March, 2010
In this Issue:

• St, David's Day • Coming Events
• St. Patrick's Day • March Celebrations
• Folklore of Scotland • Know the Clans
• Kirkin' o' the Tartan • Caledonian Society Officers
• The Scotch-Irish (The Who?) • General Meeting Minutes
• Daughters of Scotia Spring Tea • Important Dates in March
• Thank You • Scottish Quotes and Sayings

St. David's Day — Dydd Dewi Sant

St. David, Dewi Sant, is the patron saint of the Welsh, and March 1, his feast day, is celebrated as a patriotic and cultural festival by the Welsh in Wales and around the world. Dewi Sant was a Celtic monk of the sixth century. His father was Sant, a son of Ceredig, King of Cardigan; his mother was Non. The ruins of a small chapel dedicated to her memory may be seen near St. David’s Cathedral. Its ruins remain there now.

Little is know for certain about Dewi Sant, but he founded several religious centers in Wales and western England. He was consecrated archbishop during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and led an ascetic life. Many prophesies were said to have preceded the birth of Dewi Sant, and many miracles were attributed to him. One miracle often recounted is that once when Dewi was preaching to a crowd at Llandewi Brefi those on the outer edges could not hear, so he spread a handkerchief on the ground, and stood on it to preach, whereupon the ground swelled up beneath him and all could hear.

March 1, the date given for the death of Dewi Sant, was celebrated as a religious festival up until the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. In the 18th century it became a national festival among the Welsh, and continues as such to this day. The celebration usually entails singing and eating. Leeks are worn and sometimes eaten. In schools in Wales the boys take leeks to school, status being given t those who bring the biggest leeks and eat them earliest in the day.

The flag of Wales is Y Ddraig Goch (The Red Dragon). The emblem of Wales is the leek, arising from an occasion when a troop of Welsh were able to distinguish each other from a troop of English enemy dressed in similar fashion by wearing leeks. An alternative emblem developed in recent years is the daffodil, used and preferred over the leek by the English government as it lacks the overtones of patriotic defiance associated with the leek.

St. Patrick's Day

The person who was to become St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Wales about AD385. His given name was Maewyn, and he almost didn’t get the joy of bishop of Ireland because he lacked the required scholarship. Far from being a saint, until he was 16, he considered himself a pagan. At that age, he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village. During his captivity, he became closer to God.

He escaped from slavery after six years and went to Gaul where he studied in the monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxere for a period of twelve years. During his training he became aware that his calling was to convert the pagans to Christianity. His wishes were to return to Ireland, but superiors appointed St. Palladius instead. But two years later, Palladius transferred to Scotland. Patrick, having adopted that Christian name earlier, was then appointed as second bishop to Ireland.

Patrick was quite successful at winning converts. And this fact upset the Celtic Druids. Patrick was arrested several times, but escaped each time. He traveled throughout Ireland, establish monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion of the Irish country to Christianity. His mission in Ireland lasted for thirty years. He died on March 17 in AD 461. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick’s Day ever since.

Much Irish folklore surrounds St. Patrick’s day. Not much of it is actually substantiated. He is said to have given a sermon from a hilltop that drove all the snakes from Ireland. Of course, no snakes were ever native to Ireland.

One traditional symbol of St. Patrick’s Day is the shamrock. This stems from a more bona fide Irish tale that tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity—how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.

The St. Patrick’s Day custom came to America in 1737. That was the first year St. Patrick’s Day was publicly celebrated in this country, in Boston.

Folklore of Scotland
The Kelpie

People of all kinds flock from the ends of the earth to the shores of Loch Ness in order to catch a glimpse of the denizen supposedly living in the depths of the loch. There are some who maintain that the disturber of Loch Ness is a shark, or a whale, or a seal, that came up the Ness River on a flood and then found that it could not get back to the sea. What nonsense! That is merely the matter-of-fact attempt at an explanation made by ignorant scientists, and other people who know no better. The ordinary folk, who call it the Loch Ness Monster, get much nearer to the truth, for a monster it certainly is, but what kind of a monster only the witches, and the poets, and other fay-like folk know. The Loch Ness Monster is, of course, no more and no less than an old fashioned Kelpie—a beastie of a kind that has been known all over Scotland for ages.

