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Scotland and the Victorian West

Just before the American Revolution, Philip Fithian, tutor to Robert Carter III’s tidewater household, observed that being called a "Scotsman" ranked with being called a "buckskin," "lubber," or "thick-skull" and was legitimate grounds for a fight. But this antagonism faded quickly during the early years of the American republic. Over the course of the century, Scots entered without difficulty into virtually every aspect of American life. They became farmers, miners, cattle ranchers, housewives, missionaries, hermits, prostitutes, vigilantes, artists, writers, labor organizers, teachers, professional golfers, and Rough Riders, just to name a few occupations. It would be no exaggeration to say that by c. 1920 the Scots had become America’s favorite immigrant group.

By happenstance American prejudices and social ideals fit nicely with their Scottish counterparts. Both cultures denounced the English system of social hierarchy. For example, when John Howison visited upper Canada in 1822, he discovered that the ultimate English term for social impudence was "Scotch Yankey." All through the nineteenth century, Americans utilized the Fourth of July as a chance to twist the English lion’s tail. Scots who celebrated a romantic homeland (but not a nation) could sometimes be coaxed to join in. Americans’ fears of Roman Catholicism generally slid off the backs of Scottish Catholic immigrants (most of whom went to Canada anyway) to rest with the numerous Irish. In 1841, for example, the British consul at Boston wrote to the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick to try to discourage out-migration: "The strong prejudice which exists in this part of the Union against the labouring Irish tends much to make them discontented." Episcopal or Presbyterian Scots immigrants met no such reaction.

Scots ideals of individual achievement, economic advance, opposition to privilege, and abhorrence of caste happened to be American goals as well. Scots values of self-restraint, hard work, and education were also the norms toward which many reformers sought to push the new nation.

Thus, Scots met virtually no antagonism in Victorian America Even when they were called "Jock," "Sandy," or "Mac," the term carried no negative connotations, as "Deutscher," "Paddy," or "Mick" often did. The Know Nothing movement of the 1850s produced no Scottish equivalent of "Damn the Dutch" or ‘To Hell with the Irish." Even the Scots’ "faults"—their alleged dour nature, lack of a sense of the beautiful, thriftiness bordering on parsimony, supreme self-confidence, and tendency toward overindulgence—were treated with tolerance.

Often these "failings" were resolved via humor. Consider the number of Scots jokes that burlesqued their meanness (that is to say, stinginess). Who was the least disturbed mouse in Scotland? The one living in the offertory box of the Aberdeen cathedral. How do you take a census in Glasgow? Throw a penny in the street. From this it was but a short jump to an American version:

How did the Grand Canyon come about? A Scot lost a dime (and dug until he found it).

The same lightheartedness can be found in the stories that dealt with Scots self-confidence. Historian James Bumsted has recently noted that Canadian Scots have long considered themselves different from, and superior to, their English, Welsh, and Irish cousins. This is not a new concept. In the early eighteenth century, as traveler Edward Burt heard the story, a Spanish ship wrecked on the small island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, home of the McNeal clan. After deliberation, a council of clansmen decided to confiscate the Spanish cargo. When someone suggested that this might anger the king of Spain, the council observed: "We have nothing to do with that McNeal and the King of Spain will adjust that matter between themselves." The story continues. In 1847 a Falkirk drover claimed that his accomplishments were more significant than those of the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo. Wellington only had his men scattered here and there around the battlefield, said the drover, "but let him try to put down ten thousand sheep, forbye black cattle, at Falkirk Tryst and it’s my opinion he’ll make a very confused business of it. "A North American example of this trait emerged during the American Revolution, after a Scottish lieutenant led a group of Loyalists to Glengarry, Canada. Afterwards, the lieutenant compared his accomplishment with that of Moses. As he noted, however, Moses had taken forty years and had lost half his men in the Red Sea, whereas he had taken everyone across the St. Lawrence River in only six weeks without a single loss. Truly, the Scots shared "a guid conceit o’ themselves."

Parallel with these stories came other versions that dealt with excessive drinking and parsimony. But Scots humor seldom reflected the same harsh edge as can be found in Irish orJewish stories that burlesqued the same Traveling Scots encountered little or no prejudice in nineteenth-century America. Visiting New Orleans after the Civil War, Reverend David Macrae found that all prejudice against him vanished (people first thought him a Yankee) when he revealed his country of origin. During the 1890s Texas rancher Thomas Simpson Carson once heard himself termed "that damned Scotsman," but that reaction was an exception to the rule. An 1896 author could find no examples of overt discrimination against Scots.

Because of this lack of prejudice, immigrants to early America created few purely Scottish towns to parallel those established in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, or Prince Edward Island. Nevertheless, a distinct Scottish travel network existed, and few Scottish visitors to the States seemed unaware of its existence. The informal network worked well. Traveling through Jacksonville, Illinois, during the 1820s, James Stuart was told that prominent resident James Kerr would be hurt if a fellow Scot passed by without calling. Fifty years later, David Macrae boarded with fellow Scots during his stays in New Orleans and St. Louis. When J. Cameron Lees visited San Francisco in 1888, he made certain to book his passage across the continent through Scots-born travel agent Thomas Mackay, who impressed Lees with his testimonials from the various lords and ladies who had utilized his services. Lees noted that Mackay was "as well known in San Francisco as Mr. [Thomas] Cook is to the British Travellers." Scots Victorian women travelers, such as Mrs. M. A. Pringle of Whytbank and Elizabeth Stirling, followed similar patterns.

Robert Louis Stevenson carefully noted all the Scots he met during his stay in California: a piper who fled from Sacramento with a borrowed dollar; an Aberdonian who took up highway robbery; and a woman who drove him all through the Napa Valley. Stevenson also confessed that when he chanced upon a Greenock resident and exchanged a word or two in Scots, it "pleased me more than you would fancy."

In "The Silverado Squatters" Stevenson elaborated on this emotion: The happiest lot on earth is to be born a Scotchman. You must pay for it in many ways, as for all other advantages on earth. You have to learn the paraphrases and the shorter catechism; you generally take to drink; your youth, as far as I can find out, is a time of louder war against society, of more outcry and tears and turmoil, than if you had been born, for instance, in England. But somehow life is warmer and closer; the hearth burns more redly; the lights of home shine softer on the rainy street the very names endeared in verse and music, cling nearer around our hearts. An Englishman may meet an Englishman tomorrow, upon Chimborazo, and neither of them care; but when the Scotch wine-grower told me of Mons Meg, it was like magic.

From the dim shieling on the misty Island
Mountains divide us, and a world of seas;
Yet still our hearts are true; our hearts are Highland,
And we, in dreams, behold the Hebrides.
And, Highland and Lowland, all our hearts are Scotch.

