Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
Clan and Family Information
Poetry and Stories
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Book of Scottish Story
History of Glasgow
The Scottish Historical Review
The Pioneers of Old Ontario
The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
Reminiscences of Cromar and Canada (New Book)
The Story of the Scots Stage (New Book)
On the Antiquity of the Gaelic Language
Blackie, John Stuart
Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
Noted an article about the new President Elect of the USA from
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has sent his congratulations
to the President-elect of the United States, Barack Obama.
In his message, Mr Salmond included an invitation to visit Scotland
during the 2009 Year of Homecoming.
Senator Obama has Scottish ancestry and sent a statement of support
to this year's Scotland Week celebrations in the United States.
Mr Salmond said:
"On behalf of the people of Scotland, I send you my heartfelt
congratulations on a wonderful and historic election victory - it
ushers in a new era of hope for the United States and its role in
the world. This was a victory for optimism over pessimism, for hope
"It is time for a leader with your commitment to cooperation, and
your belief that the improbable can be possible with goodwill and
"The American public have chosen another President of Scottish
descent, and your message of support for the Scotland Week
celebrations in the US this year was greatly appreciated by Scots at
home and abroad.
"2009 is Scotland's Year of Homecoming - celebrating the 250th
anniversary of the birth of Scotland's national bard and
international cultural icon, Robert Burns - during which we will
welcome to Scotland people from around the world with a connection
to and love of our nation.
"It will be a fantastic year to come home - for Presidents and
citizens alike - and I extend an invitation of warm Scottish
hospitality to you during this special year."
Presidential Backing - Present and Future
12 US Presidents have been of Scottish descent. According to
genealogists, Barack Obama can trace his ancestry to William the
Lion, who ruled Scotland between 1165 and 1214. Senator Obama's
maternal ancestor, Edward FitzRandolph, emigrated to America in the
In April, Senator Obama sent a message of support to the Scottish
Government for the Tartan Day and Scotland Week celebrations in the
US, which culminated in the 10th anniversary celebrations of the
Senate's Tartan Day Resolution.
Statement from Senator Barack Obama
"I am proud to recognize the tenth anniversary of the Senate's
resolution commemorating Tartan Day. With millions of Americans of
Scottish descent living throughout the country, it is important to
celebrate the historic relationship between the United States and
Scotland, and the great contributions Scottish Americans have made.
I wish you the best during this Scotland Week celebration."
As to the site... we've had many emails saying how much faster the
site is and from my point of view it's also faster to publish new
items. So now all I need to do is pay the increased bill for our
double T1 line :-)
We are organizing a todo list for things we'd like to see once Steve
gets settled in and if you'd like to see any new facilities on
Electric Scotland please feel free to email me with suggestions.
We have started on a couple of new books this week... "Reminiscences
of Cromar and Canada" and "The Story of the Scots Stage" for which
Books that will be coming soon will be...
Sketches of North Carolina
Historical and Biographical, illustrative of the Principles of a
portion of her Early Settlers By Rev. William Henry Foote (1846)
John Knox, A Biography
By D MacMillan, M.A. (1905)
MacKenzie, Selkirk, Simpson
The Makers of Canada, By Rev. George Bryce, D.D. (1910)
Old Time Customs
Memories and Traditions and Other Essays by John Burgess Calkin, M.
A. LL.D. (1918)
Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
Including Orkney and Zetland, descriptive of their scenery,
statistics, antiquities, and natural history and directions for
visiting the lowlands of Scotland with descriptive notices by George
Anderson and Peter Anderson of Inverness (1850)
or tales of the Central Highlands.
Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs
by James M. Mackinlay (1893)
The Gateway of Scotland
East Lothian, Lammermoor and the Merse By A. G. Bradley (1912)
The Social and Economic Condition of the Highlands of Scotland Since
By A. J. Beaton (1906)
By W. Barclay (1922)
Parish Life in the North of Scotland
By Rev. Donald Sage A.M. (1899)
The Autobiography of Dr. Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk 1722-1805
Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach
By R. Angus Smith (1885)
I do also plan to do a few more biographies of very significant
Should you be interested in something appearing on the site do let
me know and I'll see what I can do.
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 or on our site menu.
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks Flag is compiled by Ian Goldie.
