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Thread: Newsletter 22nd June 2012

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    Newsletter 22nd June 2012


    Electric Scotland News
    Electric Canadian
    The Flag in the Wind
    The Bards of Bon Accord 1375 - 1860
    Northern Notes and Queries
    History of the Parish of Banchory-Devenick
    Scenes and Legends of The North of Scotland
    Songs by John Henderson
    The Life and Work of James Abernethy, C.E., F.R.S.E.
    Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers
    Lowland Tartans
    The Lone Shieling
    Clan Leslie Down Under
    A Plea for a Simpler Life (complete new book)
    The Busy Man's Bible
    Records of the County of Banff 1660 - 1760
    The Right Honourable Caroline Countess of Seafield

    Electric Scotland News

    The Arcade in Electric Scotland's Community

    Well I decided I couldn't wait for Steve to do the update on the games so decided to have a go at doing it myself. So now all the old games have been removed and I have now added lots of new v2.0 games which I hope will solve the high score problem. I'd encourage all of you that play these games to let me know if any are not saving the high score and also if the instructions are not clear so giving you problems in playing them. We do have the ability to improve the instructions for individual games so if you can provide a better description on how to play the game then we'll update it. This is the final issue with our community so am hoping this move to the v2.0 games will resolve the problem.

    I should also add that if there is a particular type of game you'd like to play but isn't available in our Arcade then do let us know and I might be able to find some to add for you.


    Our calendar program is designed to list Scottish events at home and abroad. To ensure things go well we've decided to change the procedure for adding an event. We're now asking you to email me with the details of the event and I'll now add them myself. You can get to our calendar at

    Our To Do list is almost complete

    I am pleased to say we're now down to just 2 items on our To Do list. The first is to try to resolve the final email issues with our comment system and as soon as that is done we'll be able to add it to our main Electric Scotland site. This will allow you to add a comment to any page of the site much like the leading newspaper sites allow you to add a comment to any news story.

    The final step is to build a mirror server which will then be hosted by Simon Fraser University. This means that if ever we are hit with a power outage that you will be automatically redirected to the mirror server and so no matter what happens you'll still be able to access the site.

    Once these two things are complete we'll be looking at adding some new functionality to both our community and web sites.

    Some pdf books
    Found a few books in pdf format that I found interesting and you'll find more about them below.

    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 in our site menu and at: and also
    We try not to point to a pdf file and instead send you to page where the pdf can be downloaded.

    Electric Canadian
    Forrest Life in Acadia
    Sketches of Sport and Natural History in the lower Provinces of the Canadian Dominion by Captain Campbell Hardy (1869)

    We've now added the final chapters to this book which you can read at

    I found this book by the inventor of the game who was born in Canada but is also of Scots descent. There are a few missing pages in the book but don't think it does much harm to what is a very interesting account. We're adding a chapter a day until complete and you can read this book at

    The Lake of the Woods
    By George Bryce LL.D.

    Came across this article about The Lake of the Woods in Manitoba and thought I'd add it to the site. You can read this at

    Old Canadian Magazines
    This is where we'll post some old Canadian Magazines as we find them. This is yet another case of me stumbling upon some good information whilst looking for something else. You can read the ones I found at

    The Foreigner: A Tale of Saskatchewan
    By Ralph Connor

    Ralph Connor is a famous Canadian author and I thought it would be interesting to add this book to the site as it gives a flavour of the early days in Canada. The book is complete and can be read at

    The Flag in the Wind

    This issue was Compiled by Jim Lynch with his usual good range of articles.

    You can read this issue at

    The Bards of Bon Accord 1375 - 1860
    By William Walker

    Added the chapter on "William Cameron".

    You can read this at

    Northern Notes and Queries
    We've managed to find other issues of this publication and so now continue the series by adding the June 1891 edition. Note: In the pdf version of the newsletter I am placing a graphic of the Contents page so you can see what is included in each issue.

    This issue can be viewed at

    History of the Parish of Banchory-Devenick
    By John A. Henderson (1890).