Although the American Scots never established ethnic towns as did the Canadians, they did participate in the various "British Colonies" that arose during the mid-nineteenth century. During this era, Illinois, Kansas, and Iowa created at least six "British Colonies," ranging in philosophical orientation from atheist to Owenite to utopian. All contained a few Scots. These colonies soon boasted yacht clubs, fox hunts, formal dinners, and elaborate banquets. Various visionaries continued to promote similar colonies for years. Immediately after the Civil War, a Scottish laird devised a scheme to send over Highland crofters to the South to replace the former slaves, but that plan failed to materialize. In 1867, however, a Houston firm actually imported eighteen Highlanders to serve as plowmen for farms in Texas.

The "British Colony" that involved the largest number of Scots was Victoria, located southeast of Hays City, Ellis County, in western Kansas. Victoria was founded by George Grant, a Scottish crofter’s son who had made his fortune in the cloth business. His ethics and business acumen may be seen in the following tale. Reading of the illness of Prince Albert in the London Times, Grant quickly bought up all the nation’s mourning crepe, reaping a fortune when Albert died shortly thereafter.

Enticed by American advertisements, Grant toured North America seeking a site for a colony and a country estate. Rejecting Canada because of its climate, he fell in love with the grasslands of western Kansas. In 1871—72 he purchased more than thirty-one thousand acres of railroad lands at the bargain price of eighty-eight cents an acre. Some credited him as the largest landowner in the nation.

Grant was both potential baron and potential philanthropist. Part of his Victoria scheme was to invite poor Scottish crofters to his colony, and he launched a considerable publicity campaign to that effect. The promotional literature spoke of "the champagne air" of western Kansas. ‘The climate is salubrious," one pamphlet said; "the winters are quite as mild as in Morayshire, snow seldom lying on the ground for more than a few hours." Although a number of Scots, both aristocrats and artisans, responded, mounting criticism at home—especially from the Scottish agricultural press—kept overwhelming numbers from ever emigrating.

A businessman as well as a philanthropist, Grant hoped to make money from his investment He arranged visits by leading Scots agriculturalists who had skills in steam engineering. His ultimate dream was to introduce high-quality sheep to the region and, especially, to turn his holdings into a model showcase for cattle.

Unfortunately, Grant died prematurely in 1878, well before his dreams had been given a fair chance. This loss of leadership, plus the Kansas droughts of 1873—74 and a subsequent grasshopper invasion, sealed the colony’s fate. A few "English lords of Victoria Manor" remained, and a stone Episcopal church that Grant had erected continued to hold services until 1913, but the colony never recovered. A band of Russian Germans who arrived in 1876 proved far better suited to the region and eventually absorbed the remnants of Victoria.

But Grant’s Victoria colony did post one success—the introduction of Aberdeen Angus cattle to the state. The Aberdeen Angus Society officially credits Grant with this accomplishment, and in 1943 erected a stone pyramid over his grave in the little churchyard. Ironically, Grant’s Aberdeen Angus cattle thrived in western Kansas, but his Scots settlers all eventually moved elsewhere.

The saga of Victoria was writ small in other regions of the Great Plains. So many Scots arrived in the region of Miles City, Montana, that the First Presbyterian Church was virtually a Scottish club for years. Ranchers introduced polo games to the area, and rumor persists that once they even staged a steeplechase. A number of British farmers also tried their hand in Nebraska. In 1872 a land agent termed Nebraska "The English state of the Union," a designation that always included a few Scots. One North Dakota émigré actually "rode the hounds" with wolves rather than foxes as his quarry.

Most of the Scots settlements on the plains were individual rather than communal efforts, as can be seen in the story of Aberdeenshire farmer James Alexander. A veteran of twenty-five years of farming in northeast Scotland, Alexander moved to eastern Nebraska in the early 1870s. He began with confidence that his agricultural training could easily be transferred to the Great Plains, but he found after only one season that this was only half true. Few of his British garden seeds grew well. The swede, oats, barley, and rye never caught on, although he successfully introduced green kale and fall turnips to the region around Crete. But Alexander found real difficulties in breaking virgin prairie for grain crops, and he soon switched almost exclusively to Indian corn. Although earlier British immigrants had generally scorned cornbread, by the 1870s corn had become so popular that Alexander could send samples back to northeast Scotland. Cornmeal, Alexander noted, had become "the staff of life in the shapes or conditions of much cornbread and pancakes." Farming in America, he discovered, took a good deal of adjustment.

In addition to plowmen and farmers, the West also attracted a number of skilled Scottish craftsmen. Generally, these craftsmen did well in America. Historian it H. Campbell attributes this to the fact that the least skilled Scots migrated chiefly to Australia, whereas the better skilled ended up in the States. But as the major demand for skilled craftsmen lay in the factories east of the Mississippi, immigrant craftsmen did not play as important a role in the post—Civil War West as they had earlier.

Still, pre—Gold Rush California saw Scots working as loggers, carpenters, and trappers. The discovery of precious metals that began at Sutter’s Mill and spread to Colorado and Nevada enticed hundreds of Scots into American mining ventures. One of the most colorful was Eilley Orrum, a Scottish Mormon convert who rejected polygamy and moved on to Nevada. There she allegedly used a crystal ball to locate silver and became known as the "Queen of the Comstocklode." A 1912 survey of the Rock Springs, Wyoming, Union Pacific Mines discovered that 3 percent of the work force (eighty-five men) hailed from Scotland. Glasgow-born John Calderwood emerged as the most prominent labor leader during the 1894 Cripple Creek, Colorado, miners’ strike. His lengthy essay ‘The Strike of 1894" is still the chief historical source for this labor dispute. Fellow Glaswegian John Stewart MacArthur probably had more impact on American mining history than any other immigrant. A chemist, MacArthur discovered the cyanide process, a means of extracting gold from discarded mine tailings, and brought the science to Colorado’s Crestone Mine, in Saguache County, in 1889. Although it took time to catch on, MacArthur’s cyanide process, which is still in use today, literally doubled the world’s annual production of gold.

The craft of gardening, more highly developed in Scotland than the States, also had considerable appeal. The city of St. Louis hired a number of Scots gardeners during the late nineteenth century. Famed poet Robert Service once kept body and soul together by gardening for a southern California bordello. The El Camino Real Park and the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco are both credited to the skills of Bannockburn immigrant John McLaren. When McLaren became superintendent of parks for San Francisco in 1887, he faced scrub brush and sand dunes. Through his efforts he transformed this barren region into what is today the marvelous botanical wonder of Golden Gate Park. Recalling his own youth, with its numerous public-garden restrictions, McLaren allowed all types of ball playing and frowned on erecting any statues. His motto: "Trees and more trees." Occasionally, the gardeners took on even wider roles. Yakima, Washington, apple rancher John L. Garret-son recalled that their Scots gardener first introduced him to the poetry of Robert Burns.

