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1st May 2009

Alastair McIntyreElectric Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter

Electric Scotland - The No.1 Scottish History Site The Aois Community brings you message forums and lots of community services
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Dear Friend

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. In the event the link is not clickable simply copy and paste the link into your browser.

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world and add your own at

Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
Poetry and Stories
Book of Scottish Story
The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
Social Life in Scotland
The Writings of John Muir
Fraser's Scottish Annual
The Autobiography of Dr. Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk
Wonder Tales from Scottish Myth and Legend
Robert Burns Lives!
Andrew Wanless
Among the Forrest Trees (New Book)
Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical (New Book)
Beths Newfangled Family Tree
Scottish Clan & Surname DNA Projects

Been a quiet week and in some ways a disapointing one as I hoped to get an advertising contract with the Province of Alberta but at the last minute they got a cut in their budget which has meant they've had to cancel. I have actually been working on the history of Alberta and thought it would be great to compliment that with information on tourism in the Province. We were to get 88 x 20,000 word articles complete with pictures. Oh well... these things happen :-(


Got in an email telling me about a HIghland Clearances documentary on youtube in two parts which you might find interesting.

Part 1
Part 2


We hope to be doing some work with FamilyTreeDNA over the coming weeks and it was Julie who pointed me in this direction as she is very active in DNA aspects of genealogy. For example she told me...

From DNA records, we now know that the current chiefly line of the Mathesons from Murchadh Buidhe, who lived in the 1500's and what we have recently discovered to be the old chiefly line of the MacKenzies from Alexander Ionriac 1401-1491 are not the same.

The Mathesons of Lochalsh, Ross-shire descended from Murchadh Buidhe are R1a Viking. The Mathesons of Shiness, Sutherlandshire descended from Col. George Matheson lv. 1600's (whose descendant was Sir James Matheson, Bart. of the Lews) are R1b Celtic Picts. The Mathesons of the Isle of Lewis, descended from Dugald MacIain Og through his son Murdoch Mor who was tacksman of Arinish in 1658 are R1b Celts.

There are statements that the Mathesons were related to the Earls of Ross. There are some Rosses in America who are also R1a, like the Lochalsh Mathesons, but they cannot trace their lines back to Scotland. The current line of Earls of Ross do not match the Mathesons. My guess is that the Ross line that died out with Euphemia may have been distantly related to the Mathesons.

The bottom line is that DNA has disproved many of the early stories, but has also proven a lot of the more recent genealogies.


I have often said that it is worth doing a DNA test as it's also a good thing to hand on to your family. Some time ago I did a DNA test and you can see what happened at


Lora Cline sends me in from time to time a YouTube video link and they are usually quite good. This week she sent me in...

This video was made in the Antwerp, Belgium, Central Station (train). On a
Monday morning, with no warning to the passengers passing through the
station, a recording of Julie Andrews comes on the public address system
singing "Do, Re, Mi." As the bemused passengers watch in amazement, some 200 dancers begin to appear from the crowd and station entrances. Enjoy... 

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 or on our site menu.

This weeks Flag is compiled by Richard Thomson who talks prospects of Scottish Independence.

In Peter's cultural section he tells us more about Beltane...

Today is Beltane Day and an appropriate time to look at traditions surrounding 1 May in days langsyne.

In her splendid four volume series 'The Silver Bough' F Marion McNeill in volume four 'The Local Festivals of Scotland' published in 1968 described the, then, Beltane Rites in Edinburgh :-

'Arthur's Seat, a hill of over 800 feet, behind the Palace of Holyroodhouse, is one of the traditional sites on which our pre-Christian forebears were accustomed to light their Beltane fires at sunrise on the first day of May, to hail the coming of summer and to encourage by mimetic magic the renewal of the food supply.

"For the growth of vegetation, not only sunshine, but moisture is necessary; hence not only fire but water had its place in the Beltane ritual. To the Druids, the most sacred of all water forms was dew, and to the dew of Beltane morning they attributed special virtue, gathering it before dawn in stones hollowed out for that purpose. May dew, in a word was the 'holy water' of the Druids. Those on whom it was sprinkled were assured of health and happiness and tradition has it, where young women were concerned, of beauty as well, throughout the ensuing year."

To this day, all over Scotland numbers of young girls rise before dawn on the first of May and go out to meadow or hillside to bathe their faces in the dew. Arthur's Seat is a favourite meeting-place, and nearby is St Anthony's Well to which many resort to "wish a wish" on this auspicious day. This picturesque survival of the old pagan rites, together with the Christian service on the summit of the hill, draws hundreds of people to the site. As dawn approaches, numbers of young girls dally on the slopes of Arthur's Seat, laughing and chattering as they perform the immemorial rite, and are regarded with amused tolerance by the majority of the arrivals as they climb to the summit to join in the Sunrise service.'

