Sunday, April 21, 2013

Professor Edward J. (Ted) Cowan

 Professor Edward J. Cowan FRSE (Fellow Royal Society of Edinburg) is a Scottish historian, currently Director of the University of Glasgow's Dumfries Campus and Professor of Scottish History and Literature. According to Wikipedia his main research interests are with the history of Viking Scotland, the Scottish Wars of Independence, Early Modern Scottish Political Thought, the Covenanters, Scottish Emigration history and the Scots in the Arctic and Pacific North West. A lengthy list of publications (including articles) are available on that web site. 
Professor Cowan has published and edited several books on Scottish history.

One of the books he has written is a biography of James Graham, the 1st Marquess of Montrose. Professor Cowan was presented with an honory membership to The 1st Marquis of Montrose Society last year and he spoken at their events.
Professor Cowan is also involved with the upcoming 700th anniversay of the Battle of Bannockburn.

Colquhouns mentioned in Montrose Society article

This is from an article published in Venture Faire (Issue No. 17 December 2012) published by The 1st Marquis of Montrose Society . International membership is available from the Society. 

 Montrose's Sisters: An Account by Phinella Henderson

"In June 1620 her[Lilias (1596 -1650) was the eldest daughter of John, fourth Earl of Montrose]

  marriage contract with Sir John Colquhoun of Luss was signed. Colquhoun, the sixteenth laird of Colquhoun and eighteenth of Luss, must have appeared a very suitable choice. The Colquhoun lands in Dunbartonshire were close to Graham lands and Sir John was about the same age as Lilias. He had just returned from his Grand Tour of Europe which had included time in Heidelberg, where he may have acquired his manservant, the apparently unsavoury Thomas Carlippis. The couple were married on 6 July 1620 at Mugdock near Glasgow; Lilias had a dowry of £10,000. Colquhoun was created a baronet of Nova Scotia in August 1625. Over the years they had six children; John, James, Alexander, Jean, Lilias and Catharine...." The rest of the article is here:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Passing Of Skeets Cahoon

GREENSBORO — Hollis "Skeets" Cahoon, 71, passed away peacefully on Saturday, March 16th, in Greensboro. Skeets was born on May 16, 1941, grew up in Covington, VA, and earned the rank of Eagle Scout as a teenager. He graduated from high school in Sullivan, IN, and later earned a B.S.E.E. at Virginia Tech. During his time at Tech, he was a proud member of the Corps of Cadets (F Company) and entered the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant. He served in Korea as a Field Artillery officer, gaining the rank of 1st Lieutenant.

Skeets studied and enjoyed history, and was especially fond of activities surrounding the Civil & Revolutionary Wars and all things Scottish. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Military Order of the Stars & Bars, the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. His interest in his family's Scottish lineage led him to help found the Triad St. Andrew's Society, the Loch Norman Highland Games and the Triad Highland Games, and become a member of the fictitious Kindome of Raknar.
In his spare time, Skeets was employed as an HVAC sales engineer, he owned and operated Brightwood Mechanical, a plumbing and HVAC company, and eventually started an electrical and mechanical consulting engineering practice. Later in life, he was able to truly turn his advocation into his vocation helping create Collegiate Tartan, a company that designs and registers tartans for colleges and universities.
Skeets is preceded in death by his parents, Frances & Hollis Cahoon, and his beloved 4-legged friends, Tippy, Rusty and Bert. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Katherine Tillery Kress Cahoon; children Fran Koch (Thom) of High Point, Charlotte Cline (Randy) of Norcross, GA, and Mary Hamilton (Stan) of Chapel Hill, plus numerous "adopted" children. Granddad loved all his grandkids very much - Thommy, Katie & Mary Koch, Martin & Terressa Cline, and Ian & Maddie Hamilton. He is also survived by two brothers, Lawrence Cahoon (Patti) of Asheboro and John Cahoon (Sue) of Boones Mill, VA.
The family will receive friends on Friday, March 22, at Forbis & Dick, N. Elm Street, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 23rd, at 2:00 at Christ United Methodist Church, 410 N. Holden Road, Greensboro.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a gift to one of Skeet's favorite charities: The American Red Cross, 1501 Yanceyville St. Greensboro 27405 (indicate "For Greensboro use" on the check) or to the Hollis B. and Katherine K. Cahoon VT Corps of Cadets Scholarship. Checks should be made out to the Virginia Tech Foundation (indicate "VTCC Cahoon Scholarship" on the check) and mailed to Virginia Tech, University Development 0336, Blacksburg, VA 24060, Attn: Corps of Cadets.
Online condolences may be offered at

