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benefits of younger blood becoming active in the management of the Association. Long may this example prosper and spread.

      We much look forward this year to the August Gathering, and to two visits to USA. First to Alma, Michigan, in May, to attend the Annual Scottish Festival there, with the guidance of Monroe and Phyllis. And then in September to San Francisco for the USA Branch AGM and Gathering, to be organised there by Robert and Sue, who will thus nobly carry on the tradition of these who have in previous years made these occasions so successful and happy. We also hope to call in on Jamie, our younger son, who is now at Guildford College, North Carolina.

      Finally may I tell you all that on 9th and 10th September I have arranged that our Clan will be the sponsoring Clan for the Northern Meeting at the famous Piping Competitions which will be held at Eden Court, Inverness. It will be a great opportunity to meet again, and to hear the finest piping during the Competitions. I will hope to see many of you there.


      The 46th Rally will be held in Kingussie and Newtonmore between the 3 1st July and 3rd August 1992, and it is hoped to have a large representation of Members from all Branches. A summary of the programme is set out below and it will be noted that the various functions follow the same successful pattern as in previous years.

      All kilted Members are particularly encouraged to support the March from Old Ralia, which precedes the Gathering at the Newtonmore Highland Games on Saturday afternoon.

      At the reception before the Highland Ball on Friday evening, each member and guest will be served with a refreshment of their choice and thereafter a bar will be available at which further refreshments may be purchased. The cost includes a Finger Buffet served from approx 9.30pm.

      A booking form for Highland Ball Tickets is enclosed for use by UK based members. Overseas members should obtain advance tickets in person from the Clan Museum. Before the Ceilidh it is hoped to have a fork supper in the Duke of Gordon Hotel.

      Following the Monday expeditions on foot to places of interest in previous years, provided there is sufficient support, the Monday walk will probably be through Laggan from Cluny Castle to Glen Banchor.

Programme of Events
Friday 31st July
      8.00pm. Reception of members and their guests within the Duke of Gordon Hotel, Kingussie, followed by the Highland Ball and Finger Buffet. Evening Dress optional. Tickets � Adults, 1:12 Children under 16.

Saturday 1st August
      10.00am. Annual General Meeting in the Village Hall, Newtonmore.
      2.15pm Clan March and Highland Games, Newtonmore.
      5.30-6.30pm. "At Home" in Clan Museum.
      7.30pm. Fork Supper -- Duke of Gordon Hotel.
      8.30pm. Ceilidh.

Sunday 2nd August
      11.00am. Church Service at St Bride's Parish Church, Newtonmore.
      1.00pm. Informal Lunch in Gaskmore Hotel, Laggan.
      4.00pm. Visit to Glentruim House, by kind permission of Glentruim and his wife.

Monday 3rd August
      Badenoch expedition on foot.


      The ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the Association will be held in the Village Hall, Newtonmore, on Saturday, 1st August 1992, at l0am, for the following purposes:
1. Minutes of 1991 Annual General Meeting
2. Chairman's Remarks
3. Clan House Development
4. Treasurer's Report
5. Curator's Report
6. Membership Secretary's Report
7. Editor's Report
8. Report on Overseas Branches
9. Arrangements for 1992 Rally
10. Election of Office Bearers
11. Any other business

John Macpherson Martin, Hon. Secretary
81 Runnymede, Merton Abbey, London SW19 2PG.
Tel. 081-540 3675

      During the Clan Rally in August 1992, a simple lunch of soup and haggis is available at Newtonmore village school. It is near to the village hotel, where you meet for the AGM. A modest charge will be made and all are welcome. To aid the caterers, please write to Jean Macpherson, Balavail, in advance so some idea of numbers will be known. Should it be successful the we would like to make it an annual event.

Collins Pocket English Dictionary tells us that friend means: " 1, a person one knows well and is fond of; 2, an ally, supporter or sympathiser; 3, a member of the Society of Friends, Quaker . . ." Fair enough, but Dwelly's Gaelic-English Dictionary goes one step further with the Gaelic equivalent words, caraid (pronounced carij) for "Male friend or relation. Bana-charaid is given as "Female relative, kinswoman."

      The Gaelic word shows us that friend means more than someone one knows and is fond of but also a relative. Oh, we can hear someone yell that not all relatives are friends, that not all families are happy families. Another might yelp that, "in-laws can be out-laws." One contemporary poet even said:

"Brither Scots how true,
Cain and Abel then were brothers too!"

      True and not at all true ... we know the warmth and affection that can be generated in a family. Lifelong friendships can be forged between parents and children, brothers or sisters and cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents and grandchildren.

      This is the immediate family. We all recognise this closely related grouping. Their appearances and personalities leap into our minds as soon as their names are mentioned.

      We all remember family gatherings of the past and look forward to those to come. Well and good, but this is only the immediate family, there is the wider extended one made up of all Macphersons including Macpherson with other surnames. There are the septs who are full Macphersons. This was made extraordinarily vivid for the writer when a student came up to him immediately after a lecture.

      "Sir," he said, "you're wearing our tartan with our tie . . . we're Lees." It was easy to think the grey hunting tartan or the red or the dress as being Macpherson alone but it belongs equally to all the septs!

      "The Urlar," the very readable journal of the US Branch (Editor: David H. Howard, PO Box 465, Richfield, OH, USA) fists the septs as: Archibald, Cattanach, Carson, Chlerich, Clarke, Clarkson, Clerk, Clunie, Currie, Curries, Curry, Ellis, Ellison, Ferson, Gillespie, Gillie, Gillies, Gondie, Gow, Gowan, Gowans, Keith, Leary, Lees, MacChlery, MacClair, MacCleish, MacClunie, MacCurrach, MacCurry, MacGowan, MacLeary, MacLeish,


MacLise, Maclory, MacMurdo, MacMurrich, Murdoch, Parson, Pearson or Smith. Spelling duplications of obvious similar surnames have necessarily shortened the list.

      However interesting this may be, it is not an academic or genealogical exercise. It is an indication of the bounds of our Clan or family and can be claimed from either one's father's or mother's side of the family.

      But it is not much of a family who never meets. A Gaelic proverb says: Thé Cairdeas mar a chumail e -- relationship is as it is kept up.

      Given that local branches can flourish given the will, the management and the support; there is a world-wide meeting point once a year in Macpherson country in Kingussie and Newtonmore in the very heart of Scotland where cousins meet cousins, since we are all related in some degree; when we can dine together, speak together, dance together, walk together like the old days when we used to live together in one clan. Our kilted clansmen can march together as of yore, from Old Ralia to the games field. Our family reunion is awaiting you. The sense of belonging and family becomes more and more manifest when one and one's family can come year after year. Then one's relatives are no longer strangers.

Bi sinn gur faicinn ... We'll be seeing you.

John W. McPherson of Bryn Maur, PA, USA, who has been made President and Treasurer of the Scotch-Irish Foundation.

Iain Macpherson is the Head of Department in the Department of Construction and Furniture Studies in Glasgow College of Building and Printing. His grandparents came from a big family, from Nethybridge and Kingussie. His grandfather, Frank Macpherson, was gamekeeper in Glenfeshie and the Black Mountain. His late father, Frank Macpherson, was a keen member of the Clan Macpherson Association, as was his Uncle Duncan, also of Nethybridge. His grandmother was Lizzie George who had the dairy in Nethybridge. Iain spent his school days at Aultbea, Wester Ross, where his mother came from. His father came to Glasgow to drive railway engines. Iain looks forward to regular visits to the Rally.


Col. Tommy Macpherson, Balavil, was awarded a Knighthood in 1992 New Year's Honours. Sir Thomas had established and chaired the National Employers Liaison Committee for the Territorial Army and Volunteer Reserve Forces from its inception in 1986 until handing over in April 1992 in order to devote time to Presidency of the European Chambers of Commerce.

To Derek and Helen McCabe (neé Macpherson), on 8th December 1991, a son, Christopher Alexander. (A grandchild for Sandy and Catherine.)

Miss Mary or Mollie Macpherson, born March 1, 1909 in Chelmsford, Essex, living latterly at 142-90 Shelmerdine Drive, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3R 2Y2, Canada, who died October 13, 1991. She is buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Winnipeg, with her mother, Mrs Mary Macpherson, who died about twenty-five years ago. Mr Macpherson, whose given name was John (John William??), died around 1914 in either Australia or New Zealand.

James Alexander Stephen, on February 23, 1991, in his 90th year. Jim was a long-time Life Member of the Canadian Branch. He was active in the Clan Association and served on the Executive Committee for a number of years.

James B. Macpherson, a member of the Clan Macpherson Association of Calabogie, Ontario, died July 1990.

Agnes McPherson of Fairlight Station, died in January 1991 in Invercargill. As mentioned in our report last year, Mrs McPherson was the widow of John McPherson who was our first Chief and with him hosted many clansfolk, including visitors from overseas, at their rural home. Three of her family are clansfolk. Mrs McPherson, who had lived a very active and full life, was aged 100.

Mrs Grace (Hood) Macpherson died on August 3, 1991, at Edinburgh, in her 88th year. A long-time member and supporter of the Clan Macpherson Association, she was the widow of Robert Macpherson, former Secretary of the East of Scotland Branch. She is survived by a brother, Adam Hood, and two step-daughters, Mrs Margaret Hambleton and Mrs Rona MacKenzie.

Macpherson -- On November 11, 1991, peacefully in her sleep in Comrie, Elizabeth Catherine Gillies (neé Houston), known as Betty, darling wife of Ronnie and mother of Charles, and devoted grandmother. Betty had been a member of the Clan Association since 1954 and supported the England and Wales Branch until moving to Perthshire in 1980. She then took on the office of Registrar until 1985 when John P. took over. She visited the USA Branch's Second Rally at Belchertown in 1975. This was after the North American Branch had divided into Canada and the USA. She was a tremendous support to Ronnie throughout these and subsequent years. Betty suffered a severe stroke in August 1988 after having attended the Rally in Newtonmore. However, owing to her strong will she made a good recovery and was able to attend Rallies until 1.99 1. She also visited Canada in October 1990 to attend the combined Rally of the Canadian arid USA Branches at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Everybody was so kind and understanding during her recent illness and she will be sadly missed by us all.

