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February 1, 2011 09:48 - February Highland Games & Events

Not too many events are scheduled, which makes each one a little more special. If you’re close by, go, get out of the winter doldrums [written during an ice storm in Texas, ugh].

The pipes, if nothing else, should get your blood stirring. Plus those beautiful tartans a-swirlin’ in the kilts, should help awaken those foggy winter brains.

  • February 2, Seattle, Washington ~ Mastery of Scottish Arts Concert with world class performers on the pipes, drums, and fiddles, plus dancers for a day of fun and celebration

  • February 8, Berwick, Victoria, Australia ~ Berwick Highland Gathering

  • February 12, Paeroa, New Zealand ~ Paeroa Highland Games

    Massed Bands courtesy Paeroa Highland Games

    Axeman’s Chopping Carnival, for all experience levels from the novice to some of New Zealand’s premier axemen and women will compete, including the Trow family from Ngatea

    Axemen Competition courtesy Paeroa Highland Games

  • February 14, Mt. Barker, South Australia, Australia ~ Mt. Barker Caledonian Society Highland Games

  • February 18 to 20, Long Beach, California ~ Queen Mary Scottish Festival
    Events include a Dart Tournament and the Plaidpalooza IX piping concert

    The Queen Mary on Parade courtesy Queen Mary Events

  • February 18 to 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ~ Mid-Winter Scottish and Irish Music Festival

  • February 19, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada ~ Winnipeg Scottish Festival

  • February 19 to 20, St. Paul, Minnesota ~ A Scottish Ramble
    This year’s theme is "Nothing’s Cooler Than Kilts in February".

    Nothings Cooler Than Kilts in February courtesy Scottish Ramble

    Among their events are seminars, with past themes about The Book of Kells, the Scottish Independence Movement, and Mary Queen of Scots

    Muskets & Pikes Presentation courtesy Celtic Heritage Productions

  • February 21 to 22, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania ~ Lewisburg Celtic Days

  • February 26 to 27, Mesa, Arizona ~ Arizona Scottish Gathering & Highland Games

    In 2010, the First Annual Shepherd’s Pie Contest was a new event. Here’s the winner and a link to her winning recipe.

    Alison Glenn, First Place Winner courtesy Caledonian Society of Arizona

    Alison’s winning Shepherd‘s Pie Recipe.

  • February 28, Green Cove Springs, Florida ~ Northeast Florida Scottish Highland Games & Festival

For more detailed information about the listed events, go to

Tomorrow, the Macarthurs’ who founded Australia’s wool industry

February 2, 2011 07:52 - The MacArthur Clan Part XVI ~ John & Elizabeth Macarthur

When the second governor of Australia, John Hunter, arrived in 1795, he found a fellow Scotsman, John MacArthur (1767-1834, raising crossbred Bengal and Irish sheep. By 1796 MacArthur had imported Merino sheep. He and his wife are considered the founders of the Australian wool industry.

John Macarthur courtesy Wikipedia

This stamp commemorates the centennial date of his death.

John Macarthur Commemorative Stamp courtesy Wikipedia

As a soldier, John rose to Commandant at Parramatta, receiving land grants at Rosehill, naming his property Elizabeth Farm in honor of his wife. John also became paymaster to the New South Wales Corps and director of public works.

Though disliked for his coarseness and drive, the family was excluded from society. John eventually became one of the most powerful man in Australia. In 1805, the British government sent William Bligh to be the 4th governor. This was after his infamy on the HMS Bounty. He arrested John MacArthur. Due to many reasons, Major George Johnston, another Scotsman, relieved Bligh of his governorship, released MacArthur, and deported Bligh back to England.

To avoid arrest for his role in the 1808 Rum Rebellion, John first sent his son Edward to England with John’s version of the incident. Edward also took the first bale of Australian wool to London. Desperate for wool due to the Napoleonic blockade, the bale sold for a record price, beginning the shipment of Australian wool to England.

John fled to England. Refusing to promise ‘good behavior’ John remained in England until 1817. During this time, Elizabeth oversaw the family interests in New South Wales. This included supervising the washing, baling, and transport of wool to England, establishing the farm as a reliable supplier of quality wool. She also improved their flock through selective breeding.

While Elizabeth organized and produced the wool, in England, John used his flair to promote the Australian wool industry.

1817 finds John back in New South Wales, planting the first vineyard in Australia. In the 1820’s John and his sons established thoroughbred horse breeding on the continent.

Elizabeth Veale MacArthur (1766 - 1850) was the first soldier's wife to arrive in New South Wales. Being an educated, articulate woman, her letters are a important record of Sydney and colonial life. . Elizabeth's respectability and charm was in contrast to her husbands disputatious nature and meant that she and her children retained a good social standing despite John's many controversial actions in the following years.

Elizabeth Macarthur courtesy Wikipedia

As stated above, Elizabeth became a powerful resource in her own right.

The Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, named in her honor, is the largest Center of Excellence for the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, employing 200 scientists.

Tomorrow, James MacArthur, American actor…

Tomorrow, the 3rd, I will be traveling through the winter storm area of Texas and don't know if I'll be able to post the blog. So I'm posting it today.

February 3, 2011 07:58 - The MacArthur Clan Part XVII ~ James MacArthur‘s Famous Family

American actor, James MacArthur, was the adopted son of actress Helen Hayes (1900-1993) and playwright Charles MacArthur (1895-1956).

Charles MacArthur courtesy NNDB

Though he didn’t inherit their genes, their strength of character has shone through in his films and personal life.

Granted his acting career got a jump start with famous mother, Helen Hayes, who came to be called the First Lady of the American Theater.

