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    Newsletter 14th March 2014

    Electric Scotland News

    The Secret Bunker
    I just heard this week that the Secret Bunker in Scotland has re-opened after having been refurbished and updated. I visited this establishment some years ago and have a page about them at :

    You can visit their site at


    National Tartan Day Award to be presented in Washington, D.C.

    The recipient for the National Tartan Day Award for 2014 is John James Toffey IV of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, who is well known as the author of "A Woman Nobly Planned: Fact and Myth in the Legend of Flora MacDonald." The award is presented each year at the time of the observance of National Tartan Day - April 6th.

    Rupert H. Furgerson II of Madisonville, Kentucky, chairman of National Tartan Day of The Scottish Coalition USA, said that each year there is a nationwide search to identify a person who has drawn attention to the contributions made by Scots and Scots-Americans not only to the United States but to the world.

    John Toffey's background is in the field of education -- with degrees from Philips Exeter Academy, Yale University, Ohio State University, Columbia University, and as a Visiting Fellow at St. Andrews University in Scotland,, interrupted by military service in the United States, Korea and Japan.

    John Toffey has a distinguished record in problem-solving. When Senate Resolution No. 155 was passed by the United States Senate, officially designating April 6th of each year as National Tartan Day, the question immediately came to mind that there was no place to house such a precious document. Several important institutions were approached, but due to prior commitments all efforts failed. It was John Toffey who provided the solution. He arranged for the document to be placed in the Special Collections Archives of the Eaarl Gregg Swem Library of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia -- an ideal location.

    On September 25,1999, in a reception hosted by The Scottish Coalition USA, the originators of the National Tartan Day observance, the document was donated in perpetuity to the University. Dr. Connie Kearns McCarthy, Dean of University Libraries, accepted the document on behalf of William and Mary and commented that it was James Blair of Aberdeenshire who received a royal charter from King William and Queen Mary in 1693 to build a university in the colony of Virginia and to become its first president.

    At this special occasion, Dr. McCarthy reminded the guests that the most famous Scot associated with the University at that time was Dr. William Small of Scotland, Thomas Jefferson's mentor. In writing of his college years, Jefferson said: " It was my great good fortune and what probably fixed the destinies of my life that Dr. Small was to me as a father. To his enlightened and affectionate guidance of my studies while at college, I am indebted for everything." Our readers are reminded that Jefferson went on to author the Declaration of Independence, modeled upon the Scottish Declaration of Independence, known as The Declaration of Arbroath.

    The arrangement with William & Mary has now developed into a program of considerable interest to Scots-Americans, and that is the establishment of intern programs between corporations and students across the United States to remind young people of their heritage and responsibilities in light of the many distractions in today's world.

    John Toffey and his family reside in Western Massachusetts where he continues with his writing and other interests. Although best known internationally for his book on Flora MacDonald, many of his followers have admired him for a recent volume -- "Jack Toffey's War...A Son's Memoir," described by Publisher's Weekly as "a powerful story, articulating a young man's journey to know a father who went to war in 1942 and never came home."


    New Lord Lyon King of Arms appointed
    Advocate and student of heraldry takes up ancient position

    Dr Joseph Morrow has been appointed as the new Lord Lyon King of Arms.

    The Lord Lyon office dates from the 14th-Century. Duties include the granting of armorial bearings and judicial rulings on who has the right to bear an existing coat of arms

    Dr Morrow succeeds David Sellar MVO, FSAScot, FRHistS who has held the office of Lord Lyon since 2008.

    An advocate, with degrees in Theology and Law, Dr Morrow has been a student of heraldry for more than 30 years.

    The appointment was made by the Queen on the recommendation of the First Minister, Alex Salmond.

    At present, Dr Morrow is the President of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland, and President of the Additional Support Needs Tribunals and a First-Tier Tribunal Judge dealing with asylum and immigration issues.

