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Weekly Mailing List Archives
29th June 2007

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

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

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at 

Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
Raiderland, All about Grey Galloway
Poems and Stories
Scottish Canadian Newspaper
Proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Third Congress at Louisville, Kentucky May 14 to 17, 1891
History of Scotland
Highlanders in Spain
Doug Ross's pictures from his Scottish Tour
The Crofter in History
Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario.
The Biter Bit!

Domestic issues took up most of this week. My steps have now been replaced and painted. They found support bricks missing on the front steps so just as well I decided to rebuild rather than do a quick fix. Have also decided to get the lattice work replaced and so that's been purchased and painted and hopefully tomorrow will see it fitted and the hand rails back from being cleaned.

I'm also getting a couple of other wee jobs done like some cement work on my side path to the house and also the side path extension path to the back garden gate which has been forced up by tree roots. The final wee job is fixing the entrance to my basement from the outside door. Need 4 sheets of drywall and fixing the three steps down into it and also fixing the outside basement door which is hard to close.

Got my new washer and dryer delivered and the old ones removed. The final job is to power wash the front and back of the house and get the trees pruned back so they don't rub on the house roof and then also to do a wee bit of planting around the house.

As to work... the next three projects I'll be working on book wise is "Perth on the Tay", an account of transplanted Highlanders to Canada. This book may well be a challenge to read as they talk in the Scots vernacular but felt it was interesting enough to make this available on the site.

I'll shortly start on the "Good Words" book of which you got to read the first story last week.

And I am starting to work on the New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845) with the Aberdeen volume being the first of 15. These are around 900 pages each so likely this will be a project over several years :-)

And as I mentioned last week we're going to try for a very detailed account of the Grandfather Highland Games in North Carolina. The press officer for the event is being most helpful and is giving Michael and Jeanne Craig press passes for the whole event.

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

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

This weeks Flag is compiled by Donald Bain in which he is discussing the election fiasco in Scotland.

In Peter's cultural section we get a wee bit of Scottish Wit...

A Worried Wife!

An old crofter is on his death bed being comforted by his wife and her sister. He turns to his wife and says: "We've haed a gran life thegither but somethins aye bothered me fir yeirs. Jock an Jimmie war twa gran strappin louns an are nou fine chiels - bit Sannie his aye been a shargar. Tell minoo - is he ma sin?"

And the wife replies: "Oh ay, A'll sweir tillt."

At that the crofter dies a happy man and a while later the widow's sister says: "At wis a funny thing Mac asked ye afore he deid."

"A ken at" replies the widow "A wis worried fir a meenit - A thocht he wis gyan tae ask aboot the the ither twa."

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

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

Now onto the H's with Halliday, Halyburton, Hamilton and Handyside added this week.

The Hamilton entry is very large and here is how it starts...

HAMILTON, a surname originally derived from the lordship and manor of Hambledon in Leicestershire, the seat of the ancient family of Hamilton, the first of whom settled in Scotland in the thirteenth century. In the time of William the Conqueror, as we learn from the index to Domesday Book, there were several places in England of the names of Hameldun, Hameldune, Hameledone, Hameltun, Hameltune, and Hameledune; and different families of the name were established in various parts of England, about the time of the early Scottish Hamiltons, but there is no reason to suppose that any of them settled in Scotland. A william de Hamilton, who belonged to a Yorkshire family, is repeatedly taken notice of in the Faedera Angliae, from 1274 to 1305, being employed in various negociations and transactions of importance. He was archbishop of York and lord-chancellor of England during the reign of Edward the first, and one of the commissioners appointed by that monarch who met at Upsettlington, near Norham castle, on 2d June 1292, to determine the claims of the competitors for the Scottish crown. In Cleland’s ‘Annals of Glasgow,’ vol. ii. p. 484, there is inserted the translated copy of a charter from Malcolm Canmore (who reigned between 1057 and 1093) to the masons of Glasgow, granting them very ample privileges, one of the witnesses to which is designed Andrew Hamilton, bishop of Glasgow; but the authenticity of the deed is doubted from the fact that there were no bishops of Glasgow for a considerable period after this; the first, according to Chalmers, having been John (preceptor of David I.,) who died in 1147.

