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Weekly Mailing List Archives
4th January 2008

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

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

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at 

Electric Scotland News
Scotland on TV
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Poetry and Stories
Book of Scottish Story
History of Ulster
Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian Highlander
Sketches of The Character, Manners, and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland 1881
Household Encyclopaedia
Scottish Tradition in Canada
Ontario Genealogical Society
Winter Scenes by David Hunter

Happy New Year and hope this will be a great year for you :-)

I'm to be interviewed for a radio show next week on the 11th for The Celtic Corner with host, David McNabb, on NPR station, KJZA, 89.5 FM, which airs on Sat. 6-7 PM, and replays Sun. 1-2 PM and reaches Central & No. Az. and So. Ut. I believe this means it will be aired the following Saturday. So any of you in this area of the US might be interested in listening in :-)

In the next few weeks I'll be posting up the book "The Scottish Tradition in Canada" which was published in 1976. This book is now out of print and it would appear that the copyright holder, a Canadian Government department, is now defunct. I have made a number of enquiries and it would seem that I am able to post this book up on the site.

I am posting up the Editor's Introduction to this book below as I believe it will be of interest to you. While it deals with Scots in Canada it seems to me it somewhat mirrors what Scots got up to in the USA, Australia and New Zealand. Also at a time when ethnic issues are dominant around the world it shows a genuine effort to explore those ethnic ties in relationship to Canada. I think the whole project could be one that other countries could aspire to.

For our Canadian readers I thought I'd mention that I did some shopping today in Sobeys and found to my astonishment Mrs Bridges Potato Scones, Scotch Pies and Steak only pies. Not sure if that means all Sobeys stores have them but if you enjoy those kinds of food well worth a visit. And also while I was in that section I also noted that they were stocking English Double Devon Cream. I've found it hard to find a thick cream in Canada so was delighted to discover this :-)

Not sure how many of you are reading the various publications I'm posting up but must confess to enjoying almost everything that is going up right now. There is just so much excellent reading that I really don't know how you find the time to read it all and am just glad it's my full time occupation :-)

From the "Sketches of The Character, Manners, and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland" we're now in the middle of the army campaigns in Europe and America and so if military history is your thing you've got to be enjoying this. From Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian Highlander we're learning what social life was like in Scotland in the 19th century with some rememberences from earlier times.

The Book of Scottish Story shows what people in Scotland liked to read in the 18th century down to the 16th century and beyond.

Good Words is giving us a view of Christian life in the 19th century and remember that in those days religion played a major part in people's daily life.

The new Scottish government have now made it compulsory for Scottish children to learn Scottish history at school and there will be examinations at all grades on Scottish history. I think that is absolutely fabulous and hope Electric Scotland can play a part in that process.

We are also hoping that Christina McKelvie MSP will soon start her regular weekly diary with us as she seems to have forgotten us over the Christmas season. This will give us an insight into the working life of a member of the Scottish government.

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

Scotland on TV
Visit their site at 

A Very Happy New Year from Scotland on TV!

One of the many things that Scotland does so well is to celebrate the new year, and this Hogmanay was no exception. We hope you had a great time, wherever you are in the world.

Throughout the country, there are similarities in the way that the year end is celebrated and we’ve looked into some of those traditions, such as First Footing, the singing of Auld Lang Syne at the bells, and the origins of the word ‘Hogmanay’.

We’ve also investigated some of the more unusual celebrations, such as the annual Hogmanay celebrations in the town of Stonehaven, originally an iron age fishing village, in Aberdeenshire. Every 31st of December, at midnight, the town centre plays host to a massive fireball-swinging procession, which passes through the streets and down to the harbour where the fireballs are thrown into the sea. The balls each weigh 16 pounds and are held on five-foot long wire ropes. Once alight, these balls are whirled above the heads of the marchers creating a wonderful spectacle. It’s believed that the ceremony is based upon a festival celebrated by fishermen of the 19th century, although many believe it to date back further than that to pagan times. Take a look at the fireballs in action

We’re looking forward to bringing you even more of Scotland over the coming year. If there’s anything you know of and would like us to cover, please do let us know –  In the meantime, all the very best for 2008 from all of us here.

This weeks Flag is compiled by Jim Lynch and he provides us with lots of interesting wee snippets.

In Peter's cultural section he tells us...

Over the years traditions change – some die out and others begin. One such new tradition is the annual Celtic connections Festival in Glasgow which does much to brighten up the dark days in January and early February with a feast of music and song. Under Director Donald Shaw, the 15th Celtic Connections will run from Wednesday 16 January to Sunday 3 February 2008 over 14 venues in Glasgow. This year there is a massive Gaelic contribution to Celtic Connections 2008 as reflected in The Scotsman heading of 24 November 2007 – ‘Gàelic gu leòr aig Celtic Connections’. A galaxy of Gaelic singers and musicians, including Julie Fowlis, Donnie Munro Christine Primrose, will add much to the 19 days entertainment. One of the main ‘hits’ of the Festival will surely be a performance by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and a chorus assembled by Scottish Opera of ‘Praise of Ben Dorain’ by composer Ronald Stevenson. There will also be an opportunity to try Gaelic song on 20 January. Visit http://www.celticconnections,com for full details of an outstanding programme of events to suit all musical tastes. You can toast the success of Celtic Connections 2008 with this week’s recipe – Apple Jack.

