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Weekly Mailing List Archives
1st September 2006

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
The Flag in the Wind
Scottish Gazetteer
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
Children's Stories & Colouring Pages
The Life of James Stewart
Byways of Scottish Story
Understanding Robert Burns
Chiefs and Chieftains
Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
The Scots Week-End
Scottish Enterprise Party
James Chalmers of New Guinea
History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Bits of Electric Scotland

I've made a start this week on the Scots Weekend which is meant to be a kind of reference book for people wanting to visit Scotland. See more details on this book below.

I've also purchased another copy of the History of the Burgh of Dumfries so that I can complete this book.

The question I am answering this week from the survey is about folk wanting more information on how Scots lived in the 17th and 18th centuries. There are actually several publications on the site that can provide this information...

Domestic Annals of Scotland. This is a 3 volume publication taking you through the time period 1561 to 1748. See

On our Scottish Books and Articles page you will find a list of all the books we have published onto the web site. See

In particular you will find...

A Summer in Skye at
A great book done in the 1800's in which you'll read about the place and the people. There is also a detailed account of living conditions in Edinburgh prior to the author moving onto Skye. Also having read this I suspect most of us would far rather live in Skye than in Edinburgh. I also found the account of the travel from Edinburgh to Skye most interesting.

McIan's Highlanders At Home at
By R. R. M'Ian, Esq 1848, Illustrations by James Logan, Esq.

Home Life of the Highlanders 1400 - 1746 at
Home-life in the Highlands of Scotland before the Rising under Prince Charles Edward Stuart.

The Social Life of Scotland in the Eighteenth Century at
By Henry Grey Graham 1901

I was also asked if I had any information on SAMS (Scottish-American Military Society) and there is a page at

As it's the end of August I've posted up another Canadian Journal entry 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.

Micro Button Advertisers
GrowerFlowers have recently launched a new facility where you can upload a photograph and get it printed onto a special greeting card. They tell me that since the launch of this new service around one third of orders have included this new facility.

As you will know this company have huge growing facilities in both the USA and Canada but they can now also deliver to most places in the world. You can see their web site at

I might add that they are offering a free vase with all Grower Fresh cut flowers until further notice!

This weeks edition is by Allison Hunter and in it she mentions a program about Wednesday’s event that was hosted by Evan Davis, the BBC's Economics Editor and presenter of the real BBC show "The Dragons' Den". It involved successful business people (three from Scotland and one from England) passing judgment on pitches made by representatives of the five main parties at Holyrood as to which specific policy agenda offered the best opportunity for Entrepreneurs to succeed in Scotland. The Scottish Dragons were Rachel Elnaugh, founder of Red Letter Days, Dundee business woman Amanda Boyle, entrepreneur Chris Gorman OBE, and Edinburgh chef and restaurant owner Tony Singh.

You can actually see this show if you have broadband access at "Could you make a fortune in Scotland?" at

The Scot Wit item this week is...

When the Roman Legions invaded Scotland they were faced by the Picts and had great difficulty in subduing the blue woad painted warriors.

The story goes that one Roman Legion marching near Bennachie saw through the mist a lone Pictish warrior on the hillside. The Roman Commander immediately dispatched two men to capture him. They failed to return but the Pictish warrior was spotted once again. He sent four men but they too failed to return. Once again the Pictish warrior was seen making his way along the hillside. The Commander then sent eight men. The sound of battle echoed through the mist and eventually a blood-stained Roman Legionairre staggered back to his waiting companions with these alarming words -

"Go back! Go back! Its an ambush - there's two of them."

You can read this weeks issue, see the pictures and listen to the Scots language at

Competed the S's and have now moved onto the T's which you can read at

Have added another 28 pages this week and here are places mentioned this week...

Tarbert, Loch Tarbert, Loch East and West Tarbert, Tarbet, Tarbolton, Tarff Water, Tarff Water and Station, Tarfside, Tarf Water, Water of Tarf, Tarland, Tarlogie, Tarransay, Tarras Water, Tarrensay, Tarth Water, Tarves, Tarvit Hill, Tayfield, Tayinloan, Loch Tay, Taymount, Taymouth Castle, Taynuilt, Tayport, The Tay, Tealing, Teaninich House, Techmuiry, The Teith, Templand, Temple, Templelands, Temple Liston, Tenandry, Tents Moor, Terraughtie, Terregles, Tertowie House, Teviot, Teviotbank, Teviotdale, Teviothead, Texa, Thainston, Thankerton, Thief's Road, Thirdpart, Thirlestane Castle, Thomaston, Loch Thom, Thorn, Thornhill, Thornielee, Thornliebank, Thornton, Thornton Castle, Thornton Hall, Thorntoun House, Threave Castle, Thrumster House, Thurso, Thurston, Tibbermore, Tibbers, Tibbie Shiels, Tifty, Tighnabruaich, Tillery House, Tilliechewan Castle, Tillicoultry, Tilliechewan Castle, Tillietudlem, Tillyangus, Tillyfour, Tillynaught Junction, Tillypronie, Tilt, Bridge of Tilt, Tima Water, Tingwall, Tinto, Tinwald, Tippermuir, Tiree, Tirry, Tobermory, Toberonichy, Todhills, Tollcross, Tonguhon Castle, Tolsta, Tomachaistel, Tomatin, Tombae, Tomich, Tomintoul, Tomnachaistel, Tomnahurich, Tomnavoulin, Tonderghie, Tong, Tongland, Tongue, Tonley House, Tor-Alvie, Tore, Torgyle, Torlum, Tornaveen, Torosay or Pennygown and Torosay, Torphichen, Torphins, Torrance, Loch Torridon, Torrie House, Torrisdale Castle, Torryburn, Torsay, Torsonce House, Tortholwald, Torwood, Torwoodlee, Toskerton, Touchadam, Touch House, Tough, Tour, Toward Point, Towerhill House, Tower-Lindsay, Towie, Towie-Barclay, Townend House, Townhead, Townhill, Town-Yetholm, Trailtrow, Tranent, Traprain Law, Traquair, Traside, Treesbank, Loch Treig, Treshnish Isles, Tresta, Trinafour, Trinity, Trinity-Gask, Trochrie, Tromie, Tronach Castle, Trondra, Loch Trool, Troon, Troqueer, Trossachs, Trotternish, Troup House, Truim, Trumland House, Loch Tuadh, Tuiteam-Tarbhach, Tulchan House, Loch Tulla, Tulliallan, Tullibardine, Tullibody, Tullich, Tulliebelton, Tulliebole, Tulloch Castle, Tullochgorum, Tullybeagles, Tullybelton, Tullymet, Tullynessle and Forbes, Tummel, Tummel Bridge, Tundergarth, Turing's Tower, Turin Hill, Turk, Turnberry Castle, Turner Hall, Turret Burn, Turriff, Tushielaw, Twatt, Twechar, Tweed, Tweeddale, and Tweedsmuir.

The whole Gazetteer is available at

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

We are now on the C's with Cassillis, Cathcart, Cawdor, Cessford, Chalmer and Chalmers added this week.

Here is a bit from the Cassillis entry....

CASSILLIS, earl of, a title in the peerage of Scotland, possessed by the marquis of Ailsa, and conferred, in 1509, on David, third Lord Kennedy. The first of the family mentioned in any charter was Duncan de Carrick, who lived in the reign of Malcolm the Fourth, which began in 1153. His son, Nicol de Carrick, granted, in 1220, the church of St. Cuthbert at Maybole, to the nuns of North Berwick. Nicol’s son, Roland de Carrick, obtained a grant of the bailiary of Carrick from Nigel, earl of Carrick, who died in 1256, to himself and his heirs male, to be ‘caput totius progeniei suae,’ that is, chief of his name, and to have the command of all the men in Carrick, under the said earl and his successors; which grant was confirmed by Alexander the Third, by a charter dated at Stirling, 20th January 1275-6, and ratified by Robert the Second, by charters dated at Ayr, 1st October, 1372.