    We have now completed this book which ends in a large appendix with many interesting articles. The chapter on Antiquities is also interesting and starts...

    The most remarkable piece of antiquity in the parish besides the old Bridge of Dee is a “Druidical Temple,” situated on an eminence about a mile and a half from the coast, which was still within these few years remarkably perfect. It consisted of three circles of stone within each other. The outer circle, which was about forty-five feet in diameter, consisted of twelve large stones placed on end. The inner circles were composed of smaller ones placed in the same manner, and between the two outermost, upon the east side, there was a stone chest, sunk in the earth, about three feet long and one-and-a-half wide, which having been accidentally uncovered by a countryman, disclosed an urn in which nothing but a little dust or ashes was found. A little farther down the hill towards the south-east there is another erection of the same kind. It consists of one circle of pretty large stones.

    An exploring party consisting of Mr. Dyce Nicol of Ballogie, Mr. C. S. Dalrymple of Westhall, Mr. Nicolson of Glenbervie, Captain Burnett, yr. of Monboddo, the Rev. Mr. Stewart of Oathlaw, and Mr. Thomson of Banchory, carefully inspected these circles, and the latter specially reported on them to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. The conclusion arrived at was, that one use of them was as a place of burial, but whether the persons buried had been sacrificed on the spot as victims of a cruel superstition, or were heroes in whose honour the stones had been set up, they could not determine. They found no trace of sculpture, or inscriptions, nor of flint knives or weapons..A gentleman writing in beginning of the present century, observes that a workman having cut one of these druidical stones, which had fallen from its upright situation, produced out of it a millstone and forty feet of pavement. Close to the principal circle there are two fields of extraordinary fertility, although much encumbered with large quantities of stone interspersed through them.

    The soil of these fields has been long remarked for its productiveness; and the tradition of the country is, that in the time of the Picts, soil had been brought to these fields, all the way from Findon, a distance of two miles, and that this was done by ranging a line of men along the whole distance, who handed the earth from the one to the other,

    You can read the rest of this chapter at

    You can read the other chapters at

    Scenes and Legends of The North of Scotland
    or the Traditional History of Cromarty by Hugh Miller (1869)

    We're now up to Chapter XV. Chapter XIII starts...

    In the woods to the east of Cromarty, occupying the summit of a green insulated eminence, is the ancient burying-ground and chapel of St. Regulus. Bounding the south there is a deep narrow ravine, through which there runs a small tinkling streamlet, whose voice, scarcely heard during the droughts of summer, becomes hoarser and louder towards the close of autumn. The sides of the eminence are covered with wood, which, overtopping the summit, forms a wall of foliage that encloses the burying-ground except on the east, where a little opening affords a view of the northern Sutor over the tops of trees which have not climbed high enough to complete the fence. In this burying-ground the dead of a few of the more ancient families of the town and parish are still interred; but by far the greater part of it is occupied by nameless tenants, whose descendants are unknown, and whose bones have mouldered undisturbed for centuries. The surface is covered by a short yellow moss, which is gradually encroaching on the low flat stones of the dead, blotting out the unheeded memorials which tell us that the inhabitants of this solitary spot were once men, and that they are now dust—that they lived, and that they died, and that they shall live again.

