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May 5, 2008 11:15 - The Men of the Alamo & the Republic of Texas

Well, I'm back in the saddle again. The move from Tennessee to Texas is completed and I'm settling in.

I do have to tell you that as I passed through Nashville, I began thinking about the American Scotsmen Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, and John MacGregor. Plus that infamous Irishman, Jim Bowie.

As I drove across southwestern Tennessee and Arkansas, they were on my mind a lot. I kept thinking these famous, famous men, all of Celtic ancestry, traveled approximately the same path I was taking, bravely going to settle Texas.

All the rivers I crossed in Arkansas were out of their banks. Again I wondered, how were they when these men forded or ferried them?

At Texarkana, they would have turned south toward Nacogdoches, while I drove on toward Dallas. Thus, our ways separated and a violent North Texas spring storm occupied all my thoughts instead.

I now live 33.03 miles from The Alamo. I've not visited it in several years, but shall do so again soon. In my mind I'll hear John MacGregor piping, while Davy Crockett fiddles, many a Scottish tune. And I shall contemplate the men, Scottish and otherwise, who gave their lives to build Texas.

Here's some of their tartans…

Houston Family Tartan WR2290

MacGregor Clan Tartan WR1526

The complete line of MacGregor tartans will be featured in a few weeks with Rob Roy MacGregor.

Jim Bowie is reported to be of Irish ancestry, but many a Scotsman immigrated to the Irish Plantations, then on to the Americas. There are Bowies associated with the MacDonalds and the Grants, plus Bowie tartans.

MacDonald Clan Tartan WR419

Grant Clan Tartan 1386

Bowie Family Tartan WR434

Bowie Family Tartan WR435

There are Crocketts from the Angus, Galloway, and Strathclyde Districts.

Angus District Tartan WR1179

Galloway District Tartan WR1469

Strathclyde District Tartan WR30

Tomorrow the May Highland Games will be posted, then the saga of Bonnie Dundee will continue…

May 6, 2008 11:51 - May Highland Games

If you want to hire a local bagpiper, see some samples of different tartans up close, view different interpretations of the various styles of kilts, learn more about your clan's history, hear some different ideas for music, eat a day-full of Scottish food, and see lots of Scottish traditions first hand ~ then a nice Highland Game is the way to go.

For more detailed information about the events listed, go to U.S. Scots and the Scottish Heritage Society.

For a good dose of the Highlands, here's the May schedule ~

  • May 3 to 6, Glen Innes, New south Wales, Australia ~ Glen Innes Celtic Festival
  • May 4 to 6, near Adelaide, South Australia, Australia ~ Kapunda Celtic Festival
  • May 4 to 6, Richmond Hill, Georgia ~ Savannah Highland Games
  • May 4 to 6, Bridgeport, West Virginia ~ North Central West Virginia Scottish Festival & Celtic Gathering
  • May 5 to 6, Chatham, New York ~ Celebration of Celts
  • May 5 to 6, WaKeeney, Kansas ~ Th' Gatherin, Ancient Festival O' Beltane
  • May 6, Harrogate, Tennessee ~ Cumberland Gap Highland Games
  • May 11 to 13, Carollton, Kentucky ~ Kentucky Scottish Weekend
  • May 11 to 13, Houston, Texas ~ Houston Scottish Highland Games and Celtic Festival
  • May 12, Frederick, Maryland ~ Frederick Celtic Festival
  • May 12 to 13, Winston-Salem, North Carolina ~ Winston-Salem Celtic Music Festival
  • May 12, East Dorset, Vermont ~ South-Western Vermont Highland Games
  • May 12, Gatlinburg, Tennessee ~ Gatlinburg Scottish Festival
  • May 19, Prescott, Arizona ~ Prescott Highland Games
  • May 19, Culloden, Georgia ~ Atlantic Celtic Festival
  • May 19 to 21, Edinboro, Pennsylvania ~ Edinboro Highland Games
  • May 19, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina ~ Aiken Highland Games & Celtic Festival
  • May 19, Springfield, Illinois ~ Illinois Highland Games and Festival
  • May 19, Fair Hill Maryland ~ Fair Hill Colonial Highland Gathering
  • May 19, Albuquerque, New Mexico ~ Rio Grande Celtic Festival
  • May 19, Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada ~ Comox Valley Highland Games
  • May 20, Eugene, Oregon ~ Eugene Scottish Festival
  • May 19, Farmington, Minnesota ~ Minnesota Scottish Country Fair
  • May 19, Richmond, Rhode Island ~ Rhode Island Highland Scottish Festival
  • May 19, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada ~ Moose Jaw Highland Games
  • May 19 to 20, Livermore, California ~ Livermore Scottish Games
  • May 20, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada ~ BC Highland Games Clan Gathering
  • May 21, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada ~ Regina Highland Games
  • May 23, Barbados ~ Barbados Celtic Festival
  • May 25 to 27, Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, Canada ~ Gathering of Scots Festival
  • May 26 to 27, Pomona, California ~ United Scottish Society of Southern California Scottish Festival
  • May 26 to 27, Alma, Michigan ~ Alma Highland Festival and Games