Howard -- In January 1992, Jeanie, beloved wife of Dave W. Howard, Richfield, Ohio, USA. Dave is editor of "The Urlar", the magazine of the USA Branch.


      Roderick Gordon Murdoch Macpherson is a man who could well lay claim to the title Herald Extraordinary to Clan Macpherson! Born at New Westminster, British Columbia in 1926, son of the Rev. Angus Gordon Macpherson, DD, a minister of the Presbyterian Church, he became interested in Heraldry at the age of eighteen, when he noticed a school friend designing a coat of arms for himself.

      This led him to borrow Frank Adam's "Clans Septs & Regiments of the Scottish Highlands" from the library, to look up the arms of the Chief of his clan, and learn something of its history. From here he graduated to Fox Davies's "Heraldry Explained", and, thereafter was well and truly 'hooked'!

      A natural artist, who had enjoyed drawing from childhood, Gordon channelled his talents into armorial design, and it comes as a surprise to learn that he never received any formal artistic training.

      After service in the Royal Canadian Navy, he joined Pitfield MacKay Ross Limited, one of Canada's leading investment houses, in which he rose to be Vice President, and, after Pitfield's merger with Dominion Securities in 1984, was appointed Vice President of what had now become Canada's largest investment firm.

      Gordon's work as an heraldic illustrator is well known in Canada, in particular by his splendid art work for "Heraldry in Canada", the Journal of the Heraldric Society of Canada founded in 1966.

      He turned to bookplate design, as he himself comments, "simply because it seemed to be the most practical application of heraldry in this modern age." That decision was the right one is proved by the fact that he has become, since his first commission in the early 1960's, perhaps the most prolific of contemporary bookplate designers, a truly remarkable feat considering that he was, until his retirement in 1987, engaged in a highly successful business career.

      Gordon gratefully acknowledges his debt to the work of Graham Johnstone, Herald painter of Lyon office, and best known as the inspired illustrator of Sir James Balfour Paul's edition of Douglas's "Scots Peerage," published between 1904 and 1911, during the great period of renaissance in heraldic design.

      This influence can be seen in the firmness of line, absence of fussy detail, classic balance of the elements of shield, crest, and motto, sure and apparently effortless drawing of heraldic charges, as well as the crispness of lettering, which characterise Macpherson's designs, as they did those of Johnstone, and particularly by the use of pounced backgrounds typical of Johnstone's work, though originating with the 19th century wood engravers such as Harry Soane and Thomas Moring. Other influences, both of them Lyon office herald painters, were John Robert Sutherland, who died in 1933, and Alfred G. Law Samson, who flourished from the 1930's to the 1950's.

      Gordon Macpherson has designed two booklets for himself, one which dated is illustrated, (1) it shows the arms granted by Lyon to his late father in 1955, and subsequently matriculated by Gordon in 1969.

      It is not surprising, given the closeness of Clan ties, that a good number of Macphersons have been among Gordon's clients, and (2) is the plate of Sir William Macpherson of Cluny and Blairgowrie, 27th Chief of the Clan. It dates from 1984, and is a re-working of an earlier design. The armorial achievement is surrounded by a thistle entwined border incorporatIng, above, the arms of the Inner Temple, and Trinity College Oxford, on either side, the devices of the London Scottish Football Club, and Wellington College, and, below, the badges of the Scots Guards, with which Sir William served from 1944-1947, and the Special Air Services Regiment (TA) which he commanded from 1962 to 1965.

      Another example of this use of a border to illustrate the background and career of the owner, is the recent plate (3) of Gordon's younger brother Col. Bruce Douglas Macpherson



son, in which his arms, matriculated in 1956, are flanked by panels of entwined thistles (for Scotland) and maple leaves (for Canada) with, in the four corners, the badges of regiments in which he has served or which he has been associated.

      Examples of plates designed for two members of the same family are those of the Lieut. Colonel Alexander Kilgour Macpherson of Pitmain, and his grandson Michael Alastair Macpherson of Pitmain, (4) and (5), the former, undated, was probably designed in the 1960's, the latter in 1976. Whereas Colonel Macpherson's plate shows clearly the Graham Johnstone influence, the present Pitmain's with its strong black and white emphasis and highly stylised mantling, is more reminiscent of the style of contemporary English artists such as Gerald Cobb and Robert Parsons.

      Another fine plate designed for a distinguished clansman (6) is that of Lord Macpherson of Drumochter, Labour Member of Parliament for Romford from 1945 to 1950, who was created a Baron in 1-951, and died in 1965.

      It must not be imagined, however, that all Gordon's clients have been Macphersons! Naturally, most are Canadians, often of Scottish descent, but as his fame spread he found many in the USA and Great Britain, some of them of Continental European descent and, in these cases, he has been skilful in introducing the design emphasis peculiar to the heraldic traditions of their countries of origin, without compromising his own distinctive style. A good example (7) is the plate of Anton Gabszewicz, whose father came of a noble Polish family, the combination of the Johnstonean pounded background and the Eastern European manner of the armorials, being most satisfying.

      Most of Macpherson's bookplates are printed from ink drawings, though he has designed for copperplate engraving, a process which has, unfortunately, become almost prohibitively expensive. An example of this, (8) is the bookplate of Captain Thomas Charles Pullen, of the Royal Canadian Navy, which bids fair to rival the great masters of the art, C. W. Sherborn and G. W. Eve. It was engraved by The Union of Engraving of Ottawa.

      Space forbids mention of more examples of Gordon's bookplate designs, but one day perhaps someone will compile a fully illustrated catalogue of the work of this gifted follower in a long line of heraldic artists.


By Sandy Macpherson
      For some years past the public has been bombarded with warnings that 1992 is to be the Year of Europe, which will herald the start of an era in which our laws, finance and life generally are to be merged with the fortunate nations in mainland Europe.

      It is to be hoped that the Scottish people do not lose any of their own peculiar national identity as a result of this process Scotland as a nation has contributed a great deal to the world in general and Europe is the richer as a result of past infusions of British culture.

      The Scots, as a race, have been great travellers, possibly as the result of living in a small country not over blessed with natural resources and with a troubled past history. Over the centuries Scotland has contributed many who fought, traded, legislated and preached in Europe.

      A few years ago, I thought there could be scope for a temporary exhibition in the Clan Museum in Newtonmore based on details of Macphersons who had made their mark on Europe in various ways. I made several appeals in the pages of Creag Dhubh for items of memorabilia, stories etc, which could be put on display.

      I received some items of great interest but unfortunately not in sufficient numbers to merit mounting a special exhibition. Rather than return the material to the lenders without comment I feel that some degree of publicity should be given to the subject matter.

      Some of the details following are well known and have appeared in the pages of this magazine in the past, but I feel they will merit a re-telling.

      My gratitude is due to those who lent material for the exhibition. I hope they will understand when it is not exhibited in public but described below that the interest shown should not be any the less.

      Taking the principal characters in chronological order, the first to appear on the European stage is that of the well known Count von Fersen, whose fife and times have been chronicled in previous pages of the Journal.

      For the readers who do not possess the relevant back numbers a short synopsis of his history is of interest.

      Hans Axel Count von Fersen, born in 1755, was Swedish but of Highland descent, coming from Joachim Macpherson, who left Scotland during the 16th Century, fought as a


      mercenary in Poland and was rewarded with land in Pomerania. The family changed the name to the phonetic version of Fersen and later, through the turmoil and violence of central European politics, divided, with one branch going to Russia where it can be traced until the early years of this century, the other branch settling in Sweden.

      The Swedish line prospered to the extent that by the beginning of the 18th Century three Fersen brothers held the rank of General in the Swedish army, one of whom was the grandfather of the principal character of this tale.

      Fersen, in 1788, on the eve of the French Revolution, was in Paris, commanding the royal regiment of Swedes, in the service for Louis XVI and also acting as an agent for his king, Gustavus III.

      He was obviously in favour with the French authorities, having previously served with the French army during their hostilities against Britain in North America where he had been commended for his conduct at the seige of Yorktown in 1781.

      While in Paris, he first met the ill-fated Marie Antoinette and fell under the spell of her charm. By June 1791, the French royal family were imprisoned in the Tuileries palace by the Revolutionary forces and felt their only hope of freedom lay in a speedy dash to the eastern frontier where lay a sympathetic army. A plan was arranged with Fersen, who had organised a system of changes of horses to draw the royal family's great coach on its way to freedom. By 20th June Fersens plans were complete and Louis, Marie Antoinette and their two children left Paris late in the morning to seek freedom from the revolutionaries. However, this daring plan fell astray and though the fugitives came within an ace of escape, they were apprehended and led back to Paris to their eventual fate on the steps of the guillotine.

      Count Ferson returned to Sweden and ultimately met his end at the hands of a rebellious mob as he bravely defended some of the Swedish nobility whose lives were threatened during a riot in 1810.       The long-term effects of his actions during the French Revolution, had they been successful, would have been far-reaching. They would have changed the history of France and Europe.

      Our second European Macphersons career spanned part of the period of activity of Count Fersen but his life and background was totally different. Paul Macpherson was born of Roman Catholic parents in 1756 in Scalan, that small but important pocket of Scottish Catholics in the folds of the Cairngorms. He was educated in the local seminary and later, as a lad of promise, went on to train as a priest in the Scots Colleges in Rome and later in Valladolid.

      Following his ordination he returned to Scotland and was appointed to various parishes. Macpherson must have maintained his early promise of great ability as in 1793 he was sent to Rome as the official agent for the Scottish Catholic clergy and acted for some time on their behalf in their business with the Vatican.

      International politics intervened a few years later and the French Army, under the command of General Berthier, occupied Rome. As representatives of a hostile nation, the Scots mission closed and Macpherson was forced to flee to Britain.

      Following the occupation of Rome, Pope Pius was taken, as a hostage, by the French troops and held in captivity in Savona on the Genoese coast. The existence of this valuable ecclesiastical hostage created obvious problems for the allies and plans were made to rescue the Pontiff from his captors. Macpherson was interviewed in London and then left for the area, armed with the authority of the British Government, large sums of money and the assistance of a Royal Naval vessel.

