April, 2010
In this Issue:

• The Douglas Fir Man • Coming Events
• Newsletter Online • April Celebrations
• Tartan Day • Know the Clans
• Kirkin' O' the Tartan • Caledonian Society Officers
• Camp Verde Highland Games • General Meeting Minutes
• Tribute to Joe Leonard • Important Dates in April
  • Scottish Facts You Might Not Know

THE DOUGLAS FIR MAN — A Scot to Remember

Born in the picturesque Perthshire town of Scone in 1798 David Douglas was educated at Kinnoull Parish School before embarking on an apprenticeship under William Beattie, the then head gardener at Scone Palace. The engagement presented him with an opportunity to fully examine and develop his two main interests, horticulture and reading. He enrolled in classes in science and math while researching wild plants throughout the summer months. Rapidly earning a reputation for himself in the field, he moved to the home of Sir Robert Preston whose garden, famed for its store of rich exotic species, provided Douglas with a chance to further improve himself—as well as give him the added opportunity of access to Sir Robert’s vast botanical library.

Upon leaving his position with Sir Robert. Douglas moved to Glasgow’s illustrious Botanical Gardens where he went on many collecting missions to the Highlands searching for rare and exotic plants. He was then recommended to the Horticultural Society of London to work as a botanical collector. In April 1825 Douglas set off for the New World hoping to explore and discover new wildlife. During his time in the States he noted a range of new animals and discovered several species of pines. It was his bringing back to Great Britain the conifer which eventually became known as the Douglas fir that he was remembered and for which he became celebrated throughout the world of botany.

Douglas also explored South America and discovered many botanical resources below the equator. He brought back to Britain an unbelievable collection of seeds and dried plant specimens.

In 1829 Douglas departed on an expedition for California. By now he was greatly respected throughout Britain and over the next few years was consulted on everything from his chosen field of botany to foreign policy, strongly arguing that the Columbia River formed the natural border between the United State and Canada. Even so, life in the public eye did not sit easily with Douglas, who became increasingly strained and difficult to work with. In 1834 he sailed to Honolulu—never to be seen alive again.

His mangled torso was found in a cattle trap on July 12 of that year. The cause of death became a matter of speculation, with some suggesting his short-sightedness had contributed to a tragic accident, while others suggested suicide or even murder. Although coming to a grisly end, the contribution made by Douglas to botany cannot be underestimated. He sent several thousand species back to Britain and single-handedly introduced 24 plants. And the name of the Perthshire lad who went on to become a national figure lives on through the Douglas fir.

Newsletter Online

Our monthly newsletter The Desert Highlander can now be accessed online at our website arizonascots.com. If you are online please visit that site for your monthly newsletter and we will be able to discontinue using the regular mail. Let us know if you are viewing on the website and we will be able to produce fewer paper editions and save a few trees and a little postage money.

Tartan Day

Tartan Day is celebrated on April 6—a special time for Scots in Canada and the United States to honor the Scots who have helped to make both countries great. In Canada it has been celebrated since 1993, with America following suit in 1998. The date April 6 was chosen as this commemorates the date that the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320. The Declaration of Arbroath was a declaration of Scottish independence, and set out to confirm Scotland’s status as an independent, sovereign state and its use of military action when unjustly attacked. A small excerpt states, “Man has a right to freedom and a duty to defend it with his life.” This declaration is important in American history because the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on that Scottish document.

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



Saturday, April 23, 2010
For information call 928-567-0535
Vendors - Athletic Events - Re-enactors
Children’s Area - Scottish Food

A Tribute to Joe Leonard
By Len Wood

Mr. Arizona Pipe Band, Joseph M. Leonard, passed away on Thursday, March 11, 2010. That’s all his obituary mentioned but there was so much more to say. I met Joe when I joined the Phoenix Scottish Pipe Band, at 14. Joe promptly took me under his wing as he did for countless young pipers and drummers. He was responsible for acquiring my first set of bagpipes. Some 45 years later, when I reminded him of that, he kindly said, “that was the best money ever spent.” Over the years his friendship never wavered, even as we both moved to opposite ends of the country. We stayed in touch and managed to get together many times at the highland games, frequent home visits, even at the Atlanta airport when Joe was rushing from one terminal to another to visit his son in another city. The conversation was always started about piping, but then went to his son, Scott and two grandchildren who he loved so much and was so proud.

