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.