• An Saighdear Chaluim Bhain

    by  • 20 July 2008 • Bàrdachd, Emigration, Gàidhlig, Genealogy, People • 2 Comments

    Donald Matheson, an Saighdear Chaluim Bhain, was a son of Malcolm Matheson (Calum Bàn) of Valtos and Crowlista.  (Calum Bàn has some interesting ancestors who can be found by following the lines back via Hebridean Connections.)  Donald was born in the 1740s and joined the army, serving at the siege of Louisbourg in 1758, and later with the 78th Seaforth Highlanders in India and Ireland. He returned to Uig where he married Chirsty Macdonald and had a large family.

    One of their children, also Donald, joined the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1815 and was offered land in Manitoba, but came back to Lewis in 1821.  He married Helen Maciver of Carnish and lived in Timsgarry until they emigrated to Nova Scotia; three of their children were born in Lewis and nine more in Canada.  After Donald Sr. died in 1831, his widow Chirsty joined the rest of the family across the sea.

    The following song, An Saighdear Chaluim Bhain, is said to have been written for Donald Sr during his time as a soldier in Ireland, though whether by Chirsty is unknown.

    Hi horaibhe hoirinn hoirinn
    Hi horaibhe hoirinn ail
    Hi horaibhe, och is eileadh
    Leamsa b’eibhinn d’fhaicinn slan.

    Chuir iad thu air tìr an Eirinn
    ‘S aotram bha do cheum air sràid
    Chuir iad umad dèise an t-saighdear
    Bu fhèin an diaman a-measg chàich.

    O gur mise tha gu cianail
    ‘S mi a’faicinn feur a’fàs
    ‘S e ri falach orm do lorgan
    ‘S mi gu sgealbadh leis a ghràadh.

    Nuair a thèid mi dhan a’mhoine
    Bidh na deòir a’ruith gu làr.
    Ach ged a lionadh iad mo bhrògan
    Cha leig mi mo bhròn ri càch.

    Ged a thigeadh triùir san oidhche
    ‘S mi nach tugadh dhaibh mo làmh
    ‘S mi nach tugadh dhaibh an coibhneas
    Gheibheadh Saighdear Chaluim Bhain.

    Ged a thigeadh traigh nach fhacas
    Riamh a leithid anns an àit’
    ‘S iomadh struthan den a’chuan
    Tha eadar mi’s mo luaidh, nach traigh.

    Cait’ am bheil thu, gràidh, an tig thu
    ‘M bheil thu’n duil an tig thu ghraidh
    An tig thu shealltainn onn am bliadhna
    Na ‘n tig thu gu siorraidh bràth.

    Nuair a thèid mi dhan an doras
    ‘S a chì mi ghealach ‘s i na h-aird
    Bidh mo smuaintean air an t-saighdear
    Dh’fhalbh na fheileadh dhan a’bhlàr.

    Chunnaic mise thu as mo chadal
    Ri tighinn dhachaigh as a’bhlàr
    Le do chlaidheamh caol a lasadh
    Cha b’ann gam iarraidh-sa a bha.


    2 Responses to An Saighdear Chaluim Bhain

    1. Suzanne Bonadeo
      21 November 2011 at 5:51 pm

      Donald Matheson who went to Manitoba in 1815 undoubtedly knew my ancestor, Beth Beaton of Reef, who went to Manitoba in 1811 and back again in 1815. I would appreciate hearing from anyone interested in this possible connection.

    2. Thomas Rowley
      11 December 2011 at 10:57 pm

      Hi Suzanne

      The list I have for the 1811 party has a fella named Beth Bethune from Uig [ probably your ancestor] and in the 1815 passenger lists there is a Beth Beton along with 18 other Hudsons Bay Company employees who sail from Stornoway. As Donald Matheson was also on board the boat I am sure they knew each other. I also have a Beth Beathon in a list of people asking for protection following “The Battle of Seven Oaks” of 1816. This would indicate that Beth Beaton and Donald Matheson crossed the Atlatic together but then went in different directions as Donald Matheson did not work anywhere near the scene of “The Battle of Seven Oaks”.

      I posted my E-Mail address in the comments section of Farquhar MacDonalds page under HBC this site.


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