Joe got his start in pipe bands as a Bass and Tenor Drummer in the Syracuse Scottish Pipe Band in the late 40’s/early 50’s. After moving to Arizona to take a job with Motorola Company as a graphic artist, he helped start the Phoenix Scottish Pipe Band. Together with 13 other pipers and drummers, he put up posters at local grocery stores in an effort to build a pipe band in Phoenix. Finally, on July 4, 1958, his dream of a performing pipe band came to fruition, in the Prescott Rodeo Parade. An old newspaper clipping shows the band marching in Prescott in Mackenzie tartan kilts. Joe was in the mid section playing tenor drum, along with his younger brother Bill.

Joe later played the Bass for the pipe band, an unfortunate place to be in 1965, when in the Parada Del Sol Parade, Scottsdale, AZ, a horse threw its rider and charged through the band. Joe was struck by the horse, thrown up in the air and landed on his back. Recuperation was slow for Joe and when returning to the band, he picked up the mace becoming the band’s new drum major, and he was great as a D/M. In that position, he welcomed a number of new drum majors, giving them a start and instruction to go on to bigger things. Joe was never stingy with his advice and council. One of his stars students is Kevin Mac-Heffner Conquest, one of today’s top five drum majors in the world. No envy there, he was proud of Kevin’s accomplishments.

A long time friend of Joe’s is Ian MacRae. Joe was Ian and Rita’s best man at their wedding. Ian too was a founder of the Phoenix Scottish Pipe Band, a snare drummer and later a piper in the band. They maintained their long friendship over some sixty years and in all those years he never saw Joe angry, lose his temper or utter a swear word. In his words, “Joe was a gentle giant.”

Joe’s art work was magnificent. Each of his friends has something, a print of dancers, pipers, cowboys, Navajos or Apaches. Every piece is full of detail, right down to the line in the feathers. He was well know among Arizona native communities, where he was known as “One who walks alone.” His paintings have the small signature of a single feather with sets of footprints following it. Joe was quite proud of that, and well he should be. Years ago, my wife Kathy found two of his prints at a yard sale. She couldn’t get them home fast enough and to bet Joe to sign them. On each he wrote, “To Kathy, my long time best friend, Joe Leonard.” She was so proud of them. Joe went on to give prints to local pipe bands and Scottish societies for silent auctions and raffles, each signed with his best regards.

If Joe had a fault, it was his poor hearing. More than once, acting as drum major for Phoenix Scottish, Tempe Police, The Argyll’s or the Melbourne Pipe Band, he managed to lose his band when they turned off a parade route and Joe could not hear them leave. He was never angry about it, just embarrassed. Like everything else, he took it in stride.

Joe was also clever. My favorite story was a trip the band made to the White Mountain Apache reservation. The band actually marched through the town twice. The parade was that small; logging trucks, flat bed trucks with hoop dancers and the Phoenix Scottish Pipe Band, and the audience was great! That evening we went to dinner where the hostess asked for the number in our party and under what name. Joe gave the number - 10 and the name “Hunter.” Hunter, I asked? To which Joe replied, “never give ‘em your own name.” I have since used Hunter dozens of time and from now on, will think of Joe every time I do.

The man who walks alone leaves some pretty big footsteps to fill.

Len Wood is a member of the Caledonian Society of Arizona and pipe major of the Phoenix Pipe Band.

Joe Leonard was among the founding members of the Caledonian Society of Arizona. He worked tirelessly for many years to promote the society and increase its membership. He regularly attended the meetings until the past year when his health made it impossible for him. He will be sorely missed and long remembered. The Society extends its deepest sympathy to the members of his family and all his many friends. — The Editor


