May, 2011

In this Issue:

 President's Message  Coming Events
 Mothers' Day  May Celebrations
 A Mothers' Day Poem  Know the Clans
 Book Report  Caledonian Society Officers
 The Pipes of War  General Meeting Minutes
 Caerlaverock Castle  Important Dates in May

President's Message

Greetings to Everyone.

I hope each of you had a Blessed Easter. We had a wonderful and different April 2011. As I pointed out last month, April is when we celebrate NATIONAL TARTAN DAY, and so we decided at last month’s meeting to celebrate Tartan Day with a “Thank You” party for our Volunteers. We had grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, salads, potato chips and dessert, plus sodas and water. We also had two very good bands, with great Celtic music from the CELTIC HOUSE BAND and KILTED SPIRIT. There were about 70 people in attendance and Shirley and Phil Blahak of British Cars held a fundraiser by selling off some of their old stock of shirts for $5.00. They gave the Society the entire profit for the evening, which amounted to $155.00. THANK YOU PHIL AND SHIRLEY. This was such a success that we plan to do it again next year.

On the actual Tartan Day, April 6th, I took my own advice and wore tartan—what a great response I got and it gave me the opportunity to talk to many, many people about the Society and the Games. I will definitely do that again next year also.

Start thinking about the 2ND ANNUAL SHEPHERD’S PIE CONTEST—coming up in June. No date has been set as yet. Let’s have a lot more folks sign up to participate this time around.

Enjoy the Merry Month of May!
Jean Latimer, President

Mothers' Day

In its present form, Mother’s Day was established by Anna Marie Jarvis, following the death of her mother Ann in 1905, with the help of Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker. A small service was held on May 12, 1907 in the Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia where Anna’s mother had been teaching Sunday School. But the first “official” service was on May 10, 1908 in the same church. Anna then campaigned to establish Mother’s Day first as a U.S. national holiday and then later as an international holiday.

The holiday was declared officially by the state of West Virginia in 1910 and the rest of the states followed quickly. On May 8, 1914 the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day and requested a proclamation. On May 9, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother’s Day.

In 1912 Anna Jarvis had trademarked the phrases “second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day” and created the Mother’s Day International Association. She was specific about the location of the apostrophe; it was to be a singular possessive, for each family to honor their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world. This spelling was used in the law making official the holiday in the United States.


I said a Mother’s Day prayer for you
To thank the Lord above
For blessing me with a lifetime
Of your tender love.
I thanked God for the caring
You’ve show me through the years,
For closeness we’ve enjoyed
In time of laughter and tears.
And so I thank you from the heart
For all you’ve done for me
And bless the Lord for giving me
The best mother there could be.
—Author Unknown


Book Report

Glencoe: The Infamous Massacre 1692 By John Sadler

The traditional view of the Campbell massacre of the McDonald Clan, one of the most emotive chapters in Scottish history, is that the Campbells conspired with the English to murder their local rivals. But in John Sadler’s new book he reveals that this was not the case—that the real cause was a mix of incompetence and overzealousness on the part of a handful of English army officers who exceeded their orders. Sadler’s reinvestigation has yielded valuable new insights into why the order was given. The book is available from Casemate Publishing by calling 610-853-9131 or visiting

The Pipes of War
By Bowen Pease

When the Duke of Cumberland was making preparations to meet Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden, he just escaped making one of the greatest tactical mistakes of his fighting career. Pointing to some of the pipers of the clans supporting him, the duke asked testily what the men were doing with their “bundles of sticks.” “I can get them much better implements of war,” he said.

But his aide-de-camp sprang to the defense of the pipers. “Your Royal Highness,” he protested, “cannot get them better weapons. They are the bag-pipers, the Highlanders’ music in peace and war. Without these all other instruments are of no avail, and the Highland soldiers need not advance another step, for they will be of no service.” Cumberland was too good a tactician not to recognize the psychological value of such “weapons of war” so he agreed to let the pipers join in the fight. Perhaps he had read the lines of the anonymous poet who wrote:
Its martial sounds can fainting troop inspire
With strength unwonted and enthusiasm fire.

The pipes came to enthuse and enhance the natural feelings of the Highlander. Before the battle, he felt a strange nervous excitement, called by ancient writers “crithgaisge” or “quiverings of valour.” This was followed by an overpowering feeling of exhilaration and delight called “mircath” or “joyous frenzy of battle.” It was not pandering to blood-lust but an absorbing idea that both the warrior’s own life and fame and his country’s good depended on his actions.

