Electric Scotland News
Electric Canadian
The United Empire Loyalist Settlement at Long Point, Lake Erie
Making Good in Canada
Canadian Monthly Magazine
The Flag in the Wind
Electric Scotland
The Bards of Bon Accord 1375 - 1860
Northern Notes and Queries
Kirkintilloch Town and Parish
Shetland: Descriptive and Historical
Robert Burns Lives!
Waddell’s Life And Works Of Robert Burns
St James Priory of the Knights Templar of Toronto

Electric Scotland News
I mentioned in my last news letter about adding InfoLinks advertising. Well I've now reversed my decision and taken it of. I confess I didn't like all these wee double green underlines on the site no matter that they made us some useful money. I'd rather be poor but happy!


I've made some progress on developing a news feed in that I've been directed to some information resources which I can use. Lots of talking going on but still a way to go.


Got this in and if you haven't done your DNA then this is a great opportunity. I've done mine with them and they are the preferred DNA company of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs.

Dear Family Tree DNA Customer,
It seems that every time we run a super sale a few people email us days later that they were traveling, sick or just hadn't looked at their emails in time, so for all of you who have wanted to entice a friend, neighbor or reluctant relative to get involved in Genetic Genealogy here's one more opportunity, but it will last for only 72 hours.

At this time these are the only two options, and they are geared specifically for newcomers. This sale will end on Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 11:59PM.

New Customers Only Current Price SALE PRICE
Family Finder + Y-DNA 12 $339 $249
Family Finder + mtDNA $339 $249
As with all promotions, orders need to be placed by the end of the sale and payment must be made by end of this sale
Learn more and purchase at

Also I did a special article about them a wee while ago where I asked questions and subsequently show the testing pack you receive and some of the results I got back. You can read this at


And as it was a very pleasant day here in Ontario I decided to take a wee drive to the lake shore and so picked up from the local farmers market some melons, strawberries, blackberries, onions, apples, potato bread, sweet corn, a wee peach pie and a couple of jars of vegetable pickle which they make locally. There was a lovely smell in the car on the way home!

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
The United Empire Loyalist Settlement at Long Point, Lake Erie
We continue to add more chapters from this book and in the past week we've added...

Chapter XXIX. Teeple.
Chapter XXX. Smith.
Chapter XXXI. McMichael.
Chapter XXXII. Austin.
Chapter XXXIII. Welch.
Chapter XXXIV. Culver.
Chapter XXXV. Ryerse (Captain Samuel)

I'm going to give you the chapter on Austin and from it you can only imagine how many descendants there must be in the world....

Solomon Austin was originally from North Carolina. He was a private in the Queen’s Rangers, and served all through the Revolutionary war. On one occasion, at least, he exhibited conspicuous bravery. This was at the battle of the Horseshoe. The standard-bearer was killed and the flag fell to the ground and was in danger of being lost. Solomon Austin leaped forward, and grasping the standard bore it bravely till the close of the action. After the battle Major-General Simcoe inquired his name, praised him in public before the marshalled company, and gave him to understand that if he could ever be of service to him afterwards his bravery would not be forgotten.

After the war North Carolina passed a Confiscation Act, which embraced sixty-five specified individuals, the terms applied not only to the lands of these persons, but their negroes and other personal property as well. Some of these continued to live in their native state, although the majority immediately proceeded to Canada. Solomon Austin, however, remained in Carolina till 1794, but in that year determined to remove his family to Upper Canada, where General Simcoe, his old friend, was Governor. In June, 1794, he appeared at Newark with his wife and family of nine children (four sons and five daughters). He met with a very flattering reception, the Governor offering him a home in his own house until he should make a selection of land. He was also offered six hundred acres in any unselected part of the province. The Governor directed him to inspect the country and choose for himself. Accordingly he made a trip through the western district on foot with his eldest son, going as far as Detroit. Finally he chose a home on Patterson’s Creek, now called the River Lynn, about three miles south-east of Simcoe, in the County of Norfolk. This proved to be a very pleasant and fertile district. It is now known as Lynn Valley.

To this spot he removed with his family in the early spring of 1795, and by the end of the summer had a log-cabin erected and almost an acre of land cleared and fall wheat planted.

In the war of 1812, true to their principles of loyalty, the father and four sons shouldered their muskets and marched under Brock to fight the hated “Yankees” once more. They fought at Malcolm’s Mills (Oakland), Malden, and Lundy’s Lane. In the Norfolk militia two of the sons soon obtained the rank of captain. The descendants of this family are the most numerous of any of the families of the settlement.