Granite workers also found seasonal employment in the West Craftsmen from Aberdeen, ‘The Granite City" had established an international reputation in stonemasonry, and a number of quarrymen migrated to California and elsewhere as the jobs required. From 1889 to 1892 granite quarries at Aberdeen, Colorado (near Gunnison), flourished. Scots stonemasons also cut granite for the famed Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. In general the Aberdeen granite industry did not export its dressed and polished stone to America; rather, it exported its quarrymen and masons.

The most notorious incident of this "granite migration" occurred in 1886 when a group of Texas builders hired a large contingent of Aberdeen masons to cut the stone for the new Texas state capitol in Austin. Unbeknownst to the eighteen Aberdeen masons, they were being used as strike breakers, and they soon found themselves blacklisted by the American granite cutters’ union. As if that were not enough, the Texas heat proved unbearable. After only a short while three died, and the rest moved on to other regions.

The most extensive western Scottish-American economic links lay with cattle and sheep ranching. During the middle years of the nineteenth century, the Scottish bourgeoisie had reaped the rewards of capitalism. The narrow belt between Glasgow and Edinburgh, rivaling the English Midlands, became one of the most industrialized areas of the world. The Lanarkshire region proved ideal for the flourishing textile industry, and the broad estuary of the Clyde saw a steady stream of ships bearing cotton bales from the American South. In the 1830s, for example, almost one-third of Glasgow’s workers had some connection with the textile industry.

The firing on Fort Sumter in April 1861 severely damaged the Scots textile industry. In spite of vigorous attempts to replace southern cotton with Indian cotton, the mills began a gradual decline. But during the conflict itself, the Clyde shipyards built scores of vessels for both North and South. The majority of Confederate blockade runners originated in the Clyde estuary. Dundee’s jute industry also flourished during the American Civil War. By mid century, Edinburgh had emerged as a major banking center of the Western world. "In the course of the first half of the present century," W. R. Lawson noted in Blackwood’s in 1884, "Scotland was changed from one of the poorest to one of the most prosperous countries in Europe."

Consequently, by the 1870s, the Scottish middle classes had accumulated a significant amount of surplus capital. Aided by the Calvinistic ethic of thrift and the passage of effective limited-liability laws, Scotland became headquarters for an international "client capitalism." Blackwood observed that three-quarters of the foreign and colonial investment companies were of Scottish origin and that even those based in London were run by Scots on Scottish models. Consequently, during the late nineteenth century Scottish bankers and entrepreneurs had the capital to invest in various enterprises in Latin America, tea plantations in India, and land companies in Australia, as well as in the opening of the American West The Scots seemed especially eager to lend to Americans.

The range of investment was prodigious. Scottish companies invested in Iowa and Minnesota farmlands, Arizona copper mining, Pacific Northwest lumber corporations, numerous railroad and petroleum ventures, irrigation projects, and cattle companies. Mortgage and banking trusts also drew a great deal of Scottish interest. The Scottish Record Office has compiled a list of fifty companies that operated in America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

These ventures were by no means all successful. Many of the mining investments lost money. The City of Glasgow Bank went into receivership in 1881, largely because it sank an inordinate amount of capital into American railroads. The Scottish judge overseeing the case commented that "a Scotch Bank buying and working a railroad in America is about as startling a thing as one can conceive." But so long as profits remained high— as they basically did until the Panic of 1893—the lure of borrowing at 5 percent and investing at 10 percent proved irresistible. Historian Paul M. Edwards has estimated that the total capital Scots invested in the American West approached almost 6.5 million pounds.

When American cattle entrepreneurs began shipping dressed beef via refrigeration to Britain in the mid-1870s, a number of Scots cattle raisers suddenly became alarmed. In 1877 the Scotsman sent agriculture writer James Macdonald to the States to investigate the situation regarding western livestock. In a series of articles later published as a book Macdonald carefully assessed the American cattle industry. While he scorned the quality of contemporary American beef, he predicted a great future for American stock raising, depicting the Trans-Mississippi West as a land where one could perhaps reap profits as high as 25 percent on an annual basis.

Within a few years, Scots capital began to flow steadily toward various ranch investments. Perhaps no area received as much Scottish capital as New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. The first large-scale British joint-stock venture in Texas cattle ranching came with the Prairie Cattle Company, Limited, founded in Edinburgh in 1880. In 1882 it reported a dividend of 19.5 percent, and the next year it paid shareholders almost 28 percent. These high profits set off the infamous "Scottish-American cattle craze."

It was not long before promoters with ranches in their pockets," began to flood the east of Scotland, especially the Edinburgh, Dundee, and Aberdeen regions. Corporations such as the Texas Land and Cattle Co., Ltd., the Swan Land and Cattle Company, and the most famous, the Matador Land and Cattle Co., Ltd., began seriously advertising their wares. Many a conservative businessman plunged into western American ranching. Investors in Aberdeenshire were confident that their knowledge of animal husbandry would serve them well on America’s Great Plains.

These investors had a point Ever since the earliest days, the raising of cattle had been crucial to the economic life of North Britain. Even in legend, "the Cattle Raid of Cooley" was a pivotal event in Celtic agrarian life. This reliance upon cattle (and, later, sheep) was largely dictated by geography. The glens of the Western Islands and the west of Scotland all fostered early spring grasses and were largely unsuitable for the cultivation of wheat Similarly, much of the region between the Highland boundary fault and the English border was best suited to pastoral life. Traditional wealth had usually been measured in cattle, and Highland black cattle served as the economic base for the Scottish laird and his tenants.

The rise of the eighteenth-century urban centers in southeast Britain transformed the Scottish cattle industry. From c. 1750 to c. 1850 legitimate cattle droving replaced cattle thieving as a Borden way of life. London and the larger urban centers simply could not get enough beef. Drovers swam their herds over sea lochs, or drove them down well-established roads to the great fain at Smithfield in London or Falkirk in Scotland. As late as 1880 fifteen thousand cattle and twenty thousand sheep were sold at Falkirk. In the eyes of many people Scotland had become a vast grazing area that supplied the English with their beef.

Simultaneously, cattle droving began to emerge as a legitimate profession. As with the fur trade a century earlier, the qualities of ruggedness, adventurousness, and familiarity with the land allowed Scots to excel in this demanding profession. While on the road, armed Scots drovers (and their dogs) lived on oatmeal, onions, ewe’s milk, cheese, bannock, and a ram’s horn filled with whiskey. When night fell, the drover simply wrapped his plaid around him and slept by his charges.

This life demanded considerable skill. Tradition has it that one man and his dogs could drive from one hundred to four hundred cattle. For fifty-five years, John Cameron of Corriechoille drove herds to Falkirk Tryst to acquire the reputation as "the most famous drover of Lochabee." He also earned a small fortune along the way. When herding cattle from the Highlands and Islands, a drover often had to swim the beasts across rivers or sea lochs. Drovers moved the herds across the treacherous Kyle of Rhea—the narrow strait separating the Isle of Skye from the mainland—by tying the tail of one beast to the horns of another. The alternative, loading the cattle onto narrow boats, proved equally demanding. These challenges faded only with the 1840s and 1850s when railroads and larger boats gradually replaced the cattle drive. The last cattle swam the Kyle of Rhea in 1906.

