It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning
the weekend is nearly here :-)
You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at
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See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at
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Micro Button Advertisers - Scotland's Greatest Story - Article
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
The Southern States of America
The Scottish-Canadian Newspaper (1890/1)
Skye Pioneers and "The Island"
Scotland's Road of Romance
History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
A History of the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Caledonian Society of South
A selection of interesting characters
Maps of Clan Lands
I put my back out this week so a bit sore working at the computer and hence
not getting quite as much done as I'd of liked. Also went in to Toronto to
attend the Scottish Studies Foundation meeting. At the meeting I heard that
the Scottish Studies Dept. at the University of Guelph were organising a
Scottish tour for later this year. Dr. Gaeme Morton will be heading it and
he's arranging for several other historians in Scotland to give talks around
the route. I think it is a 16 day tour but will try and get some more
information for you. Only 20 places to fill so guess this will be fully
booked rather quickly.
Was glad to see the wee email I sent out to you actually got through to the
msn.com and hotmail.com users... and was great to hear from many of you
regarding the Scottish Clan Map project. Mind you I was accused of rambling
a bit so thought I'd clarify the project a wee bit.
I am using my own large clan map which is accurate to the Scottish Acts of
Parliament of 1587 & 1594 to plot out lands on the streetmap.co.uk web site.
My purpose in doing this was simply that a lot of people have problems
associating their lands to actual places in Scotland. I thus thought that
this would be a worthwhile project. It was pointed out to me that I need to
specify the date for each link so you'd know the time period. As clan lands
changed due to battles and marriage it is important to specify this.
What I am doing is trying to find place names on the large map then find
them on the streetmap site. I am then trying to explain the extent of the
lands. It's not actually too easy to figure this out which is why I asked
for your help. Anyway... am working away as I get a chance and thanks to the
many of you that emailed me about this.
ABOUT THE STORIES
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
Micro Button Advertisers - Scotland's Greatest Story -
website is an extremely useful tool that does not cost a penny to use.
Compiled by the Church of the Latter Day Saints for their own religious
purposes, it includes the International Genealogical Index, which can be an
amazingly important pointer to records that pertain to your family history,
and which can, if used properly, advance your research in various
directions. This article notes a couple of tips that will help you use the
site more effectively.
Be warned though that despite its usefulness, the site can often be
inaccurate, and can in many cases miss out records that are known to be on
the original parish registers from which they were originally extracted.
Also, many pedigrees are uploaded to the site by way of ancestral files from
keen enthusiasts who have made assumptions about material they have found –
often it is completely wrong. If you think you have found your Scottish tree
going back to Robert the Bruce or William Wallace, you may wish to treat
such a find with a great deal of scepticism. Most people can trace their
Scottish families back only as far as the 17th Century with any real degree
of confidence. As a general rule, place more faith in the IGI, but again,
not complete faith, as the IGI can also get it wrong. Use the IGI as a
pointer however, and it can be an invaluable tool.
When searching for a name on the site, often thousands of potential names
can come up that will take ages to sift through. If you find an entry that
you think is correct, note the batch number on the screen, and try another
name search with this number now keyed in. Further names will be returned,
but only in the parish within which you found your first hit, making it much
more possible to find a relevant connection to another relation.
If you want to find potential children to a couple, fill in the names of the
parents in the fields on the right hand side of the main All Resources
search screen, but do not fill any other field in on the page at all. Click
on “search”, and if the system has those children listed, they will appear
on a list in the subsequent results field. Again, the lists are often
incomplete, but can certainly steer you in the right direction to complete
your search more thoroughly.
If you find an entry of interest on the site, you can order the relevant
microfilm and have it delivered to your nearest Latter Day Saints family
history centre, for a small fee. Alternatively you can hire a researcher
such as ourselves at Scotland’s Greatest Story to look up the entries for
you. The differences can be amazing with respect to the amount of
information held on the index, and that held on the original parish
For example, on the IGI, my 4xgreat grandfather’s marriage is noted as:
William Paton, male
Spouse, Christian Hay
Marriage, 07 FEB 1798 Perth, Perth, Scotland
If I look up the original record in the register though, I get the
Perth the Third of February One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety eight
contracted William Paton, Soldier in the second battalion of Breadalbanes
Fencibles and Christian Hay, Daughter to the Deceased Lauchlan Hay, Resident
in Perth, Parties both in this Parish Elder Thomas Robertson
The Persons before named were regularly proclaimed and married the seventh
day of February said year by Mr Duncan MacFarlan Minister of the Gaelic
Chapel in Perth.
From this I not only learn of William’s military career and his wife’s
father’s name, I also now know that there is a strong possibility that one
of the two (or possibly both) was likely to have been a Gaelic speaker.