In Peter's cultural section he's telling us about Martinmas...
This week we reach the fourth Scottish Quarter Day, St Martins Day
Martinmas on 11 November. This according to folk lore was the
day when the dead returned to the earth in the ballad The Wife o
Ushers Well -
It fell about the Martinmas,
When nichts are lang and mirk,
The carlin wifes three sons cam hame,
And their hats were o the birk.
In by-gone days before the turnip was introduced as winter food for
animals, Martinmas was the time of year for killing the animals
which Scots could not afford to keep during the winter. It was a
busy time of year as families strove to ensure that nothing was
wasted. Meat was salted down and the innards made into black and
white mealie puddings.
Most people now-a-days buy puddings at the butcher but Skirlie is
still made at home. Skirl-i-the-pan is made with the same
ingredients as mealie puddings but is fried in a pan rather than
boiled in a skin. Also known as Poor Man's Haggis, Skirlie is
splendid with neeps an tatties and also be used as stuffing for any
kind of poultry or game. Here is the Aberdeenshire and North-East
Scotland method of cooking:-
Take oatmeal, suet, onion, salt and pepper. Chop two ounces of suet
finely. Heat a pan very hot and put in the suet. When it is melted
add one or two finely chopped onions and brown them well. Now add
enough oatmeal ( about four ounces ) to absorb the fat - a fairly
thick mixture. Season to taste. Stir well till thoroughly cooked ( a
few minutes ). Serve with potatoes.
Christina McKelvie MSP's weekly diary didn't arrive.
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
We're now onto the T's with Traquair, Trotter, Tullibardine,
Turnbull, Tweeddale, and Tytler.
And also the U's with Ure and Urquhart.
An interesting account of Tytler which starts...
TYTLER, the surname of a family distinguished in the literature of
Scotland, one branch of which possesses the estate of Balnain,
Inverness-shire, and another that of Woodhouselee, Mid Lothian, --
the haunted Woodhouselee of Sir Walter Scotts ballad of The Gray
Brother. The family name originally was Seton, that of Tytler
having been assumed by the ancestor of the family, a cadet of the
noble house of Seton, who temp. James IV., in a sudden quarrel at a
hunting match, slew a gentleman of the name of Gray, fled to France,
and changed his name to Tytler. His two sons returned to Scotland in
the train of Queen Mary in 1561, and from the elder the families of
Balnain and Woodhouselee descend.
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
We have now added the Parish of Crichton to the Edinburgh volume.
Antiquities. - On the estate of Crichton, and at a small distance
from the church, stands Crichton Castle, famous in Scotch story, and
associated with many of its most remarkable events. Sir Walter
Scott, in the Notes to his "Marmion," thus writes regarding this old
ruin; "A large ruinous castle on the banks of the Tyne, built at
different times, and with a very different regard to splendour and
accommodation. The oldest part of the building is a narrow keep or
tower, such as formed the mansion of a lesser Scottish Baron; but so
many additions have been made to it, that there is now a large
court-yard, surrounded by buildings of different ages. The eastern
front of the court is raised above a portico, and decorated with
entablatures bearing anchors. All the stones in this front are cut
into diamond facets, the angular projections of which have an
uncommonly rich appearance. The inside of this part of the building,
appears to have contained a gallery of great length and uncommon
elegance. Access was given to it by a magnificent staircase, now
quite destroyed. The soffits are ornamented with twining cordage and
rosettes, and the whole seems to have been far more splendid than
was usual in Scottish castles."
Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.
This week have added...
The Crushed Bonnet
And here is how it starts...
Towards the close of a beautiful autunmal day in 18--, when pacing
slowly on my way, and in a contemplative mood admiring the
delightful scenery between Blair Athole and Dunkeld, on my return
from a survey of the celebrated pass of Killiecrankie, and other
places rendered famous in Scottish story, I was accosted by a
female, little past the prime of life, but with two children of
unequal age walking by her side, and a younger slung upon her back.