Solomon, the eldest son, married Miss Sarah Slaght, and became the father of ten children. Two of their sons were the proprietors of the largest carriage works in the county, and continued their business for over twenty-five years. Another son is a Baptist minister.

Jonathan, the second son, married Miss Hannah Potts, and had seven children. He and his son John built Austin’s mills in the Lynn Valley.

Philip, the third son, married Mary Slaght, a sister of his eldest brother’s wife, and had a family of sixteen children.

Moses, the youngest son, married Mary Wisner, of Townsend, and had seven children.

Of the daughters, Mary, the eldest, married Henry Walker, who is said to have been the second white child born in Norfolk County.

Amy married a man named Styles, and had fifteen children.

Esther married Raymond Potts, a U. E. Loyalist.

Elizabeth married John Pegg, who had accompanied the party from Carolina.

Anna married David Marr, and had nine children.

The last one of the original family to die was Philip (October 17th, 1876), in his 87th year, having lived to a greater age than any of his brothers or sisters.

For many years previous to Philip’s death an annual gathering of children and connections was held at the old homestead on the anniversary of his birthday. On the last gathering his direct descendants numbered 137, while the direct descendants of the original founder, Solomon, numbered 734.

And so that's 734 back then so you have to wonder how many there are today!!!

The other chapters can be read at

Making Good in Canada
By Frederick A. Talbot (1912)

A new book we're starting...


“Say, stranger, been up north?”

“Aye. You going up there?“

"Yep. Must do something.”

“Well, you’ve got on the wrong road. There’s nothing doing.”

‘'Ain’t thar? Well, thar darn soon will be when I strike the place.”

This conversation took place between a raw-boned, attenuated Eastern Canadian and myself while killing time on the platform of Englehart Station, way up in Northern Ontario, where trains are few and far between, and where the sights of the neighbourhood may be absorbed in five minutes.

My interrogator carried his sole few belongings in a small grip, and he had a roll of dollar bills tucked in his belt. I had returned from the Porcupine Gold Country, which just then was looming large in the eyes of the fortune-hunters. From the Britisher’s point of view the prospect for human activity was about as inviting as it is in a casual ward.

My pessimism amused the stranger. He had roughed it hard down among the cities, and had failed to. And the hole in which his efforts would fit, so had made a big move in another direction. He had not spent money on railway fares for nothing. However dismal the outlook might be, he was ready to turn his hand to anything, and grimly determined to get a fresh boost in life's race somehow. It would not be his fault if things did not shape themselves according to his perspective.

This is the true spirit in which the new arrival must view and attack things Canadian. No calling is too humble; no occupation should be despised. Before the topmost rung of the ladder is gained there must be a spirited contest round the lower rounds, and a stiff fight in order to secure a firm foothold.

I have been asked repeatedly what to do and how to set about things in Britain across the Atlantic. “What’s the life like?” “Do I stand a chance?” and so on. I have set out a few of the varied openings for industry in the country, and have endeavoured to extend some idea of the difficulties to be overcome, and the prizes to be won, in the eternal struggle for existence and success. I have endeavoured to give both sides of the question impartially, and the Tenderfoot must judge for himself whether his spirits, physique, and ability fit him to woo Fortune in some form or other in the Dominion.

I have roughed it a bit myself, and am able to give the results of my own experience, with that of companions. Canada is by no means carpeted with gold. The treasure lies beneath the surface, and demands a certain exertion for its recovery, as in every other country, the extent of which varies according to the calling and to the character of the seeker.

September, 1912.

I really enjoyed reading this book as when you read about the pioneers it usually covers clearing land to build a farm but here the author goes through many occupations that were needed in Canada. It was a wee bit of an eye opener for me so I hope you'll enjoy this book and we now have a number of chapters up...

Chapter 1 - The Packer
Chapter II - Packers Freight - The Master Packer - Some Famous Pack Trains
Chapter III - Freighters and Freighting
Chapter IV - Cutting Trails and Building Roads through the Bush
Chapter V - Trapping
Chapter VI - Cord Wood Cutting

You can read this book at

Canadian Monthly Magazine
Published by the Vanderhoof-Gunn Publishing Company

These are old magazines and I have to say I thought they were of great interest but the pdf files of them are in pretty poor shape and very hard to read as they are so faint. I decided to work on them and intend to do a volume each week until complete. What I am doing is selecting some stories from them and then converting them to image files. I am then running them through my image program to make them more readable and then re-compiling them back into a pdf document. You can actually download these from the Internet Archive if you want to read the whole issue.

