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Weekly Mailing List Archives
16th March 2007

It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at and you can unsubscribe to this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at 

Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
The Southern States of America
History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Scots Minstrelsie
Scottish Canadian Newspaper
The Greatness and Decline of the Celts
Poems and Stories
Sketches of the Wild Sports & Natural History of the Highlands
Scotland in the Middle Ages
Clan Newsletters
Scotch-Irish in America (New Book)
Scots in Argentina

Away again in Toronto this week with the Knight Templars. I am trying to get further information on the various Priories so if anyone reading this is a Knight you might mention to your priory that I'd love to get a bit of history and some pictures. I'll add this information to my page at

As I belong to the St. James Priory in Toronto I have created a section for them at
I launched the book, Scotch-Irish in America, this week, more of which below. In the book the author tells us that he was a board member of the Scotch-Irish Association and further mentioned their publications where they provide details of their annual meetings. He tells us that these publications were top notch for providing further information on the Scotch-Irish. I have in fact got the first congress publication but as he specifically tells us that the first eight publications were of particular importance I have tried to purchase the other 7.

I have had major problems getting these as the titles are quite long so when they confirm the purchase, or not as the case may be, they truncate the title meaning I don't know which issue is which. A real pain in the neck. Around 5 issues I ordered were "sold" so had to go back and try and find the ones that were sold to see if I could find other copies. So hopefully I have got the first 8 but time will tell.

Don't forget if you have any interesting stories about your own families we're more than happy to receive them to post on the web site. Should you already have a web site with family information perhaps you could do a short article for Electric Scotland to which we'd be happy to add a link to your own web site. On the whole Electric Scotland does not post up links as we don't have a links page. We are more than happy to add a link along with a decent article that you send into us.

I also picked up from Nola Crewe in Toronto the 6 volume "History of Scotland" by Patrick Fraser Tytler. This was published in 1828. This publication has a huge number of footnotes which are of course really great for additional information and bibliographies. The problem is that they are also very time consuming to ocr into the site. For this reason I am going to scan each chapter in as a .pdf file.

This is what he says in his Preface...

I have commenced the History of Scotland at the accession of Alexander the Third, because it is at this period that our national annals become particularly interesting to the general reader. During the reign of this monarch, England first began to entertain serious thoughts of the reduction of her sister country. The dark cloud of misfortune which gathered over Scotland immediately after the death of Alexander, suggested to Edward the First his schemes of ambition and conquest; and perhaps, in the history of Liberty, there is no more memorable war than that which commenced under Wallace in 1297, and terminated in the final establishment of Scottish independence by Robert Bruce, in 1328.

In the composition of the present volume, which embraces this period, I have anxiously endeavoured to examine the most authentic sources of information, and to convey a true picture of the times without prepossession or partiality. To have done so, partakes more of the nature of a grave duty than of a merit; and even after this has been accomplished, there will remain ample room for many imperfections. If, in the execution of my plan, I have been obliged to differ on some points of importance from authors of established celebrity, I have fully stated the grounds of my opinion in the Notes and Illustrations, which are printed at the end of the volume; and I trust that I shall not be blamed for the freedom of my remarks, until the historical authorities upon which they are founded have been examined and compared.

The main reason for doing this publication is that I don't actually have a good history of Scotland on the site. I do have an excellent history of the Highlands but that specifically didn't show the history of the rest of Scotland unless it impacted the Highlands. So... this publication should fill this gap and it has been generally recognised as the best of the old histories of Scotland.

And a wee note about the site.... I only recently discovered that our Google search engine wasn't working on all our pages. It was working on our index page where I mostly use the search myself but not the other pages. I have now fixed this.

Ron Hooker emailed to say there was a Fleming Family Reunion, Christchurch New Zealand on Easter 6th - 8th April 2007 at St Andrews College, Christchurch & MainPower Oval, Rangiora. You can get more information at

Scott McKechnie told me of the new website of the SCOTTISH AMERICAN CENTER and Heritage Resource just established in the Minneapolis area of Minnesota. It is a non-profit entity, modest in size in it's initial form, but has been a labor of love (and considerable expense) to get this up and beginning. There is much to be done to grow it and what it can do, but it's a very good start and there will be much to come in weeks, months, and years ahead. You can see this site at

Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter and pick up poems and stories sent into us during the week from Donna, Margo, Stan, John and others.

Mind that The Flag is now in two sections (1) Political and (2) Cultural.

It's Richard Thomson's turn this week and amongst other articles he covers first class rail travel, the Tory party and the leader of the Lib-Dems.

In Peter's cultural section...

In Memorandum Andrew D Lowe 1919 - 2000

The greatest asset of the SNP according to the late John McAteer when National Organiser, was "body heat". The death of Andrew D Lowe, on 10th February, has robbed us, of yet another of those Nationalists who provided that "body heat". I first knew Andrew, a stalwart of the Aberdour Branch, when I chaired the then West Fife Constituency Association SNP. He played an enthusiastic and valuable part in the campaign leading up to the 1970 General Election, when James Halliday carried the SNP Banner in West Fife.