For there is not a stretch of water in all the land that has not had, at some time or another, its Kelpie, or Water Horse, or each uisge as it is in the Gaelic. But it is not every kelpie that has the conceit of the kelpie of Loch Ness—entertaining press photographers, and almost giving interviews like a film star. And it is just by such methods as that, that the whole of the fairy business is likely to be ruined; so the less said about the impudent fellow in Loch Ness the better. And, after all, it cannot be definitely known, maybe he is being well paid for it by some of the people in Inverness to encourage tourism.

But the others—the unbribable kelpies are dreaded beasts indeed. The real kelpie, like his Master, the Devil, can assume almost any shape he likes; preferring, however, the shape of a beautiful horse, carefully groomed and exquisitely harnessed. In this shape, the kelpie will stroll casually along beside its intended victim. The victim, naturally admiringly strokes the lovely creature, only to find that the hand that has touched the horse cannot be removed, and so the poor victim is dragged into the kelpie’s loch, there to be devoured.

In Sutherland there was a number of children playing beside a loch, when into their midst there came a beautiful and, apparently, owner-less horse. One of the boys, calling to his playmates to follow his example, mounted the creature’s back. Before long there was a string of lads mounted—as many as ever the horse’s back would hold, from its mane to its tail. But one boy who had heard about kelpies and their ways; and, as soon as he remembered, he tried to take his hand away; but, strive as he might, the hand clung. Fortunately, the boy had sense enough to recognize that the loss of a hand was nothing compared with the loss of his life. So, out came his knife, and off came his hand. And no sooner was he free, than up rose the kelpie, with fire and brimstone snorting from its nostrils and down into the waters it went carrying its human load. It is good to know that it was the boy’s left hand that he lost, and not his right, so that he was still of some use about his father’s croft.

It is not always, however, that the kelpie comes as a horse. Like the fairy-seals, sometimes it comes in the shape of a handsome young man, or a beautiful young woman.

There was a lad in Badenoch courted by a beautiful, strange, young woman, who permitted him all sorts of liberties. But one night she forgot, and, instead of laughing in her ecstasy, she neighed like a horse. Then did the lad know who and what his sweetheart was. Fortunately for him he was in the kilt, and had his sgian dubh in his stocking-top. And when the lad had finished his work with the knife, it was not a stabbed beauty that lay at his feet, but a grey kelpie covered in green loch slime!

And that, I think is quite enough about kelpies.

Kirkin' O' the Tartan

Mission Del Sol Presbyterian Church
cordially invites you to attend the

9th Annual Kirkin’ O’ the Tartan
at their new sanctuary.

Sunday, April 18
Mission Del Sol Presbyterian Church
1565 E. Warner Road
Tempe, AZ
Service at 10:45 am
Wear your tartan or bring it with you.
 Pipers will play during the morning service and also afterward.
 Refreshments will follow the service


The Scotch-Irish (The Who?)
By Joseph Carr

So, who are these “Scotch-Irish” anyway? Basically they are Scots who emigrated to Ireland, they were mostly Lowland Protestants, and in fact are the ancestors of the present day Protestants in Northern Ireland where they seem to be continuing the battles that started in the 17th century.

Although the terrible name “Scotch-Irish” (I thought “Scotch” was whisky) is common on this side of the Atlantic, other names for those people in use on the other side include Scot-Irish, Ulster Scots, Irish Scots and so forth. I will reluctantly accede to the “Scotch-Irish” name because of its widespread acceptance here.

The Scotch Irish started emigrating to Ulster, Ireland in large numbers under England’s James I (or James VI as Scots called him) because King James wanted to break the power of the Ulster chieftains. Economic problems in Scotland coincided with James’ interest in bringing Ulster more firmly under his control. Lands in Ulster were taken away from the Irish and given mostly to English landlords, who then leased the land to Lowland Scots at very favorable rates. the “Scotch-Irish” are, therefore, mostly Lowland (or Border) Scots who emigrated over the period 1607 to about 1700.