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sir Malcolm to visit Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

Sir Malcolm Colquhoun, Chief of the Colquhouns, will be a Distinguished Guest at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games near Linville, NC the weekend of July 13th, 2013.

The GMGH ( are held about ½ mile up the mountain in MacRae Meadow off US 221. The general public attending the games are required to park in various designated locations and be shuttled up to MacRae Meadow usually on a bus. The closest public parking is in Linville at US 221 and Hwy 105. Here is what the games published on their website for last year:

Shuttle Bus Information
Round-trip tickets on the shuttle bus from Boone are $10.00 per person. The Shuttle buses run from Caldwell Community College Parking lot in Boone to MacRae Meadows and back. Boone shuttle service is available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the games during the day events only. Security is provided at the Parking lot.
If you purchase a 4-day advance ticket the round-trip shuttle bus ride is free all 3 days from Caldwell Community College Parking lot in Boone and from the Avery County High School (Friday and Saturday) and the Linville Lot (Saturday and Sunday).
No Shuttle bus services for the night events. Those riding the shuttle buses to the day events must shuttle off the mountain by 5:00 pm and drive back to the mountain. The night events are general public parking.
Round-trip tickets on the shuttle bus from Linville lot are $5.00 roundtrip, $3.00 one-way. (Saturday and Sunday)
Round-trip tickets on the shuttle bus from the paved parking lots at Avery County High School (Friday and Saturday) are $5.00.

There is no general handicap parking.

There is RV and primitive tent camping available at MacRae Meadow. If you were to use an RV you should count on getting there by Wednesday or Thursday and staying until at least Monday. The best (and flattest) tent spots go quickly and it is quite crowded by Friday and Saturday nights. There is also a fine state campground on the Parkway (Julian Price) in between Blowing Rock and the exit for Grandfather Mountain.

There are several small towns surrounding GMHG to stay at. The Sugar Mountain/Beech Mountain/Banner Elk area is a ski resort during the winter. Traffic can be heavy on Hwy 105 going to the games leaving from this area, so be sure to leave early. Boone is a larger town past this area. Last week there was a reasonable rate at the InnPlace in Boone on the website. It’s not far from the Caldwell Community College parking mentioned above. Blowing Rock is a smaller town south of Boone. It’s possible to reach GMHG using the Blue Ridge Parkway from Boone or Blowing Rock. You would actually pass the games entrance on Hwy 221, go down the mountain, park, and ride the shuttle back up. 

If you would like to go and have any questions beyond this description please contact me and I’ll do my best to answer them. We would love to see you there and we’re hoping for a large turnout for our chief!

Skeets Cahoon. Past president Hollis B. Skeets Cahoon is seriously ill. Skeets’ oldest daughter Fran is keeping everyone up to date on his condition through the website Patients are listed with code names on this site; Skeets’ code name is “ScotlandForever”. You will have to register and sign in with a password to see the updates and post comments. From the website: “Skeets, a dyed-in-the-wool Hokie (literally), is suffering from a serious brain injury he sustained in a fall on September 22, 2012. He needs your prayers to lift him up and help him find his way. He is a Va. Tech graduate, electrical engineer, consultant and co-founder of Collegiate Tartan Apparel.” Skeets doesn’t always recognize even his family and his condition seems to be on a downward spiral with good days and bad days. We wish all the best to him and his family in this difficult time.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Glen Fruin Monument