Five days before his death. Andrew wrote to me (his last letter) reflecting on his SNP activity —"I look back with real pleasure to events in which I could and did play a useful part — chairing an election meeting, supplying and running a garden stall at sales of work, organising an Aberdour Branch Burns Supper, running a candidate around the constituency, canvassing in many towns on the East Coast — for me they have been thirty glorious years. Now I hope that Scotland and her reconvened Parliament will be found worthy of those generations of happy warriors and foot soldiers. It is up to them now to build on that and carry us forward to Independence".

Andrew Lowe was among the best of those "happy warriors and foot soldiers". No job went undone when Andrew turned his hand to it — if he said he would do something, it was done and always with humour, joy and enthusiam.

He was, as his minister described him at the Thanksgiving Celebration in a packed Warriston Crematorium, "an artist, poet, gardener, successful businessman, true patriot, loving family man and a real gentleman in the truest sense of the word". That he was.

After moving to Edinburgh in 1985, Andrew kept in touch with his many friends in Fife and was a regular attender at the Alexander III Commemoration at Pettycur, Kinghorn. Indeed he once chided me that he wasn’t coming because I had not invited him in Scots! That year Andrew not only attended but after laying the wreath read his splendid poem "Coronach" in memory of the dead King.

Due to his interest in the Guid Scots Tung, Andrew and his wife Irene were among the supporters of the Scots Poetry events held by "Scots Gladnost" and then "Merchants o Renoun" in Edinburgh.

Andrew’s belief in a Free Scotland never wavered nor did his strong Christian faith, which sustained him through his long illness. He died peacefully in the bosom of his loving family.

Andrew D Lowe will be missed but remembered with affection by all who knew him. Andrew’s life was a shining example of all that is best in Scotland, the Scottish people and Scottish Nationalism.

Scots Independent Newspaper April 2000

Ae wild March nicht lang syne
a storm ragit roun the castle craig.
The north wind, chairgit wi sleet an snaw,
thunnert owre the lofty pile
wi sic interperate sa vagerie
as wad gar the bravest fear
at Juidegment Day wis like tae daw.

On this faroushie nicht a companie
o fowr weel-mountit chiels
cam clappering thru Embro toun
an aen the gait til the Queen ‘s ferrie.

As they cam skelpin doun
thru the dark o the Hawes Brae
thir herts froze at the sicht an soun
o Forth’s jawin waves an fleein spray
but wadna be hinnrt bi the angry tide
an laundit unskaithed on tither side.

Nae mune nor fient a stairn
tae gie them licht
as they drave on
thru drumlie cleuch an mirky howe,
bi knarled pine an jimpy birk
at huddled roun St. Bridget’s kirk
as tho tae guard it frae the storm.

Straucht thru the Barony o Aberdour
bi the burn an the strong tower
they rade wi ne’er a word til tither
up the stey brae, droukit an forforn.

The waur pairt o thir journie owre
an scarce twa mile frae Kinghorn ‘s tower,
Wi promise o the marriage bed,
ae moment pairted frae his fieres,
his fair forfechen mount
stoitert owre the scaurs
an the King o Scots lay deid.

Andrew Lowe

You can listen to this poem in real audio at

You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and lots more at

You can view MSP Linda Fabiani's weekly diary at 
Email Linda at

She has now sent in an entry for the previous three weeks.

The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.

Now moved onto the F's and added this week are Forsyth, Forth, Fothringham and Fraser.

Here is how the Fraser entry starts...

FRASER, sometimes written Frazer, a surname derived from the French word fraizes or fraises, strawberries, seven strawberry flowers forming part of the armorial bearings of families of this name. The first of this surname in Scotland was of Norman origin, and came over with William the Conqueror. The Chronicles of the Fraser family pretend that their ancestor was one Pierre Fraser, seigneur de Troile, who in the reign of Charlemagne, came to Scotland with the ambassadors from France to form a league with King Achaius, and that his son, in the year 814, became thane of the Isle of Man, but all this is mere fable. Their account of the creation of their arms is equally an invention. According to their statement, in the reign of Charles the Simple of France, Julius de Berry, a nobleman of Bourbon, entertaining that monarch with a dish of fine strawberries, was, for the same, knighted, the strawberry flowers, fraises, given him for his arms, and his name changed from de Berry to Fraiseur or Frizelle. They claim affinity with the family of the duke de la Frezeliere, in France. The first of the name in Scotland is understood to have settled there in the reign of Malcolm Canmore, when surnames first began to be used, and although the Frasers afterwards became a powerful and numerous clan in Inverness-shire, their earliest settlements were in East Lothian and Tweeddale.

