July 2013

In this Issue:

 A Scot to Remember  Coming Events
 The Battle of King's Mountain  July Celebrations
 Who Am I?  Society Officers
 Know the Clans  Historic Painting For Sale

A Scot to Remember:
David Burnes, Washington's Obstinate Scot

On the present site of the White House, the U.S. Treasury, the Office of American States, a part of the Mall, the Ellipse and Pennsylvania Avenue, there originally was a farm owned by an astute Scot, David Burnes.  In a letter addressed to Thomas Jefferson on March 31, 1791, George Washington called him "the obstinate Mr. Burns."  This characteristic phrase was based on the landowner's refusal to sell his property to the government, defying the planners of the brand-new capital.

In July 1790 Congress agreed that the location of the federal city should be "on the River Potomac."   Under the supervision of three commissioners, the project included the construction of public buildings, streets and parks.  But acquiring the land was not an easy task.  At the time, the small area of the future Washington, D.C. consisted largely of farmlands owned by 19 families holding patents dating back to the early 1700s.  For decades, these properties had been changing hands through marriage, inheritance or sale, usually within the same small circle of people, several of them Scots or Scottish Americans.

David Burnes was the most important and outspoken of the pugnacious proprietors.  He possessed some 600 acres where he and his ancestry had lived for three generations, and would not be easily persuaded from his property, even for the "national good."  By all accounts, Burnes was a respected citizen who served as magistrate and justice of the peace, managed his farmlands and enjoyed his family life.  He had been a second lieutenant during the Revolutionary War. 

In the years 1790-91, numerous efforts to persuade Burnes to sell had failed.  He even built fences around some of his property to protect his crops and hinder the construction of streets.  But following the untimely death of his son John and in failing health himself and (some say) because he was approached in the "right manner by President Washington" Burnes agreed to sell his acreage.  He is said to have received the highest price per acre paid by the government to any of the landowners.

The deed conveying his property to the commissioners was the first on record in the new capital.  Besides granting Burnes and his children a large fortune, the document provided that the streets of the federal city would be laid out in a pattern not to interfere with his home.  Burnes      died a wealthy man  in 1799 seven months before the death of George Washington.  His house was preserved by his daughter and stood until 1894.  At the time, it was the oldest existing building in Washington.  An attempt to save Burnes' home from destruction was one of the first popular efforts at historic preservation in the nation's capital.  Only a plaque on a tree at the former site of the Burnes' home remains as a reminder of one of the city's great Scots.

The Battle of King's Mountain:
It was Scot vs. Scot in this Revolutionary War Battle

The Battle of Kings Mountain, South Caroline, October 7, 1780, was an American triumph, an English disaster and a Scottish tragedy.  It proved to be a fatal blow to British strategy and triggered more setbacks that led to the surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown, ending the Revolutionary War.  The fight at Kings Mountain has been labeled a Scottish civil war.  The American patriot forces were frontiersman, largely Scots-Irish, descendents of Ulster immigrants  with a strong enmity towards the British government.  The army they defeated was made up of Scots Highlanders, marching for the House of Hanover. 

No group ever placed greater emphasis on family and clan loyalty than the Gaels of Scotland.  Yet the turmoil of 1745 had led to division and only a remnant of clansmen fought for the House of Stuart at Culloden.  The most powerful clan in Scotland, Campbell, fought decisively for King George against their old enemy, Stuart.    Men who stood with Prince Charles Stuart were there because their own chiefs had taken the field.  They fought for their chief and battled the Campbells rather than an entity called England. 

The rape of the Highlands after Culloden forced many to emigrate but hundreds of Highland men found no recourse but service in Seidar Dearg, the red-coated English army.  The English had enough sense to allow men of the kilts to serve in their own regiments.  Many served in America and campaigned against French and Indians.  Most survived and their reward was land, homesteads in return for loyalty.  Many Scots did well in commerce in the British colonial system.  Still, as colonist many Highlanders tended to be as freedom-demanding as other Americans—up to the point of out-and-out separation.  When Revolution came, Highlanders honored their pledge.  Many followed their leaders into Loyalist forces, although some returned to Scotland or went to Nova Scotia. 

When Cornwallis ordered Major Patrick Ferguson to lead a Loyalist force into the South to organize local Tories and defeat resistance, the majority of his troops were Scottish.  Meanwhile, Colonel William Campbell and his Virginia militia joined Colonels Isaac Shelby and John Sevier with their quickly assembled North Carolina militia, all of them seasoned mountain men to form an American militia of over 1000.  Ferguson's mistake was choosing a battlefield which gave cover to the patriot militia and allowed them to take advantage of their accurate rifles.  Moreover, the Loyalist weapon of choice, the bayonet, would be next to useless in heavy woods such as the frontiersmen would have selected themselves.  The frontier army lost 28 killed and 64 wounded.  Loyalist losses were around 200 killed, over 160 wounded and 698 prisoners.  Major Ferguson was one of the dead. 