I've started with Volume 11 from 1911 and the stories include...

Farmers of the sea
The Red Patrol (a story about the North West Mounted Police)
Sealing and Sandy McLean
When Annie McDougall was Young (a story of Pioneer days)
Where the Otter hides

This can be found at

The Flag in the Wind

This issue was Compiled by Clare Adamson. In this issue she has a most interesting account which finishes with...

In holding what is considered this highly successful Edinburgh International Culture Summit during the Year of Creative Scotland, and in partnership with the 2012 Edinburgh International Festival, the Scottish Government has enhanced Scotland’s reputation as a vibrant centre for international cultural exchange and strengthened its place as a creative, dynamic nation engaged in the global cultural debate. In the words of Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop “Scotland is a creative nation, rich in heritage and contributing to the World.”

Well worth a read... and there are also some excellent articles in the Synopsis.

You can read this issue at

Electric Scotland

The Bards of Bon Accord 1375 - 1860
By William Walker

Added William Thom, Peter Still and George Murray (James Bolivar Manson)

It's been a while since I illustrated the type of reading you can get from there Bards so here is part of the account of George Murray...


We have seen how, when Peter Still, early in 1839, first entertained the idea of putting his poetical wares into book form, one of his most enthusiastic advisers to print was a man of kindred tastes to himself, George Murray, then schoolmaster at Downiehill. Peter, though just recovering from a spell of ill-health, set out for the dominie’s with a bundle of manuscript poems for his perusal and judgment, and he records in a letter to a friend how proud he returned home with Murray’s favourable opinion of his poems and intended scheme—yea, he had actually got 13 sheets of goodly foolscap writing paper from his adviser for a copy of “The Rocky Hill”—a stroke of business which came as a god-send to Peter in those days! George Murray was the son of a small crofter at Kinnoir, Huntly, and was born in 1819. Early imbued with a love of literature, and animated with a spirit of indomitable industry, he wrought hard for many years preparing himself for the University, with an eye to the ministry as a probable profession. While passing through Marischal College classes, he was a very frequent contributor of poetical pieces to the columns of the Aberdeen Herald. When he had finished in a measure his college career, he became schoolmaster at InverkeithfrJgj, and, in 1845, collected the best of his poems into a neat little volume, dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. Duff of Haddo, and entitled “ Islaford and other Poems, a Book for Winter Evenings and Summer Moods, by George Murray. London: Smith, Elder, & Co.; Aberdeen: G. & R. King, 1845 ”. The volume met with a good reception from the public press, with the exception of the Aberdeen Banner, where, in company with Anderson (“Copperie”), J Dougal, Still, and Denham, he was very severely and unjustly dealt with. “I am glad”, says Still, in one of his letters anent this onslaught, “that another of the ‘small poets’ has had spirit to retaliate on the small critic. I presume it is Murray of Inverkeithing, and certainly it will puzzle the Banner to prove any of his poems irreligious. Murray is studying for the Church at Marischal College, and perhaps the small critic may meet his ‘marrow’, should they come to a height on the subject”.

Whether Murray completed the necessary studies for the Church or not we cannot say^at all events he certainly gave up the idea of following out the clerical profession, and betook himself to teaching. After leaving Inverkeithi^ ,we loose sight of him for a good many years, he having taken, it is said, to private teaching, now here, now there, in various parts ol Scotland. When he again turns up about 1855, as teacher of a large school at Bannockburn, he had dropped the name George Murray, and was known as James Bolivar Manson. While there he began his connection with the newspaper press, and in a few years made literary work, or more properly journalism, his entire avocation. He edited the Stirling Observer for some time, left it for a similar post on the Newcastle Daily Express, and in the beginning of 1862 accepted an engagement on the editorial staff of the Edinburgh Daily Revieiw. Here the great resources which his extensive reading—for he was alike at home in either classical or vernacular literature—and his intimate knowledge of past and present political affairs, conjoined to a readiness of pen rarely equalled, soon brought him prominently into notice, and it was not long ere he became principal leader-writer for the paper. He had a rich vein of humour, and was not unfrequently a contributor to the pages of Punch. His death was very sudden and unexpected—for he had just seated himself in his own house at Keir Street to write a leader welcoming John Bright to Edinburgh, and had actually a few lines penned, when his wife entered to find him, not asleep, as she at first thought, but dead. Thus died in harness, in his 49th year, on the 2nd November, 1868, one of the foremost journalists of his day—one .who, besides achieving a considerable reputation as a public man, was esteemed in private life for the ease and geniality of his nature, and for his readiness to sympathise with the success or happiness of others.

