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Weekly Mailing List Archives
21st September 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
Scotland on TV
2007 Fall Colloquium at Uni of Guelph
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Clan Donnachaidh (Robertson)
The Misty Valley (A children's story)
Clan Newsletters
Poetry and Stories - lots to read :-)
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland in 1876
Book of Scottish Story
Reminiscences of Old Scots Folk
History of the County of Bruce
The True Roots and Origin of the Scots
Caroline Baroness Nairne: The Scottish Songstress (new book)

Got this in from Scotland...

I am most sincerely hoping that you might be able to generate some world-wide Scottish minded people to support a very important Scottish Parliamentary Petition that our Save Your Regional Park campaign are sponsoring. Please look at, and have a look at the information and then click on Petitions. This will take you directly onto the relevant page and you will see the petition wording. For the full notes click on Information.

It is then worth a quick read through the points under Discussion and then have a look at the Full List of people that have signed. You will see that we already have the support of a number of people internationally including someone who headed up the Alberta Parks. We are VERY keen that many more thousand Scotland supporters around the world should be made aware of the almost unbelievable threat that our Regional and National parks are under at present and I can think of no better medium for this than your Newsletters and website.

So if anyone out there can help by signing this petition that would be great :-)

Not a lot happening this week other that getting a lot more work done on getting content ready for the web site.

I have been on another search for the good old "British Sausage". I especially liked the Richmond thick Irish sausage when back home in Scotland and haven't yet found one I like in Canada. And I'm still hunting for cooked Ox Tongue. I know someone makes it but just can't find them.

This week I was presented with an oil painting of a croft scene by a river by Scottish artist Jim Shields who is now living in Ontario. The scene is on an autumn evening with the sun peeking through the clouds. You can see the painting at the foot of the index page 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.

Scotland on TV
Visit their site at

How we suffer with the Scottish weather on Scotland on TV! We’re starting out to produce a strand called ‘the view from...’ so that, no matter where you are in the world, if you want to see the view from, say, Arthur’s Seat, or the Wallace Monument, or any other place in Scotland with a great view, we’ll have it for you.

So, today was day one, in shooting the first view – from Stirling Castle. And guess what? The weather is diabolical! Pouring down and very low cloud. Sigh! Scotland’s a great country but the weather doesn’t half test the spirit sometimes.

I suspect the weather will also have put a dampener on the 40th anniversary celebrations for the QE2. The majestic cruise liner was built in John Brown’s Clydebank shipyards and it reached the grand old age of 40 this week. stv news was there for the celebrations, including meeting people who recall her launch.

From further afield, stv News reporter Nichola Kane takes us all the way to the Red Square in Moscow where the first 'Kremlin Zoria', Russia's first International Military Festival, proved a success with nearly eight thousand people attending the event. Modelled on the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the event’s programme covered performances from all around the world including hundreds of Scottish Pipers and Drummers who received a standing ovation.

We’re also still enjoying producing the series about malt whisky. There’s a new episode this week. Balvenie's Global Brand Ambassador, David Mair reveals what's involved in the third stage of making malt whisky – fermentation. This involves sweet liquid being transferred to 'megabarrels' - large wooden vessels made of Scottish Douglas Fir. A natural chemical reaction takes place over the next two days, producing lots of heat and some interesting odours! See it all for yourself on


This weeks Flag is compiled by Donald Bain. This issue he is talking about Gordon Brown and how the economic life of the UK is going.

In Peter's cultural section he has an interesting story of Elis Presley's Scottish roots...

In this week’s Scottish Quotations there is included one by Elvis Presley from his short stop-over in Prestwick on 3 March 1960 on his way home from military service in Germany. It was a reminder that ‘The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ had Scottish roots and newer visitors to the Flag might be unaware of our story of the connection between Elvis and Lonmay which was featured in a past Flag , so we repeat the tale for any who missed it first time round. I stayed near Lonmay in the early days of ‘The King’s’ career but didn’t know at that of his local connection.

Since earliest times Scots have roamed - as traders, scholars and soldiers - they were known all over Europe. The desire to travel and explore continued as European horizons widened and new continents opened up. Either voluntarily or through forced emigration many Scots crossed the Atlantic to find a new home in America and Canada or south to Australia and New Zealand. Those of Scottish descent, by now, far outnumber the 5 million home-based Scots. In his present American and Canadian travels our skielie webmaster, Alastair McIntyre, continually comes across folk with Scottish ancestry.

Among those of Scots descent is 'The King' himself, Elvis Presley. It has been thought that he was descended from a Paisley blacksmith but recent research shows that his roots lay in the small Buchan village of Lonmay. The 300-strong village lies six miles from Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire, and Lonmay now hopes to become a 'shrine' for Elvis fans.Elvis Presley's great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather Andrew Presley married Elspeth Leg in Lonmay on 27 April 1713. Their son, also Andrew Presley, emigrated to North Carolina in 1745. Possibly the same Presley as described as coming from Paisley. The Presley line then descends directly to 1933 when Vernon Elvis Presley married Gladys Love Smith. Two years later their son Elvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupela, Mississippi, on 8 January 1935. The rest as they would say is history, as Elvis shot to international stardom. Elvie Presley only paid one visit to the land of his fathers, a stop-off for one hour at Prestwick in August 1960, during his service in the US army.