In the reign of David the First, Sir Simon Fraser possessed half of the territory of Keith in East Lothian (from him called Keith Simon), and to the monks of Kelso he granted the church of Keith. He had a daughter, Eda, married to Hugh Lorens, and their daughter, also named Eda, became the wife of Hervey, the king’s marechal, proprietor of the other half of the territory of Keith, called after him Keith Hervey. He was the ancestor of the north country Keiths, earls Marischal. A member of the same family, Gilbert de Fraser, obtained the lands of North Hailes, also in East Lothian, as a vassal of the earl of March and Dunbar, and is said to be a witness to a charter of Cospatrick to the monks of Coldstream, during the reign of Alexander the First. He also possessed large estates in Tweeddale. His eldest son, Oliver de Fraser, who flourished between 1175 and 1199, built Oliver castle, in the shire of Peebles, celebrated in history as the stronghold of the heroic companion of Wallace, Sir Simon Fraser, of whom a memoir is given afterwards. Dying without issue, Oliver was succeeded by his nephew, Adam de Fraser, He was the son of Udard Fraser, Gilbert’s second son, who had settled in Peebles-shire. His son, Laurence Fraser, is witness to a charter of the ward of East Nisbet, by Patrick earl of Dunbar to the monks of Coldingham, in 1261. Laurentius Fraser, dominus de Drumelzier, possessed the lands of Mackerston in Roxburghshire. His son, also named Laurence, lived during the wars of succession, and with his eldest daughter the estate of Drumelzier went by marriage into the family of Tweedie. The second daughter, maarying Dougal Macdougall, carried to him the estate of Mackerston, in the reign of David the Second, and it now belongs to a descendant of his on the female side.

In the reign of Alexander the Second the chief of the family was Bernard de Fraser, supposed to have been the grandson of the above-named Gilbert, by a third son, whose name is conjectured to have been Simon. [Anderson’s Hist. Acc. of the frasers, p. 8.] Bernard was a frequent witness to the charters of Alexander the Second, and in 1234 was made sheriff of Stirling, an h onour long hereditary in his family. By his talents he raised himself from being the vassal of a subject to be a tenant in chief to the king. He acquired the ancient territory of Oliver castle, which he transmitted to his posterity. He was one of the magnates of Scotland who swore to the performance of the treaty of peace agreed upon between Alexander the Second and Henry the Third of England at York in 1237, and is said to have married Mary Ogilvie, daughter of Gilchrist, thane of Angus, whose mother, Marjory, was the sister of Kings Malcolm the Fourth and William the Lion, and the daughter of Prince Henry. He was succeeded by his son Sir Gilbert Fraser, who was sheriff or vicecomes of Traquair during the reigns of Alexander the Second and his successor. He had three sons; Simon, his heir; Andrew, sheriff of Stirling in 1291 and 1293; and William, chancellor of Scotland from 1274 to 1280, and bishop of St. Andrews from 1279 to his death in 1297. He was first dean of Glasgow, and was consecrated bishop at Rome by Pope Nicholas the Third in 1280. In 1283, according to Wintoun, (Chronicles, p. 528,) he obtained for the bishops of St. Andrews, from Alexander the Third, the privilege of coining money. After the death of that monarch, he was one of the lords of the regency chosen by the states of Scotland, during the minority of the infant queen Margaret, styled “the maiden of Norway;” and as such was appointed to treat with the Norwegian plenipotentiaries on her affairs. On the death of that princess in 1291, he rendered a compelled homage to Edward the First of England, by whom he was created one of the guardians of Scotland. He was one of the early assertors of the independence of his country, and within a month after the accession of John Baliol to the throne, bishop Fraser joined with several others in a complaint against the English monarch for withdrawing causes out of Scotland contrary to his engagement and promises, and in prejudice of Baliol’s sovereign rights and authority. It was at the command of this patriotic bishop that Sir William Wallace, when guardian of the kingdom, put all the English who held them, out of their church benefices in Scotland. In 1295 he was one of the commissioners who concluded the fatal treaty with King Philip of France, by which the latter agreed to give Baliol his niece, the eldest daughter of Charles count of Anjou, in marriage to his son and heir, a treaty, styled by Lord Hailes, “the groundwork of many more equally honourable and ruinous to Scotland.” [Annals, vol. i. p. 234.] Bishop Fraser died at Arteville in France, 13th September 1297. His body was buried in the church of the friars predicants in Paris, but his heart, enclosed in a rich box, was brought to Scotland by his successor, Bishop Lamberton, and entombed in the wall of the cathedral of St. Andrews.

You can read more of this entry at

You can read the other entries at 

The Celtic Monthly
A magazine for Highlanders

Added the November 1912 issue at 

This contains...