If you are researching a Lowland border family (e.g. Nixon, Johnston, Scott, Turnbull, Armstrong, Hume, Kerr Bruce, Douglas, Elliot, Ferguson), then there are at least three areas in the United Kingdom in which you must search for information. First, of course, is Scotland itself. You must also check the towns and shires of the north of England, especially those along the border with Scotland. Finally, you must also search Ulster (Northern Ireland). The latter is important because many Lowland Scots emigrated, or at least married into Ulster Scot families.

The Borderers were Lowland Scots, not Highlanders. The Highlanders of northern and western Scotland were of Celtic origin, like the Irish, and spoke the Gaelic language. The Lowlanders were racially more diverse than the Celtic Highlanders. The Lowland families descended from an odd collection of Celts, Romans, Frisians, Angles, Saxons, Danes, Norwegians, Britons, Normans, Flemings and Welshmen, as well as Picts and Celts. The language of the Lowland Scots was English, or at leas that delightful and superior dialect that passes for English in Scotland.

The Lowland Scots had more in common with the English immediately to their south (who were also Borderers), that with the Highlander Scots to their north. But that affinity with the English only applied to the Border English, and then only uneasily. There were many in the Borders, on both sides of the line, who saw the Borderer as a nationality apart from both Scots and English. Many Border families were found on both sides of the border between Scotland and England. For that reason, researchers looking at Border families are also advised to search in the shires in the north of England, as well as the south of Scotland.

The Borders region, which encompassed lands in both Scotland and England, was a lawless area in which Scots fought the English and each other in the centuries between the victories of Robert Bruce and the ascent of James I to the English throne. Peculiar, isn’t it? Bruce kept an English king from the Scottish throne, while James was a Scottish king who took over the English throne.

Similarly, English Borderers harried each other as much as they harried the Scots living across the border. The Border families on each side of the line cordially despised each other for centuries, and deadly blood feuds often erupted between them. According to one source, “(The Borders was) . . . a perpetual badman’s territory, dominated by raiders and free-booters, plunderers and rustlers, border lords and outlaw riders.”

When we first start looking into our Scottish family histories we often want to find great lords and ladies, and a glorious history. And for some of us, that’s true. But life for the Scots, both Highlanders and Lowlanders, was brutal, hard, and often terribly short. Lest we be embarrassed by our ancestors’ “bad man” image, we need to consider that they were tough and brutal people living in tough and brutal times. They did what they did only to survive.

One of the big mistakes that we make in any form of historical research, genealogy included, is to view other historical times through a lens than applies to today. Before judging our ancestors, we need to first put ourselves into their minds, and try to see things as they saw them. That is why we should emphasize family history as well as genealogy. We cannot possibly understand our ancestors unless we understand their places and times.

Daughters of Scotia Spring Tea
By Jim Cassidy

The Daughters of Scotia would like to invite ladies from the Caledonian Society to attend our Spring Tea on Sunday March 28th at 2pm at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N Central Avenue in Phoenix.  The cost is $5 per person for unlimited tea, scones, sanwiches and desserts.  Please RSVP to Susan Wallace at 480-329-4298 or 
The Daughters of Scotia is a fraternal order that was founded in 1895 in New Haven, CT. Membership is made up of women who were born in Scotland, can trace their Scottish descent, or are married to men of Scottish descent. There are Daughters of Scotia lodges located throughout the United States. The Grand Lodge, our national organization, convenes once a year with representatives from all lodges to elect officers, transact business and attend the various social events arranged by the host lodge. The Grand Lodge supports a number of charitable organizations including The Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Alzheimer’s Association, Diabetes Association, Arthritis Foundation and Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.
Currently, there is one Daughters of Scotia Lodge located in Arizona. Desert Thistle Lodge #260 meets at the Irish Cultural Center on the first Thursday of each month. In addition to the monthly business meeting, members participate in local Celtic events such as the Phoenix Highland Games, Prescott Highland Games and various ICC events. We host two Teas per year. We have an annual party each August with entertainment including highland dancers and pipers. This year we are proud to be hosting the 2010 Daughters of Scotia National Convention in Mesa in September. If you are interested in more information, please contact Sue Wallace at
We are in the process of forming a second lodge in the East Valley, which will be instituted in January 2011. If you would like more information on this new group in the Chandler/Gilbert area, please contact Kari Maschino at

