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Weekly Mailing List Archives
12th October 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
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Clan Information
Poetry and Stories
Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario.
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland in 1876
Book of Scottish Story
History of the County of Bruce
History of Ulster
Andrew Melville by William Morrison (1899)
Cambodian children

That new advertising option of a pop under quickly did my head in so removed it although the odd one still comes up for some reason. Have converted the advertising to an advert in our left border but am not happy with that either as I can't see the relevance of these adverts to the site. Seems I'm getting free cursors, free screensavers and poker adverts. I'll give it another week but if I don't see any better relevance I'll remove it. Such is the life of a webmaster seeking advertising opportunities :-(

I dithered about attending next Monday's meeting in Toronto where Jim Mather MSP, the Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism in the Scottish Goverrnment will be speaking. After getting several emails and a phone call I decided to attend after all. I'll report on what happened in the next newsletter.

As I've been working on the transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland I came across one of the transactions that listed lots of farmers in Argyll. I noted in partcular that the Mac names were spelt M' and I also noted that in my case there was a listing of some 17 M'Intyre's. I only mention this as if you were searching for Mac or Mc you would have missed these names on the page. And so where you are searching for names starting Mac it is important to include Mc and M' as well.

Just as a matter of interest I decided to look for all three when I looked for MacDonald and found...

MacDonald 1,140
McDonald 365
M'Donald 39

So if you'd just searched for MacDonald you'd have missed some 404 mentions of the name. This by the way is using our own Google search engine which defaults to just searching our site.

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

Scotland on TV at the Golden Spurtle

Sunday 7th October 2007 was a gorgeous day throughout Scotland, but seemingly, Carrbridge has its own micro-climate. Thank goodness, then, that we were indoors at Carrbridge Community Centre, which was packed to the gunnels with locals, and plenty of foodie types who'd travelled from as far afield as America, Russia and Sweden - all intent on witnessing the glory that is the 14th Annual Golden Spurtle Awards.

Scotland on TV arrived just as the competition was getting under way, with the first round of 'cook offs'. The participants were all earnestly stirring their spurtles and adding the basic ingredients: oats, water and salt, in tiny increments so as to build the subtle flavours slowly, before their spurtle-stirring efforts were quickly handed over to the judges.

It was quite a surprise to see just how basic porridge can differ from one bowl to the next. Some pale, some grainy, some fluffy, some dry, some wet... but none lumpy! The expert judges, drafted from some of the finest eating establishments in Scotland really had their work cut out, as the bowls of steaming oat based goodness came thick and fast.

After the judges had looked, tasted, commented on and marked the plethora of porridges, the still steaming bowls were passed on to the eager and hungry punters in the kitchen, so they too could savour the delights of porridge made properly by keen enthusiasts and professionals alike.

We spoke to the judges, the competitors, and our fellow porridge devotees, and eventually built a full picture of just why this event attracts such worldwide interest. Scotlandontv asked 'Just what are the tricks of the trade in making the perfect bowl of porridge'.

Congratulations must go to Speciality Winner, Al Beaton and the winner of the Golden Spurtle, Maria Soep, who cooked the best porridge on the day. Worthy winners of their titles.

You can see more about the contest in the finished film at

This weeks Flag is compiled by Richard Thomson where he is talking about Gordon Brown and the decision not to set an early election.

In Peter's cultural section he talks about the Gaelic Mod...

Today (Friday 12 October 2007) sees the official opening of the 104th Royal National Mod in Fort William and the Gaelic festival runs to Saturday 20 October 2007 as Gaels, young and old, enjoy Gaeldom’s premier event. Fort William lies on the eastern shore of Loch Linnhe, at the southern end of The Great Glen and at the foot of Ben Nevis. It is the largest town in the West highlands and is the commercial centre of Lochaber.

An Comunn Gaidhealach was formed in 1891 to promote the use and teaching of Gaelic and held its first Mod in Oban the following year. Now the Royal National Mod, it is the Scotland’s premier festival of the Gaelic language, arts and culture, and is held annually in October at different venues throughout Scotland. Next year the Mod moves to the Central Belt when Falkirk will be the host-town from 10 to 18 October 2008. The Mod is competition-based festival which celebrates the Gaelic language through music, dance, arts and literature. The Children’s competitions, in particular, attract great attention, and are obviously much enjoyed by the young Gaels taking part.

Mod 2007 will be on a far greater scale than its 1892 counterpart which was restricted to a one day event and like all modern festivals, The Mod has its own fringe! Visit for details of all activities at Fort William.