Over time, the drovers produced a subculture uniquely their own. Often illiterate, they devised their own means of counting their beasts—and their attitude towards authority was decidedly irreverent. A Scottish visitor to the Mississippi Valley in 1855 once met a ten-year-old drover. "Where are you going, my son?" he asked. "To Minnesota; and I ain’t your son; or if I am, I never knew it" was the reply. Drover irreverence, it seems, was international.

Scots farmers also had behind them centuries of familiarity with breeding practices. Highland cattle, or kyloes, probably carried characteristics from neolithic days. Rugged, agile, and alert, the cattle had heavy, shaggy coats that allowed them to withstand the rain, winds, and cold of the north. They are still preferred by some Scottish farmers.

By the middle of the nineteenth century each region of Scotland had specialized in its distinctive type of cattle, easily recognized by professionals. Scottish breeders came up with several well-known varieties: the kyloes, or Highland cattle; the Galloway, or polled (i.e., hornless); the Ayrshire, which were chiefly raised for milk; the Fifeshire, which were known for both milk and meat; the Shetland and Orkney cattle, which tended to be small. Breeder William McCombie of the Tillyfourie region, Aberdeenshire, helped produce the Aberdeen Angus, perhaps the most widely recognized of all the Scottish breeds. Only the Scottish shorthorn rivaled the Aberdeen Angus in popularity. Thus, the Scots’ history of cattle raising prepared them to feel comfortable with investment in cattle ranches in the American Great Plains. This confidence stemmed in part from the fact that while Anerican cattle feeding might be haphazard, Scottish cattle feeding had developed into a "science."

A number of Scots crossed the Atlantic to help manage these western cattle operations. For instance, Archie Marjoribanks supervised the family investments in the Texas Panhandle, whereas Thomas Simpson Carson, head of the Scottish Loan Company, managed ranches in New Mexico and Arizona. Coutts Marjoribanks, Archie’s brother, ran a ranch in McHenry County, North Dakota. Cohn Cameron managed ranches in southeastern Arizona, and John Clay managed the powerful Swan Land and Cattle Company in Wyoming. Clay later became one of the most respected stockman in the entire West.

From a base in Trinidad, Colorado, Murdo Mackenzie oversaw operations of the famed Matador Land and Cattle Company, Ltd., "the mother of British cattle companies in the United States," and later became head of the American National Livestock Association. One observer who saw Mackenzie in action at the Denver Stockyards marveled at his "Caledonian eye for animal" and his "native shrewdness." In spite of all his years in America, Mackenzie would have looked perfectly in place in a Scots cattle byre. Theodore Roosevelt was a good friend of Mackenzie and held him in high esteem. Over the course of his long, successful career, Mackenzie traveled widely in Europe, built homes in Trinidad and Denver, Colorado, sent his children to college, and lived a life not unlike that of a Scottish laird.

Virtually all of these Scottish-American cattle managers placed a priority on improved breeding techniques, but they could do this only when the open-range era ended and fences became common. All the Scots ranch managers prided themselves on their ability to improve bloodlines. One 1875 visitor to a prosperous Scots-run ranch near Portland, Oregon, observed that "pure blood is the rule at Reedville, and it is applied to all animals kept there—to Leicester, Cotswold, and Southdown sheep; and extends to pigs and poultry; possibly (for I did not inquire) to rats and mice."

Not all these enterprises succeeded, of course. The Marjoribanks brothers went broke. But perhaps it is no coincidence that the cattle ranches that Carson, Clay, and Mackenzie managed were among the few to remain profitable in what turned out to be a very risky profession. The remains of the old Swan headquarters in Chugwater, Wyoming, still bear the distinct Scottish architectural motifs that marked the heyday of their operation.

In spite of initial high profits, the cattle-ranching investment boom proved short-lived. The terrible winters of 1886-87 began what the depression of 1893—97 completed. In the words of John Clay, "As the South Sea bubble burst, as the Dutch tulip craze dissolved, this cattle gold brick withstood not the snow of winter." By the turn of the century most Scots investors had turned to the various British Colonies. Still, in 1919, a number of western ranchers reported that they had doubled their capital during the past forty years. The Matador Land and Cattle Company operated until 1951.

Estimates of British investment in western cattle vary, but they are usually put at from six to nine million pounds. Historians also disagree in their overall assessment of this enterprise. W. Turrentine Jackson has suggested that the Scots investors earned enough dividends from the Arizona Copper Companies to overcome considerable losses from ranch investments. Paul M. Edwards thinks otherwise. He argues that in the long run, the losses in mining and railroads just about cancelled out the profits in land mortgages and cattle. W. G. Kerr has suggested that the chief long-term benefits lay less with Scottish profits than with the ultimate rationalization of the cattle industry and the providing of low-priced beef to the entire world. But unquestionably, Scottish investment proved substantial in funding the western cattle industry.

One of the unforeseen consequences of the Scottish interest in American cattle can be seen in the Letters of a Woman Homesteader written by Elinore Pruitt Stewart in 1913. Young Elinore Pruitt arrived as a "grass" widow in southwestern Wyoming in 1909. Eventually she married Clyde Stewart, her Scottish-born employer, filed her own homestead claim, bore four children, and generally helped with all jobs on the ranch. Her published letters recall her husband’s love for playing the bagpipes, especially ‘The Campbells Are Coming." ("Sometimes I wish they would make haste and get here," she wrote.) She also recorded how they gave their cattle names from British history: Duke of Monmouth, John Fox, Bloody Mary, Pope of Rome, and so on. Her letters offer fascinating glimpses of Scottish-American life in frontier Wyoming.

One should also note that this British involvement with western ranching was not always appreciated by American farmers. Adverse reaction to foreign land owners proved much a part of the agrarian protest movements of the latter part of the nineteenth century. Populist agitators denounced British absentee owners in the Dakotas and Nebraska, comparing the situation to the evils of "Irish landlordism." Reformer William "Coin" Harvey claimed that half of Nebraska and South Dakota and one-eighth of North Dakota were owned by tided foreigners. One fictional account, Sara M. Brigham’s Waverland (1886), stated that the British owned 20 million acres of America. Her character, the Duke of Melvorne, declared: ‘We are gaining the lands our fathers lost without fighting any bloody battles for them.’

Second to cattle, the Scots most affected western agricultural life in the realm of sheep. Sheep ranching also had long been part of Scottish history. Consequently, Scots sheepherding skills were several levels above those of American ranchers.

Although caring for their "four footed clansmen" was an integral part of Scottish agrarian life, sheep raising had never dominated the economy as had the raising of cattle. As late as the mid-eighteenth century, English visitors described Scottish sheep as "dog like" in appearance, with finely textured but thin wool on small wiry frames. Their lack of size could probably be traced to centuries of inbreeding, while the thin wool was largely due to the tradition of keeping sheep indoors during the winter months.

