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The Scottish American History Club Newsletter
October 1997


Jim Thomson, creator of the Scottish American Hall of Fame, once wrote: "History books say little about the Scottish role in the settlement and development of America. The story is too often lost under the heading English, or British, or even Scotch-Irish. Nevertheless, the Scottish contribution was considerable and at times crucial. Before he was 30, Patrick Henry impressed his critics with his skill at declamation, generally laced with references to the importance of self-government and human rights." Thomas Jefferson said of him, "His voice flowed in torrents of sublime eloquence."

Patrick Henry was born on May 29, 1736 at Studley, Virginia. He was the son of John Henry, a well-educated Scot who emigrated to Virginia with a considerable number of other people from Scotland. His father served as a judge, surveyor, and army officer. He had been educated at Aberdeen University. "It was the rugged, cantankerous Scottish frontiersmen, mainly in Virginia, but also Pennsylvania, with little or no loyalty to the British monarchs who touched off the first fires of rebellion. And the man who struck the match was Patrick Henry, the silver tongued orator, son of John Henry from Aberdeen."

"Henry's was the first voice raised against England in her attempt to impose taxation without representation. He rose to his full stature in attacking the infamous Stamp Act, which was hotly debated at the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg in 1765. The other delegates quailed when Henry hurled defiance at George III with the challenge, "If this be treason, make the most of it".

His most famous speech was delivered in 1775 at St. John's Church in Richmond. His words centered around human rights and individual liberty which could only win independence from the British Crown. "With courage and eloquence, he cried, "Why stand we here idle" What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."

When the revolution ended, Henry continued working for individual freedom. His greatest contribution to the nation was in working for the adoption of the Bill of Rights. "He was adamant in demanding protection of basic individual civil liberties."

The first governor of Virginia, he served five exhausting terms. In 1794, he retired and resumed private legal practice. "Failing health forced him to refuse numerous posts, including Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, Secretary of State and minister to Spain and to France. He even turned down a sixth term as governor.

"George Washington persuaded Patrick Henry to become a candidate for the state legislature in 1799. The foundations of the young republic were endangered by the rumblings of men who argued that any state has the power to nullify acts of the Federal Government. Bowed with age and his health deteriorating, Henry delivered his last public oration. It was an inspiring, non-partisan, patriotic appeal for unity to preserve the nation. Historian Henry Adams declared that nothing in Henry's life was more noble than his last public act."

"Three months later, on June 6, 1799, death came to Patrick Henry. The "Voice of the Revolution" was silenced forever."1

"Someone You Should Know"

Thomas Dougall was born on June 16, 1811, at West Calder, some sixteen miles west of Edinburgh, Scotland. From his boyhood he was always engaged in the manufacture of soap and candles. In Scotland, he had read newspaper accounts of life in Chicago. Those articles, written by a Mr. Stewart, also brought George Steel, George Smith and others to Chicago. George Steel later became the first president of the Illinois St. Andrew Society. At the age of 21, Thomas Dougall sailed to the new world on an emigrant vessel named the Tamerlane from Glennock in 1832. He lived first in Montreal and then New York. In 1847, he came to Chicago and began to manufacture soap.

He located in an area known as "the sands" at the foot of Illinois Street and later bought property on Cedar Street where he erected a three story frame building. His business was destroyed three times by fire including the great fire of 1871.

Mr. Dougall married Elizabeth Cameron in 1837 and the couple had 11 children. He was a "typical Scot" with a "Scotch dialect" that never left him. He was almost five when the Battle of Waterloo occurred and remembers the "thunder of the cannons" in Edinburgh Castle during the celebration of victory.

There are several great stories connected to Thomas Dougall and here are two. When Potter Palmer and other millionaires began building their mansions along the lake shore, they appointed a committee to visit Thomas Dougall with the purpose of buying his soap factory which they considered objectionable. He replied..."Gentlemen, I didn't ask you to come up here and build your residences near my soap factory, and being here when you came it will have to remain. Soap in the middle and diamonds all round."

The first arrest by the Chicago police department was one Thomas Dougall. He was falsely accused of a crime and remained in custody for only fifteen minutes. For many years "it was the source of much amusing rally of himself by his friends."

Thomas Dougall became a member of the Illinois St. Andrew Society in 1850 and served many years as a governor from 1871 until 1888. Thomas Dougall is the great great-grandfather of Robert J. Black, president of the Society in 1988 and 1989.

The Rising Sun

In some future issue we hope to tell the story of an attempt by Scots to settle the Isthmus of Panama. This ill-fated expedition finally collapsed and the colonists were forced to leave. Of the seven ships which left to return to Scotland only two arrived safely.

The Rising Sun made the coast of Florida during a fierce storm and finally was able to reach Charleston where a number of Scots had settled. The Rev. Archibald Stobo was invited to preach in Charleston while the ship was refitted with a new mast. "He accepted the invitation and left the ship with his wife and about a dozen others..." The following day, the Rising Sun was overwhelmed in a hurricane and all on board were drowned. It is believed that 112 persons perished in the storm. The Rev. Stobo remained in Charleston and one of his most noted descendants was Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States.2

In the Chicago area, a memorial to Theodore Roosevelt is located at the Glen View Golf Club on Golf Road west of Harms Road. The memorial was commissioned by Edwin S. Jackman at the time of Roosevelt's death in 1919. The bronze work is also known as The Boy Scout Fountain.