Some unfair commentators dismiss The Mod as the ‘Whisky Olympics’ and while it is true that a dram or two will oil the success of the event, there is much more to The Mod and Gaeldom would be much the poorer without its showcase. The annual Mod acts as a reminder of our Gaelic heritage and acts as a visible reminder to all Scots of the important part Gaelic still plays in Scottish life and what it means to be Scottish. The recent opening of a new Gaelic-medium primary school in Inverness, Bunsgoil Ghaidlig Inbhir Nis, shows that Gaelic is not yet, thankfully, a dead language.

But Whisky does play a part in this week’s recipe as you can enjoy a drop of your favourite Malt in Whisky Pears.

Whisky Pears

Ingredients: 1 tin pear halves; 2 tablespoons Highland Malt Whisky; vanilla ice cream; grated walnut; chocolate sauce

Method: Strain the juice off the pears and mix in the Whisky (the cook is allowed a sample!). Mix the grated walnut into the ice cream. Put two scoops of ice cream on to each plate either side of a pear half and top with chocolate sauce. Pour on the Whisky juice before serving. Delicious!

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.

Onto the K's with Kennedy, Kerr, Kilmarnock, Kilsyth and Kincardine

Here is how the account of Kerr starts...

KER, or KERR, a word signifying strength, the English form of which is Carr, the surname of two noble families of Anglo-Norman lineage, Roxburghe and Lothian, descended from two brothers, Ralph and Robert, sons of the family of Kerr of Kerrshall in Lancashire, originally of the Kerrs of Normandy, who came over at the Conquest. Which of the brothers was the elder has not be ascertained. They are said to have come to Scotland in the 13th century, and settling in Roxburghshire became the founders of two separate races of warlike border chieftains, the Kerrs of Ferniehirst and the Kerrs of Cessford. Of the former the marquis of Lothian is the male representative, (see LOTHIAN, Marquis of), and of the latter the duke of Roxburghe is the head (see ROXBURGHE, Duke of).

Several barons of this name appear in the Ragman Roll as having sworn fealty to Edward I. in 1296.

KER, JOHN, third duke of Roxburghe, a celebrated bibliomanist, was born in London April 23, 1740, and succeeded his father, the second duke, in 1755. Having acquired an extraordinary taste for old publications, he formed the largest private collection of rare and curious books in the kingdom. He died, unmarried, March 19, 1804, and was buried at Bowden, near Melrose. The public sale of his extensive library, which consisted of nearly ten thousand books, and was particularly rich in old romances of chivalry and early English poetry, took place in May 1812, and created an unprecedented excitement among book collectors. The catalogue was made out principally by Mr. G. Nichol, bookseller to the king. The prices paid for some of the works were enormous. A copy of the first edition of the Decameron of Boccaccio, printed at Venice by Valdarfar, in 1471, was bought by the marquis of Blandford, afterwards duke of Marlborough, for £2,260 sterling; a copy of the first work printed by Caxton, with a date, ‘Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye,’ (1461, folio,) was sold for one thousand guineas; and a copy of the first edition of Shakspeare (1623, folio), for one hundred guineas. In commemoration of this event, the Roxburghe club, was formed for the collection of rare books, the preservation of curious MSS., and the reprint of scarce and curious tracts, for the use of the members of the club.

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...

Added the United Parishes of Auchindoir and Kearn at

Name, &c.—The parishes of Auchindoir and Kearn were united by the annexation of Kearn to Auchindoir in 1811. Previous to this period Kearn was in union with Forbes; but circumstances of local conveniency having led to a disjunction of these parishes, Forbes was united to Tullynessle, and Kearn annexed to Auchindoir. The name Auchindoir, by which both these parishes are now usually designated, is of Gaelic origin, and is said to signify the "field of pursuit." This derivation is supported by the historical fact mentioned by Buchanan, that "Luthlac, son of Macbeth, was slain by Malcolm in the valley of Bogie." Tradition refers to several tumuli on an extensive moor (now improved), about two miles south of the church, as the scene of battle where Luthlac was defeated, and also points out the spot, about four miles northeast from this, in the parish of Rhynie, where he was overtaken and slain. The circumstance of his being pursued through the valley of Auchindoir to the place of his death, may have given rise to its present appellation. Kearn is understood to be a corruption of cairn, there being a remarkable cairn or tumulus in that parish; but of the history of which there is no tradition.

