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April 06, 2006
Tartan Day: Why Me?

[This is the second of my 2006 Tartan Day posts. The first can be seen here. It's probably more interesting than this one.]

How, one might be tempted to ask, does a guy without a drop of Scots blood in him (or, if there's a drop, it's diluted to the point of requiring measurement in parts-per-million) have the brass to participate in an event like Tartan Day?

It's easy. Just arrange to be related to someone who served as Prime Minister of Canada.

Simple, really.

Born in 1821 in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Charles Tupper attended the University of Edinburgh and became a physician, serving from 1867 to 1870 as President of the Canadian Medical Association.

He entered into Canadian politics in 1855, winning a seat in the Canadian Parliament. By 1864 he had risen to become the Premier of Nova Scotia. For his efforts to bring Nova Scotia into the Canadian union (previously, Canada had been a motley collection of colonies) he became known as one of the Fathers of Confederation. Thereafter, he served in a variety of ministerial positions: Inland Revenue, Customs, Public Works, Railways & Canals.

Knighted (and tartaned) by Queen Victoria in 1879, he went on to serve as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Minister of Finance, and as Secretary of State.

In May of 1896, after the resignation of the previous officeholder, he became Prime Minister. Two month later, the elections mandated by his predecessor's resignation turned his party out of power and Sir Charles out of office. He thus became the shortest-serving Prime Minister in Canadian history.

If you've stuck with the story this far, you might at this point be saying to yourself, "so how does a guy named Emerson claim family ties to some old dead guy named Tupper?" What, you never heard of people changing their names? Were it not for an anonymity-seeking ancestor, my name would be Tupper. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

No, I'm not a direct descendant. "Cousin" would be more accurate. Nonetheless, tartans belong to families, not individuals, so remote though the relationship may be, I'm claiming it and the tartan that goes with it.

For more in Tartan Day bloggery, visit the fine blogs participating in the Gathering of the Blogs 2006:

Posted by Russ at 07:26 PM, April 6, 2006 in History & Personal Stuff

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You know, Charles T. actually looks a little like Dad.

Posted by: Brad at April 7, 2006 02:18 PM

That's "Sir Charles" to you. Or perhaps "Cousin Chuckie."

Posted by: Russ at April 7, 2006 03:00 PM

I wondered what the heck that was all about when I was seeing multiple posts in Feedreader about it.

Posted by: William Teach [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 8, 2006 03:03 PM

The things you learn on the web!! I didn't know the Tuppers had a tartan.

By the way, Uncle Chuck, as he is known in this branch of the family really does look like my dad.

Posted by: Allison at April 9, 2006 05:01 PM