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Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
Clans and Family Information
Poetry and Stories
Book of Scottish Story
The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
Social Life in Scotland
The Writings of John Muir
Fraser's Scottish Annual
Robert Burns Lives!
Among the Forrest Trees
Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
The Scottish Church (New Book)
ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
I was away in Toronto this week attending the ordination of Nola
Crewe on the Sunday and then taking my first meeting of the Scottish
Studies Society as President on the Tuesday and then back home on
They of course don't do just Scottish names but they certainly have
a load of Scottish clan and surname projects on the go.
And another new advertiser, this time for Hotels around the world.
We are trying this out in the header of our site index page. I'd
appreciate your feedback on this one as to whether you'd find it
useful or not and if you do then I might put it across the site.
Essentially this advertiser allows you to search across all the
major hotel sites to find the best prices for hotels anywhere in the
world. This means if you were looking for an hotel in New York,
Toronto, London, Glasgow, etc. then just enter the details and it
will come up with various options for you. To try it out just go to
our index page at
It just struck me that many of you travel all over the place and so
this might be a useful service to offer.
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 Jennifer Dunn who talks about it
being exam time in Scotland and also about Scotland being the base
for all submarines in the UK.
We don't have Peter's cultural section this week and dare say we'll
learn more about this in due course.
Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.
This week have added the 2nd and final chapter of...
Richard Sinclair; or, the Poor Prodigal
by Thomas Aird
Here is how it starts...
With the calmness almost of despair, when the closing eve took away
his chance of seeing any more stray passengers that day, the poor
youth groped his way to his marble slab, and again sat down with a
strange vacuity of heart, as if it would refuse further thought of
his dismal situation. A new fear came over him, however, when
daylight thickened at the grated window of his low room, and the
white marbles grew dark around him. And not without creeping horror
did he remember that from this very aisle it was that old Johnny
Hogg, a former sexton, was said to have seen a strange vile animal
issue forth one moonlight night, run to a neighbouring stream, and
after lapping a little, hurry back, trotting over the blue graves,
and slinking through beneath the table stones, as if afraid of being
shut out from its dull, fat haunt. Hurriedly, yet with keen
inspection, was young Sinclair fascinated to look around him over
the dim floor ; and while the horrid apprehension came over him,
that he was just on the point of seeing the two eyes of the gloating
beast, white and muddy from its unhallowed surfeits, he drew up his
feet on the slab on which he sat, lest it should crawl over them. A
thousand tales—true to boyish impressions—crowded on his mind; and
by this rapid movement of sympathetic associations, enough of
itself, while it lasts, to make the stoutest heart nervous, and from
the irritation of his body from other causes, so much was his mind
startled from its propriety that he thought he heard the devil
ranging through the empty pews of the church; and there seemed to
flash before his eyes a thousand hurrying shapes, condemned and
fretted ghosts of malignant aspect, that cannot rest in their wormy
graves, and milky-curdled babes of untimely birth, that are buried
in twilights, never to see the sun.
Soon, however, these silly fears went off, and the tangible evil of
his situation again stood forth, and drove him to renew his cries
for assistance, and his attacks upon the door, ere he should be
quite enfeebled by hunger and disease. Again he had to sit down,
after spending his strength in vain.
Social Life in Scotland
From Early to Recent Times by Rev. Charles Rogers in 3 volumes
Now on the third and final volume of this publication with...
Demons and Apparitions
Here is how this chapter starts...
IN popular phraseology the devil was "Nick" or "Old Nick," a term
derived from niken or necken, a Danish word which signifies to
destroy. To his special emissaries, the sorcerers, " Old Nick " was,
as we have shown, supposed to appear in a variety of forms,
generally in the likeness of the lower animals. He was believed to
choose shapes conformable to his errands. Distracted by persecution,
and with their imaginations excited by their untoward surroundings,
the adherents of the Covenant were led to fancy that Satan pursued
them in corporeal forms. Under the dim twilight he seemed to cross
their path in the mountain correi, in the lonesome cavern, or in
other solitary places. Alexander Peden, the prophet of the Covenant,
was supposed to have personally encountered the devil in a cave.
