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The Scottish American History Club Newsletter
July 1995


“The Scots of Illinois have been doing a brave and good thing. They have just completed their 119th Anniversary Dinner in the Conrad Hilton hotel, and are looking forward to the 120th next year.

A total of 1,200 persons ran their teeth into this Scot victual at the last affair. It is estimated that these Scots have averaged 500 persons at the 119 banquets past.

There was a half-ton of haggis imported from Scotland for their affair just past. As this figures just short of one pound haggis per person, the horrifying conclusion is forced upon you that, over the years, these Scots and their guests have gnawed away 59,500 pounds of haggis. This is based on an average of 500 guests per year.

This viewed by a non-Scot outlander, comes under the head of valor above and beyond the call of duty. Had not these fellows faced bravely up to the responsibility and gnawed their way bravely thru this mound of goo, Chicago would by this time be up to its ears in haggis.

Stone Park, which is sometimes under water, could easily have been under haggis, and the natives would have had to bare their teeth and gnaw their way to freedom. But, thanks to the Scots, this victual has not been allowed to pile up.

There are some non-Scots who share the feeling that this haggis is not so much a food as a misfeasance. These people contend the Scots approach the matter from the wrong angle.

It is their contention these fellows would do much better to eat the bagpipe and play the haggis. This haggis, if you wondered, is made up of the heart, liver, lungs of the sheep, plus oatmeal, mint suet, carrots, powered herbs and salt and pepper.

The only complaint of this department is that, after it is cooked, it tastes a great deal like the heart, liver, lungs of the sheep, plus oatmeal, mint suet, carrots, powdered herbs and salt and pepper. This dish was to Scotland what the potato was to Ireland, and, while they do not acclaim it the greatest of delicacies, get from it the reminder of the struggling days.

Be that as it may, the Scots are cheerful folk, and have raised a great deal of loot for the old folks home thru the Anniversary Dinner...”

From an article in the Chicago Tribune, “A Line O’ Type or Two” December 10, 1964.

Pulaski Road

In Chicago, Pulaski Road is 4000 west and runs from 6360 north to 11458 south. This long street is of interest to us because it was originally known as Crawford Avenue. Peter Crawford (of Scottish descent) was an early Chicago pioneer, real estate speculator, and lumber dealer. He founded the settlement of Crawford, which we now know as North Lawndale.

In 1933, Mayor Ed Kelly changed the name from Crawford to Pulaski in order to please one of his supporters. For the next twenty years, a battle raged in the courts and the legislature to stop the proposed change. In 1952, the Supreme Court of Illinois ruled that the property owners cannot control the naming of a street.

Casimir Pulaski was born in Lithuania and fought courageously in the American Revolution. He was killed in the siege of Savannah, Georgia, in 1779.

Orsemus Morrison

Orsemus Morrison, who descended from a Scottish family of great antiquity, was born June 24, 1807.

He arrived in Chicago in 1833 and became the coroner. His first case involved an inquest into the freezing death of a man in a stretch of woods bounded by what are now the streets of LaSalle, Washington and Randolph. He once owned the Morrison Hotel, corner of Clark and Madison, where many Scottish events were hosted.

Mr. Morrison died January 4, 1864. “In all my life I never have injured anyone willfully and I died owing no man anything.”

Note: The original hotel was the first four floors. The upper four floors were added at a later date.

James Wilson Marshall
*Someone You Should Know*

When James Wilson Marshall discovered gold in 1848 at Sutter’s Mill, California, he couldn’t imagine the long-range historical effect. California had only recently been wrested from Mexico and the state needed American settlers. The lure of gold brought thousands of new settlers and helped bind California to the rest of the nation.

James W. Marshall was born of Scottish parents on October 8, 1810, in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. From his father he learned his trade and became a skilled wheelwright and wagon maker. At the death of his father, he began a long journey west, living first in Crawfordsville, Indiana, then Warsaw, Illinois, and finally Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

In 1844, he moved west again to Sutter’s Fort, California, the present site of Sacramento. Here, he began to farm, buying land and livestock. At the outbreak of the war with Mexico, he joined the Fremont Battalion. When the war ended, he was discharged, having never been paid.

Returning to his farm, he found his cattle gone and was forced to sell his land. With his skills as a builder, he formed a partnership with Captain John Sutter to build a mill. Sutter was to provide the money and Marshall would provide the labor and skills.

