Dorothy Turnbull Berk

The message reprinted below displays the beginning of the Turnbull Clan in America and the unwavering effort that Dorothy Turnbull Berk applied to enable us to learn of our origins and to stand proud of the name TURNBULL wherever people are gathered and proclaim "I saved the king!"

A Message from Convener Emeritus

Dorothy Turnbull Berk

My first trip to Scotland in 1977 changed the next 21 years of my life. It was the first year of the now defunct "INTERNATIONAL GATHERING OF THE CLANS". Scotland's contribution to the Queens Silver Jubilee Celebration.

Through a series of rather remarkable coincidences, I was put in touch with John Turnbull of Hawick, our late founder. The late Sir Arthur Elliott had encouraged John to rally the Turnbulls and to join with the other Border Clans in the festivities being held in the Borders. Before the day and evening was over I had been thoroughly indoctrinated in all that was to take place and found myself appointed Convener of the U.S. Trundles. I was stone sober. The day had turned into a party and the Turnbull Whiskey flowed and flowed. Unfortunately, due to prior family arrangements I had to be in South of England that following weekend when the first big Turnbull Gathering was to take place.

A couple of years later, at the next Turnbull Gathering in Hawick, Scotland, I met Jim and Shirley Turnbull of Australia. We learned that we shared similar incidences in starting up Clan Branches. At this point in time all memberships were in the parent organization in Scotland. We were just doing the missionary work. The U.S. members were calling for a Branch of their own and with John's permission we started out with a dual membership situation. Part of the dues went to Scotland. This continued until shortly before John's death. Myra, John's widow, carried on with the parent organization for a few more years until personal obligations made it too much of a burden. We were now on our own with no umbilical cord.

As a Border Clan we had a lot of prejudicial obstacles to surmount. We found ourselves not welcome at some Scottish venues: they were for Highlanders only! The law of the land and the economics of running some of these venues kicked down the barriers. In some cases we were reminded that didn't mean they had to like us. Some of the organizations when they came hat in hand to call at our tents or via telephone were reminded of the previous cold shoulder we had received. It was like shooting the messenger but I had to have the satisfaction of reminding them that now a "Borderer's" money was just as green as a Highlanders.

We struggled along, taking our lumps and bumps. We started with nothing, but to borrow a phrase: " You've come a long way, baby!"

Before his death, John had put some wonderful projects in motion. Working with Scott Bros. Woolen mill in Hawick he developed our Tartans, the Dress and the Hunting. The Ancient Hunting Tartan was developed a few years later.

It is nice to know that a number of very interested members are endeavoring to keep the Clan going. May the Turnbull Clan and all of you grow gracefully old together.

Lift our banner high and loudly proclaim,




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