At Scotland’s Greatest Story we regularly visit New Register House and other
archive repositories to look at the old parochial registers, precisely to
put the flesh on the bones of a tree that many have tried to establish from
the Family Search website. Within a few hours we can transform your tree
from a collection of empty names to an understanding of the lifestyles that
many of your ancestors had – and when errors do pop up that have originated
from the IGI or the main website, we can put you back on the correct track!
For more information please visit
http://www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk or contact us at
firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from
Scotland’s Greatest Story
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
Mind that The Flag is now in two sections (1) Political and (2) Cultural.
The political section is compiled this week by Ian Goldie. This week he is
telling how both Scottish and English voters are swinging more toward
Independence of both nations.
As we're in the heart of Robert Burns supper season Peter is again bringing
us some wee bits of information and also an especially good recipe :-)
This week sees the 248th anniversary of the birth of our National bard,
Robert Burns, on 25 January. Scots, the world over, will be celebrating in
traditional fashion in word and song the life and work of Scotland’s
best-known poet and greatest songwriter. Burns obviously had a high regard,
and rightly so, of his own ability and his words in 1791 to Mrs Graham of
Fintry have indeed come to pass –
‘I was born a poor dog; and however I may occasionally pick up a better bone
than I used to do, I know I must live and die poor; but I will indulge the
flattering faith that my poetry will considerably outlive my poverty.’
Every Burns Suppers is the visual sign of the high regard in which Robert
Burns is still held but the most important part of the Burns’ story is that
he continues to live in the hearts and minds of his fellow Scots. That is
the highest tribute that we can pay to his genius and to the lead which he
took in the dark days following the incorporating Union of 1707 in reminding
Scots that they are first and foremost Scots.
No Burns Supper would be complete without Haggis, Neeps an Tatties but our
recipe this week offers an alternative way to serve haggis. Haggis Stovies
is a regular favourite in the Wright household throughout the year and is
often enhanced with a helping of chappit neeps.
Ingredients: 2lb potatoes, peeled and chipped; 1 onion, peeled and chopped;
1 haggis, skin removed
Method: Boil the tatties and onion. Crumble the haggis into an ovenproof
dish and either cook it in the microwave or bake it in the oven. Mash the
tatties and onion and add the cooked haggis. Season to taste and you can add
some milk to get a creamier consistency. Serve piping hot with oatcakes.
You can read this weeks issue, see the pictures and listen to the Scots
MSP Linda Fabiani's first weekly diary of 2007 can be viewed at
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us. She is still in a
plaster cast which needs to remain until end of January.
Now started the E's and added this week are Eglinton, Elcho, Elder, Elgin,
Elibank, Elliot, Elphinstone, Enzie and Erigena.
Here is a bit from the Elphinstone entry...
ELPHINSTON, WILLIAM, an eminent prelate, founder of King’s college, Old
Aberdeen, was born at Glasgow in 1431, or 1437. His father, Mr. William
Elphinston, was the first of the Elphinstons of Blythswood in Lanarkshire.
He became, at the age of 25, rector of the parish of Kirkmichael, where he
remained four years, and then went to Paris, to study the civil and canon
law. Three years thereafter, he was appointed professor of law, first at
Paris, and afterwards at Orleans. In 1471 he returned home, and by Bishop
Muirhead was made parson of Glasgow, and official of his diocese. In 1473 he
was appointed official of Lothian by the archbishop of St. Andrews, and
admitted a member of the privy council. He was afterwards sent on a
political mission to the king of France, and on his return in 1479 was made
archdeacon of Argyle, and soon after bishop of Ross. In 1484 he was
translated to the see of Aberdeen, and the same year was one of the
commissioners from Scotland to treat of a truce with England, and a marriage
between the son of James III. and the Lady Anne, niece of Richard III. On
the accession of Henry VII. he was again sent to London, with other
ambassadors, to arrange the terms of a truce, which was accordingly
concluded for three years, July 3, 1486. In February 1488 he was constituted
lord high-chancellor of the kingdom, a post which he enjoyed till James’
death in the following June. He was subsequently sent to Germany as
ambassador to the emperor Maximilian, on a proposal of marriage betwixt his
youthful sovereign and Margaret, the emperor’s daughter, who, however, was
united to the prince of Spain before his arrival in Vienna. On his return
homeward, he concluded a treaty of peace between the States of Holland and
Scotland. In 1492 he was made lord privy seal. In 1494 he obtained a Bull
from Pope Alexander VI. for founding a university at Aberdeen, and built the
King’s college in Old Aberdeen in 1500. Besides the erection and endowment
of this college, Bishop Elphinston left large sums of money to build and
uphold the bridge across the Dee. After the death of James IV, on the fatal
field of Flodden, the venerable bishop quitted his diocese, and, anxious to
assist with his advice in restoring peace to his distracted country,
proceeded to Edinburgh to attend parliament. But the fatigue of the journey
exhausted his strength, and he died a week after his arrival in the capital,
October 25, 1514.