What holly is to Yule, rowan is to Beltane as the practice was to collect rowan branches on Beltane Eve to hang up in the home. Not only in the house but in barns, byres, sheep-faulds and stables, and special care was always taken to insert a rowan branch in the midden. Middens were supposedly a favourite meeting-place of the 'black sisterhood' and as Beltane eve was believed to be a time when fairies, witches and all other uncanny creatures, who sought to harm mere mortals, were especially active then every precaution had to be taken to ward them off. Rowan was seen as the greatest protection.

Above we noted the practice of young girls washing their faces in the May Day dew and, especially in the Highlands, they always carried a sprig of rowan when carrying out this task. Obviously you couldn't be too careful.

Beltane Day was also the day for many centuries that cattle were moved to the summer sheiling. This age-old migration was carried out in The Hebrides until the 19th century as described by Alexander Carmichael :-

'On the first day of May the people of the crofter townland are up betimes and busy as bees about to swarm. This is the day of migrating, from townland to moorland, from the winter homestead to the summer sheiling..... All the families of the townland bring their different flocks together at a particular place and drive the whole way.'

The crofting way of life still exists and is the inspiration for this week's recipe, the haggis-based Crofters Pie.

Crofters Pie

Ingredients: 1 lb (450 g) haggis; 8 oz (225 g) mince, cooked and cooled with 2 oz (50 g) mixed vegetables; 1 lb (450 g) potatoes; 1 lb (450 g) turnip; 6 oz (150 g) cheddar cheese, grated; 1 oz (25 g) butter; 4 tablespoons milk; seasoning

Method: Mix haggis and cooked mince then place in bottom of an ovenproof dish. Peel and chop potatoes and turnip and cook in boiling salted water for 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Drain well, then mash with butter and milk until smooth. Add seasoning. Mix the cheese with the potato mixture and spread on top of the haggis and mince. Bake in the centre of the oven, 200 deg C/ 400 deg F/ Gas Mark 6, for 15 to 20 minutes.

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

Christina McKelvie MSP's Weekly diary is available at

Poetry and Stories
John sent in another poem this week...

"Oan Sang" at

You can also read other stories in our Article Service and even add your own at

Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.

This week have added a new story which is in 2 chapters...

Richard Sinclair; or, the Poor Prodigal
by Thomas Aird

Here is how it starts...

With many noble qualities—firmness, piety, integrity, and a thorough affection for his family—the father of the poor prodigal, Richard Sinclair, had many of the hard points of the Scottish character ; a want of liberality in his estimate of others, particularly of their religious qualities; a jealousy about his family prerogative, when it was needless to assert it ; and a liking or discipline, or, as he styled it, nurture, without tact to modify its applications. Towards his eldest son—a shy and affectionate youth—his behaviour, indeed, seemed distinctly opposite to what we may characterise as its usual expression—overbearing gravity. Without this son’s advice, he never ventured on any speculation that seemed doubtful. He was softly amenable to the mild wisdom of the lad, and paid it a quiet deference, of which, indeed, he sometimes appeared to be ashamed, as a degree of weakness in himself. But the youth had never disobeyed his parents’ will in any one particular ; he was grave and gentle; and his father, who had been brought up amidst a large and rugged family, and was thus accustomed to rather stormy usages, was now at a loss, in matters of rebuke, how to meet this new species of warfare, which lay in mild and quiet habits, and eventually became afraid of the censure which was felt in the affectionate silence of his eldest son.

This superiority might have offended old Sinclair’s self-love ; but the youth, as already stated, made ample amends, by paying in his turn a scrupulous and entire deference to his parent, whom he thus virtually controlled, as a good wife knows to rule her husband, by not seeming to rule at all. From this subdued tone of his favourite prerogative in the father before us there was a reaction—something like a compensation to the parental authority — which began to press too hard upon his second son Richard, who, being of a bolder character than his brother, was less scrupulously dealt with; besides that the forward temperament of this younger boy frequently offended against what his father honestly deemed propriety and good rule.

The rest of this chapter can be read at

The other stories can be read at

The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
Added four more pages which include Crate, Crawfish, Crayfish, Crayon, Crazy Paving, Cream, Cream Bun, Cream Cheese, Cream Jelly, Cream Jug, Cream of Tartar, Creche, Credit, Creeper, Creeping Jenny, Creeping Sailor, Cremation, Creme de Menthe, Creosote, Crepe de Chine, Cresol, Cress, Cresting, Cretinism, Cretonne, Cribbage, Crick, Cricket.

You can read about these at

Social Life in Scotland
From Early to Recent Times by Rev. Charles Rogers in 3 volumes (1884)

Now on the third and final volume of this publication with...