Sir Gilbert de Carrick, knight, son of Roland, in 1285 submitted a difference between him and the nuns of North Berwick to Robert Bruce, earl of Carrick, father of Robert the First, and Robert bishop of Glasgow, to which submission his seal is appended, having the same shield of arms as that borne by the earls of Cassillis. He was one of the securities for Robert, earl of Carrick, on his obtaining the resignation of that earldom from his father in 1292.

His son, also named Gilbert, received from King Robert the Bruce a remission for Arthur his son-in-law having surrendered Lochdoon castle to the English, ans was restored to the government thereof with the lands thereto belonging. Sir Gilbert de Carrick was one of the prisoners taken at the battle of Durham in 1346.

His son, Sir John Kennedy of Dunnure, is designed in many authentic writs, the son of Sir Gilbert de Carrick. He was forfeited in the reign of King David the Second, as appears from a charter of that monarch to Malcolm Fleming of the lands of Leigne, which belonged to him. He, however, obtained from that monarch a charter confirming the donations, grants, and venditions made to him by Marjory de Montgomery, senior, and by his wife, Marjory de Montgomery, daughter of Sir John Montgomery, of the lands of Castlys (Cassillis) in the county of Ayr, with other territorial possessions which he had acquired in Carrick. This, and other charters obtained by him are entitled, ‘confirmatio Johannis Kenedy,’ the family having changed their name from Carrick to Kennedy, the latter a Gaelic compound signifying the head of the house or family. [See KENNEDY, surname of.] He had three sons. From the second, John, it is supposed that the old Kennedys of Cullean, now spelled Cuzean, are descended.

His eldest son, Sir Gilbert Kennedy, was one of the hostages delivered to the English in 1357, for the liberation of King David the Second. He married, first, Marion, daughter of Sir James Sandilands of Calder, by Eleanora, countess of Carrick, and had by her four sons, namely, 1. Gilbert, who, on account of his next brother marrying a princess of Scotland, was disinherited by his father; 2. James, of whom afterwards; 3. Alexander; and 4. Sir Hugh Kennedy of Ardstinchar, who accompanied the Scots troops, under the command of the earl of Buchan, to France, and distinguished himself at the battle of Beaugé, 22d March 1421, in consequence of which he was honoured by the king of France with his armorial bearings, azure, three fleurs de lis, or; which h e and his successors marshalled in the first and fourth quarters with those of Kennedy in the second and third. From him descended the Kennedys of Bargany, Kirkhill, and Binning, in Ayrshire. Sir Gilbert married, secondly, Agnes, daughter of Sir Robert Maxwell of Calderwood, and had by her three sons, namely, John, Thomas, and David, the latter one of the retinue of knights who attended the princess Margaret of Scotland into France on her marriage to Louis the dauphin in 1436.

Sir James Kennedy of Dunure, the second son, married the princess Mary Stewart, daughter of King Robert the Third, and widow of George first earl of Angus of the house of Douglas. By this marriage the wealth and influence of the family were greatly increased. From his father-in-law he obtained a charger of confirmation of the bailiary of Carrick, and of the lands and barony of Dalyrmple, to himself and the princess his wife, dated at Dundonald, 27th January 1405-6. He was killed in the lifetime of his father, in a quarrel with his elder brother, Gilbert, who had been disinherited in his favour. gilbert went to France, and died in the French service. The princess Mary, their father’s widow, was afterwards again twice married. By her, Sir James Kennedy had two sons, Gilbert his successor, and James, bishop of St. Andrews, the celebrated founder of the college of St. Salvator in that city, of whom there is a memoir under the head of KENNEDY, JAMES.

Sir Gilbert Kennedy of Dunure, knight, obtained from King James the Second, a charter of the keeping of the castle of Lochdoon, and of the pennylands thereto belonging, to him and the heirs male of his body, 17th May 1450. He was created a peer of Scotland in 1452, by the title of Lord Kennedy, and on the death of James the Second in 1460 he was appointed one of the six regents of the kingdom during the minority of James the Third. He died in 1473. He married Catherine, daughter of Herbert Lord Maxwell, by whom he had three sons and two daughters.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read the other entries at

The Celtic Monthly
A magazine for Highlanders

I have now added the fourth issue of Volume 10 (January 1902) which includes amongst other articles ones on Charles M'Laren Liverpool, Albert Edward MacKinnon, The Song of Sleep, The Piper of Golf and Green, A Christmas and New Year Greeting, The Pledged Sporran, Clan Menzies Gathering, Martian Music of the Clans, The Marquis of Dufferin on the Races of Ireland, Gaelic Music in Scotland, Rognvald: Earl, Jorsala-Farer and Saint.

In this January issue there are some interesting line drawings of the Highlanders at work and play although the wee verses attached to them are in gaelic.

This issue is at

You can see the issues to date at

Children's Stories
Margo sent in some more wee children's stories...

Bon Voyage at
The Noisy Boy at
Jump In! Jump In! at
The Rats are Gone! at
Donuts at

Also... Margo has sent in some line drawings for our page, "Pictures for Printing and Colouring" at

When you click on a thumbnail picture a larger one comes up and you can print that off for your young ones to colour with coloured pencils or crayons.

The Life of James Stewart
D.D. M.D. Hon. F.R.G.S. by James Wells, D.D. (1909)

Almost finished this book and we are now up to chapter 39. Here is how Chapter 38 starts...

WHEN Dr. Stewart died, some hundreds of messages of sympathy were sent to Mrs. Stewart by telegram or letter from men of wellnigh every colour, creed, clime, and condition, Notices of him appeared in, it is believed, all the South African papers, and in very many in Great Britain and in other lands, while most of the religious publications contained a biographical notice and an appreciation. ‘Reduplicated expressions of reverential grief came rolling in like the varied and successive echoes of thunder among the hills.’ We offer a few specimens. Mr. J. Tengo Jabavu, a pupil of Lovedale, proprietor and editor of Irnvo, a Native paper, devoted a leading article to his tribute to Dr. Stewart, whom he describes in a letter as his ‘dear friend and benefactor.’ In his article he says:— ‘Dr. Stewart of Lovedale passed away on Thursday evening, December 21, 1905, and with the event a figure that has loomed large in the firmament of South Africa particularly, and of the world generally, has disappeared. Of his life-work in the mission-field Lovedale it has been well observed, is his monument, and no more suitable and enduring monument could be desired. In this connection one is reminded of the Latin phrase which has been applied to Sir Christopher Wren, which, with equal propriety, may be quoted with respect to Dr. Stewart and his work—" Si monumentum requiris circzimspice!" It is a truly pathetic thought to us as Natives that a man of the great and transcendent abilities of Dr. Stewart—abilities that would have merited the highest rewards in any and every sphere of life, were wholly and absolutely devoted to the building up and perfecting a remarkable agency like the Missionary Institution of Lovedale for the dissemination’ of Christianity and its concomitant, civilisation, for enlightening and blessing the savage millions of Africa. Natives must be truly thankful to Almighty God for giving them such a large-hearted missionary statesman as Dr. Stewart, who has laid the foundations of the good cause broad and deep, for those who come after him to rear a magnificent edifice on them.

‘As a national possession Dr. Stewart’s demise is mourned no less by South Africa and the Natives than by his family, and in the circumstances it is difficult to distinguish which is to be condoled with most. He has, however, for the lasting consolation of both left the priceless heritage of stupendous and unselfish labours for Christ and humanity that will bless Africa for all time.’