    He has held a number of professional positions outwith the legal field including Convener of the Development Department of Dundee City Council, Board Member of Scottish Enterprise Tayside, Board Member of the Angus and Dundee Tourist Board, Chair of the Dundee Waterfront Development Board, Chair of the Trustees of the Tayside Superannuation Fund and Vice Chair of the Court of the University of Abertay.

    In 2009 he was appointed as a Vice Lord Lieutenant for the City of Dundee and in that capacity has regularly received members of the Royal Family to the City. He is an Incumbent of the Chapel of Glamis Castle.

    Dr Morrow has a special interest in ecclesiastical history and 35 years’ experience of the practical application of ceremonial within a variety of settings including State, Civil, Military and Ecclesiastical areas of Scottish life.

    The part-time appointment, made under section 3 of the Lyon King of Arms (Scotland) Act 1867, is based at Edinburgh’s New Register House. It was made following advertisement, interview of a short-list of candidates by a selection board followed by recommendation to the First Minister.


    Discover Your Roots at The Tayroots Family History Day

    The Tayroots Family and Local History Day in Arbroath’s Webster Theatre on Sunday, 6 April, 2014 will provide a host of opportunities for anyone keen to trace their family tree and discover more about their Scottish ancestors and the lives they led.

    This free event, held as part of the Tartan Day Scotland Festival Homecoming weekend in Arbroath, includes a programme of talks by leading genealogists and historians. Geneticist Katie Barnes of ScotlandsDNA will provide an insight into ancestral DNA testing, while the darker side of Angus and Dundee will be revealed by author Forbes Inglis, with accounts of some of the grisly murders and dastardly misdeeds that have taken place in this corner of Scotland over the centuries.

    Alastair Cunningham of Scottish Clans and Castles Ltd will talk about the origins of the clans, Highland Dress and tartans. “I’ll be dispelling a few myths and bringing the story of Scotland’s clans and tartans up to date,” explained Alastair, who wrote The Guide to Scottish Clans and Tartans.

    Iain Ferguson, manager of the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh, will highlight some of the more unusual historical records available on the ScotlandsPeople website and explain how other records of the National Archives of Scotland may help uncover a family’s roots. “For example, Kirk Session Records sometimes reveal the name of the father of an illegitimate child, adding a previously unknown branch to a family tree,” said Iain.

    The ScotlandsPeople website has made it easier for people of Scottish descent to trace their family tree. Iain revealed that, during the Tayroots’ event, visitors will be able to do a few searches using the ScotlandsPeople website free of charge, assisted by the ScotlandsPeople team. “Our staff will be able to provide advice to help visitors to this event start compiling their family tree,” Iain added.

    A wide range of family and local history experts, archivists and family history societies will also be on hand to offer help and advice during the Tayroots Day, including representatives from Angus Archives, Tay Valley Family History Society, Deceased OnLine, Scottish Local History Forum and ScotlandsPlaces.

    The Tayroots Day is part of the Tartan Day Scotland Festival 2014, which takes place across Angus from 5-13 April and commemorates the 1320 signing of the Declaration of Arbroath. During the Tayroots Day, there will be a lunchtime break so visitors can also enjoy the stirring spectacle of the Massed Angus Pipe Bands marching to Arbroath Abbey for the re-enactment of the Signing of the Declaration of Arbroath within the walls of this historic monument.

    The Tayroots Family and Local History Day will conclude with a 6pm screening of vintage local film footage. Tickets for the film evening cost £2.50 and booking is essential - contact the Webster Theatre Box Office on 01241 435800.

    For more information about the Tayroots Family and Local History Day, and to book places for the talks, visit call 01307 473226.

    Electric Canadian

    History of the York Rangers
    By Captain A. T. Hunter (1913).

    Still working on this book and we have come to a chapter entitled "Another Quarter Century of Rust" in which an amusing muster took place...