Mr John MacLeod, After Culloden, Beauly Priory and its Associations, "Clann An Sgeulaiche (A famous family of Pipers), Our Highland Dances, Clan MacKay Society, New Celtic Lecturer for Glasgow, Royal Stewart Tartan, The Fernaig MS, Celtic Notes and Queries, The Adventures of Fionn in Connaught, Notes on the Celtic Year, The Clan MacLean gathering at Duart Castle, Gaelic Proverbs, Oran, Gaelic Music, The Campbells, Our Musical Page.

You can see the issues to date at 

The Southern States of America
Published in 1909.

Added this week are...

The History of Florida - Chapter III
Florida, 1861 - 1909

The History of Louisiana - Chapter I
Louisiana under French and Spanish Control

The History of Louisiana - Chapter II
The Territory of Orleans, 1803 - 1812

Here is how Chapter I - The History of Louisiana starts...


THE history of the Mississippi Valley, which for the first hundred years after its discovery, was known to political geography as the province of Louisiana, must ever be of surpassing interest to the American student.

Its existence and value were neglected by the Spaniards who sought and found fame and wealth in Central and South America. When at last this field was fully occupied the Spanish explorers turned to the Northern Continent hoping to find there territories as rich in treasure as those of the South, but disaster dogged their footsteps. After two attempts at conquest, exploration of the valley of the Mississippi was abandoned for a century.

During this time the other maritime nations of Europe had planted settlements along the coast. The country they occupied was a comparatively narrow strip bounded on the west by the densely-wooded heights of the Alleghanies. The French explorers had discovered and taken possession of the Gulf and valley of the St. Lawrence. Their intrepid hunters soon penetrated to the great lakes and learned from the Indians of the great river which might lead to the Pacific Ocean. To solve the riddle, expeditions were sent from Canada, one to ascend the river, the other under La Salle to seek the mouth, which he reached on April 9, 1682. For the king, Louis XIV., he laid claim to the whole of the lands on all the streams falling into the great river Mississippi. Iberville reaped the fruit of the discovery of La Salle and founded the colony of Louisiana at Ocean Springs (Old Biloxi) in 1699. Its growth was slow. The colonists did not attend at first to the agricultural work which was needed. Pestilence and hostile Indians were combated with difficulty. Commerce suffered from the monopolies of Crozat and Law, and when directly governed by the Crown the colony might have flourished, but a dual form of government, a governor and an intendant, and unwise commercial laws retarded the progress of colonial Louisiana.

The result of the war between England and France was to cause the dismemberment of Louisiana. The country on the eastern bank of the river was ceded to England and that on the west, together with the island of Orleans, to Spain. The French inhabitants protested in vain. Milder governors succeeded the severe O'Reilly. The strict commercial regulations of the Spanish colonies were but little observed, and Louisiana advanced rapidly in wealth. The enterprising population of the American states began to claim a free outlet for their products and were only granted a temporary place of deposit. The revolution in France called to office men who wished to recover its ancient colonies and finally Bonaparte, in 1800, dreaming of a colonial empire, under pretense of an exchange for the duchy of Parma, compelled the retrocession of Louisiana by a secret treaty. The government of the province was left in the hands of the Spanish officials, who withdrew the right of deposit. Thereupon arose such an outcry from the western settlers that the President was compelled to take immediate steps to obtain the command of the mouth of the river, and to that end offered to purchase New Orleans, but Bonaparte needed money and feared the seizure of Louisiana by England. He offered to the astonished American envoys the whole province. The price of $15,000,000 was quickly arranged and a treaty was signed. A commissioner was sent from France to receive Louisiana from Spain, and twenty days later, on Dec. 20,1803, the ancient French colony became a portion of the United States, bringing an accession of territory which gave to the young republic a great place among the nations of the world.

You can read the rest of this chapter at 

The book index page is at

History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
By J. L. MacDougall (1922)

Inverness County is part of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. I am now up to the District Sketches which contain a ton of genealogical information. You can read the chapters at 

The Districts added this week are...

River Dennis
Highland Society of Antigonish
River Dennis Road and Mountain

Here is how the account of Highland Society of Antigonish starts...

Highland Society of Antigonish. Why It Exists and Its History.

By Dr. A. G. MacDonald The rotogravure section of The Sunday Leader this week contains a number of pictures from scenes at the Highland Games held severel weeks ago in Antigonish. These were eminently successful and as a prelude to a similar athletic gathering in Halifax on the 13th of August, they served to maintain an interest that went a long way towards ensuring that favorable issue which attended the efforts of the North British Society.

The Braemar at Antigonish was conducted under the auspices of the Highland Society, and celebrated the diamond jubilee of that venerable organization.

Sixty years of existence is the record claimed by the Highland Society; the twenty-five years of its life prior to 1861 are not considered. History, however, testifies to the fact that for eighty-five years there has been such a society in the county of Antigonish and history further records that it is thus the oldest Highland Society in the Maritime Provinces, and the oldest Highland Society functioning in Canada. Why is the Highland Society? The question is pertinent. Five words are required to ask it. But considerably more are needed if it is to be adequately answered.