Helen Hayes in Stage Door Canteen courtesy Wikipedia

His father Charles MacArthur is best known for his play, The Front Page, which was based in part on his experiences at the City News Bureau of Chicago.

In the film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, 1994, Matthew Broderick portrayed MacArthur. The film depicted members of the Algonquin Round Table, a group of writers, actors, and critics who met almost daily from 1919 to 1929 at Manhattan’s Algonquin Hotel.

Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle courtesy Wikipedia

Helen Hayes Brown MacArthur is one of only 12 actors who have been awarded an Emmy, a Grammy, and Oscar, and a Tony Award. Her best known film, 1932, A Farewell to Arms, was Hemmingway’s novel about Italy during World War I.

Helen Hayes in A Farewell To Arms courtesy Wikipedia

Beyond her abilities as an actress, she always struck me as one her earned your respect, as this quote shows,

From your parents you learn love and laughter
and how to put one foot in front of the other.
But when books are opened
you discover you have wings

Helen Hays

Do you remember Lady Bird Johnson’s "Beautify America" program? She advocated limiting billboards along America’s highways and the planting of native flowers. Due to her efforts, the interstates in Texas are absolutely beautiful in the spring.

In this same vein, in 1982 she and Helen Hayes founded the National Wildflower Research Center in Austin, Texas The center’s goal is to protect and preserve North American native plants and re-introduce native plants into planned landscapes.

Getting back to the Charles MacArthur family, with such strong influences in his life, James MacArthur was almost duty-bound to be successful, which is a topic for tomorrow…

February 4, 2011 11:25 - The MacArthur Clan Part XVIII ~ James MacArthur, Actor

James MacArthur (1937-2010), American actor, was probably best known for his role as Danno Williams on the TV series, Hawaii Five-O

James MacArthur Hawaii Five O courtesy Wikipedia

As stated yesterday, with Helen Hayes for a mother, in his younger years James was almost a shoe-in for acting roles. But even as a youth, he earned every role he portrayed. When working on stage, he would often work backstage as well, filling small positions appropriate for his age.

James MacArthur courtesy NNDB

In his own right, he was energetic and driven, as seen in a listing of his achievements in his final year of high school.

  • football guard
  • basketball captain
  • class president
  • student government
  • drama club
  • rewrote the school’s constitution
  • edited the school paper
  • played Scrooge in a local presentation of A Christmas Carol

During his college years at Harvard, he worked for Walt Disney, starring in 4 movies that are still popular classics
The Light in the Forest

James MacArthur The Light in the Forest courtesy IMDB

Third Man on the Mountain

James MacArthur Third Man on the Mountain courtesy IMDB


James MacArthur Kidnapped courtesy Wikipedia

Swiss Family Robinson

James MacArthur Swiss Family Robinson courtesy Wikipedia

James’ acting career spanned 49 years. At the time of his death, negotiations underway for a remake of Hawaii Five-O with MacArthur in a cameo role.

Monday, others of the MacArthur ilk..

February 7, 2011 06:07 - The MacArthur Clan Part XIX ~ And Others of That Ilk

With such strong personages as the Douglas MacArthur and John Macarthur families, plus Paul McCartney, it’s easy to overlook other noteworthy MacArthur’s. But they, too, have done the MacArthur’s proud, earning acknowledgement.

From the American Civil War is anti-slavery advocate, John MacArthur, an immigrant blacksmith from Renfrewshire. He owned Excelsior Iron Works in Chicago. When war was declared, he helped organize the Chicago Highland Guards militia unit. This MacArthur became one of the most able Federal commanders in the Western Theater.

John M. McArthur, Federal General courtesy Wikipedia


In 1968, Fortune magazine listed the thirteen richest men in the U.S., with seven being of Scottish ancestry. Among these was John D. MacArthur, perhaps the richest man in Illinois and Florida. In 1935, this son of a minister purchased the bankrupt Banker’s Life and Casualty Company for $2,500 and turned it into a wealthy giant.

Nicknamed the accessible millionaire, he conducted business from the coffee shop in the Colonnades Beach Hotel in Palm Beach. He also owned the hotel. While working, he wore a tartan sports jacket. John D. MacArthur was the largest land owner in Florida, holding one hundred thousand acres.

John D. McArthur courtesy NNDB

His wife, Catherine T. MacArthur (1909-1981), was a businesswoman and philanthropist in her own right.

Catherine T. MacArthur
courtesy MacArthur Foundation

John D.’s brother was Charles MacArthur, American playwright and screen writer, father of James MacArthur, of Hawaii Five O fame, and husband of Helen Hayes.


John McArthur Jr. (1823-1890), American architect, immigrant from Bladnock, Scotland, responsible for several key buildings in Philadelphia

John MacArthur, Philadelphia Architect courtesy Wikipedia


Kathleen McArthur (1915-2001), Australian artist, author, environmental activist, a protector of The Great Barrier Reef

Kathleen McArthur courtesy World News


Clarke MacArthur (b. 1985), Canadian hockey player

Clarke MacArthur, Toronto Maple Leafs courtesy Wikipedia

Ellen MacArthur (b. 1976), British yachtswoman

Ellen MacArthur, English Yachtswoman courtesy Wikipedia

Gale McArthur, All-American basketball player Oklahoma A&M;, 1948-1951

James McArthur (b. 1987), Scottish football player

James McArthur Footballer courtesy WebMedia Portal

Kenneth McArthur (1881-1960), South African marathon runner and Olympic Gold Medalist

Kenneth McArthur, Marathon Runner courtesy Wikipedia

Malcolm ‘Mac’ MacArthur (1862-1932), born in Glasgow, American baseball pitcher, one of only nine individuals in Major League Baseball history to be a Scottish native

Mac MacArthur, Baseball Pitcher courtesy Baseball Reference

Wally McArthur (b. 1933), Aboriginal Australian Rugby player

Wally McArthur, Australian Rugby courtesy Amazon

Wally McArthur ( 1912-1980), English footballer, Bristol


James MacArthur (1866-1906), playwright, critic, editor, Harper’s Publishing House

John R. MacArthur (b. 1956), American journalist, presently at Harper’s Magazine, grandson of John D. MacArthur

John R. MacArthur, Harpers courtesy Pedia View

Nancy McArthur, American children’s author


Business Leaders
J. Roderick MacArthur (1920-1984), American businessman and philanthropist. The J. Roderick MacArthur Foundation is known colloquially as "Little Mac," while his parents foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is known as "Big Mac".