      A plan was evolved to bombard the town from the sea and rescue the Pope during resulting confusion. Unfortunately, the attempt failed, chiefly due to the actions of French spies who penetrated the plot and Macpherson was arrested and imprisoned for a short time. On his release he returned to Scotland and took charge of the parish of Huntly.


      On his return to Rome in 1800 he resumed his work as agent for Scottish interests in the Vatican. While there he was successful in securing the most valuable of the documents of the exiled Stuart line on behalf of the Prince of Wales.

      During a visit to Scotland in 1827, he was instrumental in erecting a Catholic church at Chapelton in Glenlivet, where he is commended by a memorial tablet. The remainder of his career was spent as the Rector of the Scots College in Rome. Paul Macpherson was an influential figure in his day who merits more attention by his fellow clansmen than he has been accorded. Had the coup of rescuing the Pope from Napoleon been successful Macpherson's name would have been a household word to this day.

      Russia has been very much in the news in the recent past but it was in the era of pre-revolution history that one family of Macphersons made their mark. This was the Macpherson family of St. Petersburg. They have been mentioned before in the pages of this Journal, but more details have now emerged of their activities.

      The main figure who emerges is that of Murdoch George Macpherson, the archetype of the Scots Victorian genius being exported to serve the world.

      Born in 1813 in Perth and trained in heavy engineering in Glasgow, he became the owner of a small ship-building yard on the banks of the Clyde.

      Following the successful construction and delivery of the Imperial yacht for Emperor Nicholas I of Russia he was offered the post of Imperial Engineer to the Emperor's yachts.

      He held this positon of great responsibility for thirteen years until about 1850 when he founded and took charge of the Baltic Iron Works and Shipbuilding Yard in St. Petersburg. Apart from a temporary set-back during the Crimean War in 1856, when, following his refusal to repair Russian Naval ships, he and his family were under notice to be deported from Russia, his business flourished in providing ships for the Czar.

      The yard employed about 300 men at its peak of business, the foremen all being Scots from the Clyde, and his social standing at the Russian court was very high. The family remained in Russia until the Revolution in 1917 when they were forced to flee to Britain. An account of life in Russia before and after the Revolution, called "Upheaval", was written by one of Murdoch George's daughters. Making fascinating reading, it tells of their existence before the war and ends with a description of the escape from the Revolution, extracts from the book were reproduced in "Creag Dhubh" in 1979.

      Robert, one of the family, achieved the unique distinction for a non-Russian of winning the All-Russian Tennis Championship shortly before World War 1, the trophy, presumably for the last competition prior to the war, was retained and is now in the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum.

      Later both Robert and his brother were commissioned in the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders and Robert later became an interpreter in Russian on the staff of Field Marshall Kitchener. He accompanied Lord Kitchener on his last ill-fated voyage to Russia in 1916 in HMS "Hampshire" and was drowned when that ship was sunk off the Orkney Islands coast.

      Descendants of the family are still alive in various parts of Britain, perhaps they might care to come forward and give further details of this fascinating period in European history.

      Following these excitements and turmoil of the past in Europe, what of the present? I am glad to report that at least two Macphersons are involved in the changes that are currently going on in connection with the European Community.

      Wrestling with the minutiae of regulations and legislation concerning British integration with Europe is Ian Macpherson, in charge of the Construction Industry Directorate, a division of the Department of the Environment. He is responsible for liaison with European Community member nations on aspects of standardisation, public purchasing and general harmonising of the complex issue of the construction industry's integration with the continent.

      Work like this, although not having wide publicity, is nevertheless essential for the smooth running of international relationships within the European Community. On the more commercial aspects of business a Macpherson is definitely taking the lead.


      Col. Sir Thomas Macpherson, already featured in these pages (Clansman of the Year 1963), followed distinguished war-time career with a succession of high-ranking business appointments. Long-standing relationships with European enterprises have given him a depth of understanding to merit his appointment to the Chairmanship of the European Confederation of Chambers of Commerce, a post which enjoys the well deserved respect of those who have come into contact with his energetic and imaginative personality.

      I have tried to sketch out a few details of some Macphersons who have left their mark on Europe over the last two centuries. In addition to those here mentioned there have been many more who gave their careers and in some cases their lives to Europe. Their work and sacrifice has, hopefully, not been in vain, going to the cause of a united and peaceful continent.

By Euan Macpherson of Glentruim
      If you have read my story "Four Sons", then another story with the title "Two Cannon" sounds almost as though it could be a sequel. In some ways perhaps it is.

      The origin of the two cannon at Glentruim is lost in the mists of time. They were made in the early part of the last century. They could possibly have been civilian cannon because in those days, before firearm certificates, civilians could acquire artillery if they had a mind to do so. One could even acquire a ship bristling with cannon and as a privateer, pay for it an by robbing a French merchantman, although I do not think that that was how my great-grandfather came to acquire them! Certainly, it was Evan Macpherson of Ralia and first of Glentruim who brought the two cannon to Glentruim where they have been ever since.

      The only written record in the old papers at Glentruim regarding them tens us that they were last fired on the 24th January 1889 on the occasion of the 21st birthday of Evan, Ygr. of Glentruim. Euan, by the way, was the eldest of the Four Sons.

      To digress for a moment, Evan as a young man, quarrelled bitterly with Lachlan, his father. Lachlan ordered him to leave Glentruim forthwith and never again to return. After the quarrel, Lachlan had, at great cost, a special Act of Parliament passed, breaking the entail on Glentruim so that from that day to this, the eldest male Glentruim heir could have no rights of inheritance under Scottish Law for ever. Evan went to Canada and twelve years later, at the age of 34 years, was killed in a gun battle. Lachlan for many years outlived him.

      Whilst Euan died in exile, the two cannon which had joyously saluted his 21st birthday, remained at Glentruim. They never spoke again and stood silently side by side on the lawns outside the house almost as if mourning the tragic death of Euan, eldest of Four Sons.

      And so the years passed and became decades. The two cannon slept under blankets of snow in winter and in summer watched the later generations of Glentruims come and go, witnessing the cascades of laughter and tears that go to make a human life in each succeeding generation.

      The two cannon stood there in my own childhood and it was then, when I was a childhood, that I began to dream that they would one day speak again. But in the twentieth century, where are the men with the ancient knowledge, skills and experience to restore old cannon? It appeared impossible, like so many other childhood dreams.

      During the 1990 Annual Clan Rally, Major [C.E.] Davidson attended the Tea Party at Glentruim on the Sunday afternoon. Being a former Royal Artilleryman, he looked at the two cannon with a professional eye and then went off on a pilgrimage to discover if, indeed, there were still, in this modern age, men with knowledge and skill in the restoration of ancient cannon. I owe a personal debt of gratitude to Dave for all that he did and for eventually discovering that such knowledge and skill lay in the hands of Captain Adrian Caruana.

----------------------------------------------------------------16 -------------------------------------------------------------

It was he and his team at Chatham Historic Naval Dockyard who restored the two cannon to the condition that they had been in almost two centuries earlier. I would like also to record my gratitude to Captain Caruana.

      And so it was that after more than a hundred years, the two cannon broke their long silence to salute the Clan as we marched down to the Newtonmore Games field on our 45th Annual Rally. Like all our Annual Rallies, it was a happy occasion, and an historic one.

      Stuart MacPherson, age 28, is a research associate at the Department of Building Engineering and Surveying, Heriot-Watt University.

      Stuart has three degrees, all from Heriot-Watt. His first degree, in physics, he obtained at the age of 19, making him one of the university's youngest graduates. He has subsequently taken post-graduate degrees in business administration and building services engineering.       On leaving univerity he went to work in the building services industry, with a particular interest in air conditioning, and became a chartered engineer. His present position, back at his old alma mater, involves teaching and research in air conditioning system design.

      Membership continues to increase at a steady trickle but it is a pity that after the initial enthusiasm annual members forget that the annual fee, now � is due in the January of each year. It is a small annual fee to pay and difficult to remember I agree, but I can provide a Form of Bankers Order to UK banks to all annual members who have not already filled one in, one form for each member. Many annual members are far in arrears and due to cost, postage etc, consideration will have to be given to sending them a "Creag Dhubh" which is a well produced magazine. There has been some research into reducing its cost but in every case the quality of the magazine is lost. I also appeal to the long serving life members or the elder statespersons of our association who joined when fees were very low. You have done very well out of "Creag Dhubh", life membership fees are now � and spouse � and, while I am well aware that there are those who cannot pay this amount, how about all you wealthy members "topping up" your life fees to something like the present. The treasurer will, I can assure you, be delighted to receive your donation.


      1991 was not a good year for visitors and only 3853 visited the museum, 232 of these during the "closed" period, 30th September until 1st May. This was approximately 1200 down on previous years. Contributions towards the upkeep of the museum through the boxes provided �22.96, better than I expected, and sales 92154.65 approx gross, also better than expected mostly because of the mail order I carry on during the "closed" period. Both figures reflect the drop in visitor numbers which I hope will not be repeated next year.

      During February and March, Nancy and I went to Zimbabwe to attend our daughter's wedding and see many old friends. A wedding group photo appeared in the 1991 Creag Dhubh. We found no surprises except for a degree of social change and friends had got older. The country, of course, is unchangeable, and we visited Lake Kariba and the huge dam actually were a few yards over the dam wall into Zambia, on the way back to Harare to call in at the Blue Pool at Chinoya, an underground cave with an unknown depth of water. We also spent a weekend in the Eastern Highlands in Inyanga (we actually lived there for four years), and then back again to Harare and on to Bulawayo where we had lived for seventeen years, so it was like going home. From Bulawayo we went through Botswana by train to Johannesburg and spent two weeks there, with plenty of old pals to see.

      While we were doing all that the storm was attacking the roof of the museum house causing some damage and other parts of this roof later were found to be leaking. This has all been attended to now and a new skylight put in.

      I have to acknowledge with thanks the following gifts received: from Mrs A. K. Macpherson of Glentruim -- two photographs, one of Calum. Piobair on his own and the other of him and Mrs Kennedy mentioned in Queen Victoria's Diary as cooking two starving chickens; from F. F. Macpherson, Brackenwell Close, Bromley -- Two volumes, 31/2" x 51/2", Poems of Ossian, The Son of Fingal, translated by James Macpherson and printed in 1808. Thank you.