We add an extract from a letter sent to Mrs. Stewart from the native people of the Tyumie Valley, in which Lovedale stands: ‘We wish to express to you our deep sympathy, and our great sorrow for the loss of our father, Dr. Stewart. In sympathising with you and your children we can only say, Lady, you know whose hand has taken away the head of your home, you know that his time of work was done. You know that that time was filled in with good work and pure, you know that he has gone to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" and so we, in sympathising, say to you, Lady, and your children, be of good cheer, Dr. Stewart’s God is not dead. He has His son in safe keeping, and He will keep him there and keep you there, till the time when He brings you all together again. And we might also say Dr. Stewart’s trees which he planted in Africa need watering and care: will it not comfort you to see that they are tended, and to watch for the fruits which will appear in the years to come?

‘And now our own sorrow and loss comes before us. From one end of Africa to another, to-day we are cast down and fearful. The friend of the natives is gone. To-day we are orphans, to-day we have no present help. The wings which were stretched over us are folded, the hands that were stretched out in aid of the Native are resting. The eye which watched all danger is sleeping to-day, the voice that was raised in our behalf is still, and we are left sorrowful, amazed, troubled, but in our sorry we say, "God is not dead." God will be your helper and ours, and Lady, let it never be said that Dr. Stewart’s work was a failure. From the four corners of Africa comes the voice of God-fearing men and women in eager protest, and Native Africa is a country to-day through Dr. Stewart. God be with you and your children, Lady.’ Then follow the names of fifteen prominent natives.

The Rev. J. Knox Bokwe travelled fully three hundred miles to bid farewell to his chief. He thus describes the interview which took place six days before the end. ‘Well, Knox,’ he said, ‘you see what it has come to. It is good of you to have come to see me. How different the state you find me in to-day from what you have known me in the past. Here stretched in feeble helplessness on this bed, a prisoner within four walls of a room, only to lie and think how comparatively little one can accomplish in a lifetime, and even then how imperfectly. I wish I could have done more for your people and for Africa, but the opportunity seems at an end. The task is now for others to take up, and such of you as have been shown the way ought to know what to do, ought to help all you can. Do not expect that you will get all you desire the moment you ask for it, or even in the way you consider best suited for you. These things come bit by bit. Wise and discreet leaders will ever be watchful not to disappoint or distrust the friends who are trying to do the best for them. They will stand by them. I am too tired to say more, even though I should have liked to speak to you about the proposed Inter-State College. Try, you, to do the best you can for it, for your people, for Africa. God bless you all. Remember me to your wife and children. God be with you. Farewell.’

Mr. Bokwe adds: ‘I cry like the prophet to-day, "Oh my Father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof."

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

Byways of Scottish Story
by George Eyre-Todd (1930)

Have now finished this book with the final chapter on "A Scottish Parish in the Eighteenth Century" and here is how it starts...

FROM 1710 to 1764 is a period of which our knowledge of local history and manners in Scotland remains singularly scanty. Allan Ramsay in the beginning of the eighteenth century and Robert Burns at the end of it have both, in their songs and poems, left pictures of rural Scotland as they saw it. But of the period between, though its great events, the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715 and 1745, are sufficiently well known, for detail of local and private life the popular mind takes its main, if not its only, impression from the pages of "Rob Roy." Circumstantial details in abundance are nevertheless available enough for the purposes of history, and when these shall have been grouped together by the future historian, the picture may be found to possess more interest than at present might be supposed. [Since this was written, in 1893, Mr. Grey Graham's book on " Scotland in the Eighteenth Century" has gathered such materials as are here suggested, and has thrown a brilliant light on the period in question.]

Readers will remember how, after parting from the bold Macgregor at Inversnaid, Francis Osbaldistone and Bailie Nicol Jarvie are rowed down Loch Lomond arid landed on its southern shore, whence they depart for the Bailie's native Saltmarket, wiser if less adventurous men. For the circumstances of this and other parts of his romantic tale, Scott was indebted to an occasional residence with his advocate friend, Hector Macdonald, who had married the heiress of Ross Priory, an old mansion still standing on this southern shore. [See "The Tale of a Quiet Strath," p. 130.] He carried away from the neighbourhood, it is said, several papers of antiquarian interest belonging to the local lairds, which have since been lost. The most valuable and fullest of colour and detail of all the local documents, however, appear to have escaped him. Among other ecclesiastical records, the minutes of the kirk session of the parish for the fifty-four years above named remain to the present day in the hands of the parish minister. Had the author of "Rob Roy" come upon these it is possible that more than one amusing and characteristic circumstance might have been added to delay the homeward flight of the worthy bailie. In their pages local life, manners, and sentiment, as well as personal character and opinion, are set forth with an intimacy of knowledge and an unconscious directness of statement unrivalled by the most realistic writing of modern times.

Among the cases of libel, for instance, which were tried with all formality before this petty ecclesiastical Court, one may be quoted as showing how late the superstitions of earlier centuries lingered in remote corners of the country. on 30th December, 1711, a petition was given in to the session by one John Anderson, in Boghead of Abel, on behalf of his mother, Margaret Anderson, in the following terms: "That whereas James Fisher, son of Andrew Fisher, deceast, and Katharine M'Farlane, living in Aibir, did in severall places, particularly in James Wilson, officer to the Laird of Killmaronoch, his house, expresse himself thus, that he was once fee'd [hired] in a widow's house where one night, after all were in bed, the widow brought in a man in black, with a hatt, whom he suspected to be the Devill, and earnestly desired him to fee with him, proferring him ane forty shilling peece in earnest, which he refused. And the said James Fisher being once my servant and I a widow, the country have uncharitably blamed me as the person guilty of that atrocious crime, whereof whosoever is guilty ought to be punished with the utmost rigour, by reason of which my credit is ruined, my life a burden to me, and my children visibly disgraced, though I am altogether innocent of that crime. May it therefore please your wisdom to take the premises to your consideration, and, seeing the foresaid James Fisher has expressed himself as you heard, cause him declare the truth fully in that matter, and to make such intimation thereof as may vindicate my innocence, restore my good name, and prevent my children's discredit. And your petitioner shall ever pray."

The minutes proceed to relate that the presenter of the petition having been removed, the session "considered his supplication, and finding that it contains a lybell of slander against James Fisher, wright in Aiber, doe appoint their officer to summond the said James Fisher to appear before the session this day eight days in order to his being enquired upon the contents of the said supplication." Accordingly, at the next meeting of session, Tames Fisher, being duly "summoned and called, did compear," and had the petition read to him. He pleaded not guilty, however, and John Anderson, the presenter of the petition, was required to name witnesses to support his case. These the session's officer was ordered to summon to the next meeting, and their evidence occupies considerable space in the minutes. One specimen of it, however, may suffice. The accused, it should be stated, was first formally required to repeat his plea of not guilty, and was asked further whether he had anything to object against the witnesses. He made no objection, and the examination proceeded. "James Wilson, a married man, aged about twenty-seven years, being summoned to this dyet of the Session, and called, did compear, and being purged of malice and partiall counsell, and solemnly sworn, depons as follows : That he heard James Fisher, a litle after Hallowday last, say that he was fee'd in a house where, one night, when all others were in bed, lie awaking, saw a great fire, and the goodwife of the house sitting, and a black man sitting by her, whom he suspected to be the Devill, and the said Woman received a fortie shilling peece from that black man to fee the said James Fisher, to give in earnest, which he refused. But heard him not make mention of Margaret Anderson, or any Widow, or any particular person. And this is all he knows in the matter, and can wryte. Sic subscribitur, James Wilson."

Other witnesses follow, with variations, but in the same tenor on the main points ; then comes the session's interloquitur, duly marked as such in the margin. "The Session, having removed John Anderson and James Fisher, and gone through and considered the depositions of the severall witnesses, doe find that James Fisher in all his discourse before the witnesses did name no Widow, nor any particular person, and that there is nothing in the depositions that did concern Margaret Andersone more than others of the paroch, but rather what tends to her vindication. And therefore appoint that either she adduce more witnesses against James Fisher to prove her Lybell, or else fall from the same. And seeing some of the country have taken occasion from James Fisher's discourse uncharitably to blame her, they appoint that she condescend on these persons who have done so, that they may be prosecute and punisht as slanderers of her. John Andersone being called in, this was signified unto him. James Fisher being called in, he was exorted to be more cautious of his words, lest thereby he might give offence to any."