The Roderick MacArthur Justice Center, called "a law firm like no other" is a nonprofit public-interest law firm at Northwestern University School of Law. They litigate significant issues including prisoner rights, the death penalty, and gun control.

Not only is Rod MacArthur, the son of a billionaire, he also is a self-made multimillionaire. He made his money in just a little more than a decade in the collector's plate business, as the genius behind the Bradford Exchange, the world's largest trading center for limited-edition collector's plates, the most widely traded art form.


John H. McArthur (b. 1935), 7th Dean, Harvard Business School 1980-1995

John H. MacArthur, Harvard courtesy NNDB


William Pope McArthur (1814-1850), Naval officer, who served doing coastal surveys. Three survey vessels have been named in his honor. [See 2-8-2010, military vessels]

William Pope MacArthur, Naval Hydrographer courtesy Wikipedia

James Joseph McArthur (1856-1925), a Dominion surveyor, James worked in the Canadian Rockies from 1886 to 1893. With his job, he made some of the earliest ascents in the Rockies. He logged over 160 ascents, many being first ascents.

James Joseph McArthur, surveyor and mountain climber courtesy Peakfinder


John Duncan McArthur (1854-1927), Canadian industrialist and controversial railway builder


John Seward MacArthur (?-1920), Glasgow, inventor, MacArthur-Forrest Cyanidation Process to extract gold in South Africa


Military Personnel
Jean MacArthur, second wife of Douglas MacArthur

Mrs. Douglas [Jean] MacArthur courtesy World News

Edward Macarthur, Australian general, eldest son of John & Elizabeth Macarthur

Edward Macarthur Australian General courtesy World News

George Macarthur-Onslow, Australian general, descendant of John & Elizabeth Macarthur

James Macarthur-Onslow, Australian general, descendant of John & Elizabeth Macarthur

John Knox MacArthur (1891-1918) American World War I flying ace

Captain Chris McArthur, US Marine Corp, Afghanistan, an unsung soldier doing his duty, standing tall, honoring the MacArthur clan and living the clan heraldic motto, Fide Et Opera, ’By fidelity [or faith] and work’. Thank you Chris.

Captain Chris McArthur, US Marine Corp, Afghanistan courtesy World News


Duncan McArthur, 11th Governor of Ohio, General War of 1812

Duncan MacArthur, Ohio Governor courtesy Wikipedia

Fergus Stewart McArthur (b. 1937), Australian

Fergus Stewart McArthur courtesy Freebase

Hannibal Hawkins Macarthur (1788-1861), Australian, nephew of John Macarthur

Hannibal Hawkins Macarthur courtesy World News

John G. McArthur, New Zealand diplomat toBelgium, France, Soviet Union, Spain

John A. McArthur, New Zealand diplomat to Japan and eldest son of John G. McArthur


Religious Leaders
James Macarthur (1848-1922), Anglican bishop, educated in Glasgow

John F. MacArthur (b. 1939), Evangelical minister and writer, Grace To You radio program

John MacArthur, Evangelist courtesy One Place


Robert MacArthur (1930-1972), American ecologist

Robert MacArthur, Ecologist courtesy Wikipedia

William Macarthur (1800-1882), Australian botanist and vigneron [cultivator of grapes], descendant of John & Elizabeth Macarthur

William Macarthur, Australian Botanist courtesy Wikipedia


Coming tomorrow, places named after famous MacArthurs…

February 8, 2011 06:45 - The MacArthur Clan Part XX ~ MacArthur Place Names

Though I’m quite sure this listing in incomplete, here’s what I’ve found, related to the name MacArthur and it‘s septs.

Buildings & Constructed Locations
Macarthur Airport, Long Island, New York

MacArthur Regional Airport, Islip, Long Island
courtesy Wikipedia

Hannibal Hawkins Macarthur Park, Parramatta, Australia

Hannibal Hawkins Macarthur Park
courtesy World News

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, West Palm Beach, Florida

MacArthur Beach State Park courtesy McArthur Beach State Park

MacArthur Central Plaza, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, with his five star rank as their logo

MacArthur Central Plaza, Brisbane, Australia courtesy World News

MacArthur Inn, historic 1940 hotel, Narrows, Virginia

The Roderick MacArthur Justice Center, Chicago, Illinois

MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, Little Rock, Arkansas

MacArthur Museum, located in the MacArthur Central Plaza, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

MacArthur Park, Los Angeles, California

MacArthur Park Los Angeles courtesy Wikipedia

Jimmy Webb wrote a song entitled MacArthur Park, first recorded by Richard Harris in 1968

MacArthur Park Singles Cover courtesy Wikipedia

MacArthur Park, Little Rock, Arkansas
Macarthur Place, San Francisco convention center
MacArthur Public Library, Biddeford, Maine
MacArthur Square, east of the county courthouse, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
MacArthur statue, Freedom Park, Incheon, South Korea.


