The Scots Charitable in American History

Gilbert Charles Stuart was a famous artist and portraitist born in North Kingstown, Rhode Island in 1755. His father was a Scottish immigrant and business owner, his mother was born into a prominent family in Middletown, Rhode Island. Stuart’s artistic talent was apparent at an early age.

Cosmo Alexander, a famous Scottish artist, brought Stuart to Europe to pursue his artistic studies. After a short stint abroad, Stuart had moved to Boston and was admitted to the Scots’ Charitable Society in February 1775. Shortly thereafter, Stuart left for Europe again, spent 16 years in England and Ireland before returning to the United States. While living in Philadelphia he created his most famous works that we still remember today.

He painted nearly 1,000 portraits of politicians and prominent figures of the time but one stands as the most famous of all.. The Athenaeum, the unfinished portrait of George Washington is the image portrayed on The United States One Dollar Bill! His work was also displayed on U.S. postage during that time. I

In 1805, he returned to Boston/Roxbury and lived on Devonshire Street until his death 1828. He is buried in an unmarked grave in the Old South Burial Ground.

Scottish New England: Provincetown Pilgrim Monument

At the outermost tip of Cape Cod is one of the most popular summer destinations for New Englanders, Provincetown. This quaint little city is not only known for its art galleries, shops and beaches, but also as the place where pilgrims on the Mayflower first landed in the New World.

Cape Cod map post card circa 1930 ( The Mayflower Sales Co., Provincetown, Mass.
Tichnor Bros. Inc., Boston, Mass.)

To commemorate their landing, an unmistakable structure dots the Provincetown skyline: the Pilgrim Monument. Within the 252-foot stone structure are memorial stones from the cities and towns representing settlements in the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colonies, and from the three oldest chartered organizations in the state, including yours truly, The Scots Charitable Society. The cornerstone for this venerable tower was first laid by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907, and was completed in 1910 with a dedication led by President William Howard Taft.

Photo courtesy of Dennis Napier

If you are in the area, check out the view from the top and don’t forget to stop by The Scots Charitable stone on your way up!  To read more about the history of The Pilgrim Monument, visit their website at https://www.pilgrim-monument.org/.

Photo courtesy of Mark Martins

Member Spotlight: The Patnod Twins

Gregory and Alex Patnod or collectively “The Patnod Twins” are two of the youngest members of the Scots’ Charitable Society. They became involved in 2015 through their Grandfather Ken MacDonald, who has a proud Scottish heritage, tracing his ancestors back to 17th century Scotland. From a young age Greg and Alex participated in cultural events. They were extremely grateful when they earned scholarships from the Society while pursuing their undergraduate business degrees and felt a strong desire to be more involved.

The Patnod Twins help lead new initiatives for the Society to aid its adaptation in a fast-changing world. They enjoy attending the quarterly business meetings and connecting with the leaders of the Organization with whom they grown close with. Over the last several years, they have provided hands-on volunteering for various SCS events including: the annual Kirkin’ O’ the Tartan, St. Andrew’s Gala and have spoken to undergraduates and their families at several scholarship ceremonies as they are strong advocates for engaging their generation to get involved with the Society and carry on its legacy.

On a personal level, the Twins spend much of their free time being active: hiking, skiing, traveling and boating on the Atlantic (depending on the season!). They also cherish spending time with their family and close friends.

Kirk Brunson, Ken MacDonald and Greg Patnod

2019 Summer Intern

This year, 2019, Scots’ Charitable Society took on their first summer intern, Olivia Conroy-Smith, to work full-time over an eight-week period. Olivia is originally from the outskirts of London with family in both Scotland and Ireland however, for the last four years Olivia has lived in Edinburgh, Scotland whilst studying Geography and Social and Economic History at the University of Edinburgh. She is currently 21 years of age and will be going into her fourth and final year of university in September, 2019. This summer she is a Saltire Scholar Intern, which is a Scottish program run by Entrepreneurial Scotland. Below Olivia shares her experience with being SCS’ Summer Intern:

“Hello! I’m Olivia Conroy-Smith, but most people know me as Liv, and I am writing this blog whilst I bask in the sun alongside the Charles River in Boston. I have just finished my fourth week as a working Massachusettsan and rewarded myself with a relax by the esplanade as I walk home from work. If you told me six months ago that I would be living and working in the East Coast of America for two months over the summer I would have laughed it off whilst dreaming of the possibility …. Alas, here I am in the heart of Boston, on the East Coast of America, lucky enough to be one of the fortunate Saltire Scholars of 2019. 