As the case does not appear further, it may be supposed that Margaret Anderson found her character sufficiently vindicated by the proceedings already undertaken.

and you can read the rest of this story at

and the other chapters can be found at

Understanding Robert Burns
I was delighted to receive a copy of this book and must say that for folk that find it hard to read some of the Scots language of Burns this would make an excellent addition to your library. I got permission to post up three poems from the book and have scanned them in so you can see the layout of the pages.

While we have a lot on the Scots language up on the site I confess I do have problems understanding it myself. In many respects this is why I'm impressed with this book as most of the poems featured are given a brief overview then side by side to each verse is an english language overview of each verse and the meaning of the Scottish words.

For example I read the poem, "The Auld Farmer's New-Years Morning Salutation to his Auld Mare, Maggie" and whereas I'd glanced at it before I now have a much better impression of the poem. I'd encourage you to read this poem as Burns wrote it and then go and read the explanation to each verse and I think you will find a much greater understanding and enjoyment of the poem. George Scott Wilkie has in my opinion done a great job with this book and to my mind has re-discovered Robert Burns for this current generation.

You can see this at

Got in some pictures from the Clan MacMillan in the USA at the 2006 Grandfather Highland Games at

Added a poem, Gloomy Poetry, by William Smith at

Donna sent in an article on Time Capsule and Ponca Pow-wow at

Chiefs and Chieftains
This list is prepared by Iain Brodie of Falsyde. FSA. Scot. as part of a new book in preparation with a working title currently "THE SCOTTISH CLANS HERITAGE & HISTORY". You can see this at

He's going to update the list for us from time to time as he fills some of the gaps. Note also that this is a very large page so might take a wee bit to load. He also welcomes any feedback and his email address is provided on the page.

Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Thanks to Nola Crewe for transcribing these biographies for us.

We have several more biographies up for you to read at

Here is one for you to read here...

Charteris Family

CHARTERIS. The Charteris family stands among the early representatives of the County of Kent. The first of the family concerning whom there is any definite record is Charles Charteris, the grandfather of Dr. C. R. Charteris, of Chatham. He was born in Dumfrieshire, Scotland, and married Miss Diana Reed, daughter of John Reed, of Northumberland, England. Three children were born of this union: John, deceased; Diana Elizabeth, of Australia; and Charles George. The father was a captain in the 28th Light Dragoons of Scotland, and on the disbanding of the regiment became a member of the Yeomanry Cavalry.

Charles George Charteris was born July 25th, 1828, in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and came to Canada in 1846, settling in Chatham, Ontario, where he was employed by Witherspoon & Charteris, general merchants and agrents for the Gore Bank, of which Alexander Charteris was one of the partners. At the expiration of five or six years, Charles George Charteris engaged in the lumber business with William Baxter, continuing therein until 1857, when he was appointed treasurer of the County of Kent, which position he held until the time of his lamented death, February 27th, 1887. He was one of the most popular of the county officials, being held in high esteem by the best people of the county. In local politics, also, he was a prominent figure, and for two terms was a member of the town council. He was the second mayor of Chatham, holding that office in 1857. Always interested in the welfare of his adopted city, he was decidedly a public-spirited man. At one time he was agent for the Bank of Upper Canada at Chatham, and worked for the settlement of their real estate interests in the County of Kent. In political affiliation he was a Reformer, and in religious connection a Presbyterian.

On December 25th, 1849, Charles George Charteris married Miss Elizabeth Baxter, daughter of William Baxter, of Chatham, and to this union were born eight children: F.W. a farmer of Chatham township; Mrs. Colles, of Chicago; Mrs. Dr. Mustard, of Ohio; Dr. C. R., of Chatham; F.G.Y., a farmer of Chatham township; Charles George; Caroline; and Harriett Louisa, deceased.

The Charteris family is a very ancient one in the annals of Dumfriesshire, Scotland. They are supposed to have been ofiginally of French origin, settling in Scotland in the reign of George II. A large tract of land was granted to the family for important services to the king, and a portion of this property is still in the possession of some of the descendants of the family. The following may prove of interest in connection with the ancient history of the family: On the night of April 4th, 1608, James VI slept at Amisfield Castle, on his way to England, and the bed he occupied that night is now preserved in the museum of antiquities at Edinburgh. There is also preserved in the same museum a door on which a hero of the Charteris family is represented in the act of tearing asunder the jaws of a lion – the same being a true representation of an incident in the history of the family.

Dr. C.R. CHARTERIS was born in Chatham township, County of Kent, July 22nd, 1865, and was educated in the central and high schools of Chatham. His medical course was taken in the Toronto School of Medicine and Victoria University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Toronto, from which institutuion he was graduated in 1887, receiving the degree of M.D.C.M. The same year he began practicing in Chatham, becoming a member of the board of health of the city during that year. In 1888 he continued his medical studies in the hospitals of London and Edinburgh. Upon his return in 1889, the Doctor settled at Florence, County of Lambton, Ontario, where he built up an extensive practice. At the end of four years of hard work, much of his practice being in the surrounding country, the continuous driving made itself felt in a breaking down of his physical strength, and the Doctor moved to Chatham, where he is relieved of much of the out-of-town work, and in his eight years of practice in that city he has met with his former success. He is a member of the Ontario Medical Association. In January, 1900, he was appointed physician to the County House of Refuge, and also to the county jail. Dr. Charteris was appointed in 1896 a member of the Library Board, being chairman thereof in 1897 and 1903. This year (1904) he is chairman o f the board of health.

On November 19th, 1890, Dr. Charteris was married to Miss Margaretta Webster, daughter of John Webster, postmaster at Florence, and they have three children: Gwendoline Isabella, Charles Maxwell and Walter Francis. The Doctor and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, and in his political faith he is a Reformer. Socially he belongs to the Sons of Scotland and to the I.O.O.F.

The Scots Week-End
And Caledonian Vade-Mecum for Host, Guest and Wayfarer (1936)

This is really a book you dip into so likely there will be something for everyone in here. Certainly I was fascinated with some of the outdoor and indoor games that were discussed. So have a wee browse and keep an eye out for chapters that you might find of interest.

To prepare you for this book I thought I'd include the Preface here for you to read...

IN the common form of preface acknowledgements of assistance, if made at all, are put last. This is a shabby practice at best, and in the present circumstances would be inexcusable, for without the generous collaboration of many friends our project of The Scots WeekEnd could never have been carried out. Our first duty, therefore, is to thank "JAMES BRIDIE" for his demonstration of the heather-bedside manner; ERIC LINKLATER for his sage guidance in the delicate matter of holiday friendships which he has refused to have entitled "Don Juan in Caledonia"; DAVID CLEGHORN THOMSON for bearing the main burden of the musical section; ROBERT HURD for his illustrated notes on Scottish architecture; and a lad we daurna name, owing to the etiquette of Parliament House, for the learned and lively opinion he has given on the law of Scotland as it affects the holiday-maker. With the main literary contributors we must join EVELYN DUNBAR, to whose witty and accomplished pencil we owe the decorations.

These have been our chief coadjutors, but there are many more to whom we are indebted-so many, indeed, that it would be no mere phrase to say that they are too numerous to mention. Yet a few must be mentioned. Thus we must thank Dr. J. M. Bulloch, whose authority on the subject is undisputed, for the notes on Scottish regimental tartans, which embody information not to be found in any other book; Mr Edward Scouller, who has put at our disposal his copious and curious learning on Scottish children's games; Miss F. Marian MacNeill and Mr George Malcolm Thomson for help in the meat-and-drink section; and Mrs Robert Ornsby for expert advice on our native breeds of dog.

