May, 2012

In this Issue:

 President's Message  Coming Events
 May Day  May Celebrations
 Sergeant Mohr  Know the Clans
 Glossary of Scottish Words  Caledonian Society Officers
 Fabric of a Nation  General Meeting Minutes
*It's been a busy month, and the Desert Highlander is scant this month—two stories in this issue are reruns.  Important Dates in May

President's Message

Dear Fellow Scots,

This has been the most exciting month or two. Our Games were fantastic! I am truly sorry if you missed them, because we had a lot of changes and lots of new things to share with all of you. First of all we brought the Athletes out of their “usual” corner and put them in the very center of the layout. What an improvement in the viewing area. These wonderful athletes really deserve to be given center stage. The vendors were grouped differently so we could handle the lunch time rush for food and still have room for people to shop at the merchandise vendors. The Daughters of Scotia had a lovely Tea Room set up and I hear they almost sold out everything—nothing like homemade sweets. The Highland Dance competion was held against the background of the lake; really very pretty. The sound of the Pipes and Drums were calling to the folks as they made their way in from the South parking lot. The beautiful British Cars were so nicely displayed with plenty of room, and they co-existed with the kids area, which was busy both days. The Wicked Tinkers and Brother supplied great entertainment and the “Pub” in the main tent was a huge hit. Glenmorangie had a bigger tent this year and still sold out at all of their tastings. Opening Ceremonies were held in the Athletic circle which gave more viewing space and Christopher Yates did an outstanding job as MC. It was a great show with a larger crowd, and we are already making our plans for next year. Mark your calendar now for March 23 & 24, 2013.

Moving ahead to May 6, 2012, which is the date of our 3rd annual Shepherd’s Pie Contest. Be sure to sign-up early—as soon as you see the notice here on the web site, with rules etc. Hope to see you there for another Celtic event.

Jean Latimer, President

May Day
There is an ancient Celtic custom of washing your face in the morning dew on May 1st. It is supposed to help you look young.


Sergeant Mohr— The Scottish Robin Hood

After the final bloody encounter on Culloden Moor in April 1746, many who had fought for Prince Charles Edward Stuart fled into the mountains. Among them were the famed Seven Men of Glenmoriston—two MacDonalds, three Chisholms, a MacGregor and a Grant—who formed themselves into a band of guerrilla fighters based in a hidden cave high above Glenmoriston. From there they carried out savage reprisals on anyone who was found helping the Hanoverian authorities.

The fugitive Prince was brought to their cave in July for protection after wandering on the West Coast for two months seeking a ship. They shot stags to bring the Prince meat, and raided government baggage wagons to bring him wine and fresh clothes. They gave shelter to the Prince until word came of government troops encamped nearby, and although they were prepared to fight it out, they dared not risk the Prince being captured or killed.

The Seven persisted in their escapades to the fury of the military, but as time passed and the Jacobite cause seemed finished they gradually abandoned their wild life and were allowed to return home under the Act of Indemnity in 1752.

Some others took to the mountains to begin an outlawed life as cattle lifters and robbers and because they were on the government wanted list. These “caterans” regarded themselves as resistance fighters. Bolder ones attacked government patrols while others raided Hanoverian supporters, particularly parish ministers.

No other cateran or resistance fighter achieved such fame as Sergeant Mhor, who became a folk hero in the Highlands. His full name was John Dhu Cameron and his immense height and build gave him the nickname “Mhor, (big or great). After Culloden he took to the mountains where he wandered by himself for a time, until he eventually found some other fugitives and gathered around him a band of outlaws.

Sergeant Mhor knew he was a marked man and that if caught he was certain to go to the gallows. He decided to carry on the Jacobite struggle and made it a point of honor only to rob from Hanoverian supporters. He became a hero to ordinary folk by giving them stolen cows and goods, and protecting them from other less scrupulous marauders.

He also had a Highlander’s sense of honor and a soldier’s sense of duty and his boast was that he never shed blood. Unfortunately, while driving stolen cattle out of Braemar, his band was overtaken and attacked and in the skirmish that followed, one of the pursuers was killed. The sergeant was horrified, ordered the stolen cattle to be given back and a sum of money handed over to the dead man’s family.