To Assist The Emigrant.

The Highland Society of Antigonish functions for several purposes. Chief amongst them is that of rendering assistance to the Scottish emigrant. The story associated with such an expressed need is a long one. It extends back over the last century and takes one to a period when Nova Scotia was not the smiling productive land it is now. The forest primeval was then the unpromising portion of the original pioneers.

"No one can understand the history of the Highland Society of Antigonish, without first having made a profound study of the background." One must try to visualise the hardships of the original pioneers of this country. They came, for the most part, from a treeless land, which for centuries had been racked with political and religious strife.

"The history of Scotland in the 18th Century is a history first of rebellion, and of discontent with the reigning power, accentuated by religious turbulence and repression. The freedom of worship enjoyed today by all the peoples under the British Flag was practically unknown in those days. Religious persecution and landlordism with its cruel greed and arrogance in a great many cases made emigration from their native glens and straths to the forests of America a happy if sad alternative to our heroic forefathers.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the rest of the chapters at

Scots Minstrelsie
Delighted to say that this 6 volume set is now complete. Took me around 3 years to complete this and I do feel that it an excellent contribution to understanding Scottish songs which also includes the sheet music.

This week I added the glossary and index for the work and you can see these at 

Scottish Canadian Newspaper
Added another issue of this newspaper...

May 7, 1891 at

Feature story this week is about Jean Adams, a famous songstress...

To the peasant class, also, belongs Jean Adams, authoress of one of the best known song's in Scotland, and "the most powerful expression of conjugal love in any language." Joan Adams was born in Crawford's Dyke, Greenock, in 1710.

The Greatness and Decline of the Celts
by Henri Hubert (1934).
Our thanks to Alan McKenzie for scanning this in for us.

Added this week...

The Celts in the West. Germany and Gaul
I. Celts and Germans. II. The Cimbri and Teutones. III. Results of the Invasion. IV. The Character of the Celtic Expeditions.

These are .pdf files for which you need the Acrobat reader.

You can read this at

Poems and Stories
Margo has continued her series "Apollo's Soldiers" at

Margo has send in more Children's poems which you can read at

Stan sent in three poems on his "It's time for Scotland" series at

Stand also tells us that there is a 2007 Banffshire Maritime Poetry Competition some of you may consider entering. You can read about this at

Sketches of the Wild Sports & Natural History of the Highlands
by Charles St. John (1878).

Have made more progress with this book which you can read at

Chapter XIV
Anecdotes and Instinct of Dogs — Anecdotes of Retriever — Shepherds' Dogs — Sagacity — Dogs and Monkey — Bulldog — Anecdotes of Shooting a Stag — Treatment of Dogs.

Chapter XV
Increase of Wood-Pigeons and other Birds — Service to the Farmer of these Birds — Tame Wood —Pigeons: Food of — The Turtle-Dove — Blue Rock-Pigeons — Caves where they Breed — Shooting at the Rocks near Cromarty.

Chapter XVI
Wild Ducks: Edible kinds of — Breeding-places of Mallards — Change of Plumage — Shooting —Feeding-places — Half-Bred Wild Ducks — Anas glacialis — Anas clangula: Habits of — Teeth of Goosander — Cormorants — Anecdotes.

Chapter XVII
Birds that come in Spring — The Pewit: Pugnacity; Nests of; Cunning — Ring Dotterel — Redshank — Oyster-Catcher: Food; Swimming of ; Nest — Curlew — Redstart — Swallows, etc.

Chapter XVIII
Sheldrake: Nest; Food — Teal: Breeding-places; Anecdotes — Landrail: Arrival of — Cuckoo — Nightjar: Habits of — Quail — Grebe: Arrival; Account of Nest and Young — Baldcoot — Water-Hen —Water-Rail.

Chapter XIX
Wild Geese: Arrival of; Different kinds of; Anecdotes of Shooting Wild Geese — Feeding-places —Wariness — Habits — Breeding-places — Blackheaded Gull — Birds that breed on the River-banks.

Here is a wee bit about Dogs from Chapter XIV...

