In 1982, June P. Foitik McRoberts (1922-1999), proprietor of the 'Thistles & Bluebonnets' store in Salado, attended the first International Gathering of the Scottish Clans ever held in the United States at the Stone Mountain Highland Games and Scottish Festival in Georgia.
At the gathering, McRoberts witnessed the public presentation of the Georgia tartan for the first time. The Georgia tartan had been commissioned by the Stone Mountain Highland Games, Inc. and designed by the Scottish Tartan Society in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland.
Inspired, McRoberts determined to do the same for Texas. Texas' Sesquicentennial celebrations, commemorating the 150th anniversary of Texas' independence from Mexico, were on the horizon.
With help and guidance from the Scottish Tartan Society Museum in Scotland, McRoberts designed a tartan that would incorporate the colors of the Texas state flower, the bluebonnet.
Her work paid off and, in 1986, the completed pattern, referred to as the bluebonnet tartan, was declared Texas' Sesquicentennial tartan by the Sesquicentennial Committee of Texas.
On May 8, 1989, State Representative Stan Schlueter filed House Concurrent Resolution No. 242 proposing that the bluebonnet tartan be honored with the title of official tartan of Texas.
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, Today, many Texans of Scottish descent continue to carry on the proud traditions of their forebears; and
WHEREAS, One such tradition that has grown in popularity in recent years is that of the tartan, a fabric of Scottish origin that is patterned to designate a distinctive clan; large numbers of tartans exist in present day Scotland, and Canada has a national tartan, the Maple Leaf, as well as individual tartans for many of its provinces; and
WHEREAS, June MacRoberts, an esteemed resident of Salado, who is herself of Scottish descent, attended the International Gathering of the Scots at Stone Mountain, Georgia, in 1982 and witnessed the introduction of the Georgia Tartan; and
WHEREAS, Deciding Texans should be similarly represented by a state tartan, Ms. MacRoberts set to work on a design for the tartan that would incorporate the Texas state flower, the Bluebonnet; and
WHEREAS, Working closely with the Scottish Tartan Society, she completed the design, registered it with the society, and made arrangements with a mill in Scotland to weave the design; and
WHEREAS, The completed Texas Bluebonnet Tartan was selected by the Texas Sesquicentennial Commission to serve as the Sesquicentennial Tartan, and a scarf of its design was presented to then Governor Mark White at the crowning of the Texas Bluebonnet Queen; and
WHEREAS, The fabric has been sold in many parts of the world where Texans have wandered; and
WHEREAS, People of Scottish descent have played a major role in the settlement and development of Texas and it is appropriate to recognize this Scottish heritage by designating an official tartan of the state; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 71st Legislature of the State of Texas hereby recognize the Texas Bluebonnet Tartan as the Official Tartan of Texas.
The Texas bluebonnet tartan became the official tartan of Texas when Governor William P. Clements signed House Concurrent Resolution No. 242 on May 29, 1989.
Unfortunately, the resolution misspelled McRoberts' name.
Before her death in 1999, McRoberts commissioned a founder of the Texas Scottish Heritage Society, singer/songwriter/musician Sia LaBelle Beaton to represent the bluebonnet tartan and gave her the first ladies kilt made from the pattern. Sia promoted the Texas tartan throughout her "Never been to Scotland" Scotland tour in 1999.
The following information regarding threadcount and pallet for the Texas bluebonnet tartan is provided by the The Scottish Register of Tartans: The National Archives of Scotland.
The bluebonnet tartan was declared the official tartan of the State of Texas by House Concurrent Resolution and is not, therefore, listed in the Texas Statutes.
Only a few of Texas' myriad symbols were actually adopted by an act of the legislature and written into the Texas Statutes.
"Texas Bluebonnet Tartan." Texas Scottish Heritage Society. Texas Scottish Heritage Society, n.d. Web. 2 May 2012.
"Tartan Details - Texas Blue Bonnet." The Scottish Register of Tartans. National Records of Scotland, n.d. Web. 2 May 2012.
The State of Texas. The Texas Legislature. House Concurrent Resolution No. 242. Austin: The State of Texas, 1989. Web.
"Georgia Tartan." GALILEO/GeorgiaInfo. University of Georgia Libraries, n.d. Web. 2 May 2012.
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.