    Nearly about the middle of the burying-ground there is a low flat stone, over which time is silently drawing the green veil of oblivion. It bears date 1690, and testifies, in a rude inscription, that it covers the remains of Paul Feddes and his son John, with those of their respective wives. Concerning Paul, tradition is silent; of John Feddes, his son, an interesting anecdote is still preserved. Some time early in the eighteenth century, or rather perhaps about the close of the seventeenth, he became enamoured of Jean Gallie, one of the wealthiest and most beautiful young women of her day in this part of the country. The attachment was not mutual; for Jean’s affections were already fixed on a young man, who, both in fortune and elegance of manners, was superior, beyond comparison, to the tall red-haired boatman, whose chief merit lay in a kind brave heart, a clear head, and a strong arm. John, though by no means a dissipated man, had been accustomed to regard money as merely the price of independence, and he had sacrificed but little to the graces. His love-suit succeeded as might have been expected; the advances he made were treated with contempt; and the day was fixed on which his mistress was to be married to his rival. He became profoundly melancholy; and late on the evening which preceded the marriage-day, he was seen traversing the woods which surrounded the old castle; frequently stopping as he went, and, by wild and singular gestures, giving evidence of an unsettled mind. In the morning after he was nowhere to be found. His disappearance, with the frightful conjectures to which it gave rise, threw a gloom over the spirits of the town’s-folk, and affected the gaiety of the marriage party; it was remembered, even amid the festivities of the bridal, that John Feddes had had a kind warm heart; and it was in no enviable frame that the bride, as her maidens conducted her to her chamber, caught a glimpse of several twinkling lights that were moving beneath the brow of the distant Sutor. She could not ask the cause of an appearance so unusual; her fears too surely suggested that her unfortunate lover had destroyed himself, and that his friends and kinsfolk kept that night a painful vigil in searching after the body. But the search was in vain, though every copse and cavern, and the base of every precipice within several miles of the town, were visited; and though, during the succeeding winter, every wreath of sea-weed which the night-storms had rolled upon the beach, was approached with a fearful yet solicitous feeling scarcely ever associated with bunches of sea-weed before. Years passed away, and, except by a few friends, the kind enterprising boatman was forgotten.

    You can read the rest of this chapter at

    The other chapters can be read at

    Songs by John Henderson
    Got in another three song from John, which can be read at the foot of the page at

    The Life and Work of James Abernethy, C.E., F.R.S.E.
    Past President of the Institution of Civil Engineers by his son John S. Abernethy (1867).

    Now got up...

    Early Days
    School Days
    - Cotherstone, Haddington
    Early Experience as an Engineer
    - London Docks, Herne Bay, Sweden, Start Point, Goole
    Birkenhead, 1851-5
    Blyth, 1855-61
    Silloth, 1856-9
    Portpatrick, 1858-64

    The chapter on Portpatrick is short...

    DURING the same period—1855-61—he was also engaged in improving the harbours of Watchett in Somersetshire, Lossiemouth in Elgin, and Stranraer and Portpatrick in the Rhirns of Galloway on the south west corner of Scotland. At Stranraer he made the acquaintance of Sir John Ross, the celebrated Arctic navigator, and used to visit him at his house called “North-West Castle,” where he had a dining room fitted to represent the interior of a ship’s cabin. His friendship with Sir James and his brother Alexander Caird also began while these last-named works were in progress.

    The improvements at Portpatrick were undertaken in the month of July, 1858, on appointment by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, with the view of establishing a short sea passage between Scotland and Ireland, in connection with the railways at that time in course of construction towards that port. The works proposed, which were sufficient to meet the requirements of the contemplated service to Donaghadec in Ireland, comprised the formation of a channel 120 feet in width, with a depth of 10 feet at low water, spring tides, requiring 9,789 cubic yards of excavation, and a tidal basin of one and one eighth of an acre, including the excavation of 65,000 cubic yards, with an entrance 75 feet in width, and of a corresponding depth to the entrance channel, at a cost of £19,490, and a pier extension formed of large blocks of masonry at a further sum of £16,943. The undertaking was successfully completed at the end of 1864, and although, as will be gathered from the dimensions given, it was comparatively small: it was, nevertheless, one of considerable difficulty in execution in consequence of the very exposed situation of the port, and the heavy seas to which the works were constantly subjected while in course of progression, while much of the deepening had to be effected through hard rock.