Records show a number of Presleys in Scotland during the 18th and 19th centuries and with few exceptions, they lived in Lonmay or the nearby villages of New Deer, Old Deer and Tarves. Lonmay's claim to Elvis Presley looks very sound - just imagine if the 32 year-old Andrew Presley had never left Scotland in 1745,thus missing the 45 Jacobite Rising, Elvis might have been King of the Bothy Ballad singers instead of Rock 'n' Roll.

In honour of Elvis Presley's North-East roots we go to Aberdeenshire for this week's recipe but how would he have got on with Neep Bree!

Neep Bree

Ingredients: 1 1/2 lb (3/4 kg) turnips (large yellow turnips - neeps in Scotland, commonly known as swedes); 1 medium onion, finely chopped; 2 oz (50 g) butter;1/2 pint (250 ml) milk; pinch of ginger; salt and pepper

Garnish: chopped chives and 1 tbsp cream per person

Method: Peel and chop the turnip roughly and blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Pour off water. Melt butter in a large pot and add onions and turnip. Season with salt and pepper and add ginger. Cover and cook very gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes when the turnip should be tender. Liquidise till it is a very fine puree or pass twice through a fine sieve. Adjust consistency with milk and check seasoning. Serve hot, garnished with chopped chives and cream in each bowl.

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

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

Now on the J's with Jamieson, Jardine, Jeffrey, Johnston and Johnstone

Here is how the account of Jeffrey starts...

JEFFREY, FRANCIS, the greatest of British critics, as he is styled by his biographer, Lord Cockburn, and eminent also as an orator and judge, was born in 7 Charles Street, George Square, Edinburgh, on 23d October 1773. He was the elder of two sons of George Jeffrey, a depute-clerk in the court of session, by his wife, Henrietta, daughter of John Louden, a farmer near Lanark, who had been educated for the church. Besides his brother, John, a merchant at Boston in America, his parents had also three daughters. In October 1781, he was sent to the High school of his native city, where he continued for six years. At this period he is described as “a little, clever, anxious boy, always near the top of his class, and who never lost a place without shedding tears.”

In the beginning of the winter of 1787, when in his fourteenth year, he was sent to the university of Glasgow. His biographer thinks that Glasgow was preferred, with a view to the Oxford exhibitions or bursaries on the Snell foundation, which that university possesses, none of the other Scotch colleges having such rich academic prizes; but if his father had any such intention, it was soon abandoned. He remained at Glasgow for two sessions, going home during the intervening summers. Though remarkable for his quickness of apprehension, “he was,” says Lord Cockburn, “not only a diligent, but a very systematic student; and, in particular, he got very early into the invaluable habit of accompanying all his pursuits by collateral composition; never for the sake of display, but solely for his own culture. And it is now interesting to observe how very soon he fell into that line of criticism which afterwards was the business of his life. Nearly the whole of his early original prose writings are of a critical character; and this inclination towards analysis and appreciation was son strong, that almost every one of his compositions closes by a criticism on himself.” At this time he is said to have been subject to what he deemed superstitious fears, to cure himself of which he used to walk alone at midnight round the High church or Cathedral burying-ground.

On leaving Glasgow, in May 1789, he returned to Edinburgh, where he remained till September 1791, when he went to Oxford. Before this period his father appears to have removed his residence to the Lawnmarket of his native city. In the Edinburgh college, he attended a course of Scotch law, in the session of 1789-90, and of civil law in that of 1790-91. Towards the end of September of the latter year he went to Oxford, and entered Queen’s college; but did not remain there longer than the following July. During his residence there he failed to obtain, what was his great ambition, a pure English accent. He succeeded, indeed, in abandoning his vernacular Scotch, without acquiring an English voice in its place.

During the winter session of 1792-3 he again attended the Scots law lectures of Professor Hume, and those on the civil law, and on history. On the 11th December 1792 he became a member of the Speculative Society, the most famous of the literary associations, or debating clubs, connected with the university of Edinburgh. Among its members during the period that he attended its meetings were Walter Scott, with whom he first became acquainted there; Henry Brougham; Francis Horner; David Boyle, afterwards lord-justice-general; Lord Henry Petty, afterwards marquis of Lansdowne; John Archibald Murray and James Moncrieff, both afterwards lords of session; and others who, in after-life, distinguished themselves in literature, philosophy, science, law, or politics. In this society he read five papers; on Nobility; on the effects derived to Europe from the discovery of America; on the authenticity of Ossian’s Poems; on Metrical Harmony; and on the character of commercial nations. In the discussions of the Society, his speeches were almost as much marked by brilliancy of imagination, and felicity of expression, as even the more mature orations of his middle age. In the quick detection of fallacy, and readiness of debate, he had scarcely a competitor, whilst in conversational qualities he even excelled, more than in the formal delivery of well-arranged arguments or set harangues. At one period he seems to have been ambitious of poetical renown, and in his college days wrote a great deal of rhyme, besides a completed poem on ‘Dreaming,’ in blank verse, about 1,800 lines long; composed between May 4 and June 25, 1791. He also wrote two plays, one a tragedy. His closing remarks on all his youthful writings, prose as well as poetry, are seldom complimentary to himself; but it was thus, by the application of the severest rules of criticism to his own compositions, and to all the works which he read, that he was trained for his after post of editor of the most critical literary journal in Europe. None of his poetical attempts, which from the opinion passed upon them by his biographer, do not seem to have risen above mediocrity, were ever published

You can read the rest of this entry at

You can read the other entries at 

New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Have made a start at this huge publication which will likely be with us for a few years. The first volume I am dealing with is the one on Aberdeen. There are some 85 parishes in this volume and a write up on each.