Beltane is observed by Celts, Neopagans and Wiccans in various forms and by a variety of names. Some Beltane Festivals simply celebrate the beginning of summer, others have deeper meanings. If you prefer to not participate in those with deeper meanings, you can access the individual event webpages at the U.S. Scots and the Scottish Heritage Society as listed above.

More information about Beltane will be published tomorrow…

May 7, 2008 22:39 - Beltane

Beltane is a Gaelic holiday, celebrated elsewhere as May Day, on May 1st. It marks the beginning of summer. You will see some listed in tomorrows May
Highland Games schedule.

In Gaelic homes, May boughs were hung above the doors and windows. May bushes were constructed in the yard. Usually the branches were of Rowan (Mountain Ash) or Hawthorn, which are in bloom in early May. In Newfoundland the May Bush is decorated with flowers, ribbons, garlands, and colored egg shells.

Commonly, a fire is lit on a hillside and can be seen for miles around. Another part of the fire customs was to douse the household hearth fire. This was then relit from the community hillside fire.

One Beltane craft which has survived the years is the making of equal-armed Rowan wood crosses, which are used to perform a 'blessing and protection' of the household and land.

Today Beltane Festivals are a cultural revival, not the survival of an ancient tradition. Neopagans, Celtic Reconstructionists, and Wiccans, as well as people of the Diaspora have celebrations. Since 1988 a fire is lit on Calton Hill in Edinburgh during the night of April 30th. Over 15,000 people attend.

May 8, 2008 11:47 - Lady Jean Cochrane

Jean was the daughter of Lord William Cochrane and his wife Lady Catherine Kennedy. She was the youngest of seven children and has a reputation of being very beautiful.

Her mother was a strict Presbyterian Whig. John Graham was a Tory Episcopalian. Jean married John Graham, Bonnie Dundee, in 1684.

Even on their wedding day, Clavers had to hurry away to Glasgow due to an insurrection. Because of his commission, Bonnie Dundee was frequently away and they spent little time together as a married couple.

Bonnie Dundee died at the Battle of Killiekrankie, Jean later married William Livingstone, Viscount Kilsyth.

Upon her death, Livingstone erected a mauloleum with the following carved into the stonework

Jean Cochrane, wife, and son of William Livingstone of Kilsyth. Deaths caused by falling in of roof, composed turf of a house in Holland. Mr Livingstone was with difficulty extracted. Lady, child, and nurse were killed, October 1695.

Cochrane Tartans Jean might have worn ~

Cochrane Clan Tartan WR485

Though of a different era and continent, look at this Cochrane tartan with the Bermuda tartan…possibly a nice combo for a wedding color theme.

Bermuda Tartan WR696

Bermuda Tartan Ideas were featured in the July 28, 2007 blog.

More Cochrane tartans ~

Cochrane Clan Tartan 978

Cochrane Clan Tartan WR994

Tomorrow, was Bonnie Dundee a bloody Butcher…

May 9, 2008 07:40 - Was Claverhouse the 'Bluidy Clavers'?

As blogged on April 18th, Claverhouse was affectionately called 'Bonnie Dundee' by his Highland companions. But serving as a military officer, Claverhouse followed his orders relentlessly, and as he repressed the Covenanters, they began to call him 'Bluidy Clavers'.