Chapter XVIII.
Humour and Eccentricity

Chapter XIX.

Chapter XX.

Here is how the chapter on Humour and Eccentricity starts...

THE hilarity of every country is moved by influences of its own. Thus, while the American laughs at the idea of a very tall man ascending a ladder to shave himself, or the companion of a rapid driver mistaking the milestones of a road for monuments in a cemetery, the Briton listens to these extravagances unmoved. And few save natives of Erin may enjoy the bull, when in answer to the remark, "One man is as good as another," his countryman answered, "Aye, and much better, too!" By pleasant word-playing the Englishman cheers and gives pleasure, but the northerner values only such verbal conceits as are forceful and stirring. When Charles Lamb remarks that his grandmother was a very tall woman, since she was a "granny dear," the Scotsman smiles, but it is in derision. Nor does he discover any real wit in the reproof addressed to Swift, when he was censuring his uncle Godwin for educating him like a dog, that he himself "had not got the gratitude of a dog." Reproved by a Scottish humorist, Swift could have found himself in a fire which he might not readily extinguish.

Scottish jocundity is bracing, as are the northern breezes. If his national comedy is 'confined to one drama—the "Gentle Shepherd "—the native of the north has a. wealth of dramatic power in the weird utterances which start up everywhere. Even in the names of places is depicted the humour of the race. The gloomy vale is the fairy dell, the dismal grotto the goblins' cave. Edinburgh, in old and squalid times, was Auld Reekie. Even the source of evil is in Scottish parlance less associated with malice than with a, mirthful rendering of the terrible. Thus, the "Devil's Glen" is a valley at Lochgoilhead; the "Devil's Staircase," a steep pathway at Glencoe; the " Devil's Caldron," a cascade on the Lednoch; the " Devil's Beef Tub," a hollow among the lloflht lulls; the "Devil's Elbow," a perilous turn of the road at Glenshee; the "Devil's hill" and the "Devil's Punch Bowl," portions of the wild scenery on the Devon.

When surnames came into use, the Caledonian had recourse to his humour that he might distinguish and individualise. Malcolm III., with his superior wit, was styled "Canmore," that is, of the big head, and Malcolm IV. was the "Maiden," that is, one of feminine aspects; then followed Alexander I., called the "Fierce," because of his impetuosity; and William, brave and adventurous, who was designated the "Lion." In like manner James V., who rejoiced to wander about among his subjects in disguise, was popularly known as the "King of the Commons."

Those who bear aristocratic names might hesitate to admit that they owe their appellatives less to Norman descent than to Scottish wit. But the house of Avenel was founded by one who struck powerfully upon the anvil. The family of Howe lived in a hollow; and the earliest Landale in the "lang dale." From "cow-herd" came the fancily of the Cowards, and from "stot-herd" the race of Stodart. The dealer in good wine became Godwin; the brewer's son, was Bryson; and the vendor of good ale was styled "Goodall." The stone-builder who became superior to a common operative was called "Latomus," and his descendants Latto.

You can read lots more from this chapter at

You can get to the index page of the book at

The Writings of John Muir
Completed Volume 3, Travels in Alaska with...

PART III. The Trip of 1890

Chapter XIX. Auroras

and now started Volume 4 - The Mountains of California

The Mountains of California, John Muir's first book, was published in New York in 1894, by The Century Company. It is included in this complete edition of his works by their permission, and to it are added nine chapters of his later book The Yosemite, also by arrangement with The Century Company. Six of the fifteen chapters of The Yosemite, being repeated virtually word for word from the earlier book or from Our National Parks, are omitted. The careful reader of these volumes will still find here and there a sentence or even a paragraph duplicated, but he will perceive that this duplication could not have been avoided without mutilating the author's text. The duplication in the books as originally published was natural and; indeed, practically unavoidable, the three volumes having been written to serve different purposes and each needing to be complete in itself.

Chapter I. The Sierra Nevada
Chapter II. The Glaciers
Chapter III. The Snow
Chapter IV. A Near View of the High Sierra
Chapter V. The Passes
Chapter VI. The Glacier Lakes

Here is how the first chapter starts...

Go where you may within the bounds of California, mountains are ever in sight, charming and glorifying every landscape. Yet so simple and massive is the topography of the State in general views, that the main central portion displays only one valley, and two chains of mountains which seem almost perfectly regular in trend and height: the Coast Range on the west side, the Sierra Nevada on the east. These two ranges coming together in curves on the north and south inclose a magnificent basin, with a level floor more than four hundred miles long, and from thirty-five to sixty miles wide. This is the grand Central Valley of California, the waters of which have only one outlet to the sea through the Golden Gate. But with this general simplicity of features there is great complexity of hidden detail. The Coast Range, rising as a grand green barrier against the ocean, from two to eight thousand feet high, is composed of innumerable forest-crowned spurs, ridges, and rolling hill waves which inclose a multitude of smaller valleys; some looking out through long, forest-lined vistas to the sea; others, with but few trees, to the Central Valley; while a thousand others yet smaller are embosomed and concealed in mild, roundbrowed hills, each with its own climate, soil, and productions.