The first person of the name in Scotland that can be relied upon was Walter de Hamilton, usually designed Walterus fulius Gilberti, or Walter Fitz-Gilbert, and from him the ducal family of Hamilton are descended. His father, Sir Gilbert Hamilton, is said to have been the son of Sir William de Hamilton, one of the sons of Robert de Bellomont, surnamed Blanchemaine, third earl of Leicester, who died in 1190. The story told by Hector Boece, Lesly, Buchanan, and others, of the first Hamilton who settled in Scotland having been obliged to flee from the court of Edward the Second in 1323, for slaying John Despencer, is quite in character with the legendary origins of families formerly so universal, and is evidently an invention. The fable goes on to state that having been closely pursued in his fight, Hamilton and his servant changed clothes with two woodcutters, and taking the saws of the workmen, they were in the act of cutting an oak-tree when his pursuers passed. Perceiving his servant to notice them, Sir Gilbert cried out to him “Through,” which word, with the oak-tree and saw through it, he took for his crest. Sir Gilbert’s son, Sir Walter, however, was settled in Scotland long before this period. In the chartulary of Paisley he appears as one of the witnesses to the charter of confirmation by James, great steward of Scotland, to the monastery of Paisley, of the privilege of a herring fishery in the Clyde, in 1294; and in 1292, and again in 1296, we find him among the barns who swore fealty to King Edward the First, for ands lying in Lanarkshire and different other counties. During the contest which ensued for the succession to the Scottish crown he adhered to the English or Baliol interest.

By Edward the Second he was appointed governor of the castle of Bothwell, and he held that important fortress for the English at the period of the battle of Bannockburn. He is mentioned by Barbour as “Schyr Waltre gilbertson.” He seems soon after to have been taken into favour with Robert the Bruce, as that monarch bestowed on him the barony of Cadyow in Lanarkshire, and several other lands and baronies in that county, and in Linlithgowshire and Wigtonshire. He continued faithful to King David Bruce, the son of his great benefactor, and during his minority he accompanied the regent Douglas to the relief of Berwick, then threatened with a siege by the English. He was also present at the battle of Halidon-hil, where he had a command in the second great body of the army under the young Stewart. He was twice married. His second wife was Mary, only daughter of Adam de Gordon, ancestor of al the Gordons in Scotland. He had two sons: Sir David, and John de Hamilton, who, marrying Elizabeth, daughter of Alan Stewart of Dreghorn, got with her the lands of Ballencrief, &c. Of him are descended the Hamiltons of Innerwick, the earls of Haddington, and others. Sir Walter had two brothers, Sir John de Hamilton de Rossaven, and Hugo de Hamilton. The former had a charter from his nephew, Sir David de Hamilton de Cadyow, of the barony of Fingaltoun in Renfrewshire, dated in 1339. He was ancestor of the Hamiltons of Fingaltoun and Preston, from whom are sprung the families of Airdrie and ellershaw, and from the latter are said to be descended the Hamiltons of Cairnes, and the Hamiltons of Mount Hamilton in Ireland.

Sir David de Hamilton, lord of Cadyow, was, like his father, a faithful adherent of David the Bruce, and after that monarch’s return from France, he accompanied him in all his excursions into the northern counties of England. He was taken prisoner with the king at the disastrous battle of Durham, 17th October, 1346, but soon obtained his freedom on payment of a heavy ransom. He is mentioned as one of the magnates Scotiae, at a meeting of the Estates held at Scone, 27th March 1371, to settle the succession, when John earl of Carrick was unanimously acknowledged to be the eldest lawful son of King Robert the Second, and undoubted heir to the crown. He had three sons: Sir David, his successor; Walter de Hamilton, ancestor of the Hamiltons of Cambuskeith and Grange in Ayrshire; and Alan de Hamilton of Lethberd or Larbert in Linlithgowshire.

The eldest son, sir David de Hamilton, was knighted by Robert the Second, who, in 1377, made him a grant of the lands of Bothwell muir. He died before 1392. He married Janet or Johanetta de Keith, only daughter and heiress of the gallant Sir William Keith of Galston, and the ancestrix, not only of the noble family of Hamilton, but of their cousins the Stewarts of Darnley, from whom James the First of England, and the subsequent monarchs of the house of Stuart, were lineally descended. By this lady he had; with a daughter, Elizabeth, married to Sir Alexander Fraser of Cowie and dores, ancestor of the Frasers, Lord Salton; five sons; namely, Sir John, his successor; George, ancestor of the Hamiltons of Boreland in Ayrshire; William, ancestor of the Hamiltons of bathgate; Andrew, ancestor of the Hamiltons of Udston; and John, ancestor of the family of Bardowie.