Thank you

A very big thank you to all those who worked on the Games to help make it a success. Your help is invaluable and we would not be able to accomplish our goals without your efforts. Again. THANK YOU!

Coming Events
Mar 1 St. David’s Day—patron saint of Wales
Mar 5 Kirkin’ O’ the Tartans—Mision del Sol Church
Mar. 11 Membership Meeting
Mar 17 St. Patrick’s Day—patron saint of Ireland
Mar. 20 Verde Valley, AZ — Games
Mar 27 Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band Tartan Day Celebration
Apr. 6 Tartan Day
Apr. 8 Membership Meeting
Apr 18 9th Annual Kirkin’o’ the Tartans
Mission Del Sol Presbyterian Church, Tempe
Apr. 17-18 Las Vegas, NV — Games
Apr. 23 Camp Verde Highland Games
Apr. 24-25 Sacramento, CA — Games
May 8 Prescott, AZ—Games
May 13 Membership Meeting
May 15-16 Albuquerque, NM—Games
Jun 4-6 Arlington, TX—Games
Jun 26-27 Vista (San Diego) CA—Games

March Birthdays

Mar 2 Glenn Bell—Birthday
Mar 5 Emlyn McGhee—Birthday
Mar 5 Roger Dawson—Birthday
Mar 6 William H. Wallace—Birthday
Mar 6 Ruth Johnston—Birthday
Mar 9 Sheila Thatcher—Birthday
Mar 12 Richard & Christine Cameron—Anniv.
Mar 13 Christopher McGhee—Birthday
Mar 14 Richard Satchell—Birthday
Mar 17 Kenya & Lester Griffith—Anniv.
Mar 17 Bob & Sandie Stephenson—Anniv.
Mar 17 Paul Smith—Birthday
Mar 17 Chad & Amy Connolly—Anniv.
Mar 18 Mary Kay Collis—Birthday
Mar 19 Greg Robertson—Birthday
Mar 20 Ben Howard—Birthday
Mar 20 Richard & Susan Satchell—Anniv.
Mar 21 Kimberly McGhee—Birthday
Mar 23 Lash & Susie McDaniel—Anniv.
Mar 23 Peggy Burton—Birthday
Mar 26 William Johnston—Birthday
Mar 26 Anthony Veich—Birthday
Mar 26 Dick Collis—Birthday
Mar 28 Sandra Ledy—Birthday
Mar 30 Janet Grant—Birthday
Mar 31 Jim Groves—Birthday
Mar 31 Robert McCurdy

Know the Clans
Name: Mac or Mc?
By Ron Dempsey

Many have wondered what is the correct spelling—Macdonald with a small “d” or MacDonald with a capital. In my humble opinion, neither have priority. I have heard at some point that lower case denotes clan members and the capital letter belonged to the chief but I put that in the same category as Mc being Irish and Mac being Scottish and other such myths.

Like so many clans and especially those starting with mac, the origins of the name is Gaelic. Macdonald is an English rendering of that name. Usually written by English speaking clerks who tried to write the name as they heard it from Gaelic speakers. Macdonald, MacDonald, mcdonald, MacDonnell, MacConnell etc. have become the standards that we have today for the members of Clan Domhnuil. However, in G. F. Black’s The Surnames of Scotland he has listed as many as three dozen variations of the name documented over the centuries. In Gaelic when the name is written MacDhomhnuill, possibly because of grammar, the “d” is aspirated and doesn’t sound in pronunciation and so it sounds like MacConnell, thus the connection of both names.