Making your way through the mazes of the Coast Range to the summit of any of the inner peaks or passes opposite San Francisco, in the clear springtime, the grandest and most telling of all California landscapes is outspread before you. At your feet lies the great Central Valley glowing golden in the sunshine, extending north and south farther than the eye can reach, one smooth, flowery, lake-like bed of fertile soil. Along its eastern margin rises the mighty Sierra, miles in height, reposing like a smooth, cumulus cloud in the sunny sky, and so gloriously colored, and so luminous, it seems to be not clothed with light, but wholly composed of it, like the wall of some celestial city. Along the top, and extending a good way down, you see a pale, pearl-gray belt of snow; and below it a belt of blue and dark purple, marking the extension of the forests; and along the base of the range a broad belt of rose-purple and yellow, where lie the miner's gold-fields and the foothill gardens. All these colored belts blending smoothly make a wall of light ineffably fine, and as beautiful as a rainbow, yet firm as adamant.

When I first enjoyed this superb view, one glowing April day, from the summit of the Pacheco Pass, the Central Valley, but little trampled or ploughed as yet, was one furred, rich sheet of golden compositae, and the luminous wall of the mountains shone in all its glory. Then it seemed to me the Sierra should be called, not the Nevada, or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light. And after ten years spent in the heart of it, rejoicing and wondering, bathing in its glorious floods of light, seeing the sunbursts of morning among the icy peaks, the noonday radiance on the trees and rocks and snow, the flush of the alpenglow, and a thousand dashing waterfalls with their marvelous abundance of irised spray, it still seems to me above all others the Range of Light, the most divinely beautiful of all the mountain chains I have ever seen.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

Sketches of the early days of New Zealand, Romance and Reality of Antipodean life in the infancy of a New Colony by John Logan Campbell (1881)

We have now completed this book with the following chapters...



Chapter XI
The Capital of Poenamo in 1811.—how we Lived then

Chapter XII.
An Episode.—Our First Maori Scare. — Conclusion

Here is how Chapter XI starts...

Forty years ago it is now, and yet how vividly does the dawning year of 1841 and the primitive capital with its handful of people rise before me.

Ah! how many have passed away, and how few remain to me now with whom I acted as the pilgrim fathers of those days! Few indeed are we now; on the fingers of one hand almost can I number them. We are even as so many moss o'ergrown milestones, ancient relics which marked the road for a past generation which has already travelled to the journey's end.

Yes! the wintry snow of age has blanched our heads, proclaiming the many years which lie buried in the past, and that our course has nearly run.

Yet how vividly rises before me the picture as I used to look upon it when, rising from my fern bed, I folded back my tent-door, and smelt the sweet fresh dew-scent in the air, and saw the rippling tide- wave wash the beach.

How calm and dreamy and peaceful was the primitive life, waiting in expectancy—all waiting in expectancy—such a bright future conjured up.

We were all squatting, each in the little spot which fancy had dictated, and the day of rivalry was still in the future; there was no envying of a neighbour's superiority or greater fortune; we were all steeped in a passive equality, all hail fellow well met; we were as one family, with a distinction—and that distinction was only the Red Tape one! But we all smiled benignly on the little airs Red Tape put on in the attempt to enshrine itself in a very milk-and-water exclusiveness; for from the top-sawyer of Red Tape down to the veritable top-sawyer and his mate below in the Government sawpits we all gave each other le beau jour, and had a passing word of kindness to say when we met among the high fern footpaths or at the landing-place at the beach.

It would have been useless for Red Tape to stand on its dignity; we all elbowed each other so intimately and were so isolated that familiarity ceased to breed contempt and happily engendered the feeling of that good-fellowship which arises where any small band of men are thrown together far away from their other fellow-men and their fatherland.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the rest of the chapters at

Fraser's Scottish Annual
These are articles from the 1900 - 1904 issues of Fraser's Scottish Annual. This week we've added...

Canada's Capital
The Ontario Farm
St Andrew in Canada
Odds and Ends

Here is how the article on "The Ontario farm" starts...

ONTARIO, with its wide, fertile plains, its well-watered, well-sheltered stretches, is eminently an agricultural country. In this province the substantial tenant-farmer from the Old Land has found a most desirable field for the investment of his means, and the skilled farm-worker, in a land, in which by energy and industry, a comfortable home could be carved out with comparative ease. The Government of the province has ever looked upon the farmer with kindly eyes, and what has been done, and is being done, for the advancement of his interests deserves brief recital in these pages.