      Yes: you have guessed it. The Museum needs repairs, and so do its finances.

      First the history. Major repairs were carried out a few years ago. The accounts show that the amount still owed to the building society had been reduced from �,000 five years ago to just under �000. We are over half way there -- but there is still a long way to go.

      As if that reminder was not enough, the bad news really starts here.

      In Autumn 1991, Sandy was asked to check over the Museum building for any repairs that might be needed. He is a qualified surveyor and gets landed with that sort of job. A number of small problems were identified and have been sorted out.

      Sandy did, however, also spot an anomaly -- a small bulge -- in the south wall of the Museum. This had been checked out: holes have been dug along the wall to allow investigation by Sandy, the contractor and a firm of consulting surveyors. It is evident that there has been some subsidence which will get worse unless the wall is underpinned.

      The problem is aggravated by a drain which defies most normal rules and runs uphill underneath the Museum extension. This feature of the construction probably contributes to the fine display of roses by the Laggan Road -- but it does nothing to improve the fabric of the building.

      Costs of the underpinning are estimated at about �000. No idea what the drain will cost to put right -- possibly about the same again.

      Rod Clarke is contacting members in the United States Branch for help and contributions towards these Museum costs. For those of you in the UK or in other countries -- PLEASE HELP. Your Museum


badly needs your help -- especially your financial help. Please send your donation to the Treasurer.

      The Museum is owned and run by the Clan Macpherson Museum Trust, which is registered as a charity in Scotland. If you pay tax in the UK please make your donation under Deed of Covenant or -- for amounts over �0 -- use the Gift-Aid scheme. The Trust can recover the tax and this will increase your donation by one third. Please contact the Treasurer for the necessary forms.

By Archy Macpherson, KGOT, MA, LL.B, NP, FSA(Scot)
      A language is much more than a means of communication for wishing another well or discussing daily matters. It contains the very thoughts, sorrows and hopes of its speakers past and present, it preserves the songs, poetry, literature and so many other good things from the past. It is reasonable, therefore, that those of us who wish to enter the world of our Macpherson ancestors should take up learning their language. It is still alive and kicking, and undergoing an exciting revival. All that one needs is determination and the will to win. One has proof that one can do so in that one has learned at least one language already, otherwise it would be impossible for you to read these words!

      Gaelic is available to anyone in the world, for anyone who wishes to take it up. If one wishes to hear and speak in one's own home then write to National Extension College, 18 Broadlands Avenue, Cambridge CB2 2HN, England. Tuition is by cassette and by post with the kindly help of a Gaelic speaking tutor. The name of the course is Gàidhlig bheò; (Live Gaelic).

      Working through every word of this course will give a very fine basis that needs only more vocabulary and phrases, only a few steps away from complete mastery and fluency. A class in any language is often a great boost and help.

      Comunn an Luchd-Ionnsachaidh (the Learners' Society), 5 Mitchell's Lane, Inverness, Scotland, is worth its modest subscription. They can advise you what Gaelic learners class is nearest you, if asked, as far as they know, and can offer advice on where to learn the language and offer help in doing so, like supplying very short plays on cassette.

      At the same address is An Comunn Gaidhealach (The Highland Society), whose motto is ar canain 's ar ceòl (our language and our music). Its modest subscription is well worthwhile for song and music. They are always glad to advise on music and the words of songs. They run lively festivals, local and national, called a Mod.

      Two of the best song books for learners called Orain nan Gaidheal (Gaelic songs with English versions) by Bruce Campbell, at �50 each from Gairm Publications, 29 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6BZ, Scotland. They will also send a book-list of Gaelic books in print including word of their literary quarterly, Gairm.

      Four newspapers carry a little Gaelic: The Skye Free Press, The Stornoway Gazette, The Oban Times and the weekend Scotsman.

      Two cassette companies have been putting out rather good song and music, A. MacDonald - Mitchell Production, Meldrum House, 40 Tarfside, Glasgow G52, Scotland and Lewis Recordings, 3 Millburn Road, Inverness IV2 3PS, Scotland. They will send information on their cassettes on application. A cheap pocket-size booklet called The Ceilidh Song-Book can be got from A. MacLachlan, 7 Lothian Gardens, Glasgow G20 6BN.

A worthwhile magazine called Tocher can be got from Edinburgh University, School of Scottish Studies, 27 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9LD, Scotland. The spelling is sometimes a little unexpected in both Gaelic and English so as to reveal the speech patterns of the recounters of the oral traditions it contains. While still in stock, back copies from


"Tocher" and "Gairm" could be a good investment in Scotland's oral and written literary tradition.

      Most would agree that Màiri Mhór nan Orain (Great Mary of the Songs) is our greatest bard -- Mary Macpherson. One of her songs is to be found on pages 72-3 of the first of Bruce Campbell's books, referred to above. Like the others in his book, Soraidh leis an ait (Farewell to the place), has an English translation and sol-fah.

[To set the record straight, Màiri was a Macdonald by birth (1820) and became a Macperson when she married Isaac, a shoemaker from Inverness in 1848. ]

      But this is not Màiri Mhór's (vore) only song still sung today, with gusto at ceilidhs, eg Ged tha mo cheann air liathaidh (Though my hair has gone grey) . Moch's mi g eiridh air bheagan eisleim (I got up early with few wants) ... and a flippant one called Breacan Màiri Uisdein (Mary Hughe's tartan) . Oran Beinn Li (Song of Ben-Lee) (a mountain near Portree).

      Donald E. Meek made a selection of her poems, published by Gairm in 1977 which is interesting and well edited. But the edition of her poems, published in Inverness in 1891 which concerns us, because in it she writes praise poems of the Cluny of his day (Old Cluny) like Tuireadh air Cluainidh Mac-a-Phearson (Elegy for Cluny Macpherson) and Deoch Slàinte Cluainidh (here's a health to Cluny) . Oighre Chluainidh (Cluny's heir) ...

      Màiri Mhór nan Oran (Great Mary of the Songs) seemed to have no leanings to verse or song -- writing until misfortune befell her as an obese middle-aged widow in Inverness. She took up private nursing and the maid in the house took a great hatred and envy to Màri. After the lady of the house died our bard was "framed" by the maid and accused of stealing the lady's clothes which were planted in Màiri's luggage by the maid. This resulted in a term of 40 days in prison for the upright Skye-woman. She had been caught in possession of stolen goods.

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So deep was her resentment at the injustice of it all that she burst out into verse and song:
            Ma théid mi deanamh òrain
            Gun téid mi dh'innse sgeòil dhuibh
            Na dh' fhulaing mi de dh'fliòirneart
            'S cha mhór nach robh mi marbh leis.

            (If I am going to make a song
            That would tell you a tale
            Of how I suffered persecution
            That almost killed me.)

      She was a great champion of crofters' rights in the troubled times before legislation was passed to give them a degree of justice, setting up the Crofters' Commission and the Land Court over a century ago. She was also loyal to Old Cluny and, as one of us, deserves to be honoured by her own people.


"Glenfalloch," 108 Croydon Road, Roleystone
Western Australia 6111

Dear Archy,
      Congratulations on your differenced arms, page 11 this year's "Craig Dhubh", which depicts the Red Maltese Cross of the Order of the Knights Templar.

      I stand corrected re the Cross Crosslet of St. Columba, to which Chevalier Ian refers to on page 18, and that it is not a reference to the Crusades, as I thought.

      When I am next in Edinburgh, I hope to request the Lord Lyon to grant the addition to my Arms.If he grants these, perhaps he will present me with a better looking "Cat". The present "Cat" I have on my Arms, I call Culloden.

Chevalier Douglas McPherson, KT, FSA


10 Greencliffe Drive, Clifton, York
28th October 1991

Dear Archy,
      I thought you might be interested in the following items from the 'Gillies of Duchra a Gleanmóre Papers' but of a later date, I believe from the late 18C.

      "The Laird of Littledean by St Boswells in the Borders was a very keen hunting man. One day in late October out hunting with his dogs and set on chasing a hare at fun kelter he was enraged when his pack stopped as one, and gave up the chase. Gillies was so surprised at this set back he muttered a phrase he was to remember: 'The hare must be one of the witches of Maxton."

      No sooner had Gillies uttered the words when hares appeared from nowhere and in great quantity. They rushed at him, jumping up as thought to strike him mortal blows. His dogs cowering near by refused his commands to heel. In great anger he jumped from his horse and cut down the dogs all except one who awoke and began to chase the hares. The Laird remounted and took up the chase, one hare turned and jumped at him and he slashed at the hare with his sword cutting off a paw. The covine of hares vanished.

      Next morning Gillies learned that a woman of Maxton had lost an arm during the night. The same day the woman was dragged to the water and drowned as a witch.

      The old Tower of Little Dean, had long been haunted by the spirit of an old lady, once its mistress, a covetous grasping woman. Tradition tells us that she amassed a large fortune, and could not rest in her grave because of it being hidden away.

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      The Tower was taken over by the Laird of Little Dean, one "Gillies". The Laird and his family enjoyed life in the Tower and were not troubled by the ghost.

      One Saturday evening however a servant girl who was cleaning in the kitchen observed an elf-light shining on the floor, it vanished and on the spot stood an old woman wrapped in a brown cloak, who was evidently very cold and tired. The servant girl made the old lady comfortable, and the lady being much touched by the friendly girl's attentions told the girl that: My God wuid na let her rest, but I'll tell ye where it lies; 'Tis neath the lowest step o' the Tower stairs. Take the Laird there and dig up the gold and put it into his hands, an' tell him to part it into twa shares, one half let him keep for he's master here now; the other share he maun part again, and give half to you, for your kindness, and the other half to the poor o' Maxton. I will trouble this house no mair till the day of doom!

      The servant girl took her master to the step and found the gold, it was divided according to the instructions given. The ghost was never seen or heard again!

      Now near Maxton a bum runs accross the turnpike road at a spot called Bow-brig-Syke. Near this bridge lies a triangular field in which for nearly a century the ghostly forms of two ladies dressed in white could be seen pacing up and down, and always at dusk. They walked arm in arm over the same spot from dusk till dawn.