You can read the rest of this entry at

You can read the other entries at 

Raiderland, All about Grey Galloway
by S. R. Crockett (1902)
Our thanks to John Snyder for ocr'ing in this book for us

Added chapters XXII and XXIII this week. Here is how chapter XXII starts...


AND now we come to the heart of the matter. Every traveller's road in Galloway leads him at long and last to the Glenkens –and yet they want a railway, and set poets to ask for it!

Stormy Music.

But we who are of the older day prefer to think of the Glenkens as it was in the year of Bothwell Brig, when a certain William Gordon, of Earlstoun, rode away through these sweet holms and winding paths south toward the Duchene. Nowhere, to my thinking, is the world so gracious as between the green woodlands of Earlstoun and the grey Duchrae Craigs. For (writes the hero) "the pools of the Water of Ken slept, now black, now silver, beneath us. They were deep set about with the feathers of the birches, and had the green firs standing bravely like men-at-arms on every rocky knoll. Then the strath opened out, and we saw Ken flow silver-clear between the greenest and floweriest banks in the world. The Black Craig of Dee loomed on our right side as we rode, sulky after the burning of last year's heather. And the great Kells range sank slowly behind us, ridge behind ridge of hills whose very names make a storm of music-Millyea, Milldown, Millfire, Corscrine, and the haunted fastnesses of the Meaull of Garryhom in the head end of Carsphairn. The reapers were out in the high fields about Gordonston by daybreak, with their crooked reaping-hooks in their hands, busily grasping the handfuls of grain and cutting them through with a pleasant ‘risp' of sound. Cocks crowed early that morning, for they knew it was going to be a day of fervent heat. It would be as well, therefore, to have the pursuit of slippery worm and rampant caterpillar over betimes in the dawning. Then each chanticleer could stand in the shade and scratch himself applausively with alternate foot all the hot noontide, while the wives clucked and nestled in the dusty holes along the banks, interchanging intimate reflections upon the moral character of the giddier and more skittish young pullets of the farmyard."

Furthermore, I have another reason for remembering the Glenkens. It was a favourite cycling route of Sweetheart's and mine–in the good years when cats were kittens, and dogs were puppies, and sheep were lambs, and Sweethearts had not yet grown up!

"We skimmed under the imminent side of the Bennan Hill, now purple and golden-brown with the heather and the dying bracken. On our right, by the lochside of Ken, we passed the little cottage which thirty years ago was known to all in the neighbourhood as Snuffy Point, from an occupant who was said to use so much snuff that the lake was coloured for half a mile round of a deep brown tint whenever he sneezed. A little farther on is a deep tunnel of green leaves, down which we looked. It leads to Kenmure Castle. Sweetheart and I always stop just here to dream. It seems as if we could stretch our arms and float down into the wavering infinitude of stirring leaves.

You can read more of this chapter at

You can read the rest of the chapters at

Poems and Stories
John sent in a doggerel, Nae Wirk! Nae Howp? at

John sent in another doggerel, Flo ... Ma Jo! at

and also Chapter 57 of his Recounting Blessings at

John sent in another doggerel, The Clydebank Blitz - 1941 - Recalled at

Donna sent in three recipes, Zucchini Relish, Zucchini Sauce on Rice and Zucchini Chocolate Orange Cake which you can read at

Donna sent in a Native Indian Lore story, The Rain, the Rain, The Rain at

Did an update on the 1066 Pipes and Drums (Hastings) England which you can read at 

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

August 27, 1891 at

This issue carries an article about The Falls of the Clyde.

You can see all the issues to date at

Proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Third Congress at Louisville, Kentucky May 14 to 17, 1891
Now working on the Third Congress and this week as well as completing the summary proceedings have added...

The Workmans by Rev. Stuart Acheson, A.M., of Toronto, Canada
Genealogical and Biographical Sketch of Samuel Evans
Religious Services and Closing Exercises at the Louisville Auditorium - Dr. John Hall's Sermon.

In Memoriam.

W. J. Frierson, Oakland, Cal. Born Jan 8, 1810; died Oct. 21, 1890, Aged 80 years, 9m 13d.
James Todd, Louisville, Ky.
Matthew T. Scott, Bloomington, Ill.
John Orr, Steubenville, O.

Here is the article about John Orr...