So much has been written, and so many anecdotes told, of the cleverness and instinct of dogs, that I am almost afraid to add anything more on the subject, lest I should be thought tedious. Nevertheless I cannot refrain from relating one or two incidents illustrating the instinct, almost amounting to reason, that some of my canine acquaintances have evinced, and which have fallen under my own notice. Different dogs are differently endowed in this respect, but much also depends on their education, manner of living, etc. The dog that lives with his master constantly sleeping before his fire, instead of in the kennel, and hearing and seeing all that passes, learns, if at all quick-witted, to understand not only the meaning of what he sees going on, but also, frequently in the most wonderful manner, all that is talked of. I have a favourite retriever, a black water-spaniel, who for many years has lived in the house, and been constantly with me; he understands and notices everything that is said, if it at all relates to himself or to the sporting plans for the day: if at breakfast-time I say, without addressing the dog himself, "Rover must stop at home to-day, I cannot take him out," he never attempts to follow me; if, on the contrary, I say, however quietly, "I shall take Rover with me to-day," the moment that breakfast is over he is all on the qui vive, following me wherever I go, evidently aware that he is to be allowed to accompany me. When left at home, he sits on the step of the front door, looking out for my return, occasionally howling and barking in an ill-tempered kind of voice; his great delight is going with me when I hunt the woods for roe and deer. I had some covers about five miles from the house, where we were accustomed to look for roe: we frequently made our plans over night while the dog was in the room. One day, for some reason, I did not take him: in consequence of this, invariably when he heard us at night forming our plan to beat the woods, Rover started alone very early in the morning, and met us up there. He always went to the cottage where we assembled, and sitting on a hillock in front of it, which commanded a view of the road by which we came, waited for us: when he saw us coming, he met us with a peculiar kind of grin on his face, expressing, as well as words could, his half doubt of being well received, in consequence of his having come without permission: the moment he saw that I was not angry with him, he threw off all his affectation of shyness, and barked and jumped upon me with the most grateful delight.

As he was very clever at finding deer, I often sent him with the beaters or hounds to assist, and he always plainly asked me on starting whether he was to go with me to the pass or to accompany the men. In the latter case, though a very exclusive dog in his company at other times, he would go with any one of the beaters, although a stranger to him, whom I told him to accompany, and he would look to that one man for orders as long as he was with him. I never lost a wounded roe when he was out, for once on the track he would stick to it, the whole day if necessary, not fatiguing himself uselessly, but quietly and determinedly following it up. If the roe fell and he found it, he would return to me, and then lead me up to the animal, whatever the distance might be. With red-deer he was also most useful. The first time that he saw me kill a deer he was very much surprised; I was walking alone with him through some woods in Ross-shire, looking for woodcocks; I had killed two or three, when I saw such recent signs of deer, that I drew the shot from one barrel, and replaced it with ball. I then continued my walk. Before I had gone far, a fine barren hind sprang out of a thicket, and as she crossed a small hollow, going directly away from me, I fired at her, breaking her backbone with the bullet; of course she dropped immediately, and Rover, who was a short distance behind me, rushed forward in the direction of the shot, expecting to have to pick up a woodcock; but on coming up to the hind, who was struggling on the ground, he ran round her with a look of astonishment, and then came back to me with an expression in his face plainly saying, "What have you done now? —you have shot a cow or something." But on my explaining to him that the hind was fair game, he ran up to her and seized her by the throat like a bulldog. Ever afterwards he was peculiarly fond of deer-hunting, and became a great adept, and of great use. When I sent him to assist two or three hounds to start a roe—as soon as the hounds were on the scent, Rover always came back to me and waited at the pass : I could enumerate endless anecdotes of his clever feats in this way.

Though a most aristocratic dog in his usual habits, when staying with me in England once, he struck up an acquaintance with a rat catcher and his curs, and used to assist in their business when he thought that nothing else was to be done, entering into their way of going on, watching motionless at the rats' holes when the ferrets were in, and, as the rat catcher told me, he was the best dog of them all, and always to be depended on for showing if a rat was in a hole, corn-stack, or elsewhere; never giving a false alarm, or failing to give a true one. The moment, however, that he saw me, he instantly cut his humble friends, and denied all acquaintance with them in the most comical manner.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

Scotland in the Middle Ages
Sketches of Early Scotch History and Social Progress by Cosmo Innes (Professor of History in the University of Edinburgh. 1860).

I have up Chapters 5, 6 and 7 this week...

I am really enjoying reading these chapters and am finding it is filling in a lot of areas that we previously had little or no information on.

Chapter V - Scotch Burghs
Roman Institutions remaining after the overthrow of the Roman power — Municipal Institutions — Spanish Fueros — German free cities — Hanse Towns — English burghs — Scotch burghs — The Scotch laws of the burghs founded on old customs of English and Scotch burghs — Election of Magistrates — Who were the electors? — Scotch burghs more ancient than any charters — Berwick — St. Andrews — Edinburgh — Rutherglen — Perth — Perth burgh charter — Aberdeen — Inverness — Ayr — Churchmen's burghs — Glasgow — Court of the four burghs — Beauty of Scotch towns — Burgesses.

Chapter VI - Vestiges of Ancient Law
Ancient, customary, and common law — Celtic law of succession — Celtic marriages — No general change of law — AEstimatio personarum — Ancient law of compensation — Criminal law — Wager of battle — Compurgators — Trial by battle — Trial by fire and water — Law of ordeal — Proof by witnesses gradually admitted — Penalties of theft — Penalty of slaughter — Four pleas of the Crown — Laws of Galloway — Galloway customs — Law of sanctuary — Church girth — Famous sanctuaries — Stow in Wedale — Lesmahago — Inverlethan — Tyningham.

