9008: Formation of Crofters’ Association at Lochs

Extract from The Highland News, 14 January 1899

The Angels and the Needle

The annual concert of the parish of Lochs was held at Knockiandue School on 2nd inst, Rev Donald MacCallum presided, and opened the proceedings with an appropriate New Year address.

"The quiet waters", he said, "Of this peaceful parish are still agitated by the high winds of the recently contested election. A regular snowstorm of what are called by some "neuter", by others "Sir and Madam," letters blew coldly from the metropolis, chilling us to the heart, and there were still occasional showers of them."

In the whirligig of the social elements, he was glad to see so many old ladies driven to see the lights of civilisation for once in their lives. For himself, he had to admit that he tried to soar higher than his wings could carry him. However, if he failed to reach one pole, he alighted on top of another. The ascertained fact that three ministers and one ground-officer can stand on the top of a parish pole went a great way to solve the famous theological conundrum propounded in the dark ages and not expounded in the bright ones – "How many angels can stand on the point of a needle?"

It was good for them to be taught humility and to let the great folks take the higher seats. He hoped this concert would be the oil poured out that would still the heaving billows of the present parochial unrest, whether caused by metropolitan storms, or local whirlwinds."

Mr John Mackenzie, Keose, said that on the principle of uniting business with pleasure, as it was not every day that they could get so many parishoners together, he wished to move a resolution – "that this meeting form a Lochs Crofter Association with, in the meantime, provisional office-bearers, leaving it open to the different townships to appoint their own members afterwards; in the event of there being no changes, the provisional office-bearers to hold office till 1st January 1900." The consitution, rules, and objects should, he said, be submitted by the office-bearers to the next meeting.

Mr John Maclennan, Balallan, seconded. "If", he said, "the interests of this parish were only clerical, scholastic and sporting, the present Parish Council would be fairly representative, but, as there happened to be other interests, such an association as proposed was a pressing need."

The resolution, after many others present had spoken, was unanimously agreed to.

The following provisional office-bearers were appointed: –

Chairman Rev. Donald MacCallum

Clerk and Treasurer Mr John Mackenzie, Keose

Mr N Macleod, Leurbost

Mr J Mackenzie, Crossbost

Mr M Macdonald, Leurbost

Mr J Macarthur, Cleascro

Mr J Maclennan, Balallan

Mr J Macleod, Ranish

Mr D Macleod, Ranish

Mr J Mackinnon, Arivruaich

Thereafter the concert proper was proceeded with. Messrs D Smith, Shieldenish and A Mackenzie, Keose acted as musicians. Messrs J Mackenzie, Keose and M Macdonald, Keose sang Gaelic songs.

The usual votes of thanks to the decorators, purveyors, artists and chairman brought to a close a very happy meeting.

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