This community was shocked Friday evening by the announcement of the death of John Orr, an old and one of the most prominent citizens of Steubenville, which occurred at 4 o'clock. The cause of death was jaundice, and he had been confined to his house but a few days.

Mr. Orr was born at Ballyhalbert, near Belfast, Ireland, November 29, 1827, and came to America in 1846, first locating in Pittsburg, He remained in that city only a short time, coming to Steubenville, where he entered the grocery store of his uncle, John Orr, at the corner of Third and Washington Streets.

In 1851 he opened a retail grocery on the opposite corner, which business he continued up to 1860, when at the death of his uncle ho returned to the old store. He remained in the retail grocery business up to 1867, when he engaged in oil refining, building a plant below the Jefferson Iron Works. In 1877 he also engaged in oil refining in Pittsburg, but two years later he sold the two plants to the Standard Oil Company, resuming the retail grocery trade at the "Old Orr Corner."

In 1882 he erected the large block at the corner of Market and Fifth, and taking his son Robert into partnership, engaged in the wholesale grocery trade, in which he was very prosperous, his house at his death having a solid standing, the result of business sagacity and honest dealing.

In 1855 he was married to Mary Jane Orr, the issue being five children, Robert, John, Will, Mary, and Annie, who, with the wife, survive him. He was a public-spirited citizen, a man of enterprise and wholesome influence, always taking an active interest in public improvements. It was during his membership of Council in 1868 and largely through his influence and persistent efforts that the sidewalks were widened and many of the street lines wore straightened and the city began to emerge from its village life. It was also largely through his influence as a councilman that the first steam fire-engine was purchased. He was one of the Trustees of the Union Cemetery, was in the directory of the old Jefferson Fire Insurance Company, of the old Jefferson National Bank, and was a Director in the Steubenville National Bank at his death. He was a friend of the Y. M. C. A., to which organization ho was a liberal and hearty contributor. He was a member of the Humane Society, and contributed largely to the support of the work in the prosecution of which he was deeply interested. In fact, he was prominent in all movements for the betterment of the community and its citizens. He was of a jovial disposition, kind-hearted, and his acts of kindness and charity will keep his memory green in the hearts of many beneficiaries.

He was a member of the Second Presbyterian Church and a regular attendant at this sanctuary. He was a Democrat, in his younger days being one of the most active of the local adherents of the party of Jefferson. He was one of the first Ohio members of the Scotch-Irish Society of America, and no one took a deeper interest in the annual proceedings of its Congress. Ho looked forward with much pleasure to an anticipated attendance at the next meeting of the Congress to be held in Louisvilie in May.

Mr. Orr was a good citizen, and his death is deeply mourned by our people. His many good traits of character endeared him to the hearts of many. His remains were interred in the Union Cemetery Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock.


I might add that next week I'll be adding the list of members of the Society and in this volume they have started to add a wee bio of some of the members.

You can read more of this volume at

History of Scotland
In 9 volumes By Patrick Fraser Tytler (1828)

Now working on the sixth volume and have added...

Chapter 3 (Pages 135 - 191)
Mary from 1559 - 1561 (1559)

Chapter 4 (Pages 193 - 274)
Mary from 1560 - 1561 (1560)

Chapter 5 (Pages 275 - 346)
Mary from 1561 - 1565 Part A (1561)

Here is how Chapter 5 starts...

ON her arrival in her dominions, Mary was received with great joy by all classes of her subjects, and for a while those unhappy feelings which exasperated the various factions of the state against each other, were softened down and forgotten in the general enthusiasm. She was conducted by her nobility with rude state from Leith to her palace of Holyrood.

The pomp of the procession, if we may believe Brantome, an eye-witness, was far inferior to the brilliant pageants to which she had been accustomed; she could not repress a sigh when she beheld the sorry palfreys prepared for herself and her ladies, and when awakened on the morning after her arrival, by the citizens singing psalms under her window, the unwonted strains seemed dissonant to courtly ears; but the welcome, though singular, was sincere, the people were delighted with their young Queen; her extreme beauty, and the gracefulness of her manners, created .a strong prepossession in her favour; her subjects crowded round her with expressions of unfeigned devotedness, and for a time she believed that her forebodings of difficulties and distresses were unfounded.