The salutation was of the supplicatory kind, and while the tones
were almost perfectly English, the pronunciation of the words was
often highly Scottish. The words, a "sodgers widow""three helpless
bairns" and "Waterloo," broke my meditations with the force of an
enchantment, excited my sympathy, and made me draw my purse. While
in the act of tendering a piece of money a cheap and easy mode of
procuring the luxury of doing good I thought the countenance,
though browned and weather-beaten, one which I before had seen, with
out exactly recollecting when or where. My curiosity thus raised,
many interrogatives and answers speedily followed, when at last I
discovered that there stood before me Jeanie Strathavon, once the
beauty and the pride of my own native village. Ten long and
troublous years had passed away since Jeanie left the neighbourhood
in which she was born to follow the spirit - stirring drum; and
where she had gone, or how she had afterwards fared, many enquired,
though but few could tell. The incident which led to all her
subsequent toil and suffering seemed but trivial at the time, yet,
like many other trivial occurrences, became to her one fraught with
She was an only daughter, her father was an honest labourer, and
though not nursed in the bosom of affluence, she hardly knew what it
was to have a wish ungratified. She possessed mental vivacity, and
personal attractions, rarely exhibited, especially at the present
day, by persons in her humble sphere of life. Though she never could
boast what might properly be called education, yet great care had
been taken to render her modest, affectionate, and pious. Her
parents, now in the decline of life, looked upon her as their only
solace. She had been from her very birth the idol of their hearts;
and as there was no sunshine in their days but when she was healthy
and happy, so their prospects were never clouded but when she was
the reverse. Always the favourite of one sex, and the envy of
another, when not yet out of her teens, she was importuned by the
addresses of many both of her own rank and of a rank above her own,
to change her mode of life. The attentions of the latter, in
obedience to the suggestions of her affectionate but simple hearted
parents, she always discouraged, for they never would allow
themselves to think that "folk wi siller would be looking after
their bairn for ony gude end." Among those of her own station, she
could hardly be said to have yet shown a decided preference to any
one, though the glances which she cast at Henry Williams, when
passing through the kirkyard on Sundays, seemed to every one to say
where, if she had her own unbiassed will, her choice would light.
Still she had never thought seriously upon the time when, nor the
person for whom, she would leave her fond and doting parents. Chance
or accident, however, in these matters, often outruns the speed of
deliberate choice; at least such was the case with poor Jeanie.
The History of Glasgow
By Robert Renwick LL.D. and Sir John Lindsay L.D. in 3 volumes
Have now completed the second volume of the three and added this
week are chapters...
Under the Merry Monarch
Alexander Burnet's First Archbishopric
The Policy of Conciliation
Alexander Burnet's Second Archbishopric
Second Insurrection of the Covenanters
In the Last Years of Charles II.
Rebellion and Revolution
Here is how chapter XXXIII starts...
THE Netherlands were, in the latter part of the seventeenth century,
the chief rival of this country in colonizing enterprise and naval
power. Since the days of Charles I. they had afforded an asylum to
discontented and disinherited persons from England and Scotland
alike. [Coltness Collections. Chambers's Domestic Annals, ii. 540.]
Charles II. himself had found a retreat there while he waited an
opportunity to recover the double crown from the Government of
Oliver Cromwell. The Netherlands also were the arsenal from which
the weapons were obtained which were used against the Government
troops at the battles of Rullion Green, Drumclog, Bothwell Bridge,
and Ayr's Moss. Accordingly, the arms and men were both ready there
when the accession of Charles II.'s brother, the Duke of York and
Albany, as King James VII. and II., seemed to offer a favourable
opportunity for another attempt. The new king was a Roman Catholic,
and for that reason unpopular, and the discontented elements at
Amsterdam and the Hague resolved to seize the chance to effect a
revolution without delay. Within three months of the beginning of
the new reign two strong and fully equipped expeditions sailed from
the Dutch ports.
The Earl of Argyll, as we have seen, had pleaded lack of means as a
reason for refusing to repay the money borrowed by his father from
Hutchesons' Hospital and the Town Council of Glasgow. But lack of
means did not prevent him from fitting out a formidable expedition,
with ships and men and ample munitions of war, for a more definite
attempt than had yet been made to overthrow the Government of
Scotland. And thus, while the Duke of Buccleuch and Monmouth, son of
Charles II. and Lucy Walters, with certain pretensions to legitimacy
and a claim to the throne, landed with a force in the south-west of
England, Argyll, at the head of an equally threatening array,
disembarked in leis own country, near the disaffected southwestern
district of Scotland. The story of that ill-starred campaign is told
with fullness and, for him, unusual fairness by Lord Macaulay in his
history of that time.
