
three more, which are specially interesting because they throw so much light
on the superstition of our forefathers, I have ventured to repeat. I am
under the impression that some of them have never been published.
Some of the traditions were given to me by the late Miss Emily MacLeod, some
by my venerable friend, Miss Tolmie, and a great many by Mr John Mackenzie,
the factor at Dunvegan, all three of whom got them from old people who had
often heard them told at ceilidhs.
These old stories are worthy of careful study, for they reveal to us the
character of the people who loved to tell them, and enable us to form an
idea concerning their beliefs, their ideals, and their fancies.
There are two methods of telling these traditions. The first is the one
adopted by J. F. Campbell, in his "Popular Tales of the West Highlands." In
this he gives a literal translation of the Gaelic in which he heard them. A
single short story told in this manner has a charm of its own, but, when
many stories are told, I think that this method becomes tiresome and
monotonous. I have, therefore, arrived at the conclusion that it is better
to tell the stories in my own words, only occasionally preserving a quaint
bit of phraseology. The first two tales in my collection are love stories.
They show how highly our fathers valued the great qualities of constancy and
Book of Scottish Story
Kindly sent in to us by John Henderson
The Book of Scottish Story Historical, Humorous, Legendary, Imaginative
by Standard Scottish Writers Published by Thomas D. Morison, 1896
This week we have the story of Duncan Campbell by James Hogg and here is how
Duncan Campbell came from the Highlands, when six years of age, to live with
an old maiden aunt in Edinburgh, and attend the school. His mother was dead;
but his father had supplied her place by marrying his housekeeper. Duncan
did not trouble himself about these matters, nor, indeed, about any other
matters, save a black foal of his father's and a large sagacious collie,
named Oscar, which belonged to one of the shepherds. There being no other
boy save Duncan about the house, Oscar and he were constant companions; with
his garter tied round Oscar's neck, and a piece of deal tied to his big
bushy tail, Duncan would often lead him about the green, pleased with the
idea that he was conducting a horse and cart. Oscar submitted to all this
with great cheerfulness, but whenever Duncan mounted to ride on him, he
found means instantly to unhorse him, either by galloping, or rolling
himself on the green. When Duncan threatened him, he looked submissive and
licked his face and hands; when he corrected him with the whip, he cowered
at his feet. Matters were soon made up. Oscar would lodge nowhere during the
night but at the door of the room where his young friend slept, and woe be
to the man or woman who ventured to enter it at untimely hours.
When Duncan left his native home he thought not of his father, nor any of
the servants. He was fond of the ride, and some supposed that he scarcely
even thought of the black foal; but when he saw Oscar standing looking him
ruefully in the face, the tears immediately blinded both his eyes. He caught
him round the neck, hugged and kissed him—"Good-bye, Oscar," said he,
blubbering; "good-bye. God bless you, my dear Oscar," Duncan mounted before
a servant, and rode away—Oscar still followed at a distance, until he
reached the top of the hill— he then sat down and howled; Duncan cried till
his little heart was like to burst.
"What ails you?" said the servant.
"I will never see my poor honest Oscar again," said Duncan, "an' my heart
canna bide it."
Reminiscences of Old Scots Folk
By T. Ratcliffe Barnett (1913)
A new book started this week. I might add there are a number of interesting
wee colour pictures in this publication. As it says in the book title...
TO THE OLD SCOTS FOLK WHO DELIGHT TO HEAR THEIR MOTHER TONGUE, AND WHOSE
HEARTS STILL TURN TO THE LAND OF HOME.
The first story is about "A Preacher of the Covenant in the Killing Times"
and here is how it starts...
HE CAME OF GENTLEFOLK, THIS SAME John Blackader of Troqueer. For, he was of
that namely family in Berwickshire which was far and widely kenned during
the fifteenth century as the Black Band of the Blackaders. They were fell
fighters and worried the Englishers to death again and again. It was old
Cuthbert Blackader and his seven strapping sons who went bravely out to
fight at Bosworth Field, all accoutred in their armour of fine-made steel
and dour Scots courage. But, three of them fell with their doughty father,
and only four returned in dool to the bonny Berwickshire merse. King James
of Scotland, with a proper pride in their great adventures, gave leave to
the living Blackaders to commemorate the dead, by carrying, for ever after,
on their shields a red rose and a white—and to this day their crest is a
right hand holding a sword, with this for a family text below: Courage helps
It was out of that siccar Scots fighting family, that John Blackader of
Tulliallan, two centuries after, came—not to fight with sword and whinger,
but to wage the better war of his Captain, Jesus Christ, in the killing
times of persecution when the Blue Banner of the Covenant was dipped in the
blood of the martyrs.
All through his wandering, hunted life you can hear the jingling of horses'
bits, the clash of swords, and the thud of hoofs on the heather, as the
redcoats ride down with a curse those clean-souled men with their innocent
wives and bairns whose memory today makes Scotland dirl with pride.
