Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Story of one Couple from the Orkney & Shetland Islands.

As previously mentioned, Chicago had a large group of people from the Orkney and Shetland Islands. The O. and S. Society was an active, busy organization keeping alive the traditions of the Islands. Among those who came to Chicago was Donald and Elizabeth Swannie. (You can read the complete story in the Tartan Times at www.chicagoscots.org.) Reprinted here is only a small amount of the entire story.)

“Our parents, Donald (Danny) and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Frazer Swannie made that courageous decision, leaving Shetland but taking with them all of the ingredients for their new life. Danny, born in Orkney, had been in the British Navy and was a trained baker; known for his christening cakes with marzipan, meat pies and sausage rolls. He also was an accomplished fiddler. His father was a cooper. Danny first journeyed here with his mother, 1 sister and 4 brothers with 1 brother remaining in Lerwick. The reason for the journey was his Mother’s grief over the death of his father and 2 children (diphtheria). After establishing residence in Chicago, Danny kept his promise to Lizzie and returned to Lerwick, successfully wooing her. A 3 month honeymoon followed with a grand departure party held in their honor. They then continued their journey to Chicago.”

“Lizzie was born and raised on Papa Stour. Her father was a seagoing Captain with dual citizenship in Shetland and the U.S. During his travels, he purchased a home in Boston and planned to move the family there. Resistance from his wife, Lizzie’s Mother, thwarted that idea and the Boston house idea was abandoned.”

“Life in Chicago consisted of family (they ultimately had 5 children - Marge, Clare, Frances, Don and Georgene), including brothers and sisters-in-law, Shetland friends, other Scots, knitting bees, games of ‘500', Drexel Park Presbyterian Church and the Ogden Park Scot/Irish dances...”

The greatest gift they brought to the U.S. and to us, their children, with love and importance of family and Scottish heritage....The item we are delighted and proud to present today, is Danny’s Masonic Apron from the Lerwick Lodge...”

The complete article is presented in the Tartan Times and the article was read to the History Club by Mrs. Georgina Kiler on behalf of the entire family. Others are invited to add their family story to our growing collection.

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