    It is not to be supposed, however, as the years went by that all annual musters of the militia were as successful even in the picnic sense, as the one just described. Lieut.-Col. Geo. A. Shaw, ex-commanding officer of the 10th has a curious recollection of one attended by him as a newly gazetted ensign. It was in Toronto itself, where surely, if anywhere, the flame is never allowed to die on the altar of Mars. Arriving with the zeal that becomes a young officer at the appointed hour and the appointed place he could not find any militia. He found, however, a negro asleep under a tree. Summoning his best military crispness of manner he tapped the Sambo with his boot and said, "My man, where are the militia?"

    “Tsede militia, sah."

    “You’re the militia! What do you mean?"

    “Sure, I’se de militia and de oder militia is up de tree."

    Looking up the tree Shaw discovered the other militia in the form of a youth picking nuts. Presently the captain came in his full uniform of a captain of the Sedentary Militia of Canada, and the parade was complete.

    You can read this book at:

    Nova Scotia Historical Society, Reports and Collections
    I have found a number of volumes from this Society and have added the first four to get you started. I'll be adding more as I find them.

    In volume 4 there is a particularly good Biographical Sketch of Hon. Samuel Vetch.

    You can read these volumes at

    Folklore of Nova Scotia
    By Mary L. Fraser. A new book we're starting.

    The purpose of this study of the Folklore of Nova Scotia was primarily academic; but the interest shown in the old stories, and the many requests for their preservation in book form, encouraged their collector to have them published. This study does not pretend to be exhaustive. With the time and opportunities at her disposal, it was impossible for the author to do much more than blaze a trail. The fact that it was more convenient for her to collect material at first hand in Cape Breton and Eastern Nova Scotia, accounts for the preponderance of stories from these sections of the province.

    The author wishes to acknowledge her indebtedness to the Rt. Rev. Alexander MacDonald, D.D., and the several clergymen in Cape Breton who gave her valuable assistance and encouragement; to the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame by whose whole-hearted co-operation this study was made possible; and to the men and women who gave so readily of their stories. She is also indebted in a very special manner to Rev. John P. Monaghan, Ph.D., Professor of English, Fordham University, N.Y., who suggested the subject and directed her work.

    You can read this book at

    The Flag in the Wind
    This weeks issue was compiled by Fraser Hudghton where he is talking about Foodbanks.

    I might add that when I review The Flag each week I find that the Synopsis is missing from a number of issues as it is this week. That usually carried some very interesting articles so certainly a loss to that issue.

    You can read this issue at

    Electric Scotland

    Alexander Murdoch (1841-1891)
    A Scottish Engineer, Poet, Author, Journalist

    Added a third book called "Scotch Readings: Humorous and Amusing" and we're breaking this down into individual chapters for you to read. We've added two more chapters, "The Sittin'-Doon Cauld" and "Raisin' His Mother-In-Law" which you can find at the foot of the page at:

    Tait's Edinburgh Magazine
    Have continued to work on these magazines from c1840. Here are some of the articles I've culled from the pages this week. I might add that some of the scans are not too clear so I ended up providing them as pdf files.

    Edward Irving
    I came across a book review of this person and also found the book so have added links to both at the foot of his page in our Significant Scots section.

    You can get to this at

    Sir John Ross, The Arctic Voyager
    An obituary from Tait's Edinburgh Magazine.

    The death of this celebrated voyager on the 31st August last, at 43, Gillingham-street, Pimlico, reminds us that his name was, some twenty-three years ago, in everybody’s mouth, and the interest excited, in recent times, concerning Sir John Franklin, was never so great or so absorbing as was that created by the long absence of Captain Ross in the Polar regions.

    You can read this at

    Wallace Monument
    An interesting article about Wallace and his Monument. This is a pdf of this article and can be downloaded at

    Sir William Hamilton, Bart., James Wilson, Esq, of Woodville, Major Henrrey Langhome Thomson, CB and Sir Alexander Crichton.

    You can read these at

    Forbes MacKenzie Act
    Legislation passed in 1853 to regulate public houses in Scotland. You can read this article at

    The Scottish Fisheries Board
    This is an article at the time when the Herring industry was in full flow and thus makes interesting reading.