Apple Jack

Ingredients: 50ml Whisky; apple juice

Method: Pour the Whisky into a glass with ice cubes and add apple juice to taste. Garnish with a slice of apple. Tak aff yir dram!

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.

We are no won the Mac' with MacAlister, MacAlpin, MacArthur and M'Aulay

Here is the account of M'Aulay...

M’AULAY, the name of a minor clan, claimed as one of the seven great branches of the Siol Alpin, undoubtedly the purest and oldest of the Gael. Their badge of distinction was the pine. It was held at one time that the M’Aulays derived their origin from the ancient earls of Lennox, and that their ancestor was Maurice, brother of earl Maldouin and son of Aulay, whose name appears in the Ragman Roll as having sworn fealty to Edward I. in 1296. According to Skene, (Highlanders, vol. ii. page 164,) these Aulays were of the family of De Fasselan, who afterwards succeeded to the earldom.

The M’Aulays consider themselves a sept of the clan Gregor, their chief being designed of Ardincaple from his residence in Dumbartonshire. That property was in their possession in the reign of Edward I. They early settled in the Lennox, and their names often occur in the Lennox chartulary, hence the very natural supposition that they sprung from that distinguished house. In a bond of manrent, or deed of clanship, entered into between MacGregor of Glenstrae and M’Aulay of Ardincaple, of date 27th May 1591, the latter acknowledges his being a cadet of the former, and agrees to pay him the “calp,” that is, a tribute of cattle given in acknowledgment of superiority. In 1694, in a similar bond given to Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck, they again declared themselves MacGregors. “Their connexion with the MacGregors,” says Mr. Skene, “led them to take some part in the feuds that unfortunate race were at all times engaged in, but the protection of the earls of Lennox seems to have relieved the M’Aulays from the consequences which fell so heavily on the MacGregors.”

Mr. Joseph Irving, in his ‘History of Dumbartonshire,’ (p. 418), states that the surname of the family was originally Ardincaple of that ilk, a name absurdly said to signify in the Gaelic “the promontory of the mare,” but in this he is wrong, as it, truly and correctly means “the chapel in the wood,” arden signifying trees, and caple the slightly changed form of the Latin capella. He adds, “A Celtic derivation may be claimed for this family, founded on the agreement entered into between the chief of the clan Gregor and Ardincaple in 1591, where they describe themselves as originally descended from the same stock, M’Alpins of auld,’ but the theory most in harmony with the annals of the house (of Ardincaple of that ilk) fixes their descent from a younger son of the second Alwyn, earl of Lennox.” Alexander de Ardincaple, who lived in the reign of James V., son of Aulay de Ardincaple, was the first to assume the name of M’Aulay, as stated in the Historical and Critical Remarks on the Ragman Roll (Nisbet, vol. ii. App.), “to humour a patronymical designation, as being more agreeable to the head of a clan than the designation of Ardincaple of that ilk.”

His son, Walter M’Aulay, after the battle of Langside, was one of the subscribers to the bond for the government being carried on in the name of the infant James. Walter’s son, Sir Aulay M’Aulay, was the chief who entered into the alliance with the clan Gregor above mentioned. When the MacGregors fell under the ban of the law, he became conspicuous by the energy with which he turned against them, probably to avert suspicion from himself, as a bond of caution was entered into on his account on Sept. 8, 1610. He died in Dec. 1617, and was succeeded by his cousin-german, Alexander.

Walter M’Aulay, the son of Alexander, was twice sheriff of Dumbarton. He was cautioner, along with Stirling of Auchyle, that Alester Macgregor, of the house of Glenstrae, should keep the peace.

With Aulay M’Aulay, his son and successor, commenced the decline of the family. He and his successors indulged in a system of extravagant living, which compelled them to dispose, piece by piece, of every acre of their once large possessions. Aulay’s son, Archibald, was nominated a commissioner of supply in 1615. He was also a commissioner of justiciary for the trial of the Covenanters of the district. Although, however, attached to episcopacy, he was by no means a partisan of James VII., for in 1689 he raised a company of fencibles in aid of William and Mary.

Aulay M’Aulay, the 3d in succession from Archibald, was a commissioner of supply of Dumbartonshire in 1764. This the 12th and last chief of the M’”Aulays, having seen the patrimony of his house sold, and his castle roofless, died about 1767. Ardincaple had been purchased by John, 4th duke of Argyle, and now belongs to the Argyle family.

About the beginning of the 18th century, a number of M’Aulays settled in Caithness and Sutherland. Others went into Argyleshire, and some of the MacPheiderans of that county acknowledged their descent from the M’Aulays.

You can read the other entries at 

New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
The first volume I am dealing with is the one on Aberdeenshire. There are some 85 parishes in this volume and a write up on each.

