Turnbull Clan Association

Turnbull Clan Honored

The Turnbull clan was honored at the 2004 Missouri Tartan Day celebration with its President, Wally Turnbull, being chosen to lead the "Rathad Breacan," (Tartan Trail) parade as Grand Marshall.

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Parade Grand Marshal TCA President Wally Turnbull

The parade marched through historic St. Charles on Saturday April 3rd when Tartan Day, officially April 6th, which honors the United States' Scots heritage, was observed in Missouri.

Keith and Therese Turnbull, who live in St. Louis and serve as regional TCA Coordinators, worked with Judie Chaboude, president of Missouri Tartan Day Festivities, to promote Missouri’s Scottish heritage and the Turnbull Clan. Missouri is primarily a state of German and French ancestry so the few Scottish descendants have had to work tirelessly to promote their heritage.

The United States Government officially recognized Tartan Day with the unanimous passing of Resolution 155 proclaiming April 6, 1998 and every year thereafter as National Tartan Day. This resolution, however, left it up to each state to decide if and how to observe Tartan Day.

In 2001 the St. Andrew and Celtic Societies of St. Louis, Kansas City, Jefferson City and Springfield, MO were successful in having Governor Holden proclaim that April 6 would be celebrated as Tartan Day in Missouri. Patti York, the Mayor of St. Charles and a member of the

Sinclair clan was quick to promote her city for the first parade and subsequent Missouri Tartan Day Parades.

Tartan Day which honors the United States' Scots heritage is celebrated on April 6th because it was on that day in 1320 that Scotland’s Declaration of Arbroath was signed by 38 Scottish lords asserting Robert the Bruce's claim to be king of Scotland. Later, the United State’s Declaration of Independence was modeled after the Declaration of Arbroath.

The Missouri Tartan Day festivities began Friday evening with a reception for out-of-town guests and coronation of Affton's Debbie Wersching as Miss Tartan Day. The festivities continued on Saturday with volunteers hanging banners of the participating clans along St. Charles’ historic Main Street which served as the main parade route. The parade formed in the parking lot of the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center moved slowly through town to First Capitol and into Frontier Park where the event dignitaries welcomed the participants and spectators.

Parade participants included The Scottish-American musicians the Boatrights, MacFarlane Live Steel demonstrating medieval weaponry, bagpipe bands and school bands, Highland dancers, the Gateway Cabermen, athletes who specialize in Scottish games, Scottish Country Dancers, representatives of various St. Andrew societies, and the Loch Ness Monster herself, "Nessie” a favorite with the children.

The 2004 Missouri Tartan Day celebration closed on Sunday morning with a moving Kirkin' of the Tartans" at St. Charles Presbyterian Church. A “kirk” in Scotland is a church and a “kirking'” is a ceremony where tartans are taken to the kirk to be blessed by the minister. During the oppression of the Scots by the English when all emblems of Scottish identity such as speaking Gaelic, playing bagpipes and wearing of tartans were forbidden, Scots kept the kirkin’ tradition alive by bringing a scrap of tartan cloth to church hidden in a coat pocket and placing their hands on the pocket during the blessing. Kirkin’ was brought to the United States in 1941 by Peter Marshall when he was chaplain of the U.S. Senate.

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