Within a few days after her return, however, the celebration of mass in her private chapel occasioned a tumult, which was with difficulty appeased; Mary had stipulated for the free exercise of her own form of worship, and the Lord James previous to his departure for France, maintained, in opposition to Knox and the strictest reformers, that this liberty could not possibly be denied to their Sovereign. Here the matter rested till the Queen's arrival, but the more intolerant of the Protestants had early made up their minds to resist by force every attempt to raise the "Idol" once more in the land. They drew no distinction between the idolatry of the Jews, which was
punished by death, and the idolatry of the Romanists; both were in their eyes maintainers of the accursed
thing which was hateful to God. It was even argued by Knox, that the Jews were more tolerable in their tenets than the Romish Church; he would rather see, he said, ten thousand French soldiers landed in Scotland, than suffer a single mass. And when the master of Lindsay, a furious zealot, heard that it was about to be celebrated, he buckled on his harness, assembled his followers, and rushing into the court of the palace, shouted aloud that the priests should die the death. The Lord James, however, opposed this violence, placed himself at the door of the chapel, overawed the multitude, and preserved the lives of the chaplains who officiated, for which he was bitterly and ironically attacked by Knox.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

As all the chapters are .pdf files I'll just point you at the index page of this publication where you can read the rest of the chapters at

Highlanders in Spain
By James Grant (1910)

Several more chapters added this week and now up to Chapter 60.

Here is how Chapter 58 starts...

It was on the morning of the 16th September that Ronald quitted Brussels, having under his command three hundred rank and file of the Gordon Highlanders, as many more of the 42nd, and fifty men of the Coldstream Guards. Three other officers were with him, but he was their senior both by rank and standing. They paraded in the park before the king's palace, in heavy marching order, about six o'clock in the morning, and, moving round the corner of the palace of the Prince of Orange, they proceeded along the boulevard, after passing through the Namur gate. As they quitted the city, with bayonets fixed and pipes playing before the fifty Coldstreams, who of course marched in front, they elicited shouts of applause from the Belgians, many of whom followed them for many miles on the Waterloo road, and several young women went much farther, so that they never returned at ail. Stuart had a very affectionate leave-taking with Widow Vandergroot, whose fat oily face was bedewed with tears at his departure.

Their route, for part of the way, lay through the forest of Soignies ; on quitting which they entered the plains of Waterloo, so lately the scene of that fierce contest in which the greatest empire in Europe had been lost and won. They were now treading on the hallowed ground of the field, and the murmur of conversation, which had arisen among the detachment the moment command to 'march at ease' had been given, now died away, and the soldiers trod on in silence, or spoke to each other only at intervals, and in whispers, for there was something in the appearance of the vast graveyard around them which caused strange feelings of sadness to damp the military pride that burned in every breast.

The morning was remarkably fine, with a pure air and almost cloudless sky. All nature looked bright and beautiful, and the rising sun cast the long shadows of every house and tree far across the level landscape, where everything was beginning to assume a warm autumnal tint.

The farm of La Haye Sainte, the fine old chateau of Hougoumont, and other houses, were all roofless and ruined, the walls breached and battered by cannon-shot; the parterres, the shrubberies, and orchards destroyed ; but on these wrecks of the strife they scarcely bestowed a look. As they marched over the ridge where the British infantry formed line, the sights which greeted them there caused the Highlanders—naturally thoughtful at all times—to become more so.

'No display of carnage, violence, and devastation could have had so pathetic an effect as the quiet orderly look of its fields, brightened with the sunshine, but thickly strewed with little heaps of upturned earth, which no sunshine could brighten. On these the eye instantly fell ; and the heart, having but a slight call made upon it from without, pronounced with more solemnity the dreadful thing that lay below, scarcely covered with a sprinkling of mould. In some spots they lay thick in clusters and long ranks; in others one would present itself alone; betwixt these, a black scathed circle told that fire had been employed to consume, as worthless refuse, what parents cherished, friends esteemed, and women loved. The summer wind, that shook the branches of the trees and waved the clover and gaudy heads of the thistles, brought along with it a foul stench, still more hideous to the mind than to the offended sense. The foot that startled the small bird from its nest among the grass disturbed at the same time some poor remnant of a human being, —either a bit of the showy habiliments in which he took pride, or of the warlike accoutrements which were his glory, or of the framework of his body itself, which he felt as comeliness and strength the instant before it became a mass of senseless matter.'

The ideas which appear to have pervaded the mind of the writer quoted were those of every man of that detachment—such, indeed, as the objects in their path, and the mournful scenes by which they were surrounded, could scarcely fail to inspire

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

Doug Ross's Pictures from Scotland
Doug and Pat Ross have sent in six more chapters in their tour...