Cities and Local Governments
McArthur, Shasta County, California
McArthur, Modoc County, California
McArthur Township, Logan County, Ohio
McArthur, Ohio
MacArthur, West Virginia
The Division of Macarthur, Australia, a federal electoral division covering outer south-west Sydney
Macarthur, Australia, Australia
Macarthur, New South Wales, Australia
Macarthur, Victoria, Australia
General MacArthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines
MacArthur, Leyte, Philippines
MacArthur, Leyte, Philippines


Educational Institutes
Macarthur Girls High School, New South Sales, Australia
McArthur Elementary School, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, Mesa, Arizona
Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, Lakewood, California
Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, Tulsa, Oklahoma
MacArthur Elementary-Intermediate School, El Paso, Texas
Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, Waltham, Massachusetts
Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, Indianapolis, Indiana
Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, Alexandria, Virginia
Douglas MacArthur Fundamental Intermediate School, Santa Ana, California
Douglas MacArthur Junior High School, Jonesboro, Arkansas
MacArthur Middle School, Fort George G. Meade, Fort Meade, Maryland
MacArthur Middle School, Berkeley, Illinois
Douglas MacArthur High School, San Antonio, Texas
Douglas MacArthur High School, Levittown, New York
MacArthur High School, Irving, Texas
MacArthur High School, Houston, Texas
MacArthur High School, Lawton Oklahoma
Macarthur High School, Decatur, Illinois
Macarthur College, New South Wales, Australia
Douglas MacArthur State Technical College, Opp, Alabama
MacArthur Court Sports Arena, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon
The Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom, Howard Payne University, Brownwood, Texas, with a collection of his belongings
The Douglas MacArthur Memorial Library for Peace, Tolerance, and Justice., a portion of the Gadjah Mada University INCULS library, Yogyakarta, Indonesia


Fellowships and Foundations
MacArthur Fellows Program awarded by the MacArthur Foundation
MacArthur Foundation, a private, independent grant-making institute


Geographical Locations and Formations
MacArthur Basin, Northern Territory, Australia
McArthur Fault, Northern California
McArthur Peak & McArthur East Peak, Yukon Territory, Canada, named for James Joseph McArthur, a Dominion Land Surveyor. McArthur Pass, McArthur Creek, McArthur Lake, McArthur Valley, all in the Lake O‘Hara Area, also bear his name.

McArthur Peak, Canada courtesy Peakfinder

McArthur Pass, Canada courtesy Peakfinder

McArthur Region, New South Wales, Australia ~ named after Elizabeth and John Macarthur, founders and pioneers of the Australian wool industry
McArthur River, Northern Territory, Australia
McArthur River Zinc Mine, Northern Territory, Australia ~ the world's largest zinc, lead and silver mines
McArthur River Uranium Mine, Saskatchewan, Canada
McArthur River, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
McArthur Valley, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada
Mount MacArthur, in Wrangel-Petersburg County, Alaska, 2064 feet above sea level, named for the ship MacArthur, which was named for William Pope McArthur, Navy Hydrographer


MacArthur Memorial and Burial Site, Norfolk, Virginia

"I Shall Return" MacArthur Landing Memorial, Red Beach, Palo, Leyte, Philippines, marking where MacArthur landed with the American Liberation Forces in 1944

Douglas MacArthur War Memorial in Palo, Leyte courtesy Wikipedia


Military Locations
Fort MacArthur Museum, Fort MacArthur, Los Angeles, California, named to honor Lt. General Arthur MacArthur

Fort MacArthur Museum, Los Angeles courtesy World News

MacArthur National Guard Base, Little Rock, Arkansas
MacArthur Barracks, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York


Military & Marine Vessels

McArthur I, commissioned by the Navy in 1966, the McArthur became NOAA vessel S330 from 1970 to 2003.

MacArthur I, NOAA R330 courtesy World News

In 2006, Blackwater International purchased and refitted the vessel with two OH-6 Little Bird helicopters and three rigid-hull inflatable boats, She is presently being hired to escort cargo vessels through the pirate-plagued waters off the Horn of Africa

MacArthur I Refit II, Blackwater International courtesy Navy Times

McArthur II was launched by the Navy in 1985, became NOAA vessel R330 in 2002, replacing McArthur I.

MacArthur II, NOAA R330 courtesy NOAA

Both vessels were named for William Pope McArthur (1814-1850), Naval officer, who served on the Coast Survey for many years and became the pioneer hydrographer on the West Coast. The steamer McArthur, launched in 1876, was also named in his honor. In turn, McArthur Peak, Port McArthur, and McArthur Reef, in Alaska, were all named for the 1876 McArthur ship.


General MacArthur pipe, modeled after MacArthur’s tall, thin pipe, The Missouri Meerschaum Company, manufacturer of corn cob pipes
Lewis (Tam) L. McArthur, celebrated researcher of MacArthur place names


Roads and Bridges
How many of us drive these roads and cross these bridges every day, never knowing the great men they honor?

McArthur Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri
MacArthur Avenue, Munster, Indiana
MacArthur Avenue, Canberra, Australia

MacArthur BART Rapid Transit Station, Oakland, California

MacArthur BART Station, Oakland courtesy World News

MacArthur Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana
MacArthur Boulevard, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
MacArthur Boulevard, Washington D.C.
MacArthur Boulevard, Oakland, California
MacArthur Boulevard, Orange County, California
MacArthur Boulevard, Irving, Texas
MacArthur Bridge, Manila, Philippines
MacArthur Bridge, Santa Cruz, Philippines

MacArthur Bridge, Santa Cruz, Philippines courtesy World News

MacArthur Bridge, Taipei, Taiwan

MacArthur Bridge, Detroit, Michigan, crossing the Detroit River to Belle Isle Park

