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Hi my many friends and distant relatives,
Yes, I'm feeling mighty cheery after a most exhilarating 16-day trip to Nova
Scotia and the 600th Celebration at the Loon Mt. Highland Games and in
Westford, MA. I have waited about 2 weeks to get back with this group and
probably have missed the comments of others that attended. I hope they will
fill me in again.
I am now going to send you all a copy of my letter that I sent to many
Sinclair friends and relatives already. It contains info on some other
genealogy lines which I won't filter out because perhaps we will find that
we are related other ways also. This happened with Pete Cummings and me--we
are both Chases.
The last day of our trip was so full of surprises that I actually wrote and
sent it first but now it will follow this in another message.
We arrived at Bangor, ME at 9:00 PM Thurs. Sept. 8th where we stayed
overnight then rented a car and drove right across ME and across New
Brunswick to Moncton NB for the second night. This put us right on the
border of Nova Scotia and at the foot of the bridge to Prince Edward Island
where we went first. I know we didn’t do it justice but just had to hit the
main touristy thing which is Anne’s House of Green Gables where some of the
stories of Lucy M. Montgomery took place. The quickest route was straight
across PEI to Cavendish which is on the Gulf of St. Laurence. Since tourst
season was over and the crowds light, we were able to talk to the curator
about the fire there last year. She said that they were able to load up all
the furnishings and run them through an ionization process in NS which took
out all the smoke smell. So now they are as good as new again. She also
told us that some of L.M. Montgomery’s grandchildren had returned from ONT
this summer and were pleased with the efforts there. This year they added
two large barns which were once part of the farm. We walked all around the
trails and then around the nearby beach before leaving.
PEI is now connected to NB with a marvelous new Confedera tion Bridge which
is the longest bridge in the world over ice covered waters in the world. So
it may not be the longest bridge but with all the stresses of ice
considered, it certainly is a wonder. If you have internet access you can
see pictures of it and read the long list of interesting facts at
www.confederation.bridge.com. I imagine the islanders are overjoyed with it
but the two ferry services are probably out of business.
It was getting towards evening as we approached the border of NB and NS
which is a narrow isthmus. Some of my Acadian ancestors had lived in this
area before the English swooped down and uprooted them in 1755. So we
stopped to see Fort Beausejour which is a star shapped fort overlooking the
Bay of Fundy. All that remains today are the earthern bunkers with stone
foundations of the buildings inside. The Acadians here as at 2 other sites
we will be visiting, did not have to cut down forests and dig up tree roots,
etc. before they could plant their crops. This area was vast salt marshes
which the Acadians diked and drained and found very good for crops.
Then we drove on into NS and headed for Lower Economy where we would be
staying at at Louise and Neil St. Clair’s bed and breakfast named “Roslyn
Manor” (which is also the name of our St.Clair/Sinclair chapel outside
Edinburgh, Scotland). We had the choice of a couple of backroads so called
them on our cell phone and got directions. The cell phone turned out to be
a handy tool on this trip.. Neil is the Treas. of the Prince Henry Society
of North America. But it is just in NS. There is another NS group which
broke off and is lead by some other Sinclairs called Sinclairs of NS and is
recognized by the Province more. Anyway we talked till midnight.
The next day after walking around the Bay of Fundy which was right on their
door step, we drove to the tip of that finger of NS called Cape d’Or where
the worst rip tide in the world is. According to Mi’cmac legunds Glooscap
(we think this was our Henry) made his winter camp there. The Indians had
a portage in that area because they couldn’t get their canoes around the
point with tha t rip tide there. Then the next season Henry and men built
more ships and sailed or were blown off course down to MA and RI. The
Indians said that he built a stone boat (because they could walk on the top
(deck) of it) with trees (masts) growing out of it. But they say this
foolish Glooscap (described as a white man) built a big fire to keep warm
not a small one like the Indians. Another sign that he was an European.
We met some men there that told Neil that they would soon be putting up a
sign on this trail with information about Prince Henry’s voyage. Louise and
Neil were delightful hosts.
We stayed that night at Antigonish and went on to Fort Louisburg the next
day. I love tha t place. It is so well reconstructed. Now it was evening
when we got out of Louisburg but I just had to go to one more place near by.
In 1936 Beryl Markham flew solo (East to West) from England and crashed in a
bog at the tip of Cape Breton, NS. This was harder than Lindberg’s flight.
