Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

More on our McCrillis Line. An Email from a Distant Cousin.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,

I received an email from Muiris McCrillis, a distant McCrillis cousin, concerning our McCrillis line.   We join the McCrillis line through Grandma Violet.  This is the exact linage.

We join into the clan through my GG Grandmother, Isabel D. McCrillies.  The email with additional information about our McCrillis family is below.


McCrillises are MacNeils. Although the former Clan Chief, Ian Roderick MacNeil, did formally acknowledge us as a blood-sept of the Barra MacNeils (the only one of the MacNeil clans still intact) in 1991, I wouldn't look at it so much as the MacNeils "taking us in" as us receiving formal, written recognition from Ian MacNeil that we ARE MacNeils.  This fact tends to confuse many inside and outside the family. Afterall, clearly "McCrillis" looks and sounds nothing like "MacNeil", right? Well, the problem is that unless you understand that our ancestors spoke a different language in the old days and unless you understand the orthography of that language, you're not going to see the very clear evidence. Case in point is your own surname: Williamson. William is actually Uilleim. Son of William would be MacUilleim. That's what it was until it was rendered into English, anyway (in the Williamsons' case likely in the late medieval period because of a proximity to England). Most of these anglicizations, however, took place during the colonization of New England. The United States is fraught with such examples of Gaelic surnames that have been wrent and wrested into English by monoglots.  Unfortunately, instead of seeing a modern reversal of this trend which one would expect would compliment the Gaelic revival, modern Scottophilia and consumerism have coupled to produce consumer nostalgia for clans, tartans, military piping and haggis, especially in the US. However, the tartan system was devised by two Polish brothers, military piping was invented by English King George, haggis is a lowland food and the clan system went defunct when Scotland conceded to the Unionism. Even Ian Roderick, Attorney at Law, of Chicago, Ill., reclaimed the chieftainship of the MacNeils through the legal maneuver of tanistry.  You know, Victor, I was inspired by the way you honored our 5th generation grandfather, Robert, with the historical details about his service in the Revolution. You seem to realize that our pride is our people, as I did when I visited Robert's gravesite this weekend on the anniversary of his death. But without our language, we are adrift and no other beacon but that language will gather us again.  As I stood there alone in the small, rock-encircled McCrillis Cemetary in Corinth, saddened that the grass was overgrown, that many of the stones were broken and that most of the writing on the stones was washed away by time, much like our Gaelic language, I did think of your website and I was happy that someone cared.  
Tapadh leibh is le meas,  

A Saturday with the Mattson Photo Album. 1975/76. Spearfish, South Dakota

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

It's a stormy day in Utah Valley.  Lightening, followed by the nearly forgotten sound of thunder,  kept me company as I scanned the following photographs from Aunt Bev's photo album.  Nearly forgotten sound of thunder because of our abnormally dry summer.

The storm has moved over the eastern mountains behind the Fortress.  The valley below is awash in color.  The air is clear!  The haze of multiple fires is gone.  It's the kind of day you're glad to be alive.

Today I'll share more photographs from Aunt Bev's photo album.  These photos were taken between 1975 and 1976.  Most were taken at the Mattson home in Spearfish, South Dakota.  A few were taken in Denver and a couple at Story Book Island in Rapid City, South Dakota.

The scanner's screen isn't wide enough to get the photos and all of Bev's handwritten descriptions.  What you see is usually enough to understand the snapshot.  I'll add captions to the photos missing her explanations.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!


A great photo of Joseph and his daddy.

Grandma Mattson is standing in the background.  This photo was taken at Spearfish Park

Those pants shout the 1970's.  They might pass for fashionable today if worn as shorts.

Don't know where and don't know when.  

John and Bev bought Grandma and Grandpa's Mattson home in Spearfish.  That house has a special place in our hearts.  We visited Grandma and Grandpa often.  Kim and I would spend a week in that house in the summer.  Memories come flooding back when I see these pictures.  For instance, the glass in the window behind the Christmas Tree is wavy.  Grandma told me its because of age.  Its little things like that you remember.

Angie, Kirk, Gina and Joseph.  December 29, 1975

Bev's parents visiting.

I can remember many an hour spent in that kitchen talking to Grandma as she washed the dishes

Angie's 3rd Birthday

Joseph getting into the cake.  Kirk was not a happy camper.

Joseph with a mouthful of Angie's cake

Kirk's 7th birthday.  May 18, 1976

Joseph and his Daddy at Kirk's Birthday

Joseph, Angie and Baron, the best dog in the universe.

I like this picture.  Kirk with his prized catch from a Montana lake.  May 1976.

Storybook Island was near our house in Rapid City, South Dakota.  It was a small fairy tale land operated by the Rotary Club.

Angie pushed by Grandma Mattson at Storybook Island