Chapter VII - Ancient Constitution of Scotland
Early Tenures — Bruce charter — Dundas charter — Charter to the Steward — The Stewarts' charters — Legal fiction that all property belonged to the Crown — First Stewart charters — Early tenures — The Baron's court — Suit, and service — Composition of the king's court — National Council; its composition in early times — Communitas regni — Taxes, how imposed of old — Parliament, when first so called — Burgesses in Parliament — Grant of aid — Conditions of the grant — Committees of Parliament — Committee of Articles — Judicial committee — Institution of Court of Session — The Lords of the Articles — Representation of small freeholders — Representation of burghs — Officers of state with seat in Parliament — All sat together — Defects of the Scotch Parliament.

Here is a bit from Chapter V...

There is no more important mistake in history than when we speak of the extermination of a people by an invading enemy. Such extermination, probably, never takes place, certainly not where the conquered people is the civilised, the invaders the barbarians. I do not mean to controvert the slow retreat and gradual disappearance of an inferior race before a more energetic one. That is passing under our own eyes, wherever the white man of Europe comes into lengthened opposition to the red man of America, or the aborigines, I may say, of any other clime. But the intentional and total extermination of a powerful and civilised people is contrary to all reason, and the nearer each alleged instance comes to our own examination, the more easy do we find it to disprove it. Undoubtedly no such general and violent destruction took place when the Roman empire fell before the invading barbarians. Neither the old people nor their institutions were altogether rooted out. The provincial cities of Europe were already ground down with intolerable taxes to Rome. The barbarians could get no more. They could not reconcile themselves to a town life, and they left the inhabitants to live according to their old customs, only transferring the payment of taxes to their new masters. The result was, that in most of the great cities of France and Germany, the institutions for town police and local management remained on the old footing. They had their curia or council, chosen by the citizens, which administered the affairs of the community. Such of the cities as enjoyed the jus Italicum had magistrates, with civil and criminal jurisdiction, also chosen by themselves. I would not have you to believe that there was a real independence in those old Roman cities. They had never known it under the Roman sway, and still less could they expect to enjoy it under new masters, regardless of their laws. The magistrates were apparently controlled and thwarted by the state government, and subjected to all indignities. But still the germ remained of self-government, and throve not the worse, that in most of the conquering tribes it met a similar principle. By it, peace was promoted and union, and some degree of security ensured for person and property. The convenience of the system caused it to spread among the new towns, which rose round bishops' cathedrals and the castles of princes; and when, at a later time, it became a state policy to defend the people and an infant commerce against an insolent nobility, the framework was there ready, and the community, long bound together by such ties, and confiding in its chosen leaders, required nothing but the protection of the Prince and the law to make it capable of defending itself. Accordingly, when we get at what are called the charters of erection or incorporation of any of the more ancient towns, we find them to indicate a pre-existing body, enjoying some definite constitution or government.

The first country of modern Europe, in which the old municipal institutions were called into new life and activity, was Spain; but there, the revival of privileged towns was for a peculiar purpose, and the cities were invested with freedom and property, on condition of defending their country against the Moorish enemy. The Fuero, or original charter of a Spanish community, was properly a compact, by which the king or lord granted a town and adjacent district to the burgesses, with various privileges, and especially that of choosing magistrates and a common council.

Of this kind, Leon had a charter in 1020, and Barcelona in 1025. In both of these, there is evidence of a municipal constitution and council already in use.

Henry V., Emperor of Germany, was the first emancipator of the German cities from the tyranny of their bishops and princes. With a more questionable policy, he encouraged and incorporated bodies of men, of the same craft and occupation, as we should say, the trades of the towns—thus sanctioning their separation from the mercantile or high burgher class, with whom they ought to have been rather encouraged to unite. We do not find in his charters, nor those of his successors, any grant of the right of electing counsellors and magistrates ; but in fifty years after his time, all the cities of Germany had counsellors of their own choice, and before the end of the thirteenth century, the free cities of Germany were acknowledged sovereign and independent, and sent deputies to the national diet, along with the electors and princes.

About the middle of the thirteenth century, the free towns of Lubeck and Hamburgh entered into a league for mutual defence and protection of trade. Other towns soon joined their confederacy, and in a short time, eighty of the most considerable cities, along the shores of the Baltic, from the mouth of the Rhine to the gulf of Finland, had united into that famous confederacy, which is still remembered by the name of the Hanse league. Like many burghal usages, such combinations must have been floating over Europe for centuries before. We find a similar fellowship, on a small scale, in our own country, known by the same name of Hanse, in the reign of David I., one hundred years before the great Baltic association came into being. The great Hanse was divided into four classes, of which Lubeck, Cologne, Brunswick, and Dantzick, were the heads, and Lubeck was the centre of the association. It had four foreign staples, London, Bruges, Novogorod and Bergen, in Norway. The Hanse league, so powerful for good or evil, exercised the lawyers in discussions upon its legality, but went on, nevertheless, in prosperity and power, while bound together by its delegates, meeting for its proper and legitimate purposes of trade. It was only when its vast influence seemed to offer an inducement to scheming princes to use it for political power, that the Hanseatic cities gradually fell asunder, and, after the sixteenth century, left only the name of their mighty union.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

Clan Newsletters
Added the March 2007 Newsletter of Clan MacKenzie of Canada which makes a great read even if you're not related to the MacKenzies. It also includes an article about a new DNA study where they claim to be able to tell if you are descended from The Picts or The Vikings.

