History of The Clan MacLachlan Association
Of North America

Through 1999

The roots of the family tree for the Clan MacLachlan Association of North America are deep in the rocky soil of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. Our clan association was one of the first to support the first Grandfather Mountain Highland Games held near Linville, North Carolina. We have continued this support this event for over 30 years.

Frank J. MacLachlan and his wife, Madge, from Jacksonville, Florida, were the first MacLachlan representatives at the Frank MacLachlanGrandfather Mountain games. They were joined shortly thereafter by James C. and Ida MacLachlan from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Ellen K. MacLauchlin from Columbia, South Carolina, George and Ruth Buelow from Castle-Hayne, North Carolina, and Howard and Buelah Claflin from Christiansburg, Virginia.

The original Clan MacLachlan Association membership centered in the southeastern states with approximately 50 members. Today, the Clan Association encompasses most of North America. Major membership concentrations are found in the Southeast, the Southwest and New England. From a few Scottish events in the early days, the Clan Association now is sponsored at over 30 functions annually throughout the U.S. and Canada.

In 1977, the members present at the clan tent during the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games agreed to sponsor a dinner meeting the following year after the events on Saturday. This dinner would then become the center point for the newly organized Clan MacLachlan Association of North America. Connie MacLachlan Ashworth, of Gibsonville, North Carolina, had the privilege of arranging for this first dinner, which was held at the Sugar Mountain Lodge near Banner Elk, North Carolina in 1978. Out of this dinner meeting came the adoption of the Articles of Association and appointment of the first area Commissioners (in 1979).

Upon the retirement of Frank J. MacLachlan as the first President, James C. MacLachlan was elected President of the Clan Association. William H. Ashworth, Jr., from Greensboro, North Carolina, was elected Vice President. Ellen K. MacLauchlin continued as Secretary-Treasurer, a position she had held since her appointment in 1974. James MacLachlan

In 1980, Hollace McLachlan Bryson succeeded Ellen MacLauchlin as Secretary-Treasurer. By then, the Clan Association had more than 80 members. This era also saw the formation of the Clan MacLachlan Society in the United Kingdom. Tom McLachlan, from London, England, Chairman of the Clan MacLachlan Society, was to that organization what Frank J. MacLachlan had been to the Clan MacLachlan Association. Through the friendship of Ruth Buelow, then our Clan Association Genealogist, and Tom McLachlan, lines of communication were opened between both organizations. Meetings with Bill Ashworth, Jr., James C. MacLachlan and Tom McLachlan resulted in the exchange of the Clan Association Newsletter and the Clan Lachlan Magazine.

Connie M. Ashworth became Secretary-Treasurer upon the resignation of Hollace M. Bryson (in 1983). The membership had grown to over 150 members.

Hugh GilcrestHugh W. Gilchrist of Greenville, South Carolina, was elected the third President of the Clan Association. His tenure of office saw significant growth, particularly in the Southwest (through the efforts of Roger Dale) and Michigan (through the efforts of Tom McLaughlan). Membership also started to grow in New England (through the efforts of Jim Finegan).

With the increased publication of the Association newsletter, an association wide contest was held to rename the newsletter. Hollace Bryson had the winning suggestion of The Roebuck. She explained that her choice came from the incident in the Clan history where the Clan Chief tied a bag of gold to the antlers of a roebuck. The May issue of 1985 was the first one to carry the new title.


Bill Ashworth, Jr., was elected the fourth President of the Clan MacLachlan Association in 1987. His tenure in office saw even greater expansion in the Southwest through the efforts of Jack W. McLaughlin as well as a continued dialogue with the U.K. Society. The bi-annual reproduction of the U.K. Society magazine was suspended that same year as a cost saving measure. Chairman Tom McLachlan, meeting with Bill Ashworth and Vice-President Robert E. McLaughlin (from Knoxville, Tennessee), proposed a single worldwide organization for Clan MacLachlan. This suggestion was tabled pending further review.

Bill Ashworth

In 1987, Hugh Gilchrist accepted the position as Editor for The Roebuck, our newsletter which is published twice a year.

In 1989, Bill Ashworth became the first CMANA President to visit Highland Games outside of the Southeastern United States when he attended the New Hampshire Highland Games.