MacArthur Bridge, Detroit courtesy World News

MacArthur Drive, Alexandria, Louisiana

MacArthur Causeway, Miami, Florida

MacArthur Causeway, Miami courtesy World News

MacArthur Drive, North Little Rock, Arkansas
Douglas MacArthur Drive, Starkville, Mississippi
MacArthur Freeway, San Francisco, California
MacArthur Highway, Taipei, Taiwan
MacArthur Highway, Little Rock, Arkansas
MacArthur Highway, Manila to La Union, Philippines
MacArthur Highway, Davao, Southern Philippines

MacArthur Highway, Davao, Philippines courtesy World News

MacArthur Interchange, I-580, Oakland, California
MacArthur Road, Trumbull, Connecticut
MacArthur Road, Allentown, Pennsylvania
MacArthur Tunnel, Highway 1, San Francisco, California


The Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute which employs 200 scientists

Coming tomorrow, corrections regarding William Maitland and Mary Fleming…

February 9, 2011 06:09 - Mary Fleming Blog Corrections

The Earl of Lauderdale, chief of Clan Maitland, has asked that a few corrections and clarifications be made to the January 31, 2008 blog, regarding Mary Fleming and her marriage to William Maitland.

First, my apologies to Clan Maitland for the errors and mis-statements.

Per the information supplied by the Earl of Lauderdale,

In the major biography of William Maitland there is nothing to
indicate the couple had anything but a happy, successful marriage.

Upon William’s death, his body laid unburied. Mary went to great lengths to provide a proper burial, going so far as to seek Lord Burghley' influence with Queen Elizabeth of England to intercede
with the Regent, the Earl of Morton, to secure his body for burial in the family vault at Haddington.

Hardly the act of a woman who wanted to murder her husband to draw herself to the attention of her husband's enemy.

Though suggesting Mary might have worn the Maitland tartan, this was only meant to be an encouragement for brides named Maitland to wear the tartan. The Earl also felt I should distinguish that the Maitland tartan was only created in 1953, so Mary could not have worn it.

He also pointed out that the honors bestowed upon the family were
only secured a hundred years after the death of William Maitland.

Again, my apologies to Clan Maitland.

Tomorrow, a Jacobite body guard for your wedding…

February 10, 2011 06:22 - A Jacobite Body Guard

As part of a re-enactors group, an historical Jacobite guard of honor has formed and participate in weddings as an escort to the bride as she enters in the processional.

They can also serve as part of the recessional, forming crossed swords for the bridal couple to pass under as they leave the church or reception .

The group also poses with the couple for formal photographs.

The only contact information I have is Trevor Palmer. His email address is

I don’t know their location, or how far they travel to act as honor guards.

If it isn’t feasible to use this group of Jacobites, there are probably others closer to your location who could perform the same duties for your wedding.

The idea is nothing new, as honor guards have served at weddings for centuries. A formal honor guard will undoubtedly be present at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April.

A Yahoo search yielded several U.S. Jacobite groups.

There is also a Yahoo forum entitled Jacobitism Yesterday and Today which could lead to an honor guard in your area.

In closing, a word of caution. While attending Highland Games and reenacting events, you see the full gamut of dress and conduct. A true honor guard will be men of high character, neatly dressed, sober, and able to conduct themselves in a fitting manner. If you go looking for one, keep all this in mind.

At any rate, happy hunting and if you do use an honor guard, I’d love to have a photo of the event.

Tomorrow, wedding brooches…

February 11, 2011 06:35 - Historic Brooches as Gifts

In everyday wear, either you’re a brooch person or you think of them as something your great-aunt might wear. But when it comes time to planning your wedding, you sometimes make concessions beyond your everyday fashion.

A wedding tradition in many cultures, wedding brooches can serve the practical purpose of securing a tartan sash, for a Scottish themed wedding.

A brooch can be expensive, to be worn again on special occasions. It can be of Celtic design. Some grooms give Luckenbooth brooches as a gift. There’s one that I have to wonder if it was ever worn. Several diamonds are mounted, making it extremely valuable over and above it’s historical value.

After Culloden, Prince Charlie had a pair of key brooches made, keeping one and giving the other to Flora MacDonald as a thank you.

Image source unknown

Some history about the brooch, past and current, can be read in the April 11, 2008 blog.

Luckenbooth brooches are a traditional gift, but with the romance involved, that’s a topic for Monday, on Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2011 06:35 - Historic Wedding Brooches ~ Luckenbooths

What better day than Valentine’s to read about the Luckenbooth Brooch and how it’s tied into Scottish wedding plans.

The Tryste webpage gives a short history about Luckenbooth brooches. Once their history is known, I’d think any bride of Scottish heritage would covet and treasure a Luckenbooth brooch.

Two sources for Luckenbooth brooches made of heather gemstone are available. Not only are they the traditional luckenbooth, but the "stone" is created from heather. In this process the stems are dried, then blasted to remove the bark. Using natural dyes found in Scotland, various colors are developed. The vary colored stems are mixed together and compressed under great pressure to form a solid block. Next the blocks are cut into slices, individual "stones" are cut, filed, and shaped by artisans. Lastly the "stones" are lacquered for a final finish, then mounted into pieces of jewelry.

Heather Gemstone Luckenbooth Brooch
courtesy Heather Gems

Heather Gemstone Luckenbooth
courtesy Keltic Nation

Walker Metalsmiths has a very nice selection of Celtic jewelry, including Luckenbooth brooches.

Tomorrow, Celtic Knot Brooches…

February 15, 2011 12:17 - Wedding Brooches ~ Celtic Knots

Walker Metalsmiths offers other designs, as well as the Luckenbooth brooches covered yesterday. They also have information on the history and meanings of Celtic knots.