This week have added...

Parish of Inverury at
Parish of Kintore at

I might add that when I first put up the Parish of Kintore the account was incomplete and thanks to one of our regular visitors for pointing this out I got up the full account.

Here is some information on the Parish of Inverury...

Situation, &c.—Inverury, or, as it was sometimes formerly written, Ennerurie, lies between the Don and Ury, and, extending to the confluence of these rivers, thence derives its name. It is bounded on the west, by Chapel of Garioch; on the south, by the Don ; and on the north and east, by the Ury. Its length from east to west is nearly 4, its breadth from north to south something more than 2 English miles; and it contains fully 5100 imperial acres.

Topographical Appearances.—The vale of Inverury, in which the town stands, and the haughs and lower grounds along the river's side, embrace about 1000 acres of light fertile loam incumbent chiefly on sand. The ground gradually rises towards the west, and terminates in three hills within the parish, almost equidistant from each other, and separated by straths or valleys; that on the south is called the hill of Manar, the middle hill is named Knockinglew, that on the north the hill of Drimmies.

II.—Civil History.

Perhaps the first mention made of Inverury is in the short narrative of King Eth. It is noticed in a charter, of date about 1178, by David Earl of Huntingdon, brother of King William the Lyon, By this charter he conveys to the rich Abbey of Lindores, "ec-clesiam de Fintrichi (Fintray) cum omnibus pertinentiis suis; et ecclesiam de Inveruriu cum capella de Monkegin et omnibus aliis pertinentiis suis; et ecclesiam de Durnach (Durns) et ecclesiam de Prame (Premnay) et ecclesiam de Inchemabarim (Insch) et ecclesiam de Culsamuel (Culsamond) cum terris et decimis," &c. (Archaeologia, Vol. xiii. p. 177.) These churches came into the hands of Earl David, then probably the richest Lord in Britain, as part of the Lordship of the Garioch conferred on him by his royal brother. Prior to this time, a castle existed at Inverury, for, in 1180, Norman, son of Malcolm, Constable of the Castle of Inverurin, witnesses a charter, preserved in the Advocates' Library. It was situated near where the Bass now stands, and is the first fortified place in Aberdeenshire on record,—the Castles of Aberdeen and Kildrummy dating no higher than the thirteenth century. In the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, there is an MS. entitled, A View of the Diocese of Aberdeen, by an unknown author. It appears to have been written about the year 1726. In reference to Inverury the author says, "The families here are reckoned about 80, (so, if allowing six to a family), the inhabitants cannot be above 480." The Edinburgh Magazine for 1760 contains a notice of Inverury and the country of the Garioch, written by a Rev. Mr Forbes about 1738. Inverury was not improbably the head burgh of the Garioch as early as the days of William the Lyon. Its original charter appears to have been lost, for it is, by a novodamus, created anew by Queen Mary, June 22, 1558; and, on the 17th September 1663, on the petition of John Earl of Marr, it was appointed to be the head burgh of his Lordship's regality of the Garioch. "The Parliament appoints the burgh of Innerauray to be the place where all courts of justice and all executions belonging to the regalitie of Garioch, as hornings, inhibitions, &c. shall sit and be used." (Acts of Parl. of Scotl. Vol. vii. App. 97.) Its representative at that time was Mr William Ferguson of Badifurrow, the ancestor of the Fergusons of Pitfour in 1669. It was represented by Mr James El-phinstone.

The Bruce lay at Stonehouse, in the south end of Inverury, before his great battle with the Cummings. He had been carried in a litter from Sliach in Strathbogie in a very sickly condition, and was thought to be at the point of death. Hearing, however, of the insolent daring of his adversaries, who, relying on his weakness, had approached his very camp, he suddenly roused himself, called for his sword, and, riding out at the head of his troops, now inspirited beyond measure by the sight of their beloved leader, whom they looked on as almost miraculously restored to them, he pursued the Cummings across the Ury, and encountered their main body between Barra and Old Meldrum, where he gained his great and decisive victory. This is happily alluded to by Arthur Johnstone, who, though born on the other side of the Ury, being a native of Keithhall, links himself with Inverury in the beautiful lines subjoined.

You can read the rest of this account at 

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

Good Words - 1860 Edition
Edited by Rev. Norman MacLeod

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

This week have added articles on...

Recollections of Professor Wilson (Pages 263-267)
Aspects of Indian Life during the Rebellion (Pages 268-271)
Good Words for Every Day of the Year (Pages 271-272)

Here is how "Recollections of Professor Wilson" starts...


The privilege of having for many years enjoyed the constant presence of a man of true genius can never be forgotten. And if remembrance might recall much of the wealth of Professor Wilson's great intellect, yet rather does it boast to acknowledge the "good words," with which, during his sojourn upon earth, he soothed the sorrows of dependents, or rejoiced the hearts of children. Nothing was more interesting than some one of those rural rambles which I had the opportunity of enjoying in his society—days which stand out from the circle of time as favoured spots in my memory.