Between the devil and two Covenanters occurred a conflict in the
Forest of Ettrick. On the Moffat Water, in a wild ravine, Halbert
Dobson and David Dun, two proscribed Presbyterians, had constructed
a hiding-place. Here the devil appeared to them in the aspect of a
marauder; but he was, on being assailed with their Bibles, compelled
to flee, leaving behind him a bundle of hides. Hence the lines:
Little ken'd the wirrikowI
What the Covenant would do;
What o' faith, and what o' pen,
What o' might and what o' men,
Or he had never shown his face,
His reekit rags an' riven toes,
To men o' nieik an' men o' mense,
For Hab Dob and Davie Din
Dan the deil oure Dob's Linn.
Weir' quo he, an' ' weir' quo he,
Haud the Bible til his e'e;
Ding him oure, or thrash him doun,
He's a fause, deceitfu' loon.'
Then he oure him, an' he oure him,
Ike oure him, an' he oure him
Habby held him griff and grim,
Davie thrash him hip an' line';
Till like a bunch o' basket skins
Doun fell Satan oure the Linns."
John Graham of Claverhouse was regarded as a personal ally of the
Evil One, who had shown him the secret of becoming bullet-proof. But
they had prepared a preternatural defiance to leaden shot only,
which becoming known to one in the opposing army, he at the battle
of Killiecrankie discharged from his firelock at the Jacobite leader
a silver button. And thus he fell mortally wounded.
During the months of February, March, and April 1695, the house of
Andrew Jackie, mason at Ring-croft, in the parish of Rerrick, and
Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, was a scene of commotion. Into the
house, by an invisible hand, were thrown stones and missiles of all
sorts. Voices were heard uttering fierce adjurations. Missives were
found scattered about inscribed with blood. Members of the household
were beaten with invisible rods, and dragged about roughly. '1'1he
neighbouring clergy assembled, and in a written narrative certified
as to the strange proceedings. The cause remained undiscovered.
The Writings of John Muir
Now completed Volume 4 - The Mountains of California - with...
Chapter VII. The Glacier Meadows
Chapter VIII. The Forests
Chapter IX. The Douglas Squirrel
Chapter X. A Wind-Storm in the Forests
Chapter XI. The River Floods
Here is how the chapter VIII starts...
THE coniferous forests of the Sierra are the grandest and most
beautiful in the world, and grow in a delightful climate on the most
interesting and accessible of mountain ranges, yet strange to say
they are not well known. More than sixty years ago David Douglas, an
enthusiastic botanist and tree-lover, wandered alone through fine
sections of the sugar pine and silver fir woods wild with delight. A
few years later, other botanists made short journeys from the coast
into the lower woods. Then came the wonderful multitude of miners
into the foothill zone, mostly blind with gold-dust, soon followed
by "sheepmen," who, with wool over their eyes, chased their flocks
through all the forest belts from one end of the range to the other.
Then the Yosemite Valley was discovered, and thousands of admiring
tourists passed through sections of the lower and middle zones on
their way to that wonderful park, and gained fine glimpses of the
sugar pines and silver firs along the edges of dusty trails and
roads. But few, indeed, strong and free with eyes undimmed with
care, have gone far enough and lived long enough with the trees to
gain anything like a loving conception of their grandeur and
significance as manifested in the harmonies of their distribution
and varying aspects throughout the seasons, as they stand arrayed in
their winter garb rejoicing in storms, putting forth their fresh
leaves in the spring while steaming with resiny fragrance, receiving
the thundershowers of summer, or reposing heavy-laden with ripe
cones in the rich sun-gold of autumn. For knowledge of this kind one
must dwell with the trees and grow with them, without any reference
to time in the almanac sense.
The distribution of the general forest in belts is readily
perceived. These, as we have seen, extend in regular order from one
extremity of the range to the other; and however dense and somber
they may appear in general views, neither on the rocky heights nor
down in the leafiest hollows will you find anything to remind you of
the dank, malarial selvas of the Amazon and Orinoco, with their
"boundless contiguity of shade," the monotonous uniformity of the
deodar forests of the Himalaya, the Black Forest of Europe, or the
dense dark woods of Douglas spruce where rolls the Oregon. The giant
pines, and firs, and sequoias hold their arms open to the sunlight,
rising above one another on the mountain benches, marshaled in
glorious array, giving forth the utmost expression of grandeur and
beauty with inexhaustible variety and harmony.
The inviting openness of the Sierra woods is one of their most
distinguishing characteristics. The trees of all the species stand
more or less apart in groves, or in small, irregular groups,
enabling one to find a way nearly everywhere, along sunny colonnades
and through openings that have a smooth, parklike surface, strewn
with brown needles and burs. Now you cross a wild garden, now a
meadow, now a ferny, willowy stream; and ever and anon you emerge
from all the groves and flowers upon some granite pavement or high,
bare ridge commanding superb views above the waving sea of
evergreens far and near.