In the process of deepening the mill raceway, Marshall saw the glitter of California gold for the first time. An effort was made to keep the discovery quiet; but, by 1849, thousands were moving into the area hysterically searching for gold and sweeping aside Marshall, Sutter and the mill operation.

The lawless invasion of his property once again made Marshall penniless. In 1872, he was voted a pension by the California legislature, but it was paid for only six years. James Wilson Marshall died August 10, 1885. His Coloma cabin ground is now a state park. A monument and statue were erected in his honor in 1890.

Pictured:  James Wilson Marshall

Heather Seivwright

When Captain Scott O’Grady was shot down over Bosnia recently, his only contact with the outside world was his radio. The radio saved his life and finally brought about his rescue. One of the components of that radio was manufactured by the Grayhill Company of LaGrange, Illinois, and one of the employees who assembled that switch was Heather Seivwright of Brookfield, Illinois. Using the parts numbers, the Pentagon was able to track down the company and the persons who actually assembled the switch. The President recently wrote the company and Heather expressing his appreciation for a job well done.

Heather was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and has lived in America with her family for the past ten years. She is also an excellent piper. In addition, her sister, Diane, is a champion swinging tenor and her brother, Neil, is a champion snare drummer. All three play with the Chicago Highlanders Pipe Band.

Congratulations, Heather!

The Great Chicago Fire

In 1871 Chicago was destroyed by a great fire. The Scottish population suffered greatly by losing both their homes and businesses. The following excerpt was written by a member of the St. Andrew Society who was an eyewitness to the devastation. It has never been published.

“This was the sight by night. One fireproof building, the Chicago Tribune Building, seemed likely to escape, but by ten o’clock in the forenoon this remaining block was in ashes. Now was to be seen the most remarkable sight ever beheld in this or any country. There were from fifty to seventy-five thousand men, women, and children, fleeing by every available street and road to the southward and westward, attempting to save their clothing and their lives. Every available vehicle was brought into requisition for use, for which, enormous prices were paid, and the streets presented a sad sight - thousands of persons and horses inextricably co-mingled; poor people of all colors and shades, and of every nationality, from Europe, China, and Africa, mad with excitement, struggling with each other to get away. During Monday, a renewal of the fires on the west side was looked for, and a change of five degrees in the direction of the wind, at any time, would have led to that result. There would have been no refuge in the city for any. Everybody had their clothing packed, ready to start for the prairie at any moment, but God averted this last possible addition to the disaster.”

More Golf

Joan Hanson who lives in Franklin, Pennsylvania, has sent more information about the golf course in Foxburg. In 1884, Joseph Mickel Fox traveled to St. Andrew to see the game of golf being played. Here he met Tom Morris, Sr., who taught him the fundamentals of golf and also sold him clubs and gutta-percha ball.

Back in Foxburg, he built a small 8-hole golf course. There was such enthusiasm for the game that a larger course was built and it became the Foxburg Country Club. The game has been played there each year since 1887; thus, the claim... “it all started at Foxburg... oldest golf course in continuous use in the U. S.... since 1887.”

Also located at Foxburg is the American Golf Hall of Fame Museum. One priceless collection features “one club from each of the six generations of McEwans (1770 - 1799 - 1830 - 1855 - 1890 - 1930).” If anyone would like a copy of the brochure which Mrs. Hanson sent, please let us know.

Golf, an Ancient Game in Savannah

“Congratulations were received yesterday by William Harden, librarian of the Georgia Historical Society, upon the appearance in the January issue of Vanity Fair of an article by him showing that Savannah was the home of golf in America long before any other community in the young United States thought of the pastime.

The article in Vanity Fair was the result of an odd find by Mr. Harden among the old reports of the society. He came upon an invitation by the Savannah Golf Club to Miss Eliza Johnston, and under ordinary conditions would have passed it by as somewhat recent, but Mr. Harden was able to descry the date, and was startled to find that the card was 105 years old.

This invitation of the year 1811 immediately caused him to conduct a close investigation, with the result that he learned that the club was managed by four Scotsmen, all prominent merchants of Savannah at that time. The researches were not easy, but with the interest Vanity Fair showed in Mr. Harden’s find, the local historian was requested to spare no expense to ascertain every particular.