Some of the events which led to his nickname were not even committed by Claverhouse ~

  • A false charge was brought by Sir John Dalrymple as retributiion. He felt troops had been quartered at his expense illegally. Sir John Dalrymple, 1st Earl of Stair, helped bring William of Orange to the throne. His father James, Viscount of Stair, was a staunch Covenanter. The 'Bride of Lammermoor", Janet Dalrymple ), blogged on January 8, 2007, was most likely the sister of John.

  • The Wigtown Martyrs of 1685, was a sentence and execution carried out by commissioners and a jury. The execution as carried out by David Graham, Sheriff of Dumfriesshire who was John's younger brother.

  • The deaths of Gillies and Bryce in 1685, followed a trial by General Drummond and 15 soldiers. After the trial they were hanged. John Graham was not present at the trial or execution.

For more information you can read an online book online about John Graham, Viscount of Claverhouse at Google Books.

His letters, both in line of duty and personal, reveal a man who carried out his orders with a heavy heart, remorse at the senseless killing of commoners instead of the ring-leaders, and a sensitivity for all concerned.

Perhaps that's why a Covenanter's daughter, Lady Jean Cochrane, married Claverhouse in 1674...even though he was a Lowland Scot, an Episcopalian, a Whig...and the 'Bluidy Clavers'.

Tomorrow, Sir Walter Scott's poem 'Bonnie Dundee'…

May 14, 2008 06:35 - Sir Walter Scott's Poem, Bonnie Dundee'

Sir Walter Scott immortalized Claverhouse in his poem, 'Bonnie Dundee'.

To the Lords of Convention 'twas Clavers who spoke.
'Ere the King's crown shall fall there are crowns to be broke;
So let each Cavalier who loves honour and me,
Come follow the bonnet of Bonny Dundee.

Come fill up my cup, come fill up my can,'
Come saddle your horses, and call up your men;
Come open the West Port and let me gang free,
And it's room for the bonnets of Bonny Dundee!

Dundee he is mounted, he rides up the street,
The bells are rung backward, the drums they are beat;
But the Provost, douce man, said, "Just e'en let him be,
The Gude Town is weel quit of that Deil of Dundee."

As he rode down the sanctified bends of the Bow,
Ilk carline was flyting and shaking her pow;
But the young plants of grace they looked couthie and slee,
Thinking luck to thy bonnet, thou Bonny Dundee!

With sour-featured Whigs the Grass-market was crammed,
As if half the West had set tryst to be hanged;
There was spite in each look, there was fear in each e'e,
As they watched for the bonnets of Bonny Dundee.

These cowls of Kilmarnock had spits and had spears,
And lang-hafted gullies to kill cavaliers;
But they shrunk to close-heads and the causeway was free,
At the toss of the bonnet of Bonny Dundee.

He spurred to the foot of the proud Castle rock,
And with the gay Gordon he gallantly spoke;
"Let Mons Meg and her marrows speak twa words or three,
For the love of the bonnet of Bonny Dundee."

The Gordon demands of him which way he goes?
"Where'er shall direct me the shade of Montrose!
Your Grace in short space shall hear tidings of me,
Or that low lies the bonnet of Bonny Dundee."

"There are hills beyond Pentland and lands beyond Forth
If there's lords in the Lowlands, there's chiefs in the North;
There are wild Duniewassals three thousand times three,
Will cry hoigh! for the bonnet of Bonny Dundee."

"There's brass on the target of barkened bull-hide;
There's steel in the scabbard that dangles beside;
The brass shall be burnished, the steel shall flash free,
At the toss of the bonnet of Bonny Dundee."

"Away to the hills, to the caves, to the rocks
Ere I own an usurper, I'll couch with the fox;
And tremble, false Whigs, in the midst of your glee,
You have not seen the last of my bonnet and me!"

He waved his proud hand, the trumpets were blown,
The kettle-drums clashed and the horsemen rode on,
Till on Ravelston's cliffs and on Clermiston's lee
Died away the wild war-notes of Bonny Dundee.

Come fill up my cup, come fill up my can,
Come saddle the horses, and call up the men,
Come open your gates, and let me gae free,
For it's up with the bonnets of Bonny Dundee!