You can read more of this entry at
You can read the other entries at
The Celtic Monthly
A magazine for Highlanders
Added the March 1912 issue at
Mr Peter Mackay Glenure Argyll, Sketches of Highland Life and Character,
Gaelic Proverbs, The Highlander in Modern Fiction, The Gaelic Leaving
Certificate, Mr Donald Nicolson of Bearsden, The 93rd Sutherland
Highlanders, Notes on the Celtic Year, Celtic Notes and Queries, Fionn and
the Fidga, Solan Geese catching at St. Kilda, The Late Mr. D. R. MacGregor
Melbourne, Highland Funerals, The Legend of Loch Maree, MacDonald Tartans,
The Surname Galbraith, Our Musical Page.
You can see the issues to date at
The Southern States of America
Published in 1909.
Added The History of North Carolina - Chapter I
North Carolina as a Propritary
The History of North Carolina - Chapter II
North Carolina a Royal Province, 1729 - 1776
The History of North Carolina - Chapter III
North Carolina 1775 - 1861
Here is how Chapter I starts...
NORTH CAROLINA AS A PROPRIETARY.
Settlers from Virginia.
GLANCE at the map will show why North Carolina received its first permanent
settlers from Virginia. The dangerous character of the coast of North
Carolina made the approach too difficult and uncertain to admit of
colonization directly from Europe. This became apparent from Sir Walter
Raleigh's efforts to plant a colony on Roanoke Island, and Raleigh himself
directed John White, in 1587, to seek a site on Chesapeake Bay. His
commands, through no fault of White's, were not obeyed, and the colony
failed. Twenty-two years later the London Company, guided by Raleigh's
experience, directed the Jamestown colony towards the Chesapeake. The first
settlers, for obvious reasons, sought lands lying along navigable streams,
consequently the water courses, to a large extent, determined the direction
of the colony's growth. Many of the streams of southeastern Virginia flow
toward Currituck and Albemarle sounds in North Carolina, and the sources of
the most important rivers of eastern North Carolina are in Virginia.
Furthermore, the soil, the climate, the vegetation and the animal life of
the Albemarle region are of the same character as those of southeastern
Virginia. Nothing, therefore, was more natural than that the planters of
Virginia, searching for good bottom lands, should gradually extend their
plantations southward along the shores of Albemarle Sound and the rivers
that flow into it.
The Virginians early manifested a lively interest in the Albemarle region.
Nansemond county, adjoining North Carolina, was settled as early as 1609,
and during the following years many an adventurous hunter, trader and
explorer made himself familiar with the waters that pour into Albemarle and
Currituck sounds. In 1622 John Pory, secretary of Virginia, after a trip to
the Chowan reported that he found it "a very fruitful and pleasant country,
yielding two harvests in a year." Seven years later Charles I. granted the
region to Sir Robert Heath, and there are reasons for believing that Heath's
assigns made an unsuccessful attempt to plant a settlement within the grant.
About the year 1646 the governor of Virginia sent two expeditions, one by
water, the other overland, against the Indians along the Albemarle and
Currituck sounds, and members of these expeditions purchased lands from the
Indians. During the next few years other expeditions were made. Roger Green,
a clergyman of Nansemond county, became interested in the country to the
southward, and in 1653 obtained a grant of 10,000 acres for the first 100
persons who should settle on Roanoke River, south of Chowan, and 1,000 acres
for himself "as a reward for his own first discovery and for his
encouragement of the settlement." It is not known whether he followed this
grant with a settlement, but historians have assumed that he did. The next
year Governor Yeardley, of Virginia, sent an expedition to Roanoke Island
which led to other explorations into what is now eastern North Carolina, and
two years later the Assembly of Virginia commissioned Thomas Dew and Thomas
Francis to explore the coast between Cape Hatteras and Cape Fear. The sons
of Governor Yeardley, therefore, had good grounds for their boast that the
northern country of Carolina had been explored by "Virginians born."
These expeditions were naturally followed by a southward movement of
settlers. Just when this movement began cannot be stated with accuracy.