A patient, scholarly saint himself, he was settled at Troqueer in
Dumfriesshire over a parish of wild, godless folk in 1653. But soon he
cleansed his flock and his session from evil ways, and took inspection into
their behaviour, until he garred them curb their profanity by the help of
God's own grace. If old Cuthbert, the Berwickshire laird, was a captain of
the foray, young John of Troqueer was a non-such Captain of Christ.
But, after nine years of this good gospel drill in the parish of Troqueer,
John Blackader was outed with the rest for conscience and the Covenant.
He was off for the moors at the first sound of the galloping dragoons,
determined henceforth to give his life to the wide, windy diocese of
Scotland's outed folk, rather than bow the knee to the usurper of Christ's
crown and Covenant.
A Chat with Alan Axelrod author of Blooding at Great Meadows
By Frank Shaw
Here is how the article starts...
I have interviewed many authors over the years and most have written more
than one book. I have, however, never interviewed an author who has written
or edited as many books as Alan Axelrod. Following this “chat” article, you
will find a list of books by Mr. Axelrod. If you are like me, you will be in
for a treat and a surprise at the sheer number of volumes and their wide
range of topics. To tell you the truth, I’ve never seen such prolific work
in so many areas by any one author. It staggers the mind!
Alan Axelrod received his Ph.D in English (with emphasis on American
literature and culture) from the University of Iowa in 1979. Alan taught at
Lake Forest College in Illinois and, ironically, at my alma mater, Furman
University – although I had graduated nearly 20 years prior to his arrival.
Having served as associate editor with two of America’s great museums, Henry
Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum in Delaware and Van Nostrand Reinhold in
New York, Mr. Axelrod became senior editor at New York’s Abbeville Press
from 1984-1991. He then joined Zenda, Inc. in New York, a consulting firm to
museums and cultural institutions. He came south in 1994 to Atlanta joining
a subsidiary of Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., as acquisitions editor
for Turner Publishing, Inc. In 1997 Mr. Axelrod founded The Ian Samuel
Group, Inc, a creative services and book packaging firm, and serves as its
Axelrod has consulted with numerous museums and cultural institutions
including the Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum (Rochester, NY), the Airman
Memorial Museum (Suitland, Maryland), and the Henry Francis du Pont
Winterthur Museum (Winterthur, Delaware). Alan has been a creative
consultant (and on-camera personality) for The Wild West television
documentary series for Warner Brothers, the Civil War Journal for the A&E
Network, and the Discovery Channel.
We welcome Alan Axelrod to the pages of A Highlander and His Books.
Q: Blooding at Great Meadows is a gutsy little book that sets the stage for
George Washington’s military career. How did you come to write on this man
who was first in everything but married a widow?
A: It is true that Washington was the first to fight in the French and
Indian War—this book is about how he started it—and was America’s first
general-in-chief and president, yet he was, as his marriage to the rich
widow Martha suggests, also a follower. He followed the examples of manly
conduct presented by his father and by his beloved half-brother, Lawrence,
and he followed the leading edge of the pioneers, buying up land just behind
them. Washington was the right man at the right time—sometimes he was the
first man, but sometimes he simply knew when to ride the crest of a wave or
the leading edge of a trend.
Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Our thanks once again to Nola Crewe for sending in more entries from this
This week we have added two biographies...
The Charles Stewart entry starts...
CHARLES STEWART, one of the self-made men and esteemed citizens of the
County of Kent, now a retired farmer of the township of Harwich, residing on
Concession 5, Lot 15, was born October 66th, 1830, in Appin, Argyllshire,
William and Catherine (Hastie) Stewart, his parents, were both born in
Argyllshire, and he is a descendant of the historic house of Appin and
Ardsheil. His father died in Jamaica, where he went to seek his fortune, in
1842. The mother died in Scotland when their two sons, Charles and Duncan,
were but lads. Duncan still resides with his family in Scotland, and is a
leading business man of his community. In 1882 he visited his only brother
in Canada, and the reunion was very pleasant.
Charles Stewart was eleven years of age when, in 1841, he started for the
home of his uncle, Duncan Johnson, who lived in Canada. The long journey was
made on a sailing-vessel to New York, and thence he came to Buffalo by way
of the Erie Canal, finally reaching the County of Kent by boat across Lake
Erie. He was employed by his uncle until he started in life for himself.
After earning the means he purchased 100 acres of wild land, erected a
little log cabin in the woods, and in 1850 married Harriet Douglass, who
died one year afterward, leaving one child, Harried, born in 1851. She is
now the widow of Samuel Rouse, of Chatham, and has two children, Gertrude A.
and Victoria Alma, and one child, Grace, is deceased. Mrs. Stewart was a
daughter of Dr. Douglass, who lived and died in Scotland, she and two
sisters coming to Canada when young.
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