Robert E. McLaughlinBy the election of 1990, the continued growth saw the division of offices for Secretary and Treasurer. At that time, Robert E. McLaughlin was elected the fifth President, Jack W. McLaughlin, from San Jacinto, California was elected Vice President, James A. Finegan from Warrenton, Virginia was elected Secretary, and Robert G. McLachlan from Dearborn Heights, Michigan was elected Treasurer. As of the end of 1990, the Clan Association membership topped 250 members.

The First Clan Association Tour of Scotland also occurred during the summer of 1990. This fifteen day tour, arranged by Jack and Marge McLaughlin, was highlighted with a visit to Castle Lachlan where the group met Madame MacLachlan of MacLachlan, our 24th Chief. As the North American Representative of the Association, Jack presented Madam MacLachlan with gifts from the Association and the Southwest Region. The mandela (a wall hanging made by Southwest Indians) was from the Southwest Region. An engraved brass jewel box containing a gold leaf Aspen leaf pin was presented from the Clan MacLachlan Association of North America.

In May of 1991, then Treasurer Robert G. McLachlan resigned for personal reasons. Michaele G. Finegan was appointed to fulfill the duties of Treasurer for the remainder of the term. Late in 1991, the CMANA released its first version of the Handbook for Commissioners and Conveners. Since its release, several other Clan associations have used this handbook as a template for their own effort.

In 1992, Daphne McLachlan, President of the Australian Chapter of the Clan MacLachlan Society, visited with the CMANA during the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Marjorie Warren, an active weaver within the Association, presented Daphne with a hand woven gift of a tam and a scarf in the newly sanctioned North Carolina Tartan.

In 1993, the CMANA added a covered dish picnic to the schedule during the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.

During his three years in office, Robert E. McLaughlin traveled East, West, North and South to visit with CMANA members at numerous Highland Games across North America. He attended festivities in New Hampshire, California, Florida, Mississippi, Michigan and Canada. Through his continued efforts, many members in regions remote to North Carolina were able to put a face and a voice behind the Presidency.

Jack McLaughlinIn the election of 1993, Jack W. McLaughlin was elected as the CMANA's sixth President, Herbert B. Jacobs, from Wayland, Massachusetts, was elected as Vice President, James A. Finegan from Raleigh, North Carolina, was re-elected as Secretary, and Michaele G. Finegan from Raleigh, North Carolina, was re-elected as Treasurer. As of the end of 1993, the Clan Association membership topped 280 members.

In the election of 1996, Herbert B Jacobs was elected as the CMANA's seventh President, Stephen Gilkeson, from Nashville, Tennessee, was elected as Vice President, James A. Finegan, relocated to Sterling, Virginia, was re-elected as Secretary, and Michaele G. Finegan, also relocated to Sterling, Virginia, was re-elected as Treasurer. As of the end of 1996, the Clan Association membership topped 290 membership units. Herb Jacobs

In August of 1996, Herbert Jacobs travelled to the U.K. to begin negotiations with the CMS in an effort to unite both oraginizations into one Clan MacLachlan Worldwide. By March of 1997, the CMANA and the CMS entered a joint venture on the Internet.

In August of 1996, Herbert Jacobs of the CMANA travelled to the U.K. to meet with Thomas F. McLachlan, Roderick MacLachlan and Bruce McLachlan of the CMS. These visionaries of a united Clan MacLachlan Worldwide began negotiations on uniting both oraginizations into one Clan MacLachlan Worldwide. By March of 1997, the CMS and the CMANA entered a joint venture to create a single Clan MacLachlan website on the Internet.

By the Spring of 1997, unification talks had prgressed to the point where a draft pact could be circulated. Based on the draft, the Executive Board voted to continue with the unification effort.

The 1997 Annual Meeting was held at Fort Ticonderoga, New York, in conjunction with the dedication of a memorial Cairn honoring the Scots that fell in 1758. The color guard from the UK's 42nd Regiment of Foot, the Black Watch, having just returned from lowering the Union Jack in Hong Kong, served as the color guard for the dedication. Many of the unit's members spent time with the MacLachlans over the course of the two day event.

In late July of 1997, Herbert B. Jacobs of the CMANA met with Thomas F. McLachlan, who had come to Boston to meet with Herb, and Duncan MacLachlan from Ontario. As a result of this meeting, a final agreement was ultimately developed. The final proposal was circulated amongst the CMANA Board members over the next few months.