History of the Texas Bluebonnet Tartan: Texas Scottish Heritage Society.
Texas Scottish Heritage Society: Official website.
Tartan Details - Texas Blue Bonnet: The Scottish Register of Tartans.
Scot/Scotch-Irish: Texas State Historical Association: The Handbook of Texas Online.
A History of Scottish Kilts: From the website of Authentic Ireland Travel.
The History of Scottish Tartans & Clans Tartans: Scottish History Online.
A Short History of Tartan: Peter MacDonald Tartan Design & Consultancy
More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Texas state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.
Sia LaBelle, Sia LaBelle. Audio CD (June 7, 2005) Number of Discs: 1. Label: Loose Goose.
Sia's self-titled debut CD includes twelve original songs and three traditional Scottish songs, with guest musicians from SixMileBridge and Harper's Din. Sia's vocals and rhythm guitar are accompanied by fiddle, harp and extensive percussion on tracks including Never Been to Scotland, Bonnie Scottish Lad, Remember Me, and Flowers of the Heartland.
Well known on the Celtic/Scottish/pioneer/folk festivals throughout Texas and Oklahoma, she performs at coffee houses, clubs, schools, fundraisers, bookstores, and other events and is actively involved in the Texas Scottish Heritage Society. Sia is a member of the Clans MacLeod, MacGregor, and Ross; and has family members in Clan Gordon.
Scotland's Story, by H. E. Marshall. 552 pages. Yesterday's Classics (December 19, 2005) Reading level: Ages 9-12. A child's history of Scotland, from legendary days through the time when the kingdoms of Scotland and England were joined together. Relates in vigorous prose the thrilling exploits of the heroes and heroines who defended Scotland from its English invaders. Includes the stories of Macbeth, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, the poet king and the beautiful lady of the garden, the "Glen of Weeping" and many others. First published a century ago, from the author of the highly-acclaimed "Our Island Story."
Scotland: The Story of a Nation, by Magnus Magnusson. 752 pages. Grove Press (January 17, 2003) Drawing on a great deal of modern scholarship that has redefined the nation's story, Magnusson vividly re-creates the long and fascinating story of Scotland, offering the most up-to-date and comprehensive history available today. Magnusson, who received an honorary knighthood for his contributions to the preservation of Scotland's heritage, casts the nation's historical trajectory as a long struggle toward nationhood. He explains the roots of the original Scots and examines the extent to which Scotland was shaped by the Romans, the Picts, the Vikings, and the English. He casts a sober eye on the many historical myths that have developed over the years, assessing their credibility while giving full appreciation of their importance to the people of Scotland.
Tartan: Romancing the Plaid, by Jeffrey Banks, Doria de La Chapelle. 288 pages. Rizzoli; illustrated edition edition (October 23, 2007) Fashion world insiders Jeffrey Banks and Doria de La Chapelle have written the definitive book on tartan, bringing together a dizzying array of images to tell the story of tartan's humble beginnings to its current status as the ultimate emblem of great taste and high fashion. In addition to chronicling tartan enthusiasts from every age - including the incomparably fashionable Duke of Windsor whose closet was jam-packed with tartan kilts - Tartan profiles the designers who've made tartan an integral part of their work, from punk-inspired provocateurs Vivienne Westwood, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Alexander McQueen to the more refined fashions of titan Ralph Lauren and Burberry.
Learning to Weave, by Deborah Chandler. 232 pages. Interweave Press; Revised edition (March 1, 1995) Learning to Weave has become the standard text book for both teachers and self-taught weavers. All you need to know is here including warping, reading and designing drafts, and the basics of weave structures. Warping back to front is included as well as updated resource lists.
Tartan: The Highland Textile, by James D. Scarlett. 204 pages. Shepheard-Walwyn (January 1, 1990) This is one of the tartan classics by Jamie Scarlett, éminence gris of the tartan scene. First published in 1985 and revised and reprinted in 1995 due to popular demand. A slim, stylish book providing the weaver and student with invaluable information on tartan and its weaving.
The Tartan Weaver's Guide, by James D. Scarlett. 68 pages. Shepheard-Walwyn Publishers (1995) Combines practical experience with a grasp of Highland social history in this book, which although aimed specifically at the amateur tartan-weaver, contains much of which will be of interest to students of either subject.