This week have added...

Parish of Drumblade at
Parish of Fyvie at

Here is how the account of Fyvie starts in relation to its Civil History...

No separate account of the parish is known, previous to that contributed by the late incumbent, the Rev. William Moir, to the old Statistical Account; but various interesting notices, especially in relation to the church, the priory, and the chapel of St Rule at Folia, are contained in the "Chartularies of Arbroath and Aberdeen," in the Advocates' Library of Edinburgh; in the Char-tulary of Aberdeen, and Chaplain's Register, in the Library of King's College; [For much that is contained in the department of Civil History, I have to ac-knowledge my obligations to Mr Taylor, late librarian of King's College, and Mr Gordon of Fyvie, who kindly permitted a full search of the old charters and other papers connected with Fyvie Castle.] and in a view of the Diocese of Aberdeen, manuscript, in the Advocates' Library, supposed to be written by Sir Samuel Forbes of Foveran.

Historical Events.—In the year 1296, the Castle of "Fyvin" appears to have been visited by Edward I. of England, in his progress through Scotland. [Edward I.'s Diary, Bannatyne Miscellany, Vol. i. p. 278.] In 1395, the "Castel of Fivy," which must have then been a place of considerable strength, was defended by the "gud lady" of Sir James Lindesay, though "as-segit straitly" by her undutiful nephew, Robert de Keith, son of the Marischal, till her husband came to her relief, and "quyte discumfyted" the said Robert and his adherents near the kirk of Bourty. [Wyntown's Chron. ii. p. 371-373.]

In 1644, Montrose took possession of Fyvie Castle; but not thinking it tenable against the superior force of Argyle, he retired to an eminence a little to the north-eastward, which he defended with great bravery for several days, and then marched by night to Strathbogie. The entrenchments are still distinctly to be seen, and the ground goes by the name of Montrose Camp. One of Argyle's encampments also on the lands of Ardlogie is still called the Camp-fold.

Papers and Charters.—Allusion has already been made to some documents in the Chartularies of Arbroath and Aberdeen, connected with the parochial history of Fyvie. Of these one relates to a perambulation held in 1325, in virtue of a brieve from King Robert Bruce, to fix the marches between the King's park of "Fyvin," and the lands of Ardlogie, belonging to the Abbey of Arbroath. Several others refer to a dispute between the Bishop of Aberdeen and the husbandmen of Formartine, in 1382, about payment of the second tithes; and a considerable number are occupied with the affairs of the church and priory. At Fyvie Castle the series of charters is numerous and extensive, beginning towards the close of the fourteenth century, and descending in an almost unbroken chain to the present time. The original charter of Sir Henry Preston, obtained from Robert III. in 1390, is lost, but an official extract is preserved. There are also preserved an extract of the appointment of Alexander Seton, Lord Urquhart, to be President of the Court of Session, in 1593; the charter of erection of the barony of Fyvie into a lordship, with all the privileges of a Peer of Parliament in his favour, in 1597; the signature under the hand of James VI., with the commission under the Great and Privy-Seal constituting him Chancellor of Scotland in 1604; and the commission and patent of his creation as Earl of Dunfermline in 1605; with his appointment as Keeper of Holyrood Palace in 1611. There is also an interesting set of about thirty documents relating to the public transactions between 1640 and 1770, in which Charles, the second Earl of Dunfermline, bore a part. Of these may be specified the Conference at Ripon, 1640; the General Assembly at St Andrews, 1642, to which Dunfermline was commissioner, and to which refers an order of the English Parliament to the Assembly; the instructions of King Charles I. to Dunfermline, the commissioner; two letters from the King to Dunfermline, and one from Dunfermline in reply, during the sitting of the Assembly; the gift of the Privy Seal of Scotland to Dunfermline; the King's leaving Holden-by, 1647; the negociations between Charles II. and the Commissioners of the Estates of Scotland, at Breda, 1650; and the meeting of the Scottish Parliament, 1661. It may also be stated, that at Fyvie Castle, there is a considerable number of paintings, both by ancient and modern artists, and an excellent library, in the departments particularly of Scottish antiquities, history, biography, topography, and poetry, well stored.

You can read the rest of this account at

On the index page of this volume you can see a list of the 85 parishes and also a map at

Clan Donnachaidh
Our thanks to James Irvine Robertson for sending us in articles from the Clan Donnachaidh annual magazines of which he has been editor for some 10 years. You can see the collection of articles at

Got up additional articles this week including...

The Appin of Dull
Ronald Stewart-Menzies of Caldares

Here is how The Appin of Dull starts...