In August 1746 Sergeant Mhor led his band of outlaws out of the mountains, and by devious routes they made their way down into the prosperous northeast lowlands to the house of Alexander Garden, a well-known Hanoverian supporter. This was a remarkable achievement, for the wearing of Highland garb was now banned and military patrols were everywhere. The laird was robbed and kidnapped and with a troop of dragoons hot on their trail, Mhor’s band slipped back into the hills. The soldiers searched for a week but they found no Highlanders, only Mr. Garden left tied up on a moor but otherwise unharmed.

Sergeant Mhor’s exploits were now passing into legend and his influence extended into the Lowlands. Mhor carried on his defiant way of life for seven years, resisting all attempts to capture him. He often would hide out at a friend’s barn nerar Rannoch. But in 1753 his friend, Dunans, had become poverty-stricken and had succumbed to a substantial reward offered by the authorities. One night while sleeping in the barn, Sergeant Mhor’s claymore, pistols and sword were removed stealthily and his false friend signaled to waiting Redcoats. The soldiers overpowered Mhor and he was taken under heavy guard to the Tolbooth at Perth.

He was charged with the murder of the man in the raid on Braemar, various other thefts and being a common thief. He was found guilty and sentenced to be fed on bread and water in Perth Prison until his execution.
John Dhu Cameron, otherwise known as Sergeant Mhor, was punished by hanging on November 23, 1753. He was deeply mourned by the people of the Highlands, not only for his bravery and chivalry but because he always refused to surrender.

Glossary of Scottish Words

Agley: to go awry after much planning or scheming
Canny: shrewd
Cantraips: frolics, pieces of mischief
Douch: prudent, sober minded
Clash: to shut violently
Gawsy/Gausie: jolly, showy
Gied it Laidy: sang it vigorously, enthusiastically
Jinglen: the dregs left at the bottom of a whisky glass…so presumably a Jingler would be one who drains his glass to the last drappie.
Knacksy: quick at repartee, clever
Lichtsome: pleasant, delightful
Tee-Name: Nickname


Fabric of a Nation
A Colorful History of Tartan

Since April 6 is National Tartan Day, this seems like the appropriate time for a little history of one of the most important symbols of our Scottish heritage.

There is a little tartan flag on the moon. Commander Alan Bean, pilot of Apollo 12’s module, planted it there in 1969, just a few months after Neil Armstrong had stuck an American Stars and Stripes into the same lunar surface. Both astronauts were proud of their Scottish roots. The flag serves as a powerful symbol of a small nation that has always traveled well.

Tartan has survived a Royal ban, witnessed some of the greatest battles in modern warfare, and added color to fashion catwalks. To trace the origins of tartan takes us far from the Highlands of Scotland to the arid desert of western China and the Silk Road, the ancient caravan route through the heart of Asia. Here in the shifting sands of the Taklamakan Desert in Xinjiang is where the earliest tartan remnant was found.

Takia Makan means “go in and you’ll never come out” but thankfully sometime around the 16th century a Swedish explorer, Sven Heden, managed to survive the hazardous desert crossing and emerge from the other side having made an incredible discovery. He stumbled across the burial place of well preserved mummies who, despite being in China, had the facial characteristics of Caucasians. The textiles found in their final resting place were beautifully woven from wool yarn, amongst which were flawlessly preserved intricate tartans dating between 1200 and 700BC bearing a striking similarity to Celtic tartans from northwest Europe. Celts are thought to have come originally from the southeast of Russia around the Caspian Sea, heading westwards to Britain and France. Were these tartan clad people early Scots? After this appearance, tartan seemed to disappear from the history books until the 16 century.

It probably always existed as clothing in the wild Highlands of Scotland—but few visitors ventured that far north to see the “Scotch savages” who donned it. The odd Scottish mercenary who went gallivanting in Europe at the time was noted for his outlandish gear—and even then there was much gossiping among ladies of the day as to what, if anything was worn under their colorful garb.