Their Celtic line includes wedding rings, earrings, pendants, bracelets, chains, kilt pins, money clips, key chains, cufflinks, and buckles. Designs include hearts, claddaghs and a unique U.S. Pledge of Allegiance line.

Their offerings can be viewed from the Walker Metalsmiths home page.

At the high end of pricing, they offer a Celtic heart knot brooch. Among their bird and animal brooches is a Celtic knot peacock.

Celtic Heart Brooch courtesy Walker Metalsmiths

Celtic Peacock Brooch courtesy Walker Metalsmiths

Two previous sets of blogs have featured peacocks. August 10, 2007 blog offers some wedding ideas, while the November 21, 2007 blog reviews historical peacock hats.

There’s also a webpage of ideas for creating a peacock wedding theme .

Coming tomorrow, modern wedding brooches…

February 16, 2011 07:06 - Modern Wedding Brooches

Not all brooches that could be worn for your wedding are of ancient design. Nor are they all of Celtic design. I’ve located one such company with a vast array of brooches.

This vintage style could be used to complement any tartan with purple in it. Or any wedding theme incorporating a golden yellow, varying shades of blue-green, as well as the purple family.

Vintage Style Brooch courtesy Fabulous Brooch

Fabulous Wedding Brooch is an online company that sells a wide selection of inexpensive brooches.

If you’re on a really tight budget one of their brooches could be just what you need to secure tartan sashes, to adapt for shoe buckles, or hair accessories.

They might also be appropriate for inexpensive gifts, particularly for women who play minor roles, such as the cake or pouch server, the one who encourages guests to sign your registry, or who helped decorate the reception area.

The horseshoe brooch follows the Scottish Wedding Tradition of a lucky horseshoe, even though it’s not from the hind hoof of a gray horse.

Horseshoe Brooch courtesy Fabulous Brooch

Crosses are always appropriate, doubly so when you look at their heraldic significance.

Rhinestone Cross Brooch courtesy Fabulous Brooch

Multicolor Cross Brooch courtesy Fabulous Brooch

Before closing the Wedding Brooch series, there are two other types of shawl closures to include. These are the penannular brooch which was worn by ancient Highlanders of both sexes to secure their plaid and arasaid.

There are many online sources for penannular brooches. Some of the brooches are fairly plain, others have old Celtic designs. Yet others display either imitation or genuine semi-precious stones. The one shown below is a replica of a 10th century design. It includes two ravens and a choice of garnet, green jade, or black onyx.

Penannular Raven Brooch courtesy The Shawl Pin Store

This and other shawl pins of modern and traditional designs are available from The Shawl Pin Store.

The second type are shawl sticks, which have seen a revival in modern times, as shawls have become a fashion statement.

Shawl Sticks courtesy Trendsetter

Unfortunately Trendsetter seems to no longer be available online, but you can find other sticks for sale on and in local yarn shops.

Tomorrow, read about adapting a Betty Crocker Hat Cake to a Scottish Bonnet…

February 17, 2011 06:38 - Betty Crocker Hat Cake

While surfing the net, I found this Betty Crocker recipe for a Hat Cake. With some modifications, you could have a unique Scottish Bonnet cake as part of your wedding celebration.

Betty Crocker Hat Cake courtesy Betty Crocker Recipes

For a bridal shower with Scottish flowers and a tartan ribbon, the cake as shown would be a wonderful treat. Organza tartan ribbon is available from Tartan Ribbon in 4 tartans. They also have a broader selection of tartans in solid polyester ribbon.

But my mind immediately went to various styles of Scottish bonnets. What a great idea for the groom’s cake!

Here’s a few bonnet styles you could take to your baker, to see what they can create for you.

1740’s Highland Regiment Bonnet courtesy Village Hat Shop

Tartan Lass courtesy Clip Art

Tam O Shanter courtesy Wikipedia

Balmoral courtesy Clip Art

Glengarry image owned by Scottish Wedding Dreams

Green Balmoral image owned by Scottish Wedding Dreams

More information can be found about Scottish Bonnet styles.

Just be sure they add the toorie and a cockade, which could include your clan plant [in frosting or a real plant]. Or if you’re affiliated with a contemporary military unit, their hackle.

To express Jacobite sympathies, the cockade could be a St. Andrew’s Cross.

Hackles, toories, cockades, and plant badges are defined in the Scottish Wedding Dreams Glossary.

Tomorrow, the recipe and some adaptations…

February 18, 2011 08:58 - Betty Crocker’s Hat Cake ~ Part II

While appropriate as is for a bridal shower, my mind immediately went to Scottish tams and balmoral bonnets.

Two batches would be needed for the tam. You’d want a shorter bottom layer. For the top, traditionally the tartan floppy part, you need one layer, a second layer cut on an angle, and a third to cut in pieces to build the rounded top.

For the Balmoral, you’ll need to study the style. I’d suggest cutting a layer in half, laying the two pieces on the cut end, forming a half moon, and gluing them together with a light layer of frosting. The top would then need to be carved out for the groove. Add a fondant painted dicing [of icing], or plain navy, ribbon. And, of course, a frosting toorie. The navy bow and ribbons that dangle could be frosting or real ribbon.

Betty Crocker Hat Cake

Prep Time 30 Minutes
Total Time 2:18 Hrs:Mins
Serves 16

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® cake mix (any flavor)
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
2 containers Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy or Whipped frosting (any flavor)
Ribbon and edible flowers (dianthus, pansies, violas - Scottish flowers for us)

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan).
Bake and cool cake as directed on box--using one 8-inch round pan and one 9-inch round pan.
Cut 6-inch circle out of waxed paper; place on 8-inch layer.
Cut cake around circle with small knife to make 6-inch round layer;
place on 9-inch layer, attaching pieces with small amount of frosting.
Frost cake. Trim hat with ribbon and flowers. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.