Extent, &c.—These united parishes form an irregular figure, the length of which is about 7 miles, and the breadth about the same extent. They are bounded by Kildrummy on the south; Rhynie on the north; Cabrach on the west; and Clatt and Tulleynessle on the east. Auchindoir is the much larger parish in point of superficial extent. Their general aspect is varied and uneven. This characteristic is particularly applicable to the eastern portion, comprehending the whole of the parish of Kearn, and the northern extremity of Auchindoir. The surface here is either raised into long undulating ridges of extremely dissimilar elevation, or depressed into deep valleys of every variety of breadth; several of which are marked with features of a very striking and picturesque appearance. Towards the southern extremity, the parish is of a more level description, with a gradual ascent to the surrounding mountains, particularly Correen, round whose base it sweeps for a distance of five miles. The altitude of Correen is about 1350 feet. On the west of the parish stands the Buck, or "Buck of the Cabrach," as it is usually termed, the elevation of which, according to Ainslie, is 2377 feet. It lies partly in Auchindoir and partly in Cabrach parish. It is of a very elegant form when viewed from the north and east, presenting a pyramidical shape, tapering beautifully towards the top, and crowned with a cluster of rocks placed as if in studied artificial regularity, by the gigantic efforts of man.

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 Information
A History of Munro by Michael Munro.

Michael continues to work on this history both to correct errors and to add new information. When he figures there are enough changes to warrant an update he sends it into me. You can read this at

Poetry and Stories
Donna has sent in four articles this week...

An Art Lesson at

An article, Propellers, at

Another article, Economics for our Home Management, at

And a poem, Gramma's Lament for a Lost Sunday, at

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

WILLIAM D. SAMSON, a leading business man of Blenheim, County of Kent, is a member of one of the early pioneer families of that county, being descended from James Samson. The latter was born in Scotland, where he lived and died, and for many years was the manager of a large estate. He was twice married, and from James, a child of the second marriage, descends the branch of the family treated of in this article, he being the grandfather of William D.

You can read this at

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.

As an aside this week.... I got a phone call from Ranald McIntyre from Falkirk, Scotland this week and he mentioned how he was enjoying the articles. He mention one of the article which he felt you could have made a sermon out of and he took the opportunity to phone up a local minister to tell him about the book. He suggested that he might find it worthwhile to visit each week to read the articles in there.

Ranald also mentioned how well the Religion section had built up. The reason for having this religious section is primarily because of how the Scots in history valued religion in their way of life. You can't really read about Scots without learning of their love of religion and so no really important history site about the Scots can fail to have decent information about our religious life.

And so next time you attend church you might give your minster the url of our religious section at

This week have added articles on...

Home Verses (Page 128)
Kentigern (Pages 129-132)
1515 versus 1860 (Pages 133-134)
Meditations on Heaven (Pages 134-135)
"He's Risen!" (Page 136)

Here is how the account of Kentigern starts...

Of Kentigern there is no contemporary record. Adamnan's "Life of Columba," written eighty-years after his death, mentions him as friend and contemporary of Columba. Bede is wholly silent regarding him. All that we can tell concerning him is gathered from a monkish life of him written in 1180 by Monk Joceline of Furness, at the bidding of Joceline, then Bishop of Glasgow. He too must build his new cathedral; and he sets about it in the approved way of the time, not so unlike our own plan. "He published," says an antiquarian writer already quoted, ''a book, and set an association on foot. The book was a new 'Life and Miracles of St Kentigern,' written by one of the most popular biographers of the day, Brother Joceline of Furness. Besides other claims to interest, the skill with which it addresses itself to its object challenges praise. Nothing is omitted which could excite the faithful to be generous, nothing which could magnify the see of Glasgow." This book, then, of Monk Joceline may be regarded as the "brief put forth by the members of the Glasgow Cathedral Building Society" in order to raise the wind. In his preface, Brother Joceline tells us that he had seen two older lives of Kentigern, one in barbarous Scottish style, the other of doubtful orthodoxy,—that is, in the eyes of an ecclesiastic of the twelfth century,—and that from them he had collected much material, which he dresses up in his own rhetorical garb. We have been thus minute in describing this life, from which our facts are taken, that our readers, knowing exactly whence they come, may take them for what they are worth, and no more.

The life opens with a strange, wild legend of our saint's birth: how that his mother, having been sent afloat in a small boat all alone, was drifted from the East Lothian coast up the Forth, till the boat came ashore at Culross, in Fife. There she brought forth her son on the open shore, and mother and child were found in the morning by the embers of a dying fire, and brought by shepherds to St Serf. This old saint is said to have been ordained by Palladius, in his youth to have gone as missionary to the Orkneys, in his old age to have lived near Culross, instructing children in the Holy Scriptures. A gentle old man, from whose hand robins would feed, and sit beside him as he prayed. His name still clings to an island in Loch-leven, on which he is said to have lived. St Serf sheltered the mother and her bairn, and in due time baptized both, calling the mother Taneu, the boy Kyentyern, or Kentigern. Taneu, in after ages, had a church dedicated to her in Glasgow, which the moderns have, ludicrously enough, corrupted into St Enoch's. The boy lived on with him, and was educated by him, till in time the old man got to love him beyond all his pupils, even as his own son—another Samuel under another Eli. Apt to learn, loving, loved by all, he was called by the people no longer Kentigern, but Mungo; that is, Dear Friend

You can read the rest of this account at

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 Polled Angus or Aberdeen Breed of Cattle
On Implements selected for Trial
Agricultural Statistics of Scotland, 1876
Proceedings at Board Meetings
Proceedings at General Meetings

I found the Proceedings at General Meetings very interesting and there was a real discussion on one point...

