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Newsletter for 1st April 2022

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  • Newsletter for 1st April 2022

    For the latest news from Scotland see our ScotNews feed at:

    Electric Scotland News

    After working for some 25 years on this site the one thing that amazes me is how much religion has played on the history of the Scots and their descendants all over the world.

    I have many biographies of ministers up on the site both from Scotland and also Scots in other parts of the world. I also note that many books on places around the world were written by Scots ministers. In Canada many of the historical books of the pioneers were also written by Scots ministers.

    I don't see much being written by Scots ministers of recent times and also note the major decline in church attendance. I also haven't heard much at all about Sunday school attendance but assume that is also well down.

    In the old days most folk had a bible in their home and many children used that bible to help them read and write and also to improve their memory. The old ministers would visit their homes and as a matter of course talk to the children to see how well they knew the bible and I'm not aware of this happening today.

    In my own family my mother was the one that insisted on us attending church and my father was "people's warden" in the wee church we attended in Ahmadi, Kuwait. When I was at boarding school in Dollar, Clackmannanshire in Scotland I attended church each Sunday although I don't remember attending Sunday school.

    In Scotland in the 1960's Scotland wouldn't allow shops or pubs to open on a Sunday although they did allow hotels to open but the bar was only open to residents. They also allowed the small corner stores to open for basic food stuffs like bread and butter and other grocery items.
    The idea was of course to hold the Lords day sacred so that everyone could get a day off once a week. As I joined British Home Stores for a wee while I learned quickly that while the store shut on a Sunday they would often arrange major counter moves to be done on the Sunday as you were expected to attend those events.

    Today I no longer attend Church and have not done so for many years except on rare occasions. When I was in the Knights Templar's in Canada I was somewhat disappointed in our Grand Prior, a minister, as he seemed most reluctant to send anything in for the monthly newsletter. As the Knights Templar were meant to be a religious/military order I had thought he should do something for the spiritual health of the members but it was like pulling teeth to get him to send anything in at all. He became the Vicar General of the International order but just couldn't connect on a religious level with the Knights and Dames and so I ended up doing a religious section myself in each issue.

    I do believe that the 10 commandments is not a bad way to run your life. That said it seem most parents leave it their children to decide whether to embrace a religion or not. I do believe that some religious instruction is worth while to bring into the home.

    Anyway... I just wanted to highlight the immense contribution that ministers made to the history of Scotland and other places in the world. I would also encourage you to browse through the religious parts of the web sites as there is much to be learned.


    I continue to read reports on child abuse in Scotland and see an article in this weeks news items "I was abused in care - why has nothing changed?". Week after week there are stories about how the SNP government is failing the children of Scotland and how they so often put new polices in place that reward the middle class and upper class but still fail to do much if anything for the poorest in our country. Something has to change.

    Scottish News from this weeks newspapers
    Note that this is a selection and more can be read in our ScotNews feed on our index page where we list news from the past 1-2 weeks. I am partly doing this to build an archive of modern news from and about Scotland and world news stories that can affect Scotland and as all the newsletters are archived and also indexed on Google and other search engines it becomes a good resource. I might also add that in a number of newspapers you will find many comments which can be just as interesting as the news story itself and of course you can also add your own comments if you wish which I do myself from time to time.

    Hundreds of patients dying due to A&E delays, doctors say
    Hundreds of patients are dying unnecessarily in Scotland because of delays while they wait in A&E, doctors have said. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine estimates there has been 240 avoidable deaths since the start of the year.

    Read more at:

    Is North America's Arctic vulnerable to Russia?
    Fears of body parts lost to frostbite, ferocious winds and freezing temperatures that make aircraft parts brittle and useless are just some of the challenges that retired Canadian colonel Pierre Leblanc has faced in the nearly 10 years he's spent in the Arctic.

    Read more at:

    Huge new gas field discovered under North Sea
    The UK has received a major energy boost as a new gas field has been discovered under the North Sea off the coast of East Anglia. According to offshore exploration and production company IOG, the field, which has the backing of US billionaire Warren Buffet, produced its "first gas" earlier this week. The discovery could help the UK avoid the skyrocketing prices that are expected in the EU as Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to turn off the taps of the gas pipelines from Russia.

    Read more at:

    The case for more nuclear is clear - but how do we actually build it?
    The UK should take a leaf out of South Korea's book when it comes to new nuclear

    Read more at:

    Glasgow Burrell Collection reopens after five-year revamp
    Visitors can now view items and collections which have not been seen for decades. The collection - which includes objects from Europe and Asia - was donated to Glasgow by art collector Sir William Burrell in 1944.

    Read more at:

    How a garden can survive for centuries
    Even when they're utterly forgotten, gardens can be surprisingly resilient - so just how long can a garden survive for?