To add texture to frosting just like the photo, gently roll clean wicker basket over frosting. Though a plaid pattern would be more authentic, even in one color, with just the indication of a plaid.

Complete directions can be found at Betty Crocker Recipes.

Coming Monday, more about toories, cockades, and hackles…

February 21, 2011 06:33 - How To Make a Toorie

While writing about the Betty Crocker Hat Cake and figuring how to create a Scottish bonnet cake, I realized the instructions for making your own toorie and cockade had never been added to the Scottish Bonnets webpage.

While writing this up, I also learned a few things, now new to me. A toorie is also a small tower. And a toorie bunnet is another name for a tam o’ shanter.

In this photo, the toorie is a little on the large size, but there‘s a nice cockade peeking around the back side.

Property of Scottish Wedding Dreams

Here’s the toorie how-to, plus the instructions will be posted on the Scottish Bonnets webpage as well.

The toorie is a simple, small pom-pom.

Materials needed:
One or two colors of yarn
Heavy cord - dental floss or carpet thread
Needle with a large eye
Sharp scissors
Two-hole button
Cardboard template cut to 3 inches long and a small lengthwise slit, like a button hole in the center. I’ve found a 3x5 index card, folded in thirds, works well and is easy to cut the slit. This photo from Nancy’s Pom Pom Palace is the closest drawing I found.

PomPom Template courtesy Nancy‘s Pom Pom Palace

Wrap one or two colors of yarn around the template, until about ½ inch deep and ¾ inch wide.

Bring the ends of a heavy cord up through the center of the temple, one on each side of the yarn. Tie together with a half knot, which is right over left, and tighten.

Cut the two ends of the toorie, slip it off the template. Now you can tighten down the half knot and complete a square knot with left over right. This will secure the yarn. Trim the yarn ends into a neat, round toorie.

Thread and knot a large needle with one end of the cord that’s around the toorie. Sew the thread through the bonnet and through one hole of the two-hole button.

Repeat with the other cord, through the bonnet, through the other hole in the button. Knot these cords together securely and cut off the loose ends. You can add a dab of super glue to the knot for more security.

There’s your custom toorie. Tomorrow more information about cockades and creating your own…

February 22, 2011 08:00 - How to Make a Cockade

As seen on the Scottish Bonnets webpage, there are varied types of cockades.

They can be plain and simple in a navy ribbon or all gussied up with friggle-fraggles.

A St. Andrew’s Cross, or Jacobite, cockade
First, for a Jacobite cockade, it must be white.

Use white grosgrain ribbon of 1 to 1 ¼ inch width.

Cut two 7 inch pieces with the ends trimmed on the same bias. / and / or \ and \ .

Fold the ribbon in the middle and sew in place of the removed cockade, tacking at the X and near the ends. This leaves space to tuck a sprig of your clan plant badge behind.

A plain navy blue cockade uses the same construction as the St. Andrew’s Cross cockade.

A word of caution, though a feather tucked behind seems fashionable, and is frequently seen, this indicates you are a chief and is erroneous.

Feathered Tam courtesy Donaldsons of Crieff

A Cockade with Livery Colors
You can also take the first two livery colors from your coat of arms blazon. Usually one will be gold (yellow) or silver (white).

A good source for clan blazons is

Cockade with Two Colors
Use ribbon 1 ¼ to 1 ¾ inches wide, 4 times as long as it is wide, 1 ½" ribbon 6 1/8 inches long

Make a bow of each color by placing the seam at the middle with 1/8 inch overlapped, stitch through all 3 thicknesses.

Gather the stitching into a tied bow or hourglass shape.

Repeat for second bow.

Cut another piece of the darker ribbon an inch longer than the two hourglass shapes, finish ends with a swallowtail cut.

Sew the swallowtail piece on the bonnet, at an angle of 4:30 and 10:30 on a clock, with the high end (10:30) toward the front of the bonnet.

Sew on the lighter colored hourglass vertically (6 and 12 on the clock).

Sew on the darker colored hourglass diagonally at an angle of 1:30 and 7:30.

The two color cockade could also reflect your choice of wedding theme colors.

If you have fun making toories and cockades you could make enough to use as reception guest table decorations, just scattered down the tables.

Tomorrow, a Scottish based card company…

February 23, 2011 07:46 - Aileen’s Cards, a Scottish Card Company

Aileen’s Cards, is a handmade card designer, based in West Lothian, Scotland. Currently she is expanding into the North American market with cards "as unique as people".

You can select from her line of ready-made designs personalized to your specifications Aileen handcrafted cards include wedding invitations, reception invitations, orders of service, menus, place cards, thank you notes, table plans and more.

Wedding Invitation courtesy Aileen’s Cards

The wedding stationery range is named after 10 Lochs of Scotland with a variety of textures. The designs include tartan, heather, thistles, roses and more contemporary feather creations.

If using her whole line of paper goods doesn’t fit your budget, consider a table plan with an authentic Scottish flair. Or create a specialized guest registry.

Other featured items are her handmade mulberry paper photo albums and keepsake boxes, either being a gift to last a lifetime.

View Aileen’s entire line and information.

Here’s a testimonial from one of Aileen’s customers

As a regular customer I have chosen Aileen to make personalized cards for many occasions, including 90th birthdays, wedding cards, mother of bride etc etc. Just give Aileen some info about the person and she produces 'works of art' which are so personal. Having a special insert made in which to put a cheque or gift token has made
giving a monetary gift so much more personal too. All the recipients have been so touched and thrilled by the cards.