We finally found the road and drove out to the beach where we only found a
few old houses and the only mosquitos on the island, I believe, but no
signs. It had to be somewhere around there but WHERE? I had her book West
Into the Night along and had been reading that to Don also.
We stayed that evening in Sydney and then retraced our route off of Cape
Breton Island but stopped at the Alexander Graham Bell museum which was also
full of surprises. He did a lot of his experimentation with hydrofoils on
the nearby bays. Lots of pictures of him with his brood of kids and
grandchildren. They had a large mansion on one of the slopes overlooking
this beautiful lake. He/his family began the National Geographic Society.
So then we turned south and drove to a park outside of Boylston. It had
been an established park that was rededicated to Prince Henry in June. This
contained a replica high on a hill of the bow of a viking ship coming out of
the ground. It was so impressive. Around the dragon bow sprit was a crown
for Henry’s position as Prince. It is on his personal crest. Inside of the
ship was a large information board in English, Mic’mac and French with
pictures, etc. Below this on the slope they were building an outdoor
theatre where people could sit on the hillside and watch hopefully
reenactments of his story. But the whole park was closed and only the hardy
would climb the long distance to the top to see all of this. This was
erected by the NS Sinclair Society and the Sinclairs of Canada.
Then we drove on to Guysborough but never saw a place to eat and it was now
2:00. We went down to the waterfront to see Neil’s group’s monument but
couldn’t find it. It was then that we realized that we had just assumed it
would be right there and never thought to ask directions. All that was open
was a grocery store where we found a crowd of teenagers. We asked about
Prince Henry and what do you know? They knew about him and told us where
the monument was. Then one of them said, "Why don’t you ask this man, he
tell you all about it."
The man turned out to be Jaime Grant one of Neil’s group (D'Layne Coleman,
Pres. He and his
brother were active members. Jaime told us where we could eat then said
that he would meet us at the monument because he planned to go there to fix
up some vandalism. Can you imagine the coincidence to meet Jaime there. We
actually had planned to be there the day before. Anyway after eating we
drove to the monument. It is a large rock with a plaque telling Henry’s
story of arriving at Chadebucto Bay on June 2, 1398. There were two other
informational plaques and a visitor log book with many many signatures, just
since June. While we were waiting for Jaime, a car load of Sinclairs
appeared. One was the ex secretary of Neil’s group but they couldn’t take
their friends up to the other monument because it was closed. When Jaime
came he caulked down the top of one of the stone viewing benches. There are
also two Picnic benches there so it was an inviting place to picnic and
contemplate events 600 years ago when Henry’s 10-12 little boats carrying
200-300 men arrived June 2, 1398.
Then we went back to his house to get his pickup for the ride up a rocky
hillside, over 800 ft. above the bay. It is the highest hill for 40 miles
around and only 2 miles from Guysborough. It is thought that Prince Henry
went up here to view again the mysterious smoke that they had seen as they
entered the bay. Henry sent out an expedition of 100 men to investigatge.
In 8 days they returned telling him that the smoke was acutally coming out
of the bottom of a hill. It is known now that, as in present times, this
smoke comes from coal seams that spontaneously burn underground at
Stellerton, 60 miles away. We never would have found this place if we hadn’
t met Jaime. Then he took us down to the Bay to see their local whale,
Millie but she wasn’t there. A few hours later, I read in the Henry book
about this hill now called Salmon Hill. What an adventure!!!
Then we stayed at Truro that night and the next day stopped briefly in
Halifax. On the way out of that area we happen to stop at an aviation
museum where I saw a clipping of Beryl Markham’s crash. I also got their
address and will eventually correspond with them. Do you know Beryl Markham
Next we went to Grand Pre. I had finished reading Prince Henry and had
started on Longfellow’s Evangeline that I got in PEI. I am 1/8 French
Canadian and many from Grand Pre and Beau Basin. We had a guide in the
church that looked just like the statue there of Longfellow. He played the
part of the English official reading the proclamation to the Acadians and
later sang beautifully the Acadian anthem but he wasn’t Acadian.
It was getting late but we decided to try to get to Port Royal and it was
5:30 when we arrived at that park. Since they were to close in 1/2 hr.
they let us in free. One of the guides gave me a wonderful map of the area
as it once was. Nearby were over 3,000 acres that the Acadians had
reclaimed from the sea with their diking system.