The word tartan is thought to come from the French “tiretaine”, in use at this time referring to a half-wool, half-linen plaid design of Scottish origin. Also a German woodcut dating from about 1631 shows the closest example of the complex patterns of what we now recognize as tartan.

Contrary to modern belief, tartan patterns have no traceable historical links with specific Scottish families or clans—but the emergence of the romantic, politically rebellious image of tartan and its association with clans springs from arguably the most tragic event in Scottish history—the Battle of Culloden in 1745.

Bonnie Prince Charlie landed in Scotland that year in an attempt to reclaim the throne for his father James Stuart, the Old Pretender. Charlie raised the Scottish clans in rebellion against the British monarch, King George II. The Jacobite uprising and Charles’ decision to adopt Highland dress as the uniform for his army at Culloden resulted in tartan becoming the symbol of the Jacobites. A host of Highland clans in traditional dress swelled the ranks, wearing different tartans from the many different areas of Scotland. The clans at Culloden gave the first hint of tartan being used as a clan uniform. This only emerged because each community had their own weaver who produced the same tartan for those living in close geographical proximity to each other.

A weaving firm, Wilsons of Bannockburn, continued to make and supply tartan, but sadly, eventually went out of business. Another firm scoured the Highlands in search of old patterns to re-introduce under new names if the original district or clan could not be determined. The Cockburn Collection of named samples, compiled by Wilsons between 1810 and 1820, can be found today in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow.

True to the age it was a pair of chancers, claiming they were the long lost grandsons of Bonnie Prince Charlie, who supplemented Wilsons’ collections with a highly suspect yet ultimately valuable tartan tome of their own. In 1822 two brothers, John Hay Allen and Charles Stuart Hay Allen, fooled a gullible Edinburgh society into believing they had discovered an ancient manuscript detailing the patterns of various can tartans. They were greatly feted and in 1842 published the grandly titled “Vestiarium Scoticum” containing color illustrations of 75 tartans. The book was highly successful among clan chiefs and weavers. The contents of it were never questioned, although it was later proved to be a giant hoax. The vast majority of the “old” clan tartans had been dreamed up by an illustrator. Despite the scam, the book has played an important role in the history of Scottish tartans and today many of the dubious tartans have become official clan tartans.

The Scottish Parliament has now created the first ever Scottish Register of Tartans. This will build on the work of the registers currently held in private hands—and which contain over 6000 tartan designs—to create a definitive independent and permanent national register of tartan The project is a unique collaboration between the Scottish Government, the Scottish tartan industry, The Court of Lord Lyon King of Arms and the National Archives Scotland.

Coming Events

May 4-6 Games—Arlington, TX
May 6 3rd Annual Shepherd’s Pie Contest
May 10 Membership Meeting at ICC 6:45pm
May 12 Games—Prescott, AZ.
May 19 Games—Albuquerque, NM.
May 26 Games—Costa Mesa, CA.
Jun 2 Games—Modesto, CA
Jun 14 Membership Meeting at ICC 6:45pm
Jun 23-24 Games—San Diego, CA

May Celebrations
We are attempting to up-date our Celebration list to add information for new members and remove those from the list that are no longer relevant. If you are a dues-paying member or just a “friend” of the Society and would like your special date recognized in our monthly newsletter, we need to hear from you. Please let us know your correct birthday and anniversary information on our voice mail – 602-431-0095 – or email it to and it will be included in our Celebration list.

May 2 Susan Wallace—Birthday
May 6 Kay Morneau—Birthday
May 8 Gib & Helen Hall—Anniversary
May 22 Redford Sanderson—Birthday
May 25 Dennis Kavanaugh—Birthday
May 27 Robert McGregor—Birthday
May 31 James Weber—Birthday
May 31 Jennifer & Ian MacFarlane—Anniversary


Know the Clans
"What's in a Name" By Ron Dempsey

May 8th is the anniversary of VE Day. VE is the short form for Victory in Europe, a day of elation when the WWII struggle in Europe came to a victorious end. The Second World War was a major chapter in the battles that were a part of history over the course of two thousand years. The military in many forms have been part of the fabric of society since the Celtic tribes lined up to battle with the incoming Roman fleet. Names of the various officers in the army as in other occupations became part of the vast array of surnames that people still bear today. Examples are Sergeant and Marshall.