No place was more frequently sought or seen than the beautiful mountain-land of the Highlands, where, for days, by the banks of Loch Awe, John Wilson would wander in silent meditation with the things of nature. His enjoyment was then intense; and his countenance, as it lighted up in the presence of a beautiful scene, was in itself a study. His bright, clear blue eye rested upon the landscape with an expression of love and gratitude. His own fine words describe the effect of some such scene upon his own mind—

"The sterner thoughts of manhood melt away
Into a mood as mild as woman's dreams,
And leave the soul pure and serene
As the blue depths of heaven."

Ben Cruachan was an almost constant object of his admiration; and the head of the Lake at Cladich was the chosen resting-place during his sojourn in that region. Many were the views he selected as suited for the skill of the artist; and often he regretted his want of powers to transcribe with the pencil what he so nobly did with his pen. Although he had an intuitive knowledge of art, and was led directly, in a picture gallery, to the best paintings—detecting, even in inferior works those marks of excellence which an ordinary eye would at once have passed over, and have condemned the whole as worthless—he exercised a somewhat tyrannical command over any one who possessed the accomplishment of drawing, not unfrequently insisting upon impossibilities, and expecting that something in the landscape more than the art could easily admit should be introduced upon the canvas.

Firm and stately in step, with a free and joyous look would he walk, anticipating the pleasures of a long summer's day. Entering a boat, a few moments found it gliding silently over the glassy surface of the water, among the bays and islands of this fairy place, resting where fancy led him; alternately gazing on the beautiful scene before him, or reading some favourite poet, and not unfrequently conversing with the boatman, who was guide for the day's excursion. One island in particular was a favourite point of rest, and there he always, for some short time, would wander about, or, sitting down, with a volume upon his knees, was soon lost to the recollection of all outward things. Spenser's "Fairy Queen" was the subject of his mental occupation during this summer's ramble, and an essay upon which is well known to readers of his works to form one of his noblest criticisms.

Once, while rambling about this island, a beautiful and picturesque tableau appeared, passing in solemn and striking effect, which did not fail to call forth what was ever one of the most remarkable traits of Professor Wilson's mind, a tender and ready sympathy in the hour of sorrow. Rising from a large stone which he had selected for his seat, and laying down the volume of Spenser he had been reading, he stood close to the edge of the island; his still uncovered head was raised | erect, and he watched, with a sad eye and grave countenance, the approach of a boat that slowly and silently took its way across the waters towards a long, bare island, that lay like a green snake on the face of the lake. "Hush!" said he to his daughter; "it will pass close by us;" and he bowed with reverence to the heavy, dark boat as it skirted the edge of the island upon which he stood. It was a funeral party, bearing to his last home a poor old Highland cottager; there were men and women sitting on either side of the coffin, which was partially covered with a tartan plaid, upon which lay a large sprig of heather. At the head of the coffin stood, with a sad and downcast expression, a young man, brown and weather-beaten, rough in exterior from hard labour and exposure. He was the chief mourner; near to him sat a very old woman, too far on her own journey near the other shores of life to evince any outward expression of grief. But over the whole company there was visible that decent and grave bearing never at any time wanting at a Scottish funeral. Each one had doubtless his own awe-struck feelings awakened by the thought of that "day when he goes down to the grave to await the judgment of the Lord." Solemnly following the slow and measured stroke of the oar, the only sound which fell upon the ear at that moment, he watched the sad-burdened boat, that formed a melancholy contrast to the broad light of the mid-day sun that gilded every object upon which its rays fell. While the grassy grave received the last green sod which was to inclose for ever his aged remains, the warm-hearted Professor, with words of sympathy linked the inevitable doom of the loftiest and the lowliest in our common pilgrimage.

You can read the rest of this at

You can read the other articles at 

Poetry and Stories
Donna sent in a poem, Home, at

and also A Shadow, at

John sent in a couple of doggerels...

Dumfoonert Aiburdonians at
Ye Acht Them [You Owe Them] at

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

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

This week we have...

Bruntfield: a Tale of the Sixteenth Century
from Chambers's Edin. Journal

Sunset and Sunrise
by Professor Wilson [Note: In the Good Words section above you will find a little account of Professor Wilson]

Here is how Bruntfield: a Tale of the Sixteenth Century starts...

