The Scottish American History Club Newsletter
1887 Andrew Carnegie married Louise Whitfield and they
traveled to Scotland for their honeymoon. Thus begun a
habit that continued throughout their lifetime and the
lives of their daughter and grandchildren.
As one of the
wealthiest men in the world, Carnegie could afford to
purchase any property he wanted. He was to purchase the Skibo estate and all of its 20,000 acres of land. Within
two years the gothic mansion became a rose-tinted
baronial castle. The house now contained 200 hundred
rooms and 400 windows. There was a room and a view for
every hour of the day and night. Nothing was overlooked
including electricity and the most modern plumbing.
Living at the
castle were 85 permanent employees including butlers,
maidservants, cooks, a piper, organist, baker and
swimming-pool attendant. Two men were employed to just
walk the estate's roadways to ensure that were no uneven
patches which might jolt his limousine. Over seventeen
cars were housed in the various garages. At night a lone
piper in full Scottish dress would circle the castle.t>
"It is rumored that Carnegie installed a small rail
track on which his bath could be trundled from the
bathroom to his bedside. Once when showing guests his
amusing gimmick he set the process in motion, only to
find his wife was taking a bath!"
Carnegie was never
one to forget his own humble beginnings. He met the most
prominent people of his day and many visited Skibo. The
visitors' book reveals such names as King Edward VIII,
W. E. Gladstone, Lloyd George, Rudyard Kipling and the
Rockefellers. When approached by a professional tracer
of family trees who offered to prove his descent from
the ancient Scottish monarchs, Carnegie replied,
"I'm very sorry to hear that, because
my wife married me under the impression that I was the
son of a weaver."
After his move to
Skibo, Carnegie began to consider selling his 58 per
cent share in the Carnegie Company. However, the shares
were worth so much that no single individual could
afford the purchase. A syndicate of financiers
approached him with a proposition to purchase and they
were given ninety days to raise the money. A
deposit was put into a trust of which
would be forfeited to Carnegie if the option was not
taken up within the time frame. At the end of ninety
days the syndicate returned to request more time, but
this was not granted and Carnegie kept the money. This
almost covered the cost of purchasing and renovating
In 1858, the Illinois St. Andrew Society purchased
ground in Rosehill Cemetery
near the historic entrance. In 1871 they purchased a
plot of ground in Section five and later more ground in
These plots were purchased to help meet the original
mission statement of the Society "That no deserving
Scot, seeking aid, would ever go hungry, homeless,
without medical attention, or be buried in a potter's
field." Today, 205 persons lie buried in the peaceful
surrounds of this beautiful cemetery. Some of our most
prominent members have served on the cemetery committee
which no longer exists.
The first burial appears to be Robert Osborne who died
October 10, 1861. The last burial was Jessie Watson, a
resident of the Scottish Home, who died October 10,
1982. A number of children are buried there and two are
apparently buried in the same lot. They are shown in the
records as the child of John Smith who died May 9, 1864
and the child of Robert Murray who died August 20, 1868.
In 1895 a small child was buried in the same grave with
Rosehill was designed by
William Saunders, a Scot, who also designed the
cemetery at Gettysburg. He was assisted by John Ure
another Scotsman who then became the resident landscape
gardener. Ure had been appointed by Abraham Lincoln to
the position of gardener for the government grounds at
Washington, D.C. but declined the position. Instead he
became the general superintendent of Chicago Parks and
Public Grounds. Scottish men were closely associated
with many aspects of the cemetery operations during the
1800's. In 1945, as part of the Society's one hundredth
anniversary, two large marble monuments were erected.
Ten years ago, Marvin Ronaldson arranged to have the
monuments cleaned and restored to their original
For the past 13 years the residents of the Scottish Home
have traveled to Rosehill to lay a wreath and remember
those who lie buried there. See the next issue of the
Tartan Times for pictures.
Finley Breese Morse
Someone You Should Know
Everyone recognizes that Samuel F. B. Morse was the
inventor of the telegraph and the Morse code, but few
know that he was also a brilliant painter. Samuel Morse
was born in Charleston, Mass. On April 27, 1791. He was
an American of Scottish descent. Morse graduated from
Yale in 1810 and then studied art at the Royal Academy,
London, England. In addition to the telegraph, Morse
also patented a flexible piston pump for horse-drawn
fire engines and invented a marble-cutting machine. In
politics he was active in the Native American Party and
once ran for mayor of New York City.