The Scottish Historical Review
I have added a few more articles from these publications...
The Royal Regiment of Scots Dragoons (now the Scots Greys)
Amongst a number of papers which lately came into the possession of
Colonel F. J. Agnew Wallace, late of the Scots Greys, a collection
of letters written in the years immediately before the Union by Lord
John Hay, Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scots Dragoons (now the
Scots Greys), came to light, and I am indebted to Colonel Wallace
for permission to publish a selection of extracts from them.
Alexander Farquharson of Brouchdearg and his Farquharson Genealogies
The 'Genealogy of the Name of Farquharson ' down to the year 1733,
by Alexander Farquharson of Brouchdeargcommonly known as the
Brouch-dearg MS.in which the writer traces the descent of
practically all the members of his clan in his time, scattered
though they were through four counties, with a completeness and
accuracy which leave little to be desired, and with a modesty and
frankness not always observable in such performances.
The Revolution Government in the Highlands
AN unfortunate prominence has been given to the massacre » of
Glencoe, which, however discreditable to its authors, was an
isolated event, and cannot be regarded as a real indication of a
settled policy. The interest taken in it has only tended to distract
attention from the more important question of the way in which the
problem of Highland government was regarded by the Revolution
statesmen, and of how they attempted to deal with it.
Mr. Hutcheson's 'Journal,' 1783
Mr. Charles Hutcheson, a young man (aged 21) of some spirit and
intelligence, with a taste for good literature and a device of a
sentimental journey engaging his holiday mind, has been able to set
down some part of the truth about the life of himself and his
friends, and may be thanked for another instalment of his travels to
The Pioneers of Old Ontario
By W. I. Smith and Illustrations by M. McGillvray (1923)
I really enjoyed this book and have now added the final two
Strong Drink, Religion and Law
Heroes and their Descendants
Here is how the account starts from "Strong Drink, Religion and
"I can remember," said William Allan, of Churchill, "when taverns
were to be found at almost every corner of the Penetang' Road
between the town-line at the lower end of Innisfil and the north end
of the township. There was one at Croxon's Corners, at the
town-line; one at Cherry Creek; two at Churchill, on the fourth; one
at the fifth; one at the seventh; two at Stroud; one at the twelfth;
and one at Pains-wick, on the thirteenth. These were all along the
leading road in the township. Others were scattered here and there,
at other corners, off the main highway.
"The drinking habits of the people were in keeping with the number
of taverns from which liquor was supplied. Fighting was a natural
consequence of this excessive drinking. Liquor flowed with special
freedom during elections, and fists and sticks formed the ultimate
argument in the political controversies of the day. Nor were
elections the only cause of quarrels. An incident of an
international character once occurred at the old Tyrone tavern at
the corner of the fifth. An American lumber firm (the Dodge) was
engaged in cutting pine from our old place for the mill that was
then in operation at Belle Ewart. The firm had a number of Americans
in its employment and one night, a fight began at the tavern between
the Americans and a number of Canadians. The former soon got the
worst of it and were driven for shelter to their camp across the
way. There was one negro in the American party, and he came in for
some of the hardest knocks. People say that after the scrap was
over, it was hardly possible to tell which was his face and which
was the back of his head. If a white man had received such a
pounding, his head would have been reduced to a pulp. A few years
ago when Wightman Goodfellow tore down the old tavern, bloodstains,
resulting from this and other fighting, could still be seen on the
"Churchill, known in the early days as Bully's Acre, was another
great place for fighting. At the old show-fairs you might see a
scrap at any time you chose to turn your head in the direction from
which the noise was coming. There is, by the way, an interesting
story of the manner in which Churchill got its name. The first
church in the neighbourhood was at the sixth line. A tavern-keeper
located on the salve corner and named his place `Church Hill
Tavern.' Believing the fourth line corners a better location lie
later on moved there and carried his sign with him, and thus the
name `Churchill' was transferred from the sixth to the fourth.
"Nor was the consumption of liquor confined to taverns. At almost
every store a pail of liquor and a cup stood on the counter and all
comers were at liberty to help themselves. No logging-bee could be
field without an abundant supply of the same sort of refreshment,
and after the bee was over, men fought or danced as fancy moved
themprovided they were not by that time too drunk to do either.