Meanings of unusual words

barkened ~ covered over
bow ~ A papal bull
carline ~ a hag or old woman
Castle Rock ~ Edinburgh castle
Clermiston ~ now a suburb of Edinburgh
close heads and causeways ~ the headlands and causeways of the Forth of Forth as it opens to the North Sea
couthie ~ agreeable, sociable, friendly, sympathetic
cowls of Kilnarrock ~ a close-fitting night-cap worn by Ayrshire Covenanters
deil ~ devil
douce ~ gentle
duniwassals ~ gentlemen
e'e ~ eye
flyting ~ The action of quarrelling, scolding, or employing abusive language
Forth ~ river, photo
Gay Gordon ~ George Gordon, 1st Duke of Gordon
grass market ~ Edinburgh's main market and the setting for public executions
Gude town ~ Edinburgh
gullies ~ large knives, often blunted by use
hoigh ~ To move rapidly, walk or proceed at a good speed
iIk ~ like
laird ~ major landowner
marrows ~ comrade, companion
Mons Meg ~ the infamous Scottish cannon from 1540 to 1681
Montrose ~ switched from Covenanter to Royalist
Pentland ~ a range of hills to the south-west of Edinburgh
pow ~ human head
Ravelston ~ now a suburb of Edinburgh
slee ~ sly, smooth-spoken, oily, wily and persuasive in speech
target ~ targe
weel ~ well

Tomorrow, read more of the history of Mons Meg…

May 15, 2008 12:55 - Mons Meg

Mons Meg is a large gun sent by Phillip III to James II of Scotland. It was ordered in 1449 and delivered as a gift, along with other artillery supplies, eight years later. The gun was fabricated at Mons, in Flanders.

As 22" caliber cannon, it accepted balls weighing 396 pounds. Mons Meg could only be fired 8 to 10 times a day. She had to be cooled after each charge due to the size of her powder charge.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

She is mentioned many times in the public accounts of the time, with charges for grease for Meg's mouth. Grease in the mouth increases the loudness of the report. The louder the report, the more intimidating for the enemy. There were also charges for ribbons to bedeck her carriage and pipes to play before her in the processions from the castle as the army departed on any distant expedition.

Always extremely popular with the common people, Mons Meg was retired from active service in the 1540's and placed at Edinburgh Castle. Fired only on ceremonial occasions, after a firing shot could be found up to a distance of two miles from the castle.

The gun was last fired in 1681 to celebrate the birthday of James. The barrel exploded and was left outside Foog's Gate at Edinburgh Castle. In 1754 Mons Meg was taken to the Tower of London as a souvenir. In 1820 she was returned to Edinburgh Castle, where she sits outside St.Margaret's Chapel.

The name Mons Meg was given to the gun in the 17th century, possibly as a reference to Margaret of Denmark, Queen of James III. It may also have just been a simple alliteration.

Tomorrow, hear The Corries sing the musical rendition of Bonnie Dundee…

May 16, 2008 07:05 - The Bonnets of Bonnie Dundee

Sir Walter Scott's poem evolved into a song, as many a great poem has.

Tae the lairds i' convention t'was Claverhouse spoke
E'er the Kings crown go down, there'll be crowns to be broke;
Then let each cavalier who loves honour and me,
Come follow the bonnet o' bonnie Dundee.

Come fill up my cup, come fill up my can,
Saddle my horses and call out my men,
And it's Ho! for the west port and let us gae free,
And we'll follow the bonnets o' bonnie Dundee!

Dundee he is mounted, he rides doon the street,
The bells they ring backwards, the drums they are beat,
But the Provost, douce man, says "Just e'en let him be,
For the toon is well rid of that de'il o' Dundee."

There are hills beyond Pentland and lands beyond Forth,
Be there lairds i' the south, there are chiefs i' the north!
There are brave duniwassals, three thousand times three,
Will cry "Hoy!" for the bonnets o' bonnie Dundee.

Then awa' to the hills, to the lea, to the rocks,
E'er I own a usurper, I'll couch wi' the fox!
Then tremble, false Whigs, in the midst o' your glee,
Ye ha' no seen the last o' my bonnets and me.

Hear The Corries rendition on YouTube.