      Then one day workmen repairing the road took up several large flat stones upon which foot passengers crossed the burn, and found beneath the skeletons of two women, lying side by side. On examination by a local gentleman, it was said that the remains were of two missing local ladies, sisters to the Laird of Little Dean. He is said to have killed them in a fit of rage and disposed of the bodies beneath the stones.

      Some years later the Laird met his death at the same spot, for while out riding with his dogs he fell over the brae opposite the bridge and was found lying on the Tweed side. Tradition tells us his name was Gillies, Laird of Little Dean!! The ghosts of the two ladies were never seen again."

      I find the stories most interesting, if a trifle disconcerting, to say the least!

With every good wish
Yours "Aye"

Duchara and Glean Móre


18 Clair Crescent, Padstow Heights
Sydney, Australia 2211 August 9, 1991

Dear Archy,       I would like to subscribe to the Clan McPherson Association magazine and hope that you will be able to send details about international subscription rates in the near future.

      I am a member of the Australian Genealogical Association and have been trying to trace my McPherson heritage for the last few years. I have collated quite a lot of information about the McPhersons, particularly from the 1800s and settlers in Australia.

      I would appreciate you including in your next magazine a request from me to find out more about my line of the McPhersons. I would be very interested in contacting anyone who has information (or would like information) on the following people:
      Alexander MacPherson -- blacksmith (Christened June 1787 at Kirkmichael, Ban and died after 1833) who married (7 June 1817 at Kirkmichael)
      Ann Grant (born at Inverlochy, Kirkmichael, Ban and died after 1835). Ann's parents names were Peter and Sarah Grant, although I do not have any details.
      Alexander and Ann had at least 9 children at Kirkmichael: Sarah (1810), Paul (1818), Peter (1819), Alexander (1822), Mary (1824), James (1822), Mary (1828), Isabella (1830), and Margaret (1835).

      Next generation back: Paul MacPherson (born before 1760 at Ban and died after 1809 at Kirkmichael, Ban) who married (ca 1776 at Ban)
      Janet Riach (born before 1760 at Ban).

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Paul and Janet had at least 4 children: Lillias (1777), Elspet (1779), Mary (1787), and Alexander (1787).

      Next generation back -- Blackhaugh boys unsure of link.

      It appears that the Strathmashie MacPhersons were closely related to those of Pitmean (prominent cattle breeders). The Pitmean MacPherson's were of the Sliochd Iain (or John) and were descended from the second son of Ewan Ban (The Fair), first chief of the MacPhersons. My MacPherson probably descend from the Cluny family through intermarriage. Paul MacPherson (before 1760) appears to have been related to Cosmo MacPherson who left many descendants in the Kirkmichael area.

      Attached I have included a lovely "Forget Me Not" which was sent by one of Alexander and Ann McPherson's daughters. She sent it to the three McPhersons, ie her two brothers and one sister, that moved to Australia in late 1848 and 1851. You are free to use this in your magazine if interested.

      I do hope you can put me in contact with relatives (perhaps back in Scotland) who may have more information than I have been able to collate here in Sydney.

Many thanks

Gary McPherson


Hugh Macpherson (Scotland) Ltd
Bagpipe and Kilt Makers, Highland Outfitters
17 West Maitland Street, Edinburgh EH12 5EA

Dear Archy,
      Another generation of Macpherson coming into the family business. Alison Ross, Hugh's grand-daughter, is joining me, and her son, who is only 12 years old, Hugh's great-grandson, informs me that he is joining us as well when he is bigger.

      We are very fortunate for, as well as being in business, we meet and talk by phone or in person to Clanspeople from all over the world. The interest in their heritage is quite moving. When Alison is more experienced I will be going abroad to the Games where Clanspeople are in abundance. It will be particularly interesting to meet more Macphersons and their septs and encourage them to come over to the "Rally."

      Apart from Macphersons, a Pipe Band in Holbaek, Denmark, I told you about in the magazine a few years ago, take great interest in our Clan. They are dressed in Hunting Macpherson and their kilt pins and badges have our crest on them. They are fully formed now and tried so hard to come and play at the Games in Newtonmore, but unfortunately the Pipe Band Contests they are attending in Scotland do not coincide with the Rally.

      Jamie Sandilands, our champion piper who is on our staff, plays his pipes with a banner on them embroidered in gold with my father's personal Coat of Arms on it. I have promised Jamie that he can play my father's gold mounted pipes when he gets to the final 10 world class players, which will probably be within 5 years. He is only 17 at the moment. I think my father will be with him in spirit on that day. The two loves of his life, the Macphersons and bagpipes, brought together.

Regards to all members of the Clan. Yours sincerely

Jean Macpherson
(Daughter of the late Hugh Macpherson, former Chairman
of the Clan Macpherson Association 1957-1960)


6386 Coachford Way, Mississauga
Ontario L5N 3V8, Canada

Dear Archy,
      In response to a request for information about MacPhersons who have served others, I have the following information about my father, Ralph Stewart MacPherson:
      1. Born 1896 River Philip Nova Scotia, Raised Vancouver, British Columbia. Lived mainly in New Westminster, British Columbia.
      2. Education interrupted in 1915 with World War I. Joined First University Company

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which joined the PPCLI, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, in the field on July 28, 1915 as a Private, became a Corporal, then later a Lieutenant on November 10, 1917. Awarded Military Cross.
Wounded November 17, 1917 and November 9, 1918. Struck off Strength March 20, 1919.
World War II, Captain, Pacific Coast Militia Rangers.

      3. Married Dorothy Mary Lord in 1922 in St. Mary's Anglican Church, Kerrisdale, Vancouver.

      4. Three children: John Stewart, Mary Isobel (Molly Gifford), William Ralph. Twelve grandchildren, seventeen great grandchildren.

      5. Employed after war to retirement in 1961 with British Columbia Telephone Company. As the District Commercial Manager for the Fraser Valley he was known as "Mr Fraser Valley".

      6. Served as President of the Associated Boards of Trade of the Fraser Valley and President of the New Westminster Rotary Club. Served as a Charter Member of that Rotary Club and as Editor of its weekly Sockeye publication at the time of his death in 1964.
Service with the YMCA earned him an Honorary Life Membership.
Supported Holy Trinity Cathedral Anglican Church, the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
Through his behind-the-scenes support of others less fortunate than himself and through the service described above he gained a reputation of integrity and selfless- ness.
He was known to be one who could defuse a confrontation with his positive, friendly outlook.
Both Ralph and Dorothy provided a family life that was enviable, not overly rich in monetary terms, but full of good humour and rich in the values society treasures.

      I have enclosed a picture of my father which I hope, together with this information, can be used for "Creag Dhubh" or Clan records.

Yours truly

William R. MacPherson (Bill)

Cluny's Wildcat Award
      The announcement and first presentation of Cluny's Wildcat Award took place at the Williamsburg Gathering of the USA Branch in 1987. This is to be a periodic award to a Clansman or Clanswoman who has made an outstanding contribution to the Association. The Award medallion is a sterling silver replica of the Scottish Wildcat depicted in Cluny's Arms suspended on a red ribbon for wear round the neck. There is no particular time for the award to be given nor will there be a nominating committee. He will decide when the award will be given and who will receive it. The first recipients are Robert B. Macpherson, first Chairman of the USA Branch, and James J. Macpherson, the USA Membership Secretary.

      The award medallion designed and made by David Murdoch.







Badenoch & North of Scotland Branch
Chairman -- Lady jean Macpherson; Secretary/Treasurer -- Duncan Gillespie.       Successfully re-established with Chairman Lady Jean Macpherson, Balavil and Secretary/ Treasurer Duncan Gillespie, The Manse, Newtonmore. Four meetings were held including a splendid children's party for 90 in Newtonmore Hall. The Branch offers you all lunch (� after the AGM at the Rally -- soup and haggis -- in the newly renovated Newtonmore School.

England & Wales Branch
Chairman -- Vic Macpherson-Clifford; Vice-Chairman -- George C. J. Macpherson; Treasurer -- George C. J. Macpherson; Hon. Secretary -- Mrs Jerome LeRoy-Lewis, Flat 17, 169 Queenstown Road, London SW8 3RJ.

      The England and Wales Branch's Annual General Meeting was held on 15th May 1991, at the home of Mr and Mrs Tommy Macpherson. During the meeting, Mrs jean Macpherson, who has been the Chairman for the past three years, handed the Chair over to Mr Vic Macpherson-Ctifford, who had been elected by the Committee to take over as Chairman. The evening was well attended by members and their guests and the buffet supper supplied by Mr and Mrs Tommy Macpherson was enjoyed by all.

      Our Annual Dinner Dance was held on Friday, I st November at the Hotel Russell, for which 120 tickets were sold including five tables of 'younger' members. A delicious four course meal was served, including haggis, which was piped in by Jerome LeRoy-Lewis and was addressed by Donald C. Macpherson.

      Vic Macpherson-Clifford welcomed everybody to the dance and in particular members who had come from Scotland and their guests, and then introduced Alastair Macpherson of Pitmain who proposed a toast to the Clan Macpherson Association. This was replied to on behalf of the guests by Mr Mel Goodchild.

      Stan Watts and his band played for us once again and John Macpherson Martin was Master of Ceremonies. The new venue proved to be an enormous success and the huge dance floor meant that for the first reel, the Dashing White Sergeant, everyone was on the dance floor and continued dancing into the early hours!

      The whole evening was an enormous success and extremely well hosted by our Chairman, Vic Macpherson-Clifford. We hope that there will be as many people attending .in the coming years and we send greetings to all our fellow members.

West Australian Branch
Chairman Douglas. Secretary -- Margaret.       When Australian chairman, Gordon, formed our Branches, he created a magnetic field of rotating McPhersons. His influence has sent many members to the Rally in Scotland, and Australia has been visited by Jamie, Andrew Gillies and many others.

      This October will see Mary McPherson from Sussex visiting Western Australia and Victorian cousins. Through the Association, many families here have resumed communications after long periods of forgetfulness. All these good connections are the results of Gordon's efforts. One would not suggest that he is like a clucky hen -- but there is a similarity! He will shortly be visiting the Adelaide Branch and we look forward to his continuing westwards to visit us.

