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The Scottish American History Club Newsletter
April 2002


Highest Ranking Union Officer Killed In Action

James B. McPherson was born in the town of Clyde, Sandusky County, Ohio on November 14, 1828, the eldest of four children. His father, William, was born and bred in Scotland. McPherson entered West Point in 1849 and graduated first in the class of 1853. Others in his class of fifty-two were men who would become high ranking officers in the Civil War: Sheridan, Hood, Sill, Scholfield and Tyler. At the time, Robert E. Lee was the superintendent of the academy and Jefferson Davis was the commencement speaker at his graduation. His roommate at West Point was John Bell Hood, who took command of the Confederate forces he was opposing five days before his death.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was a captain in the Corps of Engineers. He moved rapidly through the ranks and was soon on the staff of General Ulysses S. Grant.
Grant cited him for "conspicuous skill and personal bravery" in the siege of Vicksburg and had him promoted to brigadier general. McPherson was then put in command of the Army of the Tennessee and fought under General Sherman in the siege of Atlanta.

On July 22, 1864, traveling only with his orderly, McPherson entered a grove of woods that separated two of his corps. "He had traveled only about 100 yards when a cry of 'halt' rang out. He stopped for an instant and saw a line of gray skirmishers, wheeled his horse, raised his hand, and made a quick dash to his right. The skirmishers let go with a volley, McPherson staggered in the saddle for a short distance and then fell to the ground."
It was said by his military peers that his death was "one of the heaviest individual losses ever suffered by the Union forces." Many believed that had he lived he would have been elected President of the United States. Grant said of him that the "nation had more to expect from him than from almost anyone living." He was only 35 years of age.

He is buried in the McPherson Cemetery in Clyde, Ohio. A statue was unveiled at the cemetery in 1881 before a crowd of 15,000 people and there is also a statute to him in Washington, D.C. erected by the Army of Tennessee. McPherson Square is named in his honor as is both the city and county of McPherson, Kansas.

Sources: Vicki Balemian (employee of the Clyde, Ohio, library), the Internet, and James Thomson.

Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
& The USS Hopper, DDG 70

Grace Brewster Murray was born in New York City on December 9, 1906. She was the oldest child of Walter Fletcher and Mary Van Home Murray. Grace grew up in New York City and earned a B.A. in mathematics from Vassar College and later an M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale. Over her lifetime she was to be given honoree doctorates from over thirty universities. Grace Murray and Vincent Hopper were married in 1930. At the time he was an English instructor at New York University. They separated in the early 1940's and divorced in 1945, the same year he was killed during WWII.

In December, 1943, Grace Hopper joined the U.S. Naval reserve and was given a commission. She was sent to Harvard and began her long fascination with computers especially in computer languages, and most especially COBOL. Once, trying to repair the Mark I, she found a moth caught in a relay. She taped the moth in the log book and gave us the term  "debugging." "She is considered the mother of computing. Her development of the first computer compiler and the first computer programming language helped revolutionize the world of computers." In 1991, President Bush presented her with the National Metal of Technology Award. She was the first woman to receive this award. Congress elevated her to the rank of Rear Admiral, the first woman to hold that rank. She was also the first woman to be awarded a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Yale University. She retired from the Navy at the age of 80 and her retirement ceremony was held on the USS Constitution in Boston Harbor. On this occasion, she received the highest award given by the Department of Defense - the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.

grace_hooperapril02Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, often called "Amazing Grace", died January 1, 1992, at the age of 85. She was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Of her military career she often said "It's always easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission."

 For only the second time in Navy history a ship is named for a woman from the Navy's own ranks. The keel of the USS Hopper was laid on February 23, 1995, at the Bath Iron Works Shipyard in Bath, Maine. The launching ceremony was held on January 6, 1996; the temperature was at zero with a 30-mile-an-hour wind. Mary Murray Wescote, Grace's 86-year-old sister, christened the USS Hopper. The ceremony was witnessed by her 84-year-old brother, Roger F. Murray. Clan Murray also had several representatives at the ceremony.

The USS Hopper is a guided missile destroyer of the Arleigh Burke Class. She is 504.3 feet in length and has a complement of 325 (23 officers, 302 enlisted). Her armaments include the Tomahawk cruise missile and 5' guns

"In all, the USS Hopper is one of the most capable warships ever built."

The Coat of Arms of the USS Hooper has at its center a Rampant Lion in recognition of the Scottish heritage of Grace Murray Hopper. The motto is "Dare and Do." The home base for the Hopper is Hawaii.

