Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Thousand Faces of Frank Campbell

In the mid-nineteenth century, a family by the name of Campbell emigrated from Scotland. Like other pioneers they brought a Bible, a rifle, maybe some seeds but not much else. Most of their possessions, if they had any, were left in Scotland. This family settled in New Florence, Pennsylvania, in the Allegheny mountains.

Like so many other families the oldest son, Frank Campbell, moved on west to East Tennessee where he taught school in the mountains. He later attended Maryville College near Knoxville. Founded by a Presbyterian minister, Issac L. Anderson, Maryville, is the twelfth oldest institution in the South. (Today, it has about 1200 students and its mascot is the “Scots.”)

Frank Campbell received a call the ministry and moved to Cincinnati where he attended Lane Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1912 and by then had married Gertrude Doling, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati. He and his wife served in a “number of missionary Presbyterian churches in Tennessee and Illinois.”

The Reverend Frank Campbell was also a stand-up vaudeville comedian. He loved impersonations and “The 1000 Faces of Frank Campbell” became a regular feature in the small towns where he was pastor. The advertising read “Frank Campbell, Preacher, Lecturer and Entertainer. A man with a Message. Born in Pennsylvania, reared in east Tennessee and worked his way through College and the Seminary. Combines native ability with scholastic attainments and pleasing personality.”

Perhaps his most successful ministry was at the First United Presbyterian Church in Rochelle, Illinois, where he was pastor for 19 years. The church grew, he raised money and paid off the debt, refurbished the building and stayed until 1943. His wife was also highly regarded both in the church and the community.

Those were difficult years for this family of five. They lived in the manse at 420 North Sixth Street but it was not a great house. They had little money to spend. However, the family had a large garden and “some days all the food they had was spinach and root vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes and radishes.” But, it was a happy home and Mrs. Campbell was an excellent mother. The Reverend Frank Campbell would move on to other churches until he finally retired in 1969. I do not know when he died or where he is buried.

The two boys, John and Jim, once built a vegetable wagon and tried to peddle spinach to their neighbors with little success. Dr. Jim would later refuse to eat spinach, claiming he could get more “iron from sucking on a nail than eating spinach.” Many years later, this same Dr. James Campbell would live in Lake Forest, Illinois and drive a Mercedes, but he never forgot those difficult years in Rochelle. He also had his father’s gift for acting and humor.

Here is why I like this story. This family had almost nothing. In today’s society they would be below the poverty line and eligible for food stamps. But, all the children became highly educated and successful and they did it through had work and sacrifice.

The oldest son, John D. Campbell, attended Knox College and then Harvard where he earned a Ph.D in psychology. He served in WWII and wrote a book entitled “The Men of Company K” about his war experiences. (I recently bought a copy on e-bay and if you want to know what war is really like read this book.) Eleanor went to Monmouth College and then the University of Illinois where she earned a master’s degree in education. “Her husband, Dr. Frank Scharletzki, became the head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Maryland. “It was both remarkable and a tribute to the Campbell family that all the children were able not only to receive a college education, but to go on to graduate school as well.” Dr. James A. Campbell became a distinguished physician, educator and the modern day builder of Rush University Medical Center.

This story and all the family information comes from a wonderful book written by Malachi J. Flanagan, M.D. called “To The Glory of God and the Service of Man”. It is the story of James Allan Campbell and the history of Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Flanagan practiced at Rush his entire career but sadly passed away in September, 2009.

I have read the book twice and recently gave a copy to Dr. Jacob Rotmensch who is Mary’s cancer doctor. If you like Chicago history, especially its history of medical care, you will like this book. The book store at Rush told me it was out of print but I did find copies on the Internet.

The family story of the Reverend Frank Campbell is illustrative of the people Senator Jim Webb wrote about in his book “Born Fighting, How the Scots-Irish Shaped America.” He called these people “poor but proud and stubborn as hell.” Wesley Pruden of The Washington Times calls it their “Mountain Pride.” These independent pioneers who traveled through Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri were “poor but proud and stubborn as hell.” My family on both sides made that same journey finally settling along Panther creek, east of Springfield, Missouri, where I was born and where we lived in a log cabin.

I don’t mean this to be a political statement because I know we all have different philosophies but are we losing that “Mountain Pride” that makes us independent and hard working? Jack Cafferty of CNN reports that almost half of Americans get some kind of government aid. Cafferty says: “With fewer than half of Americans paying federal taxes - and just about half get government aid - this country is headed down the drain and fast.” (I have waited until after the election to post this article, lest it be wrongly interrupted.)

Maybe we need a good dose of Mountain Pride - “poor but proud and stubborn as hell” much like the Campbell family.                   