There are numerous branches of Clan Donald including MacDonald of the Isles, MacDonell of Keppoch, MacDonald of Sleat, MacDonald of Clanranald, MacDonnell of Gengarry, MacDonald of Glencoe, and MacDonald of Kingsburgh to name only a few.

Caledonian Society Officers

President: Elizabeth Reich — 602-509-1146
1st Vice Pres: Vacant
2nd Vice Pres: Tyler Cramer — 574-344-1314
Treasurer: Lisa Scott — 623-363-3355
Recording Sec: Jean Latimer — 602-867-6507
Corresp. Sec: Jean Whyman — 602-956-6424
Trustee: Alan Ramsdell — 480-969-8400
Trustee: William Wallace — 480-838-7055
Past President: Harold Stewart — 480-832-0243
Newsletter Editor: Jo Ramsdell — 480-969-8400

Society Meetings

Regular membership meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Scottsdale Senior Center, 1700 N. Granite Reef Rd., Scottsdale, Az. beginning at 7:30. Come join us or call 602-431-0095 or log on to

The Caledonian Society of Arizona
General Meeting Minutes
February 14, 2010
President Elizabeth Reich called the meeting to order at 6:55pm at the Scottsdale Senior Center. She led the Pledge of Allegiance and asked for a moment of silence in memory of The Flowers of the Forest.

Alan Ramsdell conducted the drawing for the door prizes and the winners were: $890, #884, and #898.

MINUTES of the last meeting were approved as written in the Desert Highlander, on a motion by Jean Whyman and a second by Lisa Scott.

TREASURERS REPORT shows a current balance of $11,967.20.

OLD BUSINESS: Lisa Scott reported that the Silent Auction at the Burns Dinner was a great success, bringing in $766.00. The Diner again lost money due to last minute changes. Overall, the dinner was a great success, but once again we learned what a really big job this is and it was suggested that we establish a committee of about six to eight people. The money from the Silent Auction will be used for scholarships in Dancing and Pipe Band Competitions.

GAMES review listed that the fees for the Park are all paid and our Credit Card users will be via a wireless service. Several members worked to clean out the storage lockers again and make sure the dance floor was okay for use at the games. Lisa also had a large layout map of the park to help the volunteers see where they would be setting up. Reminder of such things as the Host Hotel Shuttle, and the Games Shuttle which will be running from the Light Rail Stations to our Gates. We are using a new Security Company this year and changing the Clan Parade from Opening Ceremonies to mid-afternoon, under the title of “Raising of the Clans”. They will be piped throughout the grounds. Once again we have a great line-up of vendors, clans, pipe bands, dancers and athletes. We have expanded the entertainment also.

NEW BUSINESS: None - we just need to give our all toward the GAMES.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:40pm. Next months meeting will be at 6:45pm on March 11 in the Scottsdale Senior Center on Granit Reef Road.
Respectfully submitted by
Jean Latimer, Recording Secretary

Important Dates in March
Mar 1 St. David’s Day—patron saint of Wales
Mar 5 Kirkin’ O’ the Tartans — Mision del Sol Church
Mar. 11 Membership Meeting
Mar 17 St. Patrick’s Day— patron saint of Ireland
Mar. 20 Verde Valley, AZ — Games
Mar 27 Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band Tartan Day Celebration

Scottish Quotes and Sayings

“No one in Scotland can escape from the past.
It is everywhere, haunting like a ghost.”

To a Scot, the past clings like sand to wet feet,
and is carried about as a burden.
The many ghosts are always a part of them,

“The Scots Character is Forged in Granite
That is no Timid Reed. Shaken by the Wind.”
Many’s the men who’ve battled foe
Many the number slain
Many the lads have fallen
though Scotland shall rise Again.

—Geddes MacGregor

This is my country,
The land that begat me,
These windy spaces
Are surely my own.
And those who toil here
In the sweat of their faces
Are flesh of my flesh
And bone of my bone.
—Sir Alexander Gray

We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilization.