April 2013

In this Issue:

 National Tartan Day - April 6  Coming Events
 Tartan - What Is It, Who Wears It?  April Celebrations
 Those Pioneering Scots  Society Officers
 Know the Clans  

National Tartan Day - April 6

The National Holiday For All Scottish Americans

The first Tartan Day in the United States was observed at the national level on April 6, 1997. Previously, there had been observances by individual states, counties and other regional entities, but the year 1997 was the first time the observance swept across the nation. April 6 commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, which asserted Scotland's sovereignty over English territorial claims, and which was an influence on the American Declaration of Independence.

Many cities now celebrate Tartan Day with parades and other festivities to honor Scottish heritage. People of Scottish heritage are encouraged to wear their tartan to show that proud heritage.

Tartan - What Is It? Who Wears It?

Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colors. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland although it probably did not originate there. Tartan is often called plaid in North America, but in Scotland, a plaid is a tartan cloth slung over the shoulder as a kilt accessory.

Until the middle of the nineteenth century, the highland tartans were only associated with either regions or districts, rather than any specific clan. This was because like other materials tartan designs were produced by local weavers for local tastes and would usually only use the natural dyes available in that area. Chemical dye was non-existent and other dye materials were prohibitively expensive. It is generally regarded that "clan tartans" date no earlier than the beginning of the 19th century.

Many people only own and wear tartan with which they feel associated, be it through a clan, family, surname or military unit. Others choose their tartan only out of personal taste. Since the Victorian era, when wearing tartan became the "rage", authorities on tartan have claimed that there is an etiquette to wearing tartan, specifically tartan attributed to clans or families. This concept of the "entitlement" to certain tartans has led to the term of universal tartan, or free tartan, which describes tartan which, in the opinion of some, can be worn by anyone. Traditional examples of such are the Black Watch, Caledonian, and Jacobite tartans. Some tartan attributed to the British Royal Family are claimed by some to be "off limits" to non-royals. Even so, there are not rules on who can, or cannot, wear a particular tartan.

So, therefore, pick the tartan you want to wear because of your family surname, clan or just because you like the color and pattern.

The Pioneering Scots

Some say that Scotland's greatest export has been her people -- certainly they were part of a tradition of trade, enterprise and settlement noted as early as the days of William Wallace. (He wrote to the authorities in Hamburg in 1297 thanking them for their protection of Scottish merchants.) Of course, many Scots who settled abroad to improve them lot never became famous. After all, there are now over 40 million people worldwide who claim Scots ancestry. However, there were also many pioneers and people of energy—and it is some of their names we recognize today. Some are enshrined in place names and geographical features, others remembered for their inventions or the place they hold in history. No less than 13 presidents of the United Sates have claimed Scots ancestry, while 25 signatures on the Declaration of Independence were also of those of Scots descent.

Some pioneering stories are just downright extraordinary. Take Indian Peter for instance. Real name Peter Williamson (1730-1799), he was born in Aboyne in Royal Deeside, Scotland. One day, visiting his aunt in nearby Aberdeen he was kidnapped on the quayside and then shipped across the Atlantic and forced to work as a slave in Philadelphia. Later, he settled in Pennsylvania but was captured by Cherokee Indians and forced to work for them. He didn't seem to have a lot of luck. Though he escaped and enlisted in the army he was then captured by the French but taken back to the UK in a prisoner exchange. Eventually he triumphed over his adversities, successfully taking legal action against his original kidnappers, and opened a coffee shop in Edinburgh. He even started Edinburgh's postal service. The whole bizarre tale became the inspiration for the movie "A Man Called Horse" (1970).

And who would have guessed that a small red-haired boy who grew up in difficult circumstances in Glasgow would go on to be a bodyguard of Abraham Lincoln, found a world-famous detective agency and be the origin of the phrase "private eye"? But such was the story of Allan Pinkerton (1819-1884). He emigrated to the U.S. In 1842, founded Pinkerton's Detective Agency in Chicago in 1852 and as Head of the Secret Service foiled a presidential assassination plot in 1861.