Chemical Department.—Mr C. J. Mackenzie of Portmore read the following report as to the Chemical Department:—"On behalf of the Committee in charge of the Chemical Department, I regret to have to report that Sir Thomas Buchan Hepburn has resigned the Chairmanship of that Committee. The Directors were unanimous in requesting Sir Thomas to reconsider his resignation; but as he adhered to it, the Directors were reluctantly obliged to accept it, and appointed me to discharge the duties of that office. The Committee at their first meeting thereafter passed the following resolution:—'The Committee cannot commence their report without expressing their regret at the loss of the valuable services of Sir Thomas Buchan Hepburn, who took so lively an interest in the Chemical Department, and who has for many years devoted so much time to the duties devolving upon him, first as a Member, and latterly as Convener of the Committee. This resolution was cordially approved by the Board, and will, I am sure, be as warmly passed by you. (Applause.) I have now to report that, in consequence of the remit from the last General Meeting regarding the appointment of a chemist, the Directors, on the 2d of February, referred the matter to the Committee in charge of the Chemical Department. The Committee reported, on 23d February, that the best means of carrying out the instructions of the General Meeting was to advertise for a chemist qualified to organise and conduct the agricultural experimental stations about to be established, and who should devote his whole time to the Society; and they also prepared a note of the duties of the chemist in accordance with the directions of the General Meeting. This course was approved of by the Directors, who issued advertisements, in answer to which ten applications, besides various letters, were received. These were carefully gone over by the Committee, who reported on the 31st of May that they had considered all the applications and relative documents, and had come to the conclusion that none of the applicants combine all the qualifications necessary for the post of chemist to the Society. They considered, however, that some of the gentlemen who had applied were possessed in a considerable degree of those qualifications. Under these circumstances the Committee could not recommend the Directors to appoint any of the gentlemen who had made application. The Committee also considered the letters received on the subject, and which were included in the remit to them ; and they were of opinion if the restriction in regard to the entire services of the chemist being devoted to the Society were removed, that much more eligible candidates would be induced to come forward. The Committee also drew the attention of the Directors to the question of the absence of laboratory accommodation, which was a serious complication in the matter. The Committee's report having been submitted to the Directors at their meeting on the 7th instant, they approved of it, and resolved to report in terms of it to this meeting." I have now to move—"That the Society approve of the report of the Directors, and agree to rescind the restrictions imposed at last General Meeting in regard to the services of the chemist to be appointed being entirely devoted to the Society."

Sir Alexander Jardine of Applegarth seconded the motion.

Mr D. Milne Home of Wedderburn said he was sorry to say that he could not agree to the motion proposed by Mr Mackenzie—in the first place, because, looking at the proposal, he considered it highly inexpedient, irrespective of anything that had been done by the Society before, and also because it was entirely inconsistent with the resolutions that had been come to at the last two General Meetings. The proposal was that the Society should appoint a chemist with a salary of L.300, and be allowed to take other employment from other parties, and at the same time to receive remuneration from them. That was exactly the position of the late Dr Anderson. They were aware that that appointment was universally condemned, because when a chemist had L.300 a year, and also got remuneration from those who chose to employ him, it was very natural that a great deal of the Society's work should be neglected, and that as much as possible of the work of the public should be received. Afterwards, Professor Dewar was appointed, with a salary of L.150, to assist Dr Anderson. He would ask what was ever done by Mr Dewar for the Society for the L.150 he received! The proposal was that he was to give lectures, engage in field experiments, and make researches in agriculture. Now, did he ever carry out these things? They knew that for years Dr Anderson was unable to do anything for the Society. There was a sum of L.450 a year paid to two chemists—these being allowed to work for the public; and the result was that the Society got no benefit at all from the employment of these parties. How could they make such an injudicious appointment as was proposed? Every one complained against a continuance of the system followed by Dr Anderson, and the last two General Meetings adopted resolutions to the effect that the chemist should be paid with reference to the work he should do. At the last January meeting, the Directors came forward and asked that they should have leave to make an appointment of a permanent character. On the motion of Colonel Innes of Learney leave was given only to appoint a chemist in connection with the experimental stations of the Society, and who would give his whole time to the work of the Society. That was unanimously carried. The Directors concurred in it, and he was surprised that they, without any previous notice that he was aware of, should have made the proposal they had now done, and that at this meeting they should suddenly propose to rescind the resolution adopted at the last General Meeting and ask the Society to allow them to appoint a chemist without giving them his whole time. The resolution adopted at the previous meeting said that it was only in the event of experimental stations being established that a chemist was to be appointed. What did the Directors do? They advertised for a chemist before they knew that there were to be any experimental stations. He was surprised to hear in the report reference to stations "about to be established." These were not the words of the resolution. It declared that the whole time of the chemist was to be devoted to the Society, and he was to be appointed if the experimental stations were to be established------