Entrepreneurial Scotland is a Scottish program which combines a group of young talent with worldwide opportunities with the hope of inspiring and developing the next generation of working Scots to create the most entrepreneurial society in the world. After a lengthy application and interview process I was very lucky to be offered a summer placement with Scots’ Charitable Society. I arrived here in late June and will be leaving in the middle of August so a relatively short but very sweet trip in Boston.

Olivia enjoying some sun along the Charles River Esplanade on her first 4th July in America

My role this summer is to help expand the organisation’s economic revenues, design fundraising programs as well as further develop the online platforms of the charity. Within my first few weeks I learnt more about the Society and their work, attended the annual Scholarship Award Evening, guest-spoke at their quarterly board meeting as well met with different team members to consolidate ideas about the future of the charity – I think its fair to say it has been a very busy and exciting few weeks!

I am currently focusing on widening the Society’s outreach to people in the Greater Boston area with a hope of continuing and building upon the work that SCS do. It is my hope that SCS can become even more engaging and interactive with the Scottish-American community via more events, greater online presence and expansive collaborations. This past weekend I attended the Glasgow Land Highland Games in Northampton where I focused on getting to know other societies and clans that SCS may become connected to within the future.

The University of Edinburgh where Olivia studies in Scotland

I feel privileged to be contributing to the longest-standing charitable organisation in the Western Hemisphere and to make things even more exciting I am the first woman to work for Scots’ Charitable Society too – I feel like I am making history by being here and that is all thanks to SCS! My hope is that I can make a significant impact on the society whilst in Boston as well as learning from the wonderfully intelligent people around me.

From day 1 I have felt truly grateful and unbelievably excited for this opportunity and the experience has already surpassed all my expectations for the summer- I can only imagine what the next few weeks will have in store!

I will make sure to keep you all updated but for now it is see you later!

Thanks for reading,

Olivia”

Member Spotlight: Our Three New Members

On Thursday, June 27th 2019 the Scots’ Charitable Society welcomed three new members; Kirk Brunson, Karen Mahoney and Peggy Wynne. Below we have blog passages from Kirk and Karen explaining what SCS means to them.

Kirk Brunson: 

Scottish arts and heritage is a longstanding aspect of my family. From a young age I visited my grandfather, William Buchanan, and listened to bagpipe music with him. Shortly thereafter I began bagpipe lessons and since have taught and performed throughout the United States, Canada, Ireland and Scotland. Celtic music has been a focus of mine for a number of years, and I look forward to contributing to the Society’s purpose of advancing Scottish and Celtic heritage.

Kirk Brunson and Peggy Wynne

Karen Mahoney: 

Why did I seek to join SCS? 

In May of 1993, I said goodbye to the town of my birth, Kearny, NJ, and it’s three fish n’ chip shops, two Scottish butchers, two pipe bands, my Scottish Highland Dancing teacher of 19 years, and my employer at The Piper’s Cove and I moved to Boston. I knew my new city would enrich me in many ways, and it certainly has, but as I had intended, I started teaching Scottish Highland dance out of my Roslindale, MA apartment soon after settling here. I didn’t know then, that what I was doing was creating my own cultural outlet. Before long, I had students competing at Games and Festivals near and far. Over the past 25+ years of teaching dance, I’ve met so many people who have influenced and shaped me, including our current SCS President, Alan McCall and SCS member, Dennis Napier. When a fellow dancer asked me recently “why did you join SCS”, it was an easy answer: I’m a do-er and a giver, as are both of these wonderful men. I am not a passive participant in anything I do, and the idea of simply donating monetarily to the good works and mission of the SCS did not appeal to me. I had to do something, and actively participate. So, here I am, giving and doing, and living up to my high school honor of “Most Helpful”. 

Kirk Brunson and Karen Mahoney