June, 2012

In this Issue:

 President's Message  Coming Events
 June—Time for a Wedding  June Celebrations
 Why You Need to Know the Scots-Irish  Know the Clans
 Glossary of Scottish Words*  Caledonian Society Officers
 Sergeant Mohr*  General Meeting Minutes
* These articles are re-run from May issue  Important Dates in June

President's Message

Once again we have had a successful Shepherd’s Pie Contest with five different entries to taste. Our judges chose Donna Donahue as the winner, May 6, 2012. That lady can cook, for sure. She just happens to have a catering business, so our competition has set the bar a notch higher.

We also presented a slate of new Officers for 2012 thru 2014, and they will be installed at the June meeting. I do hope you will come out and show your support for their willingness to serve. We are ALL volunteers, remember. There has been an emergency since the May meeting and Inara Tabir is unable to serve, due to an ongoing health issue. We have been blessed to have Michael Fraiser step up and volunteer to do the job, and so we will install the Officers accordingly.

Friends, it is time for me to say “Good Bye” and as I do so, I wish the new incoming roster of Officers my very best wishes for the next two year term. We have a great group of members for this task and I know they will take us into the future with much vigor and grace. Thank you all for your help and support during my term. I am looking forward to seeing you in the months ahead.

Jean Latimer, Past President

June — Time for a Wedding

In all “airts and pairts” throughout the world, blushing brides will be heading to the altar this month to say “I do”. Scottish weddings of yesteryear had their own unique style and flavor, with costumes and traditions that varied from one part of the country to another.

A few centuries ago on and around the Shetland Islands, when a couple had been seeing a lot of each other, it was assumed that a marriage was on the cards, and preparations by the couple, let’s call them Sandy and Morag, were solidly adhered to.

Like most men on the islands, the groom would own a piece of land which had been passed down through generations. He would also own some sheep, cattle or horses. The potential bride would be a gifted knitter, a diligent housekeeper, and she would probably own a spinning wheel.

Sandy would follow the age-old ritual of asking for Morag’s hand. This meant a Saturday evening visit to the home of Morag’s parents. Sandy would present a bottle of usquebae (whisky) to Morag’s father and after a good few drams out of the bottle, he would then ask for Morag’s hand in marriage.

Once acceptance was given, the only subject discussed was the actual day of the wedding—no consultation as to preparations, guests, wedding service, or any financial settlements. The following Saturday aged relatives of the couple assembled at Morag’s house and deliberated the “Contract”. At this time the program for the wedding was prepared, along with lists of invited guests. The banns (proclamations of the intended match) were called on the Sunday, breaking the news to those at church. The following Monday the couple, accompanied by their best man and bridesmaid, visited the home of every person they wished to invite to the wedding. This task over, everyone was prepared for the wedding planned to take place the following Thursday. Most weddings took place on a Thursday, and usually during mid-winter.

The day of the wedding would start around nine o’clock in the morning and would be held in one of the largest barns in the district. The young couple and the bride’s parents would be there to welcome the guests for the wedding breakfast. Sandy would be available to dispense a “welcoming glass” (a wee dram).

After breakfast the bride withdrew to dress for her wedding. She would place a cloak or warm shawl over her dress because she had to walk, one, two or even three miles to the church in the cold, often freezing conditions. The guests formed into a line for the march to the church; each young male, acquiring a previously chosen partner by boldly entrusting her with his handkerchief or gloves. The column was led by the groom, who was accompanied by a married relative—his aunt or sister perhaps. Behind him came the bride on the arm of a married relative—an uncle, or brother, followed by the best man and the bridesmaid.

Amazingly, none of the parents of the couple accompanied them to the church. An unwritten law had it that the best man was always the brother of the bride, or next relative if she had no brother. The bridesmaid was always the groom’s sister or closest relative.

The wedding service was very brief. During this short service, no ring was brought forth, although the groom did have one in his pocket. You see, the fun part of the day happened later when they were at home. This is when he secretly attempted to slip the ring on Morag’s finger without being observed by any of the guests. Any person who captured this romantic deed was destined to be the next to walk down the aisle.

On the return trip from the church the procession would have the newlyweds at the front. Upon their arrival back, the couple were met by the parents and Morag was cordially welcomed by Sandy’s parents as a new family member.

The large barn, cleaned and decorated, was the scene of the wedding festivities. A lunch was available for the wedding party and the dancing started and continued until tea-time. After a hearty evening meal, the singing, dancing, and playing of cards would continue through the night until the early hours of the next morning.

Beggars and vagrants in the area would hang sacks outside the door of the barn, returning later to find them literally loaded with sweetmeats placed there by the guests.


Why You Need to Know the Scots-Irish
By James Webb

Combat Marine, novelist and Emmy-award winning journalist, James Webb was Navy Secretary under President Reagan. This article is adapted from his book “Born Fighting” published by Broadway Books.

Going south on I-80, the mountains are beautiful, but I am watching my own ghosts; tough, resilient women on buckboard wagons, hard men with rifles walking alongside, and kids tending cattle as they make their way down the mud trail called The Wilderness Road. It is here in the Appalachian Mountains that my people, the Scots-Irish, settled after leaving Ireland and the north of Britain in the 18th century. They tamed the wilderness, building simple log cabins and scraping corn patches in thin soil. And they pressed onward, creating a way of life that many would come to call, if not American, certainly the defining fabric of the South and the Midwest, as well as the core character of the nation’s working class.