The war carried on in Scotland, by the friends and enemies of Queen Mary, after her departure into England, was productive of an almost complete dissolution of order, and laid the foundation of many feuds, which were kept up by private families and individuals long after all political cause of hostility had ceased. Among the most remarkable quarrels which history or tradition has recorded as arising out of that civil broil, I know of none so deeply cherished or accompanied by so many romantic and peculiar circumstances, as one which took place between two old families of gentry in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh. Stephen Bruntfield, laird of Craighouse, had been a zealous and disinterested partisan of the queen. Robert Moubray of Barnbougle was the friend successively of Murray and Morton, and distinguished himself very highly in their cause. During the year 1572, when Edinburgh Castle was maintained by Kirkaldy of Grange in behalf of the queen, Stephen Bruntfield held out Craighouse in the same interest, and suffered a siege from a detachment of the forces of the Regent, commanded by the laird of Barnbougle. The latter baron, a man of fierce and brutal nature, entered life as a younger brother, and at an early period chose to cast his fate among the Protestant leaders, with a view of improving his fortunes. The death of his elder brother in rebellion at Langside enabled the Regent Murray to reward his services with a grant of the patrimonial estate, of which he did not scruple to take possession by the strong hand, to the exclusion of his infant niece, the daughter of the late proprietor. Some incidents which occurred in the course of the war had inspired a mutual hatred of the most intense character into the breasts of Bruntfield and Moubray; and it was therefore with a feeling of strong personal animosity, as well as of political rancour, that the latter undertook the task of watching the motions of Bruntfield at Craighouse. Bruntfield, after holding out for many months, was obliged, along with his friends in Edinburgh Castle, to yield to the party of the Regent. Like Kirkaldy and Maitland of Lethington, he surrendered upon a promise of life and estate; but while his two friends perished, one by the hand of the executioner, the other by his own hand, he fell a victim to the sateless spite of his personal enemy, who, in conducting him to Edinburgh as a prisoner, took fire at some bitter expression on the part of the captive, and smote him dead upon the spot.

You can read the rest of this story at 

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

The History of Ulster
Have now started on volume 3 of this 4 volume set and have added this week...

I. The Mutterings of the Approaching Storm
II. The Bursting of the Storm-cloud
III. The Horrors of Civil War

This is how Chapter 1 starts...

The trial and death of Strafford belong rather to English than to Irish history, but so commanding a personality cannot be permitted to disappear from these pages without any reference to the fate that awaited the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland on his arrival in London. The Long Parliament was opened on the 3rd of November, 1640, and one of its first acts was the impeachment of Strafford. Many of the charges against him related to his Irish administration, but the most serious of them, in the eyes of the Puritans, were his attempts to establish the arbitrary power of the Crown and his enrolment of an army of Irish Papists, which he was accused of intending to bring over to support the King against his subjects in England. A deputation from the Irish Parliament, which had so recently lauded him, arrived with a remonstrance of grievances against him; and he was convicted of offences amounting in the aggregate to constructive treason. The King made a faint attempt in the House of Lords to save his faithful servant, but the Bill of Attainder was passed on the 8th of May, 1641; on the loth, Charles signed the Bill by commission, and on the 1 2th, Strafford was beheaded on Tower Hill.

It must be admitted that Strafford's rule in Ireland, though vigorous and able, was far from just; and while Ulster benefited thereby to the extent of the establishment of one of her most staple industries, the linen trade, it was accompanied, in the southern districts especially, by wholesale spoliation, galling oppression, terrorism, religious proscription, and even national degradation. The sowing of such dragons' teeth as these must of necessity produce a plentiful crop of armed men, and such proved to be the case.

Of the armed Irishman Strafford himself had a wholesome dread. Even in the early days of his viceroyalty he wrote on this subject a warning letter to the King when Charles contemplated raising an army in Ireland. It had been the safer for your Majesty to have given liberty for the raising five times as many here in England; because these could not have been debauched in their faith, where those were not free of suspicion, especially being put under command of O'Neill and O'Donnell, the sons of two infamous and arch-traitors, and so likely not only to be trained up in the discipline of war, but in the art of rebellion also. Secondly, as your Majesty's Deputy I must tell him, if the state of this kingdom were the same as in Queen Elizabeth's time, I should more apprehend the travel and disturbance which two hundred of these men might give us here, being natives, and experienced in their own faculty as soldiers, being sent to mutiny and discipline their own countrymen against the Crown, than of as many more Spaniards, as they sent in those days to Kinsale for relief of the rebels.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The previous 2 volumes can be read at 

Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian Highlander
By Duncan Campbell (1910)

This week we've added the following chapters...

Chapter XXXIII.
A Scramble for Higher Education


Chapter XXXIV.
Kerrumore School
Chapter XXXV.
Chapter XXXVI.
An Unexpected Event
Chapter XXXVII.
Chapter XXXVIII.
A Population of many Surnames

Here is the chapter on "Emigration"...

MY predecessor and namesake, who drifted south to Lesrnahagow, left the Fortingall school in an excellent condition. During the months of vacancy its teaching was carried on by the parish minister, Mr Stewart, assisted by Duncan Macgregor, Don-nachadh Ruadh, who had been one of the best pupils of my predecessor. On taking possession of the dwelling-house, which was connected with the schoolhouse, I found that when it was unoccupied all the rats of the village had made it their stronghold and nursery. It was no easy matter to overcome the rat nuisance, for they had drains and a space under the schoolroom floor to take refuge in, and to resort to poison produced another trouble when they died and rotted in their secret places of abode. I never saw a brighter school than the one at Fortingall. During my nearly eight years of labour there three of its pupils passed out of it to become ministers, four to become doctors, two bank agents, and half-a-dozen or so to become schoolmasters. Others drifted south to enter into commercial life and various business callings. There was a responsiveness of youthful eagerness between the teacher and the taught that made work enjoyable. On the occasion when the Celtic Society of Edinburgh sent down a heap of books to be competed for by the schools within the Presbytery of Weem, my pupils made me very proud, for they nearly carried all before them. But it was said for the other schools that the competition was scarcely fair to them, because their pupils were younger than several of the Fortingall prize-winners. To some extent that was the truth, but the juniors in Fortingall ranked up pretty closely with their seniors.