We made it to Yarmouth by 9:00, ate, washed clothes and went to bed. Our
hydrofoil ship, The Cat, left at 1:30 PM, 1 hr. late. It was foggy and not
much to see. The week before the ship had run over a fishing vessel and
killed the captain so now they were driving slower so we ended up 2 hrs.
late getting into Bar Harbor.
By now I had finished reading the Henry, Beryl and Evangeline books and had
finished the bead work on my snood that went with a Celtic costume I had
made. But I still had the bead design to finish on the hemline before we
got to Lincoln, NH on Sept. 17th. And this was Sept. 15th. I suppose you
men will be tired of hearing about the costuming before this is over but
there are a few women out there, I believe, that will be a little bit
interested, perhaps. We were now one day behind on our schedule and we had
to rule out ever getting to Fort Ticonderoga.
We stayed that night at Skowhegan, ME. I had hoped to be in Burlington,
VT. So we drove the route that Kathy Martin of Maine suggested. What a
beautiful journey! I saw so many areas that the Martins lived in along with
their famous neighbors and collegues Robert Rogers of French and Indian War
fame and John Stark who was also a hero of Bunker Hill. These 3 were also
involved in counterfeiting to raise money for the uniforms that the British
required them to wear at their own expense. Website on French and Indian War
tells how Robert Rogers actually trained the British soldiers in Indian
warfare. Check it out! Don took many pictures with the
video camera of an old bridge and an old general store is supposed to be the
longest general store in operation. The leaves were just beginning to
change. But never saw any of those mythical Moose. We stopped in
Montpelier where I copied down the names of people from their genealogical
society that were
researching some names from my lines.
We stayed the night at Burlington where I called Byingtons and Palmers,
Porters, Hines, Johnsons, Tylers, Herricks, Colemans in
the phone book. Got a lead on a Palmer researcher who we went to see the
next day. We will communicate now on that line when I get time. Also we
got directions to 3 old brick houses built by (I think) my ancestor Jared
and his brother Justus Byington in 1812. Each house is about 1/2 a mile
apart with huge, and very shaggy locust trees in the yard. We went to the
first one and found it terribly neglected. We hardly thought anyone lived
there but saw a cat inside and a few lived in items but no one at home. We
went to another one. It was in terrific shape. A wonderful house where an
author now lives but no one home.
However, at the 3rd house, we found this friendly lady who showed us all
around. She said that that 1st house was the most elegant once upon a time
with panneled rooms and a great staircase. Her upstairs woodwork was
feather work design. Do you know what I mean? A feather was twirlled a
certain way in wet paint and left a design. She showed us a unique baking
oven next to the fireplace and a warming oven below. All the original
hardwood floors remained. My ancestor Jared had the second patent in CT
and other patents on the curved steel pitch fork, and two nail making
machines. He had a fulling mill and forge business and the nail making
business. He sold some of this two a couple of sons and took the other son,
Orrin and wife Mercy Johnson, with him to VT where the son lived in the 3rd
house. Orrin is my ancestor also. But Jared was pretty much a poor man
when he died because foremost, he and Justus were preachers. And they put
all their vigor into preaching the Word. Each of Orrin’s kids were born at
a different town around there because we think they went to the church where
his father was preaching so was listed where the kids were baptised.
So I have that lady’s E-mail address. She is going to talk to the woman is
the dilapidated house because she thinks she knows more of the history
there. Then she invited me to go to the graveyard next to her house. We
went up this winding path where we found a neat little cemetery with perhaps
20 stones and among them was Jared’s. Died in 1820’s. Don took several
pictures. The stone was in good shape but the pictures on a throw away
camera didn’t show up well. But I’m sure I can get that woman to make me a
list of the graves. I think I know who several more are.
After that, we had to race back to Lincoln, NH, get checked in, get the lay
of the town, pick up our tickets, eat and get to the Tattoo by 7:00 PM. We
just made it! They had a wonderful program with lots of noisy bagpipes and
drums, flags, kilts, etc. A band from Canada and the Sutherland & Argyle
Pipe Bandfrom Scotland. Sutherland is the area just below the Sinclair
territory which is in the most NE tip of Scotland. In fact since a
married one of my Sinclairs, I’m also related to them. Also from
Sutherland was the Sutherland Schools Pipe band and dancers which was made
up of kids from all the tiny communities around that area. A group of
dancers from Ontario were outstanding as was a brass band from somewhere.