"Where did the money come from to pay for all the liquor consumed?
It came from the sweat-stained dollars that should have gone to the
creation of homes; women were robbed of their due, and children of
their heritage, that liquor sellers might wax fat. I have been told
that the man who kept the old Tyrone tavern at the fifth, was able
to supply his boys with two or three watches each from among those
that had been left in pawn for liquor. Nor was this all. Many a good
farm was drunk up over the bar in the old days and the owners and
their children were forced to begin life over again in a new
As John Witherspoon was a signatory to the American Declaration of
Independence I thought it would be appropriate to put up a biography
We have now completed this book with...
The American Period
President of Princeton
The Presbyterian Church
Witherspoon, the American
The Last Years
Here is a bit from Chapter IV of The American Period...
FROM the day that he landed in America until the Revolution
Witherspoon was a high type of British colonist. Scotchman as he
was, he was British in sentiment and devotion. But he was likewise
American to the core. He early perceived the possibilities of the
new country. Its resources amazed him. The rich fertility of the
soil, especially that which lay inland along the streams appealed to
him in contrast with the less productive land in Scotland. He was
delighted with the men whom he met and with the towns they had
built. His admiration was not effusive, but his practical eye saw
the evident advantages that would accrue from hard work. Clergyman
and educator though he was, following professions not conducive to
business sagacity, he had no hesitation in engaging in such
enterprises as he thought would be profitable. He became one of a
company which obtained from the crown a large grant of land in Nova
Witherspoon appears to have had friends at court to whom, as in the
case of the charter for the Widows' Fund, he could apply for aid.
Whether he used this friend on this occasion I do not know. But he
used his own name freely, as he might very properly, to advertise,
not only his land in Nova Scotia but the general advantages in
America, for the purpose of encouraging emigration. When John Adams
was at Princeton in 1774, Witherspoon said the Congress ought to
urge every colony to form a society to encourage Protestant
emigration from the three kingdoms of Great Britain. It was this
motive more largely than the hope of making money that induced him
to join the Nova Scotia land company. When his name appeared in the
advertisements in Scotch papers, some of his old enemies in that
land took occasion to attack him. Ordinarily he let such things
pass, but as injury might be done to possible emigrants induced to
come to America by other land speculators and as he was accused of
being an enemy to his country, he felt obliged to reply. The charge
narrowed down to this, to use his own words: "Migrations from
Britain to America are not only hurtful but tend to the ruin of that
country; therefore, John Witherspoon, by inviting people to leave
Scotland and settle in America is an enemy to his country."
In a long letter to the Scots Magazine he shows the folly of such an
argument. His only reason for going into the company, he declares,
was "that it would give people, who intended to come out, greater
confidence that they should meet with fair treatment, and that I
should the more effectually answer that purpose, one of the express
conditions of my joining the company was, that no land should be
sold dearer to any coming from Scotland than I should direct,"
surely a fine evidence of his associates' confidence in his
integrity. He felt obliged to make this stipulation because many
wildcat schemes were advertised abroad offering land at a rental per
acre which equalled the value of the acre itself. Land in America
was remarkably cheap compared with the price in Scotland, but
Witherspoon reminded his readers that the value of it depended more
upon its neighbourhood than upon its quality. The letter displays an
astonishingly intimate acquaintance with the details of real estate,
most unexpected in one whose chief repute was due to theological
learning. Already he caught the import of the drift of population
inland to the rich soils towards and beyond the mountains. As for
the charge that he is an enemy to his country he replies, "I cannot
help thinking it is doing a real service to my country when I show
that those of them who find it difficult to subsist on the soil in
which they were born, may easily transport themselves to a soil
vastly superior to that." His hope was, not that Scotland should
send out men who would take up large tracts and become landed
proprietors on a large scale, but that farmers, willing to work the
land themselves might take small holdings. It is shameful, he feels,
for men to deceive intending settlers, and protests against the
unjust charges of his enemies. "For my own part," he concludes, "my
interest in the matter is not great; but since Providence has sent
me to this part of the world, and since so much honour has been done
me as to suppose that my character might be some security against
fraud and imposition, I shall certainly look upon it as my duty to
do every real service in my power, to such of my countrymen as shall
fall in my way, and that either desire or seem to need my
Reminiscences of Cromar and Canada
By Donald Robert Farquharson
Here is the Preface of this book...