A name familiar to most Americans is that of Scottish pioneer John Muir. From Dunbar in East Lothian, he left with his family for the U.S. in 1848 when he was ten years old. The family farmed in Wisconsin. Muir was well educated and went on to establish a huge reputation as a naturalist and writer, and most importantly, a pioneer of nature conservation. He is associated with the creation of the Yosemite National Park and influenced President Theodore Roosevelt in establishing other National Parks. His life-long championing of wild places and wildlife merited his title of "Father of Our National Parks".

Muir was just one among many in this huge wave of emigration to the new nation. Fortunes were made by pioneers such as Dunfermline born Andrew Carnegie, a steel magnate. Meanwhile, the son of a poor tailor in north-east Scotland also became a millionaire. Bertie Charles Forbes went on to found the still high profile financial journal Forbes Magazine.

Canada also had its share of Scottish pioneers. After all, it even has a province called Nova Scotia (New Scotland) which became the first permanent North American colony north of Florida after King James granted Sir William Alexander territories there in 1621. Scots arrived there in great numbers and pushed west to the interior of the vast country. Canada has famous pioneers such as Alexander MacKenzie who blazed an overland trail to the Pacific in 1793 and Simon Fraser who explored the river that is now named after him to the to the west coast in 1808.

Scots did not just go westwards across the Atlantic. They went throughout the world and around the globe. Thomas Glover, born in Fraserburgh, Scotland, ended up in Japan and became involved with shipbuilding. He ended up associated with the founding of the giant Mitsubishi Corporation. Those pioneering Scots can be found everywhere.

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


This name is probably from the Gaelic MacMunn. MacMunn is an Anglicized form of Mac Gille Mhunna, son of the servant or devotee of St. Munnu. They appear to have been prolific in the area of the Ayrshire coast up to southern Argyll for centuries. They are associated with Clans Stewart, Lamont and Stuart of Bute. Like so many Gaelic names there is a myriad of spellings over the years.


MacAuley, is originally from Irish Gaelic for son of Amalgaidh. The name was found predominantly in Dunbartonshire. The name is sometimes spelled MacAlley, along with many other spellings. Old documents hold that the clan believed themselves to be from the stock of Clan Alpin, after King Kenneth MacAlpine, the first king of a united Scotland in 843 A.D. This would make them kin to the MacGregors and the MacKinnons. Another source has them as Norse, with the name MacOlaf similar to MacAuliffe


This family is descended from a small Catholic clan that fought on the side of Prince Charles during the Jacobite rebellion. As a result they fled to County Armagh in Ireland where they adoped the Irish name McArdle which come from "son of Ardghal", meaning "super valour".

Coming Events

April 6 Tartan Day
April 11 Monthly Meeting
April 20-21 Las Vegas Highland Games
April 27-28 Sacramento Valley Scottish Games
May 3-5 Prescott Highland Games
May 18 Rio Grande Valley (Albuquerque) Games

SOCIETY MEETING Regular membership meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ. Beginning at 6:30pm. Come join us or log on to www.arizonascots.com.

April Celebrations
If you 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 by email to anjrams@cox.net and it will be included in our Celebration list.

April 2 Jim & Donna Groves - Annivesary
April 10 Charles McLane - Birthday
April 12 Kari Machino - Birthday
April 12 William Ferris - Birthday
April 21 Glenda King - Birthday
April 22 Patrick & Rena MacDonald - Anniversary
April 22 Paige MacMillan - Birthday
April 24 Kim Duprest - Birthday
April 26 Bobby Hoeck - Birthday
April 28 Kathy & Gerald Ridlehoover- Anniversary

Caledonian Society Officers
Area Chairperson
President: (2012 – 2014) Wendy Hurley
Past President: (2010 – 2012) Jean Latimer
1st Vice President: Mark Clark
Games Chair
Jason Temple
Membership and Programs Chair Don Finch
Trustee: Mark Pelletier
Trustee: Andy Walker
Newsletter Editor: Jo Ramsdell