    Read more at:

    Revisiting the example of John Buchan
    In October 1921, when lecturing on The Study of History, John Buchan, the author, historian and polymath par excellence, reflected on the art of what he called historical portraiture.

    Read more at:

    I was abused in care - why has nothing changed?
    A woman who was sexually abused in secure care in Edinburgh 16 years ago has expressed dismay over a report last week which showed the system is still failing vulnerable children.

    Read more at:

    Meeting with Pope a stepping stone towards reconciliation
    A delegation of indigenous Canadians is at the Vatican this week in search of an elusive apology from the Catholic Church for its role in the operation of the country's residential school system.

    Read more at:

    Electric Canadian

    The Island of Cape Breton
    Its History, Scenery and Resources by J. G. Bourinot, Sydney, Cape Breton (1870) (pdf)

    You can read this article at:

    Are the Carrier Sociology and Mythology Indigenous or Exotic?
    By The Rev. Father A. G. Morice, O.M.I. (1892) (pdf)

    You can read this article at:

    Thoughts on a Sunday morning - the 27th day of March 2022 - Emerging
    By the Rev. Nola Crewe

    You can watch this at:

    The Assiniboine River and its Forts
    By George Bryce, LL.D. (1892) (pdf)

    You can read this article at:

    Electric Scotland

    Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
    Got in the April 2022 issue 1 which you can download from

    Hi. Here is the Section A of BNFT for April. It's got lots of interesting articles and information for you to enjoy.

    I am about to wear out my spider plants which my dear friend, Jeri, gave me years and years ago. She had brought the parent of the original plant I had from New Jersey when she moved South many, many years ago. I really thought the threat of freezing this year was over.
    NOPE, it's going to freeze here this weekend. I think I have moved my plants in and out half a dozen times so far. I am going to put wheels on the spider plant containers should I have to do it again.

    I am half of the staff of Harry Reginald Elizabeth Cat Freeman, so I might as well add staff of Jeri's spider plants! Mmmm. I am also half staff of Piper, Bagpipes on the Hoof, and various outside kitties...

    Please remember to let me know when your email address changes so you won't lose BNFT. It's important for you to email me about the doings of your clan or Scottish group. There's no charge for anything other than the $5 an issue charge for Scottish Clan Ads - and those are full-page ads. Email: <>

    Tom is 3mm away from being healed of his pressure ulcer. It is taking its time to become well. We are so grateful that he is doing as wonderfully as he is. We fervently wish that he will get completely well SOON.

    I read that a vaccination every year for Covid that will keep us all healthy against Covid and the variants has started its legal way to becoming a reality. That same article said Covid will never go away, but this annual vaccination will allow us to go back very nearly to what we enjoyed as normal two years ago. Everyone, please be safe and be careful.



    The Administration of the East India Company
    A History of Indian Progress by John William Kaye (1853) (pdf)

    A large account c700+ pages which you can read at:

    Clan Munro of Australia
    Got in their April 2022 newsletter which you can read at:

    Soldiers of our Army
    By Ro. H. Armistead

    Interesting wee article from America which you can read at:

    Beth's Video Talks
    March 30th 2022 - Personal journals, old letters, etc.

    You can watch this at:

    The Scot of the Eighteenth Century
    His Religion and his Life By John Watson, D.D. (1907) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    Savage Family
    Added this name to our Scots-Irish section.

    You can read about them at:


    Marguerite Garden
    Honour at last for Scots woman who 'did her bit' to help French fighters flee the Nazi occupation.

    Article by Maureen Cultey in the Daily Mail, Saturday June 7, 2003

    Marguerite, a heroine at the age of 14. TO Marguerite Garden’s neighbours and many friends in the town where she has lived most of her life, she seems a typical grandmother. But the petite, grey-haired lady dressed In a cardigan and slippers has a secret past as a heroine of the French Resistance.

    The Lanark pensioner rarely talks about her remarkable role in the war which she modestly dismisses as no more than ‘doing her bit’. But yesterday on the anniversary of the D-Day landings, fame finally caught up with Marguerite. It was revealed that she is to be decorated with the Legion D’Honneur France’s highest honour, for her exploits during world War II.

    Preparations are being made for her to receive the award at a ceremony in Edinburgh later this year. French-born Marguerite, 77, has lived a daring life that mirrors that of Charlotte Gray, the fictional character brought to life on the screen by actress Cate Blanchett.

    At the age of 14, Marguerite risked her life to work with the French Resistance in her picturesque home village of Plomodiern in Brittany. She and her father, who was also awarded the Legion D’Honneur, arranged escape routes out of France for hundreds of local men, including Marguerite’s brothers, to allow them to continue fighting from England.

    She said: ‘I think my Involvement began when my father took me with him when a lobster boat was going away so I got to know the people who were preparing It. Later on, when my father wasn’t around, they trusted me enough to come to me and ask me to help.’