‘When we look back into other years, unto the Appin of our early recollection, our minds are in an old order, very little of which remains. It is not merely that things are greatly changed; we are surveying what might be called “the world before the Flood”. Besides the benefits of social legislation and medical progress, our time has witnessed so many inventions and new departures that it is impossible to say which has been the greatest or with the most far reaching consequences. It is difficult to imagine human life without motors, yet it is only forty years since their legalised arrival, and the modern era may be said fairly to have begun. Prior to that, machinery had hardly come into its own, and now we have conveniences and mechanical contrivances of all sorts, un-dreamt of in olden times. Today what would be then deemed incredible, neither carriage nor cart is seen on the road. Before the voice of the mower or the binder was heard in the land, hay and grain alike went down before the scythe, and every field was alive with harvesters. The thatched houses always required attention, as the wind in a frolic might come anytime. Another circumstance was the amount of work people had to do on the hill. Peats – what with casting, spreading on the greenan. And afterwards lifting and shifting and carting, involved a great deal of work. Casting was generally considered as trying as the scythe. When carting, we started at four o’clock in the morning, and like Duncan Ban and Lloyd George, saw the sun rise on the hilltops. Peats must have formed the main item of fuel for a protracted period, of which indelible evidence is afforded us by the tracks of the “carns” on the braeface. Those “carns” (sledges) gave place to wheeled carts in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Consequently the moor was almost as well known to the men of the Strath as to the men of the Aird. Can and. corr and crag - seemingly all had names. Some remain, but doubtless the great majority are irreparably lost. The peat industry, after languishing a good while, completely disappeared about forty years ago.

Of the many old customs that are past along with the fairs, shows and gatherings, perhaps the one most easily remembered is Halloween Night with its two lines of bonfires, one on each side of the Tay Valley, in which we took such delight when we were boys.

Most likely when we think of that time and this, the other thing that strikes us is that we were a much bigger company of folk then. When I first entered School there were considerably over 100 in it. In fact, there was a fair attendance both at Church and School till the opening of this century; more inhabitants in the villages, and more working the land; but now the population is going, because the three sources of supply have been interfered with. The Family of Chiefs with their retainers and workers is ancient history. Mechanical science enables agriculturists to carry on with fewer hands. Mass production has done for the workmen of the olden villages and their workshops. The wheels of the old mills are not going round, and it’s an empty School and an empty Kirk. However far back we go, it was pretty much the same tale. As far as we recollect, we were hearing from our seniors of the great Dull of yore, and had various particulars of the former state of our surroundings. There had been 23 houses in Camserney west of the Burn. Of the 15 standing within my memory, 13 have gone down, and 6 including Tighnabruaich, in Milton. In the Village of Dull in the same time, another 19; 38 hearth-stones cold. There were ever so many more tenants, and at one time 20 cottars’ cows summered in Easter Moan; 19 from Dull and 1 from Tullicro. The Crofters’ Brae, east of the Burn, had likewise its compliment. Everything was then so different. High rents and cheap labour instead of low rents and dear labour. Land in keen demand, so that every “to let” attracted its offerers. It was the same everywhere. At the General Election of 1885, the slogan throughout the country was “three acres and a cow” Compared with that, we read now in the Gaelic Edition of Life and York, “No man in Atholl to-day will thank you ‘for offering him a croft” and Appin is in Atholl. It may also be remarked that the community was one and indivisible, under one man who held the reins with a steady hand, and socially and recreationally there was neither East nor West, neither Weem nor Dull, but Menzies Appin. Cordial relations existed, neighbour helping neighbour, and the community of which we were citizens might have taken for its motto “Bon-Accord’.

Again, as regards the language, it was Gaelic almost universally with young and old alike, though evidently falling into disfavour with the authorities. In Church, the unvarying English morning service, in course of time, displaced the Gaelic service, which used to follow. In School, thanks to the Reformers of 1872, the vernacular got its parting kick with dramatic suddenness. It is indeed curious in the light of recent and present day Celtic activities, that we should have had the wonderful arrangement of not a word of Gaelic being allowed in School at a time when it was the only language heard in the play-ground. This is no criticism; it is merely a statement of facts.

You can read the rest of this entry at

The Misty Valley
By Margo Fallis

A new children's story from Margo which is in three books and is a Halloween story which of course comes in at an appropriate time of the year :-)

The first chapter starts...

“Poe, come out from under the bed!” Mrs. Merlin knelt and pulled up the bedspread. “Poe! You can’t stay under there for the next month. Come out on your own or I’ll come and get you.”

Poe scooted as far back against the wall as he could. “No, Mom. Tomorrow is October. I’m scared.” He saw his mom lay on her tummy. She gave him a stern look. “You asked for it. I’m coming in.” Inch by inch she slid on her back until she was face to face with her son.

“I know it’s a frightening time for you; it is for all of us; but it’s part of living here in Misty Valley. This is our home and we just have to deal with it. It’s stinky under here.” Mrs. Merlin slid out from under the bed, stretched and pulled the curtains open. “It’s beautiful today. The hills are green and the trees are covered with red and gold leaves.”

“Yeah, for now; but tomorrow that all changes. I hate October.” Bruja, Poe’s orange tabby, trotted into the room and jumped on his bed. “Get used to it, Bruja. For the next month you have to stay inside.” The cat snarled and hissed and ran back out of the room. “See, even Bruja hates October. Why do we have to live here?”