Mr C. J. Mackenzie read the resolution which had been adopted at the previous meeting, which stated that the employment of the chemist would be limited to the organisation and management of the stations.

Mr Milne Home said that there had been no stations established by the Society.

Mr Mackenzie said that they had not yet been organised.

Mr Milne Home said there was as yet no prospect of having stations established. He had asked the Secretary if there was any prospects of having them, but he understood that there was no land offered------

Mr F. N. Menzies (Secretary)—On the contrary, I mentioned that there had been offers made.

Mr Milne Home—Then why has that not been mentioned? The very first thing that the Directors should have done was to say whether the stations were to be established. He would ask, if they appointed a chemist to-day, what work was he to do? By the resolution the work he was to be allowed to do was in connection with the experimental stations. He thought it was most inexpedient to get into the old track, and especially as it was utterly inconsistent with the resolution come to that it was only after the stations were to be arranged that a chemist should be appointed. The Aberdeen farmers found that they could get five stations, and after that, and not till then, they employed a chemist. He firmly believed that the Society would not get stations. In the first place, there was no money for them. The Directors stated that there was to be a sum of L.700 for a chemist and the stations. They proposed to give L.300 to a chemist, and where was the other L.400? They had already struck off L.200 of the L.700, and there was only L.200 left. Was that enough to carry on the work? He did not think so. They ought first to get the stations, and then make the appointment------

The Chairman—Do you make any motion?

Mr Milne Home—No; I only enter my protest. I warn the Directors that if they agree to the proposal now made they will hear more of it at next meeting.

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 Progress of Inconstancy


and here is how it starts...

"Sweet, tender sex! with snares encompassed round.
On others hang thy comforts and thy rest."—Hogg.

Nature has made woman weak, that she might receive with gratitude the protection of man. Yet how often is this appointment perverted! How often does her protector become her oppressor ! Even custom seems leagued against her. Born with the tenderest feelings, her whole life is commonly a struggle to suppress them. Placed in the most favourable circumstances, her choice is confined to a few objects; and unless where singularly fortunate, her fondest partialities are only a modification of gratitude. She may reject, but cannot invite : may tell what would make her wretched, but dare not even whisper what would make her happy; and, in a word, exercises merely a negative influence upon the most important event of her life. Man has leisure to look around him, and may marry at any age, with almost equal advantage ; but woman must improve the fleeting moment, and determine quickly, at the hazard of determining rashly. The spring-time of her beauty will not last; its wane will be the signal for the flight of her lovers ; and if the present opportunity is neglected, she may be left to experience the only species of misfortune for which the world evinces no sympathy. How cruel, then, to increase the misery of her natural dependence! How ungenerous to add treachery to strength, and deceive or disappoint those whose highest ambition is our favour, and whose only safety is our honesty!

William Arbuthnot was born in a remote county of Scotland, where his father rented a few acres of land, which his own industry had reclaimed from the greatest wildness to a state of considerable fertility. Having given, even in his first attempts at learning, those indications of a retentive memory, which the partiality of a parent easily construes into a proof of genius, he was early destined for the Scottish Church, and regarded as a philosopher before he had emerged from the nursery. While his father pleased himself with the prospect of seeing his name associated with the future greatness of his son, his mother, whose ambition took a narrower range, thought she could die contented if she should see him seated in the pulpit of his native church; and perhaps, from a pardonable piece of vanity, speculated as frequently upon the effect his appearance would have upon the hearts of the neighbouring daughters, as his discourses upon the minds of their mothers. This practice, so common among the poorer classes in Scotland, of making one of their children a scholar, to the prejudice, as is alleged, of the rest, has been often remarked, and sometimes severely censured. But probably the objections that have been urged against it, derive their chief force from the exaggerations upon which they are commonly founded. It is not in general true that parents, by bestowing the rudiments of a liberal education upon one of the family, materially injure the condition or prospects of the rest. For it must be remembered that the plebeian student is soon left to trust to his own exertions for support, and, like the monitor of a Lancastrian seminary, unites the characters of pupil and master, and teaches and is taught by turns.