Ontario contains an area of 128,000,000 acres, lying between the latitudes which would be formed in Europe at a point between Cambridge and London, for a northern, and between Rome and Naples for a southern boundary. Of this area 22,000,000 have been settled, the remainder, including mineral and forest lands, and many large districts suitable for farming in all its branches, is open still to the pioneer; on terms that are entirely reasonable. Settlement in these unappropriated lands is governed by the "Free Grants and Homestead's" Act, under which a settler, if a single man, obtains 100 acres free, and if the head of a family 200 acres free, the settlement duties being five years' residence, the clearing and cultivating of at least fifteen acres, and the erection of a habitable home, which conditions having been fulfilled the title to the holding issues. Lands more favorably suitable in these districts are sold for fifty cents per acre, and lighter settlement duties. The climate differs but slightly from that of the fully settled southern portion of the province. The winters are invigorating and pleasant, the atmosphere being light and dry, and the temperature quite pleasant; the summers are warm, bright and sunny, conducive to the cultivaton and growth of all ordinary farm products and fruits to a perfect maturity.

The Government of the Province gives every encouragement to settlers. The easy terms of settlement referred to are but a small portion of what is done to render the lot of pioneer farmers not only comfortable but desirable. Settlement is preceded by the construction of roads and bridges, forming means of communication with the village markets, the railways and the lake waterways, which are numerous. Assistance is given by the disemination of reliable information on practical questions of living, and a friendly attitude and good relations are maintained in connection with settlement and development intercourse and transactions.

The great development of agriculture, however, has been in the southern counties of the Province, where farming has reached a high standard, where agriculture is a science, and where the remarkable evolution of husbandry has been unsurpassed on the American continent.

The rest of this article can be read at

The other articles can be read at

The Autobiography of Dr. Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk (1722 - 1805)
It is said that this is one of the top 5 books to read if you wish to understand more about Scottish Life.

We have now completed this book with...

Chapter XII
Domestic affairs—Henry Dundas—Harrogate revisited—Adventures with a remarkable bore—The author of Crazy Tales — Ambassador Keith — Education of the Scots gentry—John Gregory—Mrs. Montague and her coterie—Death of the author's father—Sudden death of his friend Jardine—Church politics.

Chapter XIII
Visit to Lord Glasgow with Robertson—Convivialities—Synod business—Dr. Armstrong—An excursion to Tweed-dale and across the border—Adventures in Carlisle—The Duke of I3uccleuch and festivities at Dalkeith—Adam Smith there—Professor Millar of Glasgow.

Chapter XIV
The clergy of Scotland and the Window-tax--Carlyle appointed their champion—Sojourn in London—The Scotch dancing assembly—Dr. Dodd preaching to the Magdalenes---The career of Colonel Dow—Anecdotes of Wolfe and Quebec—Garrick and John Home's plays —Decision of the Douglas Cause—Lord Mansfield—Conversation at Mrs. Montague's — The return home —Back to London about the Window-tax—Anecdotes of the formation of the North Ministry—Conclusion.

Supplementary Chapter
His correspondence on Church matters—His influence—His lighter correspondence—The great contest of the clerkship—The augmentation question—Politics—Collins's Ode on the superstition of the Highlands—Carlyle and poetry—Domestic history—His personal appearance—The composition of his autobiography—Condition and editing of the manuscripts—His last days—His death.

Here is how Chapter XIV starts...

The window-tax alarmed the clergy more and more, and as I had been the great champion in maintaining on every occasion that the Scottish clergy by our law ought to be exempted from this tax, on the same grounds on which they are exempted from paying the land-tax for their glebes, while one of our meetings were deliberating what was to be done, I told them that as I intended to be in London in the spring on private business, I would very gladly accept of any commission they would give me, to state our claim to the King's Ministers, and particularly to the Lords of the Treasury; and at least to prepare the way for an application for exemption to the Parliament in the following year, in case it should be found expedient. Robertson, who had thought it more advisable to pay rather than resist any longer, was surprised into consent with this sudden proposal of mine, and frankly agreed to it, though he told me privately that it would not have success. The truth was, that Mrs. Carlyle's health was so indifferent that I became uneasy, and wished to try Bath, and to visit London, where she never had been, on our way. The clergy were highly pleased with my offer of service without any expense, and I was accordingly commissioned, in due form, by the Committee on the Window-Tax, to carry on this affair. We prepared for our journey, and set out about the middle of February. We had the good fortune to get Martin, the portrait-painter, and Bob Scott, a young physician, as our companions on our journey. This made it very pleasant, as Martin was a man of uncommon talents for conversation. We stopped for two days with the Blacketts at Newcastle, and then went on by Huntingdon, and after that to Cambridge. As I had not been there when I was formerly in London, I was desirous to see that famous university; and besides, had got a warm exhortation from my friend Dr. Robertson, to diverge a little from the straight line, and go by Hock-well, where there were the finest eels in all England. We took that place in our way, and arrived long enough before dinner to have our eels dressed in various ways; but though the spitch-cocked had been so highly recommended by our friend, we thought nothing of them, and Mrs. Carlyle could not taste them, so that we had all to dine on some very indifferent mutton-broth, which had been ordered for her. I resolved after this never to turn off the road by the advice of epicures.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can get to this book for the other chapters at

