Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2001-08 > 0999296411
From: Charles Clark <>
Subject: Re: [Scotch-Irish] Stewarts of Appin
Date: Sat, 01 Sep 2001 10:20:11 +1200
References: <200108310954.AA580452514@mail.fea.net> <002c01c13248$d5020cc0$4093e53f@default>
Well, now, I'm not so sure that they did. Certainly my supposed Appin Stewart
connection seems to have been a deliberate bit of obfuscation, and the Andrew
Stewart who was said to have been of Appin turns out, in reality, to have been a
"poor and necessitous" Stewart of Ballintoy (called that because he appears in
the list of claimants to the Hutchinson Bequest, Archibald Hutchinson having
left a large sum of money to be divided among his "poor and necessitous"
What appears to have happened is that in the 1870s/80s his descendant, James
Stewart-Moore, had emigrated to Canada and was trying to make a place for
himself in the gentleman's world of the cattle ranchers of Calgary, Alberta (his
business venture went sour, and he returned to Ireland after 5 years or so, but
that's another story)
Being Irish is, and always has been, something of a handicap socially when one
is dealing with the English. And the first thing people tend to do is try to
deny that Irishness, often by pretending to be Scotch. I figure that underneath
it all, that's the main rationale for the way all you Americans spend so much
time telling us that you are a Scotch sort of Irish, ie Scotch-Irish. Scotch is
much more socially acceptable, even today, though the difference is not so
marked as it was in the 1800s, when Queen Victoria got hold of Balmoral and
started to get keen on all things tartan (including the ghillies). In those days
if Queen Vicky was doing it, then to mix in the right circles everyone else had
to do it too, so false Scottish backgrounds got themselves invented by the
Never more so than by the brothers Sobieski Stuart, who claimed to be the
descendants and heirs of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the crown of Scotland. But
that is another story too.
It appears, then that in 1880s Calgary, Alberta ranching circles, it was easy to
claim any background at all, and Scots backgrounds were much more socially
desirable than Irish ones, and so James did a bit of fudging
The choice of Appin Stewart has little to do with history, although it is made
to look that way. The family history in Burke now says Andrew Stewart "fled
Scotland after Culloden". This seems to be, however, something of a formula much
like that pioneered by Burke's Peerage in the nineteenth century. Here's an
extract fromthe Burkes website, and the story about fleeing Scotland after
Culloden can be compared with Burke's use of the notion "came in with the
Conqueror" when describing English families:
"Johns son, Bernard, creator of the Landed Gentry, was also a talented writer.
He had a particular flair for flowery phraseology which appealed to the "Gothick
phantasy" side of the Victorian character. Bernard was a prodigiously hard
worker whose enormous output allowed little time for the meticulous checking of
modern genealogy. His usual account of the antiquity of any family was that an
ancestor "came in with the Conqueror". Had this always been the case, then we
could well believe the legend that Harold fainted on seeing the size of the
Norman army at Hastings!
But such speculation eminently suited the Victorian taste; hence the immense
popularity of such works as Bernard Burkes Anecdotes of the Aristocracy"
The reson for the choice of Appin as a background, however, seems to have much
to do with the fact that it was in the late 1860s that R.L.Stevenson wrote his
account of the Appin murder of 1751 and published in as the novel "Kidnapped".
Certainly my grandfather is said to have been keen on this book and liked to
point out the parts of it that involved Ardshiel. He also built a house in
Leura, NSW, Aust. in the 1920s and called it Ardshiel, as his father had called
the house he had in Calgary in the 1880s Ardshiel. So we can date the adoption
of this genealogical fabrication to some time between the late 1860s (when
"Kidnapped" was published) and 1886, when he bought the house in Calgary and
named it Ardshiel.
So did any Stewarts of Appin really find their way to Ireland, or should you
instead, Marian, be looking for the point in history where some socially
conscious forbear chose to deny an Irish background and adopt a (false, but
interesting) Scots one instead? I should point out, of course, that although
this genealogical fabrication may seem annoying, it is in its own right a part
of the family history and should be recorded for that reason. Together with the
reasons for doing so.
Marian Sarantha wrote:
> Thanks, Merle. I wondered why so few messages were appearing not only here
> but on all websites. I would love for Charlie, if he's willing, to
> entertain/enlighten us with stories of his connections to Stewarts of Appin,
> some of whom did find their way to Ireland.
> Regards, Marian
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