    You can read this at

    The Scottish Rights Association and the Franchise
    The tendency to associate is common to the aggrieved; and all men, even very good natured men, being grumblers by nature, a considerable number beoome members, or propose to become members, of some reforming society, in the discharge, as they believe, of one duty of man; and that done, they deem their political purpose in life completed, unless a dinner has to be eaten periodically, and periodically a subscription to be paid. The necessity of satisfying this tendency leads to the formation of numerous associations, for very proper objects; and one in a dozen, from the prevalence of "distressing circumstances” at its birth, by the energy of its management, or the urgency of its object, achieves success, becomes a mammy, and is placed in its pyramid amid a cloud of perfume and a shower of roses.

    You can read this article at

    Major Calder Campbell, General Sir James MacDonell, Robert Burns son of the poet Robert Burns.

    You can read these at

    And that's it from Tait's Edinburgh Magazine for this week.

    The Songstresses of Scotland
    Added the biography of Carolina Baroness Nairne (1766 - 1845)

    This one can be read at:

    Enigma Machine
    Put up puzzle 54 at

    Summer at the Lake of Monteith
    By P. Dun, Station Master, Port of Monteith (1866).

    An interesting chapter on Garden which starts...

    Among the many fertile, beautiful, and richly cultivated estates of the county of Stirling, none is more pleasantly associated, nor holds a higher place, than the ancient and interesting estate of Garden.

    The mansion-house is beautifully situated on a commanding eminence at the foot of the sequestered glen of Arn-gibbon, one of the prettiest retreats in the west of Scotland. The spacious park in which the house stands is carefully adorned with grand old trees, rearing high their princely heads, and spreading wide their giant boughs, that have for ages welcomed the zephyrs of summer, and borne unscathed the hurricanes of winter, while conspicuous among their fellows stand some of the very finest silver firs in the kingdom.

    The old castle of Garden stood a little to the north of where the present mansion is built, and on a small eminence in what was in early times a small lake, but now a fertile meadow. The castle was of the circular tower form, and in feudal days must have been considered impregnable, having been surrounded by water, and protected by a draw-bridge. Some distance to the north-west of the old castle was the “gallows-hill,” where poor offending wretches “gat the rape;” and, in the memory of some of the oldest inhabitants, there was to be seen a stone with an inscription denoting the felons’ names who ignominiously perished.

    You can read this book at:

    My Man Sandy
    By J. B. Salmond (1919).

    These sketches are taken from a series written originally for newspaper purposes. Revision of them has made their author keenly conscious of their defects; but Bawbie and Sandy are characters who might be completely spoiled by improvement. The sketches are therefore presented as they were hastily "rubbed-in" for serial publication.

    "Sandy and the Rhubarb tart" is a chapter that has to tweak your interest. It starts...

    Was ever a woman so provokit wi' a ramstam, dotrifeed gomeral o' a man? Sandy Bowden 'ill hae me i' my grave yet afore my time, as share's I'm a livin' woman. There's no' a closed e'e for me this nicht; an' there's Sandy awa' till his bed wi' his airms rowed up in bits o' an auld yellow-cotton apron o' Mistress Mikaver's mither's. Eh, sirce me; an' me was so happy no' mony 'oors syne!

    We gaed awa' to hae a cup o' tea wi' Mistress Mikaver--that's the scone-baker's widow, ye ken. Her auldest laddie's been awa' oot amon' the Reed Indians, or some o' thae ither lang-haired, naked fowk 'at never wash themsel's; an' they say he's made a heap o' bawbees. He's a snod bit stockie--a little beld, an' bowd-leggit, an' wants a thoom. But, I'll swag, the young kimmers that were at the pairty didna see muckle wrang wi' him. There was as keen competition for him amon' the lassies as gin he'd been a gude-gaen public-hoose puttin' up for unction.