Armadale Castle on the Sleat Peninsula
Tobermory, Isle of Mull
Isle of Mull Train to Torosay Castle
Lochaber and Glenfinnan
Oban to Loch Lomond

You can see these at

The Crofter in History
By Lord Colin Campbell, son of George, 8th Duke of Argyll (1885)

Added three more chapters this week...

Chapter III. Condition of the Highlands and Islands in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
Chapter IV. Condition of the Highlands and Islands during the Eighteenth Century
Chapter V. Buchanan's Account of the Western Hebrides, 1782

Here is how Chapter III starts...

Enough has been said to prove that even long before the breaking up of the clan system the Highlanders were far from enjoying that absolute immunity from oppression which has been imagined. On the other hand it is a gross error to represent them as being everywhere under a feudal despotism. If we turn to the records of the sixteenth century we shall find them enjoying, under the more powerful and settled clans, a system of rural economy, regulated by laws and customs which may well excite the admiration of a modern land reformer. In the "Black Book of Taymouth," examples of tenures will be found typical of feudalism. There is a tack obliging the holders "to mak slauchter" upon the Clan Gregor. The lessees undertake, "with the haill companie and forces," to "enter a deidlie feid with the Clan Gregor," and "continew thairin, and in making of slauchter upon them and thair adherents, bayth priuelie and oppenlie." Another binds the lessee to be "ane leill and trew servand to me and my airis at all tymes, baith upon hors and futt as he salbe requirit." The condition of a third is the "yearly payment of a sheaf of arrows." A fourth well illustrates the premium set by feudalism on population. It binds the tenant to keep a sufficient number of sub-tenants, and not to set the lands in schieling. There cannot be the least doubt that so long as such conditions were observed the tacksmen and their sub-tenants were undisturbed in the enjoyment of their holdings.

Not less interesting are the records of the Baron Court printed in the same work. They prove that stricter rules of estate management prevailed than are common at the present day. Nor are these rules always imposed as the arbitrary decrees of the lord of the soil. They read like the laws of a small republic. A common form of the record is—"It is statute and ordainit with aduyis and consent of the heall commins, tennentis," &c. [Sir Walter Scott, in contrasting the Highland clans with the Afghan tribes, says, "At no time do the Highland chiefs appear to have taken counsel with their elders as an authorized and independent body" —an assertion which is here disproved.] Amongst many other enactments we find heather burning forbidden except in the month of March: the maintenance of head-dykes and fold-dykes is enjoined: every householder is required to have a kail-yard: the method of cutting peats is prescribed: every tenant and cottar is ordered to leave his dwelling-house, on removing, precisely as he found it: every person is commanded to plant trees in number proportionate to the extent of his holding: none are to permit crows to build in the trees: the occupiers are warned that their stock must be put outside the head-dykes from the first of May until the eighth of June, and after that they must pass to the schielings, and remain there until a certain day.

It is a curious fact that the practice of resorting to arbitration in the assessment of rent is found in use. One of the tacks has the following proviso: "If the said Nicoll be impeded in labouring the said lands by any enemy's army, the tack shall become void, and he shall be bound to pay only such duty as four honest men, assessors in the country, shall appoint." [The date of this lease is 1651.] This custom appears to have taken strong root in Perthshire. It was a common practice formerly to call in sworn valuers or appraisers, under the name of Birleymen or Byrelawmen. The word is derived from the Gaelic word bir, signifying "short": hence short law or speedy justice. These functionaries existed in each officiary, and were called in to settle disputes between landlord and tenant, or between one tenant and another. [Robertson's Report to the Board of Agriculture on Perthshire.]

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The index page of the book can be found at

Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario.
My thanks to Nola Crewe for typing these up for us.

We got three bios in this week...

John Duncan
Robert Stuart Fisher
John Fergusson, M.D.

I thought I'd include the compete entry for John Fergusson, M.D., as it shows how immigrants grow over the generations.

JOHN FERGUSSON, M.D., a leading physician of Tilbury village, also prominent in public affairs, combines with a thorough professional education those rare qualities of mind and character that win success for a man at every step in life. He comes of a respected and gifted Scottish family.

John Fergusson, his grandfather, a native of Scotland, was the first of his line to push out of the cramped environments of Old World institutuions and seek to better his fortunes in Canada. He passed his early years in Scotland, and there gained a good education and practical training for life’s activities.