The sheep of the northern Orkney Islands were even more unique. Kept from the land by six-foot-high dry-stone walls on islands such as North Ronaldsay, the sheep lived almost exclusively on seaweed as they followed short-line paths (called clowjungs) that may trace back five thousand years. Some of the most ancient ovine stock of Scotland, these black, brown, and white sheep were roughly as tall as a man’s thigh, with lambs the size of a small dog.

Social and economic pressures resulting from the onset of enclosures, the end of runrig, and forced emigration from the Highlands eventually caused the Scots to concentrate on sheep raising. From the 1760s forward sheep raising began to fill the abandoned farms of the Highlands; within a few years, it had expanded to encompass perhaps one-third of the Scottish countryside. The process proved slow but relentless. By 1803 the whole of Glengarry had been turned over to sheep raising. Within a few years, sheep had entered the valley of Glencoe. The sheep-farming system of Glencoe, wrote one author in 1818, "had done the work of extirpation of the inhabitants more effectively than the massacre of 1692."

As the sheep advanced north, however, they also improved in quality. Although one could find about forty different varieties by the end of the eighteenth century, two varieties dominated this expansion: the black-faced and the Cheviot. The introduction of the turnip provided an easy-to-grow sheep food, and the Scots discovered simultaneously that the black-faced sheep could winter outside with no ill effects. Improver Sir John Sinclair introduced the white-faced Cheviot, also from the south. For almost three-quarters of a century, these two breeds vied with one another as to which was more suitable to the Scottish climate. By general consensus the Cheviot proved superior in wool, meat, and fecundity. But the black-faced retained its popularity with northern farmers because of its better ability to withstand the winters.

By the mid-nineteenth century the herds had come to a rough equilibrium. The coarse, heavy-wooled black-face dominated the central Highlands and Islands, for they could live without difficulty on heather swards. The soft, finer-wooled Cheviot ruled the southern hillsides and the lower grounds near the sea farther north. Their domain was more restricted, because they needed grassy swards on which to graze. Each breed could summer on the hills at the head of the glens and winter in the glens themselves. But if the sheep wintered in the glens, the only area where the land could be tilled, that meant the Scottish tenants had to be replaced. As with every major economic shift, the emergence of Scottish sheep ranching had its costs.

No account of Scottish sheep life would be complete without some discussion of the dogs. The few old-timers who remembered the last years of Scottish sheep droving recalled that when the drovers arrived at their inns for the night, their first concern was food for their dogs. On the road they often shared their oatmeal porridge with the animals. Miss Stewart Mackenzie of Brahan, Ross-shire, recalled that a generation earlier she would often ride by solitary collies making their way north. These animals belonged to Scottish drovers who had elected to remain in England for the harvest and had sent the animals home by themselves. The dogs simply reversed the route by which they came, feeding at the inns or farmhouses they had stopped by on the trip south. When the drover returned, he made sure to pay the innkeepers for the food that the dogs had eaten the previous year.

The border collies and Highland sheep dogs soon achieved international fame. Modern sheep growers unanimously agree that sheep dogs are as vital as any human worker to their operations. Medieval documents suggest that the Borders region probably developed the idea that a dog could learn to work at a distance at the sound of a voice or a whistle. Although the sheep dog arrived late in the Highlands—some eighteenth century accounts recall that shepherds rounded up the sheep by themselves-they came to dominate this part of Scotland as well.

Raising sheep has never been an easy task. The animals are notoriously dull witted, and shepherds wrestled with a variety of their ailments. Sheep pox (variola ovina), caused by a virus, devastated the English flocks in the mid-nineteenth century and remained a problem in Scotland for years afterward. Other parasitic diseases, such as sheep scab, mange mite, and the infamous liver fluke appeared with regularity. The ever-present danger of a May "lambing storm" added yet another dilemma to life outdoors.

But raising sheep had advantages as well. The animals’ natural fecundity allowed owners to pay shepherds and other workers in stock rather than in cash. Since they had a much shorter life cycle, sheep could be sold far earlier than cattle. Shepherds could lamb in April, wean in sixteen to eighteen weeks, and then sell at Michaelmas in time for Christmas-season lamb. Although sheep did not present the same potential for improvement as did cattle, selective breeding did move the meat to the best joints and shorten marketing time to about two years.

The Scottish sheep industry peaked in about 1870. From that time to the early twentieth century, stability, or even gradual decline, set in. In Argyll, Ross, and Inverness shires, sheep population declined from 2,187,000 in 1874 to 1,608,000 in 1914. The wet summers and cold winters of 1879—80 probably played a role in the decline, especially because they were accompanied by an epidemic of liver fluke. Overgrazing, which had allowed an onset of bracken in the hills that the tramping of the cattle had somewhat controlled in earlier years, may also have been a significant factor in the decline. In any case many farmers lost their breeding flocks and never replaced them? But the decline of Scottish herding meant that a large number of Scots sheep men were available to transfer to the American West.

During the last two thousand years the craft of the sheepherder has changed little. As historian Judith Keys Kenny once observed, by mid-Victorian times sheepherding had evolved into a genuine art form. There were no books from which one could learn sheepherding. Nor were cattle-ranching skills trans. ferable to sheepherding, for a person could not tend sheep from the back of a horse. Few American farmers possessed the necessary skills or the motivation to become shepherds. Thus, the Scots had a real advantage. Brigham Young, for example, always chose Scots shepherds to manage the Mormon communal herds.

The sheep industry in the western United States proved extraordinarily multinational, involving Navajo, Mexican, His. panic, Norwegian, German, Canadian, and Irish herders, just to name a few. In every region of the West, however, the Scots sheepmen became prominent beyond their numbers. In some regions, such as Wyoming and Idaho, they virtually ruled the enterprise.

Several Scots émigrés established genuine sheep empires. By the 1860s Robert Burnett, who later inherited the title to Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire, oversaw one of the largest sheep herds in southern California on his twenty-five-thousand-acre ranch. (The land, which he later sold for a tidy profit, now comprises much of downtown Los Angeles.) In 1880 Patrick Healy, who was born in County Kerry, Ireland, teamed with Scotsman Alan Patterson to run sheep in the Buffalo, Wyoming, region; by 1897 they owned one hundred thousand animals. They, too, ranked among the largest sheepmen in the West. Interestingly, Healy and Patterson never kept any type of financial records, dividing the flock as evenly as possible and then playing cards to determine who received which bunch.

Their contemporary, Robert Taylor, a native of Hartwick, Scotland, also owned a flock of one hundred thousand sheep in Wyoming and Nebraska. Most of the Scots sheep men in central Wyoming began herding with Taylor, either as a partner or on a share basis. A savvy rancher—he had once worked as a foreign correspondent for a Scottish newspaper—Taylor spent much effort in crossbreeding his flocks to produce a fine-fleeced, hardy lamb that could withstand Wyoming range life. A frequent fair goer in both Britain and America, Taylor greatly improved Wyoming’s wool and mutton production.