The next day those who wanted to, could walk in a parade from a nearby town
back to Lincoln. I actually had two costumes so wore the simpler one with a
cape because it was cool. It was really special to be able to march next to
David (the Pres. of the U.S. Sinclairs)and Gloria Bouschor, whom Don and I
had met and was at his house in Duluth 2 years ago
at a Sinclair gathering there. After the parade I got to know Gloria better
and we hit it off pretty well since I am from that same area (Superior,
WI)as she. (Superior and Duluth are the Twin Ports)
Then we hurried to the Symposiums and stayed for most of the day. Poor Don!
But he bravely sat through all the talks and even seemed to enjoy most of
That evening was the official Tartan Ball. So having finally finished my
costume, I put it all on. The vest, snood (hair covering), and skirt hem
have a total of 3,000 gold beads. They always start these Balls with the
blessing of the Haggis. It is most humorous with the pipe bands entering
first then a lone piper and finally a man carrying a tray with the haggis
and this time two men costumed as barbarian highlanders with swords and
knives. (One of these lads had a wonderful black leather jacket with
scalloped edges that I think he made himself. We had sat next to him the
night before at the Tattoo. It was then that he told his friends (he may
have been a Gunn) that he made it but maybe he was kidding??) So then this
guy with the haggis says this long speach with a terrible Scottish
broge and wild gestures. This ends with him plunging his daggar in the
Then everyone can eat. Each table gets a plate of haggis to sample. There
were about 500 people there from all the clans. The menu was all Scottish
dishes and so delicious, especially the thick juicy Prime Rib with stuffed
Our Earl of Gaithness, Lord Malcolm of Caithness was there. He lives in
London and is in real-estate. He has a 17 yr. old daughter who was running
the business while he was gone. His son is 20 and away at school in Wales.
Soon old Queen Mary is going to put the Sinclair Castle Mey in Caithness in
a trust and then Malcolm can move into apartments in it. . Rosslyn Chapel
Castle is owned by another branch of the family but Malcolm’s line is the
only one through the male line. Afterwards they had a time of Scottish
country dancing, like Virginia reels, etc
So the next day, Sat. Gloria, the Pres. wife, Don and I (in costume),
walked in a short parade to honor the various clans in the arena. Yes, we
slipped Don in because way, way back the first de' Bruc in Scotland married
our William's sister, Agnes St. Clair. After a short clan meeting we
walked around viewing all the clan tents. After lunch we drove around
through the mountains and enjoyed the scenery and saw the “Old Man of the
Mountain” rock formation. I must get a copy of that story by Hawthorne
The next day was Sun. our last day there. We went to the Church
service lead for the 20th year by this Scottish born but living in America
minister. He was a good speaker and gave a good message. At the end the
Sinclair clan was featured in the closing ceremony. We hung around the tent
area and later watched these heafty-sized lads heave heavy stuffed objects
(Sheep) with a pitch fork, backwards, over their shoulder, way up in the air
over a stick. And they also tossed a heavy weight the same way but without
the pitchfork. Don enjoyed their weight lifting event which required them
to grasp two heavy stones totaling 500 lbs. and walk as far as they could
with them. The most that day was 45 ft. but the record is 99 ft.
During each of the 3 days of the Highland Games the Sinclair
side-by-side Gunn tents were the scene of much pagentry. Each displayed
various flags with "Prince Henry and Sir James Gunn plus various other (Gunn
I think) lads dressed in early highland costumes valiantly standing at
attention. It was quite warm and the costumes of Henry and James in
particular were heavy and uncomfortable. We also had a monk in the group.
All these men walked the the parade and in the opening ceremonies each day
also. Then a strolling musician would show up at times. All the time the
ladies and gentlemen manning the tent looked so splendid in their tartans.
(I don't have one, so that's why I made my outfits) Our tents were really
noteworthy and I believe that many people came away better informed.
While resting in the shade behind the Sinclair tent we got to know Royal
Bouschor Sinclair, the AZ Commissioner and brother of David. We discovered
that we both were acquainted with the story of Richard E. Bong, a hero of
the Pacific in WWII. Bong was the Eddie Rickenbacker of the Pacific
because he held the record for shooting down the most enemy planes there.
Unfortunately they felt the longer he stayed there, the odds were that he
would be killed so he was brought back to Wright-Patterson Field where he
was killed testing a plane.