In committing to the press this unpretentious little book I beg to
acknowledge my indebtedness for inspiration and assistance towards
its preparation to my revered old teacher and friend the late Rev.
John Grant Michie, whose books on Deeside, Logie Coldstone and Loch
Kinord, as well as his enthusiasm, in reviving; other local
memories, otherwise all but dead and forgotten, strongly impressed
my youthful mind to my own father for many of the old local
traditions and current sayings and by his manifested interest in so
many of the people and characters in the parish and surrounding
district; and to my brother William and my nephew David A. Stewart
who, on my retirement from active service in the Customs Office in
Chatham, Ontario, urged me to undertake the writing of these tales
and memories, and have given willing and most appreciated assistance
in collecting material, arranging chapters and reading proofs.
I trust that the narrative thus produced may prove of some interest
to the rising generation at least and that it may help its reader to
appreciate more fully the struggles of their forefathers and to
exercise in the trials which they themselves will doubtless be
confronted a like faith, courage and patience.
The Story of the Scots Stage
By Robb Lawson (1919)
Another new book we're starting and here is the foreword...
As it seems needful to explain why this book came into existence, I
may say that as an eager student of Drama, I was anxious to trace
out for myself the history of the Scottish Stage. The enquiry,
pleasurable as it was, became a somewhat tortuous one. Unluckily for
the student, Scotland does not seem to be very proud of its stage
connections, with the result that to link the story together one has
to become an Autolycus, delving into all sorts and conditions of
documents and unsuspected volumes. This role I willingly adopted,
and thinking that if I strung my notes together in some historical
order, the volume might not be unwelcome to brother Scots at home
and abroad, I have pleasure in submitting the result.
I have not attempted to go beyond the commencing date of the now
popular Touring Companies, mainly because their products cannot be
regarded as indigenous to the Scottish stage.
If this attempt at laying the foundation should inspire the more
exhaustive history really desired, my purpose will have been happily
I am indebted to many friends for willing services rendered, but I
cannot refrain from mentioning in this connection the names of Mr.
J. M. Bulloch of The Graphic, Mr. Frank Boyd of The Dundee Courier,
Mr. John Duncan of The Glasgow Herald, Mr. H. Thomson Clark, and Mr.
J. A. Whamond-Mudie.
On the Antiquity of the Gaelic Language
Showing its affinity to Hebrew, Greek and Latin by the Rev. D.
This is a short book but very informative. Due to all the Gaelic
words and other languages I've scanned this in as page images.
Around 20 pages per section.
In the Preface it says...
The progress hitherto made to give the Gaelic language its
legitimate rank among early European tongues appears to me
unsatisfactory. 1 have devoted the following pages to that subject,
and hope it may be found a step in the proper direction. I feel
impelled, by a sense of duty, to make public the marked sameness, in
vowel sounds, I have lately detected between the Gaelic and the
Hebrew. That was my chief object in writing the Essay; and I trust
the evidence adduced throughout is sufficiently cogent to show at
once, that the sacred original of the Old Testament can be best read
and understood by means of its own textual vowels, safe from the
smallest risk of error, without calling in the aid of the fanciful
system of Rabbinical points.
Blackie, John Stuart
An article from John Henderson about a significant Scots Professor
and a patriotic Scot.
Blackie was one of one of the best-known Scotsmen of his time. Born
in Glasgow and educated in Aberdeen, his first degree from Marischal
College, Aberdeen was followed by three 'Wanderjahre' spent at the
Universities of Göttingen and Berlin and in Rome. These gave him a
life-long love, first of the German language, German student life,
songs and culture, and secondly of the Greek language and antiquity.
The first were later to inform several of his own books, notably
"Musa burschicosa" (1869), "War songs of the Germans" (1870) and
"Scottish song"(1889) as well as the initial compilation of "The
Scottish Students' Song Book" (1891), of which his nephew Archibald
Stoddart-Walker was one of the first editors.