He was a writer of verses all his days, but the work by virtue of which he demands a place among our local bards is the one noted above—to which we now turn our attention.

“Islaford”, which gives title to this volume, is a tale originally written for his pupils. It is not much of a story so far as incident or character painting go to make a story, but it contains many remarkable lines, and original if not poetic thoughts.

The characters are John Rose, a parish minister, whose bugbear is Roman Catholicism. The Catholic Emancipation Bill appears to him nothing less than ruin to the kirk and country, and when it passes his mind gives way, and he becomes a harmless lunatic. He is nursed by his loving daughter Ada, who, mistaking the effect for the cause, blames and hates all Catholics as the authors of her father’s calamity. We are introduced to them during a summer walk, when Ada at least has her eyes open to all nature’s beauties, and

Wondered what the inner heaven would be
When even the outer shone so gloriously.

A stranger joins in their walk, and when his eyes meet Ada’s her heart is gone, though she knows it not.

It is in the eyes
That the soul trims her wings before she flies;
’Tis there that grief sits darkest when we grieve,
And reason lingers when about to leave.
Ada’s cousin, Ellen Hay, comes on a visit.

Her character is neatly hit off in a single line :—

Ada Rose, a heaven on earth was she!
And Ellen Hay, an earth in heaven would be.

She informs Ada that Islaford, a neighbouring estate, has changed its lord, and that a maid might profit by the change. She fails, however, to catch the laird, and drops out of the story. Allan Rae, the new laird in question, and, of course, the stranger of the walk, calls on the Roses:—

Allan and Ada met—and thought they loved ;
Parted, and—knew it.

That this visit was not the last may be easily imagined; “a sunny life they led by wood and stream”; both were enthusiastic lovers of nature:—

They loved all trees—the slight-clad lady birch,
The light pagoda-structure of the larch;
The oak patrician; and the minister
Of household duties, the plebeian fir;

The spruce, whose boughs
(though tipped with golden growths,
Spring’s finger ends) look grave as those whose troths
Were plighted underneath them yesterday;

Ash, elm, and all—all lonely shades loved they.
They loved all rural flowers; and Allan knew
Their family secrets! harebells meek and blue,
The mountain-maiden eyes; the violet ever true;

The briar rose that just begins to pout its pretty lip, and from its bud looks out;

The yellow primroses, cosily pressed,
Like unfledged birdlings in a grassy nest;
Furze, broom, and heath, a trio which if new
Would be adored; the cheerful daisy too,

That gathered its crimson tips together
When rain descends, and blusheth for the weather.
One day Ada discovers on her lover’s breast a golden cross!
To her horror she learns that Allan wears
The creed which gave her sire so many cares
That their amount was madness.

Allan is dismissed, and wanders about distraught—Ada much in the same condition. One day unseen he overhears her at prayer, and finds, to his joy, that she can pray even for him:—

Yet, Heavenly Father, erring though they be,
They look through clouds, but, oh! they look for Thee.

They come together again, and keeping his creed from her father’s knowledge, obtained his consent to their marriage, and agreed to remain in the minister’s house.

And so you can read more of this and the other chapters at

Northern Notes and Queries
Note: In the pdf version of this newsletter I am placing a graphic of the Contents page so you can see what is included in each issue. Note that from the 1894 edition we are using a new source to bring you other issues of this quarterly magazine. Each issue continues to bring information on different families such that this current issue includes information on Campbell of Ardchattan, Denham of Westshields, William Hamilton of Bangour, the Blaw or Blow family, etc.

1894 525 to 547

This issue can be viewed at

Kirkintilloch Town and Parish
By Thomas Watson (1894)

This week we've added...

Glasgow Convalescent Home, Lenzie
Barony Parochial Asylum, Woodilee, Lenzie
Auchenvole Castle
The Martyrs’ Stone
Broomhill Home for Incurables
Kirkintilloch Town
The Earl of Wigton against the Town of Kirkintilloch

Here is the chapter on Auchenvole Castle...