There may have been settlers in Albemarle before 1653. It may be true that
Roger Green did lead the first colony there in that year. Certainly before
the year 1663 John Battle, Thomas Relfe, Roger Williams, Thomas Jarvis and
perhaps others had purchased lands from the Indians who dwelt along the
waters of Albemarle Sound and settled them. The grant to George Durant by
Kilcocanen, chief of the Yeopim Indians, dated March 1, 1661 , for a
tract lying along Perquimans River and Albemarle Sound, is the oldest grant
for land in North Carolina now extant. But Durant came into that region two
years before he made his purchase, and there were purchases prior to his,
for his grant recites a previous one made to Samuel Pricklove and is
witnessed by two Englishmen. Besides, in 1662, purchases from the Indians
had become so common that the government ordered them to be disregarded and
required that patents be taken out for these lands under the laws of
Virginia. Three years later the surveyor of Albemarle declared that a county
"forty miles square will not comprehend the inhabitants there already
settled." These settlers, for the most part, came from Virginia; but others
came also, and at the close of the first decade of its history the Albemarle
colony contained 1,400 inhabitants between sixteen and sixty years of age,
and the settlements extended from Chowan River to Currituck Sound. [In 1660
a party of New Englanders attempted without success to plant a settlement on
the Cape Fear. Four years later a party of royalist refugees to the island
of Barbadoes established a colony near the mouth of that river. In 1665 they
were joined by another party from Barbadoes under the leadership of Sir John
Yeamans, who had been appointed governor. The settlement extending several
miles up and down the river was erected into a county called Clarendon, and
at one time numbered 800, souls. Yeamans, however, soon returned to
Barbadoes. The Lords Proprietors took but little interest in the colony, but
directed their energies towards building up a rival settlement farther
southward. The Clarendon colony, after many hardships and much suffering,
was abandoned in 1667. It is of interest merely as an historical fact.]
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The book index page is at
Scottish Canadian Newspaper
This is the weekly newspaper that I acquired a years issues of. Some pages
are missing but not a lot so hopefully you'll enjoy reading this. Due to the
size of this newspaper I have no option but to photograph each page and post
it up as a picture.
Got up the weekly issue for March 5, 1891 at
Skye Pioneers and "The Island"
by Malcolm A. MacQueen (1929).
Now got up another chapter of this book - Founding of Uigg and Murray
Harbour Road and here is how this starts...
Argosy never sailed with more precious cargo than that discharged at
Charlottetown on June 1st, 1829, from the good ship "Mary Kennedy." There
were eighty-four heads of families in the party. They settled along the
Murray Harbor Road, and in the Back Settlement, later called Lyndale. Each
family bought from fifty to one hundred acres of land. They named the Uigg
district after their birthplace, Uig, in Skye, famed for romantic beauty,
and deriving its name from the Norwegians who held the Western Islands of
Scotland for generations.
The road from Vernon River to Murray Harbor had been opened shortly before
the Uigg settlers arrived. In that whole stretch of territory there were
then only three residents. One of them was Murdoch Mackenzie, a native of
Inverness, who arrived in Belfast in 1821, accompanied by his wife Mary
Mackinnon, and his father John Mackenzie. In 1822 he took up the farm on
which now stands the Orwell Head church. He died in 1885, aged 100, leaving
several children surviving.
The 1829 settlers found him dwelling in a log cabin, in the heart of the
forest, with only a small patch of clearing about him. If life was simple
and the world's luxuries few Murdoch Mackenzie had a fine mind. He opened a
school in his little log cabin, and there devoted himself to the improvement
of the minds of the sons and daughters of his near neighbors, who sent their
children to the kindly Scottish schoolmaster to receive at his hands the
solid groundwork of a liberal education.
After the morning lessons were heard this excellent teacher allotted his
pupils their daily tasks. It was then his habit, on occasions, to seek
repose on a bench beside the wall. Here he lay until gnawing hunger
announced to the children the near approach of noon. All work was then laid
aside; a great tumult was created until finally the master's form was seen
to move. Rubbing his weary eyes he arose, and walked outside. There he gave
one fleeting glance at the declining sun and returned to announce recess.
Later, when the country was settled farther south, Mr. Mackenzie opened a
school in the Grandview district. Here he taught for many years.
Among the pupils inspired by Mr. Mackenzie with a love for education was
Donald MacLeod, son of Donald Ban Oig MacLeod, who lived next door to the
master. At an early age he moved to Parkhill, Ontario. His daughter,
Katelena, recently told of her father's practice, continued till old age, of
taking a Greek or Latin Bible to church, and following the reading of the
Book in those languages, both of which he had mastered.
Rev. Donald Macdonald said of this noble man, that he was the only person in
the whole countryside who possessed a knowledge of Greek. One of his
daughters married Alexander (Garf) Macpherson, of Lyndale, and their
descendants still reside in the district.