They came with nothing and these people are too often misconstrued and ignored when America’s history is told. They did great things. And, in truth, the Scots-Irish (sometimes also called the Scotch-Irish) are a force that still shapes our culture.

The Scot-Irish brought with them a strong, bottom-up individualism, largely inventing America’s unique populist-style democracy. They gave us at least a dozen Presidents, beginning with Andrew Jackson and including Chester A. Arthur, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt (through his mother), Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan (again through his mother) and Bill Clinton.

Their unique soldierly traditions formed the backbone of the country’s military. In the Civil War, they formed the bulk of the Confederate Army and a good part of the Union Army as well, and in later wars they provided many of our greatest generals and soldiers. Stonewall Jackson comes to mind, as do Grant, George S. Patton, Sgt Alvin York, the hero of WWI and Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of WWII.

They gave us many brilliant writers—Mark Twain, Horace Greeley, Margaret Mitchell and Larry McMurtry. Their style of folklore became one of the truest American art forms. They brought us a horde of thespians, including Ava Gardner, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Robert Redford and George C. Scott.

They are probably the most anti-authoritarian culture in America, conditioned from birth to resist. (It is interesting that Rosa Parks, whose refusal to move to the back of the bus sparked the modern Civil Rights movement, speaks of her Scot-Irish great-grandfather.) And yet they are known as the most intensely patriotic segment of the country as well.

The Scots-Irish are a fiercely independent, individualist people. They are the molten core at the very center of its unbridled, rebellious spirit. They helped build this nation from the bottom up. They were born fighting and if the cause is right will never retreat.

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


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.

Coming Events

Jun 2 Games—Modesto, CA
Jun 14 Membership Meeting at ICC 6:45pm
Jun 23-24 Games—San Diego, CA
July 4 Independence Day (US)
July 7-8 Games—Flagstaff, AZ
July 12 Membership Meeting at ICC 6:45pm
Aug 4-5 Games—Denver, CO

June 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 anjrams@cox.net and it will be included in our Celebration list.

June 2 Tim Wallace—Birthday
June 3 David Hawkins—Birthday
June 5 Gordon & Dee McClimans—Anniversary
June 10 Alan & Mary Jo Ramsdell—50th Wedding Anniversary
June 12 Don & Bobby Hoeck—Anniversary
June 30 Vanne Cowie—Birthday


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


Wilson is one of the most common surnames in Scotland, it definitely makes the list of the top ten. Simply put, it is son of Wil or Will with Will being a short form of William. Going back at least 500 or 600 years ago when surnames were not fixed with the common folk, William was a very prolific name and would have been found in all hamlets, town and farm towns. The sons of these Williams took for their surname their father’s name and became known as Wilson.

There is a Wilson tartan. Wilson is also a sept of Clan Gunn. That doesn’t mean that everyone bearing the surname Wilson is part of the Gunn clan. To verify this, one must do a family history research.

Kelly / MacKelly

The surname Kelly has more than one origin in Scotland, the first are in relation to land bearing the names Kello, Kelle, Kellie, Lelloch, Kellock and Kelly. One of these lands is in Angus, near the town of Arbroath. Kellie is the name of lands in Fifeshire, near Wemyess (pronounced Weems). Kello is the name of lands that lie in the borders region of Berwickshire, while Kellock is a region in the Braemar district of Aberdeenshire.

The descriptive name of MacKelly is from MacCeallaich meaning son of the “Warlike.” This would seem a relatively generic personal name for a person of the Gael in times past and so made the name rather common.

The above notes of the name apply only to its origin in Scotland. But there was much travel between Scotland and Ireland over the centuries and the names were carried along in both directions. Family research is necessary and often surprises are uncovered. Many a person has found that their “Irish Granny” was from Scotland or vice versa.

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
(2012 – 2014)
Wendy Hurley 480-389-8692
  Past President:
(2010 – 2012)
Jean Latimer 602-867-6507
Membership and Program Chair: Don Finch 480-895-4665
  Vice President:
Membership & Programs
Mark Clark 480-650-2740
Highland Games Chair:
Jason Temple 602-920-5445
  Vice President:
Highland Games
Jason Temple 602-920-5445
Treasurer: Alex Cheek 614-397-1936
  Assistant Treasurer,
Games Finance:
Sue Wallace 480-329-4298
Corresponding and Recording
Michael Fraiser 702-477-9995
  Trustee: Mark Peletier 623-455-8076
  Trustee: Andy Walker 623-670-0933
Newsletter Editor: Jo Ramsdell 480-969-8400


The Caledonian Society of Arizona
General Meeting Minutes

May 10, 2012

The President called the meeting to order at 6:45pm and requested that Mark Pelitier lead the Pledge of Allegiance; then a moment of silence for The Flowers of the Forest.

On a motion by Mark Pelitier and a second by Jean Whyman the minutes of the April meeting were approved, as written in the Desert Highlander, our on-line Newsletter.

Alex Cheek gave us a treasury report: Society account, $2,250.00. The Games account is still at about $50,000.00 but with several outstanding statements to be checked out.

There was no other business and so the meeting adjourned for refreshments and visiting with new members. The new Board had Mark Clark present out-going President Jean with a bouquet of flowers and a word of thanks. It was a great evening of fun, food and drink!

Respectfully submitted,
Jean Latimer/Inara Tabir, Acting Secretary

Important Dates in June
May 1 May Day
June 17 Father's Day
June 20 Summer Solstice
May 21 Victoria Day (Canada)
May 28 Memorial Day

Happy Father's Day!