      We here thank Sandy for his last three years as Chairman of the Association, and we congratulate Gordon of Canada on his election.       God Bless you all.

Chevalier Douglas McPherson, KT, FSA


Southland - New Zealand Annual Report
Chairman Dorothy Macpherson; Secretary Athole H. Macpherson, 164 Lewis Street, Invercargill, Southland.

      Mrs Jean Cox welcomed our Clan members to her home on 25th May 1991 for our 44th Annual General Meeting. We have folk who come quite a distance and as we are all getting a shade older -- with a few exceptions, thankfully -- we decided this year to have our meeting during the afternoon at the weekend. There was a good attendance.

      I noted in the current "Creag Dhubh" England and Wales Branch report that Jean Macpherson had ended her three years as Chairman and it was the first time a wife and her husband had chaired the branch. We have also had that happen in that Alex McPherson succeeded his wife Mabel into the chair in 1990. Due to the sad passing of Alex at the end of last year we now have Dorothy in the chair and her husband Hector has more than once been Chairman. I mention this not in a competitive vein, but to highlight the loyalty and genuine interest shown by wives in branch activities. Some years ago we had as our first Chairman-wife Nellie Galt, whose husband Allan had been Chairman 15 years earlier.

      Clan Macpherson joined with our strong Combined Clans Council in bowls once again and were successful on this occasion. We met later at a Combined Clans Dinner at Ascot Park which Ann and Stuart from South Africa will recall during their visit to us. A local lady with Macpherson affiliation entertained us with her experiences living in the Morar region of Scotland.

      It is with pleasure we noted that the South African branch is lively again. Isabel Lamond and I met Allan at Cluny Castle in 1981 and we have kept in touch since, so it was with interest we perused the photographs for Ann and Stuart as well as Allan's family and fellow clansfolk.

      Our gathering will be a dinner on Saturday, 16th November in our lovely Queens Park in the centre of the city where, as we renew friendships, we will be able to enjoy the surrounding gardens and, if the weather permits (and in summer it surely will), we can stroll a little before coffee. Thanks to our Scots heritage we have a large number of keen gardeners. Our Chief Hector and Dorothy belong to a number of societies which are garden-related.

      It was with great pleasure that we welcomed Jamie, younger son of Cluny and Lady Sheila, into our midst just before Easter. Dorothy and Hector very much enjoyed having him in their home and though many folk were on the move at that busy time we did manage to show him around a little when Ron took him to visit his son's farm and then on to see Mabel on the coast at Riverton. At our port of Bluff Jamie fully realised his distance from home with the signpost to London reading 18,912 km. At an informal small gathering he met just a few of his fellow clansfolk who all wish him well in his future endeavours and hope to see him again. Jamie is an excellent ambassador for Cluny and the clan. I feel sure he is doing his best at this moment to see the World Rugby Cup.

      Our membership is 44.       Good health to all and may Clan activities prosper and flourish in all Clan Macpherson branches.

Canadian Branch
Chairman -- Stuart G. McPherson, 1843 Greenmeadow Drive, Burlington, Ontario L7P 2Y7. Vice-Chairman - J. Oliver McPherson, 144 Wakefield, Milton, Ontario L9T 2L9; Secretary/Treasurer -- Mrs E. G. MacPherson, 1295 Cumnock Cr., Oakville, Ontario L6J 2N6.

      The 42nd Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Branch was held this year in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in conjunction with the International Gathering of the Clans.

      The Prince George Hotel in historic Halifax was the setting for our weekend rally which was well organised by Wallace, a former Chairman, and his wife Jean, and Margaret Hambleton, our Newsletter Editor.


      On Friday evening we had an informal social gathering followed by dinner and then Gaelic songs and a humorous speech by the Rev. R. J. Ivan Gregor.

      On Saturday we attended our 42nd Annual General Meeting, chaired by Neil MacPherson. This was followed by an excellent film of the Badenoch countryside provided by Munro Macpherson of Ionia, Michigan, former International Chairman.

      In the afternoon we attended the Metropolitan Highland Games and in the evening the world famous Nova Scotia Tattoo, after which we gathered for an informal get-together in the Macpherson Suite.

      Sunday, the oldest Anglican Church in Canada, historic St. Paul's was the setting for our morning service. Then an informal brunch back at the hotel for any remaining Macphersons. Sunday evening we attended a service for the Kirking of the Tartan at St. Mathews United Church in which Wallace participated.

      Several members of the Halifax Metro Branch of the Associaion attended the annual Tartan Day Dinner on April 6th, and on April 13th 1991 Margaret Hambleton laid a wreath on the cairn commemorating the Battle of Culloden.

      We send greetings to all Clan cousins in the numerous branches of the Clan Macpherson Association.

Betty MacPherson, Oakville

Joint Gathering of the USA and Canadian Branches
at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, 19th-21st October, 1990
      Betty and I were delighted to be present at the joint Gathering of the USA and Canadian Branches held at the Pillar and Post Inn, Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was very well attended by members of both branches and it was good to renew old friendships. The weather remained dry and bright throughout the week-end. The fall colouring on the trees was magnificent.

      On the Friday night there was a very successful Ceilidh organised by Rod Clarke. The highlight was the premiere of Monroe's revised slide show of Badenoch and recent gatherings in Newtonmore, the slides blending into one another to give a continuous show.

      Saturday was taken up with Council Meetings and the 17th AGM of the USA Branch followed by the AGM of the Canadian Branch. During the morning Stuart very kindly


showed us the Niagara Falls which, with the blue skies and sunshine, brought out rainbow-like colours.

      The Banquet in the evening was a splendid affair and at the end of the dinner there was a surprise when Cluny presented Donald, Oakville and myself with his Wildcat Award. Lady Cluny presented Betty with a bouquet of flowers. I am the first member to receive this award outside the USA and Canada. It is a great honour. The evening closed with a demonstration of Highland dances performed splendidly by a team of young dancers from Hamilton followed by Mrs Ferguson who sang a selection of Scottish songs. On Sunday, a church service was held in the Presbyterian Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

      We were most grateful for the warm welcome we received during the Gathering and Betty stood up to all the festivities very well. Also to John and Jean Whitten who transported us back to Oakville and gave us super hospitality.

      However, all this would not have been possible without all the kindness shown to us by Donald and Betty who looked after us so well during the whole of our visit to Ontario.

Ronnie and Betty Macpherson, Comrie, Perthshire
November 1990

(Consideration of space obliged us to hold over this report from last year -- apologies. Ed.)

South African Branch
Chairman and Secretary -- Allan P. Macpherson, 519 Long Avenue, Ferndale, Randburgh 2194, South Africa.

      Our Rally in February was a great success and it had intended to hold another one in December, however several members will be going to the coast for their summer holidays. It has therefore been decided to hold our next Rally on either 12th or 19th January 1991. Christmas in Johannesburg/Randburgh is still hot turkey and pudding even though it's plus or minus 30-deg C!

South African Branch Report for 1991
Chairman -- Allan D. MacPherson. Vice-Chairman -- Kevin R. MacPherson. Secretary Terry MacPherson. Members of Committee -- Stuart MacPherson, Huntley MacPherson, David T. MacPherson Smith, Roderick MacPherson, Ian Macpherson.

      We held our Clan Rally at Allan's home on Sunday the 2nd February, and once again it was a resounding success. We had a bigger attendance this year, a total of 60. As before it took the form of a ceilidh with two accordionists, a piper, address to the haggis by Ian Ruickbie, and our great team of country dancers led by Sheena Darroch.

      The toast to Cluny was proposed by Kevin MacPherson, to absent friends by Ian MacPherson, and a special toast to Terry (Allan's wife) was proposed by Stuart Macpherson.

      Everyone enjoyed themselves so much that this will be an annual event (like the Rally in Scotland). The only problem was the heat and humidity, therefore we will hold it a little later in the year.

      In future we will hold our Annual Rally on the first Sunday of March each year!! So any Clan members (anywhere in the world) who are contemplating a visit to South Africa, remember to try and make it at that time of the year. It will be great to welcome you.

      We are saddened by the loss of Gilbert MacPherson who died on the 13th November 1991. Gilbert was a founder member of the Clan and always turned out to our functions. He had retired to Durban seven years ago and his wife Lorna still lives there.

      We are also very sorry to hear of the death of Betty Macpherson of Comrie, on the 11th.


November. A fine lady who did so much for the Clan. She had such great courage and was so determined to get fit after her severe illness. I so enjoyed my visits to Betty and Ronnie's home in Comrie each time I came across to Scotland. God bless you all.

      We send our best wishes and greetings to Cluny and the Clan in Scotland and all over the world.

Allan D. MacPherson

------------------------------------------------------------------30 ----------------------------------------------------------

      Mr Stuart McPherson, Chairman of the Canadian Branch of the Clan Macpherson Association, presented Mr Alex McPherson with a Life Membership Certificate of the Clan Macpherson Association on August 25, 1991.       Mr Alex McPherson, 85, is a member of the Canadian Lacrosse Sports Hall of Fame. His career in Lacrosse spans the years from 1925 to 1948, first as a player and later as a manager. He first played lacrosse in St. Catherines then in Hamilton and Buffalo, New York where he was on a number of championship teams. Later Alex became manager of the Hamilton Tigers Lacrosse Team. He was a good athlete and played other sports as well as lacrosse.      His family originated in Paisley, Scotland and through three generations lived in County Antrim in Northern Ireland before emigrating to Canada. They settled in a farm near St. Catherines and he was the youngest of a family of ten children.       Alex has always had an active life. He was 32 years with the Russell T. Kelly Advertising Agency in Hamilton. At the same time he operated a large farm at Millgrove, Ontario and was Reeve of West Flamborough Township.       He is interested in the Clan Macpherson Association and has attended a number of Clan Rallies. The highlight was at the joint Canadian-US Branch Rally of the Clan Association at Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1980 when he and his wife Eddie had a visit with our Chief Cluny and Lady Cluny.       Although Alex suffered a severe illness some years ago, he has made a good recovery and has written the story of his life and his family called "The Way It Was". This he has given to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and to the Clan Macpherson Association.
Reference: The Surnames of Scotland, p.557 (The New York Public Library)
MACPHERSON, [MACPHERSON], G. Mac a' Phearsain or Mac a Phearsoin,'the son of the parson.' In the Book of the Dean of Lismore the name is spelled M'apharsone. Alexander Makfersan was bailie to the bishop of Aberdeen, c. 1447 (REA., I, p. 250).