Perhaps in the history of the migration of the race no more highminded and
worthy people ever entered a new land than those who came out on the "Mary
Kennedy." Their heritage of piety persisted undiminished for several
generations in their new home. Like their forebears they were rigid
Calvinists. The atmosphere of the district, like that of all Scottish
districts of that age, was rather sombre. A small group, the Macdonalds,
MacLeods, Gordons, Munros and a few others, were Baptists, who, for
conscience sake, had withdrawn from the Presbyterian Church. Among them was
a man of outstanding personality. Rev. Samuel MacLeod was born at Uig, in
the Isle of Skye in 1796, and died at Uigg, P.E.I., in 1881, where he was
buried in the Baptist churchyard. Over the destinies of this church for many
years he presided, with inspiration not only beneficial to those who heard
his earnest message, but also with benefit to that much greater multitude,
who, through the continuing power of precept, and example, are unconscious
heirs of the atmosphere of truth and rectitude that has continued long years
after its inspirer has left the scene of these, his earthly triumphs.
So far-reaching was the influence of this small Baptist group in Uigg, that
neighbors of other denominations testify that throughout their lives they
have held the Baptist Church in especial veneration and reverence owing to
the irreproachable lives and blameless character of this small group in Uigg
assembled about their kinsmen and beloved pastor, the Rev. Samuel MacLeod.
If a reason is sought for the great success and high position attained by so
many poor Highlanders, not only in their own country, but also in lands
across the seas, particularly in India and in Canada, it may be found in
their sound education, and in that poverty, which inured them, from youth,
to self denial. Early in life individual effort was demanded, and the
valuable lesson was soon learned that it matters little what is earned if
all is spent. The man who practises self denial and sets apart a portion of
his earnings to accumulate and work for him in fair weather and foul, is the
man who, in the end, attains wealth with its attendant power, and better
The forming of definite habits of self discipline and control is the guiding
star that moulds the character and directs it into definite channels of self
respect, independence, and integrity. Rarely is a person, who follows this
line of conduct, found committing an unworthy action. The Uigg settlers, in
striking degree, exemplify the fundamental soundness of this theory of life.
Rev. Donald Gordon Macdonald, of Vancouver, recently spoke as follows: "I
was born beside Rev. Samuel MacLeod. To say that he was a man of outstanding
natural 'ability is no exaggeration. His learning and wisdom were profound;
his character irreproachable; his influence widespread; his example
wholesome and contagious. In all my experience of eighty-six years of life,
I look back upon the character of Rev. Samuel MacLeod as one of the most
potent and signficant things I have met. In speaking of him less than
justice would be done were I to refrain from paying, in my own declining
years, a final tribute to the memory of a group-the small Uigg group-of
MacLeods, Gordons and Macdonalds, who constituted in themselves perhaps the
highest expressions of the human family that it has been my privilege to
know. When one reflects on the disregard for the rights of others so common
in many ranks of society, the record of the Uigg district does much to
restore confidence in human nature. Perhaps in no other place has there been
a more willingly admitted regard for the rights of others. They seemed to
recognize the great truth at the basis of the whole social structure, that
the law is a great man-made institution, not only giving to each certain
rights and privileges, but also placing on each heavy duties and exacting
from each serious obligations. The instinctive grasp of this truth by the
British people gives them their respect for law and makes them as a nation,
in this regard, unique in the annals of history."
You can read the rest of this chapter at
You can read all the chapters at
Scotland's Road of Romance
Travels in the footsteps of Prince Charlie by Augustus Muir (1937).
Now up to chapter 17 and here is a bit from it to read here...
THE hotel where I slept that night had once been a coaching-inn that
belonged to the Earl of Moray. The old stables had been beaten, as it were,
into garages, and the water-troughs into petrol-pumps: and a very handsome
job has been made of it all. Every few weeks you will read in some newspaper
a letter, devotedly signed "Lover of Nature," wailing about the ugliness of
petrol-pumps on the countryside. I always disagree, because I can see
nothing ugly about a petrol-pump. Sensitive aesthetes object to them because
they so brutally catch the eye. But surely that is part of their function:
the petrol-pump that coyly hides behind a woodshed would be of little
service to the passing motorist. Besides, the opinions about beauty in any
generation are often sneered at in the next. For example, I personally can
see no beauty whatever, but only a chaotic mass of disjointed ideas, in Mr.
T. S. Eliot's famous poem, The Waste Land. Petrol-pumps, I take it, are a
little like modernist verse: some of us have not yet got accustomed to them.
That they are necessary in the countryside cannot be denied, and the first
man who put a clock on a church tower was probably told that he was spoiling
the look of the church. Often we use the word ugly when we mean unfamiliar.