Source for both stories about Grace Hooper and the USS Hooper: The Internet. 

Zion, Illinois

The man who founded Zion, IL in 1911 was born in Scotland. John Alexander Dowie (dou'E), was a charismatic preacher and faith healer. He was a graduate of Edinburgh University and was ordained by the Congregational Church. His travels led him to Australia, America, and around the world. It was said that he prayed "for as many as 70,000 sick people a year, and thousands of the most astounding and remarkable miracles have taken place."

He arrived in Chicago in 1893 and built a small tabernacle outside the gates of the Columbia Exposition at 63rd and Stoney Island. His building was across the street from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Sadie Cody, a cousin of Buffalo Bill, who had been sick for quite some time, was brought to the meeting. According to a source, "she was prayed for and received immediate healing."

As the attendance grew, they rented a 3,500 seat church at 16th and Michigan. Later they moved to the Chicago Auditorium. In time a large office building at 12th and Michigan was leased at $25,000 a year and used as an office, headquarters, residence and school. (This building may still be present on the original site.) On February 22, 1896, the formal organization of the Christian Catholic Church was announced. Churches were started in almost every major city and country, "with missionaries going to China, South Africa, Switzerland, England, France, Germany, Mexico and many other places."

With the assistance of some of the finest men of his day, Dr. Dowie searched for a place to establish the headquarters of the Church. They dreamed of a coming City...to develop a city for God's people. One day, they dressed as itinerants, and looked at the beautiful rolling farm land six miles north of Chicago. They took options on 6,000 acres of land and the purchase made for their new city. Burton J. Ashley became the city-planner and the land was laid out in subdivisions with sewer, water, lighting and transit systems for a population of 200,000 people.

Dowie was a very controversial person, but his ideas were progressive: free and compulsory education for children, an eight-hour work day, and voting rights for women. Zion was one of the first  multiracial religious movements in the country. "In 1905, 200 of Zion's  residents were African American, South African or Carribean."

The corporate seal of Zion, Illinois, is circular in form with a Zion Banner in the center, surrounded by the words "God Reigns." There is also a dove with an olive branch above, on the left side is a cross and on the right side a sword and crown. Dowie said, "I shall pass away - at the longest it shall not be long, but this seal is one that I hope will never pass away from Zion City, until the end shall come and a new heaven and a new earth be created." (Given the circumstances of our times, one is surprised Zion is still allowed to use the seal.)

In 1900, Dowie dedicated the Temple Site before 10,000 followers. Today, the Temple is the Christian Catholic Church, which he founded. John Alexander Dowie died March 9, 1907. He is buried in Lake Mound Cemetery at Sheridan Road and 29th Street.

More information is available at the Zion Historical Society.

Michigan Hails Pioneer David Buick

Lansing, Mich. - A state historical marker commemorating automotive pioneer David Dunbar Buick will be placed near General Motors Corporations' world headquarters in downtown Detroit's Renaissance Center. The marker was approved by the Michigan Historical Commission.

Buick, a native of Scotland, was born in 1854 and began his career as a plumbing inventor and builder of gasoline engines for boats used on the Detroit River. His first automotive enterprise, Buick Auto-Vim and Power Co., began operating in Detroit about 1900. In 1903, the Flint Wagon Works purchased what was then the Buick Motor Co. and moved operations to Flint. The company became the foundation for GM, founded in 1908 by William C. Durant. Buick died in 1929.

Associated Press

From the Editor

My thanks again for your continued interest and support of our effort in publishing this Newsletter. We do appreciate the comments and the stories that you have been sending. In some of the other mailings you will be notified of the various events surrounding National Tartan Day and our Scottish American Heritage Month. The history tour will be on Sunday, April 28. Those of you who want to meet the tour group at Rosehill should know that we will arrive about 3:30 pm. However, I hope that many of you will plan to ride our chartered bus and visit the Robert Burns Statue in Garfield Park. Bruce Mackie will read some of Burn's poetry and it would be nice to have a piper if you know of one.

Our very first history tour was in April of 1993 and we made a visit to Rosehill. We returned again in 1994 and held the first Society Kirkin' in the Chapel. Roger Kunkel, pastor of the Riverside Presbyterian Church was our speaker for that occasion. Society members were invited to send in the names of persons buried at Rosehill. We still have that list and will use it again this year. However, if you are a new member and have family members buried there, please let us know so they can be included in our tour book. Twenty three past presidents of the Illinois St. Andrew are buried at Rosehill. We plan to pay our respects to several of them during our tour. Hope you will plan to join us.

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