But to proceed with our little narrative. The parish schoolmaster having intimated to the parents of his pupil, that the period was at hand when he should be sent to prosecute his studies at the university, the usual preparations were made for his journey, and his departure was fixed for the following day, when he was to proceed to Edinburgh under escort of the village carrier and his black dog Caesar, two of the eldest and most intimate of his acquaintance. Goldsmith's poetical maxim, that little things are great to little men, is universally true; and this was an eventful day for the family of Belhervie, for that was the name of the residence of Mr Arbuthnot. The father was as profuse of his admonitions as the mother was of her tears, and had a stranger beheld the afflicted group, he would have naturally imagined that they were bewailing some signal calamity, in place of welcoming an event to which they had long looked forward with pleasure. But the feelings of affectionate regret, occasioned by this separation, were most seasonably suspended by the receipt of a letter from Mr Coventry, a respectable fanner in the neighbourhood, in which that gentleman offered to engage their son for a few years, as a companion and tutor to his children. This was an offer which his parents were too prudent to reject, particularly as it might prove the means of future patronage as well as of present emolument. It was therefore immediately agreed upon, that William should himself be the bearer of their letter of acceptance, and proceed forthwith to his new residence. On this occasion he was admonished anew; but the advices were different from those formerly given, and were delivered by a different person. His mother was now the principal speaker; and, instead of warning him against the snares that are laid for youth in a great city, she furnished him with some rude lessons on the principles of good-breeding, descending to a number of particulars too minute to be enumerated here. William listened to her harangue with becoming reverence and attention, and on the following morning, for the first time, bade farewell to his affectionate parents.

You can read the rest of this story at

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

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

This week sees us adding histories of the various townships and villages...

Township of Culross
Village of Teeswater
Township of Elderslie
Town of Chesley
Village of Paisley
Township of Greenock
Township of Huron

Which you can see at

Here is a bit from the Village of Paisley...

In Chapter V. reference is made to the settlement made at Paisley by its pioneer settlers, Simon Orchard and Samuel T. Rowe. Although in a measure repeating what was there said, the author feels that the story of the settlement prepared by Mr. Rowe, and which was published in the Port Elgin Times, should here appear, at least in part. Messrs. Orchard and Rowe were among the pioneer settlers who took up land in 1842 on the Garafraxa Road, in the townships of Egremont and Normanby.

After the opening up of the free grants along the Durham Road, they learned of the superior quality of the soil in Brant, and Rowe decided to settle there and start a tavern at the locality afterwards known as Gaffaney's Corners, but before he reached the place the land had been taken up by another. Orchard sold his farm in Egremont, while Rowe rented his on a ten-year lease. During the winter of 1850-51 they teamed their effects to Walkerton, ready for the opening of spring.

About the middle of April, 1851, Mr. Orchard brought his family to Walkerton. Learning of desirable lands located down the river, he decided to try his fortune in that direction. With the help of a hired man, he made a raft of cedar logs. On this he placed his family and household effects and started, unappalled by the dangers and difficulties that lay before them, on a voyage down the Saugeen. Mr. Orchard had some information about the land and the appearance of the locality at the mouth of Mud River, as it was then called. He said he had had a dream about it, and if it were like what he saw in the dream he would stay there, and he wanted to be there first. It turned out, so he found when he arrived, to be just like what he dreamed about.

Mr. Rowe was delayed owing to the sickness and death of his son, and was unable to start with Mr. Orchard. He was also further detained for a few days at Walkerton, to be "corner man" at the putting up of a two-story log house, owned by his cousin, Wm. Jasper. While there, on the first day of May, a foot of snow fell, but by night the logs were swept and the building raised. Mr. Rowe engaged William Walker, W. Jasper, George Neeley and Alex. McIntyre to build two large rafts and take him down the river. They started on the 9th day of May, and landed safely at the site of what was afterwards to be known as the village of Paisley early that afternoon.

The two pioneers were well pleased with the look of the land. Mr. Orchard was satisfied with his choice on the north side of the river, and so was Mr. Rowe with his on the south side. Mr. Rowe's hired men returned next day. leaving the two families with one hired man alone in the forest, miles from the nearest settler. Mr. Orchard had already erected a good shanty of poles. In three days after the arrival of Mr. Rowe and family the three men and two women, with the help of oxen, put up a large shanty for the newly arrived family. Mr. Orchard then cut logs for a new house.