Coming Events
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

April Celebrations

Apr 2 Jim & Donna Groves—Anniv.
Apr 3 Johnny Trimble—Birthday
Apr 4 Danene Richardson—Birthday
Apr 5 Steven Smith—Birthday
Apr 5 Paul Bell—Birthday
Apr 10 William Reeves—Birthday
Apr 10 Charles McLane—Birthday
Apr 15 Terry & Joan Shelbourne—Anniv.
Apr 15 Sharon Naughton—Birthday
Apr 15 Frank Kempe—Birthday
Apr 16 Virginia Davis—Birthday
Apr 16 Michael McClanathan—Birthday
Apr 18 Beth Phillips—Birthday
Apr 19 Bob & Alma Anderson—Anniv
Apr 21 Glenda King—Birthday
Apr 21 Janice Bryson—Birthday
Apr 21 Leatha Ferguson—Birthday
Apr 22 Pam Allan—Birthday
Apr 22 Paige Macmillan—Birthday
Apr 22 Patrick & Rena McDonald—Anniv.
Apr 23 Robert & Vanne Cowie—Anniv.
Apr 24 Kim Duprest—Birthday
Apr 24 Pat Minnis—Birthday
Apr 25 Nancy Kaib—Birthday
Apr 26 Bobby Hoeck—Birthday
Apr 26 Ellen Martin—Birthday
Apr 26 Norman Lawrence—Birthday
Apr 28 Jerry Williamson—Birthday
Apr 29 Stephen Chernin—Birthday
Apr 30 Ann Fowler—Birthday

Know the Clans
District Tartans-History
By Gordon Teal & Philip Smith

District tartans have existed alongside clan and family tartan for centuries. District tartans were included on the earliest known lists of manufactured tartans, those of William Wilson and Sons of Bannockburn. The Wilsons were weaving and selling tartan in the Highlands even prior to the repeal of the Act of Proscription and continued to be a major supplier of tartan for well over a century. Their carefully preserved records give us invaluable insights into the history of tartan.

Some tartans first recorded as ‘district’ have been identified with a particular clan—the Breacan Glas of Badenoch is now the ‘Hunting MacPherson’, illustrative of the firm identification of territory with clan. A few patterns are still both ‘district’ and ‘clan’. The ‘Argyll’ was so identified by the Wilsons several decades before the same pattern in lighter colours was published as the ‘Campbell of Cawdor’.

The exact origin of tartan in Scotland is, however, simply unknown despite several centuries of research and a large amount of conjecture. The crossing of colour stripes in regular patterns by the weaver is not unique to Scotland nor is the style of weaving. In many folk cultures one finds the identification of tribe, clan or locale by unique patterns of stripes and colours on the body, on clothing or on accessories.

Tartan has been worn by the Highland Scots at least as far back as the sixteenth century, perhaps replacing older less colourful material. This ‘quaint’ costume was consistently mentioned by travelers who saw the Highlanders at home and by those who saw Scottish mercenary soldiers abroad. In the seventeenth century the Highland Scot, living in a mountainous wilderness and speaking a ’strange’ language, were as picturesque and savage to other Europeans (including southern Scots and the English) as were the Lapps or the Albanians. At that time travel in the north of Scotland was exceedingly difficult. There were almost no roads suitable for wheeled traffic north of Edinburgh. Conditions almost guaranteed that people who lived together in small communities in the shelter of the glens, isolated from other groups by water, mountains and barren moors, would be biologically related and sociologically cohesive. Identification was with place and people—and if transported from the place then kinship was with the people wherever they might be found.

In such a culture, tartan and the belted plaid were described by early writers as distinctively Highland. Martin Martin, a Gaelic-speaking Highlander whose work took him to the Outer Hebrides, wrote about 1695 in one of the first books on the region: Every Isle differs from each other in that fancy of making Plaids as to the stripes in breadth and colours. Those who have seen those places are able at first view of the man’s Plaid, to guess the place of his residence.
It is reasonable to believe that persons who lived in the same areas used the product of the same weavers, who in turn employed local dyes and preferences in their cloth. Traces of this may still be seen today in that the majority of older clan tartans from the west of Scotland are in blue, black and green. A number of clans in the northeast use variations of the same pattern of blue or black and green stripes on a red ground.

By the early 1700s the wearing of tartan had spread south, perhaps spurred by the rising sentiment of Scottish nationalism and the Jacobite cause. Tartan was coming to be regarded as part of the Scottish national dress although the kilt itself at first remained the costume of the Highlander. Trousers, worn in both Highland and Lowland, were sometime tartan. It is at this time that references to tartan became more numerous, including association with place or clan.

The district tartan concept is truly old and probably more supported from a documented historical viewpoint than is the clan tartan. Even to this day there is a strong sense of place among Gaelic-speaking Highlanders; they will talk of “a Barra man”, “a Lochaber man”. Identity with place is clear in the Gaelic greeting, Failte do’ n Duthaich—Welcome to the country!