Nor is this all by a long way, as we cannot even claim much originality of conception for our miscellany. Obviously there would have been no Scots Week-End if Mr and Mrs Francis Meynell had not previously thought of The Week-End Book, which has delighted the English-speaking world for these dozen years and is likely to go on doing so for another generation. To the Scot, however, the appeal of The Week-End Book is limited by what is its very charm-its essential Englishness, the spirit of the English countryside that it breathes, and the peculiarly English allusiveness of its literary quality. On particular points, too, such as flora and fauna, law and architecture, its information is largely inapplicable north of the Tweed. Yet, rightly or wrongly, for good or ill, Scotland has some reputation as a holiday country, and it is only reasonable that it should have its own holiday book. The Scots Week-End is our attempt to supply that. Of its imperfections we are well aware, but we do not beg to be excused on account of them. We would even make a virtue of them, because they are largely characteristic of the national genius. Further, in selecting their material the editors of The Week-End Book were limited only by the boundaries of the ample term "English" - that is to say, they could include anything from a Burns lyric to a negro spiritual. We of The Scots Week-End, on the other hand, have, with a few exceptions, been confined to native writers and singers. In these narrow circumstances our wonder is that we have so much to show.

Some criticisms of the anthological parts had better be anticipated. Let it be said in the first place that personal caprice has had a large share in the business of selection. That may be forgiven if the net result is amusing. Caprice, however, has been qualified by two serious considerations. Generally speaking, Scottish anthologies are apt to be both hackneyed and solemn. The masterpieces of the old "makars" and the vernacular poets of a later day are paraded again and again as if their merits could not be over-emphasised. It also happens somehow that these prime favourites are apt to be concerned with the more sombre emotions. Why this should be is not clear. The Scots are not an exceptionally dismal race. On the contrary, in comparison with (say) the Irish, they are cheerful and easy-going. One can but surmise that they feel there may be something not quite right in the sight of heaven about their natural good spirits, and so "wi' pains they put a Sunday face on". Conventional Burns-worship, which regards mainly the less robust aspects of the poet, has likewise done much mischief. There was good Scots verse before Burns, and there has been some since his day that is not to be despised. Not the least of the many services that Lord Tweedsmuir has rendered to Scottish letters is that in The Northern Muse he has shown the present generation of Scotsmen how much richer and more varied is their inheritance of lyric poetry than they had been led to believe.

Our little anthology was conceived in something of the same spirit, subject to the limitations of a book that is professedly for lighter moments. Like the Vicar of Wakefield's first sermon in prison, it is calculated to amuse rather than to edify. It includes very few old favourites, for these, as we have said, have been more than sufficiently rehearsed. Burns figures little in it, and even so mainly as an epigrammatist; but Hogg gets, if not his due, at least more generous treatment than is usually accorded him. He was a great man, who at his best could rival Burns in lyric poetry and excel Scott in prose. Stevenson is not represented at all. His experiments in Scots verse are juvenilia, and, when one comes to consider them, not very good ones. On the other hand, the Victorian age produced Scottish practitioners of the art of light verse who are not remembered as they deserve to be. Lord Neaves, perhaps, is no more than a ready and rollicking versifier, but George Outram is an accomplished wit, and Robert Fuller Murray a disciple of Calverley who might well have rivalled his master had death not taken him while still in his pupilage. We have also drawn upon the considerable body of fugitive light verse that may be found, if one has the patience to look for it, in the files of Scottish newspapers and university magazines since the beginning of the century. The poets of our so-called Renascence have presented a more difficult problem, because in the nature of the case their work so far consists more of experiment than of achievement. "Nae doot themsels they ken it weel", for the general response of those we approached with permission to quote was a courteous but sardonic consent. "Use what you like", was the substance of it, "and much good may it do you." Well, it has done us the good of enabling us to give poems by "Hugh MacDiarmid" and Edwin Muir, to mention no others. But admittedly our selection of the moderns is not in any sense representative.

Of the rest of the anthology not much need be said; but we hope the section called "Unlucky Numbers" may serve to refute the charge made by "Hugh MacDiarmid" in a recent work that Scotland has not quality enough to produce truly "good" bad poetry, and that the hoot of the Stuffed Owl is seldom heard on our side of the Border. Praise of Scotland we found difficult to fill from non-Scottish writers, while Dispraise of Scotland revealed an embarrassing wealth of material. Paradoxically the Sabbath section proved the most intractable of all. The Scottish Sabbath is a subject apparently that foreign writers can hardly bring themselves to speak of, while the eulogies of the native writers are either ludicrous or manifestly insincere. It is perhaps significant that the National Bard is silent on the painful topic.

A word on the song section and we have done. Here, as in the anthology, the aim has been to avoid as far as possible the beaten track, but as it is the essence of the section to provide songs that for the most part can be sung in chorus round the fire, a certain regard has had to be paid to old favourites. Consideration has also been had for local sentiment. Thus, in addition to Aberdeen's "Where Gadie rins", which is in many popular collections, we have given Angus's "Lum Hat wantin' the Croon" and Hawick's "Pawkie Paiterson", which are not so generally known. There are also some snatches of street ballads and other odds and ends which have never appeared in print before.


You'll get some interesting comments in this book.. for example in the chapter "Wha's Like Us?" you'll find...


I will not deny, but Scotland has formerly given very eminent Scholars to the World; nay, I will go further, there are no finer Gentlemen in the World, than that Nation can justly boast of; but then they are such as have travelled, and are indebted to other Countries for those Accomplishments that render them so esteemed, their own affording only Pedantry, Poverty, Brutality, and Hypocrisy... - Scotland Characterised (1701)

Some are of Opinion, that, when the Devil shewed our Saviour the Kingdoms of the Earth, he laid his thumb upon Scotland, and that for a twofold Reason: First, Because it was not like to be any Temptation, Next, Being Part of his Mother's jointure, he could not dispose of it during her Life. - Ibid.

Their Women are, if possible, yet worse than the Men, and carry no Temptations, but what have at Hand suitable Antidotes.... Their Voice is like Thunder, and will as effectually sowre all the Milk in a Dairy, or Beer in a Cellar, as forty Drums beating a Preparative. It is a very Common Thing for a Woman of Quality to say to her Footman, "Andrew, take a fast Gripe of my A-, and help me over the Stile...." - Ibid.

They pretend to be descended from one Madam Scota, Daughter to King Pharaoh; but the best Proof, they give of it, is their Bringing two of the Plagues of Egypt along with them, viz., Lice and the Itch; which they have intailed on their Posterity ever since... - Ibid.

Of course Scots are known to be able to laugh at ourselves :-)

You can read the first few chapters at

Scottish Enterprise Party
I got in an issue of a newsletter from the Scottish Enterprise Party and thought I might share a bit of it with our Canadian friends...

A bit of news not on the UK Press wire.

A Spanish trawler fishing off Halifax NS. was arrested by the Canuck's it seems after a chase by their frigate, their fisheries corvettes are too slow, and when ordered to stop it pushed on the coals and tried to run for it, however the frigate overtook it and fired two rounds across the bow to nil effect whereupon the frigate stuck an armoured piercing shell into the engine room at which point it did stop and had a wee leak too it seems. The engineer appears to be a wee bit poorly right now but is on the mend. The frigate captain is on record of saying that the next shell was going through the bridge. Testosterone rules the waves.

The Spanish vessel was stuffed full of halibut mainly and is now 'resting' in Halifax. It seems from my source that the Canucks are apparently planning a really big show trial and are intent on trying the skipper and crew for acts of piracy. Should be interesting.

The 'source' also tells me that the Canucks intend to drag the Spanish government into this and charge them with knowingly aiding and abetting the Santander boats in illegal fisheries as their inspectors have never brought anyone to book despite them being provided with chapter and verse as to ship registration, etc, etc. They even have had cytology done on samples of fish bought under cover in Spain which show they could only have come from the Canuk's waters, still no action. They would it seems also like to get the EU's nuts in a vice over this as well but that's maybe a bit too optimistic. Give the Spics the EU Fisheries HQ and they think they have the world at their feet.