The 1998 Annual Meeting was held in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, in conjunction with the Elizabethtown Scots-Irish Festival. Clan MacLachlan was the Honored Clan at the Festival. Herb Jacobs spent a substantial amount of time discussing the recent meetings he had participated in with representatives of the Clan MacLachlan Society.

In the Spring of 1998, an Understanding of Agreement was reached between the Clan MacLachlan Association of North America, Inc., and the Clan MacLachlan Society. As a result of this agreement, the Clan MacLachlan Association of North America will become a full chapter within the Clan MacLachlan Society. In addition, both organizations recognize the need for local autonomy within the respective organizational countries.

By the Summer of 1998, the CMANA's Executive Board approved the presented unification pact. According to the approved pact, the Clan McLachlan Association of North America would become an autonomous branch within the Clan MacLachlan Society.

In May of 1999, Herb Jacobs again returned to Scotland to participate in the reorganization of the Clan MacLachlan Society as a Federation of Autonomous Branches. At that time, the Board of Directors for the Society mandated that the CMS's constitution be revised to reflect the new organization. In addition, Herb was named to the Board of Directors. This brought the unification effort to a successful conclusion.

In the election of 1999, Herbert B. Jacobs was re-elected as the CMANA's President, Craig Claflin, from Leominster, Massachusetts, was elected as Vice President, Bill Loflin, from Arlington, Texas, was elected as Secretary, and Tom McLaughlan, from St. Clair Shores, Michigan, was elected as Treasurer. Jack W. McLaughlin agreed to stay on as the Immediate Past President. In addition, Jack volunteered to serve as the new Roebuck Editor.

Beyond 1999

As of the end of 1999, the Clan Association membership topped 310 membership units.

Several changes occured during the spring and summer of 2001. First, Tom McLaughlan resigned as Treasurer. Bob Claflin, from Kalamazoo, Michigan, stepped in to fill the void. By August, Herbert Jacobs had to resign for health reasons. Craig Claflin assumed the role as President. Jim Finegan, from Sterling, Virginia, was appointed by the Executive Board as Vice President for the remainder of the electorial term.

Craig ClaflinAt the 2002 annual meeting in Boone, North Carolina, Craig Claflin was elected President. Jim Finegan agreed to continue as Vice President in an acting capacity. Bob Claflin was elected Treasurer. Jack W. McLaughlin will remain Immediate Past President and Editor. The Secretary position remained vacant.

In 2003, Wendy Chaney volunteered to fill the Secretary position until the next elections. Membership was around 150.

2004 Membership started to increase. Jack decided to retire as the editor and genealogist.

At the elections, in 2005 Craig Claflin was re-elected President, John Spencer for CT was elected to the position of Vice-President, Wendy Chaney was elected as Secretay, Bob Claflin from Michigan did not run for office, however he said he would stay on as the treasurer until we could find a replacement. We had a member step up and volunteer for the editor of the Roebuck. Frank McGinty, with assistance from his wife Julie, now gathers the articles that are submitted from members around the country and produce a wonderful "Roebuck," for the members to enjoy. We also lost two long time members that had contributed so much time and effort to the association, they were Hugh Gilchrist of SC, and Elizabeth Jacobs of MA.

Early on in 2006 Christine Darmand from KY, joined the exectutive board as treasurer, so the process of turnover began between Bob and Christine. Membership numbers were around 175.

Bob McLaughlin

In July 2008 at the Annual General Meeting held at Grandfather Mountain, Bob McLaughlin of Cullowhee, North Carolina, was elected President of CMANA, with all other officers remaining the same.

In February 2009 Wendy Chaney resigned from the multiple positions of Secretary, Webmaster, and Geneologist due to being deployed to the Middle East with Operation Iraqi Freedom. During 2009 Lea McLaughlin Harkins took on the job of Secretary, and Nancy MacLauchlan became Webmistress. Sadly, our clan family lost Christine Darmand to cancer during 2009. Christine was loved by so many and will be deeply missed. President Bob McLaughlin has assumed the treasurer's duties in the interim.

In March 2011 Frank McGinty resigned as Roebuck editor, and Nancy assumed the position of Roebuck editor also. Elections are being held for Board of Directors' positions during June 2011. These officers will be installed during the AGM on July 9 at Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.



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This page was last updated on June 17, 2011.

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