Marshall is of particular interest in Scottish history. Literally, the name means horse servant. The French equivalent Mareschal came to mean a farrier. Each aristocrat needed the services of a Marshall, including the King’s household and so like other royal dignitaries the Marshall became a part of the inner circle of the King’s council. A 12th century Phillip Marshall married the heiress to the Keith-Humbie family and thus became the ancestor of the great clan Keith. This family became known as the Earl Mareschals.

An elevated family such as this would be the source of many bearing the name over five or six centuries, however, many more would owe the origin of their surnames to the more modest sources such as the village marshals who pursued the actual trade.

Another court position similar in nature to Marshall was the office of the Constable. The name breaks down to “count of the Stable”, in other words the person in charge of the cavalry. In Scotland, the title translated into the person who was responsible for the King’s safety. The surname also suggests that the people bearing it might be descendants of peace keepers who held the office of constable in hamlets and towns, not necessarily from a noble family.

An army wasn’t an army unless it had weapons and the makers and bearers of weapons impacted on Scottish surnames. Archer and Fletcher are both names that were connected with bows and arrows. Alabaster or Arblaster is a name for a bowman with a cross-bow. Pike and Pyke come from a long spear-like weapon.

Wars through the centuries have impacted countries and nations in many different ways, including the names we go by.

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, or call 602-431-0095

Caledonian Society Officers

President: Jean Latimer—602-867-6507
Vice President:
Games Chair: Jason Temple—602-920-5445
Games Financial Officer:
Treasurer/Operation: Alexandra C. Cheek
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

April 12, 2012

The meeting was called to order by the President, Jean Latimer at 6:20pm due to the previous meeting not finishing on time. Jean asked Albert Kerstetter, Commander of S.A.M.S. Unit 48 to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. This was a first time visit by Albert and his Vice-Commander Roy McClymonds, and they signed on the Unit as new members. Now if the Officers change for any reason, the membership may be maintained under the S.A.M.S. #48 heading. Very nice and welcome to you all!

Jean then called on Don Finch to introduce the new members and guests that we signed up during this year’s Games weekend. They are as follows: Jennifer and Bruce Wujcik, Tom and Ginni Caldwell, Brendan Linn, Peggy Reynolds, Denise Treece, Jeremi Stoker, Dan Hitzler, Ken Grant, James Orvis, Eleia Nessler, and David McBee. Philip and Sandra Cattelwole and Kenneth Close are guests of Wend and Richard Hurley, visiting from the UK. Welcome to each of you and I hope we spelled your names correctly. Door prizes were won by a couple of the new members.

MINUTES of the last meeting were approved as written in the Desert Highlander—our online Newsletter, through a motion by Susan Wallace and a second by Wendy Hurley.

Alexandra Cheek reported that the current bank totals were $55,000.00+ for Games and $2,060.00 for Operations. However there is still considerable activity on both accounts from the Games.

OLD BUSINESS: Wendy Hurley made a motion to accept Alexandra C. Cheek as our new Treasurer. Dan Miller gave the second and with no discussion the motion passed unanimously.

Jean presented the Slate of Incoming Officers and explained that the vote would be taken at the May meeting. They will be installed at the June meeting and begin their duties as of July 1, 2012. They are: President, Wendy Hurley, Vice-President, Mark Clark; Games Chairman(VP), Jason Temple; Treasurer, Alexandra Cheek; Asst. Treasurer/Games, Susan Wallace; Secretary, Inara Tabir, Trustees, Andrew Walker and Mark Pellitier.

There being no further business, Jean called on Sue Wallace to share a history lesson on the importance of Tartan Day in the USA. Following the program, we were adjourned to enjoy a wonderful cook out and visitation time with the new members.

Respectively submitted,
Jean Whyman, Acting Recording Secretary

Respectfully submitted by
Inara Tabir, Recording Secretary

Important Dates in May
May 1 May Day
May 13 Mother's Day
May 19 Armed Forces Day
May 21 Victoria Day (Canada)
May 28 Memorial Day

Happy Mother's Day!