You can read this at

Scotch-Irish in America
By John Walker Dinsmore (1906)

Here is the Preface from this book...

Some time ago I wrote for the Presbyterian Banner, a short series of papers on, — "A Typical Scotch-Irish Community Fifty-Odd Years Ago." These papers awakened an interest quite unexpected, especially among the people of this race. Letters came to the writer from widely separated sections of the country, requesting him to expand the papers and publish them in a volume. Several ancient congregations took formal action to the same effect. This little book is the result. The articles in the Banner were simply the basis of what is here written much enlarged. It does not pretend to be an adequate history of the Scotch-Irish people in this land. Its aim is much less ambitious. It is simply an at tempt to sketch with a free hand, some of the characteristic traits, ways of life, institutions and influences of this race, particularly in the earlier days in this country. Western Pennsylvania is selected for the purpose of illustration, because that section was first settled and is still dominated by the most powerful Scotch-Irish community in America. No effort has been made to give this little book orderly arrangement, or to cast it into logical form. It is simply a series of sketches, true to nature and to fact; pictures of a people, their doings and the conditions under which they lived in former days. The chief thing to be regretted is that a more clever and skilful hand did not hold the brush.

John Walker Dinsmore.

Here is the first paragraph you Chapter 4...

As already intimated, these pioneers of southwestern Pennsylvania seem to have had in unusual degree the marked characteristics of their race; great energy and general force of character, with uncommon intelligence, practical wisdom, self-command, and, above all, deep and controlling piety. Their mood was earnest, and they took life seriously. In their minds human life under the sun was not sport; it was very unlike sport; it was no mere holiday, no carouse, or frolic. It was earnest business. No man could play, or laugh, or dance his way through this world and come to anything good. And yet they were not a gloomy, morose, or ascetic people. If that had been their mood, they never could have done the work they did. They were cheery, hopeful, brave, steadfast. There was in them a rich vein of humor too, rather coarse in texture and rough on the edges, but not bitter or malicious. The younger sort of them was much given to practical jokes. The people were hospitable, social, neighborly. There was far more sunshine in their lives than is commonly supposed, and this despite the hard conditions under which they lived. Considering the close limitations of their lives and their isolation from the currents of the populous world, they were highly intelligent as a rule. They had not the training of the schools, but they had the training of practical life, and of much reflection. They had great respect for real learning. They would not listen to a minister who had not a classical and theological education. They cared but little for the trimmings, the mere filigree, but for solid learning they had very high regard. Especially did they exhibit in a high degree what we call practical wisdom and common sense. They searched out the good lands and were not backward in laying hold of them with a hand that could not be shaken loose. It never was found an easy job to "jump" the claim of a Scotch-Irishman, whether in Pennsylvania or California. Ex-Gov. Proctor Knott once said, "The Scotch-Irishman is one who keeps the commandments of God, and every other good thing he can get his hands on." In undaunted courage, inflexible resolution, and unwearied industry, they have never been surpassed by any people. They had great patience too, and were willing to work hard and wait long, believing that while they might have to die in faith without entering into the promises, God was preparing some better thing for those who were to come after them. They practised the closest economy in everything. To them waste was sin. However ample the table, everybody was expected to clean up his plate, else he ought not to have taken so much. They dug every smallest potato from the row, and wrenched every least nubbin from the husk. They gleaned their grainfields and raked their meadows clean. Men who would turn out their last dollar at some call of religion or humanity, would stoop to pick up a pin, and would patch their garments as long as they could be made to hold together.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The whole book can be read at

Scots in Argentina
Pat Maclaine got in touch to tell me he has quite a bit of information on the Scots in Argentina and sent me three sample scans which you can read at

He is going to send in more material so we'll look forward to receiving this :-)

And in conclusion Ranald McIntyre sent us in this wee story...

A renowned and very well respected minister died.

A short time later, another equally respected colleague died, and found himself on the stairway to Heaven. He was given a bag of chalk and told to write, one on each step, of the sins he had committed.

After many hundred of steps he noticed his predecessor was on his was down. Enquiringly he asked "Have you finished and have now been permitted to Enter the Kingdom?"

The reply was "No, I am on my way down for some more chalk"!

And that's all for now and I hope you and your families all have a great weekend :-)


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