One would experience but little difficulty in riding on horseback
through the successive belts all the way up to the storm-beaten
fringes of the icy peaks. The deep canons, however, that extend from
the axis of the range, cut the belts more or less completely into
sections, and prevent the mounted traveler from tracing them
Fraser's Scottish Annual
These are articles from the 1900 - 1904 issues of Fraser's Scottish
Annual. This week we've added...
The Fifth Earl of Selkirk and His Canadian Settlements
Good Life, Long Life
Queen's University, Kingston
A Great Scottish Fur Trader
Oh, For The Hills!
An Exile of Thrums
Here is how the article on "An Exile of Thrums" starts...
BY GEORGINA FRASER NEWHALL
Or did misfortune's bitter storms
Around thee blaw, around thee blaw;
Thy bield should be my bosom,
To share it a', to share it a'."
OUR first knowledge of the new girl in the kitchen was the unwelcome
news that as she had displaced her kneecap, we, the boarders, would
have to accept with resignation any diminution in the quality of
attendance, or the quantity of the menu which our landlady might
consider necessary under the circumstances. I have called her the
new girl, I should have said new woman but that I feared the reader
might think I meant the new woman who is going the round of the
newspapers. The girl in the kitchen as I became aware later was
probably sixty and certainly Scotch :also a dauntless old woman,
which last named characteristic is a quality not only indisseverably
connected with the names of Baroness Nairne, Elizabeth Blackwell,
Jennie Geddes, Janet Hamilton and Flora Macdonald, but with that
more insignificant host who are only Scottish mothers. And when one
remembers the value which Scottish women have always placed upon
education, their appreciation of the vast responsibilities and
exaltitude of the maternal privilege,—their perfect confidence in
their right to have a finger in the political—which was almost
always the religious— pie of their country, the conviction arises
that the newness of the new woman is after all only an attempt to
attain that strength of character which seems to be inherent in the
native born Scotchwoman.
To return to the point, after only three days' trial the new girl
fell and displaced her kneecap.
Knowing how little time and. sympathy the somewhat shrewish head of
the house had at her disposal I tapped at the new girl's door to ask
if there was anything I could do. It was then I first became aware
that the girl was quite an elderly woman. Her grey hair brushed
smoothly back under her plain nightcap—decently apparelled in every
particular she lay there amid the most forlorn surroundings - a
sonsy, motherly, patient old soul.
"Is there anything I can do?" I asked.
"Naething, thank ye, mem, I'm no what ye cud ca' ill. I hae slipt ma
kneecap and there's naething to be dune but tae lie here till't
"Have you had a doctor?"
"Aye, Maistress Pairsons (one of the boarders) insistit on sendin'
her doctor. He's been attendin' the wee fellow that's doon wi' the
croup. So she said t'wad be nae trouble for'm to luik at ma knee. I
thocht I'd juist glen it a bit twest but he tells me I've slipt the
"That is too bad."
"It micht hae been waur," she responded cheerfully. "Hooaiver I wiz
juist thinkin' Dauvit wad be distractit if he knew I viz lyin' in a
strange place, no able to pit a foot aneath me. Dauvit—yon's my
"Oh?" If I pumped her it was with only the faintest rising
"Aye. I left him on the fairmaway up in Muskokay—did ye hear tell o'
a place call't Bracebridgefar away ayont that."
My surprise being visible she vent on, by no means garrulously, but
as if under the pressure of some motive which drove her to
explanations and confidences she would not, in other circumstances,
have entered into with a mere stranger.
Robert Burns Lives!
By Frank Shaw
Ae Fond Kiss, A Speech by Dr. James W. Flannery
As you read the next couple of paragraphs, you will understand my
joy in bringing you this speech by distinguished Emory University
professor, Dr. James W. Flannery. I know Jim as a fellow member of
the Atlanta Burns Club. He is a multi-talented man, and it only
takes a few minutes in his presence to learn he is as humble as he
Known as “Irish-America’s Renaissance Man”, Jim is a singer,
producer, stage director, scholar and critic with an international
reputation as a specialist in the dramatic work of William Butler
Yeats. His productions of fifteen of Yeats’s plays at the Abbey
Theatre’s Yeats International Theatre Festival won critical acclaim
and established Yeats’s reputation as one of the seminal figures in
modern drama. Flannery has also achieved distinction as a singer,
particularly as one of the foremost interpreters of the amhrán mór,
or classical “high song” tradition of Ireland. His book/recording,
Dear Harp of My Country: the Irish Melodies of Thomas Moore, is
considered the definitive work on this central figure in the history
of Irish literature and music.
