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Dr. Ewen A. Cameron, son of Donald Cameron, was kind enough to give
permission for excerpts to be shared from his father's book While the
Wild Geese Fly: Tales of a Highland Farmer and Auctioneer.
In addition, Dr. Cameron also shared a drawing done by his neice,
Jannetta G. MacCollum, which appeared on page 16 of Donald Cameron's
John Cameron "Corriechoille" lived from
1780 until 1856 (February 16, 1856). Numerous stories have been told
about Corrie's exploits as they relate to droving. The images that still
exist which are in some homes demonstrate that he was a slightly built
little man wearing the fashionable "surrond" whiskers. He wore a black
frock coat, long waistcoat and trousers along with a black "lum," or
tall, hat of the type known elsewhere as a "stovepipe" hat and a
neckerchief. He was sharp featured and had the typical Cameron nose.
(The name "Cameron" is Gaelic for bent nose-a fighting heritage.) He was
somewhat bow legged.
References indicate he had terrific stamina
and endurance. He travelled by horseback, and had a favourite pony, a
piebald, which easily carried him some sixty miles on consecutive days.
In his heyday, Corrie used to boast that he was the biggest stock owner,
not in Scotland or even Britain, but in the world (except for a Prince
Esterhazy who grazed several thousand square miles in Argentina and who
had the advantage of not having to pay rent).
He was cited on one occasion as a witness
in a sheep stealing case in the High Court of Inverness. Corrie was
questioned by counsel as to his suitability for the position.
Counsel: "You are John Cameron
and you farm in Lochaber?"
Counsel: "How many sheep do you have?"
Corrie: "Don't know exactly."
Counsel: "Have you more than five
Counsel: "Have you a thousand?"
Corrie: "Yes, many more."
Counsel (exasperated): "Ten thousand?"
Corrie: "I have more than that of black
cattle." (The early Highland cattle were black.)
Grudging the charges for overnight keep on
his stock of cattle/sheep, Corrie bought up so many farms that he could
graze his droves from Skye to Falkirk on his own land each night.
For those viewers interested, click on this
thumbnail image to view some random items placed in a Drover's Notebook
(which were annotated by Donald Cameron's father, Angus Cameron).
Note: Alistair Cameron authored two publications about Corrie:
The Great Corriecholle and John Cameron of Corriechoille.