October, 2011

In this Issue:

 President's Message  Coming Events
 Old Blind Dogs Concert  October Celebrations
 Flowers of the Forest  Know the Clans
 St Andrews Day  Caledonian Society Officers
 Did You Know?  General Meeting Minutes
 Significant Scots  Important Dates in October
 Henry Sinclair  

President's Message

Friends, if you missed our wonderful Celtic concert by the Tannahill Weavers, I am truly sorry! They were awesome musicians. HOWEVER, you get another chance to enjoy some authentic Scottish music because The Old Blind Dogs will be at the Irish Cultural Center (ICC) on Friday, October 7, 2011. The tickets are available on Brown Paper Tickets. Do hope to see you there. Daughters of Scotia sold hot dogs and baked goods and the ICC set up a bar, so we had a great Celtic evening of fun.

This past month was not one of our better ones in the business end of things. The Board meeting had to be cancelled due to not having a quorum. The General meeting was a little better as we had some of our newest members show up and we were blessed with an outstanding performance by two of Elizabeth’s Premier dancers. They both danced beautifully and Elizabeth explained how they are graded. It was very enlightening to learn about Scottish dancing and to appreciate how hard these young ladies work to achieve perfection.

We are working on having a St. Andrew’s celebration on November 30, 2011. This is a new gathering for us and we are very excited about it. It will be held at the ICC and will include food, music and fun for everyone. St. Andrew’s Day is partly a religious day and also a celebration of country; much like “Canada Day”—July 1st or our own July 4th. The day is being celebrated around the world and we are going to set it up to sync with the one in Edinburgh. How exciting is that? We will be addressing the NATIONAL DAY of Scotland portion of this holiday. Come on down and join us.

Jean Latimer, President

Old Blind Dogs Concert

The Caledonian Society
Proudly Presents

Performing live!

Since forming in the early 1990’s, Old Blind Dogs have stood on the cutting edge of Scotland’s roots revival. The band has developed its own trademark style with an energetic mix of songs and tunes. Dynamic percussion, polished vocals, soaring fiddle and stirring pipes fuel the delicately phrased melodies and traditional songs.

Friday, October 7, 2011
The Irish Cultural Center
1106 N. Central Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona

Doors open 7pm
Concert 8pm

Tickets available via Brown Paper Tickets

Old Blind Dogs will also appear on Saturday, October 8 in Prescott at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 630 Park Ave., Prescott, AZ

Advanced tickets available at Celtic Crossings Pub at the Gateway Mall 928-771-1218.


Flowers of the Forest
The Celtic Community has lost a valued member. George O’Brien passed away in his sleep on August 29. George was the President of the Arizona Irish Music Society (AIMS), a member of the Irish Foundation of Arizona and had been a member of the Caledonian Society. He had been the Chairman of the St. Patrick’s Day Faire in the past. For fifteen years George contributed his time, efforts, expertise and talents to help to promote everything Celtic in Arizona. He will be sorely missed.

St. Andrews Day

St. Andrew’s Day is the feast day of Saint Andrew. It is celebrated on November 30. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and his day is Scotland’s official national day. In 2006 the Scottish Parliament designated St. Andrew’s Day as an official bank holiday. The Scottish Government’s flag-flying regulations state that the Flag of Scotland (The Saltire) shall fly on all its buildings with a flagpole. The Union Jack is also flown if the building has more than one flagpole.

Did You Know?

Eas-Coul-Aulin, near Kylesko in West Sutherland Scotland is Britain’s highest waterfall at 658 feet.

The highest sea cliffs on the British mainland, Clo Mor Cliffs near Cape Wrath in North West Sutherland, reach 920 feet.

Loch Ness contains the largest volume of water in the UK, certainly big enough for a monster.

Loch Morar, near Mallaig, is Britain’s deepest loch.

The infamous Massacre of Glencoe (1692) when Campbell militia fell upon their MacDonald hosts, shocked Scotland because it betrayed a code of hospitality—the Campbells had been billeted with the MacDonalds. Not all were slain, some escaped to tell the tale.

Fort George near Nairn is the finest example in Europe of the 18th century military fortification. Built to ensure there would be no further Jacobite uprisings, it has never fired a shot in anger.