At this time the party of surveyors under Mr. (afterward Senator) A. Vidal, engaged in the survey of the township of Saugeen, happened to come along, and helped to raise it. This building will be remembered as the store that Mr. Samuel Steel occupied for some time. The winter of 1851-52 was a notably severe one. Mr. Orchard had four cows and Mr. Rowe fourteen head of cattle to winter that season, with nothing to feed them on but tree tops. The two settlers each hired a man to chop all winter. Mr. Rowe hired his man on the 12th of October. The first snow fell that night. For months it had an average depth of five feet, and was to be seen in the swamps in the following June; but the cattle got through well.

When the ice began to break up on the river Mr. Orchard's four cows came down to the river for a drink, as usual. Standing on the rotten ice, it broke beneath them, and the cows were never seen again.

In the summer of 1852 Mr. Rowe, with the assistance of hired help, cut the logs and built what was known for years as Rowe's tavern. Its site was opposite the present Town Hall, and it stood projecting on the street at an angle thereto. Its measurements were thirty by twenty-four, with a lean-to for a kitchen, and another lean-to for a dining-room. The families of the two settlers were separated by the Teeswater River. To overcome this inconvenience one of the first things they undertook was to erect a foot-bridge over the stream. Unfortunately, the next spring freshet washed it away, and for a while they depended upon a dog, which was trained to swim across and carry small things from one shanty to the other.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

And the other chapters at

The History of Ulster
From the Earliest Times to the Present Day by Ramsay Colles (1919)

This week have added another 6 chapters to the first volume...

The Betrayal of Ireland
The Anglo-Norman Invasion
King Henry in Ireland
The Earldom of Ulster
King John in Ulster
Ulster and the Bruce Invasion

Here is a bit from "Ulster and the Bruce Invasion"...

There was, as we have seen, a Scottish settlement in Ulster which grew in number and in power under the fostering care of the representatives of the Crown, the Earls of Athol and of Galloway being given, on one pretext or another, large grants of land, the real reason for these grants being that they were rewards for services rendered to the English against the Irish. As time went on the Scots and their Irish neighbours, having much in common, settled down more or less amicably; and finally, by intermarriage and the sympathy which springs from a common origin and similarity in language and in habits, the Scots were merged in their surroundings. The connection between Ireland and Scotland by means of this Scottish colony in Ulster became strengthened, while the wars carried on in Scotland by Edward I tended to make both Scotch and Irish look on him as their common enemy. Such was the sentiment in Ulster when, in Edward II's reign, the overthrow of the English King at Bannockburn in 1314 seemed to point to the possibility of Ireland being enabled to throw off the yoke of the conqueror. Ulster had afforded a sanctuary to Robert Bruce in his hour of adversity, and she now appealed to the victorious king for the dispatch to Ireland of his brother Edward, to whom they offered the crown.

Edward Bruce landed near Carrickfergus, in May, 1315, at the head of 6000 men. He was immediately joined by the O'Neills, and later by Felim O'Conor, King of Connaught. Donald O'Neill, who had been the first to invite Edward to Ireland, swore allegiance to him, other chiefs, Irish and Scottish, following his example. The English settlers in Ulster became the first objects of attack, a hastily formed combination of the various leaders being defeated and driven to take refuge in Carrickfergus. Bruce now proceeded southwards to Dundalk and Ardee, both of which he took.

In the meantime Richard de Burgh had not been idle. He was in Galway at the time of Bruce's landing, and he at once made preparations to stop the depredations in Ulster, by summoning his retainers throughout the west to assemble at Athlone. Here a huge army was formed, at the head of which the Red Earl placed himself, and proceeded northwards to meet Edward Bruce. On the way he came up with the forces of Sir Edmund Butler, Lord Deputy, who was also marching north. De Burgh, desiring to have all the honour and glory of the victory he anticipated, told the Lord Deputy that he had better return to Dublin, as the Earl of Ulster was quite able to defend his possessions unaided. Butler accordingly returned south, and De Burgh, proceeding, met Bruce at Ardee. Seeing the numerical strength of the Red Earl's forces, O'Neill advised Bruce to fall back and take up a position on the River Bann, which he did, being closely followed by De Burgh. Here the opposing armies faced each other on opposite banks of the river, and commenced hostilities by shooting arrows across the water. This strange situation remained unchanged for some days, during which O'Neill and Bruce opened secret negotiations with O'Conor, promising him that, in the event of Bruce's success, Connaught should be his once more, freed from the overrule of the hated English, and that to secure this desirable end he should withdraw from his alliance with De Burgh. Felim was impressed by these overtures from so powerful a prince as Edward Bruce, and he therefore represented to De Burgh that he could no longer linger, and hastily took his departure. The Red Earl, when he saw the departing hosts under the banner of O'Conor, came to the conclusion that he could not cope alone with the enemy, and he therefore began to retreat; but having got as far eastwards as Ballymena, he was overtaken, and compelled to stand his ground. On 10th September a battle was fought at a village four miles south-east of Ballymena, the result being an utter defeat of De Burgh, who lost the flower of his army and fled south, with the foe in hot pursuit.