    You can read this book as we get it up at

    Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers
    By Alan O Anderson

    However we may regard the fact, it is not to be forgotten that our national history till the close of the thirteenth century would be all but a blank page but for the existence of extraneous sources. It is to Tacitus and other Roman writers that we owe such information as we possess regarding the beginnings of Scotland as a separate territory on the world’s map. It is from Adamnan and the Irish annalists that we know of the process by which the different peoples in North Britain became united under a single ruler. To these foreign sources must be added another, without which the history of Scotland from the reign of Malcolm Cranmore till the death of Alexander III. in 1286 could hardly be written. It is in the incidental references of English chroniclers to the northern kingdom that we have the fullest account of the most important Scottish events of that period; and it is only with the 'general aid of these chroniclers that a continuous narrative is possible. We have but to glance at the authorises for the period quoted by such writers as E. W. Robertson, Skene, and Lord Hailes in his Annals of Scotland to realise the extent of their debt to these English sources.

    In view of these facts Mr. Anderson’s book can hardly fail to be received as one of the most important contributions that have been made to Scottish history during recent years. For the first time he has brought together, in the compass of one volume, all or nearly all the materials supplied by English chroniclers for the history of Scotland from 500 a.d. till 1286. The task was not a light one. Mr. Anderson has made translations from more than forty writers, whose medieval Latin is frequently as difficult to understand as it is difficult to render in equivalent and intelligible English. Moreover, the relevant passages had to be selected, texts collated, and contradictory statements illustrated from tne different chroniclers who have recorded the same events. Of the thoroughness with which Mr. Anderson has done his work every page of his book bears evidence. The introductory Table of Reference is German in its Grundlichktit, and the same may be said of the appended notes, which are more voluminous than the text.

    From the nature of Mr. Anderson’s work it can hardly as a whole appeal to the general reader, but for the serious student of Scottish history its interest and instructiveness are apparent. He has here the chief materials out of which the history of the period has to be constructed, and from which he can receive his own direct impression of the events that are recorded. Many of the excerpts merely state briefly that an event occurred, but others record at considerable length all the circumstances that occasioned it. Such, for example, are certain passages from Bede, Alfred of Rievaulx, and Matthew Paris, where incidents and characters are presented with a vividness which the modem historian cannot reproduce. In view of the increasing interest in our national history, indeed, selection of such passages might form a school text-book which would possess an educational value that would go far to stimulate an interest in historical studies in Scotland. Except for a few later periods we have no such books, composed from contemporary records, as are available in other countries. If Mr. Anderson’s book could be utilised for this purpose, his countrymen would owe him an added debt. And there is another work which, as we gather from his book, he has the necessary equipment to undertake. He is a Celtic scholar and a practised transcriber of Celtic MSS.; could he not do for Celtic records what he has done so admirably for the English chroniclers?

    P. Hume Brown.

    We have provided a copy of this book in pdf format which you can download at the foot of the page at:

    Lowland Tartans
    An article from the Scottish Historical Review

    This was an interesting wee article I found in this magazine which you can read at:

    The Lone Shieling
    By G. M. Fraser

    The Lone Shieling, or The Authorship of the Canadian Boat Song, with other Literary and Historical Sketches, by G. M. Fraser (8vo, pp. xii, 242. Aberdeen : Wm. Smith & Sons. 1908. 45. nett), makes a pleasant handful of reprinted essays, chiefly on Aberdeen subjects, such as the Town Council's connection with literature, Sir Walter Scott's attitude a little aloof towards the city, the Fintray Chapbooks, the place-name 'Aberdeen,' the market cross, and celebrities like Gordon of Rothiemay, Peter Buchanan, James Beattie, and John Longmuir. The title-giving paper presents insinuating persuasions for Mr. Fraser's conclusion that Professor John Wilson wrote the boat song, with its haunting melancholy of reminiscence, when * Mountains divide us and a waste of seas.'

    Parallels from Wilson's other poems are adduced, which are not without distinct force as evidence, in spite of the fact that this noble piece originally appeared in a Blackwood article which Wilson did not write. It is always hard to establish authorship on internal evidence. Mr. Fraser wins hearty sympathy at least for his zealous advocacy of a claim for Wilson which Wilson himself never made. Easy in style, and with a local patriotism well ballasted with literary and historical lore, Mr. Fraser's volume is a north country collection worth making and worth having.