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 www.arizonascots.com

The Caledonian Society of Arizona
General Meeting Minutes

March, 11, 2010
President, Elizabeth Reich, called the meeting to order at 6:55pm in the Scottsdale Senior Center on Granit Reef Road. She led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance, and then asked for a moment of silence for The Flowers of the Forest.

Minutes: Asking for approval of the February Minutes, brought a motion from Kay Morneau and a second from Lisa Scott. The motion passed. The minutes were approved as written in the Newsletter.

Treasurers Report: Lisa Scott reported that currently we have about $43,000.00 in our account, but there are still many bills to settle. She will have a better feel for where we are next month.

Visitors: Mary Jo Ramsdell introduced two visitors, Gale Allen and Scott MacPherson.

Raffle: Alan Ramsdell called the winning numbers for the Door Prizes, and they were: #904, #912, #907, #906, #902, #911 and #913.

Announcements: (1)The Irish Faire and Parade will be Saturday, March 13 (2) The Mesa Caledonia Pipe Band will hold their Tartan Ball on March 27 in Mesa (3) The Daughters of Scocia will be holding a Tea at the Irish Cultural Center on March 28 from 2:00 to 4:00pm. Tickets are $5.00 at the door. Questions may be directed to Janet Grant—480-892-4749 (4) William Wallace announced that his cousin would be presenting a musical program on March 26 at the Irish Cultural Center. Julie has a CD out and it will be available there.

New Business:

(1)GAMES Most everyone knows that we were rained out on Sunday, but you may not know that we were hit very hard by wind damage also. Leading up to the disaster we were looking at an outstanding weekend. There were huge crowds on Saturday, and our Gate was excellent. The concessions did well and everything was looking great when we left Saturday night. By Monday morning we knew we were in a lot of trouble from the damage to our tents but more so because of the damage to the park. There were deep ruts from removing the equipment in the vendor area. We had damage to one golf cart during the storm, but the major problem was the torn up ground in the park area. To this end the ICC has offered us the use of their hall for a fund raiser in April. We hope to recoup a portion of the lost revenue. Lisa has estimated that we lost approximately $40,000.00 from Sunday. She plans to file with our Insurance for the damage to the park.

The Board met on Tuesday, March 9, 2010 and some of the business conducted at that meeting concerns the membership. After discussion regarding the Officer Slate which is going to change very soon, Jean Latimer made a motion, in accordance with Article XVI, Section 1, to change the By-Laws from two (2) Vice Presidents to one (1) Vice President and a new Board position of Games Chairperson. Jean Whyman gave the second and the motion passed. Article XVI, Section 2, requires that notice be given to the total membership-in-good-standing. This change will be voted on at our next meeting and you are encouraged to attend and vote on this issue. We recognize that the Games Chairperson needs to be a Board member, but the job is too BIG to double up with another office. Thus the necessary change. We also noted that we need to address some changes in Article III—Membership, because of the changes that have been made in thehandling of the Newsletter. This will take some time and we do not want to delay the officer change because we are on schedule to present a new Officer Slate by no later than the May meeting. In the past the membership responsibilities have been assigned by the President. We would like to make the assignment belong to a Board member—probably the Corresponding Secretary.

Our next meeting will be on April 8, 2010, in the Scottsdale Senior Center on Granite Reef Road. Please try to attend this special meeting with the By-Law change vote. It starts at 6:45pm.

There being no further business Jean Latimer made a motion to adjourn and it was seconded by Sue Wallace. The meeting adjourned at 7:55pm. Refreshments were served.

Important Dates in April
Apr. 4 Easter
Apr. 22 Earth Day
Apr. 23 Camp Verde Highland Games

  • The windiest spot in Scotland is the flat farming island of Tiree. The yearly average wind blows at 17.4 miles per hour.

  • Scotland’s largest county is Invernessshire stretching to 2,695,094 acres.

  • In olden days students arriving at Scots universities from their home in the country districts always brought with them a sack of oatmeal—to see them through the term. There is still a university holiday called “Meal Monday” marking the day when students were allowed to go home to replenish their meal sacks.

  • In olden days elders of the Scottish kirk or church were known as Bum Bailies. They earned their nickname because of their activity of patrolling the streets on a Saturday night to make sure everyone was ready for the Sabbath.

  • Oatcakes, Scots style, are flat savory biscuits made from oatmeal usually eaten with butter and cheese.