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois St. Andrew’s Society

The Scottish American History Club is part of the Arts and Culture Division of the Illinois St. Andrew’s Society/Chicago Scots.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

1986 to 2012

The Illinois Andrew Society has just completed its 167th Dinner in honor of Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland. It was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Intercontinental Hotel on Michigan Avenue and was an excellent event - good food, haggis, and excellent music. Anika Strolle, Heather Queen, is a beautiful young woman. The Haggis children belong to Sally and Rob Johnston. Mr. & Mrs. Bill McLeod of Brookfield were the Clansman and Clanswoman.

One unplanned event was the introduction of Robert Cameron who has just celebrated his 100th birthday. (To our present knowledge he is the oldest member of the Society.) His father, William Cameron, was president of the Society in 1934. The Cameron family, who haven’t attended in a long time, occupied an entire table next to mine. Thanks to Jim Bell for making this exception. Good job.

 President Gus Noble presented an inspiring address as he talked about the future of the Society.

I started working for the St. Andrew’s Society in January, 1986, so my first Dinner was at the Chicago Hilton and Towers on November 8 of that year. The entertainer was James Nicol and the Master of Ceremonies was Jim Ruddle of Channel 5 news. The Marshall was George M. Wood and the Color Bearers were David J. Cameron and Edward C. Rorison. The Heather Queen was Lisa Noble and the Haggis Child was John Michael Lawless. Ian Swinton was the Pipe Major for The Pipes and Drums of the Midlothian Scottish Pipe Band. James Sim, Jr., was the Drum Major. The Lone Piper, (which we didn’t have this year, I think because of time constraints) was Tom Ogilvy.

The awards were given by Donald A. Gillies, President, Illinois Saint Andrew Society. The distinguished citizen was Frederick G. Jaicks, Chairman of Inland Steel Company. The Clansman was Peter Georgeson and Helen Georgeson was the Clanswoman. The “Humanitarian Award for 1986" was given to the Duke of Argyll, Chief of Clan Campbell. It was given as a “special citation for humanitarian services for the less fortunate in society.” (Does anyone remember what that was about?)

The Banquet Committee in 1986 consisted of: Robert J. Black, David J. Cameron, C. Robert Douglas, Francis Gillan, Donald A. Gillies, Vilma Martin, Angus J. Ray, Jr., June Steele and Shelia Wilson. (To our knowledge four of these people are now deceased.) June Steele was in charge of decorating the tables and she always managed to have heather.

The biggest change, I suppose, is in the music. For years the Society had brought over a singer from Scotland. It was the big decision! There was never a question about the location. That hadn’t changed for 50 years. It was always the Chicago Hilton. I am sometimes sorry we don’t have a singer now because we are raising a generation who have never heard the great old songs of Scotland. Songs like, “The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen” as sung by Kenneth McKellar or the Alexander Brothers.

Having said that, I enjoyed the music this year. Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Hass were terrific. Then, to have them joined by Rachel Barton Pine made the event even more spectacular. They were also joined by another young man, whom I met but can’t remember his name. I do remember that he was a champion fiddler. In my opinion, it was excellent entertainment.

I didn’t get home with a program so I can’t list the members of the committee for this year but they did a great job and our table thoroughly enjoyed the event. The Thistle & Highland Dancers under the direction of Nancy Strolle are always enjoyable and the Pipe Band was a grade one band - you can hardly say more.

One more year gone. Next year we will celebrate 168 years and planning is already underway!

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois St. Andrew Society

The Annual Meeting and Christmas Party of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society will be held on December 9, 2012 (3:00-5:00 p.m.) in Heritage Hall at the Scottish Home, 28th and Des Plaines, North Riverside, IL. Please RSVP to Kristen Guthrie or call 708-426-7127.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Alan L. Bain

I had the honor of presenting the Wallace Award to Alan Bain on November 9, 2012. The Gala Dinner and Celebration was held at The University Club of New York City. The presentation follows:

Good Evening:

Dr. Alan Lind Bain was born in England of Scottish parents. He received his formal education at Edge Grove, Mill Hill, and St. Catherine’s College of the University of Cambridge. He is also a graduate of Columbia Law School.

In 1959, Alan married Linda Miller and that union produced two children, a son Ian, and a daughter, Heather. Both are present tonight. Ian and his wife Jill have two children - Andrew and Emma, and they are here as well. I am sorry that Linda is not here tonight, I know she would be extremely proud of her family and especially of her husband. Perhaps she knows we are celebrating.

Alan started traveling the world for a computer leasing company and in those travels began to form the idea for a company. In 1970, he launched World-Wide Business Centres to help meet the needs of those who travel and need office space, meeting rooms and conference facilities with secretarial support. Today, there are office locations on every continent and in dozens of counties worldwide.

