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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - August/September 2003
Wee Snippets (11)

Clan MacLellan adds to archives collection
Several years ago Clan MacLellan's Board of Directors decided to move their archives to The Odom Genealogy Library. Five boxes filled with books and publications were delivered to Odom and have been on the shelves several years.

Still facing Archives Committee chairperson Nancy Sears was the task of sorting multiple boxes of members' genealogical information, which had accumulated during the organization's early years. In order to prepare the material for easy access by researchers, Sears sorted it by the most popular spellings of MacLellan (McLellan, McClellan, McClelland, MacLellan, etc.). In addition, she set up a binder for spellings of other names, such as Clelland and Gilliland.

Because members of the same family sometimes spelled their name differently, researchers are advised to check through material in all binders. Submissions were put in "sleeves" in alphabetical order according to the first name of the earliest ancestor in that particular family.

In October, Sears, along with East Central Region director Kathy Kessinger, took the items to Odom. Other binders contain records from churches, cemeteries, etc., sorted by spelling of name, sites in Scotland pertaining to MacLellans and sites in the United States and Canada pertaining to MacLellans. In addition to the binders, there were numerous documents of bound research contributed by members. For a complete listing of Clan MacLellan Archives, contact Kathy Kessinger at

When a member joins Clan MacLellan, they are asked to submit data about their ancestors. This information is added to the Clan's database in which there are currently over 17,900 names. If the genealogy archivist discovers a new member's ancestors are already in the database, she notifies them. Through this connection, many times distant cousins become acquainted.

Questions regarding membership in Clan MacLellan may be sent to treasurer Nancy M. Sears at

The death on October 30th of Lady Macpherson of Cluny, dear wife of the Honorable Sir William Macpherson of Cluny and Blairgowrie, 27th Chief of Clan Macpherson, came as a great shock to many of their clansmen and clanswomen, for less than three weeks earlier she had been her customary charming self at the 30th annual meeting of the United States Branch of the Clan Macpherson Association in Roswell, Georgia.

Less vigorous perhaps than usual she had nevertheless taken a great delight, as always, at being with her husband and meeting old and new friends. A few days after their return to Scotland, she was found to have cancer and, following an operation, died peacefully in a hospital.

Born Sheila McDonald Brodie in 1931 in India, where her father, from Castle Douglas in Scotland, was a banker, she attended school in Scotland before joining her parents in Kenya, when her father was by then serving with the National Bank of India. After the Second World War, she took a secretarial course in Edinburgh and subsequently spent some time there before moving to work in London as a personal assistant to the head of the National Association for the Paralyzed, work which she found particularly satisfying.

One Saturday in 1956 she and a friend attended a rugby football match involving the London Scottish team and afterwards met an ex-captain of that team, a distinguished young barrister. After a lengthy courtship, she and William Macpherson were married in St. Columba's by the Castle in Edinburgh in December 1962.

Their lives together were spent mainly in London while William Macpherson's legal career progressed from barrister to a knighthood as Judge of the High Court of Justice and later to Presiding Judge, Northern Circuit. But they always regarded Newton Castle, Blairgowrie, Perthshire as their home. Sheila became adept at running two homes, as well as finding time to raise three devoted children.

It was in 1969 when her husband succeeded his father, Brigadier Alan Macpherson, as 27th Chief of Clan Macpherson, that Sheila came into her own as the wife of a distinguished clan chief. She took great pride in this extended family. She was a keen student of its history and painstaking in preserving and caring for the artifacts and family mementos at Newton Castle. She delighted in meeting members of the Clan and took a great interest in them. She enjoyed accompanying her husband to clan events at home and overseas, in the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa, where they were as enthusiastic as those they met and joined in their activities with great gusto. At the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in 1998, a local newspaper described them as "the hits of the weekend."

At home at Newton Castle, where they settled for good in their retirement, Lady Cluny was ever the gracious hostess to those of their Clan and to the many local organizations under the patronage of her husband. Always dignified and elegant, on formal and informal occasions alike, her warmth and charm endeared her to all who met her. She was at once refined yet full of fun, never more so than at the annual Clan Macpherson Rally at Newtonmore, where she would grace the dance floor until late at its Ball.