Ulster was thus lost, not a town in the whole province remaining loyal to the English, while Bruce marched from victory to victory as he proceeded through Louth and Meath until he reached Kells, where he was met by a fresh opponent in the person of Roger Mortimer at the head of 15,000 men. Despite this large force, Mortimer seems not to have been able to cope with Bruce's troops, who, flushed with success, scattered their enemies and continued their march through Westmeath and Longford. Finally Bruce settled for a time at Loughseudy, in Westmeath, making it his head-quarters, and spending there the winter of 1315. In the spring of 1316 Bruce met near Athy a force of nearly 30,000 men under the command of Butler, and defeated them; and, finding that his own troops were growing restive, he marched northwards, and set up fresh quarters in Dundalk. Here, on the 1st of May, he was crowned King of Ireland in the presence of a huge assembly of Irish and Scottish chieftains.

You can read the whole chapter at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

Andrew Melville
by William Morrison (1899)

I came across this book at Guttenberg anf thought it would be worth while adding it to the site. We do indeed have a good account of him in our Famous Scots section which concludes with the paragraph...

The benefits which Melville conferred on his country in the department of its literature are thus spoken of by Dr M’Crie: "His arrival imparted a new impulse to the public mind, and his reputation for learning, joined to the enthusiasm with which he pleaded its cause, enabled him to introduce an improved plan of study into all the universities. By his instructions and example, he continued and increased the impulse which he had first given to the minds of his countrymen. In languages, in theology, and in that species of poetical composition which was then most practiced among the learned, his influence was direct and acknowledged." The services which he rendered the civil and religious liberties of his country are recorded by the same able author in still stronger terms. "If the love of pure religion," he says, "rational liberty, and polite letters, forms the basis of national virtue and happiness, I know no individual, after her reformer, from whom Scotland has received greater benefits, and to whom she owes a deeper debt of gratitude and respect, than Andrew Melville."

If you wish to read this summary before reading the book you can find it at

and in the introduction of this book it states...

But Melville was not only the greatest ecclesiastical controversialist of his day; his name is pre-eminent in another sphere. He was the most learned Scot of his time; and our Universities never had a teacher within their walls who did so much to spread their reputation. His fame as a scholar not only checked the habit among the "élite" of Scottish students of resorting to the Continental Universities; it drew many foreign students to Glasgow and St. Andrews. His academic distinction has been overshadowed by his fame as the leader of the Church in one of the most momentous struggles in her history, but it was equally great in its own sphere. A Scottish historian--John Hill Burton--has sought, with a singular perversity, to belittle Melville as a scholar, and
speaks of M'Crie as having "endeavoured" to make out his title to distinction in this respect from the natural ambition to claim such an honour for one of his own ecclesiastical forebears. The chapter which follows will show the value of such a judgment.

There is still another and a higher ground for our interest in Melville, namely, his massive personality. It is not so much in the polemic or in the scholar we are interested, as in the man. The appreciation of his character by his countrymen has suffered from his proximity to Knox. Had he not stood so close on the field of history to the greatest of Scots, his stature would have been more impressive. In historic picturesqueness his life will not compare with that of Knox, although it had incidents, such as his appearances before the King and Council at Falkland and Hampton Court, which are unsurpassed by any in Scottish history for moral grandeur. There were not the same tragic elements mixed up with Melville's career. His life fell on duller times and among feebler contemporaries. He had not such a foil to his figure as Knox had in Mary; there was not among his opponents such a protagonist as Knox encountered in Mary's strong personality. And yet it may be justly claimed for Melville that in the highest quality of manhood, in "moral nerve", he was not a whit behind his great predecessor. He never once wavered in his course nor abated his testimony to his principles in the most perilous situation; in the long struggle with the King and the Court he played the man, uttered fearlessly on every occasion the last syllable of his convictions, made no accommodation or concession to arbitrary authority, and kept an untamed and hopeful spirit on to the very end. The work a man may do belongs to his own generation; the spirit in which he does it, his faith, his fortitude, to all generations. Melville conferred many signal and enduring benefits on his country: the one which transcended all others was the inspiration he left to her in his own rare nobility of character.

You can thus read this book at

Cambodian children
One of our regular visitors is involved in helping to provide clean water for Cambodian people and their children and so I added a page to tell you more about this which you can view at

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


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