“It’s been like this for a thousand years. My grandma had to deal with it and so did her grandma. Ever since Witch Lilith’s ancestor put a curse on Misty Valley because one of the residents in town insulted her, it’s been this way. Every year during October, we have a month of Halloween ghouls, zombies and vampires. Our lawns change from green to black. The trees die, the sky changes to a weird pastel orange and every creature you can imagine walks our streets. It’s going to continue this way until someone in that family makes it right with Witch Lilith’s family”

“Whose family was it, Mom?”

“Old Mr.Death’s family. One of his ancestors punched a witch in the nose because she made fun of his name.”

“Gosh, Mom. Who can blame the witch. I wouldn’t want the last name Death. You’re just asking to be teased!” Poe giggled. “That’s probably why Witch Lilith has the ugliest nose in the world.”

We have the first three chapters up now at

Clan Newsletters
Added the Clan Munro of Australia Newsletter for August 2007 at

Added the Clan MacKenzie September 2007 Newsletter at

Poems and Stories
John sent in a doggerel, "Devotion" at

Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario.
Kindly typed in for us by Nola Crewe

I have added one more biography about Peter Glasgow and here it is to read here...

PETER GLASGOW, a retired farmer of the Gore of Chatham, residing on Lot 30, Concession 1, owns a fine farm of 151½ aces to which he came in 1865 from Glencoe, Ontario. He was born in Scotland July 1st, 1829, and is a son of Thomas and Euphemia (Burns) Glasgow, the former a farmer in that country. Thomas Glasgow was born in Linlithgowshire, Scotland, and died in 1843, aged fifty-six years, and his widow died in 1848, aged fifty-seven years. Both were members of the Presbyterian Church. Their children were: Janet; Agnes, wife of Thomas Gillen; Elizabeth; Sophia; John; Thomas; Peter; and James, of Australia. Peter and James are the only survivors. The paternal grandparents were John and Agnes (Gray) Glasgow, natives of Linlithgowshire, where they were farming people and spent their entire lives. The maternal grandparents were Robert and Janet (Hume) burns, of Scotland.

On March 4th, 1856, in Newbury, Ontario, Peter Glasgow married Janet Bryden, and children as follows were born of that union: (1) James, a farmer of Glencoe, Ontario, married Phoebe Stenson, and has three children, Peter B., Loretta and Florence May; (2) Thomas J., a farmer on the old homestead, married Sarah Hood, and has three children, William J., Mary I. and Hugh Archie; (3) Gordon K. Mrs. Glasgow, who was born in Dumfries, Scotland, died in July, 1888, aged sixty-four years, and was interred in the cemetery at Dresden. She was a daughter of John and Janet (Lockerby) Bryden, of Scotland, who came to Canada in 1855, locating in Newbury, Ontario where the father carried on his trade of blacksmithing.

Mr. Glasgow remained with his parents until after the death of his father, at the age of sixteen years commencing to work for the railroad, and thus he continued, coming to Canada in 1852, at which time he located at Montreal. For two years he continued there, employed in railroad serviced, and then removed to Newbury, still continuing with the railroad, being section boss for thirteen years. He then purchased his present farm, which was all wild, and which he has since developed into one of the finest pieces of property in the township. Since his retirement from active work Mr. Glasgow has given the property to his son, and built him a beautiful brick home on one portion of the homestead, while he himself occupies the old home. Fraternally Mr. Glasgow is a member of the Blue Lodge of the Masonic Order. In religious belief he is a Presbyterian and takes an active interest in the good work of that denomination. His political views make him a staunch Reformer, but he has never aspired to office. While advance din years, he retains all his faculties and is remarkably active, taking a deep interest in the work of the farm and the management of affairs. During a long and useful life he has made and retained many friends, all of whom deeply esteem this honourable old gentleman, who in his declining years is still so useful a member of society, and an entertaining companion as well.

Other biographies of this area can be read at

Good Words - 1860 Edition
Edited by Rev. Norman MacLeod

You should note that as this is a weekly publication you'll find larger articles are continued week by week.

This week have added articles on...

Illustrations of Divine Providence (Pages 95-96)
The Goblin and the Cowherd (Page 96)
Praise The Lord (Page 96)
The Story of Ninian (Pages 97-99)
Concerning the Better Country (Pages 99-100)
The Broken Link in our Social Chain (Pages 101-103)
One Question, Many Answers (Pages 104-105)

Here is The Goblin and the Cowherd for you to read here...


[The following quaint parable is taken from a MS. collection of Icelandic Fairy Tales and other Stories, translated by the Rev. Olaf Palsson, Dean and Hector of Reykjavik Cathedral, and sent to the writer of this by him, to edit and get published in this country.

I visited the worthy pastor last summer, and received much kindness at his hands. He reads, speaks, and writes English fluently. On his bookshelves I observed a presentation copy of Lord Dufferin's "Letters from High Latitudes," the "Life of the Rev. Ebenezer Henderson"—whose travels are as freshly descriptive of Iceland to-day as when they were penned forty years ago — Stanley's "Sinai and Palestine," and Caird's "Sermons." There is often a peculiar terse raciness in the English of a learned foreigner—especially when a Northman. This arises partly from the idiom, and partly from the use of obsolete words, or of modern ones in their primary significations. Strange effects are also produced by common words being introduced in unfamiliar and unexpected ways.