    Again this is a pdf book which you can download at

    Clan Leslie Down Under
    Got in a copy of their July, August, September 2012 newsletter which you can read at:

    A Plea for a Simpler Life
    By George S. Keith, M.D., LL.D, F.R.C.P.. (1897)

    This really is a most interesting book in three chapters.... here is the Preface...

    In the following pages I have made statements reflecting on the teaching and practice of medicine at the present day, and to these I must adhere. I do not, however, call in question the good faith either of the teachers or of the practitioners. The former teach what they have been taught and believe to be true; the latter naturally follow their teachers. Nor do I call in question the value of much that is taught, and of much that is done by the bedside, and in the laboratory, or by those who ransack all nature’s products in air, land, and water to discover means by which human suffering may be alleviated. The value of even a discovered truth may lie for a long time unknown, till some farther discovery brings it into notice and use. True seekers after truth always have their reward, though it may be delayed ; but somehow in this world things get occasionally into a rut from which extracation is difficult. There is an inertia in the mind as well as in physics, and it may require a strong force to overcome it.

    What I have proposed to myself in the following pages is to point out some of the evils that have arisen from opposite lines of thought which have much affected the practice of medicine during this century.

    The change from a severe system of treating disease by depletion in all its modes came in with a great social change, especially as regards the upbringing of the young. In my young days this was rather trying. Home discipline, as well as that in the schools, was harsh, even with the upper classes. The boy must do as he was bid without delay and without protest, or it was the worse for him. What are now necessaries were then luxuries. Pleasure for its own sake was at a discount. In Scotland, at least, the extreme doctrines of Calvin held sway, and a severe sway it was. Reaction came at last, and along with other changes came that of the treatment of disease, first by modifying the old methods, and very soon by adopting others at the opposite pole. The change fell in with the spirit of the times, and, I fear, goes with it still. The difficulty of modifying it may therefore be great; and my efforts in that direction may avail little. But I have said what I have long wished to say. If any good follows I shall be rewarded; and if not, I shall at least enjoy an easier mind.

    I have been subjected to so much opposition in my daily life and work that more public criticism can touch me but little. My feeling on this is pretty well expressed in a somewhat defiant family motto which may be seen on the entrance hall of Marischal College, Aberdeen: ‘Thay haif said: Quhat say thay: Lat thame say.’

    G. S. K.

    Currie, Midlothian,
    July 1895.

    You can read this book at

    The Busy Man's Bible
    And How to Study and Teach it by George W Cable

    This is a pdf book and I decided to add it to the site as it is quite unlike any other religious book I've come across so I added it to our Scottish Religion page. You can download the pdf file here at:

    Records of the County of Banff 1660 - 1760
    Compiled by James Grant and published by the New Spalding Club (pdf). This book is available at the foot of this page at:

    The Right Honourable Caroline Countess of Seafield
    It's not often you come across an account of a noble woman in Scotland so this makes a very interesting account. The book is in pdf format and can be downloaded at

    And finally...

    Origin of the naming of the city of Aberdeen, Washington State, USA

    Jean Brodie Stewart (Dec. 22, 1847- Feb. 6, 1934) was born in Aberdeen, Scotland. After marrying James B. Stewart (1840-1906), the two immigrated to America, arriving in the Grays Harbor area in September, 1875. There, James founded the James Stewart Logging Co., and the couple immediately associated themselves with the local notable class led by Aberdeen founder Samuel Benn. One of the prominent explanations of the naming of the city derives from Mrs. Stewart, who stated that she suggested the name of her birth city in a letter to a local paper, since the new city's placement at the mouths of the Chehalis and Wishkah mirrored Aberdeen's location at the Dee and the Don in Aberdeen, Scotland. In her later years, Mrs. Stewart remained active in Aberdeen civic life, serving as the Vice-President of the Pioneer Association of Grays Harbor County. She is also the author of A Little Book of Verse (1930).

    See also...

    And that's all for now and hope you all have a great weekend.

    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. Thanks Rick, miolchu, mhoira, FriedaKateM thanked for this post.

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