Wonder Tales from Scottish Myth and Legend
By Donald A MacKenzie

We have now completed this book with...

Chapter XII. Story of Thomas the Rhymer
Chapter XIII. The Maid of the Wave
Chapter XIV. Exiles from Fairyland
Chapter XV. Friends and Foes of Man
Chapter XVI. The Land of Green Mountains

Here is how "Exiles from Fairyland" starts...

The Fairy Queen banishes from Fairyland any fairy who disobeys her orders. Then the exile wanders about alone through the land in search of companions. As the queen's subjects shun the banished fairy man or woman, he or she must needs make friends with human beings.

The Goona is the name given to one class of fairy exiles. A Goona is very kindly and harmless, and goes about at night trying, to be of service to mankind. He herds the cattle on the hills, and keeps them away from dangerous places. Often he is seen sitting on the edge of a cliff, and when cattle come near he drives them back. In the summer and autumn seasons he watches the cornfields, and if a cow should try to enter one, he seizes it by a horn and leads it to hill pasture. In winter time, when the cattle are kept in byres, the Goona feels very lonely, having no work to do.

Crofters speak kindly of the Goona, and consider themselves lucky when one haunts their countryside. They tell that he is a little fairy man with long ;olden hair that falls down over his shoulders and back. He is clad in a fox's skin, and in wintry weather he suffers much from cold, for that is part of his punishment. The crofters pity him, and wish that he would come into a house and sit beside a warm fire, but this he is forbidden to do. If a crofter were to offer a Goona any clothing the little lonely fellow would have to go away and he could never return again. The only food the exiled fairy can get are scraps and bones flung away by human beings. There are songs about the Goona. One tells:

He will watch the long weird night,
When the stars will shake with fright,
Or the ghostly moon leaps bright
O'er the ben like Beltane fire.
If my kine should seek the corn
He will turn them by the horn,
And I'll find them all at morn
Lowing sweet beside the byre.

You can read the rest of this at

The other chapters can be read at

Robert Burns Lives!
By Frank Shaw

In this article "Chat with Robert Crawford author of "The Bard". It starts...

Q: How important to your book and to the world of Burnsians are the Macdonald papers in the St. Andrews Library?

A: Macdonald’s journal gave me the initial impetus, and remains the document which contains the most unambiguous statement of Burns’s republicanism towards the end of his life.

Q: Will the Macdonald papers ever be made public in transcript or pamphlet form for those of us who would like to have them for our own personal study and Burns collections?

A: That will depend on whether increased resources become available to digitize some of the treasures of St. Andrews University Library.

Q: Why do you “confess to being wary of many self-professed Burnsians”? Does your statement have to do with their knowledge of Burns or their misinformation or disinformation regarding him?

A: I tend to be wary of people who are interested in Burns but have no interest in poetry or in literature beyond Burns. Yes, there are such folk!

Q: Since you have written about Robert Burns and have spoken about him to various groups, including the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., what do you consider to be the most important subject in his life that you want to make certain your audience takes away from your lectures?

A: I want people to realize that Burns matters most because he is a great poet – a remarkable practitioner of a great art form – rather than simply because he was Scottish, or had a dramatic life, including an energetic sex life. The drama of his life and his status as a Scottish icon are fine subject matter for a biographer, but it would be daft not to try and show also what makes him such an excellent poet. I want to reinstate the complexity and subtlety of his personality, parts of which can too readily get lost if he’s just seen as a laddish Scottish mascot.

and you can read the rest of this at

Andrew Wanless
Bookseller in Detroit, has published several volumes of his poetry and won a wide circle of readers. He was born at Longformacus, Berwickshire, in 1825. In 1851 he settled in Toronto, where he engaged in business as a bookbinder, but was burned out and lost his all. In 1861 he removed to Detroit, and slowly but surely recovered his losses. He is not only a poet, but an authority on poets, particularly Scotch, and he discusses their merits with rare critical acumen and with a fund of story and illustration which makes him a delightful conversationalist. All his own poems are Scotch, and he handles "our mither tongue" with the ease of a master.