Oh well, long overdue. Maybe Roddy has a more accurate SP on this wee adventure which he might be able to share.

James Chalmers of New Guinea
by Cuthbert Lennox (1903)

I've not done too much on this book as I wanted to finish the other Scots Missionary before making more progress on this one. I have however got the first 6 chapters up at

Chapter 5 starts...

WHERE are the young men?" was one of the first questions put by Chalmers when he landed in Rarotonga. Of elderly men and women, of young women, and of children he noticed that there was a proportionate population, but of young men there were few or none to be seen. On learning that these had taken to a lawless life in the bush, he lost no time in making extended excursions into the less frequented parts of the island, tracked them down to their lairs, and by his frankness and cordiality won over many of them to friendship and confidence. He found that one of their principal occupations was the manufacture and consumption of intoxicating beverages, made from oranges, bananas, pine-apples, and other fruits. Without thought of the risk of bodily harm to himself, he penetrated to the secluded spots at which drunken orgies were wont to be held; sometimes arriving in time to broach the casks and pour the liquor on the ground, at other times coming on the scene when the deadly poison had done its work, and murderous brawling and strife had converted a carousal into a free fight. "Our greatest enemy at present," he wrote in 1870, "is strong drink, foreign and native. Auckland traders supply us with the former, and the oranges with the latter. Sometimes a church member is enticed away with it, and falls. Occasionally one or two are led to see the evils of it; they leave it off, and seek to live better for the future."

In 1873 Chalmers began to agitate for a Rechabite Society. The chiefs urged the claims of what they called "the new society" on the people, and themselves joined it. After eighteen months, he was able to report that "great good has been accomplished through it. It is entirely in the hands of the natives; they elect their own staff of officers. Makea (chieftainess) and her husband have given it all their influence. They have both insisted also on the law for the suppression of drunkenness being fully carried out."

Concerning the system of debt, to which reference has already been made, we are able to quote again from Chalmers in his own words:— "Another great evil we are fighting here is the system of debt. The traders do what they can to get the natives into their debt, and to keep them in it, hoping thus to secure their entire produce. I have been much struck with a passage by Wallace, in his Malay Archipelago, on this subject. He says: ‘Another temptation he cannot resist is goods on credit. The trader offers him gay cloths, knives, gongs, guns and gunpowder, to be paid for by some crop perhaps not yet planted, or some product yet in the forest. . . . preventing permanent increase in the wealth of the country.’ It is just what we have to fight against on Rarotonga, and now we see light breaking. For some months past the people have been making extra efforts to pay off all their debts, and will likely be entirely free by the end of the year."

In 1874 the different chiefs made an attempt to form a united government for the whole island, and enact laws equally binding upon each individual of the entire population. In hearty sympathy with this proposal—and more than likely the originator of the idea— Chalmers prepared a draft constitution and submitted it to the chiefs. "They must act for themselves," he wrote. "Unless the natives are taught to look after their own island and prepare for the future, they will not be able to resist the pressure of the white faces."

Nothing that affected the welfare of the Rarotongan was too trifling or too secular to claim Tamate’s interest and attention, but he never lost sight of the supreme end of his mission—the spiritual emancipation of these babes of civilisation. There was often ground for much anxiety, but he steadfastly maintained a cheerful and hopeful outlook; and, as the years rolled by, he could not but recognise tokens of a distinct development of spirituality. By the exercise of a wise and firm discipline, he purged the church. of evils which he found prevalent among the people at his coming to the island; and, relieved of the dead-weight with which tolerated wickedness inevitably cramps the religious consciousness, the church began to seek a higher level, and to recover its zeal for the salvation of others. "We have no great numbers coming seeking admission to the church; still, a few are attending the classes," he wrote in 1870. "Much prayer is being presented at the throne of God’s grace for the revival of religion among us. All our services are well attended, and we hope that soon we will hear the sound of rain, and be blessed with God’s great blessing, the Holy Spirit." In that very year the church experienced a season of refreshing.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

History of the Burgh of Dumfries
It's been well over a year since work halted on this book and I have had many emails asking if it will ever be finished. Well I've gone and purchased another copy of the book and so have started to get this up on the site. We were only about half way through so I aim to work on the other half and get chapters up each week until it is complete.

The previous chapters can be read at

I've made a start with Chapter XXX - The Earl of Nithsdale takes part with the Royalists – Carlaverock and Thrieve Surrender to the Covenanters and here is how this starts...

MEANWHILE, as we have said, the Earl of Nithsdale was fortifying his strongholds, and preparing to make a bold stand in the district on behalf of King Charles. He could do nothing for the royal cause in Dumfries, as the inhabitants were opposed to it; and its places of strength, even if they had been held by him, were of little value in a military sense. The Castle, though partially repaired, still bore evidence of the rough handling given to it by Lord Scrope in 1570. Thirteen years afterwards, a second fortress, on a small scale, was built eastward of the ancient Market Cross, and north of the present Queensberry Monument. In contrast to the old decayed Castle, it was called the New Wark. It was a dull, heavy pile, composed of two stories above the street level, with a bartizan running along the top to protect the garrison, and strong vaults underground, in which the movable property of the inhabitants was stowed away in periods of danger. The New Wark was often of good service when raiding moss-troopers from the Border paid hostile visits to the Burgh; but a party of Covenanters, armed with cannon, would have made short work with its defences.

Carlaverock and Thrieve, however, were still strong; and into each of these castles Lord Nithsdale threw a portion of his retainers, with sufficient warlike stores and provisions to fit them for a lengthened siege. When Cambden, in 1607, saw Carlaverock, it was, lie tells us, "a weak house of the Maxwells," Lords Sussex and Scrope having all but ruined it. In the course of a few years it rose into a state of greater magnificence than ever; the first Earl of Nithsdale employing the best architectural and engineering skill to make it at once a palatial residence and a first-class fortress. The triangular form, with a round tower at each corner, was retained. The moats were deepened, so as to make the Solway waters, near which it stood, more available for defensive purposes. A massive gateway, pierced by a narrow curtain, and having a tower on each side, formed a colossal front, Over the arch of the gate was sculptured the Nithsdale crest-a stag attired proper, lodged before a holly-bush, with a shield resting on its fore legs, bearing the Maxwell saltier, and the motto below, "I bid ye fair." This escutcheon was surrounded by other heraldic decorations: the well-known double-headed eagle of the Maxwells occupied the sinister chief corner; in the dexter corner was displayed the royal arms of Scotland; a band between six crosslets in the dexter corner of the base marked the relationship which subsisted between the Maxwells and Douglas, Earl of Mar; and the sinister corner of the base told their connection with the Stewarts of Dalswinton, a daughter of whose house was mother of the first Lord Maxwell.

Entered by the gateway was a spacious triangular court, the east side of which, three stories high, constituted the family residence; and so florid was its outside, and so rich its furnishings, that it might have become the abode of royalty. On the pediments of the lower story were engraved the Nithsdale arms, with the initials of Robert, the first Earl, and his wife Elizabeth. A heart-shaped shield, with the plain Maxwell saltier, was carved above the first window; a shield, with the two-headed eagle, charged with a smaller shield and saltier, surmounted by a coronet, rose above the second staircase window: the third window was similarly adorned, excepting that it wanted the supporters; and the fourth bore the familiar holly-bush, with its usual occupant the stag. Above the first court door a huge eagle, defensive-like, spread its wings, having below it a shield, and on each side a rose. Two guardian cherubs supported a shield over the first window of the second story, the shield displaying a double-headed eagle, charged as before, and having under it the mask of a human head, with hands drawing the jaws apart in such a way as to give a most grotesque expression to the face. A tree, carved above the right-hand side of the second window of the second story, bore, as emblematic fruit, a tiny shield, with the Maxwell saltier and coronet, their owner being indicated by the initials R.E.N. cut below. From a second tree, on the other side of the window, hung similar fruitage, only that the initials were E. C. N., those of the noble Countess of Nithsdale. The lavish ornamentation of this part of the castle was crowned by a series of classical groups, placed over the three third-story windows, the subjects of which were taken from "Ovid's Metamorphoses."