Though fewer verses are sung, the song has grown in popularity over the years. Today, the following Canadian regiments have 'The Bonnets of Bonnie Dundee' as their authorized regimental march ~

  • The Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, for gallop-past
  • 1st Hussars
  • The Brockville Rifles
  • The Stormont, Daundas and Glengarry Highlanders
  • The Loyal Edmonton Regiment, 4th Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry

Monday read Rudyard Kipling's parody from 'The Jungle Book'.

May 19, 2008 07:09 - Kipling's Parody of Bonnie Dundee

The Jungle Book is one of my favorites. So I guess Rudyard Kipling is a favorite writer. I just gave a 1917 edition to my 30+ year old son for his birthday, in memory of our many readings together when he was younger.

In The Jungle Book, after the story of "Her Majesty's Servants", there is the "Parade Song of the Camp Animals" ~

By the brand on my shoulder, the finest of tunes
Is played by the Lancers, Hussars, and Dragoons,
And it's sweeter than "Stables" or "Water" to me--
The Cavalry Canter of "Bonnie Dundee"!

Then feed us and break us and handle and groom,
And give us good riders and plenty of room,
And launch us in column of squadron and see
The way of the war-horse to "Bonnie Dundee"!

Rudyard Kipling was the daughter of Alice MacDonald , one of the famous MacDonald sisters, blogged on January 22, 2008. Through his mother, he would be very familiar with 'Bonnie Dundee'.

Tomorrow, Lewis J. Carroll adds his parody from in Alice In Wonderland

May 20, 2008 14:29 - Bonnie Dundee Parodies ~ Lewis Carroll

After the success of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll wrote Through the Looking Glass. In chapter 11, he also parodied 'The Bonnets of Bonnie Dundee'.

To the Looking-Glass world it was Alice that said
"I've a sceptre in hand, I've a crown on my head.
Let the Looking-Glass creatures, whatever they be
Come dine with the Red Queen, the White Queen and Me!"

Then fill up the glasses as quick as you can,
And sprinkle the table with buttons and bran:
Put cats in the coffee, and mice in the tea--
And welcome Queen Alice with thirty-times-three!

"O Looking-Glass creatures," quoth Alice, "draw near!
'Tis an honour to see me, a favour to hear:
'Tis a privilege high to have dinner and tea
Along with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and Me!"

Then fill up the glasses with treacle and ink,
Or anything else that is pleasant to drink:
Mix sand with the cider, and wool with the wine--
And welcome Queen Alice with ninety-times-nine!

Through the Looking Glass can be read online in it's entirety at Gutenberg Press.

Tomorrow, read about Rob Roy and his wife…

May 21, 2008 11:12 - Rob Roy & His Wife

Rob Roy was the son of MacGregor of Glengyle. Rob married Mary Helen MacGregor of Comar. They had four sons and adopted a cousin.

Rob was also called 'Red MacGregor' and the 'Scottish Robin Hood'.

Rob and his father were active Jacobites, following Bonnie Dundee. Rob's father spent two years in prison under a charge of treason. During this time, Rob's mother died. His mother, Margaret Campbell, was a sister of the notorious Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, who was the commanding officer at the Battle of Glencoe.

Rob took 40 men to the Battle of Glen Shiel. This will be blogged on May 6th.

Rob Roy was deprived of his lands by quarrels with the House of Montrose, became a prominent Jacobite and his exploits became a romantic tale in Scottish history.

In the early 1700's, in the Scottish Highlands, Robert MacGregor tried to better the lives of his clansmen. He borrowed money from the Marquess of Montrose. With it he was going to buy Highland cattle at Crieff, then trade them in Carlisle, England. Many a drover did just that.

Rob Roy entrusted the money to his sub-chieftain Alan MacDonald. In turn, Alan was murdered by the Montrose factor and the money stolen.

Montrose agrees to write off the loan if Rob Roy will falsely testify that the Duke of Argyll is a Jacobite. This Rob Roy refuses to do. He doesn't care about the politics, but only feels perjury is dishonorable.

Things go from bad to worse, with Rob Roy ending up in prison. In the end, he is freed, forgiven the debt, and restored to his land and rights.

Sir Walter Scott popularized the story in his novel, Rob Roy.

A movie, made in 1995, stars Liam Neeson and Jessica Lange. Shot on location in Scotland, some of the Highland locations could only be accessed by helicopter.