Thanks to John Henderson we discovered a pdf of one of his books of poems and we've made it available at

Among the Forrest Trees
or How the Bushman Family got their Homes, by being a book of facts and incidents of pioneering life in Upper Canada, arranged in the form of a story, by Rev. Joseph H. Hilts (1888)

This is another new book we're embarking on and here is the Introduction to get you started...

AVERSE criticism has sounded the death-knell of so many literary productions, that I felt many misgivings when I sent out my first book, "Experiences of a Backwoods Preacher," to seek a place in the arena of Canadian literature. But the favorable comments of the Press, and the hearty commendations of hundreds of the readers of these "Experiences," have encouraged me to try and produce a work that would be more worthy of public favor than my first effort can claim to be.

Acting on the advice of persons of large experience in the book trade, I have written "Among the Forrest Trees," in the form of a story. The book is really a narrative of facts and incidents, around which the imagination has been permitted to throw some of the draperies of fiction. But truth is none the less true because some fancy pictures are found in its surroundings. A good piece of cloth is no less valuable because, by coloring, it is made beautiful. And although a man may be as good a man in an outfit made of sail-cloth, or of an Indian blanket, as he would be if he were dressed in the finest production of the weaver's and the tailor's art, yet no one will say that he would be just as presentable in the one case as In the other. So facts may become more impressive, when nicely clothed.

In writing the following pages, three things have been kept steadily in view. 1st. The facts and incidents must be substantially true. 2nd. All the drapery and coloring must be in strict harmony with pure morality, and with the demands of a sound religious sentiment. 3rd. And the whole must be illustrative of pioneer life, in its conditions and surroundings, and calculated to show something of the toils, privations, hardships, difficulties and sorrows of the early settlers.

Keeping within these limits, I believe that I have produced a book that can with entire safety, and not without profit, be put into the hands of either young or old, since there is not one line from the beginning to the ending that will excite bad passions or mislead the ,judgment. And while this is true, there is much that will touch the finer sensibilities and sympathies of the reader.

It will be observed that the author has recorded the narrations and conversations as though they were the utterances of others. Hence the first person is generally left in the background.

This method was adopted, because by it a great variety of characters could be brought on the scene, and a larger diversity of style could be presented.

Another thing to which I would call the reader's attention is the fact that dates and localities have mostly been left out of the text of the book. Where these are given they are found in the explanatory notes. This plan was adopted to afford greater facilities for grouping together facts and incidents, that were separated by time and distance, so as to give an aspect of unity to the whole production.

The reader will also observe that the names of persons and places are mostly taken from trees and shrubs and plants and flowers, as these are found in the forest wilds. It may be a mere fancy of mine; but I thought that it would acid to the attractiveness of the book, if the names found in it coincided, as far as possible, with the subject treated of in its pages.

John Bushman is a fictitious name. But he is by no means a fictitious character. If you asked me where he lived, I would answer, you might as well try to confine the most ubiquitous John Smith to one locality, as to settle the question where John Bushman lives, or more properly, to say where he clout live. Every township and every neighborhood have, at some time, had their first man and first woman, their John and Mary Bushman.

Another thing that is to he noted is this: among the varied characters, and diversified actions described in these pages, there is not a wicked act, nor a vicious person mentioned in the whole book. All the actors are strictly moral if they are not pious, and all the actions are virtuous if they are not religious. I have no sympathy with that style of writing that gives more prominence to the bad than to the good, in human character. Therefore I resolved that, so far as myself and my book are concerned, the devil shall he left to do his own advertising.

And now as to why the book has been written. Since the thousands of refugees, known as the U. E. Loyalists, came to this country a little over a hundred years ago, wonderful changes have been effected. And these will continue in the future. In the race for ease and opulence, on the part of the people of this country, there is danger that the brave pioneers and their works may be forgotten, unless some records of their noble deeds are handed down to the future.

Not very few persons had better facilities than the writer to gain front personal experience a practical knowledge to pioneer life. Both of my parents were born on the Niagara frontier soon after the Loyalists came to this country. I was but three years old when my father cut his way to his shanty through seven miles of unbroken wilderness: and five-sevenths of my whole life have been spent among pioneer settlers. So that if a personal knowledge of the things Written about be of any advantage. I have that knowledge.

One word more. To those readers who, like myself, make no claim to classical learning, I wish to say that I have tried to produce a book that would at the same time both please and instruct you. How far my effort has been successful can he decided only after you have read it.

