Lawder Ancestors JOHN CAMERON'S KILT

Lawder Ancestors

John Alexander Cameron brought his kilt, sporran, knives, and other items with him when he emigrated from Scotland to the United States. These items were carried across the plains with him in a covered wagon in 1861 when he came to Utah. The items were handed down to his descendants after his death, and are in their possession today.

                                                                                                                            John Cameron

                                                                                                                       John Alexander Cameron in his kilt

One descendant, Beverly Reed, has donated John Alexander's kilt, sporran, belt, and sock to the Daughters of Utah Pioneer Museum in Salt Lake City. (She was kind enough to let me be there when the items were donated, and take these pictures.)

Bev Reed and kilt

Beverly Reed with John Cameron's kilt, sporran, belt and sock

John Cameron's kilt

John Cameron's kilt - The kilt is Cameron of Erracht, handsewn. The main part of the kilt is one piece of fabric, without a seam. The kilt is hand pleated, and sewn to a waistband. The bottom of the kilt is not hemmed, with very little fraying. A tartan historian says that the kilt is "that the material is hand woven, naturally dyed cloth from the famous weaving firm William Wilson & Son of Bannockburn and the kilt dates to c1830-45."

Cameron kilt

John Cameron's great-great-great-grandson, Charles Carey, holding the kilt. The kilt is in very good condition, with only a few holes and some fraying at the bottom. The tartan fabric is very, very sturdy.

Cameron kilt

The waistband has a tan fabric backing. The buttons are probably bone, and the button holes are handsewn.

Kilt waistband

Inside detail of the kilt - there is a coin pocket sewn into the waistband.

Cameron kilt

The green in the tartan is more faded than in the tartan book. A tartan historian wrote: "This is a kilt c1830-45 made from Wilsons of Bannockburn's cloth. It looks to be their material for Fine Plaids, 5 half setts for the 24 Reed. The dyes are natural which accounts for their appearance."

Cameron kilt

A picture of John Alexander Cameron in his kilt, with the kilt

Cameron belt

John Cameron's leather belt. The belt is black leather, about 6 inches wide, with a large silver buckle. There is a stitched arrow on the belt, meaning unknown.  There is a place for a large knife.

Cameron sporran

John Cameron's sporran. The sporran is about 12 inches round. The white fur is goat fur, according to Beverly. The black tassels may be horsehair, and there are four of them. The tassels are attached with silver cones, and chains.

Cameron sporran

There is a silver top to the sporran, with a silver thistle in one corner.

Cameron sporran

The back of the sporran is tan leather, with a slit about a handís width to give access into the sporran pouch.  The pouch is hand-sewn with cross stitches.

Cameron sock

There is also a tartan patterned knit sock, red and green plaid. The toe is worn, and the sock has been darned. The sock has the number 3036 on it, and Beverly says that John was in the military.

Cameron sock

The kilt, sporran, belt and sock are on display at the Daughters of the Utah Pioneer Museum in Salt Lake City.

Cameron kilt

John Cameron's kilt at the DUP Museum

Cameron sporran

John Cameron's items are featured in the DUP Museum curator's blog at

Other John Alexander Cameron items are in the private possession of other Cameron descendants. One descendant has John Cameron's small knife, fork, large knife, shoe, and coin purse, and was kind enough to let me see them.

Cameron knife

John Cameron's small knife, fork, large knife, shoe, and coin purse

Cameron knife

John Cameron's knife - Family tradition is that it fought in the Battle of Culloden (1746)

Cameron knife

Detail of the handle of the large knife

Cameron knife and fork

Small knife and fork

Cameron shoe

John Cameron's shoe

Cameron coin purse

John Cameron's coin purse

Cameron descendant

John Cameron's great-great-great-greatgrandson, Adam Boyd, holding the shadow box with John Cameron's heirlooms.

Other descendants are said to have John Cameron's other shoe and sock, and one has his journal, with wheat figures, and payments back to the Perpetual Emigration Fund. John was said to be very precise in his calculations.


If you have any additional information about this family, please contact me at

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