If the Estancia Valley of central New Mexico is representative, Scots herders played significant roles in smaller areas as well. William Dunbar from Inverness arrived penniless in the 1890s but owned a twelve-hundred-acre sheep ranch when he died in 1937. During the same era the McGillvary brothers arrived there as herders, each, according to family legend, marrying a local woman from a different ethnic group (Hispanic, Anglo, Indian). The McGillvarys likened New Mexico to Scotland because of the wide-open spaces. Similarly, McIntosh, New Mexico, is named for the McIntosh brothers, William, Donald, and John, who came to herd sheep in the late 1880s. Utilizing the partidad system, they also brought in a number of Scots employees who all later became independent flockmasters. William achieved local fame for his Scots managers, his wool barns, his elegant shearing parties (with dancing, pianola, and splended foods), plus a distinct fondness for the bottle. Rumor had it that he would ride into nearby Estancia and get drunk, whereupon the bartender would load him in his buggy and have the horses take him home. Estancia Valley Scots herders occasionally sported kilts while watching over their sheep. Familiarity with sheep raising also offered an entry into local New Mexico Hispanic society. Consequently, there were a number of Scots-Hispanic marriages in the Estancia region, descendants of whom live there to this day.

Scots proved prominent in the Pacific Northwest sheep world as well. HBC physician W. F. Tolmie introduced Scottish sheep into Oregon, as did William McLoughlin. But the real influx of Scottish sheep men in the region did not occur until the 1870s. At first this experiment was not a success, for Scots shepherds strongly disliked the vast herds and open ranges of eastern Oregon and Washington. They had been used to herding flocks in the hundreds, but they suddenly found themselves with herds approaching one thousand. Scots herders also protested the isolation and the fact that they often never saw the owner for a season—sometimes not for an entire year. Consequently, Australian herders replaced the Scots for about a decade.

During the 1880s, however, the Scots returned. The vast public domain provided acres of free fodder, and the eastern Oregon success of British rancher Graham Hewison showed how much profit could be made from sheep. But life on the scattered sheep ranches of the Northwest contained dangers as well. Feuds between ranchers and sheepherders often escalated into open violence, and when Indian resistance broke out, the isolated shepherds were easy targets. Washington cattle ranchers boasted of breeding coyotes and wolves to destroy the sheep. The Klickatat Valley bars carried signs that read: "No sheep allowed. Sheepmen take notice." As early Oregon sheepman John Minto noted, "Indeed, it is safe to say that during the years of expansion of sheep industry over the portion of Oregon west of the Blue Mountains, more lives have been taken and more property destroyed over range feuds, provided by a marauding spirit, than by the racial wars with the natives."

Perhaps the most famous sheep operation of the region was begun by the three McGregor brothers, Archie, Peter, and John. whose parents had moved from the Isle of Mull to eastern Canada in the 1850s, and who, along with approximately one million other Canadians, crossed to the United States between 1881 and 1891. The brothers began sheep raising on Washington’s open range in 1882 and continued for a decade. Astute businessmen, they established credit by being hardworking and fair in their dealings. They also realized that the end of Washington’s open range demanded major adjustments in the industry. The company still exists.

If the McGregor Corporation proved the most successful of northwestern Scots sheepherding efforts, the saga of Andrew Little is the most dramatic. Indeed, Little’s career is an "Andrew Carnegie" saga writ small. According to legend, young Andrew Little and two sheep dogs arrived from near Moffat, Scotland, to settle in Caldwell, Idaho, in 1894. There he began working for Robert "Scotch Bob" Aikman’s sheep ranch. Aikman and fellow Scot Charlie Doane had maintained strong links with their homeland and had aided several Scots in finding work in Idaho.

like so many other herders, Little took his salary in stock and soon had a small herd of his own. In 1901 he felt sufficiently established to return to Scotland, where he successfully courted a young woman with tales of the Idaho countryside. In addition, seven of his eight brothers followed him to the Boise Basin to join the Scots families of McLeod, Laidlaw, Sproat, Campbell, and McMillan who already lived there.

Little’s fortunes grew with those of the fertile Boise Valley. At one time he owned 165,000 sheep, which he ran from the Boise Valley to the Salmon River area. In 1918 Idaho ranked as the world’s second largest sheep center, and in Little’s peak production year, 1929, his flocks produced a million pounds of wool. When he died, the press termed him the "Sheep King of Idaho, and possibly of the United States." What Andrew Carnegie was to steel, Andrew Little was to western sheep ranching—the ultimate success story.

It was not long before a regional folklore developed around Andy Little. When he arrived in 1894, the story went, he walked twenty miles to the Aikman ranch to save carfare. On the way he sold one of his two border collies to establish a nest egg. Legend has it that Andy Little never sold a sheep to anyone in the Boise Valley; he would sell only to those outside the region. This he did so that if he ever found an animal without a mark or brand, he knew it belonged to him. One admirer from Scotland allegedly wrote him a letter addressed "Andy Little, USA."

As the Andrew Little story shows, Scotland’s famed sheep dogs almost always accompanied the immigrants, especially the Border black-and-white collies. This breed, which originated around 1600, was crossed with several others, and one offspring— the kelpie (Gaelic for water sprite)—began to rival it in popularity in the States. Most western sheep dogs, however, were descended from the black-and-white collies. Usually trained from puppies by older dogs, some pups were even suckled by ewes, literally becoming part of the flock. The test of a born leader, it was said, lay with its ability to keep a band of chickens bunched.

With the dogs came American dog stories, tales often tinged with romance. They begin with accounts of sheep dogs driving wild turkeys into San Francisco in 1879. William Patterson of northern Idaho claimed to own a dog who would bring the sheep to the shearer one by one and, when they were penned for the night, would run to the hills to look for strays. One Oregon herder died of natural causes in the field, but when his Mends found him weeks later, his collie had dutifully rounded up the entire herd. Jerry, a border collie in the Umatilla Forest, remained with the flock when Indian clashes caused all the herders to flee. When the men returned, they found that Jerry had increased his flock by rounding up a number of strays from neighboring bands. One Montana sheep man owned a dog, Old Ruddy, who would never take orders and always cut right through the herd. Once, when a potential buyer was watching, the herder cried, "around them now," and just when Old Ruddy was about halfway, "now divide them." One Pacific Northwest herder claimed that he owned a chess-playing collie who usually beat him two out of three. "Ten thousand white ones and sixty black ones. Go round ‘em, Shep," a Montana herder allegedly said to his favorite collie.