In winter it was the custom in Fortingall to send back to school lads and lasses above fourteen years of age who had other employments during the outdoor working season, and these came back very eager to advance after having pondered on what they had learnt before when at other work. Owing to this habit the schoolhouse was overcrowded with about a hundred and forty pupils in the winter months. This number diminished to seventy or eighty in summertime. In the winter season the scholars were far too many for one teacher, and I often had prickings of conscience in regard to the younger children, who had to be left to the teaching of advanced pupils whose fees were remitted. Their income debarred parish schoolmasters from getting any help from the Government Grant, and were it otherwise the space of the Fortingall schoolroom was insufficient in winter, according to the regulations of the Education Department. Perhaps there should have been less strict space regulation for the country than for the town schools; for although inconveniently crowded, the Fortingall schoolhouse did not appear to have a bad effect on the health of the pupils, a good number of whom came from places three or four miles distant. The little ones were brought fairly well forward on the lower steps of the ladder of learning by the hearty efforts of my upper class assistants. But there was no need for their being sent to the parish school at all until they had learned to read easy books, and to do a little writing and arithmetic, for there were three salaried dame-schools in the district, in which infants were taught English as well as sewing; and this double work was well done at the Keltneyburn and Tynayare dame-schools.

The rest of this chapter can be read at

The other chapters added so far can be read at the index page of the book at 

Sketches of The Character, Manners, and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland
by Major-General David Stewart (1822)

This week we've added...

Section 4
Operations under General Amherst in North America in 1760—Expedition under General Wolfe—Battle of the Heights of Abraham—Death of General Wolfe—Battle of Quebec—Fraser's Highlanders

Section 5
Montgomery's Highlanders—Dominique taken in 1761—Martinique in 1762—Havannah taken in 1762

Section 6
Fraser's, Montgomery's, and Royal Highlanders—St John's Newfoundland, 1762—Bushy Run, 1763—Fort Pitt, 1764 —Ireland, 1767—Scotland, 1775

Section 7
Highlanders embark for America in 1775—Battle of Brooklyn, 1776—Battle of White Plains—Capture of Fort Washington, 1777—Hessians surprised at Trenton—Pis-quatua—Battle of Brandy-wine—General Wayne surprised—Attack of German Town—White Marsh—Battle of Monmouth, 1778—Rhode Island—Verplanks—Stony Point—Detachment of Recruits from London—Consequences—Charlestown taken, 1780—Some Highlanders deserted [in 1783—Stationed in Halifax, 1786—Embark for England in 1789—Return to Scotland in 1790

Section 8
Duties of the Regiment in Scotland—Disturbances in Ross-shire in 1792—Embark for Flanders in 1793—Join the Allied Army at Menin—Relief of Nieuport—Return to England—Embark for the Coast of France—Embark for Flanders in June 1794—Nimeguen—Distressing March to Bremen—Return to England—Regiments augmented by Drafts from the newly raised Corps

Section 9
Embark for the West Indies in 1795—Fleet scattered in a succession of Gales—One Division of the Highlanders driven back, the other reaches Barbadoes—Attack on St Lucia and St Vincent in 1796—Porto Rico, 1797—Return to England, and thence sail for Gibraltar—Expedition against Minorca in 1798—Expedition against Cadiz in 1800—Malta

Here is how Section 7 starts...

On the 14th of April, the regiment embarked at Greenock along with Fraser's Highlanders. After some delay, both regiments sailed on the 1st of May, under convoy of the Flora, Captain Brisbane, the Royal Highlanders being commanded by Colonel Stirling. Four days after they had sailed, the transports separated in a gale of wind. Some of the scattered transports of both regiments fell in with General Howe's army on their voyage to Halifax; and others, having got information of this movement, followed the main body, and joined the army in Staten Island, where Sir William Howe had returned, and landed on the 5th of August 1776.

Immediately on the landing of the three Highland battalions, a grenadier battalion was formed under the command of the Honourable Major (afterwards General Sir) Charles Stuart. [As a mark of regard to the 42d, the Commander-in-Chief took all the staff appointments of the grenadier battalion from the Highlanders.] A light infantry corps was also formed, and Lieutenant-Colonel Musgrave appointed to the command.

He was wounded some months afterwards, and was succeeded by Lieutenant- Colonel (now General Sir Robert) Abercromby, who commanded during the whole war. The flank companies of the 42d were attached to these battalions. The Highland grenadiers were remarkable for strength and height, and considered equal to any company in the army: the light infantry were quite the reverse, in point of personal appearance, as the commanding officer would not allow a choice of men for them. The battalion companies were formed into two temporary battalions, the command of one being given to Major William Murray, (Lintrose,) and that of the other to Major William Grant, (Rothiemurchus,) with an Adjutant and Quarter-Master to each battalion ; the whole being under the command of Colonel Thomas Stirling. These small battalions were placed in the reserve with the grenadiers of the army under the command of Earl Cornwallis. To these was added the 33d, his Lordship's own regiment.

