A History of the Scottish Society of Charleston and Its Highland Games

Past Presidents of the Scottish Society of Charleston, Inc.

1972-1973  Charles A. Oliver
1974-1975  Malcolm A. Swan
1976-1977  Edwin F. Holcombe
1978-1979  L. J. Grant-Alexander
1980-1981  William S. Tyler
1982-1983  Carlton A. Lockwood
1984   Charles A. Oliver
1985   Edwin F. Holcombe
1986   Robert A. Hopkins
1987   Tim Lipsey
1988-1989  Dewey G. Campbell
1990-1991  William H. McDaniel, Jr.
1992-1993  James L. Gurney, III
1994-1995  Elizabeth Z. Campbell
1996-1997  J. E. “Skip” Spence
1998-1999  Carol McDougall
2000-2001  David McDougall
2002-2003  James P. Nettles, Jr
2004-2005  William S. Tyler, II, FSA Scot
2006-2007  Carl Jennings Frazier Smith
2008-2009  Maureen M. McDaniel
2010-2011  Max G. Mahaffee
2012-2013  Karolea R. Lucas
2014-2015  Ron Hayes
2016-2017 Jeff Castle

By E. F. Holcombe
Continued by William H. McDaniel, Jr.

​On February 26, 1973, the Scottish Society of Charleston was incorporated to keep alive Scottish heritage and customs in the Low Country of South Carolina. Those include ceilidhs, Burns’ Night Suppers and Scottish Games, sponsoring a Scottish pipe band, and awarding scholarships in piping, drumming, and dancing. The first officers were Charlie Oliver, President; Angus McBride, Vice President; Esther McLaughlin, Secretary, Furman Reynolds, Treasurer. The Board of Directors was composed of Ludovic Grant-Alexander, Pipe Major; Thea Williams, President of the Scottish Lassies Club. The other members of the society Board of Directors were Royce McNeill, Enid Causey, Edwin F. Holcombe, Sr., and Malcolm Swan. A Scottish Fair was held to raise funds for the band. After Charles Oliver, Malcolm Swan, Ed Holcombe, Royce McNeill and K. C. Stier met with Charles Duell, Middleton Place was chosen as a Games site.  The first Games Committee consisted of E. F. Holcombe, Director of Field Events; Malcolm Swan, Program; Royce McNeill, Clans, Tents and Booth; and Norma Oliver, Dancing.  The Highland Dancing judge was Marguerite Reid, and the first Piping judge was Sandy Jones. Charleston’s first Scottish Games and Highland Gathering was off to a good start with an assist from Ross Morrison and Guy Soule, athletic judges from the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, and the best wishes of Agnes MacRae Morton, co-founder of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. K.C. Stier furnished support to the Games with tents, storage, dance platforms, etc. From this small beginning, the Scottish Society of Charleston has continued to support what is considered to be one of the best and friendliest Games in the United States, the result of constant dedication and work by the members of the society. Continued by William H. McDaniel, Jr. The Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering is the second oldest Scottish Games in the Southeast behind Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in Linville, North Carolina.  The Charleston Games are one of the largest “one day” Games in the South. Several clans have been in attendance since the very first Games.  There are some Highland Dancing teachers in attendance with students competing, who competed here as students themselves. Several vendors have been loyal to us and have returned year after year.This type of relationship creates a family type bond among all of us. Boone Hall Plantation is our third location to hold the Scottish Games. Our home had been Middleton Place Plantation until 1990. During our 1989 Games, Hurricane Hugo was churning off the South Carolina coast. Devastation was great, especially among the ancient oak trees. Middleton Place was seriously damaged. In May, 1990, Middleton Place informed us that they would not hold the Games. We began scrambling for a new location and eventually settled at the Exchange Club Fair Grounds in Ladson. In early 1991, the Society decided that the Fair Grounds was not conducive to hold the Games and Boone Hall was selected. Games in September on the coast are always a gamble in the height of hurricane season. In forty-one years,we have only cancelled once. In September 1999, Hurricane Floyd toyed with the South Carolina coast. By Thursday of Games week, there was still a chance of land fall. And a decision was made to cancel. By Saturday, Floyd had moved up the coast and the weather in Charleston was fine. The Charleston Scottish Society is also a benefactor. In addition to the numerous scholarships we offer, we have also been generous in distributing the proceeds of the games. Our largest endeavor was the donation of an entire room at the Ronald McDonald House in downtown Charleston. Additional donations are made to various volunteer groups and other local charitable institutions. The officers and members of the Scottish Society of Charleston proudly sponsor these Games for your enjoyment. Many volunteer hours go into planning the Games. Your attendance and participation is our reward for the work we put into this event.
CONTACT​ charlestonscots@gmail.com

Board Members

David Caimbeul
Lebby Campbell
Betsy Craven-Bailey
Darren Cumbie
Michelle Graham
Keith McElveen
Kristin Peek
Jill Hunter Powell
Tasia Walsh

Founded: 1970

The Scottish Society of Charleston, Inc., a non-profit organization, promotes our Scottish heritage, history and customs through the conduct of ongoing events in the Lowcountry which educate our youth and assist other Scottish-American organizations.


Col. Wayne Morgan


John McKnight


Cindy Nye


Wendy B. Walker

Past President

Jeff Castle

Officers of Charleston 

Board Meeting

Board of Directors of the SSOC meets the 4th Tuesday of every month at 6:30 pm at:

Crowne Plaza
4831 Tanger Outlet Blvd
North Charleston, SC 29418

All Members in good standing are welcome to attend as guests.