Although of modern construction, is built on the site of a veritable old castle, which had a draw-bridge and moat, filled from the river Kelvin. Mr. James Duncan, of Twechar, has, in his boyhood, crossed the draw-bridge. A small part of the old castle is retained in the present building, which stands on an outburst of trap or whin rock, although surrounded by swampy lands on all sides.

Owing to the lamentable illness of the proprietor, Mr. Burt Wright, we have been unable to get any information of its history. It was long in the possession of the Starks of Auchenvole, under the superiority of the Flemings of Cumbernauld; and latterly came into the possession of the Wallaces, the last of the name being well known in Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch. At his death Mr. Burt Wright inherited the estate. The old castle of Auchenvole was said to be haunted by a ghost, but since it was reconstructed the rumour has died, and possibly the ghost also.

The other chapters can be read at

Shetland: Descriptive and Historical
By Robert Cowie (1874)

We are now continuing with Part II of this publication which goes into detail on the various parts of Shetland and this week included 3 chapters on Lerwick.

The first chapter on Lerwick starts with the harbour...

PASSING the Knab we describe a slight circuit, and find ourselves in the Sound of Bressay, or in more modern language, harbour of Lerwick. This spacious and commodious harbour, one of the finest in the kingdom, is nearly three miles long, and from a mile to a mile and a half in breadth. Sheltered on the one side by the mainland, and on the other by Bressay, it is completely landlocked. It has thus two entries, a south and a north, the former being the larger and safer. A small holm and some shallows, situated north from the town of Lerwick, divide it into two unequal portions, the southern again being of greatest practical utility. At almost any spot good anchorage is to be obtained. Many a goodly ship, and many a noble fleet, have its placid waters borne, from the days of the piratical Norseman, down to our own times when the stately ironclad, “La Reine Blanche,” took shelter, while the fair lilies of France were being trodden in the dust by the black eagle of Prussia. It was in this Bredeyiar Sound, as the Norwegians termed it, that the numerous fleet under Haco, King of Norway, lay for several days, when that monarch was on his fatal expedition against Scotland. In 1653 it harboured an English fleet of ninety-four ships under Admirals Deans and Monk, and two years afterwards another fleet of ninety-two sail, commanded by the Earl of Sandwick. The immense Batavian fleets, of many hundred vessels, that have often graced its waters, will be referred to hereafter.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

Robert Burns Lives!
Edited by Frank Shaw

My Friend Robert Burns by Ian MacMillan.

Over the years, Ian MacMillan has been a regular contributor to Robert Burns Lives! His first visit with us was in March 2006, when he presented Chapter 22, “22 Days - A Highland Immortal Memory”. He then followed shortly after with Chapter 25 (January 2007) entitled “Robert Burns Diamond Stylus”. Ian took a while off but returned with Chapter 122, “Pretty Nancy” in June of 2011. Today his gift to us is Chapter 149, “My Friend Robert Burns”. Few contributors to these pages have given more of their time and efforts on behalf of Robert Burns than Ian, and it is those like him who make our website unique. Friends like Ian have shared their works on Burns time and time again, and either next week or the one following, we will be posting Chapter 150! I’m grateful to each, particularly Ian MacMillan, for standing with us since beginning this quest to honor our Bard. I look forward to the continued expansion of Robert Burns Lives! in the years to come by providing more thoughtful and provocative articles for our readers.

He has been described to me by someone who should know as “one of the good guys”. I love Ian’s frank way of speaking, without being overly blunt, as evidenced by this statement regarding his article below: “I have deliberately used ‘Rabbie’ in my article as my own favourite fond name for our Bard. Purists may disagree – you OK with that?” (My reply was basically the same one I gave to Eddi Reader when I posted her article February 2, 2009 on “What Burns Means to Me” [Chapter 37]. She had been hassled by some Burns people who can’t stand for anyone’s belief about Burns to be different from theirs and she had begun referring to them as “the Burns police”.) I emailed Ian back with this reaction: “Ian, Rabbie was, is, and always will be one of my favorite names for our Bard! What you refer to as ‘purists’, I refer to as ‘the Burns Police’. I do not pay much attention to them, if any!” So, “just be yourself” is what I advised in my introduction to Eddi Reader and I say the same thing to Ian.

