Arthur St Clair - 9th
President Of The United States
in Congress Assembled February
2, 1787 to October 29, 1787
Born in Thurso, Caithness, 23
March 1734 - died in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, 31 August 1818.
This entry has been suggested by Donald Sinclair of Indianapolis
following his research on his own Sinclair family. He has not been
able yet to make a connection between his own family and Arthur St Clair
originally Sinclair who changed his name back to the old French version
even though they lived in the same area.
Donald said -
another member of the family there. In Greensburg Pennsylvania one can
find St. Clair Park. Here lies the body of General Arthur St. Clair and
his wife Phoebe Bayard. It is a shady, hilly park with a stately iron
fence and a modern amphitheatre. The next day, we drove to Ligonier, where
Arthur St. Clair's farm, called Chestnut Ridge, once was. The road follows
a heavily forested gorge along the Loyalhanna Creek. There we found
another monument to the general and a small road called St. Clair Hollow.
I do wonder about this man and my very own family. They lived here at the
same place, in the same time in history. I do not however know of any
connection between them.
I am sending a
few photos to you of his gravesite.
the link below for more on this son of Caithness."
for lots of information and more links
Sinclair Connections On Caithness.org
SWEIN ASLEIFSSON – THE ULTIMATE
David J Mackay
Swein Asleifsson was not a person
with whom anyone would wish to fall out. He punched above his
weight. He literally put the fear of death into his nominal
overlords, the Earls of Orkney. Unlike Earls Magnus and Rognvald,
who also lived in the 12th Century, Swein was never a candidate
We learn virtually all we
know of Swein from the Orkneyinga Saga, written around 1200 by an
unknown Icelandic scribe. The Saga described Swein as being, among
his peers, “the greatest man in the Western Lands, either in olden
times or present day”.
Neil Miller Gunn
1891 - 1973
A writer who incorporated Zen philosophy into his novels before it
became fashionable, Gunn remains as one of the mystical figures in
the literary history of Scotland. Born in Dunbeath, Caithness, the
sea, the rivers and landscapes of northern Scotland are an
integral part of his writings. From his early teens he lived in
Kirkcudbrightshire with an older sister and her husband. There, he
received private tuition from two locals, one a poet. Success in
Civil Service exams took him first to London, then Edinburgh in
1909. Like Robert Burns before him, he was appointed an Excise
Officer, serving in the Highlands from 1911 to 1921.
Posted to Wigan, Lancashire
for two years, he married Jessie Frew, the two moving back north
to Lybster, Caithness, where his writing began in earnest. His
poaching was also apparently on the up at this time too, as he was
(allegedly) the best poacher in Caithness. He was also secretly
involved in various Nationalist activities, perhaps partly through
meeting Hugh MacDiarmid and others in Inverness, and was
instrumental in forming the Scottish National Party.
His first recognised
success was Highland River in 1937, after which he gave up
his full-time work in order to write. The two moved to Dingwall,
and finally the Black Isle, where they lived from 1959 on. In his
writings, Gunn demonstrates his wide and deep knowledge of
Highland history and folklore. The constant undercurrents of sea
and a boy's experiences and development are well shown in
Morning Tide (1931), where in a village dominated by the sea
the story depicts a boy's growing experience of reality.
Unfortunately, for some
unfathomable reason, Gunn has never been a favourite of the
literary press or publishers for that matter. He is not even
mentioned in Martin Seymour-Smith's Guide to Modern World
Literature. There are some bright stars still twinkling
however; Canongate, Polygon, Souvenir Press, with others, have
reissued most of his books.
In The Green Isle of the
Great Deep (1944), a sequel to the earlier Young Art and
Old Hector (1942), Gunn has woven both a fantasy and a
commentary on the wartime situation, with a dig at the inhumanity
of some fashionable leftisms. Gunn's dedication to The Green
Isle reads 'For Old Hector and others like him who were
friendly to many a Highland boy, this phantasy'. It is set in a
tyrannical state operated by brainwashing methods.
Some of his books are less
allegorical and more historical; The Silver Darlings (1941)
for example is of the heyday of the herring industry in Caithness,
in the early 19th century. Sun Circle (1933) tells of 9th
century conflicts of Viking and Pict.
Gunn stayed close to his
people and his land; it runs through his works just as the rivers
ran through his childhood days and the sea met the coast. If some
reference books have missed the point, it is to their detriment.
His autobiographical book The Atom of Delight is as much
about Zen as it is about the author. It was published in 1956.
William Alexander Smith
Founder Of The Boys Brigade
1854 - 1914
Born in Thurso, in 1854, the son of an officer in the dragoons who
later became a businessman. When his father died, Smith moved to
Glasgow, aged 13, to be brought up by an uncle in the wholesaling
business. He joined his business as an apprentice, and later
started his own firm along with a brother.
Smith joined the
Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers, the YMCA, and the Free Church. In
the latter he became associated with the Rev George Reith (father
of the BBC's Lord Reith). All of these activities ignited one day
in 1883. Smith was taking a Sunday School in North Woodside, full
of young, energetic, but somewhat bored pupils. Why not, Smith
thought, introduce some discipline to these pupils, in the way of
a paramilitary youth organisation. And so 'The Boys' Brigade' was
It spread rapidly
throughout Scotland, Britain and the Commonwealth. It was
dedicated to 'the advancement of God's Kingdom among Boys'.
Entrants wore a simple uniform of belt, diagonal sash, and a
small, round hat which maintained its position via a chin-strap.
Eventually, summer camps were part of the scheme, and always with
a firm church base. The organisation was quasi-military, with
companies, brigades and so on. There was a fair bit of drilling
and marching, all intended to introduce some personal discipline
into youthful hooligans, and it worked for many.
Smith married twice and had
two sons; he gave up his business to concentrate on the
organisation, becoming its Secretary and organiser. Knighted in
1909, he died the day after a mass rally in London, in the Albert
Hall. He was succeeded by both sons, one of whom, Stanley,
followed in his footsteps as Brigade Secretary.