After the battle the frontier army awaited word on the formal disposition of prisoners.  Then, as quickly as it had been formed, the army simply disappeared.  Frontiersmen returned to their homes and families.  Prisoners found it easy to escape and those that did not were later exchanged.  Word of the victory at Kings Mountain radiated through the region and galvanized patriot support.  Strong militia groups sprang up in North Carolina and Virginia.

Today the battlefield is a national park with an 83 foot white marble obelisk erected in 1909.  Colonel Campbell served in the Washington House of Delegates and died in August 1781.  As for Patrick Ferguson, he is remembered for heroism and honor.  His grave is marked by a cairn and monument that was erected in 1930 which reads:  From the Citizen of the United States of America In Token of Their Appreciation Of the Bonds of Friendship and Peace Between Them and the Citizen of the British Empire.

Who Am I ?

I was born in Scotland sometime in the late 4th century.  At age 16 I was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland where I was made a slave.  When I escaped and returned to Scotland, I became a priest and decided to become a missionary to Ireland.  I spent the rest of my life spreading Christianity in that country where I became a beloved figure.  Who am I?

(Answer at the end of the Newletter)

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

Clan MacLaurin / Laubruinn

Septs of Clan MacLaurin:
Lawrence Lawrie, Lawson, Low, Lowe,MacFater, MacFeat, MacPatrick, MacPhater, Paterson, MacGrory, MacRory

The MacLarens have possibly two origins; one from Argyleshire and the other from Perthshire.  Other thinking has the Argyle elements moving to Perthshire.  This may be borne out by the coat of arms which shows sailing vessels. The name translates as "son of Laurence", and in its translation MacLaubruinn should be pronounced "MacLauren", however, the MacLaren pronunciation has become the norm. 

Clan myth has the clan descended from Lorn, son of Fergus MacEre, one of the first kings of Dalraida in the 6th century.  Dalraida was originally in the Inner Hebrides and Ulster, prior to the Scots moving into all of the Scottish highlands.  A more documented source for the clan's origin is in Laurence , Abbot of Achtow.  Achtow is in Balquhidder.  Like Clan Gregor, the MacLarens found themselves under pressure from more prolific clans and from the Crown itself.  Their lands were traded out from under them in more than one generation.  At one time they were even given to the Murrays. 

When the powerful Campbell clan made headway into adjacent MacGregor lands, they in turn invaded the MacLarens in Balquihidder.  The MacLarens looked for support from the Campbells who only gave it if they would recognize the Campbells as their overlords—a fact which never came to pass.

As with other clans down through Scottish history, the MacLarens fought in many famous battles.  They were at Bannockburn as well as Killiecrankie.  And they were out with Prince Charlie in 1745.  They also fought along with the Stewarts of Appin against MacDonald of Keppoch over a dispute of "lifted cattle", which appears to have been a national pasttime in Scottish history.

Historic Painting For Sale

A painting of Mary, Queen of Scots and Rizzo titled "First Meeting of Mary Stuart and Rizzo" by American artist David Neal is offered for sale.  This 13" x 18" (unframed)  26" x 30" in original frame won a Gold Medal Award at the Munich Royal Academy in 1877.  It is offered for sale--$95,000.  Contact Catherine Lance at 602-980-253i6 or c.a.lance@cox.net

Coming Events

July 1 Canada Day
July 4 Independence Day
July 6-7 Monterey CA Games
July 11 Membership meeting - A Musical Summer Night
July 20-21 Flagstaff Gemes
August 10-11 Colorado Scottish Festival, Highland Ranch CO
August 31 Pleasanton Games (San Francisco)
September 12 Membership meeting - Shepard's Pie Night
October 10 Membership meeting - Scotstoberfest

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 7 pm. Come join us or log on to www.arizonascots.com.

July 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.

July 3 Britt & Claudia Wallace - Anniverary
July 14 Kathy Beatty - Birthday
July 17 Greg Duprest - Birthday
July 19 Claudia Wallace - Birthday
July 21 Jean Whyman - Birthday
July 24 Richard & Anne Thornton - Anniversary
July 30 Dee McClimans - Birthday
July 31 Mary Carroll - Birthday

Who Am I ?

St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland 

Caledonian Society Officers
President: Mark Clark
Past President: (2010 – 2012) Jean Latimer
1st Vice President, & Membership Chair Don Finch
Secretary: Thom Von Hapsburg
Treasurer: David McBee
Games Chair
Jason Temple
Trustee 1: Mark Pelletier

Newsletter Editor:

Jo Ramsdell