In 1993, the Board of Directors of the American-Scottish Foundation elected Alan Bain as their President. The American-Scottish Foundation was formed in 1956 in New York City by Lord Malcolm Douglas Hamilton. The Foundation’s charter gives it a broad mandate that includes building social, cultural and commercial ties between the United States and Scotland. In selecting Alan, they could not have made a better choice.

One of his initial objectives was to determine what role the Foundation should play in the American Scottish community. It has been an increasingly active role. In fact, the role that Alan and the Foundation have played has been the key element in the progress and development of the American Scottish community.

His regular trips to Scotland and his close personal relationships with business and governmental leaders have built a strong bridge between the two nations and its people. Both America and Scotland are indebted to this man for his continued efforts to strengthen relationships between our countries. Today, Heather Bain carries on that tradition as the present Chairman of the Board.

In 1996, Alan Bain and the Foundation met with seven other Scottish organizations to form the Scottish Coalition, an informal body consisting of representatives from these national groups. Alan became one of the unofficial leaders of this national effort. He gave them the concept of a national organization that included a paid professional staff.

He helped introduce the concept of a National Tartan Day in the United States. The date chosen and now approved by Congress is April 6th. No single person has done more to advance the cause of Tartan Day than has Alan Bain.

In 2000, Alan and the Foundation were asked to sponsor a National Tartan Day in Washington, D.C. He took on the challenge and it was a huge success; but it also incurred a large financial loss. By his own effort the loss was fully covered by gifts and contributions. The American-Scottish Foundation is a Founding Member of the National Tartan Day New York Committee which organizes the parade and many other events during Tartan Week.

In 2002, The American-Scottish Foundation and the Illinois St. Andrew’s Society in Chicago formed the Scottish North American Leadership Conference, a nation-wide event which brings together Clans, Scottish societies and other cultural organizations to explore and discuss themes of interest and issues of common concern. Alan has been a tireless worker in this effort. The tenth successful conference has just concluded in Detroit, Michigan with Gus Noble as the moderator.

Alan has been a most effective leader for the Scottish community. By the force of his own will, he has saved organizations and created new ones. There is nothing that concerns the American Scottish community that does not interest him. He supports everything that advances the cause of our two great countries. He is a visionary who often leaves people asking, “how can that possibly be done?” But, he never forsakes his vision or his work.

I have been privileged to know Alan since about 1996. We first met in Florida at a Scottish Coalition meeting. Over the years, we have worked together on various projects. We have become friends, not only because of our common interests, but also because personal events and family tragedies have molded our relationship.

I greatly admire him for his love of family and his loyalty to friends.

We are privileged tonight to honor Alan Bain for his vision, his generosity, his integrity, his love of family, his determination and courage. The Scottish community is forever indebted to him. He richly deserves the honor.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Dr. Alan L. Bain.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New York! New York!

I traveled last week (November 8-11, 2012) to New York City and because of my age and other circumstances it was probably my last trip. I have a lot of memories connected to New York, especially relating to World War II. During the war, I spent time at the Brooklyn Naval Yard and Sheepshead Bay. When the war in Europe ended, my company made its way through Grand Central Station to board a troop train for a long train ride to California. The train was pulled by a steam-powered locomotive with those great sounds that my generation will never forget and coming generations will never hear.

This trip was at the invitation of the American-Scottish Foundation to present the Wallace Award to Alan Bain. I stayed at The University Club of New York located at 54th and 5th Avenue. It was built in 1899 and designed by Charles McKim, William Mead and Stanford White. They were all members of the Club and all Scottish Americans.  They designed a wonderful library modeled after the Vatican Apartments with ceiling murals by H. Siddons Mowbray. Most of my free time was spent doing research in the library. (If you visit their web site you can see pictures.) Next year, Alan Bain will celebrate 50 years of continuous membership. Quite an accomplishment!

The American- Scottish Foundation started the Wallace awards in 1970. It was designed to recognize individuals of Scottish descent “for outstanding achievement and significant contribution in their field of endeavor.” Sen. Trent Lott was given the Wallace award in 2000. He was the Republican Senate Majority Leader and was the sponsor of Senate Resolution 155 “that adopted April 6, in perpetuity, as National Tartan Day.” Other recipients include: Duncan A. Bruce, The Rt. Hon. Lord Smith of Kelvin, The Rt. Hon. Lord Robertson, Euan Baird, the Forbes Family and Sir Sean Connery.