    Me an' Sandy landed amon' the first o' the fowk. A'thing was richt snod, I assure ye. Mistress Mikaver had the stair noo whitened, an' every stap was kaumed an' sandit, ye never saw the like. An' there she was hersel' wi' her best black goon on, no' a smad to be seen on't, an' her lace kep an' beady apron. She was a dandy, an' nae mistak'.

    So there's a wee taste and you can read this at:

    Songs by John Henderson
    John sent in a new song, Gillies Hill Threatened. As he says, "A very important song for the people of Cambusbarron, and all those who still hold the village dear in their hearts."

    You can read this and listen to the music at:

    Royal Dee
    A guide book by Alex Inkson McConnochie. You can find this at the foot of his page at

    The Working life of Christina McKelvie MSP
    She is including an article on the Justice Bill in this issue.

    You can read this issue at

    A Renaissance Painted Ceiling in Scotland inspires a Masterpiece in Vermont
    Castle's Famous Painted Ceiling Reborn by Anne Macpherson.

    A boy and his father loved to search out and explore the wonderful castles of their homeland in Scotland, but one castle-Carthes Castle-made a lasting impression on young Anthony MacLaurin as he gazed in wonder at the painted ceiling of this once glorious place. Carthes Castle Is maintained by the National Trust for Scotland and its sister not-for-profit in the United States, The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA.Anthony kept those images in his mind for years and dreamt that one day he just might have a painted ceiling to call his own. In late 2011 his dream began to become a reality. You can read this article at

    Glasgow Cookery Book
    Came across this book which is in its fourteenth edition.

    THIS book has been compiled specially for the use of students in training. The Recipes are those which have been successfully used for many years, and have been proved therefore to be essentially practical.

    This, the fourteenth edition of the Glasgow Cookery Book, has been carefully revised and very considerably enlarged.

    You can download this book at

    Scotland for Ever
    A Gift-Book of the Scottish Regiments with a Preface by the Earl of Rosebery, KG.

    This is a wee gem of a book but presented as a badly scanned pdf. It is despite this poor scan well worth a read. Here is the Preface...
    THERE could scarcely be a more opportune publication for Scotsmen than a record of the valour of their historical regiments. This war has revealed and developed the strong and undying soul which animates them, and maintains through generations and even centuries a corporate and jealous pride. Whether in the kilt or the trews, or on the ' beautiful grey horses ' admired by Napoleon, they appeal irresistibly even to the most pacific natures in Scotland, and that is half the secret of the unmatched recruiting returns from the ancient kingdom during the present war. United as clans, proudly conscious of the battles on their colours, holding their traditional reputation as a sacred trust, they are a brotherhood of honour on which the country confidently relies in peace and in war.

    The spirit, the name, and the tradition are wholly Scottish. But it must be remembered that the men are not all of that race. Many come from all parts of England. But once in the regiments, and while in the regiments, they become Scotsmen by adoption and grace, as proud of their corps, as jealous of its honour, as any lads from the Lothians or Inverness. That is one great value of these historical regiments, they embody and assimilate recruits from all Britain, and give them the succession and the prestige of those heroes who have gone before.
    These Scottish regiments began in all sorts of ways. The Scots were poor, warlike, and adventurous, with few temptations at home to a military career. One, for example, served much abroad in the seventeenth century. Returning home, they followed Dumbarton’s drums, as the old song has it, and became permanently British. Another famous regiment was much employed about the same time in harrying (under orders) the Covenanters in their mosses. The Covenanters in their turn, when that tyranny was overpast, were formed into a regiment of their own under the Scottish Parliament, and earned fame at once which they have enhanced ever since. And so on ; in a short note like this it is not necessary or possible to detail.