The harp was originally the natural musical instrument of the Highlanders but its strains were too soft and melting for the noise and clash of battle. The notes of the pipes spoke to the men in a language they recognized—that honored their deeds and those of their ancestors

From ancient times, the Scottish bards helped to inspire the Highland warriors and work them into a frenzy. Before a battle, they would pass from clan to clan, giving exhortation and encouragement, helping to rouse the feelings of the men. But the pipes were more strident and they came to be established as military instruments that could be heard above the noise and tumult—helping to keep the enthusiasm alive. At the end of the battle, bard and piper played their part, both to celebrate the deeds of those who survived and honor the souls of the dead. It was said that by bestowing such honor, death itself was robbed of it terrors.

Historically, the playing of the pipes had begun long before their introduction into Scotland. In fact, it is not too fanciful to say that Caesar’s legions marched to the rhythm of the bagpipes and that the piper was a man of some consequence in the Roman army. There is a statue of an unknown Roman piper—a legionary—that occupies a niche in Hadrian’s Wall between the Tyne and the Solway.

But when were the pipes first heard, rousing the spirits of the Highlanders? By the beginning of the 15th century, they had superseded the war song of the bards. And there is the tradition of the Clan Menzies—though questioned by many authorities—that the pipes played their part in the battle of Bannockburn in 1314, celebrated by the lines:
The Menzies pipers play so gay
They cheered the clan in many a fray.

In 1411, nearly a century after Bannockburn, Alexander Stewart defeated Donald of the Isles with his 10,000 men in a battle described as “the bloodiest every fought in Scotland.” And although there is no direct reference to the presence of pipers, one of the oldest pipe tunes, “The Battle of Harlaw,” was composed around this date.

Sir Walter Scott’s writings are, of course, fiction—but many of his stories are partly based on fact. In his description of the battle on the North Inch of Perth in 1396, pipers are cited as stimulating the clans to desperate feats. They then apparently threw away their instruments and rushed at one another with their daggers. Scott went on to write, “The piper of Clan Quhele was almost instantly slain and he of Clan Chattan mortally wounded.” Scott goes on to say that the Feadan Dubh or Black Chanter, which the piper of Clan Chattan used, was in the possession of Cluny MacPherson, the chief of his clan.

In historical records, the first mention of military bagpipe music is given in accounts of a clan battle in Glenlivet in 1594. However, it was not until about 1699 that serious historians gave pipers the status of warriors. In 1641, the Earl of Lothian wrote to his father that they were “well provided with pipers.” In the following year, there were regular regimental pipers, the Royal Scots Fusiliers being the first to have them.

There is little doubt the pipes were considered instruments of war by both the British and the Scots. When the Hanovarians were suppressing the Jacobite rebellion, a piper by the name of James Reid was captured. In response to his plea that he was not a participant in the battle, the courts decided that he was as guilty of carrying arms as if the pipes had been a claymore—and he received the same punishment.

The march and beat of a Highland regiment has always been peculiar to itself and this, in a greater part, is thanks to the bagpipes. The Scots have always been fiercely proud of their soldiers and the public loyalty always given to local regiments is not unlike that given to a football team today. In modern wars the pipers have continued to play their part. It can now be said with complete confidence that as long as there is a British army, there will be pipers. Throughout the centuries, they have earned the respect of the world in both peace and war.

Caerlaverock Castle
For centuries Caerlaverock Castle has stood guard over the border between Scotland and England. Built in an unusual triangular shape and set in the middle of a wide moat it is one of the country's most spectacular fortresses.

The story of Caerlaverock, near Dumfries, is deeply interwoven with that of the Maxwell family who built it and own it to this day. Records of the family date back to early 12th century Roxburghshire where Maccus, son of Undwin, was granted estates at Melrose by the king. He also built a church at Maxton. However, it was his grandson Sir John De Maccusewell who chose Caerlaverock as the principal seat of the family in 1220 following another grant of land.

It was here, behind ever more impressive fortifications, that the Maxwells remained for hundreds of years despite a series of sieges. When King Edward I of England pitched an army of 3000 against the castle in 1300, it managed to resist for a while, even though there was a garrison of just 60 men.

Later conflicts often revealed the Maxwells to be astute politicians, assuring their own survival through turbulent times by swearing loyalty to whoever seemed to offer the best prospects for security. By the 17th century the family's fortunes reached a peak when as a staunch supporter of Charles I, Robert Maxwell was created the First Earl of Nithsdale in 1634. He went on to build a fine new house within the walls of his own castle. In this case the Earl's political judgment proved flawed as the country collapsed into civil war. Despite this he resisted a Covenanting army for 13 weeks in the summer of 1640 before being forced to surrender.