Tomorrow, the MacGregor and Rob Roy tartans…

May 22, 2008 09:15 - MacGregor and Rob Roy Tartans

Although there are many MacGregor tartans that could be worn for a wedding, two are named specifically for Rob Roy ~

Rob Roy Clan Tartan WR1504

Robin Hood/Rob Roy Hunting Fancy WR785

Some claim the legendary hero, Robin Hood, was based on the factual Roy Roy. For those who remember, when you look at this tartan, can't you just see Robin Hood and his Merry Men, riding through the woods after robbing from a rich laird, with the background music playing

"Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men
Feared by the bad, loved by the good,
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood"

The MacGregors of Glengyle were an important enough clan to have their own tartan ~

MacGregor of Glengyle Clan Tartan WR1285

Rob Roy seems to have been cut off the same cloth as many another MacGregor. As a businessman and tradesman, the MacGregors have their own trade tartan ~

MacGregor Trade Tartan WR1114

Other MacGregor Clan tartans ~

MacGregor Clan Tartan WR450

MacGregor Clan Tartan WR1525

MacGregor Clan Tartan WR1526

MacGregor Green Clan Tartan WR1577

Tartans for other specific MacGregor clans ~

MacGregor of Balquhidder Clan Tartan WR988

MacGregor of Balaquhidder Clan Tartan WR989

MacGregor of Glen Strae Clan Tartan WR866

MacGregor of Glenstrae Clan Tartan WR962

Tomorrow the Battle of Glen Shiel and Rob Roy's part...

May 23, 2008 08:46 - John McCrae ~ Warrior Poet

Though I promised to continue the saga of Rob Roy MacGregor, I've realized my blog for Memorial Day requires some lead in information for you to truly appreciate Monday's blog.

The most famous poem of World War I was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian physician.

In May of 1915, in a 48 hour period, 6000 Canadian soldiers died on the filed in Flanders. After witnessing the gruesome death of his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, McCrae penned this poem.

The poem was written on a scrap of paper, May 3, 1915. He used Colonel Lawrence Moore Cosgrave's back for a writing surface, during a lull in the bombings. The poem was first published on December 7, 1915, in Punch magazine.

McCrae died of pneumonia and meningitis in January 1918. His horse, 'Bonfire' led the funeral procession, his master's riding boots reversed in the stirrups.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

McCrae's gravestone is placed flat, as are all the others in the cemetery, due to sandy soil.

Due to the popularity of the poem and the battle at Flanders, there is now an In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, Belgium. There is also a book by Leon Wolff, a historian. It's title is In Flanders Fields: The 1917 Campaign. A movie, The Biography of John McCrae, is also available.

In 1968 the Canadian government introduced a stamp commemorating the half-century since McCrae's death. A portion of the poem and McCrae's portrait appear on the stamp.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

From Scottish Presbyterian stock, his name is included at the clan McRae seat, Eilean Donan Castle. A memorial Roll of Honor lists the McRaes who died in World War I.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

The line "To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high" is written on the wall of the Montreal Canadien's' locker room.

A portion of the poem appears on the Canadian $10 bill.

His home birthplace in Guelph, Ontario is a national historic site. If you live nearby, you might consider the site as a Scottish wedding venue.

During his military career, or beforehand, the Lieutenant Colonel may have worn one of the McRae tartans, particularly for formal military occasions.

There are 17 registered McRae tartans. Here are three of them.

MacRae Clan Tartan WR102

MacRae Clan Hunting Tartan WR807

MacRae of Ardentoul Artifact Tartan WR1178

To honor our soldiers on Memorial Day, In Flanders Field will be published...

May 26, 2008 07:44 - Memorial Day Poem

Image 796144 courtesy of Stock Exchange

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

-By John McCrae

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, was a Canadian physician who witnessed many deaths in World War I. In a 48 hour period, 6000 Canadian soldiers died on the field in Flanders. McCrae wrote the poem after witnessing the gruesome death of his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer.

Written as a French rondeau, this is probably the most popular poem from World War I.

Tomorrow the Battle of Glen Shiel and Rob Roy's part...

May 27, 2008 07:34 - The Battle of Glen Shiel

At the Battle of Glen Shiel, in 1719, Rob Roy represented the clan MacGregor with 40 men. The total Jacobite count was 810 from the clans Cameron of Lochiel, MacKinnon, MacKenzie, Murray, Keith, Cambell, MacKenzie of Coul, MacKinstosh of Borlum, and a Spanish regiment.