Lady Cluny was a well known and popular in the High Street, and on the golf course, in Blairgowrie, having a ready word for everyone. She was a loving and devoted wife; a tower of strength to her husband whose public duties were arduous, but undertaken with great skill and steadfastness. She was also devoted to her family, all of whom adored her.

When a clansman observed as she entered a room "Here's the real Chief," Sir William's ready smile showed clearly that he did not disagree with the sentiment. She leaves countless fond memories of herself. She was an excellent ambassadress for their Clan and epitomized all that is best in the wife of a Highland Clan Chief. And it is standing proudly and erect beside her husband that she will be long remembered.

The service of thanksgiving, which was held in the Blairgowrie Parish Church on November 12th, was attended by a full congregation of clansfolk, friends and admirers. The appreciation was given by the Reverend Kenneth Rathband supported by The Bishop of Birmingham, the Right Reverend Dr. John Sentamu.

Lady Macpherson of Cluny is survived by her husband, Sir William, her daughter Annie, sons Alan and Jamie, and grandchildren Eliza and Torquil.

Electric Scotland has dedicated a collection of photos to Lady Cluny - Travelling to the lands of Clan MacPherson.

In 1900 a monument honoring the memory of missionaries in the Lambuth family was dedicate in front of the Pearl River Methodist church in Madison County, Mississippi. Members of the Lambuth family have rendered ministerial and missionary service for more than 300 years. After moving to Mississippi and teaching the children of Reverend John R. and Nancy Lambuth, Mary Isabella McClellan of Cambridge, New York, married James William Lambuth. Shortly after their marriage in 1853, they became the first missionaries to China sponsored by the Mississippi Conference. In 1927 the church has observed Lambuth Day.

The Clan MacLellan treasurer, Nancy Sears, was this year's guest speaker. Because the men in the Lambuth family were usually the focus of the annual event, Nancy's theme for her presentation was highlighting the work of Mary Isabella. Through her genealogy research, Nancy learned that Mary Isabella is her great-grandmother's sister, daughters of William Gordon McClellan and their great-granddaughters of Robert and Nicholas (Gordon) McClellan, who came from Kirkcudbright, Scotland in 1774.

It has been said that all mission work for girls and women of the Southern Methodist church owes its beginning to Mary Isabella. Using her teaching skills, she opened her first school in 1856. Letters written by her husband to the New Orleans Advocate editor describe their lives as missionaries in china and Japan. In 1886 they were transferred from China to Japan in order to assist in opening a mission there. After her husband's death, she continued her work in Japan, opening the Lambuth Bible and Training School. Their children were educated in the United States and continued the work of their parents. One became a Methodist Bishop, another became an educator at the Japanese Military Academy, and their daughter married a medical missionary. In addition, several of Mary Isabella's siblings went to Japan and China.

During her presentation, Nancy gave information about the Clan. One of the organizers of the event is Kathryn McLellan Clark, a distant cousin of Clan MacLellan co-founder Crawford McLellan. Another McLellan who often attends the event is Elma Heffner, a third cousin of Crawford, who is mentioned in Think On, Volume 11, Number 1, "Perhaps the first impetus (to founding Clan MacLellan) came when Crawford's cousin, Elma Heffner, asked him to organize a reunion of their mutual ancestor, great-great-grandfather William McLellan. About 200 descendants met in Mississippi in 1976 with Crawford serving as president for five years."

Eric Montgomery, founder of the Ulster-American Folk Park in Omagh and a former Government Press officer at Stormont, has died after a short illness. He was 87 years old.

The son of a Methodist minister from Moy, County Tyrone, Ireland, he worked as a journalist on the Impartial Reporter before the Second World War and later joined the Guards Armoured Division. He joined the civil service at Stormont in 1950. He served under four Prime Ministers and later, until his retirement in 1976, with the Direct Rule Administration at Stormont.

Mr. Montgomery took a very keep interest in the Ulster-Scots emigration to North America and in 1967 he was inspirational in setting up the Ulster-American Folk Park outside Omagh. He received a military MBE and in 1991 the QBE. He was the founder of the Frontier Culture Museum at Staunton, Virginia.
He is survived by his wife, Joan, and their son, Nigel.

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