Culloden was founded in the 1780's by a Scotsman, William Culloden, as a wilderness trading post. It is located in Monroe County, west of Highway 75. Sam Ferguson, a descendant of Scottish coal miners in western Pennsylvania, operates a Scottish-themed restaurant named The Highlander. They offer all the Scottish specialties including beef and kidney pie, meat pies, mashed turnips and Scottish "clootie" dumplings for dessert. They also have Highland Games.3

(Source: Muriel Gelonesse who brought home The Atlanta Journal dated 2/2/97)


William Saunders was born December 7, 1822, in St. Andrew's, Scotland. He came from a family of gardeners and was thoroughly trained in the art of Horticulture at the University of Edinburgh. In 1848, he brought his bride to America and settled in New Haven, Connecticut.

In 1854, he formed a partnership with Thomas Meehan in Philadelphia for the "practice of landscape gardening." He designed the Clifton Park estate of Johns Hopkins and the Ross Winans place in Baltimore.

He was a pioneer in the introduction of foreign plants including the Yellow Transparent apples from Russia and oranges from Japan. In 1871 from Bahia, Brazil, he brought the Washington Navel orange, which promptly became the leading commercial variety in California. His published papers include 3,000 titles, among them the first bulletin of the Department of Agriculture (1862).

Of interest to those of us who live in Chicago, William Saunders designed Rosehill cemetery, where our St. Andrew Society owns two large plots. This may explain why our early leaders bought the ground before the cemetery officially opened and why we have such a prominent location near the main entrance. It may also explain why so many Scots were employed at Rosehill.

In 1863 he designed the National Cemetery at Gettysburg. On Wednesday evening, prior to the dedication, he met with Mr. Lincoln at the White House and in his heavy Scottish dialect laid out the design. It is said that the President was pleased. In 1865, General Ulysses S. Grant met with Saunders and suggested that he select the site and design the grounds of the Lincoln monument at Springfield, Illinois. Many of you have visited this impressive monument. It represents one more Scottish connection to the beloved Abraham Lincoln.

William Saunders died September 11, 1900, but we have been unable to determine his place of death or burial.4

(Source: Dictionary of American Biography. Also listen to tapes by Gary Wills, "Lincoln at Gettysburg".)

The First American Government

"The first government of the United States of America has a distinctly thistle hue. Nine of the original thirteen states chose men of Scottish ancestry as their first governors:

Delaware, John MacKinley
Connecticut, Jonathan Trumbull
Georgia, Archibald Bulloch
New Jersey, William Livingston
New York, George Clinton
North Carolina, Richard Caswell
Pennsylvania, Thomas McKean
South Carolina, John Rutledge
Virginia, Patrick Henry

In addition, all of the members of the first American cabinet had Scottish ancestry.

Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson
Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton
Secretary of War Henry Knox
Attorney General Edmund Randolph

Of the five original Supreme Court Justices one, James Wilson, was born in Scotland and two others, John Rutledge and John Blair, were of Scottish ancestry. The fourth, and perhaps the greatest chief justice, John Marshall, was the grandson of a Scottish minister."5


John Lindsey (1885-1976), was born in a Wells Fargo halfway house in New York City. His family soon moved to Chicago where he and his father were machinists.

John worked for the Wrigley Gum Company in Chicago where he invented the red tab used to open gum packages. He invented many other machines for the company and once had 600 employees working in his department.

He built his first car using parts from an Apherson Jackrabbit and making other parts as needed. He also built a small steam engine from blueprints of a full size engine. The boilers were said to be the smallest in the world. The steam engine is still in the hands of the family. When forced to retire at the age of 65, he worked in his basement until he died at the age of 91.

He was married to Bessie McCluskey and they had 5 children and 21 grandchildren. They lived in the Beverly area of Chicago on Longwood Drive. Bessie was a milliner. Her father apprenticed her to Marshall Fields when she was 12 years old to learn the hat making trade

This information was obtained at the Springfield, Illinois, Highland Games from Sharon Freeman, a granddaughter.

From the Editor...

We have dedicated our July issue to people of the American Revolution. Unknown to most historians, it was a Scottish Revolution. I am thoroughly convinced that without the Scots and Ulster-Scots there might well have been no revolution. American history has failed to give the Scots their just reward in obtaining freedom from the British Crown.

For Father's Day, my oldest daughter gave me a two-volume set of American history from Washington to Lincoln. The author, in discussing the role of the Scots in Pennsylvania, called them the "Line of Ireland." In two volumes of almost 1300 pages, he has one reference to Scots and never uses the correct term of Ulster-Scots. "If these Scottish and Presbyterian colonists "must be called Irish because they had been one or two generations in the north of Ireland, then the pilgrim fathers ....must by the same reasoning be called Dutch or at the very least English-Dutch.? (Whitelaw Reid)

Duncan A. Bruce has just written a book entitled The Mark of the Scots. Copies of the book may be purchased from the Carol Publishing Group, 120 Enterprise Ave., Secaucus, N.J. 07094 or ordered from Amazon. It would be well for Esmond Wright to obtain a copy of this book before he publishes another history of the United States.

Allan Bain recently presented two copies of The Mark of the Scots to the Illinois St. Andrew Society. It is great reading and highly recommended.

My thanks to Duncan MacDonald who recently sent information about The Cooper Union and Patrick Henry.


1.  Jim Thomson, Scottish American Hall of Fame; Scots & Scots' Descendants in America, D. MacDougal       

2.  Scots & Scots' Descendants in America, D. MacDougal

3.  The Atlanta Journal 2/2/97. Thanks to Muriel Gelonesse

4.  Dictionary of American Biography, Tapes by Gary Wills, "Lincoln at Gettysburg".       

5.  The Mark of the Scots, Duncan A. Bruce

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