The files of the Columbian Museum published here in 1811, yielded up the following announcement... ‘Golf Club... the members of the golf club are requested to meet at The Exchange this evening at 7 o’clock, November 25, 1811’.

Miss Eliza Johnston was one of the belles of Savannah at the time. She was the daughter of Colonel James Johnston, one of the foremost citizens of Savannah. He was a merchant, Colonel of the First Georgia Regiment of Georgia Volunteers, and a trustee of The Exchange from 1804 to 1810.

The Golf Club Ball apparently was fateful for Miss Johnston, as she did not remain single long after that event, becoming the wife of James Morrison. According to the Columbian Museum and the Savannah Advertiser, they were married on April 28, 1812, by the Rev. Mr. Kollock. No list of members of the club could be discovered, and the invitation reveals the names only of the managers of the ball and the treasurer of the organization. The managers were George Woodruff, Robert Mackay, John Caig and James Dickson.

That Savannah was the first golf city cannot be denied, as the first authentic records heretofore show that St. Andrew’s Golf Club and the Shinnecock Golf Club at South Hampton in 1880. The period before that has often been referred to as ‘the mystical period’ in the history of American Golf.”

From the Savannah News, December 26, 1916.


Only one person responded to our question about Andrew Hallidie. Ian Lisk knew that he had invented the cable cars of San Francisco. “Legend has it that Hallidie sighted a heavily-laden horsecar, the only type of public transport at the time, moving slowly up a steeply graded street. As he watched in horror, one of the horses stumbled and fell, the brake slipped and the car rolled back down the hill, dragging the animals behind. Hallidie set out to design a system that would prevent such accidents.

It took four years for the Scottish immigrant to design and build his system. It was called “Hallidie’s Folly” but it successfully made the trip down Clay Street hill and back again. With a few technical improvements, the system remains basically unchanged. The cars are pulled along at 9.5 miles an hour by 11 miles of 1.25-inch cables buried beneath the city’s streets. An estimated 12 million people ride the cable cars of San Francisco each year.

Bonnie Blair, the most gifted female athlete in U. S. Olympic history, is Scottish according to Reverend Donald Kinloch.

Newsletter Wins Third Place

Be it known that in the 1995 Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library International Family Tree Newsletter Contest, “Seeking the best there is...”that the History Club Newsletter The Illinois St. Andrews Society in the category of Societies Publications has, after their publication being examined and critiqued and held to the highest standards the publication has been judged Third Place Winner on this 1st day of June 1995 in Moultrie, Georgia, USA.

With entries in this competition coming from all over the United States of America and from four foreign countries, this contest has now become truly an international newsletter event. With the highest standards of excellence being the goal, this entry has been judged worthy of recognition and praise.

The Odom Library and The Family Tree are proud to be affiliated with your organization, your editors and your individual members.

Congratulations on a job well-done!

Bert Harsh, Chairman
Odom Library Board of Trustees

Melody Stinson Jenkins, Director Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library

From the Editor...

Last summer, a stranger approached me in Chicago and asked if I would be interested in a Bible that once belonged to a Scottish family. The question was directed to me because I was wearing a kilt. The book had been purchased at a flea market only because it once was very important to a family and the stranger hated to see it being sold.

I indicated I was very interested in having the Bible, but promptly forgot the entire episode. In a few days, a package arrived from Springfield, Illinois, and inside was the book. It was not exactly a Bible, but rather a book of daily readings and scriptural writings. The front few pages contained the following family history written by hand and now difficult to read.

Consider that this family in the 1850s traveled by sailing ship from Scotland to Australia and back to Scotland again. Then one son, William, is born in Scotland in 1865 and dies in Washington County, Illinois one year later! What a family story must be hidden here. Do any of our readers live in Washington County?

“John Robertson and Christian Douglas were married at Dollar, Clarkmennarshire (sic) Scotland on the 24th day of April, 1857. Births of our children: John was born in Melbourne, Australia, on 24th of February, 1858. Christian Hall was born Penttand Hills, Australia, on 16th of April, 1860. May... on the 15th of February, 1862. William was born at Ellemford, Scotland, on the 10th of March, 1865 and died in Washington Co., Illinois, 21st of July, 1866.”

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Scottish-American History Club
2800 Des Plaines Avenue
North Riverside, IL 60546