Winship Professor of the Arts and Humanities at Emory University,
Flannery is also the director of the W. B. Yeats Foundation, which
produces a regular series of public events in Atlanta concerned with
Irish culture, including the highly popular Atlanta Celtic Christmas
Concert now in its seventeenth season. Regularly named one of the
“Top 100” Irish-Americans by Irish America Magazine, he is listed in
Who’s Who in America and is the recipient of a Georgia Governor’s
Award in the Humanities for his promotion of a wider understanding
of the cultural traditions of the Celtic lands and their
contribution to the American South.
It is my pleasure to welcome Jim to the pages of Robert Burns Lives!
Among the Forrest Trees
or How the Bushman Family got their Homes, by being a book of facts
and incidents of pioneering life in Upper Canada, arranged in the
form of a story, by Rev. Joseph H. Hilts (1888)
We have several more chapters up now...
Chapter I - Found by Surveyors
Commencing Life - The Little Shanty - Sylvan Lake - Sunday - Morning
Alone with Nature and with God.
Chapter II - The Road Makers
Deer and Wolves -Solitude - Housekeeping - Mr. Root's Proposal - The
Travoy - The Toggled Chain.
Chapter III - House-Building
The Dinner - Poetic Effusions - A Reminiscence - Wants to be a Poet
- A Surprise.
Chapter IV - A Partner Found
John 'Makes a Discovery - Asking Consent - Coming Home - Squire
Myrtle - A Glad Mother.
Chapter V - An Old-Time Wedding
Blunders - Practical Courting - A Wedding - Sister Betsy - A
Thrilling Tale - A Plucky Boy.
Chapter VI - Talk About Wolves
Treed by Wolves - Good Luck - Wolf Scalps and Bread - Chasing the
Deer - The Last Race.
Chapter VII - Some Oral History
The United Empire Loyalists - The Gourley Trial - A Befogged Jury -
A Harsh Verdict - A Cruel Sentence.
Chapter VIII - Preparing to Move
William Briars - Life's Realities - Friendly - Offerings - Betsy's
Poetry - The Old Man's Story - Little Bright Eyes.
Chapter IX - Homeward Bound
Migratory Waves - Moses Moosewood's Resolve - Picture of a Court -
Take a Gun Along - A Mother's Vision.
Chapter X - Some White Gipsies
A Witch Story - Backwoods Welcome - Housekeeping - Exploring the
Premises - Forest Aristocrats.
Here is a bit from Chapter 5...
CLEVER men sometimes do silly things when they undertake to hunt a
wife. A man may show good judgment in all the ordinary affairs of
life, and yet he may act more like a lunatic than anything else when
he goes courting.
The reason of this may be found in the false estimate which men
sometimes make of woman's character and position. If a man looks
upon a woman as being inferior to himself, he will likely assume an
air of superiority over her, that will set her against him, and
drive her from him.
And on the other hand, if he looks on her as an angel, done up in
skirts and corsets, he will act the part of a cringing weakling, and
in this way he calls out contempt where he wishes to gain esteem,
and provokes aversion where he hopes to awaken love.
If this man would counsel with his mother or his sister they would
tell him that a woman never can respect what she despises, nor love
what she stands in dread of.
John Bushman was a sensible young man. He did not estimate woman to
be either better or worse than himself. He simply treated her as his
equal—nothing more, nothing less. As a natural consequence, he had
the respect of his lady friends.
But there was one of the number that had a stronger feeling towards
him than simple respect. This one was little Mary Myrtle, whose
image John so unexpectedly discovered that day that he looked into
his heart when on his way home. We call her little, not because she
was so very small, but from a habit that nearly every one got into
when Mary was a child. It was done to distinguish her from an aunt
of the same name, who was a young woman when she was an infant.
John had not as yet said anything to her about becoming Mrs.
Bushman, although, like an honest, manly man, he had asked her
parents' consent to do so.
Mrs. Myrtle said to Mary the next morning after the interview
recorded at the close of the last chapter, John Bushman asked your
father and me if he might try and persuade you to go with him to the
bush as his wife. What do you think of that?
"Did you tell hint he might? " demurely asked the young lady.