The man-animal relationship that emerged from this cooperation was deep and meaningful. Dogs would sicken and even die when their masters passed on. One McGregor company herder shot himself when his favorite dog failed to return to camp. Andrew Little discouraged making the dogs into pets— he considered them "hired hands"—but the affection between dog and herder could never be contained by any ranch rules.

Perhaps no one has expressed the canine-human link better than Robert Burns in his ‘Twa Dogs." The collie Luath is speaking:

The luntin’ pipe, n’ sneeshin mill,
Are handed round wi’ richt guid will;
The cantie auld folks crackin crouse,
The Young anes ranting thro’ the house—
My heart has been
sae fain to see them,
That I forjoy hae
bark’twi’ them.

The legacy of sheep dogs and dog tales is as much a part of the Scots’ impact on western life as that of the immigrants themselves.

Since they came from such different regions, usually settled individually, and worked in such a wide variety of occupations, how did the nineteenth-century American Scots create a common identity? The answer is complex. From the onset American Scots suffered an identity problem as to exactly what constituted "Scottish culture." The answer emerged partly as literature (Porter, Scott, Burns); partly as religion (some Catholics, some Episcopalians, some Freethinkers, but mostly Presbyterians); partly as costume (the kilt and other aspects of "the garb of Old Gaul"); partly as music (ballads and bagpipes); partly as language (some Gaelic but mostly Lowland Scots); partly as special foods (haggis, oatcakes); and, of course, "a wee dram," especially significant for a culture that elevated social drinking virtually to an art form.

These items did not, by themselves, an identity make. Consequently, one of the major aspects of nineteenth-century American Scottish culture was the creation of a new self-image. Since Scoto-Americans lacked any real community through which to disseminate these ideas, they had to create one. Thus, the celebration of St Andrew’s Day (November 30) and Robert Burns’s Day (January 25) took on a special set of functions in the New World.

As historian Kathleen Neils Conzen and others have noted, nineteenth-century ethnic groups in America found themselves involved in a continual process of "ethnic invention." The process went through several stages. First, the groups had to merge the various Old World regional differences—e.g., the distinctions between Aberdeenshire, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Orkney, Shetland, and so forth and between Highlands and Lowlands—into a single Scots identity. Regional distinctions in accent, dress, and behavior that loomed large in Scotland were completely lost on Americans.

But the blending of the Scots regions into a national identity in America was only the beginning. American Scots also had to demark the chief characteristics of this new Scoto-American identity. The process proved ever fluid. Scots immigrants continually interacted with the host (mainstream American) culture, and the process was never complete.

Initially, one of the chief means by which Scots forged this new identity came with the celebration of St. Andrew’s Day. Creating an identity through a saint’s day was commonplace all through the century. Each European group had a special day of commemoration. For example, the Hungarians celebrated St Stephen’s Day (August 20), the Welsh, St David’s Day (March 1), the English, St George’s Day (April 23), and the Irish, St Patrick’s Day (March 17). In 1819 Glasgow native John M. Duncan attended the celebration of an early St Andrew’s Day in New York City. His account provides an insight into the way Americans and Scots interacted. Expecting to dine on "barley kale, smoking sheep’s head and trotters, sonsy haggis," he ended up consuming a largely American meal that lacked even oatcakes. When he mildly protested, his host insisted that American life had changed their eating habits. When he had served haggis in previous years, he said, the customers shouted to the waiter to remove it. Even an American chefs attempt to improve the taste by adding raisins had come to naught Duncan complained about the "diluted nationality" and concluded that the whole dinner was a spoiled mixture of "Yankeeism and Land-of-cakeism." He left early.

The disgruntled Duncan missed a good many means by which American Scots kept their identity alive. The New York hotel was draped with Scots flags and medallions, inside and out, and all the "brither Scots" wore broad blue-and-white collars. Bagpipes provided the musical background, in this case backed by a full American orchestra. The entertainment for the evening came largely from the reading of Scottish poems, chiefly by Burns, in a wide variety of first, second, and third generation accents. Then came the obligatory round of toasts: "The day and all that honour it"; "The King of Great Britain and all friendly powers." The pipes, whiskey, poems, songs, accent, and foods all helped create the feeling of auld lang syne.

Over the course of the century the nature of the St Andrew’s Day celebration changed but little. Often hosted by a local Presbyterian church, it might call forth a special sermon as well as a banquet. "You do not have much to do with St. Andrew in Scotland," a Wisconsin Scot reminded his Aberdeen readers in 1864, but it was different with Scotsmen abroad. The day was necessary here, he noted, to nourish "that noble pride which every Scotchman feels in his ancestral glory and living fame." The St Andrew’s Society also did a good bit of charitable work.

Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation of a national day of Thanksgiving in late November eventually crowded out St. Andrew’s Day. It was not long before Robert Burns’s Day replaced it. Perhaps the celebration of a saint’s thy rang foreign to American ears; or perhaps January 25 provided a better time to stage a gala celebration. At any rate, by the last decades of the century the celebration of Robert Bums’s Day had emerged as the major disseminator of Scottish culture and "the garb of old Gaul" throughout the region. Numerous reminiscences recall the childhood agony of sitting through yet-another lecture on Robert Burns.

The "Burns ethos," however, harmonized especially well with the American western ethos. The mock heroics of his ballads meshed nicely with western cynicism, and Burns’s skepticism about religion (as in "Holy Willie’s Prayer") made him free of sectarian bias. Almost Jacobin in outlook, his great poems celebrating democracy ("a man’s a man for a’ that") and denouncing hypocrisy ("O wad some Power the giftie gie us / to see ourselves as ithers see us") made Burns universally acceptable in America.

Abraham Lincoln, one of Burns’s greatest admirers, could quote him by the hour. On January 25, 1865, Lincoln wrote to a Burns committee in praise of the poet’s "generous heart and transcendent genius." This respect was shared by a great many others. "I have hope for the human race so long as they celebrate the birthday of Robert Bums," said radical Denver Congregationalist minister Myron W. Reed c. 1893. "I hate to be cruel but think of celebrating the birthday of [railroad magnate George] Pullman."

By 1906 more than sixty American cities celebrated January 25, including San Francisco, Denver, Albuquerque, Seattle, and Lander, Wyoming. A number of Burns’s verses were also parodied anonymously ("John Alcohol, my foe, John"), the highest form of flattery. It was not long before the Burns festivities assumed a more or less standard form. The day demanded a wide variety of special foods: shortbread, haggis (Bums’s "great chieftain O’ the puddin’ race"); "howtowdies wi’ drappit egge"; "thairums, pies and porter"; and "parritch and milk." The men donned kilts, while the women joined in reels and Highland flings. Bagpipes proved essential and occasionally hornpipes were heard, as singing and music dominated the affair. The songs included: ‘The I.and of Burns," "Flow Gently Sweet Afton," "March of the Cameron Men," "Warrior Bold," "When the Swallows Homeward fly," ‘Within a Mile o’ Edinburgh," and "Farewell My Home." ‘Tam O’Shanter" or ‘The Cotter’s Saturthy Night" often rounded out the festivities.9° Writing in 1896, Peter Ross described the Burns Day celebrations as "generally the most thoroughgoing Scotch affairs in the world." In 1901 the Scottish American offered advice on "How to Organize a Scottish Society," with a Burns Day at the coreY2 "It was a real important thing for the Scots," recalled one Idaho pioneer. When Burns Day celebrations first began in her area in 1903, few non-Scots attended.

