Former congressman honored at Scottish Heritage Weekend

LAURINBURG — U.S. Congressman Mike McIntyre was honored for his support of his Scottish ancestry during the awards banquet held Saturday on the St. Andrews campus. The banquet was part of the 26th annual Charles Bascombe Shaw Memorial Scottish Heritage Weekend.

The Saltire Award is presented to an individual or organization which has made an outstanding contribution to the study and dissemination of knowledge relative to the further understanding of Scottish history, culture and traditions or to the preservation and perpetuation of Scottish history or traditions.

“How proud would the old Carmichaels and McIntyres have been of their descendent,” said Bill Caudill, director of the Scottish Heritage Center and event coordinator. “Mike has championed the cause for Scottish heritage.”

Through grassroots efforts, McIntyre became the regional sponsor of House Resolution 41 which stated, “that a day should be established as National Tartan Day to recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions made by Scottish Americans in the US.”

Under President George W. Bush, McIntyre was able to see the Presidential Proclamation signed, instituting April 6 as National Tartan Day.

McIntyre was also instrumental in convincing the Library of Congress to classify a separate cataloguing identification for Scottish literary works versus English literature.

“It’s the small victories,” said Caudill.

During his acceptance speech, McIntyre reminisced of a short time spent at St. Andrews during a baseball camp where he was named most outstanding camper. As a tenth grader he attended a vocational seminar located where the Scottish Heritage center is now. At the time he was instructed to go into broadcasting, journalism and law.

“It was a great time to explore God’s call in your life and what career you may consider. And somehow they all seem to tie together,” said McIntyre.

There were also lectures and music from Dr. Bruce Durie, one of Scotland’s top genealogists and genealogy scholars, throughout the weekend. Durie is currently a resident in Laurinburg until late July while undertaking research relevant to Lowland Scots migrations to the Carolinas. He was a recipient of the Fullbright Commission’s Scottish Studies Scholar Award.

Lecturer, Ruairi Halford-MacLeod, was Editor of the Clan MacLeod Magazine from 1972-1980 and President of the Clan MacLeod Society of Scotland 2002-2010. He has written more than 100 articles on clan history, piping and tartans, and also makes and teaches kilt-making.

Bruce Daws is City Historian and founding director of the Fayetteville Local History and Transportation Museum as well as the North Carolina Veteran’s Park located there. He has been extremely active in promoting and highlighting the history of the City of Fayetteville and Cumberland County in general, undertaking a great deal of historical research and involvement in downtown revitalization efforts as well as research relative to the relationship of the early settlements of Cross Creek and Campbelltown to the greater region.

Lifelong resident of the Sandhills, Marcus Norton, has extensive experience in geology as well as local government in Scotland County in County Planning. As an avid local historian, he had done extensive research on various topics relative to Scotland and Richmond Counties which he shared over the weekend.

Saturday night, the Pipe Band celebrated its 25th anniversary with a concert. St. Andrews students, alumni and community members played Celtic tunes from Scotland, Ireland, America, and Brittany, France. Caudill remembered the first band at St. Andrews where he was the only one wearing a kilt because the band did not have uniforms.

“Out of this award-winning program we have produced teachers, writers, a PhD in Chinese linguistics, and one of the top pediatric oncologists in the southeast,” said Caudill.

From such humble beginnings in 1991, the band has become one of the top competitors in the southeast in the Eastern US Pipe Band Association. In 2006 the band won the grade three Eastern US Pipe Band Championship, the only year in which the academic year allowed them to participate.

“We were made a team of champions, not show-offs,” remembered Rod Gammon class of ’94, the first pipe band recruit.

A Tartan Worship service at the Laurinburg Presbyterian Church wrapped up the weekend.

“This colorful Scottish-American tradition included a display of tartans from the various clans represented throughout the weekend,” said Caudill.

For more information about the Scottish Heritage Center and the events from the weekend, visit

Staff report