As soon as I had finished breakfast I went to explore Doune Castle, which
had left upon my mind the night before so vivid an impression of vastness
and strength. After crossing a hundred yards of green turf to the knoll
above the meeting-place of the rivers Ardoch and Teith, I found the big oak
door locked. Beside it I read a notice announcing that "Visitors inspecting
Doune Castle do so at their own risk and must therefore EXERCISE DUE CARE."
Another notice told me that I must apply to the castle-keeper before I could
get in, so I began to retrace my steps to his cottage. It was then that a
happy clatter across the Ardoch caught my ear, and I saw a mill with its
water-wheel spinning beside a dark pool. The drumming of it was good to
hear, and I made for the bridge and descended the opposite bank. A collie
dog dashed out of the door and cut friendly circles round me, and I hoped
that his warning bark would bring out the miller himself. But the noise
inside was so loud that I had to raise my voice to a yell before he
appeared. He was a short man with grey eyes that twinkled under his dusty
eyebrows, and he invited me in with a friendly gesture. He led the way up a
ladder, pausing to shout a warning in my ear not to "bash my croon" on the
beams, and I emerged into a dim chamber with dozens of bags set around the
The miller's boy was working like a black, staggering across the floor with
bags of oats, and fastening them to a chain that came down from above at
quick intervals for fresh supplies. "Come and see the kiln," said the
miller, opening a door. We stepped into the semi-darkness of a big room, the
floor of which was six or eight inches deep in oats, and the heat was
terrific. Steam began to settle on my face like wet mist as the miller
stooped and scraped aside the oats. I saw that we were standing on thin
wire-netting laid across iron beams, and in the chamber beneath I discerned
the red glow of an inferno. That sudden glimpse through the wire floor was
slightly terrifying, and I thought how that kiln would have made an
exquisite torture-chamber in the Middle Ages: I pictured a pair of ruthless
eyes looking through a slit in the door at prisoners writhing upon that wire
grill as the flue was opened in the furnace room underneath and the great
crimson mouth of the fire belched up its blinding heat: I would have
preferred the thumbikins or the boot any day, and I was glad to get back
into the cool air. I tried to pick up the different noises, the swish of the
grinding-stone, the thud of the wooden levers, the whirr of spindles, and
the bang-bang of trap-doors that opened and closed. I was amused at the
distance the oats travel before they emerge finally as meal. From the kiln
on the second floor they are shovelled into a chute down which they drop to
the ground level, to be carried on a tiny elevator to the sifters, from
which they fall to the first floor to be cleaned in a riddle; then up they
go once more to the roof, to drop to the "shieling-stone" where the husks
are crushed and blown off. Up again they go, and fall through a pipe to the
oatmeal-stone, from which the meal itself goes down in a steady stream
through the riddles. The stuff that fails to pass makes another journey to
the roof, to be recrushed, while the perfect oatmeal sets out on its final
ascent and then drops down to the waiting bags. An amazing process: a
lighthouse keeper's work is a flat crawl compared with the journeys of the
oats before they reach the storeroom. As for the miller himself, it was
obvious that he loved his job. At each bin, as he raised his voice to
explain the process, he scooped up handfuls of the stuff that earned him his
living and let it trickle through his fingers with pride as though each oat
were a pearl, and the meal itself he tasted and rolled round his tongue like
a man savouring a vintage port. "There's no' a healthier job in Scotland,"
he declared. "D'ye see yon boy that's helping me? Ay, a fine big chap. Aweel,
he came here a poor-like thing, but he's off next month to join the police.
It's the healthy work and the good porridge that's set him up. Ay, it's a
The miller came to the door and stood in the morning sunshine. We talked of
the days when people burned the husks from the grain, and beat it into meal
in a "knocking-stone," or ground it in the hand-mill they called a quern.
There was a time when a tenant held his land on condition that he had his
crops ground at the laird's water-mill, and the profits of the mill went
into the laird's pocket. To-day at Doune it is the farmers themselves who
have clubbed together to keep the old mill going for their mutual benefit.
The water is taken from the Ardoch about half a mile upstream, and glides
swiftly down the "lade" to the wheel at the riverside.
I said good-bye to the miller, and went to the castlekeeper's cottage. He
had recently been appointed, I found, and had not acquired the irritating
habit of - spouting forth his story in the turgid stream that usually flows
from the mouth of an official guide. Far from being a peripatetic hose-pipe,
he was human, and answered my questions in a simple way; and he was as proud
of his job as the miller across the burn. "If ye like old castles," he said
confidently, while he unlocked the door below the arch, "ye'll like Doune."