I have, therefore, with the exception of one or two trifling corrections, given the text as I find it. This story—an original and conclusive argument against swearing—might not inappropriately have been called "Bad Words."]


Sœmunder once had a cowherd whom he found too much addicted to swearing, and he very often reprimanded him for this. He told this cowherd that Old Nick and his servants had people's curses for their food.

"Then I never would say a bad word," said the cowherd, "if I knew that Old Nick should lose his meals by that."

"I'll soon see whether you are in earnest or not," replied Sœmunder; and he lodged a goblin in the cowhouse. The cowherd did not like this guest, for the goblin did every kind of mischief and annoyance, and it was very difficult for the cowherd to refrain from cursing. Yet for a time things went on tolerably well, and he saw how the goblin grew leaner every day. The cowherd was glad of this, and never did slip out an oath. One morning, when he entered the cowhouse, he found everything broken, the cows bound together by their tails; and there were many of them. He then approached the goblin, who, in his misery, was couched in his stall, and overwhelmed him in his wrath with rude words and curses. But to his own great vexation, he in a moment saw the goblin revive, and get so thriving, that he was almost growing fat. Then the cowherd checked himself, and left off swearing. He now understood that Sœmunder was right, left off cursing, and never afterwards said a nasty word. As for the goblin, who was to feed on his cursing, he is long ago out of the tale.

Would that you and I were able to follow the cowherd's example!

You can read the other articles at

Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
Am adding a variety of articles from this publication and this week have included...

On the Agriculture of the Counties of Ross and Cromarty which is a huge account of the area and well worth a browse. Here is how the account starts...

General and Introductory.

The counties of Ross and Cromarty are so thoroughly dovetailed into each other geographically, and so intimately connected politically, that they are usually spoken of as one county, and in this treatise we propose to abide as closely as practicable to this convenient rule. Together the two form the third largest county in Scotland, and extend in one grand whole from the German Ocean to the Atlantic; while separately both are cut up, unconnected, and incomplete.

These combined counties are bounded by the German Ocean on the east, by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, by Sutherlandshire on the north and north-east, and on the south by Inverness-shire. The island of Lewis, which stands away out about 30 miles from the mainland, forming a huge natural breakwater to check the rolling waves of the Atlantic, and a few smaller islands, also on the west coast, belong to Ross-shire. The most northern point of the mainland, at the mouth of the rivulet Fin (meaning boundary), is in north latitude 58° 7' 20"; the most southerly, near Loch Luing, in 57° 7' 40"; the most easterly point, Tarbetness, lies in west longitude 3° 45'; and the most westerly, in the north of Applecross Sound, in 5° 46. The greatest distance in a straight line from north to south is close on 70 miles, and from east to west about 67 miles. From north-east to south-west Ross-shire extends 84 miles. According to the census of 1871, the area of the two counties is about 3151 square miles, or 2,016,375 imperial acres. Cromarty claims 19,247 acres, and Lewis 417,416.

In 1871 the population of Ross-shire was 77,593, and the number of inhabited houses 15,028. In Cromarty the population was 3362, and inhabited houses 685; together, population 80,955, inhabited houses 15,713. The Parliamentary Return of owners of lands and heritages in Scotland, drawn up in 1872-3, shows that in Ross-shire there are 324 proprietors of lands of one acre and upwards in extent, whose total acreage is 1,971,309, and total annual value L.247,833, 17s.; and that there are 1719 owners of land of less than one acre in extent, their total extent being 373 acres, and total annual value, L.21,508, 3s. The total number of landowners is thus 2043; their total acreage 1,971,682 acres, and their total annual value, L.269,342. In Cromarty, according to the same authority, there are in all 231 landowners; 217 having each less than one acre. The total annual value of the lands of these small owners amounts to L.1966, 7s. The 14 owners of one acre and upwards hold among them 718,184 acres, the total annual value of which is L.10,268, 1s. The Valuation Roll for 1876-77 shows that the gross annual value of the county of Ross, exclusive of railways and royal burghs, is L.252,908, 10s. 9d.; that the annual value of burghs is, L.14,886, 0s. 6d. (Dingwall, L.6,922, 15s. 3d.; Tain, L.4744, 5s.; and Fortrose, L.3219, 0s. 3d.); and that the annual value of railways is L.21,268; grand total, L.289,060. 11s. 3d. The valuation of the county of Cromarty, exclusive of the burgh, for the year ending 1876-77 is, L.9909, 12s. 6d.; burgh of Cromarty, about L.1900; total, L.11,809, 12s. 6d. The valuation and area of Cromarty, quoted above, do not include the detached portions of the county (about 20 in number), which are scattered throughout Ross-shire. These portions are estimated to extend to about 182,000 acres, of which the Duchess of Sutherland owns 149,800 acres, and for valuation and all practical purposes they are considered as part of the county of Ross.

According to the Board of Trade Returns for the present year (1876), the number of acres under all kinds of crops, bare fallow, and grass, was 124,826 acres; wheat, 6019; barley or bere, 10,461; oats, 29,509; rye, 1192; beans, 86; peas, 146; total, under cereals, 47,413. The acreage under green crops was—turnips, 17,126; potatoes, 9256; mangold, carrots, cabbage, &c, 63; tares, &c, 814; total, 27,259. Grasses under rotation extend to 29,987, and permanent pasture (exclusive of heath and mountain land, to 19,395; and bare fallow, or uncropped land, to 772 acres. Of the 1,891,549 acres in both counties, exclusive of the area under "all kinds of crops,bare fallow, and grass," about 600,000 are under red deer, and 1,291549 under sheep, wood, or water, &c.