Significant Scots

There are many Scots that are famous all over the world—Alexander Graham Bell and Andrew Carnegie for instance. But there are many more Scots who have contributed in some significant manner that most have never heard of. “Scotty” Allan Alexander Allan is one of this latter group. Allan helped put Alaska “on the map” when he started in 1908 the All-Alaska Sweepstakes, an annual dog-team race which aroused world-wide interest in that little-known part of the world. He developed a breed of dogs which served an active part in both World Wars.

When the First World War broke out, Scotty was commissioned by the government to gather one hundred dogs to be used in hauling supplies over the mountainous region between France and Germany. His K9 Army became well known and many of the dogs received decorations for valor.

Scotty was elected to the Alaskan legislature, and helped pass laws protecting the fisheries. Later he became an advisor to the Byrd Expedition

Henry Sinclair — The Scot Who Discovered America

On October 12 each year we celebrate “Columbus Day”. Everyone knows that in 1492 Christopher Columbus, and Italian discover America. Right? But in Scotland’s Rosslyn Chapel—and elsewhere—you’ll find a different story.

Clan Sinclair is intent on rewriting the history books and the evidence to support their claim gets more and more compelling. Among the many clues to the details of Prince Henry Sinclair’s epic eighteen-month expedition to the New World in 1397-1399 are the intricate stone carvings in Rosslyn Chapel, which include friezes of aloes and ears of maize. Unknown in fifteenth century Europe, the original plants must have been brought back from the New World and copied by the stonemasons, even though the chapel was built half a century before Columbus sailed to America. Rosslyn Chapel, in the town of Roslin, south of Edinburgh was built around 1446 by William St. Clair.

It is known that Henry returned to Scotland after staying with the indigenous Indians of Nova Scotia, who still have stories about a man who came across the sea on a floating island with three trees, or masts. Henry called the Indians “his beloved sons” or “Micman” in Gaelic; the Indians still use this name. This data, and much more, are offered as solid proof that that the expedition actually took place.

Niven Sinclair of London, England puts forward a number of points including:

  1. Before he left, Henry Sinclair made a number of dispositions of his lands, at least one of which was provisional on his dying without a male heir. This would suggest that he took his three sons with him on the voyage, as they would have been old enough to accompany a naval or military force.

  2. A map of the North Atlantic drawn up by the Zeno brother. Nicolo Zeno was Sinclair’s admiral and surveyed Greenland in 1393, succeeded by his brother Antonio who accompanied the expedition to the New World. The map was used for the next several centuries.

  3. The story of the expedition that Antonio Zeno wrote down and sent back to Venice which was subsequently published in 1558.

  4. An effigy at Westford, Massachusetts punched into stone which probably is of Sir James Gunn. It includes a clear representation of a medieval sword of a type used during the 13th and 14th centuries and definitely obsolete well before the time of Columbus.

  5. The Newport Tower in Rhode Island is probably the oldest stone building in North America. It is based on the plan of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem; its stone construction is similar in style to the Norse/Scottish building of the Western and Northern Isles. Every single measurement within the Newport Tower is based on the Scottish ell, which equals three Norse feet. Henry was certainly familiar with these round churches, as he had two of them in his own island principality at Orphir and Egilsay in Orkney.

Professor Roger McLeod of Lowell University has compiled a huge dictionary of Norse and Gaelic words which have been assimilated into the languages of indigenous people, particularly the Algonquin tribes along the Eastern seaboard.

This great and noble Scot, who followed in the wake of his Viking forbears almost 100 years before Columbus and who espoused the Templar ideal of chivalry and fraternity, has surely earned a rightful place in history.

Many important books have been written about Prince Henry Sinclair including Sword of the North by Richard White and Prince Henry Sinclair by Frederick Pohl.