From an Autumn 1999 Friends of Loch Lomond newsletter, this is a picture of the unveiling of the restored monument commemorating the Battle of Glen Fruin in 1603. The original monument had become so worn it was indecipherable.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tour of the John C. Calhoun home Fort Hill at Clemson

A very special thank you goes to Kathy McLellan at Fort Hill who gave us a personal tour a half hour before she was supposed to close a few weeks ago. We made an impromptu stop on the way back from GMHG and found out from Kathy and Will Hiott, the director/curator of Fort Hill and surrounding historic homes that another reunion is being planned for the Calhoun family next year. The reunion also will include the surrounding families and tours of their historic homes, for instance the Hopewell Plantation of General Andrew Pickens. Details are still being formed and the planners would like to hear from you now.  Will and Kathy can be mailed at Department of Historic Properties
Box 345615
101 Fort Hill Street
c/o Trustee House
Clemson, Sc 29634-5615
Phone: 864-656-7920 ; 864-656-2475

Fort Hill was the home of John C., Floride Calhoun, and their children between and 1825 and 1850 (for Mr. Calhoun, the year he died), and Mrs. Calhoun and her children, several years after 1850. The plantation was 1,100 acres, less than 500 of which was cultivated.  

John C. Calhoun renamed the home Fort Hill from the original name "Clergy Hall". The original home was erected around 1803 by Rev. James McElhenny, pastor of the nearby Old Stone Church. The name Fort Hill was a tribute to Fort Rutledge, which had protected the area from Indian attacks in 1776, and for the hill upon which it was built. It's a combination of Federal Style and Greek Revival architecture.
Thomas G. Clemson

John and Floride's daughter Anna Maria Calhoun (1817-1875) inherited Fort Hill in 1866. Anna died in 1875 and left Fort Hill to her husband Thomas G. Clemson. Mr. Clemson was a scientist, mining engineer, diplomat to Belgium, and is considered to be the first secretary of agriculture. He lived until 1888 (he was 81) and willed the plantation to the state of South Carolina to create a college of agriculture and science. Mr. Clemson's intention was to better the lives of people living post antebellum South Carolina. Life in the South after the Civil War (called Reconstruction) was difficult and many areas never recovered. 

Thomas G. Clemson
Anna Maria Calhoun Clemson

Anna Maria with her children Calhoun and Floride
Anna and Thomas had two children: a boy John Calhoun (who went by "Calhoun") and a girl Floride, both named after Anna's parents.

Spring house in front of the main house (used as a refrigerator).
Thomas Green Clemson sitting out on his front porch to greet you.
In 1888 his will stated: "It is my desire that the dwelling house on Fort Hill shall never be torn down or altered, but shall be kept in repair, with all the articles of furniture and venture which I hereinafter give for that purpose, and shall always be open for the inspection of visitors."

Boot scrape.

This portrait is in the hallway and was used for the banners on the light poles outside. It was painted in 1825, the year the Calhoun family moved into Fort Hill. The house was first built by a Presbyterian minister in 1803 as a "four up and four down" meaning a square house with four rooms each upstairs and downstairs. After 1825 the Calhouns enlarged the house to accommodate 10 children, seven of whom lived to adulthood. Legend says that Floride added a room to the house each time her husband was away in Washington.

 Before the age of 25, Floride had given birth to four children: Andrew Pickens (1811-1865), Floride Pure (1814-1815), Jane (1816-1816) and Anna Maria (1817-1875).  The Calhouns six youngest children were Elizabeth (1819-1820), Patrick (1821-1858), John Jr. (1823-1855), Martha Cornelia (1824-1857), James Edward (1826-1861) and William Lowndes (1829-1858). Cornelia, crippled since childhood, had been her mother’s constant companion. Mr. Calhoun had a garden developed just off the south portico for Cornelia to enjoy.