Such was the strong and beautiful house which constituted the forlorn hope of royalty in Nithsdale: not strong enough to resist the war-engines which were soon arrayed against it; too beautiful to be marred by the baptism of their relentless fire.

The Estates in Edinburgh were duly apprised of Maxwell's hostile preparations; and as the South Regiment, under Lord Kirkcudbright, was yet in an undisciplined condition, they sent down a body of troops under an experienced officer - Lieutenant-Colonel John Home - to lay siege to both Carlaverock and Thrieve, so as to keep them from becoming rallying points for the royalists. Colonel Home's contingent formed a portion of the Scottish army sent southward under General Leslie in the autumn of 1640; and whilst Leslie passed with his "blue bonnets over the Border," to co-operate with the Parliamentary forces in England, Home invested Thrieve and Carlaverock, and thus took one of the initiatory steps of the great civil war which convulsed the island for eleven years.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

Bits of Electric Scotland
Again from the survey it was suggested that I might highlight bits of the site that I thought might be of general interest.

This week I'm looking at our "Public Message Forums" section at

On this index page you'll find...

Message Forums at

This service was launched on 20th December 2003 and is a new message system for both new and old users. Should this be your first visit then you should click on the "Sign me Up!" link. Having completed the sign up process we'll send you an email to the email address you used giving you a code to give you full access to the service. You should get this email within seconds or at worst within 5 minutes.

Visitors Picture Archive at
Pictures of our visitors and you can send in yours to join them!

Sharing stories from our WebBoard at
This is a collection of stories from our old Webboard.

Some messages from our old Banter conference at
This was a popular conference in our old Webboard and we've retained some of the messages for you to enjoy.

Scottish Trivia at
We've put together some wee snippets about the Scots and Scotland.

And so let me explain a wee bit more about this section...

"The Public message forums" are simply there to give folk a chance to message with other visitors. We've provided this facility for you to use if you wish.

The part of this page that may well be of interest are the other areas mentioned...

"Visitors Picture Archive". We thought it might be nice to let visitors see what others looked like when using the message forums so provided this facility so they could send in pictures of themselves for others to view. This expanded somewhat as some people that never used the forums thought it would be nice to also have their pictures up on the site. So... to have your pictures placed on this page you simply need to send us in a picture, usually by email, and tell us your name(s) so that we can put them with the picture. You should also mention in the email that the picture is for the Visitors Picture page.

"Scottish Trivia". This is where we posted some wee snippets that you can quote when you're telling folk how good Scotland and the Scots are :-) You can read these at

"Sharing stories from our WebBoard". In the old days we used software called WebBoard and when we decided to close that system down and replace it with the current software we took a selection of messages from it to preserve them for future visitors to read as a kind of historical archive. They actually make great reading and I'd certainly recommend a wee browse through them. Here are some of the message topics...

Fundraising Dinner
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the school's students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by those who attended.

The Carpenter
Your acts and choices now will build the house you will live in later on.

I Love Texas
A little tongue in cheek :-)

One view of our Banter conference and Long Live America!

Happy Mothers Day
The Story of Mother's Day.

You know you're really a Mum When
See if you recognise these :-)

When I'm an Old Lady and Live With My Kids
Get revenge! :-)

Honouring a Hero!
Ken will be remembered as the Canadian diplomat in Iran who, together with the embassy's immigration chief and the staff, hid six American escapees before the seizure of the US embassy in November of 1979.

The Goodman Family
A story to encourage you.

Little Boys
Fathers are good guys too!

So to read some of the other topics go to

"Some messages from our old Banter conference". The page says...

This conference on our webboard was started at the instigation of Charles McKeever and has become our most popular conference. In here we are posting some of the messages that have been posted over time to give you a flavour of what goes on... The first welcome message on creating this conference was... "The Banter conference is for light hearted fun and sheer enjoyment. Watch you don't get your leg pulled in here :-)"

As it happens Charles McKeever has since passed away so in many ways this is a tribute to him. It's only really possible to give you a real flavour of this by quoting one of the topics and the messages that went with it but I hope you'll enjoy it and see some of the flow that can develop.

Topic: Stealing Watermelons
This thread ran from Friday, May 14, 1999 03:21 PM to Friday, September 10, 1999 03:50 PM

When I was about 8 years old, we moved to a farmhouse out about 20 miles from the nearest town...The old farmer down the road had a reputation of always growing the biggest and the best watermelons in the country....Having 3 older brothers to guide me, we began to plunder his patch and eat a few of his best....We all went bare-footed and of course left tracks, so the old farmer would come down to see my dad with a stick in his hand...He would tell my dad that one of his boys with a foot the length of that stick had been stealing watermelons from him..Naturally dad would take the guilty out behind the woodshed...This went on for about 3 years .....we'd eat.....get whipped...then we would eat again....until one day a visiting uncle that was a policeman solved our problems..Uncle John wore a size 16 shoe.....and he had an old pair....which he left with us..We'd stuff the toes with straw and tie them on and away to the patch we would go....A few days later, the old farmer came to see dad with a stick about 18 inches long....He told dad that there must be a stranger in the neighborhood because someone had got 4 of his prize melons the night before....Us boys just said"BURP!" kidding??.....thats bad....


Cute story! I remember my friend and I stealing peaches. There is just nothing better than fresh fruit!! That is until you bite into it and see a worm crawling from one hole to another on the inside...yuk. Broke me!!!


By the way, after not much of a struggle the worm won!! (grin)


One the other side of the atlantic we used to go on 'plunders' too.
It's just that your 'plunders' sound so much more exotic.
We were after crab apples (not too good if you eat a lot of them at once) and even more exotically - when out in the country we would go after "tumshies."
Now "tumshies' are extremely exotic, considering that they were destined to be sheep fodder.
Definition - "Tumshie" - Rutabaga (swede).

So now an 'extra question of the month" - who knows why they are called "Swedes?"

Answer later - if not forthcoming.


First of all, I don't have a clue why anyone eats rutabagas in the first place....A supposed vegetable that has to be peeled with a power saw and an axe is not worth fooling with...Although my other half insists their quite tasty,,,as she hands me one of the dreaded things which are always covered with some kind of wax....maybe this is to lubricate the power saw......considering the hardness factor...why not call them politicians.?


Ah, Chas ye huvnae lived until ye've eaten Haggis wi' champit totties and bashed neeps (Tumshies)!
The wax bit is something that threw me when I first set foot in this part of the world.
Why on earth do they do that?
What sort of creatures exist here that will attack a pair helpless Tumshie.

Tumshie is also a term of endearment in the Glasgow area (come here ma wee tumshie; who's her daddy's big tumshie).
This must be a French element in Scotland - one of their terms of endearment translates as "My little cabbage!"
It's a strange world, int it


Coming from Glasgow, we called them turnips, hence the abbreviation "tumshies". The English called them swedes. What we called swedes were the white vegetable shaped like a carrot.
What's this wax you're talking about? Why would anyone wax a turnip?



A rutabaga is larger than a turnip. It has a hard skin which is much thicker than that of a turnip. Both are harvested in large quantities in the Fall. Waxing is the best form of preservation for a rutabaga aside from canning. They keep a long time after the harvest because of the thick skin and the waxing.

Turnips or neeps are smaller and more delicate skin [easily peeled]. The rutabaga also has a stronger flavour than the turnip.

Used to be fed both ad nauseam as a youngster at my grandparents' home. Love haggis. Hate neeps and rutabaga!

