Believed to descend from Clan Donnachaidh, ‘the children of Duncan’, one source of the Reid name is from the Gaelic ‘ruadh’, indicating someone with red hair.
On the battlefield, James Reid was the first piper to be tried for high treason.
Serving as piper to Lord Ogilvy’s (Forfarshire) Regiment during the Rising of 1745, he was left behind as part of the Jacobite garrison that had taken Carlisle.
Captured when the town surrendered, he argued at his trial that he was a musician, not a soldier – but the court deemed that the pipes were ‘an instrument of war’, and he was accordingly hanged, drawn and quartered.
In a later century, Samuel Chester Reid, of Scots roots through his father, was the naval hero of the American War of Independence who designed the nation’s flag the Stars and Stripes.
Shot through with tales of daring deeds, the colourful tale of the Reids is presented here.