Ross-shire is divided into 32 parishes, several of which are small, several very large. The two counties are united into one sheriffdom, the sheriff principal having three substitutes. One substitute sits at Dingwall and Fortrose, one at Tain, and another at Stornoway, in Lewis. They are also politically united, and the present representative is Mr Alexander Matheson of Ardross. For civil purposes they are divided into five districts, viz., The Black Isle, Easter Ross, Mid-Ross, Wester Ross, and Lewis. The burghs of Dingwall, Tain, and Cromarty are joined with Dornoch, Wick, and Kirkwall in Parliamentary representation, the present representative being Mr John Pender. Fortrose is united with the Inverness District of Burghs, which are represented by Mr Fraser Mackintosh.

You can read the rest of this at

You can get to the other articles at

Book of Scottish Story
Kindly sent in to us by John Henderson

The Book of Scottish Story
Historical, Humorous, Legendary, Imaginative
by Standard Scottish Writers Published by Thomas D. Morison, 1896

This week we have the story of "Elsie Morrice" from the Aberdeen Censor and here is how it starts...

In the neighbourhood of the pleasant village of----------, on the east coast of Scotland, lived Janet Morrice and her grand-daughter Elsie. A small cottage, overlaid with woodbine on the exterior, and neat and clean in the interior, contained this couple; and a small farm attached to it served to supply all their humble desires. The place was no doubt agreeable to look on; but it was a pair of bright blue eyes, some light brown locks, and a sweet and modest face, that drew all the male visitors to the house of Janet Morrice. Elsie Morrice, her grandchild, had been left a young orphan to her charge. She was the only child of an only son, and thus came with a double call on the feelings of her old grandmother. Dearly was she loved by her, and well did she deserve it; for a better and a kindlier girl was not in all the country round. Out of the many young men that paid their attentions to Elsie, it was soon evident that her favourite was William Gordon. In his person he had nothing particular to recommend him above his companions; but there was in him that respectful demeanour, that eagerness to please, and that happiness in serving the object of his affections, which the eyes of a young woman can so soon perceive, and her heart so readily appreciate. In their dispositions, though not similar, they were drawn to each other. She was timid, loving, enthusiastic—in every respect a woman. He was gifted with those firmer qualities which bespeak a manly mind, but he had a heart that could love deeply and feel acutely;
And, if sometimes, a sigh should intervene, Or down his cheek a tear of pity roll, A sigh, a tear so sweet, he wished not to control.

There was also some resemblance in their situations; for William's mother was dead, and though he still had a father, yet this parent had never seen him, and took no concern about him; so that he was entirely dependent upon his maternal uncle. To his uncle's farm he was to succeed; and William Gordon and Elsie Morrice were considered by all the neighbours as soon to be man and wife.

William was seated one evening in the public-house of the village, reading the newspaper, when a party of sailors entered, and, calling for some drink, casually asked if there were any seamen in the village. The landlady civilly replied in the negative; but William, looking up, remarked, without noticing the winks of the landlord, that he had seen Tom Sangster arrive that morning.

"And where lives Tom Sangster, my hearty cock?" said the principal of the party, slapping him on the back, while the rest got betwixt the landlady and the door. He immediately informed them; and, drinking off their liquor quickly, they left the house.

"Willie," cried the landlady, "what hae ye done? It's the press-gang, and Tam Sangster 'll be torn frae his wife and bairns! "

You can read the rest of this story at

The index page of the book where you can read the other stories is at

Reminiscences of Old Scots Folk
By T. Ratcliffe Barnett (1913)

I might add there are a number of interesting wee colour pictures in this publication. As it says in the book title...


Stories added this week are...

Chapter XIII
Sacrament Sunday
Chapter XIV
The Old Doctor
Chapter XV
The Village Parliament
Chapter XVI
Summer Shielings in the Glen

Here is how "Summer Shielings in the Glen" starts...

YOU WILL FIND THEM ALL OVER THE hills of Scotland, in Highlands and Lowlands and Hebrid Isles—little green hillocks and open spaces high up the hillside or the glen, with rickles of grey stones and heaps of ruined walls by the side of the brown burn. To come on them to-day, when the evening sun is shining and the plovers and whaups are mingling their cries with the husheen of the mountain stream, is like reading the romance of an olden Scots life that has gone from us never again to return.

I can see them in many a remote place while I write— far up the sides of Lawers; behind Schiehallion, where the deer are feeding now; among the lonely Lammer-moors; or far out in Skye or Harris, where to-day the salt Atlantic winds are blowing. But always in my dreamings of the shieling days I come back to a place of ruins far up in a little glen that runs from the spatey Lyon River right into the heart of Lawers and Ben Glass. For there, one summer eve, I sat with one whose heart has in it the deep understanding of the hills, and whose eyes can see far ben into the dim-lit regions of the long ago. After a great day on the hills, whose sunbaked tops were still patchy with winter snow, we sat down among the shielings to rest when the sun was setting. Ballad and song floated out in the calm airs of evening to the sound of the crooning stream as we talked of the shieling folk and the ancient customs of the vanished races, till the silent glen was peopled once more about us, and the cattle were lowing at milking time for Mary and Ishbel to come with their stools and coggies.