What else could we tell him? he is all right himself, and we cannot
expect to keep you always. Will he have a very difficult task?" said
the mother, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.
Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
By John Blue, B.A. (1924)
We know have several chapters up...
First Period 1751 - 1811
Early Explorers—Fur Traders
Explorers and Fur Traders (Continued)
Second Period 1811 - 1821
Rival Fur Companies—Selkirk Purchase— Names of Chief Factors—Chief
Third Period 1821 - 1824
The Council of Rupert's Land—Settlement of Retired Employes
Further Exploration and Travel
Political History of the North West Territories and Alberta From
Political History of Alberta-1905-1921
Autonomy, The Alberta Act and the Constitution
Here is how Chapter III starts...
The history of the ten years from 1811 to 1821 is concerned with the
bitter and bloody rivalry of the two big fur companies,— The North
West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company. The struggle commenced on
the Red River with the establishment of the Selkirk settlement and
spread to Athabasca, the richest fur region in the whole North-West.
Lord Selkirk had become the controlling shareholder in the Hudson's
Bay Co., and launched his Red River colonization scheme in
opposition to Sir Alexander Mackenzie, John Inglis, Edward Ellice
and other Nor'Westers who held Hudson's Bay Company stock. Mackenzie
advised the Nor'West partners to buy the controlling interests in
the Hudson's Bay Company but Simon McGillivray thought it was easier
to fight their opponents or divide the territory, and proposed that
the Hudson's Bay Company should restrict their operations to the
Hudson's Bay area and allow the North West Company the freedom of
the Athabaska and Saskatchewan and Red River districts. Selkirk,
however, had obtained high legal opinion on the legality of the
Hudson's Bay Charter and believed that the Company had exclusive
rights, territorial and otherwise, throughout the Hudson's Bay area
and the entire North-West. He therefore saw no reason for sharing
with others what he thought belonged exclusively to himself.
Had the Nor-Westers taken the advice of Mackenzie the conflict of
violence and plunder would have been avoided and the course of
events materially changed. The first conflict arose out of Selkirk's
attempt to oust the North West Company from the immense land grant
he had secured from the Hudson's Bay Company along the Red River,
116,000 square miles comprising Manitoba and a large portion of what
is now the State of Minnesota. It soon became a life and death
struggle for the control of the fur trade of the entire North-West.
Acting on the advice of experienced Canadians in the western fur
trade, like Colin Robertson and John Clarke, Selkirk decided to
adopt new methods and employ Canadians instead of Orkney men in the
service of the Company. Both Robertson and Clarke were old
Nor'Westers. Robertson had been at Fort Augustus with Macdonald of
Garth in the early days, but quarrelling with that haughty bourgeois
he stepped out of the North West Fort and readily obtained
employment at the Hudson's Bay Company Post, a gunshot away. He was
just the man for Selkirk,—brave, resourceful, an experienced trader
and traveller, and burning with hatred against his former employers.
Clarke was known as "Fighting John Clarke." He left the service of
the North West Company in 1810 and joined the Astor Expedition to
the mouth of the Columbia. After the purchase of that enterprise by
the Nor'Westers he then took service with the Hudson's Bay Company.
For the first time in the history of the fur trade, the Nor'Westers
were to be opposed by men as skilled in dealing with the natives, as
daring and resourceful in means of attack and defense, in a vast
region where neither form of government nor law or order had been
established. "The Lords of the Lakes and Forests" were to be
challenged for the supremacy of the North-West.
When Selkirk purchased his 116,000 square miles, he deemed himself
as much the owner of the soil in fee simple, as the homesteader of
today who obtains his patent from the Crown, and as legally
empowered to resist and oust all trespassers. "With respect to our
rights of landed property, that is universally considered as clear
and quite unquestionable," he wrote to Miles McDonnell, June 30th,
1813. He was determined that the North West Company should not
obtain any prescriptive right by unmolested occupation. "The North
West Company must be compelled to quit my lands, especially my posts
at the Forks," he wrote on March 31st, 1816. "You must give them
solemn warning that the land belongs to the Hudson's Bay Company.
They should be treated as poachers. We are so fully advised of the
unimpeachable validity of these rights of property, there can be no
scruple in enforcing them when you have the physical means." The
Nor'Westeis, who regarded themselves as the lineal descendants of
the French in the Interior, were ready to answer the challenge of
physical means. They had occupied the country before the Hudson's
Bay traders and claimed it by title of prior occupation. Now they
were eager to doubly confirm that title by conquest.
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