    The details will be given in the ensuing pages. Surely it is well when we have a wolf, or rather jackal, at our throats to garner up from history the description of our ancestors conquering nobler enemies. This is not to say that the Prussian soldier is not, as regards valour, a brave combatant. But he is directed by men who have placed themselves outside the pale of humanity, and shares their responsibility. Let us hope that once more, and soon, it may be given to a Scottish regiment to storm, as in Aytoun’s spirited verses, an island on the Rhine.
    I will indulge myself with only one significant extract; it regards the Scots in Belgium during the Waterloo campaign. The natives admired the English, but always returned to the Scots with, ‘But the Scots, they are good and kind as well as brave; they are the only soldiers who become members of the family in the houses in which they are billeted; they even carry about the children, and do the domestic work.’ The favourite proverbial form of compliment was, ‘Lions in the field and lambs in the house.’ That is exquisite praise. The unhappy Netherlands can now compare these Scottish soldiers with the wild beasts who have desolated their country and ravaged their homes.

    I am heartily grateful for this stimulating book.
    You can download this book at

    Margaret Oliphant
    Found a good review of her life and writings in the Edinburgh Review which I've added to the foot of her page. You can read this at

    Edinburgh Review
    One of the most influential British magazines of the 19th century.

    The second Edinburgh Review, founded in 1802, became one of the most influential British magazines of the 19th century. It promoted Romanticism and Whig politics.

    Started on 10 October 1802 by Francis Jeffrey, Sydney Smith and Henry Brougham, it was published by Archibald Constable in quarterly issues until 1929. It began as a literary and political review. Under its first permanent editor, Francis Jeffrey (the first issue was edited by Sydney Smith), it was a strong supporter of the Whig party and liberal politics, and regularly called for political reform. Its main rival was the Quarterly Review which supported the Tories. The magazine was also noted for its attacks on the Lake Poets, particularly William Wordsworth.

    It was owned at one point by John Stewart, whose wife Louisa Hooper Stewart (1818–1918) was an early advocate of women's suffrage, having been educated at the Quaker school of Newington Academy for Girls.

    It took its Latin motto judex damnatur ubi nocens absolvitur (the judge is condemned when the guilty is acquitted) from Publilius Syrus.

    The magazine ceased publication in 1929.

    I have acquired a number of issues of this magazine and will be working on extracting articles from them once I have concluded work on Tait's Edinburgh Magazine.

    Life or Lord Jeffrey
    Found a 2 volume biography of this Significant Scot and have added a link to it at the foot of his page at

    Harry Lauder
    John Henderson found a wee book by Sir Harry Lauder entitled "At Home and on Tour" written in 1907 and we've made this available for download at the foot of his page at

    I got sent in some old pictures of the Town of Moffat from Sean at the Moffat Toffee Shop and you can see these and a new video at t

    It had been a long time since I'd had Moffat Toffee so ordered a tin from them which should arrive next week. You can see their web site at:

    We've continued to add chapters to...

    Scottish Historical Review at
    In the latest issue there is an interesting article about "Dunstaffnage Castle "
    The History of Burke and Hare at where we've now added the concluding chapters.

    And Finally...

    Two elderly women were out driving in a large car - both could barely see over the dashboard. As they were cruising along, they came to an intersection. The stoplight was red, but they just went on through. The woman in the passenger seat thought to herself "I must be losing it. I could have sworn we just went through a red light." After a few more minutes, they came to another intersection and the light was red again. Again, they went right through. The woman in the passenger seat was almost sure that the light had been red but was really concerned that she was losing it. She was getting nervous. At the next intersection, sure enough, the light was red and they went on through. So, she turned to the other woman and said, "Mildred, did you know that we just ran through three red lights in a row? You could have killed us both!"
    Mildred turned to her and said, "Oh, my, am I driving?"


    As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on Interstate 77. Please be careful!"

    "Heck," said Herman, "It's not just one car. It's hundreds of them!"

    And that's it for this week and I hope you all have a good weekend.


  2. Thanks Rick, miolchu, mhoira, FriedaKateM thanked for this post.
  3. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: Newsletter 14th March 2014

    Your final entry, 'Senior Driving' reminds me of a headline.

    Wyoming's Oldest Driver Dies Quietly In His Sleep at 105

    ... unfortunately his five passengers died in abject terror.

  4. Like Alastair, 1938 Observer liked this post.

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