The summer shielings were little shelters or cot-houses which the glen folk built high up on the hills or corries. There in summer-time the grass was sweet and green, and in the cooler airs the cattle and sheep roamed free. A whole highland township would flit for the summer months from the shoreland or laigh-lying places to the summer shielings, driving their cattle be-fore them; the men doing the herding, and the women following with the little bairns, each carrying some essential dish or bundle of provender for the long sojourn among the hills. The old done bodies, who could no longer climb the steep braes, were left behind in the farm or croft with some to tend them in case of need; and if in the summer-time a stranger came to the township to seek his way, or do some troke of business, he might find the place all empty and deserted.

Oh, it was a happy time of the year when the nights grew warm and light, and the days long with the northern sun that scarcely sleeps, for then it was time to be off to the shielings. The young folks laughed with glee, the older folks got their goods and chattels all together, and the little bairns knew that holiday-time had come, when they could run happy and free among the cattle on the hills, or catch the brown trout in the clear streams.

You can read the rest of this story at

You can get to the index page where you'll find the other stories to read at

The History of Bruce County
By Norman Robertson, published in 1906

This week have added...

The County Town Contest Years, 1857-1866
Full Development Attained, 1867-1881
Thriving and Progressing, 1882-1906
Schools and Education, 1851-1906
The Militia and Volunteers of Bruce, 1857-1906
The Indian Peninsula, 1854-1906

Which you can see at

Here is how the "Thriving and Progressing" chapter starts...

The title given to this chapter is one by which the author would desire to indicate that the period of rapid, lusty development within the county of Bruce, which had been one of its marked characteristics, closed with the final years referred to in the previous chapter. The era when the increase of the county's wealth and population and of the development of its resources took place by leaps and bounds, could not be enduring and continuous; the change to a less rapid advancement must come, and the author would place the date thereof, approximately, at the close of the third decade of the county's history. High water mark for a long time to come, as regards population, is to be found in the census of 1881.

The Redistribution Act passed in 1882 by the Dominion Parliament gave Bruce three members in the House of Commons. In the election which followed the passing of this Act, North Bruce returned Alex. McNeill, his opponent being John Gillies, the late member. In East Bruce the late member also failed in being re-elected, R. M. Wells being successful in this contest against Alex. Shaw. The riding of West Bruce was contested by James Somer-ville and J. H. Scott, in which contest the former was returned. R. M. Wells had to resign his seat in the Ontario House of Assembly. to qualify for nomination in the above election. This necessitated a by-election in South Bruce. The Liberals nominated H. P. O'Connor, a lawyer of Walkerton, and the Conservatives, J. C. Eckford, a leading farmer of Brant. This election resulted in Mr. O'Connor's favor.

The last change in the number of minor municipalities within the county which occurred for the next twenty years took place in June, 1882, when the united townships of Lindsay and St. Edmunds were separated from Eastnor and established as a separate corporation on and from January 1st, 1883.

In 1883 a change took place in regard to the wardenship. During the twenty-six previous years this honorable position was frequently conferred year after year upon the same person, so that only nine names occur during that period among the list of wardens. Commencing with 1883, the honor and the duties of the office have been passed around, and no one since then has held the office for more than a single year, as will be seen by consulting Appendix Q, which shows that altogether thirty-two individuals have attained to the wardenship, commencing with the first County Council, that of 1857. Of these, it is interesting to note, about one-third, having plumed their wings in the County Council, have sought a loftier flight, and have stood for parliamentary honors.

A general election for the Ontario House of Assembly took place February 27th, 1883. In South Bruce H. P. O'Connor was returned by acclamation. The contest in North Bruce was between John Gillies and James Rowand. The former was elected by a majority of 120 votes.

The burning question before the people of Bruce for the greater part of 1884 was the "Scott Act," the name by which the Canada Temperance Act of 1878 was commonly known. The campaign commenced early in the year with the obtaining of the signatures of 3,790 ratepayers to a requisition praying that the Act be submitted to the electors to be voted upon. During the summer public meetings were held in many localities to discuss the features of the Act. Speakers from outside places were obtained by both parties to stump the country and present their views either for or against the temperance question in general and the Act in particular. Literature was freely circulated, and every means used to enlighten the electors upon the question on which they were called upon to vote on 30th October of that year. The vote cast gave a majority of 1,321 in favor of carrying out the provisions of the Act in the county of Bruce.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The True Roots and Origin of the Scots
by Craig White.

We were sent in this article by Craig White in 2 .pdf files which you can read at

It starts with a quote...

“Wherever the pilgrim turns his feet, he finds Scotsmen in the forefront of civilization and letters. They are the premiers in every colony, professors in every university, teachers, editors, lawyers, engineers and merchants – everything, and always at the front.” – English writer Sir Walter Besant

Caroline Baroness Nairne: The Scottish Songstress
by Her Great-Grand Niece.

This is a 50 page book which I have added as a single .pdf file which you can read at

And that's all for now and hope you all have a good weekend :-)


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