They opposed a force of 1000 men, including the clans Fraser, Ross, Sutherland, Mackay, and Munro, plus a Dutch Regiment and government troops, dragoons and mortars.

The Jacobites lacked provisions and weapons, didn't receive the Lowland support expected, lost heart, abondoned the cause and went home. Three of the commanders were badly wounded. Of these, John Cameron of Lochiel sought exile in France. George Keith fled to Prussia and became the Prussian ambassador to France and Spain. Rob Roy's men left the field to save their cheiftain's life.

In thankfulness and to honor the Spaniards who served, a mountain peak in Glen Shiel was named 'Sgurr nan Spainteachl', which means the Peak of the Spaniards.

Tomorrow, The Clermont Estate…

May 28, 2008 06:32 - The Clermont

Recently the staff of The Clermont contacted me about an upcoming event. Even though The Clermont could be accessed on the National Register of Historic Places from Scottish Wedding Dreams Wedding Venue page, it was one among many.

With information The Clermont staff sent me, plus other research, I have located a wonderful wedding venue with a Scottish background.

Sitting on the Hudson River, the estate was founded by Robert Livingston in 1728. It's now one of the main attractions in the Hudson River National Landmark District which stretches 20 miles along the Hudson River.

There are many wedding sites available on the estate. Marriages on the estate are not a recent event. A Janet Livingston was married in the manor house in July 1773. Learn more about The Clermont and the services available.

Chancellor Robert R. Livingston was the U.S. Ambassador to France in 1797. He and "Quicksilver Bob" Fulton became friends while in France. Robert Livingston was also the uncle of Robert Fulton's future bride, Harriet Livingston.

Tomorrow, learn more about the Livingston and Fulton steamboats…

May 29, 2008 09:18 - The North River Steamboat ~ Part I

Fulton and Livingston scheduled public service from New York to Albany beginning September 4th. The North River Steamboat left New York City on Saturdays at 6 p.m. and departed Albany on Wednesdays at 8 a.m., with stops at West Point, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Esopus, and Hudson.

The name was quickly shortened to The Steamboat and by 1811, Car of Neptune and Paragon had been added to the fleet. Due to it's association with The Clermont Estate, The Steamboat came to be nicknamed The Clermont.

Quoting The Clermont Steamboat Days, opening the Hudson River to steamboat traffic

"changed forever the way Americans understood travel and distance. The record-breaking speeds first altered travel along the Hudson River and later Westward Expansion and Trans-Atlantic immigration."

In 2007, the 200th anniversary of the launching of The Steamboat, The Clermont Estate held a year long celebration.

More information about "The Steamboat" can be viewed at the
Hudson River Maritime Museum website.

Robert Fulton was also featured on the December 10, 2007 blog, Five More Famous Scots. The Fulton family tartan is also displayed.

Tomorrow, the story of The North River Steamboat continues…

May 30, 2008 09:04 - The North River Steamboat ~ Part II

After obtaining exclusive rights to steam navigation on the Hudson, Robert Livingston financed Robert Fulton's first workable steamboat, North River Steamboat.

Its first official trip was on the Hudson River on August 17th and 18th, 1807. There was a 20 hour layover at The Clermont. On the return trip the layover at The Clermont was 1 hour.

The initial voyage of Fulton's monster was described as follows in an 1807 publication, Great Fortunes, and How They Were Made, by James Dabney McCabe.

"The surprise and dismay excited among the crews of these vessels by the appearance of the steamer was extreme. These simple people, the majority of whom had heard nothing of Fulton's experiments, beheld what they supposed to be a huge monster, vomiting fire and smoke from its throat, lashing the water with its fins, and shaking the river with its roar, approaching rapidly in the very face of both wind and tide. Some threw themselves flat on the deck of their vessels, where they remained in an agony of terror until the monster had passed, while others took to their boats and made for the shore in dismay, leaving their vessels to drift helplessly down the stream. Nor was this terror confined to the sailors. The people dwelling along the shore crowded the banks to gaze upon the steamer as she passed by."

Coming Monday, June Highland Games…

April 2008 « 


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