Upon reaching manhood he married, in Scotland, a woman of ability and refinement, who proved a most encouraging helpmeet. She died in Canada at the age of sixty-five years. It was during the twenties that Mr. Fergusson broke home ties and came to Canada, settling in Dumfries township, County of Waterloo, where he remained for several years. Eventually, however, he purchased a farm in Beverly township, County of Wentworth, whither he moved, and engaged in agriculture. From the start he made a splendid success on this farm, and continuing to prosper, worked it throughout the rest of his life, improving it from year to year, and making it in time one of the most attractive and valuable places in the township. A strong man, both mentally and physically, Mr. Fergusson made each stroke of work count for good. He died at the age of eighty-two years.

Archibald Fergusson, father of Dr. John Fergusson, was born on the family homestead in Beverly township, five miles east of Galt, about 1832. There he grew to manhood, and by assisting his father in the work on the farm early became well grounded in the best methods of agriculture. Both environment and an inherent taste for the work decided him upon reaching manhood to continue the occupation, and in time acquired a 200-acre farm adjoining the home place, where he has since made his residence. Thorough equipment for the work enabled him to carry on the place to advantage, and each year he branched out in his industry and added improvements to his farm, materially increasing its value. After many years of fruitful industry he turned over the management of this place to his son, and he has since lived in retirement.

Mr. Fergusson married Annie Dickey, who was born in Ayrshire, Scotland and at the age of six years came with her parents to Canada, making the trip in a six weeks’ voyage on a sailing-vessel. By this union there were four children. Mr. Fergusson has been not only a leading agriculturist of his township, but one of the most active men in municipal affairs as well, and for several years he served as a member of the council, and was reeve of the township. In the discharge of each duty he has shown himself both thorough and conscientious, and he commands the highest esteem from all who know him.

John Fergusson was born in Beverly township, County of Wentworth, in 1860. From his earliest years he evinced decided intellectual tastes, and upon entering school made rapid progress in his studies. He pursued the higher branches in Watertown high school and Hamilton Collegiate Institute and then, deciding to study medicine, entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Toronto, from which he graduated in 1885. Thoroughly well equipped for a professional career, he immediately opened an office in Essex and began the practice of medicine. A careful diagnosis of each case, and conscientious attention to his patients, won him a large patronage from the start, and for six years he continued his labors in that place, winning for himself a high reputation in his profession. At the end of that period, in July 1892, he purchased the residence and practice of Dr. Mitchell, a physician of Tilbury, to which place he moved, establishing himself anew in his profession, and there he has since continued. His able and faithful work has each year added new laurels to his already well-established reputation, and he is now considered one of the leading physicians in his locality. He is a shrewd and careful financial manager, and has accumulated considerable property in addition to his handsome residence on Queen street.

Dr. Fergusson was married in Embro, in 1889, to Mary B. Mackenzie, a woman of culture and many winning social attributes, and of this union there have been born two children, Archibald Mackenzie and Kathleen.

Dr. Fergusson wields a wide influence in his locality, reaching people in all stations of life. As a strict member of the Presbyterian church he is now serving as elder in that denomination. Keenly interested in the promotion of education, he has long been a member of the board of education and is at present acting as chairman of same. The Reform party, with which he affiliates, has honoured him at times with many local political offices. Fraternally he stands high, and, as a member of the A.F.&A.M., the I.O.O.F., the Foresters and the C.F., has served as examiner of the local lodges.

The other bios can be read at

The Biter Bit!
And to finish... John Henderson copied me into an email with this wee story...

One fine Sunday an aetheist decided to go fishing on Loch Ness. He was sitting there enjoying the peace and quiet, when all of a sudden there came a boiling and bubbling beneath his boat, and with a roar Nessie surfaced and flung the aetheist and his boat a couple of hundred feet in the air. As the aethiest was going up he started to yell, " Oh God help me, oh please God help me!".

Just then the scene froze and a thundering voice came from above, "I though you didn't believe in me!!" said God.

The aetheist said, "Oh for heaven's sake God, I didn't believe in the monster either until a few minutes ago..".

God said "What do you want of me?".

The aetheist though for a minute and said with a grin, "Please make Nessie a Christian.".

God thundered "Let it be so.".

The scene unfroze, the boat started falling down towards Nessie who clapped its flippers together and said, "For what I am about to receive, may the Lord make me truly thankful."

And that's all for now and hope you all have a good weekend, Canada Day and 4th of July :-)


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