For half an hour I became a boy again, the same boy that had cycled out from
Edinburgh scores of times and had scrambled dangerously upon Craigmillar's
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The book index page is at
History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
By J. L. MacDougall (1922)
Inverness County is part of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. I am now up to
chapter 11 and you can read all the chapters at
As this is a huge chapter I am dividing into various parts of the County and
here is a bit about Port Hastings...
The Municipal District of Port Hastings extends from the Richmond County
line and the town of Port Hawkesbury along the shore .of the Strait of Canso
and St. George's Bay, toward the north west, to the borders of the Municipal
District of Creignish.
The front lots extend a mile and a quarter to the rear. The rear settlements
are Melville and Barberton to the rear of Port Hawkesbury; Crandall Road, N.
W. Arm, Sugar Camp, Mackdale, Lake Horton, Lexington, Queensville and South
Rhodena to the rear of Creignish.
The only village in this District is Port Hastings, beautifully situated on
a hill side on the north west side of Plaster Cove, and commanding a good
view of the Strait of Canso to the south and south east and faced directly
across by the bold promontory of Cape Porcupine about a mile distant.
For a long time Port Hastings has been a busy place, the central spot of the
District for business activities. Among the leading business men of former
years were pioneer Hugh MacMillan, James G. MacKeen, Geo. C. Laurence,
William M. Clough, A. B. Skinner, A. H. Sutherland, Hugh MacLennan and R. J.
MacDonald. Of these, Mr. MacDonald survives and conducts a strong general
business at the old stand.
R. J. MacDonald, who has been the leading merchant at Port Hastings for many
years was the son of Donald MacDonald one of the pioneers of Whycocomagh.
Donald MacDonald, when 24 years of age, in North Uist, Scotland, married Ann
Morrison, aged 19 years, and in three days they sailed for America. The
sea-voyage over, they landed at Sydney and found their way to Whycocomagh.
There they bought a little home at Salt Mountain from an Irishman, house,
field, crop and all, and there for a time they enjoyed the sunshine of
heaven. And then dark days came. When Ronald John was six years old and his
brother James four, their father died. The brave mother had her hands full.
She did her part nobly. Her family became prosperous. Peter at Whycocomagh;
James at West Bay, and later in the House of Assembly and a member of the
Local Government; and "R. J." at Port Hastings.
"R. J." opened his first lot of goods for sale at Port Hastings on May 6th,
1879. Mrs. R. J. MacDonald was Elizabeth C. MacPhie whose father, the late
Angus MacPhie came to West Bay from Pictou in 1844. Of their children one
daughter, Eva G., survives and lives. with her parents at Port Hastings.
James G. MacKeen, son of Hon. William MacKeen, Mabou, was. doing business at
Port Hastings in the early forties and down to the early eighties. He
married Mary Ann, daughter of Nathaniel Clough, pioneer. His first daughter,
Sarah Jane, was born in 1844. She became the wife of Henry A. Forbes, son of
Rev. William.G. Forbes of the Strait. Children: Wm. J. died young; Mary Ann,
William G., Harry, Elizabeth, David. The last two died young. Mary Ann
married Aubrey Laurence, son of George C., Port Hastings. Children: Gerald,
Arthur Craig, Aubrey Forbes, Mary, Roland Hadley. Their home is now in
Toronto. William G. and Harry, sons of the late H. A. Forbes are on the old
James G. MacKeen's second wife was Charlotte Sophia Whidden, daughter of
Rev. Mr. Whidden, Baptist Minister, Antigonish. Children: Sophia, Hattie,
Margaret, Ella, Emily, Bertha Lavinia, Wellesley and William J., Civil
Engineer. Of these Sophia married T. C. James, Charlottetown. Children:
Margaret and Tom. This Margaret married Rev. George Millar, B.A., P.E.I.
Hattie MacKeen married Capt. George Mitchell, Brooklyn, N.Y. No family. The
rest of this MacKeen family died single.
The other business men of Port Hastings today are W. H. Skinner,. W. H.
Clough (Postmaster), Geo. L. MacLean and J. B. Chisholm.
For a number of years, after the laying of the first Atlantic Cable, Port
Hastings could boast of a large cable and Telegraph Office with a large
staff of operators, which added considerably to the prosperity of the place.
Prior to the laying of Telegraph Cables a wire was laid across the Strait
from the top of Cape Porcupine to a tall mast or tower at Port Hastings.
Great difficult was experienced in maintaining it. It sagged greatly and was
often caught by the topmasts of large ships going through the Strait and
Another factor in its prosperity was the large number of American fishing
vessels that made Port Hastings a port of call to secure fishing supplies
and men on their way to the Magdalen Islands in the Spring and the various
banks. Those were the happy old days of friendly reciprocity.