From the moment of their landing, Colonel Stirling was indefatigable in drilling the men to the manner of fighting practised in the former war with the Indians and French bushmen, which is so well calculated for a close woody country. Colonel Stirling was well versed in this mode of warfare, and imparted it to the troops, by first training the non-commissioned officers himself, and then superintending their instruction of the soldiers. The Highlanders made rapid progress in this discipline, being, in general, excellent marksmen, and requiring only to have their natural impetuosity restrained, which often led them to disdain the idea of fighting in ambush.

You can read the rest of this at 

You can read the other chapters at 

Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland 1881
This week added two articles on trees...

On the Border Leicester Breed of Sheep at
On Oyster Culture in Scotland at

Here is how the account of On Oyster Culture in Scotland starts...

The culture of the oyster has come to be included under the head of "Agriculture" in the United States, where the vast expansion of this industry has made it one of the utmost national importance. In this paper we do not propose to deal to any extent with the history, or natural history, of this prince of shellfish, but to call special attention to the exceptional facilities for this species of cultivation to be found in our well-sheltered Highland lochs, and most extensive foreshores. At the same time we will give our own experience as a guide to others, both in its successes and failures.

In the first place, it may be noted as a proof of the suitability of our waters for the growth of the oyster, that there are very few parts of the coast of the Western Highlands destitute of representatives, in a more or less scattered condition. As a rule these are not in extensive beds, but to a large extent rock oysters, affixed to rocks and stones, and in many instances covered over with a profuse growth of sea-weed. This situation renders them inaccessible to the ordinary oyster dredge, and they are only attainable by the tedious and costly process of lifting them one by one in calm weather, by means of an iron "graip " in some districts; an instrument called a hand dredge, shaped like a spoon as to the circumference, but with a net bottom, in others; or, as in the further north, a pair of pincers worked with a cord, and directed at the end of a long pole.

This absence of extensive beds, and difficulty of gathering the scattered oyster harvest, has not only prevented the extension of the trade, but, to a considerable extent, hidden the fact of their presence from the general public. The local demand, however, of many parts of the West Highlands is partly supplied by the "natives," of large size and particularly fine flavour, obtained from the neighbouring waters. These are mostly the products of low spring-tides, in which the peasants and cottars can reach the oysters that have been either driven further inshore by heavy weather, or have grown up on the rocks and stones accessible at these particular seasons. All this points to the fact that our seas are thoroughly congenial, and that only the physical constitution of our commonly rocky and stony sea bottom prevents the more frequent deposit of extensive dredgeable beds along our western coast. When the character of the bottom would lead us to hope for a more successful harvest, it is found that there, as elsewhere in the kingdom, the beds have been over-dredged, as in Loch Ryan; or completely cleared, as in some of our small Highland and more accessible lochs. When this is done, theory has been found to be entirely at variance with resulting facts. The statement so frequently made that oysters are so prolific that no bed can be dredged so completely but that sufficient oysters will be left to replenish it, is never found to hold good in practice. Allowing that the oyster will throw from 200,000 to one million spat, the chances seem against its remaining where it is thrown; while on this point also, our own experience is against the statement that the spat are then carried away by currents to some bank in the vicinity, if not found upon and around the parent oyster. Enough that our shores are frequented all along by oysters, and that our banks have became and remain denuded of them, and the question is next how to replenish the one, and utilise the capabilities of the other.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The other articles can be read at

Household Encyclopaedia
I have added a few more pages to the B's which you can see at

The index page of this publication can be seen at 

The Scottish Tradition in Canada
Edited by W. Stanford Reid, Guelph, 1976

The Government of Canada commissioned this study and here is the Editor's Introduction...

Canadians, like many other people, have recently been changing their attitude towards the ethnic dimension in society. Instead of thinking of the many distinctive heritages and identities to be found among them as constituting a problem, though one that time would solve, they have begun to recognize the ethnic diversity of their country as a rich resource. They have begun to take pride in the fact that people have come and are coming here from all parts of the world, bringing with them varied outlooks, knowledge, skills and traditions, to the great benefit of all.

It is for this reason that Book IV of the Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism dealt with the cultural contributions of the ethnic groups other than the British, the French and the Native Peoples to Canada, and that the federal government in its response to Book IV announced that the Citizenship Branch of the Department of the Secretary of State would commission "histories specifically directed to the background, contributions and problems of various cultural groups in Canada." This series presents the histories that have resulted from that mandate. Although commissioned by the Government, they are not intended as definitive or official, but rather as the efforts of scholars to bring together much of what is known about the ethnic groups studied, to indicate what remains to be learned, and thus to stimulate further research concerning the ethnic dimension in Canadian society. The histories are to be objective, analytical, and readable, and directed towards the general reading public, as well as students at the senior high school and the college and university levels, and teachers in the elementary schools.