Bean Makimpersone witnessed a bond between William of Rose and Duncan Makintosche, captain of Clancattane, 1490 (Cawdor, p.74), and in the same year, as Beane Makynparsone, he witnessed an indenture between Doncan Makyntosche and Huchone the Rois, baron of Kylraok (Rose, p. 153).

Payment was made to David Makfassane "for two gunnis of matel," 1538 (ALHT., vii, p.25),

Donald Makphersone, prior of Stratliphillane, appears as witness, 1585 (BBT., p.233, 234), and the Badenoch Makfersones made a bond of manrent with the earl of Huntly, 1591 (SCM., iv, p.246).

Duncan Dow M' a Persoun in Kinchraikin was a Glenurquhay vassal, 1638 (BBT., p.403).

A small sept of Campbells in the neighborhood of Glassary, Argyllshire, in the fourteenth and fifteenth century bore the name Macpherson.

Donaldus M'Inpersuyn was one of a number cited in 1355 to give evidence regarding the lands of Glassre (HP., ii, p.139). As Donald McMcpersun he witnessed a charter by John Campbell, lord of Ardsceodanich, undated, but about 1355 (bid., p. 14 1).

Another Donald Macpherson, evidently of the same family, was rector of St. Columba, Glassrie, 1420, "showing that the name was not a mere patronymic."

Donald McKinfarsoun was tenant of Teris Balcony, 1531, and Neill McForsoun, tenant in Arrafeill, Islay, 1541 (ER., xvii, p.620,640,668).

Malcolm Makfersoun obtained the heritage of Kerrytonlia in Bute, 1506 (Hewison, ii., p. 173).

"It is known that a number of families of the Badenoch Macphersons settled in the Hebrides; and it is a modern mistake


to suppose that nearly all who bear the name in those parts are really Murdochsons, who have no connection with 'Clan Mhuirich bho Bhinnein"' (Sinton, Poetry of Badenoch, p.84).

Malcolm McPhersone was "parsoune of Herreis," 1556 (Coll., p.146).

Tormot M'Farsane, a vicar of Snizort, 1526. Dun: Mc appersone and Gilbert nic persone are in Clachandysart, 1692 (Commons, p.30) McEpersoun 1559, Makfarson 1481, McFerson 1685, McFersoune 1662, Makferssoun 1530, McInphersonis (pl) 1594, McInferson 1611, NcKherson (fem.) 1682, McKilferson 1506, Mackperson 1646, Mackpliarsone 1637, McPerson, McPhersen.

This fascinating book by George Fraser Black, PhD, is published by The New York Public Libary and refers to written and printed sources covering most Scottish surnames, but for Clan and Family connections one must turn to "Scots Kith and Kin."

THE PIPERS' CURIOSITY by Margaret Bennett

Margaret Bennett, of the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh, on a visit to Newfoundland interviewed an old piper who had seventy years ago met Jockan Macpherson, eldest of Calum Piobaire's sons. Here is her story of the meeting and her subsequent discussions with Tryphosa Macpherson, daughter of Jockan.

      It must surely be a healthy sign of the piping world that whenever there is an unanswered question pipers will keep on asking it until someone comes up with an answer. For example, whatever happened to the great MacArthur pipers? Or, for that matter, what happened to the gravestone carver that he didn't finish his tribute to MacDonald of Duntulm's famous piper? Despite centuries of weathering by the elements that sweep the Kilmuir Churchyard, you can still read it:

      Here lies the remains of Charles Mackarter, whose fame as an honest man, and remarkable piper, will survive this generation, for his manners were easy and regular as his music and the melody of his fingers will

And that's as far as it goes. I imagine, however, that most of us will finish the inscription along the lines of ". . . the melody of his fingers will . . . live on forever. "

      Though there is no date on the stone, we know that the MacDonalds abandoned Duntulm Castle about 1730. As hereditary pipers to the clan, the MacArthurs lived in the hamlet of Hungladder which was assigned to them, and they are known to have held a piping school near Cnoc a' Phiobaire (the Piper's Knoll). In 1772 when Thomas Pennant make his tour of Scotland, he noted with appreciation that he "took a great repast" at the home of the renowned MacArthur on Skye. Nevertheless, apart from a few legends from oral tradition, such as the Cave of Gold, and an occasional book reference as in Seton Gordon's Afoot in the Hebrides (published 1950), where he mentions a John Johnson on Coll whose family knew of the great MacArthur pipers, we are left to speculate.

      I once had the privilege of meeting and getting to know a MacArthur piper whose "manners were easy and regular as his music" and whose melody has certainly lived on. His name was Allan MacArthur. Born in the south-west of Newfoundland in 1884, Allan's grandfather's family, the MacArthurs, emigrated from Canna in the 1820s, and his grandmother's family, the MacNeills, from Moidart in the 1840s. Whether he was kin to the MacArthurs of Duntulm or not, I cannot say. He was, however, possessed of the remarkable characteristics which, since time immemorial, Gaelic society has attributed to its finest traditon-bearers. As the late Kenneth Jackson stated, ". . . they were men of high intelligence and keen minds ... widely educated in the oral learning of the Gaelic race ... Their minds were not cluttered with all the miscellaneous rubbish with which we burden ours. " And when I asked Allan MacArthur about his remarkable memory, he simply stated that it was "only the schooling he got from God."


That being so, God's "classroom" was the taigh ceilidh (the ceilidh or visiting house). Throughout his eighty-four winters Allan MacArthur had practised the old traditions sitting by many a fireside. As a boy, his uncle taught him to play the pipes on an old set that had been brought from Scotland. The mode of teaching was completely oral, and while the family were completely at ease exchanging a tune using canntaireachd or puirt luath (as they called puirt-a-beul[i.e.,mouth music]), they did not have any printed music. As Allan often demonstrated, "it goes a lot easier on your fingers when you knows the words of it."

      Well known and much loved in his area as a piper, dancer, Gaelic singer, story-teller, historian, craftsman, sometimes fiddler, and accordion player, Allan MacArthur's company was much enjoyed during the long evenings of the taigh ceilidh. With regret, however he witnessed the decline of this age-old custom after the coming of electricity during the 1960s: "When the television came in the front door, the old ways were pushed out the back." Yet in his closing year he took pleasure in recreating them for "one of our own people from the Isle of Skye." He allowed me to tape-record his songs, music, stories, local history, and family traditions, realising that in this strange, new world, it was, perhaps, the only way that his legacy from preceding generations might be preserved for posterity. It was beside Allan MacArthur's own fireside that I first listened to the story of the Cave of Gold. I had known that it existed among my own native islanders yet had only seen references in books. Interestingly, Allan attributed his version of it to a MacCrimmon who went into the cave and didn't return. "Cha till, Cha till . . ." (I will not return, I will not return") he quoted a frament of one of his mother's songs and added "there's a pipe tune too, that goes with it."

      Allan MacArthur had a lively curiosity about every aspect of his culture, and he also had a favourite "unanswered piping question" which had puzzled him since the early 1920s. It concerned an unidentified Macpherson piper, and the MacArthur household was daily reminded of it by a small newspaper clipping that Allan had pinned to his sitting room wall. Yellowed with age when I first saw it in 1970, the faded photo of a fine kilted figure was headed "CHAMPION PIPER" and the short report below it read: "John Macpherson of Newtonmore, Inverness, champion piper, son and grandson of champion pipers, who played the Athenia off when she sailed from the Old Country on a recent voyage with a large passenger list of settlers for Canada." Whenever the sitting-room was repainted, the little clipping was pinned back on the wall. "Who were these champion pipers and who was this John Macpherson, anyway?" Living in a remote part of Newfoundland, the MacArthurs had no ways of finding out. Of the precise genealogy I could not be certain, but I gave some assurance that the Macphersons of Newtonmore certainly featured prominently on Scotland's list of famous pipers. Although Allan MacArthur had met him and shared many hours of music with "this John Macpherson", he learned nothing of the man himself. Like so many fine musicians enjoying time together, they spent it playing their pipes and exchanging tunes. And no doubt Macpherson's health was drunk with MacArthur's favourite toast: "Deoch slainte chuairteir a ghluais bho Albainn!" [Here's a health to the traveller who left Scotland!] At times like these when you have a tune to play, family histories are of secondary importance! "He was a wonderful piper, the best I ever heard."

      I took a photo of the newspaper clipping, and reconfirming that he had indeed been in the presence of a great piper, Allan entrusted his question to me, hoping that one day I might find out "just a little more." Regrettably that wish was not fulfilled during his lifetime, as he died later that year.

      After his death in 1971, Allan MacArthur's beloved pipes were handed on to one of his eight sons, Sears, who had been taught by his father, in the same traditional manner. My own legacy was a number of tape-recordings (in the hope that I might one day write a book about the great tradition-bearer) and a few photographs, including that of the Macpherson piper. More than ten years later, one of Allan's sons, Frank, filled out the story of John Macpherson from his own childhood reminiscences. He recalled a time after the untimely death of their mother when Allan had taken him and his older brother, Jimmy, on a visit to the backwoods hunting and fishing camp in which he worked:


[Macpherson] was a tourist, and he'd be fishing. He came out on a shipping line; I used to hear my father speak about it, this John Macpherson. He was supposed to be really a wonderful piper. But now it seems to me, according to his picture that he must have been getting a bit old at the time . . .

      Now Jimmy was only nine years old at the time. He was reasonably good on the pipes when he was nine. In fact he used to have to put the big drone on the opposite side, you know, put it over his head, because he was small, and using the big pipes!

... He was impressed with Jimmy's piping, so much so that he wanted my father to let Jimmy go back to Scotland with him. But my grandmother, she wouldn't hear talk of it ... Although father was complimented by this -- and he had a reason to be complimented -- I'm very doubtful if he'd be satisfied to let him go.