Ian served as a guide to a group of friends from our Burns Club of Atlanta on tour in Scotland to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Burns’s birth. Woody Woodward, the club’s current vice-president, had been on that tour (led by Kate Graham of Caledonian Travel) and he kept asking me, “Whatever happened to Ian MacMillan?” Ian replied to my email of enquiry about another article for this web site with “please say hello from me to Woody. I well remember standing chatting to him about the ‘Little White Rose’ by the Commando monument at Spean Bridge…Please also send my respects to the Atlanta Burns Club members I had the pleasure of meeting, as well as Kate.” Consider it done, Ian, and always know you are welcome at our Burns cottage in Atlanta and at our home where a bed, knife and fork will be waiting on you and your Jean! (FRS: 8.21.12)

You can read this article at:

Other articles in this series can be read at

Waddell’s Life And Works Of Robert Burns
We already have a huge amount up about Robert Burns but we acquired this 2 volume publication and consulted with Frank Shaw and so we decided to serialise this on the site. It also has a number of excellent illustrations and some colour plates one of which I show below (which is in the pdf version of this newsletter).

We are starting to serialize this 2 volume publication which not only includes many of his poems and songs but also considerable correspondence.

John Henderson also found a good wee bio on the author...

Peter Hately Waddell (19 May 1817 – 5 May 1891) was a Scottish cleric and prolific writer.

Peter Hately Waddell was the son of James Waddell of Balquhatston, and was born at Balquhatston House, Slamannan, Stirlingshire on 19 May 1817. His father soon afterwards disposed of the property and removed to Glasgow, and Waddell was educated in the high school and at the university of Glasgow. He was a student of divinity at the time of the disruption of 1843 of the Church of Scotland, and then cast in his lot with the seceders, who afterwards formed the free church of Scotland. Having been licensed as a preacher, in 1843 he was ordained as minister of Rhynie, Aberdeenshire, and in the following year he removed to Girvan, Ayrshire, to the pastorate of a small free-church congregation. His attachment to the free church was loosened when he found that its members intended to retain in the entirety the rigid definitions contained in the Westminster confession of faith. He had outgrown his early Calvinistic training, and, finding himself at variance with the church of his adoption, he voluntarily resigned his charge, and founded an independent chapel at Girvan styled ‘the Church of the Future,’ defining his aims and intentions in a discourse with the same title, published in Glasgow in 1861. Many of his congregation left the free church and joined with him. Waddell remained at Girvan till 1862, when he went to Glasgow, and began preaching in the city hall as an independent minister. He soon gathered a large congregation, and in 1870 a church was erected for him in East Howard Street, Glasgow. Financial difficulties led to the abandonment of this building, and Waddell once more gathered a congregation by preaching in the Trades Hall. In 1888, at the request of friends and adherents, he joined the established church. Advancing years compelled him to retire from the ministry in October 1890, and he then began to make selections from his published works to form a volume. The task was not completed when his death took place at Ashton Terrace, Dowanhill, on 5 May 1891. He graduated D.D. from an American university.

Waddell was an orator of very exceptional power. His skill as a dialectician was displayed in a series of lectures on Ronan's ‘Life of Jesus,’ delivered in Glasgow City Hall before large audiences in 1863, and afterwards published. His profound admiration for Burns led to his issuing a new edition of the powers with an elaborate criticism (Glasgow, 1867–9). He presided at the meeting held in Burn’s cottage on 25 January 1859 in celebration of the poet’s birth, and then delivered an impassioned eulogy on Burns.

His chief historical work was a volume entitled 'Ossian and the Clyde', in which he sought to confirm the authenticity of the Ossianic poems by the identification of topographical references that could not be known to Macpherson. He also contributed a remarkable series of letters to a Glasgow journal on Ptolemy’s map of Egypt, showing that the discoveries of Speke and Grant had been foreshadowed by the old geographer. He took a keen interest in educational matters, and was a member of the first two school boards in Glasgow. His most original contribution to literature was a translation of the Psalms of David from Hebrew into the Scottish language, under the title 'The Psalms: frae Hebrew intil Scottis', in which he showed his profound linguistic knowledge. This work was followed in 1870 by a similar translation of Isaiah. In the early part of his career he attracted much notice by lectures which he delivered in London and the principal Scottish towns. Between 1882 and 1885 he edited the Waverley novels with notes and an introduction.

You can read this book as we get it up at

Out of Savagery into Civilization, An autobiography by Joseph K. Griffis. This book is a wee departure for us and is a complete book of 45 chapters.