To my scholarly readers, if I should be so fortunate as to secure any such, I wish to say, Don't use a telescope in searching for defects; you can see plenty of them with the naked eye. And when you find them, which no doubt you will, don't be too severe with your criticisms. But remember that the writer never saw the inside of a college in his life. Remember that he never attended a high school until he went as a member of a school board to settle a. rumpus among the teachers. And remember that he never had twelve months' tuition in any sort of school. His book-learning has been picked up by snatches of time and while other people slept. No, don't be too severe in judging, nor too quick in condemning. Please don't!

J. H. H.

October 1, 1888.

From the "Toronto Mail."

"'Among the Forest Trees; or, How the Bushman Family got their Home,' by Rev. Joseph H. Hilts, is a book of pioneer life in Upper Canada, arranged in the form of a story. The author, whose former work, 'Experiences of a Backwoods Preacher,' has had many readers, has spent five-seventh's of his life among the pioneer settlers of Western Canada. It is needless to say, therefore, that the book possesses much historic value as a picture of Canadian life in the early days of this western peninsula. The story, moreover, is interesting and most wholesome in tone, and as it will, no doubt, be widely read, it cannot fail to serve the author's purpose, which is to prevent the deeds of the pioneers from being forgotten."

We have the first few chapters up and these can be read at

Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
By John Blue, B.A. (1924)

Another new book we're starting and here is the Foreword to read here...

The design of this work is to give a readable and comprehensive view of the history of Alberta from the earliest times. The author has divided the history of the province into three periods. The first period will cover the early explorations and rule of the Fur Traders. The second period concerns rival fur companies, the Selkirk Purchase, etc.-1811-1821. The third period, which in many ways is the most wonderful of all, deals with the events since 1821—tells the story of the marvelous transformation of the Great Lone Land into the rich and populous Alberta of today.

The story is one of intense and instructive interest to the student of Canadian history. To trace the development of the political institutions of the newest province of the Dominion and compare it with the development of similar institutions in the older provinces of Canada, is an interesting study in comparative politics and highly illustrative of the manner in which responsible government grows in free communities.

The wonderful material development of the province since it was opened for settlement is a story of enthralling interest. Less than fifty years ago the Blackfeet and the Crees roamed the plains and camped on the sites of the principal cities of the province. They hunted the buffalo and the antelope over the unploughed acres that now comprise the farms and homesteads of half a million people. Elk and deer by thousands found shelter in the foot-hills and mountain passes where now scores of mining towns and villages prosper and flourish. Less than fifty years ago there was not a mile of railway between the Red River and the Rocky Mountains. Today there are over six thousand miles of railway in the province of Alberta alone, connected with all the great transcontinental systems of Canada and the United States. Men traveled by dog sleighs, canoes or Red River carts. The only civilized persons who had penetrated the Great Lone Land were the Hudson's Bay traders, the hunters and trappers, the missionaries and the prospectors on their way to the gold diggings of Yale and Caribou.

Today there are nearly three-quarters of a million of a population within the area that now comprises the province. Many of the old Indian trails have been surveyed and have become permanent highways. The people have schools and churches; colleges and universities; municipal institutions; thousands of miles of telephone communication; banks and great commercial and trading houses. The province, through its vast resources and the energy of its people—drawn from the great races of the world—is rapidly becoming a powerful factor in the commercial and political life of the Dominion of Canada.

The story of this wonderful transformation is worthy of record. An earnest attempt has been made by the author and the publishers to present the great mass of facts with a sense of their due proportion and ultimate value as the true material of history. The author has had the advantage of a long residence in Western Canada, and has had the resources of the Provincial Library at Edmonton, the library of the University of Alberta at his disposal, as well as the excellent collection of Canadiana in the possession of Hon. Dr. A. C. Rutherford, the first Premier of Alberta. Many valuable suggestions have been received from the Officers of the Alberta Historical Society, and from many of the old-timers to whom the rapid development of the last few years is more make a dream than the natural events of history.

We have the first couple of chapters up which you can read at

Beths Newfangled Family Tree
The May edition is now available at

Please note that as I checked the links I note that for some reason Section 1 seems to be last years edition so don't download it right away as I've emailed Beth and I'm sure I'll get the correct issue in some time in the next 24 hours. Section 2 is fine.

Scottish Clan & Surname DNA Projects
We got in a list of connections to DNA resources for Scottish Clans and Families and as I understand the list each link takes you to a site where there is information on DNA for that clan or family group. You can get to this at

And finally... I got an email in which seems to give one of those life lessons...

A holy man was having a conversation with God one day and said, 'God, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.'

God led the holy man to two doors.

He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in.

In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man's mouth water.

The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished.

They were holding spoons with very long handles, that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful.

But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.

The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering.

God said, 'You have seen Hell.'

They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one.

There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man's mouth water.

The people were equiped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. The holy man said, 'I don't understand..'

'It is simple,' said God. 'It requires but one skill.

You see they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves.'

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


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