Declining to enter the church he took a law degree at the University
of Edinburgh and joined the Scottish bar. In 1839 was appointed
Professor of Humanity at Marischal College, Aberdeen and in 1860 he
achieved his ambition when he was appointed to the Chair of Greek at
the University of Edinburgh.
At Edinburgh he became a charismatic teacher and a popular lecturer
on many subjects. He espoused the causes of educational reform and
the Gaelic language, and almost single-handed raised the £12,000
needed to endow the new Chair of Celtic at Edinburgh. His death was
the occasion for a national day of mourning, and his funeral stopped
the City of Edinburgh in its tracks.
Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
We now have up the November issue...and here is Beth's Letter from
EVERYWHERE! Most of us (including me) work at things Scottish
because we love it. Very few people actually make their living at
this. The rest of us do it because it is fun. We do it for the
friendships and for the great feeling we get in helping to preserve
our wonderful heritage.
Now, there are all levels of having fun. I, for example, have fun
creating this publication although it is a whole lot of very hard
work. I also have fun tending to horses and caring for dogs and
being a staff-person for my cats. To me, fun is
having a neat house and a yard that is mowed. I love to garden and
think nothing is more fun than growing roses - which is another
whole set of hard work and regular work.
But those of us who relish the Scottish community, just love the
PHUN parts of Highland Games. What fun you ask?
Well, there are several kinds of fun to be had Highland Games.
Inventions that are Scottish fun! Here is just a sampling of the
items I have heard discussed at Highland Games as potential
Hairy legged panty hose for men who wear kilts in cold weather.
Mmmm. They would have to be made in sizes S through XXXXXXXXXXXXXXL.
They would have to come in shades of Indoor-Man Pink, He-Man Tan and
maybe Beginner SunBurn. They would have
have fur of blonde, brown, black, grey-with blonde, brown, grey and
black - oh, and red with gray and just red. They would have to maybe
be custom woven for each individual. The fur would have to be a
choice of curly or straight. I first heard
of these from an anonymous Buchanan at the Jacksonville (FL)
I wonder if Hairy legged panty hose would be eligible in the
Bonniest Knees Contests?
The Guzzle-A-Dirk which I heard discussed quite seriously at the
recent Stone Mountain Highland Games. At first glance, this would
appear to be a large and manly great knife. However, should you pull
the dirk from its sheath, you would discover the blade portion is a
little thicker than the normal knife blade. In fact, should you
remove the gem from the top of the bone handle, you would discover
the entire thing is hollow and filled with the water of life
should you need a medicinal sip during your sojourn at the games.
This reminds me of the old remedy for snake bite: a long, stiff
sampling of what used to be called moonshine. The moonshine was
easily available and cheaply priced, but the story is that the most
money was made on the selling of biting
snakes to go with the remedy!
The Airline Proof Skean Dubh that I heard about out at the Seaside
Highland Games in Ventura, California, is another worthy
invention.Seems there would be a great market for a skean dubh that
would be proper for carry-on bags. The word was to make a skean dubh
that looks normal in every way....except, if you take it from its
sheath, it turns out to be a handsome sterling silver comb instead
of a sharp blade! Wow. A skean dubh legal on the airlines - and neat
hair to boot.
All of these remind me of my long-ago rodeo days. I always thought
there was a fortune to be made in training goats used for the
Ladies Goat Roping event. In that event, the mounted cowgirls race
after a goat, rope him about his neck, leap from their horse and
gather three of the goats legs together and then wrap those three
legs in a Piggin String that must stay tight for at least 3
Sometimes, the goat just doesnt want you to have three of his legs
gathered up. Goats can put up a pretty good fight. So, all you have
to do is train goats to put
three of their legs together in a nice, neat little package for the
tying part of the event. It would also help if they were trained to
be perfectly still after
they are tied!
Self-raising and self-lowering tents. Anyone who has ever put up a
clan tent or taken down a clan tent will appreciate this idea. Just
have Robot Tents who will march onto the field, raise themselves
for the day or for the amount of time you need them - and then
automatically lower themselves and march back to the games storage
barn awaiting next years event. Attempts have been made, it seems
for the latter portion of the tent performance - although these have
other names such as Tornadoes, High Winds and Hurricanes.
Anyone is welcome to make and market these wonderful ideas. Remember
though, you read the ideas here!
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