Month: June 2016

Highland Clearances

The Highland Clearances The day will come when the big sheep will put the plough up in the rafters . . . The big sheep will overrun the country till they meet the northern sea . . . in the end, old men shall return from new lands.  The Brahan Seer ( 17th century Highland Prophet) In the 1780s Scotland was uneasy. The Leslies of Rogart lived through turbulent times as did others in Sutherlandshire. Sutherlandshire was not the base of the Leslie Clan who came from Aberdeenshire in the Lowlands. They may have moved north in the early seventeenth century when the Covenanters rebelled against Charles the First in the Battles of Dunbar and Hamilton or even earlier when the Scots were defeated at Flodden, 1615.   Many Scots were unhappy with the Union of 1707, uniting England and Scotland. They rose up unsuccessfully in 1715. They rose again in 1745 but lost in the Battle of Culloden. After Culloden, the wearing of Highland dress including tartan and kilt was banned. Bonnie Prince Charlie went over the …

Scottish Soldier

Rogart…even the inhabited land is everywhere encumbered with rock. Thompson, John, The Traveller’s Guide to Scotland & its Isles, 1824 Clan Map of Scotland, Rogart is marked with a star William Leslie was in the Fencibles, but some of these militia men also volunteered for short-term service in the new 93rd Regiment of Foot, known as the Sutherland Highlanders. The 93rd were a regular British army regiment or “regiment of the line” although the way they were recruited was anything but regular. It has been seen as the last great act of clan loyalty in Scottish history. Everything was soon to change and the loyalty of the Highlanders would be crushed in a great act of betrayal. The bonds which enabled the Countess to call on her clansmen would be violently cut and the old ways dead. The Sutherland Highlanders had a good reputation in their dealings with the Irish. It is not recorded whether or not the Irish Catholic peasantry agreed with this benign assessment of their mostly Protestant occupiers. The Sutherlands served in different places around Ireland …

Canada’s Johnny Appleseed

  George Leslie’s was Canada’s very own “Johnny Appleseed”, but who was the original Johnny? And how was George like Johnny? The original “Johnny Appleseed” was John Chapman (1774-1845). The myth of Johnny Appleseed has him wandering around America, scattering apple seeds here and there. Like all myths, it has an element of truth. John Chapman was responsible for apple trees and orchards in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and other Mid-Western states. However, just like George Leslie, he was a skilled nurseryman who grew trees, sold trees and promoted trees. He was responsible for supplying the nursery stock that started the orchards of those states just as George Leslie was responsible for supplying the nursery stock that started orchards across Canada, including Ontario. Like George Leslie, John Chapman was a trained professional who apprenticed as a gardener. Like George Leslie, he carefully selected and tested varieties of fruit trees that would thrive in the growing conditions around the Great Lakes. John Chapman was generous with his trees, giving thousands away, just as George Leslie. Both were …