The Nephew and Niece Learn of the Name Game

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Posted by Druncle Mark on March 15, 2000 at 05:22:30:

"Look, Dr. Uncle Mark", shouted Hiram. "I'm a Scottish man. Look I'm wearing a kilt thingie!"

Dr. Uncle laughed as he looked Hiram up and down. The lad had taken one of Hannah's wee skirts, a plaid one at that, and had put it on.

"Yes, Sir, me Bucko. Now you look just like your great Uncles MacWilliam and Gunn."

"I don't understand that whole thing, Dr. Uncle", said Hannah. "Why did those two brothers have different last names? Didn't they have the same mother and father?"

"Sure they did. But there's a whole adventure behind that name game that Uncles Malcolm and Davey played. In fact, we got a postcard from your parents in Scotland today and it reminded me of that adventure. Here, look. Your parents were visiting Culloden where the last battle for Scottish independence took place. Would you like to hear the story, my little dearies?"

"Yes, yes, tell us the story!" the niece and nephew cried.

"Well, it goes like this. You see in the year 1746, your great, great, great, well, lots of greats, uncles lived in Scotland. Malcolm was 14 years old and Davey was 16. The bonnie Prince, Charles Edward Stewart, was rallying the Scots to take Scotland for the Scottish people and he met the English at Culloden where he had a terrible defeat at the hands of King George the second's son. He was called the Butcher of Cumberland.

Now, at that time both the Uncles had the last name of MacWilliam. It was Malcolm MacWilliam and Davey MacWilliam. Their father Hugh MacWilliam was fighting for the bonnie Prince for the Gunn clan. The Gunn clan is their main family name. Hugh's brother Angus had disappeared and his other brother Quasi had left for Ireland. But the Uncles' grandfather, William MacWilliam, was fighting for the English. There were many Scots that did that, because they thought they were just as better off with the English than with the Stewarts.

Well, Malcolm and Davey MacWilliam, even at that young age, were fighting, side by side with their father Hugh when Hugh was struck down and killed. The English troops advanced on the bonnie Prince and Davey stayed with him for protection, while Malcolm stayed behind to act as the "forlorn hope". While Davey stayed with the Prince and protected him traveling with the Prince until he left for France, never to return, Malcolm was captured and was ready to be put under the knife, when he was saved by his grandfather William. William spoke long and hard with the lad and finally Malcolm realized that all was lost for the Stewarts and he could best serve his dear Scotland by living and being a soldier in the English king's army. Many, many young Scots did that, so they could continue Scottish traditions like the wearing of the kilt and the playing of the pipes.

But Davey, after the bonnie Prince left, had to change his name so that he was not caught by the English troops. He changed it to the MacWilliam family's clan name, that is, GUNN, and eventually he met up with his brother Malcolm. They met in the Highlands near Caithness the Gunn clan's home, where they fell into each others' arms. This was ten years after Culloden and Uncle Malcolm had just joined with Montgomery's Highlanders, the 77th, to fight in America. So, Davey Gunn joined up too. Brothers, comrades in arms, but different last names. So, me wee nephew and niece, that's how your Uncles from long ago came to have different last names, Cpl. Malcolm MacWilliam and Pvt. Davey Gunn!"

"Wow, Dr. Uncle, that is a real adventure," said Hiram.

Hannah was weeping a bit, "That is so sad. But our Scottish Uncles came to America and always were together. Right Dr. Uncle Mark?"

"That's right, Hannah, always together, fighting for their Scottish traditions and the freedom of men. Ok, niece and nephew, 'nuff of that! Now, how about if I make you both some haggis while you put on some wee kilts?!"

"Yippeee!!", cried Hannah and Hiram. "Haggis, haggis, we love haggis, yum, yum, yum!!"

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