    At one nerve-racking point, while harbouring airmen waiting to leave France, she helped conceal them upstairs in the family home while a German slept in one of the bedrooms, unaware. ‘What better cover than to have the Wehrmacht In the house,’ said Marguerite.

    It was also at her family home that the head of MI6 — the intelligence-gathering network for which she worked - began making radio transmissions that were picked up at Bletchley Park, the Enigma code-breaking station in England.

    Her work did not stop there. Marguerite carried out many dangerous missions. She scoured the Brittany coastline, searching for mines, to ensure British maps were accurate. She also carried messages and parcels between her network and another in Paris.

    ‘There was no reason to suspect me,’ she said. ‘I was a young girl, travelling to my school. I was never arrested.’

    Eventually, her father’s role in the Resistance was found out and he fled as the Gestapo came knocking. ‘I opened the door to them,’ said Marguerite. ‘They smelled of the Gestapo, of Turkish cigarettes. My father had learned what was happening and didn’t come home, so my mother told them that he had left us and they accepted that. If it hadn’t been for that story, they would have taken us away.

    Marguerite Garden‘ I was aware of risking everything but tried not to think about it. I wasn’t scared even though one of my brothers was shot by the Germans in Paris. She added: ‘We wanted to be of use to Britain. That was our aim, to help win the war. I would do it all again if I had to.’

    After the war she began an architecture course at college in Paris. At the age of 20 she met Scots holidaymaker James Garden and it was love at first sight. Within a year they were married in Kilmun, Argyll. She and her husband, who became a prominent surgeon, had seven children. He died in 1992.

    News of the Legion D’Honneur, which the French foreign minister recommended she receive, brought a surge of emotions for Marguerite. ‘I don’t know why it has taken so long to come,’ she said. ‘But it means so much to me, I cannot say. When I think about it, I just burst into tears.’


    Weekend is almost here and hope it's a good one for you.


  • #2
    Thanks for your observations on religion Alastair. I quite agree that the world is a poorer place because of its decline. I went to a service in the church that my grandfather had attended as a boy in Dunnichen when I visited Scotland in 2011, and was warmly welcomed by the minister and congregation. However, that church has since been sold into private hands, but fortunately the National Trust still maintains the graveyard where our ancestral remains are interred. I started attending a Presbyterian church after I got home and still follow the services by Zoom since I have moved to Saskatchewan. Thanks also for the article on Carrier sociology and mythology by Fr. Morice. He was a powerful and prolific man, and is still talked about the Carrier people in central British Columbia, who I worked for over twenty years.


    • Alastair
      Alastair commented
      Editing a comment
      You got any stories about the Carrier folk and Fr. Morice Rick that you'd care to share with us for the site?

      Any contributions would be welcome.


  • #3
    Al, the Lord's Day observance practices were still being employed in, at least Ontario, into the 1980's, if not even later. Shops and Malls etc. were closed on Sunday. Easter and Christmas also presented restrictions on shopping etc. I remember finding that restaurants and pubs were closed around Easter when we had visitors from the UK and hoped to go out for a meal. Scottish Presbyterianism was alive and well for quite a long time in Ontario.


    • Alastair
      Alastair commented
      Editing a comment
      Didn't know that was also happening in Ontario Sandy... wonder if that also happened in other Provinces? Perhaps someone could let me know and I could add that information to the site.


  • #4
    Hi Alastair, Fr. Morice left behind numerous books in French, Latin and English, and published a little newsletter using Syllabics (symbols for sounds) in the Carrier language. His "History of the Northern Interior of British Columbia" is still the most comprehensive history of what was then called "New Caledonia". I recall two anecdotes that the people told me. One is that he was traveling with a group of Carrier people by dog team and fell asleep after eating a big meal of whitefish. The lake where that happened is still called "Bednesti" which describes the event in the Carrier language. The other story was that he asked so many questions that old people would sometimes make up silly stories just to keep him quiet. I hope those tales didn't find their way into his histories!


    • #5
      Hi Al, was just reading that there are still some 'dry' towns in AB so I imagine that may not be too uncommon. The "Triangle" area of Toronto used to be 'dry', I am not sure if it still is. One other application of this was during elections. I know that at one point in some elections in Toronto, one side of the street could be 'wet' while the other was 'dry' to stop alcohol being a possible influence on the outcome,
      Sandy It used to be that the only place to purchase Beer, in the South of Ontario was the Beer Store. This was not, as supposed by many people, an Gov't organisation. It was the distribution arm of the major breweries. If you wanted Liquor, wine etc you had to go to the LCBO store. When making purchase you had to provide your name and address and sign the document to state that you were of legal drinking age. Taverns were split into "Men" and couples sections - selling no liquor. To get liquor you had to go to an hotel. Legal age was 21.