This year the Honorees were:

    Sir Ian Wood, CBE, John Wood Group PLC - Chairman
    Miss Duncan MacDonald, The Scottish Coalition USA - Trustee
    Dr. Alan L. Bain, The American-Scottish Foundation - Pres. Emeritus

The Gala Dinner was held at The University club of New York City. It was a spectacular event! I was at table 15 with Gus Noble and Bob McWilliams along with seven other individuals. It was nice to have President Gus Noble, representing The Chicago Scots at the event, as we continue to have a very close working arrangement with the American Scottish Foundation. We are indebted to Heather Bain and Gus Noble for preserving this relationship.

 Saturday morning, I had breakfast with the Bain family and then made my way to Grand Central Station and the main branch of the New York Public Library on 42nd street. After a few hours, I made my way to Times Square and coffee at McDonald’s. That evening, I was the guest of Alan Bain for dinner at Cellini’s on 54th street.

Sunday morning, I left the Club early because 5th Avenue was being closed for the Veteran’s Day Parade. A taxi to Grand Central Station and the bus to LaGuardia allowed me to take an early flight home. Part of my expenses were paid by the American-Scottish Foundation and the remainder by Mrs. June Steele of Lake Forest and the Halverson Fund. Thanks.

Tomorrow, I will post my remarks in presenting Dr. Alan L. Bain for his Wallace Award. This will place the presentation on the Internet where 24,656 have read our posts since January 2012.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois St. Andrew’s Society

The Annual Meeting and Christmas Party of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society will be held on December 9, 2012 (3:00-5:00 p.m.) in Heritage Hall at the Scottish Home. Please RSVP to Kristen Guthrie or call 708-426-7127.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Celebrations in 1871 and 2012

The Chicago Fire occurred 141 years ago in 1871. The city was destroyed on October 8 and 9 and the banquet honoring St. Andrew was scheduled for November 30. The President of the Saint Andrew Society was General John McArthur, a Civil War hero. The two vice-presidents were William Stewart and A. M. Thomson. Wm. M. Dale was the Treasurer with John Stewart serving as Secretary. These men could have cancelled the event, but they did not.

Men who once were wealthy now found themselves with nothing. Everything they had owned was destroyed; only their spirit and integrity remained. The smell of smoke permeated everything, even to the clothes they wore. “Still, 120 guests managed to show their support...”

The Chicago Tribune, as it always did, carried the story. (Dec. 2, 1871, page 4). It began, “We do not remember who it was who said that the Scotch were always leaving their native land, and always singing in her praise. The last part of the statement is undoubtedly true, and the first does not admit of much question. The land of the lake, mountain and heather is well remembered by her sons, no matter what part of the world, like their own thistle down, chance may have blown them. The St. Andrew’s Society will hold their regular annual banquet at the Briggs House, and celebrate the occasion with becoming hilarity.”

The walls of the banquet room were bare. All pictures, signs and membership records had been lost when the Court House fell in flames. There is no mention of pipers, music or Highland dancers. In fact, it was almost like the first dinner held in 1845. The menu is not given - food was in short supply, but there is mention of “hot scotch.” There were speeches and toasts as usual and General McArthur spoke of charity and generosity but it must have been a quiet and subdued evening. The paper also goes on to report: “Before sitting down to meat, each member adorned himself with a sprig of heather, imported from Scotland for the occasion.”

Near the close, George Anderson was called upon to recite Tam O’Shanter. “He declined, saying after the great calamity he had no heart to recite a poem abounding in such tender associations.” He did however present to the Society a ram’s head, “handsomely mounted, and ornamented with many Scottish devices.” The Ram’s Head is now the beloved mascot of the Society and will have a place of honor at the event this year scheduled for November 16.

The closing paragraph of the article reads: “After the customary toasts and responses, the assembly broke up, having spent a delightful evening.”

In 1871, the Society celebrated its twenty-fifth gathering. In 2012, we celebrate the 167th annual gathering to celebrate St. Andrew, the Patron Saint of Scotland. Chicago is now a vibrant city of skyscrapers; quite different from 1871. I wrote this article last year and run it again because I think it is an important story. Chicago did rise, and the Saint Andrew Society did continue, and the Ram’s Head will again be our honored guest. Our clothes will not smell of smoke and there will be ample food.

Each year the Society recognizes a Distinguished Citizen. This year it is Professor Sir Fraser Stoddart of Northwestern University. He has built a program around molecular nanotechnology. Professor Stoddart was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was knighted by HM Queen Elizabeth II in 2007. Mr. and Mrs. Bill McLeod will also be honored for their volunteer work. Anika Strolle, who spoke at our History Club meeting this past Saturday, will be officially welcomed as our Heather Queen. Good food, Highland dancers, Pipers and outstanding entertainers await you on November 16, 2012.

Click here for more information and to order tickets.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society