In 1843, Congress
voted $30,000 for an experimental telegraph line from
Washington, D. C. to Baltimore, Md. On May 24, 1844, a
telegraph message was sent from the Supreme Court
chamber to Baltimore. The message said, "What hath God
wrought." In 1857, Morse served as an electrician for
Cyrus W. Field's company in laying the transatlantic
telegraph cable. In 1861, he cofounded Vassar College,
Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and was also President of the
National Academy of Design. Morse died April 2, 1872 in
New York City.
Samuel Morse was one
of the great American painter - something that was
recognized by Chicago's Daniel Terra, "U.S. ambassador
at large for cultural affairs." He acquired the Morse
painting "Gallery of the Louvre" for the Terra Museum of
American Art in Chicago, IL. He paid $3.25 million for
the painting which at the time was the highest price
ever paid for the work of an American artist.
papers of Samuel Morse were given to The Library of
Congress and may be accessed on the Internet. They show
that beginning in 1848, he became embroiled in law suits
over patents which lasted until his death. He carried on
a particularly acrimonious dispute with Joseph Henry,
who also claimed to have invented the telegraph.
recently sent the following e-mail. "I enjoyed your
piece in the History Club Newsletter. In the old
Engineering Building at Princeton, where I studied
electrical engineering, there was a very impressive
mural depicting Joseph Henry transmitting an
electromagnetic wave through the walls of Nassau Hall in
the 1830s, probably before either Marconi or Popov were
born." (See the April, 1999, issue of the
History Club Newsletter for more information about
George Anderson Letter
The Illinois St. Andrew Society recently purchased a
letter written by George Anderson to Daniel Dow of
Rockford, Illinois. The letter is dated November 22,
1847, and was in the hands of a private collector.
George Anderson was a charter member of the Society and
attended the first St. Andrew's Day dinner, November 30,
1845. He served as president of the Society in 1852, and
was chairman of the first bylaw's committee.
The letter reads: "Mr. Malcolm Reid recommended me to
apply to you as he says you know two persons that can
play the bagpipes and as the St. Andrew's Society
intends celebrating St. Andrew's day next Tuesday
evening, they have entrusted me to procure a piper. So
if you can engage one send him on by Monday next & the
Society will pay all his expenses. Get the best one &
write me immediately whether he will come or not."
The letter is of special significance to our Society
and we are indebted to Don Buik, Chairman of the Roscoe
Company, for making the purchase possible.
The Illinois Saint Andrew Society recently constructed a new
building, and part of that structure contains a museum
with beautiful display cabinets. One of the oldest and
most interesting articles is a newspaper. It is called "The Aberdeen's Journal" and was published December 29,
1747. It is labeled "Numb.1." We assume that to mean it
is the first edition. The small four page edition is in
excellent condition. The following is just one of the
more interesting bits of news contained in the Journal.
"They write from Paris, that the
apothecary who was to have made an experiment of a new
invented kind of gunpowder, in the presence of Marshall
Saxe, having employed a person to dry a quantity of it
for that purpose, by some accident or other it took
fire, and blew up the operator and the house, and did
considerable damage in the neighborhood."
Coates & Clark,
Kearny, N. J.
had been told that Kearny, New Jersey was once the
center of a large Scottish community so an e-mail was
sent to John Nisbet at email@example.com. And soon a
fax reply was received.
"In the early 1900's
Coates & Clark Thread Mills moved from Paisley
Scotland to Kearny bringing with many of their valued
employees. Also Singer Sewing Maching Co. and Nairn
Congoleum from Kircauldy in Fife, Scotland did the same.
For many years, Kearny was the place to live for
Scotsmen and even boasts a couple of men who became
mayor of the town. However, since Lyndon Johnson and the
British Prime Minister, Alex McMillan stopped what was
called the "BRAIN DRAIN," the town has slowly changed.
Coates & Clark moved south as did all the others and we
have had literally no immigration for the past 30 years.
Sadly, almost all of the Scots have died or retired to
shore homes. Most of the Scottish style shops are long
The New Jersey St. Andrews Society gave up its chapter
in the late 1930s, but I have seen a book they printed
which gives all the bylaws and officers. The gentleman
who owns it is a good friend of mine.
I am a member of The New York St. Andrews Society. A
wonderful organization which helps many Scots who are
down on their luck."
1. Mark of the Scot by Duncan A. Bruce.
Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Scottish-American History Club
2800 Des Plaines Avenue
North Riverside, IL 60546