Afterwards the castle and residence fell into elegant decay. Visitors were attracted to it as a romantic retreat, among them was Robert Burns who carved his name on the gatehouse in 1776. Now in the care of Historic Scotland, the Caerlaverock Castle has many visitors enjoying the exhibition on siege warfare, cafe, picnic area and shop.

Coming Events

May 7 Highland Games
Prescott, Arizona
May 12 Membership Meeting
June 9 Membership Meeting
June 2nd Annual Shepard’s Pie Contest (date not set)

May Celebrations

May 1 Nelsa Mullen—Birthday
May 2 Susan Wallace—Birthday
May 6 Marilyn & Mickey Veich—anniversary
May 6 Kay Morneau—Birthday
May 8 Gib & Helen Hall—Anniversary
May 9 Monte & Jerry Lou Patterson—Anniversary
May 9 Leslie Grant—Birthday
May 11 Norma Wallace—Birthday
May 13 Roderick & Margaret Pressley—Anniversary
May 16 Barbara Montgomery—Birthday
May 17 John Glasgow—Birthday
May 17 Adam & Cherise Beatty—Anniversary
May 18 George O’Brien—Birthday
May 19 Wade & Danene Richardson—Anniversary
May 20 Nita Gilbreath—Birthday
May 20 Helen McMaster—Birthday
May 20 Pete Morgan—Birthday
May 21 Glenda & Craig Averill—Anniversary
May 22 Redford Sanderson—Birthday
May 23 Tommy Thompson—Birthday
May 24 Cathy Reid—Birthday
May 25 Dennis Kavanaugh—Birthday
May 25 John Tennyson—Birthday
May 27 Robert MacGregor—Birthday
May 28 Candence Hankins—Birthday
May 29 Bobby Gray—Birthday
May 30 Frederick & Ann Ferguson—Anniversary
May 31 James Weber—Birthday
May 31 Wally Straughn—Birthday
May 31 Jennifer & Ian MacFarlane—Anniversary

Know the Clans
District Tartan: Fort William
From District Tartans by Gordon Teall & Phillip Smith Jr.
District Tartan: Fort William

Fort William takes it name from a stone fort built at Inverlochy under William II of Scotland (III of England) who reigned from 1689-1702. It replaced an earlier temporary structure erected by General Monck. Prior to the building of "Fort" William the settlement was known as Maryburgh. The fort was one of several government fortifications along the line of the Great Glen, others being Fort Augustus and Inverness. Permanently garrisoned during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, these forts were intended to assist in the pacification of the clans. The Gaelic name means simply "The Garrison".

Today Fort William is a small town on Loch Linnhe at the western end of the Caledonian Canal. It is popular with tourists and has a number of industries. The nearby mountains, dominated by Ben Nevis, provide both minerals and hydro-electric power and during the winter months ski-ing. The town is the home of the excellent West Highland Museum, which has many interesting exhibits relating to the history of the area. Fort William is linked by rail to Glasgow by the scenic West Highland Line, which extends westwards to Mallaig. This northern section is the route for nostalgic steam-powered express trains which are very popular with tourists.

The Fort William district tartan was first included in Wilsons of Bannockburn 1819 Pattern Book. The tartan colors are mostly gray and black with a thin green stripe.

Caledonian Society Officers

President: Jean Latimer—602-867-6507
1st Vice Pres:
Tim Wallace—480-821-6163
Treasurer: Lisa Scott—602-218-6645
Games Chair: Jason Temple—602-920-5445
Recording Sec: Jean Whyman—602-956-6424
Corresp. Sec: Kay Morneau—480-503-0341
Trustee: Alan Ramsdell—480-969-8400
Trustee: William Wallace—480-838-7055
Past President: Elizabeth Grant—602-509-1146
Newsletter Editor:Jo Ramsdell—480-969-8400

Society Meetings

Regular membership meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Irish Cultural Center located at 1106 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix. Come join us, or log on to or call 602-431-0095

The Caledonian Society of Arizona
General Meeting Minutes

April, 2011

There was no business meeting held at the April Membership Meeting due to our National Tartan Day celebration and “Thank You” party for the volunteers who helped at the 2011 Games & Gathering.

Important Dates in May

May 1 May Day
May 1 Beltane
May 5 Cinco de Mayo
May 8 Mothers Day
May 21 Armed Forces Day
May 23 Victoria Day (Canada)
May 30 Memorial Day Observed