Coming Events

Oct 7 Old Blind Dogs Concert—Phoenix
Oct 7-9 Highland Games
Ventura, CA
Oct 8 Old Blind Dogs Concert—Prescott
Oct 13 Membership Meeting
Nov 4-6 Tucson, AZ—Games
Nov 10 Membership Meeting
Nov 24 Thanksgiving
Nov 30 St. Andrew’s Day

October Celebrations

Oct 2 Bob & Diana Macfarlane—Anniversary
Oct 4 Darlene Funk—Birthday
Oct 7 Jennie Seglins—Birthday
Oct 7 Robert Goyer—Birthday
Oct 7 Robert & Eve Burns—Anniversary
Oct 7 Sara Morgan—Birthday
Oct 8 Steve Wylie—Birthday
Oct 11 Douglas Hilton—Birthday
Oct 11 John & Kathy Beatty—Anniversary
Oct 11 Michelle Hamilton—Birthday
Oct 13 Linda Hilton—Birthday
Oct 14 Richard MacTavish—Birthday
Oct 16 Bob Macfarlane—Birthday
Oct 18 Earl & Hope Singleton—Anniversary
Oct 20 Pete & Sara Morgan—Anniversary
Oct 22 Al Landeck—Birthday
Oct 28 William Redpath—Birthday
Oct 30 Toni & Andy Sarcinella—Anniversary


Know the Clans
Clan Maxwell
By Ron Dempsey

The Maxwells for over 500 years were a major family along the border of Scotland and England. Their story began in the early 12th century with a man called “Maccus” his Latinized name. He was more correctly ‘Max’ or ‘Macs’. A charter of Melrose Abbey indicated that Max was the son of Unwin or Alwyn. Max was a wealthy landowner in the vicinity of Roxburgh Castle. He died about the year 1152. However, his name has lived on in two places, one was the small town on the Tweed River called Maxton, from which the surname Maxton originates, and the other was a fishing pool at the confluence of Teviot and Tweed Rivers which became known as the village of Maxwellheugh.

Offices and titles held by Maxwell families over the centuries include Earl of Nithsdale, Earl of Morton, and Earl of Direlton. Maxwells were also Baron of Calderwood, Monreith and Pollock. Another title held by the Maxwells was Wardens of the West March of Scotland. This was a position which involved policing the border. The border Wardens was a cooperative venture with their counterpart on the English side to stop hostile raids form either side.

As in all major families in Scotland the Maxwells were subject to dispute with powerful neighbors. Their feud was primarily with the Johnstons.

Some of the septs of Clan Maxwell are Adair, Edgar, Kirk, Kirkland, Latimer, Moss, Polk, Pollock and Wardlaw.

The Maxwell motto: Reviresco (I grow strong again).

Society Meetings
Regular membership meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at 6:45 pm at the Irish Cultural Center located at 1106 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix. Come join us, or log on to www.arizonascots.com, or call 602-431-0095
Caledonian Society Officers

President: Jean Latimer—602-867-6507
Vice President:
Tim Wallace—602-740-0575
Treasurer: Joanne G.—602-431-0095
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

The Caledonian Society of Arizona
General Meeting Minutes

September 8, 2011

President Jean Latimer called the meeting to order and led the Pledge of Allegiance and called for a moment of silence to honor The Flowers of the Forest. We were pleased to have new members, Thom Von Hapsburg, Audrey Anderson and Jim Sullivan present.

MINUTES: Jean called for a motion to approve the minutes of the August meeting as written in the Desert Highlander. Dan Miller made the motion and Jacquelyn Sinclair gave the second. Motion passed.

TREASURERS REPORT: The Treasurers Report shows $7,554.84 in our account as of August 31, 2011. Jason Temple reported that the ticket sales were moving very slowly. Hopefully we will see an improvement soon.

Jean asked for some volunteers to join the Robert Burns Dinner committee. They want to have a least 12 members. She read the letter that was sent to 32 Presbyterian churches, based on the address labels prepared by Dan Miller.

The Emerald Society will be holding a Tribute to the first responders of the 9/11 disaster here at the Irish Cultural Center on Saturday evening.

Jason Temple is heading a committee to plan a St. Andrew’s gathering at the ICC on November 30. This will be our first run at doing this, so hope you will join us for another fun time.

While the dancers of our evening’s program were getting ready to perform, Jean shared an e-mail regarding what part Scotland played in the building of our railroad system and explaining how we got the tracks set at 4’ 8 l/2”.

The meeting was adjourned and we enjoyed the two premier dancers from the Arizona Highland Dance Academy and some refreshments provided by Dan Miller.

Respectfully submitted by
Jean Whyman, Acting Recording Secretary

Important Dates in October
Oct 10 Columbus Day (US and Canada)
Oct 31 Samhain (Halloween)