You can read more of this chapter at
Started work again on the final volume 6 of this publication complete with
sheet music. The index page is at
To volume 6 I added...
The Piper O' Dundee
O True Love Is A Bonnie Flow'r
Loudon's Bonnie Wood And Braes
You can see these at
A History of the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Caledonian Society of South
Australia 1894 - 1994
The oldest Pipe Band in Australia and New Zealand and we think the second
oldest civilian pipe band in the world. Our thanks to David Porteous for
having this history scanned in for us and here is what the Foreword has to
It is with the greatest pleasure that I write the foreword to the book on
the history of the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Caledonian Society, the
oldest Pipe Band in Australia and New Zealand and, it is believed, the
second oldest civilian Pipe Band in the world.
The Centenary of the Pipes and Drums of the
Royal Caledonian Society is the most significant example of the strength of
the traditional links felt by people of Scottish descent. Interestingly the
majority of people, no matter how indirect those links might be, are
inevitably proud of those links and can usually point out their own personal
tartan. Very few organisations have survived 100 years, particularly Pipe
Bands, or for that matter any bands.
What started out 100 years ago as "The Pipers' Band" is now commonly
acknowledged as the most recognised Pipe Band in South Australia with their
feather bonnets and first class uniforms. Very few South Australians have to
be told who they are when they perform in public. From their first
engagement 100 years ago this year, at a Grand Concert to celebrate the
unveiling of the Robert Burns Statue in North Terrace donated to the City of
Adelaide by the Caledonian Society, until today they have performed on
thousands of public occasions and entertained and thrilled millions of South
Australians, young and old and regardless of their origins. Well known
examples of these public occasions are John Martins Christmas Pageants,
Anzac Day marches, Carols by Candlelight and concerts at the Festival
Theatre. Largely on a voluntary basis, the Band has also supported local
communities by performing in small street marches, school fetes and
concerts, playing at weddings, funerals and parties and even at the start of
the "Variety Club Bash" this year.
The Band also actively fosters the Scottish Heritage by tutoring young
people in piping and drumming as well as by participating in Highland
gatherings and Pipe Band competitions. The Band has had a good competition
record during its 100 years of existence and in 1986 achieved the status of
Australian Grade 2 Champions.
In 1900 the Caledonian Society was instrumental in the formation of a
Scottish Corps in the Army and the Pipers' Band became a part of that Corps,
and later the Society assisted in the move to convert the 2/27th Battalion
to a killed regiment and the Caledonian Band served as the Battalion Band
until the Regiment's own band could be trained. The 2/27th Battalion
Scottish Regiment lived up to the well known Scottish fighting traditions
during world conflicts and of course always had as part of their number the
traditional Scottish Regiment pipers and drummers. The Band also assisted in
1942-43 in the establishment of what was at the time the only women's pipe
band in the Commonwealth for the Australian Women's Army Service. The women
were instructed in piping and drumming at the Society's hall with Pipe Major
Niven and Drum Sergeant Duff. They also assisted through pipe band members
in the formation of the Pipes and Drums of the Adelaide University Regiment
which went on to become a first class band.
The untiring and voluntary efforts of individual pipers, drummers and Drum
Majors over the last hundred years is greatly appreciated by all South
Australians. More particularly those individuals who have freely given their
time as pipe and drum tutors, to ensure that excellent skill levels have
been maintained over the period, deserve recognition by all those who share
my love of Pipes and Drums music. The dedication they have shown, as well as
that of their pupils, has been an enormous and much appreciated public
service. It has also been the prime factor in keeping alive our Scottish
traditions at a level even higher, dare I say, than in many communities in
Scotland itself. The future I believe is in good hands. The Band is at a
point with almost sufficient numbers to contemplate having two bands. There
are 40 pupils being tutored at the moment, a number rarely if ever surpassed
during the last 100 years, and so the future is bright indeed.
I am sure all South Australians will join me
in congratulating the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Caledonian Society on
achieving their centenary year and thanking them for their past and present
selfless community service and I trust that 100 years from now future
generations will again be celebrating a further century of similar service
by this magnificent Band.
Morgan. Margaret. 1948
You can read this history at
A selection of interesting characters
A selection of pictures by David McConnell Hunter including some Scots in
Ontario which you can see at
Maps of Clan Lands
I have made some progress on this project and you can see the clans I've
managed to add at
There is also a help page which explains more about this project at
I was also given permission to use "Somerled's Land Grant to Muirdach" by
Bruce MacIntyre. The attached Map is accurate until 1440 / early 1500 AD
apart from Campbell claims. This can be seen at
Mind that you can help with this project by sending me in pictures of your
clan lands :-)
And that's all for now and I hope you and your families all have a great
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