I have always been interested in the life of the American Indians as Scots have always had a particular relationship with them. I really download this book for my own interest but enjoyed it that much I decided to put it up on the site. As the chapters are short I just decided to put the whole book up.

Here is the Introduction which sets the scene for the book...


TO have a life story so remarkable that it is difficult to tell it in all its romantic details, does not often fall to the lot of a writer of autobiography.

In order to insure interest and a glamour of excitement, most men who write of strange adventures are compelled to use the arts of rhetoric coupled with a subtle touch of imagination.

Here is an author, however, whose life-story is so thrillingly strange that he actually omits many a stirring adventure and tones down his experiences lest they pass the limit of human credence when related.

Tahan is a man who has passed through a series of transitions that have led him up from savagery, through the experiences of an Indian warrior, a medicine man, an outlaw, a scout, a deserter under sentence of death, a tramp, a Salvation Army captain, a successful evangelist and a clergyman, to the state of broad culture that fits him for his association and friendship with scientists, statesmen and leaders of world-thought An adept in the languages of the classic world as well as in many tongues of the Indians of the Great Plains, Tahan is an accomplished student of science, art, music and literature. Yet he never studied for a single day in any school.

Tahan’s adventures on the plains will be found interesting and instructive. Some chapters may sound impossible, but he has not exaggerated a single incident in his tale. I happen to know this, for all unknown to him, I took the pains to follow his old trail through the west, and I learned from the lips of the Indians with whom he lived, and from captives with whom he bunked in tepee and barracks, the story just as he tells it, and in many cases with more wonderful detail. I covered the trail in old Indian Territory and in Oklahoma, and followed it through its windings into Canada and on to the City of Buffalo. Besides, I have quizzed Tahan himself by the camp fire and at his table, and in this way I have corroborated the tale he tells so well.

The student of anthropology or of social science will find much of pertinent interest in what Tahan relates. The ethnologist will learn things he maybe merely suspected before. The psychologist will recognise an especial appeal. And the lover of plain truth will find his pulses quickened by the dramatic features he finds revealed in this unvarnished tale.

It is difficult to believe that the cultured gentleman whom one knows as Joseph K. Griffis, the friend of the scientist and literary critic, was once a be-feathered warrior who was the most reckless bareback rider that ever rode a bronco or trotted off with a herd of cattle that didn’t belong to him; who was the most prized captive, the most honoured too, among the Kiowas, Comanches and Apaches, for his ability to plan successful raids. Indeed, he nearly precipitated intertribal wars because the tribes all wanted him as an “expert specialist” in devising means to get horses and cattle without buying them.

To-day magazines and lecture bureaus do the warring over Tahan, for as of old, “he delivers the goods.”

There is not a man who reads this book, unless it be the old plainsman, but will remark, “I did not believe that such a man lived.”

The theorist who holds that man is made by his environment, may pause as he reads and reflect how in the life of Tahan it was the overcoming of environment that made the man. And yet, each reader will have the puzzle to solve for himself, for each one will be compelled to inquire just why the vagabond of the plains, the hunted deserter, and the tramp of the cotton belt, did not stay in the lower levels,—a man of the underworld. Was it luck, was it Providence, was it heredity, or was it a ceaseless desire to achieve something better, that civilised and educated Tahan?

This book is a book of facts, of concrete examples of theories over which learned men have puzzled for decades. It at once awakens interest, then curiosity, then the question, is it fact or only fiction? Discovering it fact the reader will find himself wondering how likewise to find success, fame, culture, and broad usefulness in the world.

I hope every sociologist, every ethnologist, every friend of man, every lover of the strangeness of real life, will read this life story of Tahan, for beyond the value of his tale, there is a potency in his message that is good for every man.

Arthur C. Parker,
State Archaeologist of New York, Curator of Ethnology, N. Y. State Museum, Secretary Society of American Indians, Editor of the Quarterly Journal, S. A. I,, Fellow American Ethnological Society, etc., etc,

Albany, N. Y.

And so you can read this book at

St James Priory Newsletter
This is the final issue from my term as newsletter editor for St James Priory of the Knights Templar of Toronto.

This is a pdf version of the August newsletter which can be download at

And finally...

I was visiting my son and daughter-in-law last night when I asked if I could borrow a newspaper.

'This is the 21st century, old man,' he said. 'We don't waste money on newspapers. Here, you can borrow my iPad.'

Well I can tell you, that bloody fly never knew what hit it...

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