Four years after her husband died in 1850, Floride sold the Fort Hill house and plantation to her son Andrew and moved to Pendleton, where she lived at a much smaller house she called Mi Casa.  During the decade before the Civil War, five other children died (John Jr., Cornelia, Patrick, Willy and James). With the death of Andrew in 1865, Floride regained control of Fort Hill. Upon her death the following year, she willed it to her surviving child, Anna Maria Calhoun Clemson. Floride Calhoun was buried next to her children in St. Paul’s cemetery.
Mrs. Floride Bonneau Colhoun Calhoun later in life

In a part of the original home called the Family Dining Room is a glass case with several items in it.
Family Dining Room with Beehive Oven

Here's two items from the case: 

         This signet ring with the Colquhoun crest was Mr. Calhoun's.

This miniature is of Patrick Calhoun, John C. Calhoun's father. Patrick was born in Ireland and immigrated to the US as a child (about 5 years old?) with his parents James and Catherine (Montgomery). James, the immigrant father, died before the family left Pennsylvania; Catherine, his mother, was killed in the Long Canes Massacre (by Indians) along with another of her sons also named James. Patrick erected a stone marker at the site.

The Master Bedroom

Kathy told us 90% of the furniture in the bedroom was used by the Calhouns during their lifetimes. The four poster bed was with them in Washington.

Mrs. Floride (pronounced Flor-reed) Calhoun's dresser with the light on it.

Mrs. Calhoun designed this wardrobe herself. It has closets on each side for hanging clothes. It is a Piedmont wardrobe made by William Knauff.

Peeking around the side of the wardrobe is this portrait of Mr. Calhoun. Done later in life, he was suffering from tuberculosis (commonly called consumption then) which affected his appearance. Normally very tall and thin during his life the lung disease made him gaunt but only for about the last ten years or so of his life. When he moved in to Fort Hill, he looked like the painting reproduced on the banner at the top of this post. I purposely use a portrait from John C. Calhoun's days as Secretary of War at our clan tent. I don't think as many people have seen it as they have the array of gaunt photographs and paintings one sees from the last years of his life.

This chair is an early recliner for Mr. Calhoun.

Some of these boxes are portable desks.

Mrs. Calhoun's dresser.

Mrs. Calhoun's foot warmer.

The Dining Room

I believe these are water buffalo horns from Mr. Clemson's time. One of the sideboards in the dining room was made from mahogany from the USS Constitution and presented to Secretary Of War Calhoun by US Senator Henry Clay.

Original lithograph.


The Calhouns’ banquet table and chairs were designed by Duncan Phyfe around 1820.

The Parlor

Anna Maria Clemson's piano.

Floride Calhoun's pianoforte.

The two busts were done from life masks of John C. Calhoun.

Kathy told us this painting was done about the time of Mrs. Calhoun's wedding which would put her at about 18 years old in 1811. Miss Floride Bonneau Colhoun was John C. Calhoun's first cousin once removed. 
Wine bottle.

Anna Maria Calhoun and Thomas Clemson were married in this room in 1838.

This bust is a 20th Century interpretation of Mr. Calhoun.

These two statues depict George Washington (nearest) and John C. Calhoun.

Mr. Clemson's palette.

This plate was picked up off the streets of Paris about the time of their Revolution by a family member. St. George and the dragon is depicted in the middle.
Sofa from the Washington family

Eagle on the side.

Dolphin feet.

This chair General George Washington's camp chair during the Revolution.


Thomas Clemson's seven foot bed made especially to accommodate his 6'6" height. Regular beds made at the time were always shorter than modern beds.

This is Thomas Green Clemson's trunk that he took overseas as an ambassador. The initials are TGC on the top. Kathy told us he had this trunk purposely made with a rounded top so it would always be stacked on top of the other trunks when it was loaded with them on a train or a ship. It was less likely to be damaged that way and it would be unloaded first.

The item on the right is a Hat Tub.

The item with the handle is a bed warmer. Coals would be put in the container on the end.

Another tub in the corner.