Coming tomorrow, the Brig O’ Doon…

February 24, 2011 09:18 - Brig O’ Doon

Sometimes I feel slightly remiss about things I didn’t quite "get". Then there are times I feel downright stupid.

The Brig ‘O Doon is one of those really stupid items.

Growing up in the U.S., Brigadoon was a Broadway production from the 1940’s and a movie from the1950’s. As I grew on up, learning more about Scotland in the process, it never clicked that brig was a bridge. I didn’t even know there was a river named Doon, or that a bridge spanned the river.

That Robert Burns was born in the area, or that he wrote a poem in 1790, Tam O’ Shanter, in which the bridge plays an important role ~ this all escaped my knowledge.

Tam O’Shanter on the Brig O’ Doon courtesy Undiscovered Scotland

First came the realization that a brig wasn’t a military jail, but a bridge. What a difference. Next was realizing the fictional village in Brigadoon was based on a real town, a real river, and a real bridge ~ the Brig O‘ Doon.

The bridge was built sometime during the Late Medieval period and rebuilt in the 18th century. The 1827 Brig O’ Doon Inn sits nearby. Among the views from it’s garden, Brig O’ Doon can be seen nearby.

Brig O’Doon courtesy Wikipedia

You’d expect to find things related to the Brig O’ Doon, what with it’s history. It’s featured on the 2007 £5 note of the Bank of Scotland, as part of their Bridges of Scotland series.

But when you look at Brigadoon, it’s amazing what a fictional story has evolved into

  • 3 golf courses, in Michigan, Arizona, and British Columbia
  • a castle in California, converted into a bed and breakfast
  • a town in Western Australia
  • a fly-fishing resort lodge Clarksville, Georgia
  • a southeastern Lexington, Kentucky, neighborhood
  • the Brigadoon Festival, held annually in Bundanoon, New South Wales, Australia

Bridadoon has also evolved as a noun meaning a place that seems magically transient.

Now, if you didn’t know these things, you are no longer as ignorant, but somewhat knowledgeable about the Brig O’ Doon.

To read Tam O’ Shanter in it’s entirety, Undiscovered Scotland has a page where you can read it in Scots/English with the English translation side-by-side.

Tomorrow, read about the mythological enfield of heraldry…

February 25, 2011 09:57 - Heraldic Enfield

A reader contacted me with information about another heraldic symbol ~ the enfield.

This fictitious creature combines a number of animals, with the head of a fox, forelegs of an eagle with talons, chest of a greyhound, body of a lion, and hindquarters with tail of a wolf.

The enfield can be traced back to the Leabhar Ua Maine, a 1380 Irish genealogical compilation, in reference to the O Cellaigh clan of Ireland. Today we know the family name as O’Kelly.

Legend tells us that King Tadhg Mor Ua Cellaigh fell fighting like a wolf dog in the 1014 Battle of Clontarf, fighting by the side of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland. When Tadhg Mor fell, this mythical beast arose from the sea and protected the dead body until it was retrieved for proper burial.

Sir Bernard Burke, the Ulster King of Arms, has issued the following, "…the enfield, being compounded of the fox, eagle, and wolf, indicated that he, by whom it was borne, was reputed to possess the subtlety and cunning of the first named beast; the magnanimity and fortitude, with the honour, labor, industry, and diligence, in great manners, of the eagle; and the fierceness of the wolf."

Today the enfield adorns the Enfield borough of London arms. There have been two issues, in 1946 and a revised arms in 1966, both bearing the mythological enfield.

Heraldic 1946 Enfield Arms courtesy NGW Heraldry of the World

Heraldic 1966 Enfield Arms courtesy NGW Heraldry of the World

Coming Monday, the Isle of Lewis chessmen…

February 28, 2011 12:40 - Isle of Lewis Chessmen

For those who like to read the blog over a morning cup of coffee, my apologies. But, occasionally, other matters take preference. Yesterday was my three-year-old grand-daughter’s birthday. This morning she awoke, expecting more attention, more gifts, and more cake. So I went digging on You Tube to find the "Unbirthday Song" from Alice in Wonderland, then we watched the movie to put the song in context -- if such a thing is possible anywhere in that crazy upside-down world. She is now content to have an unbirthday with the rest of us and wait another year for her ‘birthday’ to return.

To read and learn about the Lewis Chessmen will have a lot more meaning with some background about the island and it’s history.

The Isle of Lewis lies in the Outer Hebrides, actually th northern half of an island shared with Harris.

This is the third largest island in the British Isles, only superseded by Great Britain and Ireland. On the east, The Minch separates the island from mainland Scotland, 24 miles away. On the west, the island faces the Atlantic Ocean with the rains and moisture of the Gulf Current.

Lewis has a very rich cultural heritage, scanning centuries and cultures from 8000 BC through today. Peat samples indicate humans inhabited the area, burned off the native woodlands for grassland and deer grazing. It seems the issue of deer grazing is nothing new.

Archeological evidence dates around 3000 BC, showing the inhabitants began to settle on permanent farms instead of following their herds. Some small house remains have been found in the hamlet of Dail Mhor, now a popular surfing beach.

As the Iron Age progressed, around 500 BC, the homes became larger, evolving into brochs, circular dry stone towers featured in the April 15th to 23rd, 2010 blogs.

One of the most famous brochs is at Carloway, on the shore of Loch an Dun

Broch Carloway courtesy Wikipedia

Carloway also has the Garenin Blackhouse Village. These serve as examples of an architectural style known to be at least 1000 years old.

Though this style of home was still lived in in 1974, the village is now a museum
with a youth hostel, 4 self-catering cottages, the museum, and other buildings.
More information can be found on the Gerrannan Museum website.

More will follow about the Black Houses in the near future.

Tomorrow, the March Highland Games & Events are posted…

January 2011 « 


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