Cheers, Doug ;~}


Dear turnip expert
at least I find someone who knows why the wax is applied....also from your description of the famed "rootabeggar" its plain you've had the pleasure of trying to peel the beast.....regardless...I still don't like either but it makes me wonder how we went from stealing watermelons to the dreaded turnip......!!...chasmax


Doug's description of the Rutabaga is quite correct. However, in Glesca we called them turnips. As opposed to the Golden Globe variety that is more properly titled that way.
I never did see a turnip dressed in wax until I hit these shores. maybe it's because it gets really cold here in winter.

I have to deduct 3 marks for the comment about swedes being English.
The rutabaga is a swede - called thus because the first seeds of the variety were sent as part of the dowery for a Swedish princess who was being married to a Scots prince.

The the trip from Watermelon to Rutabaga is not that far, just an ocean and different climates that produce the 'plunders' for the kids.
We used to eat the tumshies raw - we carried big knives!


What a great place to get a wax job with a turned up root a baga that will make me a tumshie! Love it!
a not so typical Southern Belled...Kelly d.


This subject jolted my memory to a time when my pal and I were stealing tatties fur oor mammys. We looked up and there was this man watching us and my pal said to him "Aw please mister don't tell the farmer". He was the farmer. What he said to us can't be repeated. He was also carrying a shotgun.

We ran like #@%#.



I never heard of a rutabaga.....for Gawd's sake....Ah'm a glesgalass. Oor turnips wur massive, some as big as pumpkins....turnips are what we used to hollow out for Hallowe'en. None o' yer fancy furrin pumpkins.
I think we just used to let them grow bigger before they were harvested, the flesh was much yellower than what we get here in Oz.
And they tasted better but you had to be careful not to buy one that was too big otherwise it could be woody.
The closest I've found here is butternut pumpkin but even that is sweeter in taste.



Got no idea, but I call them turnips.



A jump from "neeps" to corn! Most Scots thought corn was cattle fodder until they hit the western shores of the Atlantic. Same goes for pumpkin pie. My wife had never had pumpkin pie until she arrived in Canada.

Joe Erskine


and back from Pumpkins to Tumshies - we used to carve Tumshies at Hallowe'en - they were the biggest veggie we could find. Don't half stink when the candle burns the inside.
Now where could that possibly take us?
How about back to Apples - dookin' for Apples at Hallowe'en- come on now how many folk ever did that?


Me Me Me! I enjoy doonkin for Apples!
a not so typical Southern Belled...Kelly d.


Kelly, which method do you prefer:-
Using a fork or going for the bottom feeders.

Wonder if Chasmax's mother-in-law can manage with her wooden teeth!


Dooking, lassie not doonking!!! And ye can either use a fork or plunge yer face in and use yer teeth.



It was hands behind the back and face first into the bucket when we were doonkin' for apples at Hallowe'en.

Sandy, my granny McGregor used pumpkin laced with turnips for extra flavour in her pumpkin pies.

Cheers, Doug ;~}

PS - Corn and quite a few other veggies have a North American origin. But if you want to see a spaghetti tree being harvested, they say that you must visit Italy.


Doug, see Elda's comment re the activity!
I was being polite (see... I can be) when the mis-spelling first appeared!

When it got serious we used to put on oor dookers (when the floor was swimmin' wi' watter).
Anyone else seen a floor swim?

The other hallowe'en treat was a treacle scone suspended from the ceiling ..(Elda HELP please, I've forgotten what we called the device for hanging the clothes to dry on).. and then smothered in Treacle (molasses). The kids were then blinfolded wi' their hands tied their backs and they had to try to bite a piece of the scone.
Scottish version of Hit the Penata.


I remember the treacle scones hanging from the "pulley".


Jim, thanks. For the life of me I had a complete blockage there!


Welcome Sandy,
Born in Falkirk but spent most of my life in Canada, but still remember a lot of the old things (good ones) of back home.
Regards, Jim


My Dad who emigrated from Scotland when he was 6 yrs old (near the turn of the century), writes in his biography:

'Hallow E'en was a festive occasion, with groups of youngsters going from door to door putting on little performances, one being a story by two youngsters in costume, and it went something like this:

"Here come I, Gilloshawa.
Gilloshawa is my name.
My sword and pistol by my side
I hope to win some fame."

"Some fame, sir? Some fame?
That's not within your power.
I'll cut you down to inches
inside of half an hour!"

Then the two would go into their performance. Other visitors might be blindfolded and led to the hearth where bowls were lined up containing various objects or ingredients, their fortunes being told according to the contents of the bowl they touched, and, of course, there was the usual ducking for apples.'


born in Glasgow, been around, cam back here to the Frozen North 19 years ago.
Thought I could remember most things but the "pulley' just stymied me.
I guess that's because we left Glasgow when I was 13 and our new house did not have a pulley - we had our own garden.

Talking of the pulley - we used to have a budgie that flew around the house. One day when my Mum was pulling up the pulley she heard this squawking. Poor wee Joey had been hanging on to the rope and had got tangled into the pulley mechanism. There was blood everywhere, Mum had to do the washing again, but Joey survived.

Have a good May 24 weekend!


I remember my Dad telling us about the shelves high on the wall where all the fancy plates and such were kept in "safety".
One time my grandfather brought home a monkey, where from we don't know. The brute scampered up to the shelf and proceeded to scatter everythind. End of monkey.
Have a good 24th too Sandy. Will spend mine trying to make a par on one hole!
Ta ta Jim


Och, Sandy, you should be ashamed of yourself, if you can't remember the pulley!! My Mum had one until the day that she died!! Great things they were, you could drape your clothes over them and just wait for them to dry!



Sandy, Elda, Hugh, Jim, and others I may have missed over the past two days in the garden, Our Hallowe'en (All Hallow's Eve) rituals in Canada involved "bobbing", "ducking" or "dunking" for apples (many varieties of which are no longer available in the stores!) :(

As Sandy said: Doug, see Elda's comment re the activity! I was being polite (see... I can be) when the mis-spelling first appeared!

Mis-spelling of a word is appropriate as a description of the way it was heard. No need to apologize. What happened to the custom? Homes became "tidier", and taffy apples took over for awhile. Nowadays you can buy some "goodies" to hand out that look bigger than they really are ..... and guaranteed to rot a youngun's teeth faster than they can say "Trick or Treat"!

Cheers, Doug ;~}


The word is "dooking", Doug. This is a Scottish site, so let's use the correct words.



Elda :)

Which part of Scotland does this site represent? North or South of Loch Lomond? High road or Low road? [GRIN}

Our Hallowe'en (All Hallow's Eve) rituals in Canada involved "bobbing", "ducking" (dookin) or "dunking" (doonkin) for apples. If Kelly heard "doonkin" I'm prepared to accept that, because I've heard it that way too.

I repeat: "mis-spelling" a word is appropriate as a description of the way it was heard. According to the spell-checker most of the above are misspelled. [Chuckle]

Cheers, Doug ;~}


Well I guess we've got to the point where only a "doo" kin tell us what to use.
Wis "dunkin" no a king at some time in history?

No need to get all worked up aboot it.

I'll stick to Dunkin' Donuts and Dookin fer apples. (Elda, Dunkin' Donuts is a doughnuts franchise here in NA).



North or South of Loch Lomond, Sandy? High road or Low road? [GRIN}

Having seen how doughnuts were made at a bakery, I usually "avoid" them ..... including the dunking of same. Ever had a good dunking at your pool, Sandy?

One favourite practice at the old-time "dunking for apples" was to push a person's head to the bottom of the tub. That act might be avenged by some prank like transporting veranda furniture to the limb of a tree in their front yard (or pushing over their out-house). You can't do most of these things nowadays ..... even dunking for apples. [chuckles] Fortunately we were never caught!

Cheers, Doug ;~}


What is worse than eating an apple and finding a maggot inside?
.....finding half a maggot!

And so if you'd like to read more of these go to

And that's all for now and I hope you all have a great weekend and for that matter a great Labour Day weekend where appropriate :-)


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