Most Canadians belong to an ethnic group, since to do so is simply to have "a sense of identity rooted in a common origin . . . whether this common origin is real or imaginary." [Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism.] The Native Peoples, the British and French (referred to as charter groups because they were the first Europeans to take possession of the land), the groups such as the Germans and Dutch who have been established in Canada for over a hundred years and those who began to arrive only yesterday all have traditions and values that they cherish and that now are part of the cultural riches that Canadians share. The groups vary widely in numbers, geographical location and distribution and degree of social and economic power. The stories of their struggles, failures and triumphs will be told in this series.

As the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism pointed out this sense of ethnic origin or identity "is much keener in certain individuals than in others." [Ibid. Paragraph 8.] In contemporary Canadian society, with the increasing number of intermarriages across ethnic lines, and hence the growing diversity of peoples ancestors, many are coming to identify themselves as simple Canadian, without reference to their ancestral origins. In focusing on the ethnic dimension of Canadian society, past and present, the series does not assume that everyone should be categorized into one particular group, or that ethnicity is always the most important dimension of people's lives. It is, however, one dimension that needs examination if we are to understand fully the contours and nature of Canadian society and identity.

Professional Canadian historians have in the past emphasized political and economic history, and since the country's economic and political institutions have been controlled largely by people of British and French origin, the role of those of other origins in the development of Canada has been neglected. Also, Canadian historians in the past have been almost exclusively of British and French origin, and have lacked the interest and the linguistic skills necessary to explore the history of other ethnic groups. Indeed, there has rarely ever been an examination of the part played by specifically British - or, better, specifically English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh - traditions and values in Canadian development, because of the lack of recognition of pluralism in the society. The part played by French traditions and values, and particular varieties of French traditions and values, has for a number of reasons been more carefully scrutinized.

This series is an indication of growing interest in Canadian social history, which includes immigration and ethnic history. This may particularly be a reflection of an increasing number of scholars whose origins and ethnic identities are other than British or French. Because such trends are recent, many of the authors of the histories in this series have not had a large body of published writing to work from. It is true that some histories have already been written of particular groups other than the British and French; but these have often been characterized by filio pietism, a narrow perspective and a dearth of scholarly analysis.

Despite the scarcity of secondary sources, the authors have been asked to be as comprehensive as possible, and to give balanced coverage to a number of themes: historical background, settlement patterns, ethnic identity and assimilation, ethnic associations, population trends, religion, values, occupations and social class, the family, the ethnic press, language patterns, political behaviour, education, inter-ethnic relations, the arts and recreation. They have also been asked to give a sense of the way the group differs in various parts of the country. Finally, they have been asked to give, as much as possible, an insider's view of what the immigrant and ethnic experiences were like at different periods of time, but yet at the same time to be as objective as possible, and not simply to present the group as it sees itself, or as it would like to be seen.

The authors have thus been faced with a herculean task. To the extent that they have succeeded, they provide us with new glimpses into many aspects of Canadian society of the past and the present. To the extent that they have fallen short of their goal, they challenge other historians, sociologists and social anthropologists to continue the work begun here.

Jean Burnet
Howard Palmer

Ontario Genealogical Society
There is a significant conference in 2008 which may be of interest to some of our local Canadian readers and also those from the USA that are within reasonable reach. Here are the details...

Welcome to Conference 2008
hosted by the London and Middlesex County branch
of the Ontario Genealogical Society

We look forward to having you join us at Fanshawe College Residence and Conference Centre in
London, Ontario from May 30-June 1, 2008. An average of 500–700 participants attend the annual
OGS conferences. The campus venue and the complimentary computer room will provide excellent
opportunities to network with fellow researchers. Our main focus will be the internet and technology as it relates to family research.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced researcher,
Whether you are interested in Ontario or beyond,
Our goal is to provide motivating activities for everyone.

Attendees will thoroughly enjoy the world famous speakers, a most interesting tour, and the
informative workshops. The phenomenal Marketplace will feature many vendors displaying traditional
as well as more high tech materials. The banquet team has planned a most entertaining Saturday
evening with great food and the dynamic speaker Paul McGrath from Ancestors in the Attic.

We are actively seeking advertisers, sponsors and supporters for assistance with door prizes, gifts, speakers’ honorariums, and participant supplies such as pens, pencils, pads and other items for the registration bags and other promotions. Prizes and gifts will be awarded throughout the Conference, and we plan to acknowledge our generous sponsors. Please find enclosed further information regarding sponsorship opportunities. If you can help us with any of these initiatives, please contact Carol Hall, Promotion Committee, c/o OGS Conference 2008, 611 Wonderland Rd. North, Suite 271, London ON, N6H 5N7.

For any queries regarding Conference 2008 and contact details visit

Winter Scenes
David Hunter kindly sent in more of his superb photographs of Winter Scenes in Scotland which you can see at

And that's it for now and I hope you all have a great weekend and that 2008 will be a good year for you :-)


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