The ceremonial reading of Burns’s verse in Scots illustrates the importance of language in the celebration of American "Scottishness," but the Scots immigrants had a problem that most other immigrant groups did not have. Historians generally agree that language is the most important single element in maintaining a separate ethnic identity. Yet Lowland Scots, unlike—say—Gaelic, Spanish, or Dutch, was not exactly a separate language. In general the Lowland dialect was close enough to English so that one could follow the line of argument A second-generation Scoto-American would not formally learn to speak Scots, for example, as a second-generation German-American or French-American might learn German or French. These young people might speak French or German with an American accent, but they would still master their ancestors’ native tongue. But Scoto-Americans could not really do so. One could learn Lowland Scots only by growing up within the culture.

Consequently, one crucial aspect of "Scottishness" did not survive: that of dialect and pronunciation. In 1819 John Duncan complained bitterly that second-generation Scots butchered the dialect; he helped silence a third-generation Scot’s reading of Burns by loud applause. But a half-century later, Aberdeen immigrant to Nebraska John Alexander felt otherwise. He criticized his Aberdeenshire fellow travelers for making no effort to modify their talk so that the average Nebraskan could comprehend them. Since the English spoken in Exeter, Fillmore County, Nebraska, served perfectly well, Alexander saw no real advantage in sustaining a North British mode of speech. "Go where we may," he observed, "our dear mother Scotch dialect must go to the wall." At most it might survive as a floating burr that, like a kilt, could be donned for ceremonial occasions. In the American West the accent, which served as the key badge of "Scottishness" in Britain, largely disappeared.

If dialect and pronunciation faded over time, however, Scottish aphorisms, proverbs, and anecdotes remained. Americans loved to quote the aphorisms, even though they did not always seem to understand them fully. The apocryphal story of Robert Bruce watching the spider spin its web seven times became a staple of inspirational lecturers. Many a phrase retained its currency, although not always to the pleasure of grammarians: "Should have went," "et" as the past tense of "eat," and "that" as a substitute for those. The Highland phrase "a far cry" became widely accepted, as did "hey, Mac." Unfortunately, one of George Washington’s favorite Scottish maxims, "Many a mickle makes a muckle" did not survive the eighteenth century.

The popularity of these Burns Day celebrations with their dramatic readings varied with the flow of Scots immigrants. Shortly after 1900, the various groups had to incorporate a second generation into the festivities. The Burns Day celebration in Miles City, Montana, for example, slowly shifted from a celebration of Scottishness to a chance for all to become Scots for a day. The ceremonies in Buffalo, Wyoming, died out in the 1920s because Basque immigrants had largely replaced the Scots as the region’s sheepherders. Lander, Wyoming, drew six hundred to its 1952 Burns Day celebration, but the next year the day was commemorated only by a "Burns Day sale" at the local supermarket. As Glasgow native Mary Gilchrist of Cheyenne wanted to insure that Scottishness remained prominent in the state, in 1927 she donated twenty thousand dollars to erect a statue of Robert Burns in Gilchrist Park in downtown Cheyenne. Robert Burns still stands there as mute testimony to the importance of Scottish culture in the American West.

If the celebration of Burns Day proved the focal point for creating an American Scottish identity, a number of other organizations played strong supporting roles. The order of the Scottish Clans was formed in St. Louis in 1882, and a number of Wyoming cities boasted Caledonian societies. Over time these groups began to stage Highland games all across the nation.

Like cattle and sheep raising, sporting contests such as the Highland games had long been a staple of Scots culture. When the gaines transferred to America, they took on a dual function. First, they reinforced Scottishness, and second, they became the origin of American track and field.

In 1800 a charitable organization that later took the name Braemar Highland Society began in Braemar, Scotland. In 1832 the group staged one of the first contests to preserve the music, games, and clothing of the Highlands. After Queen Victoria began attending regularly, the event received enormous popularity Filled with contests such as "putting the stone," wrestling, tugs of war, tossing the caber, and footracing, the events combined drama and excitement The women were included with exhibitions of Highland dancing. Of course the bagpipes were ever present.

The first American Highland games appeared in 1836, but they did not become widespread until the Gilded Age. Events included throwing the hammer or the stone and tossing the caber; the pole vault, high jump, long jump, hop-step-and-leap, and hurdles; the tug-of-war; and numerous footraces. Pipers and Highland dancers enlivened the athletics.

During much of the nineteenth century, the games were staged on July 4. The San Francisco Thistle Club, for example, drew five thousand people to Shell Mound Park for their 1889 games. But this tradition faded over time as July 4 became reserved for more solemn observances. "The Fourth of July is an American and not a Scotch holiday," warned the editor of the Scottish American, "and a growing sentiment prevails that it should be reserved for Americans." By c.1890 the games had not only lost their ethnic flavor, they had gradually evolved into American track and field. What began as a Scottish sport had become Americanized.

The game of golf followed along similar lines. This uniquely Scottish import arrived in the East in the early 1880s, but soon reached the West. As the game spread, so, too, did Scots golf professionals. During the fin-de-siècle years, approximately three hundred "Men of Carnoustie" began to dominate the American professional golf world. Not until 1914, for example, did a native-born American win the U.S. Open.

Representatives of this "Carnoustie exodus" were the brothers Smith. Their father, John, served as greenkeeper at a number of Scottish courses, including Carnoustie, and all five of his surviving sons became American golf professionals. The two most famous were probably Alexander and Macdonald. Alexander Smith played in the first organized professional tour in 1899 and won three California Opens prior to 1907. His classic Lessons in Golf (1907) reminded readers that "Golf is a science and not a bag of tricks," and he became recognized as America’s most prominent golf instructor. His younger brother Macdonald achieved an equal reputation, eventually settling in California, where he worked for several clubs and in 1921 opened a popular golf school. Known for his smooth swing and

dour manner, "Old Carnoustie," as he was termed, finished his career as manager of the private range of a Glendale, California, local magnate, from which position he taught a number of professionals. By the turn of the century virtually every American golf course or country club clamored for a Scots professional. As historian Howard N. Rabinowitz has observed, by World War I the Scots golf pro had become as prominent a part of American life as the Irish policeman, the Chinese laundryman, or the Swedish masseur.

From cattle to sheep, from track and field to golf, from St. Andrew’s Day to Robert Burns Day, the nineteenth-century American Scots slowly created a new Scoto-American identity. And, as the next chapter will show, much of this new identity resounded with romance.



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