      Now another generation of MacArthurs wondered about "this John Macpherson." Eventually I took the photograph of the newspaper clipping to Newtonmore, the heart of Macpherson country, where I was told of several John Macphersons. My question, then, became "Which one went to Canada?" After a few unsuccessful attempts of showing it to several Macphersons, I showed it to octogenarian Phosa Macpherson. After a brief moment of hesitation, almost disbelief, she exclaimed "It's my father!" Phosa herself is the grand-daughter of Calum Piobaire, and her father was his son, John. At the sight of the photo, memories of her father's overseas visit came rushing back to her:

      My father went with the Donaldsons to Nova Scotia. They went on the "Athenia" -- it was a new ship of the Donaldson Line -- that was its first trip out. And it was the first ship through the Strait of Belle Isle [that year] and my father said the icebergs were just enormous! But they had a wonderful holiday. They had three months fishing on and around the St. Lawrence, [including Newfoundland], and camping ... and of course the pipes went with him -- they went everywhere! And you know, when he came home, he told us ... he was playing his pipes and people came out and danced the Highland Reel in the street and he said he'd never seen such beautiful dancing.

      It's quite a thrill to see that [photo] because we didn't even know that it had been taken! I'm terribly pleased to see it! And there was a very famous family of MacArthurs on Skye, you know . . .

      But before she could ask me anything else, Phosa did answer Allan MacArthur's original question:       He was brought up in Laggan ... his father [Malcolm or Calum Macpherson] was this famous piper taught by the MacCrimmons on Skye ... And my greatgrandfather came to Cluny as piper ... Calum's father came from Skye to Cluny, and he hardly had any English, I believe. And when Queen Victoria was up there, Cluny said to my great-grandfather "You know, Queen Victoria would like if you would go as her piper." And the answer Cluny got was [in Gaelic] "What would I do going to Queen Victoria or into England, when I can hardly speak any English?" Cluny spoke Gaelic, you see, and spoke it all the time to his people ... So you see, my grandfather didn't have a lot of English. He was Angus Macpherson, and Calum Macpherson was my father's father, and he was the piper to Cluny too ... of course they were bilingual [by that time] ... He taught my father two hundred pibrochs, and it wasn't off books or anything. It was all in his head ... My grandfather would play for hours and never repeat himself.

      Phosa's reminiscenses of her father's remarkable family are totally absorbing as they are interspersed with her own lively way of narrating the story. For reasons of time and space, however, we will need to be content with short extracts from that tape transcription. With perfect focus on our original question, Phosa brought out a newspaper clipping from the Kingussie Record of 1908, which had the following report:


      The brilliant career of Piper John Macpherson has been recently commented upon in a contemporary paper and it deserves the attention of all readers. He comes of a creditable piping stock, his father and grandfather being pipers of no mean order. His early tuition was in the capable hands of his father, while he was initiated into the art of dancing by the famous Johnnie MacNeil. His first appearance in public was as an amateur at Portree when he was only sixteen years old. He made his debut as a professional at Oban in 1889 when he won the Highland Society of London's gold medal from an entry of about twenty competitors. At London he tied with John MacColl of Oban for first place in pibroch playing, and on playing a second time Macpherson won, although the piece chosen as MacColl's masterpiece. On this occasion, the judges were the late Mr Donald MacKay, at that time piper to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales; Mr Ronald MacKenzie, the piper to the Duke of Richmond and Gordon; and the well-known violinist Mr Duff, Pitlochry. In 1889 he competed in the same place with all the champions of the present day and won premier honours in all the divisions of piping, pibrochs, marches, strathspeys and reels. He also won the sword dance and reel dancing ...

      In the Waterloo Rooms, Glasgow, he carried off first prize for strathspeys and reels and third for marches, then, on a later occasion, in the same place he won the much-coveted Clan Stewart prize. At Drymen he tied three times on one day with the late William MacLellan, one of the foremost pipers of his day, and later he had the same experience in Portree. Altogether he has won nine first prizes for pibrochs in London, thus holding the record for that meeting-place. He also took part in the piping competitions at the Paris Exhibition and was among the prize-winners. At Highland gatherings he was a notable figure, wresting the chief award on almost all occasions. At Callendar he tied with MacDougal Gillies, and at Aberfeldy with Angus MacRae. He also had the honour of playing before Queen Alexandra when Princess of Wales, and also before the present King of Italy. While in the capacity of private piper, he has had service with several well-known families including Lord Breadalbane, Lord Willoughby d'Ersby, and Cluny MacPherson.

      While recounting aspects of her father's life, Phosa did not recite any long prize list, yet her anecdotes add even more colour to his story. She chuckled at the idea of her father going to Paris with not a word of French and unable to communicate to the landlady that she would not get the money for the board and lodging until after the piping competition was over! She recalled the days when "it was nothing for them to go to Skye on foot" or set off on any of these long distances:

      The time my father won the Oban medal, he and Willie Chisholm whom my grandfather taught -- he lived on the Glentruim Estate ... well they walked from Laggan. At least they set off for the Fort William Games, walking, and they hoped they would get on the stage-coach when it came along. But when the stage-coach came along it was packed and they couldn't take them on. But they did take their pipe boxes ... all the way from Laggan to Fort William, nearly forty miles. So they walked it, and got to the Games, and my father said to Willie Chisholm "Well, I think if I've a good day in Fort William I'll go right on to Oban." And he did ... so [later] he set off to Oban and he won the gold medal ... and, I believe, nearly everything else.

      On his visit overseas, John Macpherson spoke not a word of his piping triumphs to the folk in Newfoundland. As some may wisely say, "When you're that good, you don't have to! The music will speak for itself." Allan MacArthur obviously knew good piping when he heard it, as he could still say with conviction more than half a century later "He was a wonderful piper, the best I ever heard." And in its own quiet way, that statement probably says as much about the judge as of the piper.

      The great love of piping is still a characteristic of both the MacArthurs and the Macphersons, yet ironically there is a major point of contrast: the language which John Macpherson and Allan MacArthur spoke during their memorable visit died out in the


Newtonmore family with his own generation -- Phosa's generation was not taught Gaelic; yet it survived for two more generations among the MacArthurs in Newfoundland and can still be heard occasionally in the closing decade of this century.

      Where did the MacArthur pipers go? We may not have an accurate response to that question yet; nevertheless, we can be certain that there are still a few MacArthurs whose music brings honour to a great name. The wealth of tradition that has been sustained by the family of the late Allan MacArthur certainly testifies to the cultural vigour that migrated to the New World more than a hundred and sixty years ago.

Courtesy of The Piping Times.


By Gilleasbuig MacMhuirich (Gilleasbuig Lachlainn 'Illeasbuig)
      Most countries and clans have an animal or bird as its totem. The lion is the animal sign of Scotland as a whole and ours as a clan has the Wildcat.

[Some would claim the unicorn to be that beast after the year 1603, at least.]

      There is a tradition that Clan Chattan -- of which we are part -- were of the Catti clan which were noted to be in Northern Belgium in Julius Caesar's day; that is, a Celtic people who were there till driven out by the Flemings from further up the coast in the Netherlands. The tradition has it that they sailed up the East Coast till they reached the North East. Who can tell? There is certainly the county of Caithness, meaning the Cat (people's) peninsula, and the Sutherlands have a Wildcat in their crest as well.

      The Nature Conservancy Council has just published a booklet which is an excellent survey of the status and distribution of the Wildcat in Scotland.

      Hybrids of the Wildcat with the domestic cat make them difficult to tell apart. The distinguishing feature is the tail which, with the true Wildcat, has a blunt tip and is ringed with alternate bands of black and light. The greatest threat to the true Wildcat apart from man, is reckoned to be its breeding with domestic cats. It has been calculated that a third of wildcats are hybrids rather than pure breeds.

      The Nature Conservancy Council, 12 Hope Terrace, Edinburgh EH9 2AS, Scotland, has set down a basis on which work can best be undertaken to save the Wildcat. These animals are associated with afforested country which they use largely for shelter while hunting takes place in more open spaces. Its way of life is such that it can never be numerous. A third of the Wildcat populations are in danger especially in more remote areas with the highest proportion of true Wildcats.

      For the past three years there has been legal protection for the Wildcat. Let us hope that it has not come too late. Their only crime has been an occasional taste for game birds, surely not enough of a justification for killing them. As this would be breaking the law, it is hardly worth finding oneself in the shameful position of being convicted in the dock of a criminal court.




      The Editor and our Clan journal has very kindly invited me to say a few words to the members of the Clan Association, following the precedent established by our immediate Past-Chairman, Sandy.       I must, of course, begin by saying what a marvellous time we had at last year's Rally! This was the first opportunity in 18 years that my wife and I were able to again join our fellow clansfolk at a gathering in the Macpherson country and we are most grateful to the organisers who made the Rally such a successful and happy event. We must also express our warm appreciation for the unsurpassed Highland hospitality we enjoyed during our visit and we returned to Canada not only with many pleasant memories but with renewed enthusiasm to further the aims and objectives of the Clan Association.

      For those of you who have not as yet managed a trip to Newtonmore at Rally time, let me encourage you to plan now to attend at the earliest opportunity. A warm welcome awaits you.

      In September we were privileged to attend the US Branch Annual Gathering at Chicago and what a splendid and enjoyable occasion it was. I'm sure the local citizens must have been impressed to see the Clan, led by Cluny and a piper, marching down Michigan Avenue.

      I would like to remind our newer members of two Clan booklets, published by the Clan History Fund and available from the Curator, Clan Macpherson Museum. I refer to our Clan History, The Posterity of the Three Brethrenby Alan G. Macpherson, and Part I of Glimpses of Church & Social Life in The Highlands by Alexander Macpherson. I understand that there are only about 100 copies of the "Posterity" left and this is certainly a book that every clansman and clanswoman will wish to have.

       May I conclude by sending good wishes and greetings to all our members everywhere with the hope that we may meet in Badenoch in 1992.



      The deaths of DONALD F MACPHERSON, on 5th April, and of his wife, MARY, on 21st October, occurred in 1991. Both were active in the early days of the Association, the latter as Secretary to the Badenoch branch in 1948-49, the year in which the first magazine was published. Their elder daughter, (also Mary) predeceased them in January 1978.


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