A few years later a memorial, complete with a P-38, was set up at the
tiny town of Poplar, WI where Bong was born, . Royal was an eyewitness to
the arrival of that P-38 at the Duluth airport. Since only a
non-functioning plane could be installed at Poplar, the spectators aided the
project. When the pilot returned from having coffee, he exclaimed, "Gosh!
This plane won't fly anymore. I guess Poplar can have it for their memorial
About 2:00 we left for Westford, MA.
On Monday we attended make-up symposiums. Talks about sailing, Masons,
Henry of course, Roslyn Chapel, Templars, Newport tower, RI, and a school
curriculum used already as I told you in NS, VT and also here in Westford. I
brought them news of Neil’s talk in Advocate.
We also learned that David Bouschor was retiring and that Brad Barker of
Chapel Hill is our new US Sinclair Pres.
*****Lord Malcolm issued a most thrilling invitation. A clan gathering in
Caithness in July-Aug. 2000. There would be a dinner with the Gunns, trips
to Castle Mey, the flow country, Orkney, worship at a church in Wicks, the
new Noss Head Lighhouse Sinclair information center and perhaps a visit to
House of Lords in London. This I'm sure is just the beginning of more
things to see and do with 2 more years to add more. START SAVING YOUR
MONEY--AND WATCH THE 'YOURS AYE" publication for more details.
In the afternoon we got out to look at the 1398 carving of Sir. James
Gunn, Henry’s cousin that died at Westford. At Loon Mt. I told this guy,
Derek Gunn about the map that you had sent me. He is very interested in the
stuff up at America’s Stonehenge where some of his photos are on display
concerning the various rock evidences of ancient European visitation and
settlement around MA. In fact he is writing a book just about the MA
evidences. So he was very interested and we planned to go look for it the
next day after he fulfilled his commitments with the children at the
Tues was rainy but Derek as Sir James Gunn and another guy (Prince Henry
Sinclair) in a steel helmet and chainmail
headgear, sword, etc., several Sinclairs including the Earl in kilts as
always, and I dressed in my stuff , went to the town library to meet several
classes of 3rd graders who had been studying about Henry. Many of them
stood and showed us their projects. Then the Earl got down on his knees at
eye level with them sitting on the floor and talked to them awhile. They
wanted to know about his hat which had three 18” feathers sticking up
straight and out of
proportion. He said they were eagle feathers and only he could wear 3 as
leader of all the Sinclairs. In time of battle they needed to see where
their leader was in the crowd. His son can wear 2 as can the Pres. of US
and Can Sinclairs. Their immediate underlings can wear one. But can you
imagine this Lord, down on his knees to these kids. I hope some day they
will thing about this. He really is a nice guy and you will just love him.
He told us the day before that he plans to be making more trips here and
perhaps he will be at some of your Highland Games in the coming years.
After that we went back to wait for Derek to go on our adventure to look
for the mysterious stone but he didn’t come and it got so late went on our
own.. It was located just up river from THE “Concord Bridge” where the
“shot heard round the world” was fired and the Minuteman statue are and also
a house that Hawthorne and I believe also Emerson lived in. Finally we
found a parking place close enough and got down to the river. Don found
just the place where three rivers came together and there was the island in
the center. But it had nothing on it except ducks. It was really getting
late so didn’t feel like swimming out to the island since it didn’t look
like anything was on it. It is possible that it is (a) underwater, (b)
along the river bank and needs to be turned over (c) taken away by someone
(d) maybe the water was higher at that time and the land between two of the
rivers might once have been the real island. Anyway it seemed sacrilegious
to be running around looking for this object and ignoring all our wonderful
Revolutionary History nearby but we did visit this spot back in 1967 when we
lived in CT.
That evening was a Chief’s reception at our hotel featuring the Earl who
was still with us but was leaving the next day. We ate a most tasty buffet
of cheeses, cold cuts, fruits, veggies and a delicious assortment of breads.
I love bread! Again there were pipers and dancing afterwards. At the
close of the evening, Lord Malcolm circled the room shaking hands with each
person, calling us by name, and told each one, "Good-by." It was a most
I was able to get a 1/2 mile swim in before bedtime. This was a really
huge and elegant hotel/motel. A far cry from our usual Motel 6.
You probably have forgotten by now, but the last day of this trip (Still
Sinclair stuff) will follow in the next message.
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