Campbell Lloyd Stirling and the Campbell Clan Tartan

By: Kristen Cnossen

Last week, I found Campbell Lloyd Stirling’s (1892-1977) Scottish apparel, donated to the Maryland Historical Society in 1981 by his wife. The majority of the apparel was custom made for Stirling in Glasgow, Scotland in 1962. The more common articles, such as bowties and dress shirts, were bought at Hutzler Bros. Company in Baltimore around the same time.

Campbell Stirling's Scottish apparel Campbell Stirling's Scottish apparel (1981.6.1.1, .1.2, .2, & .6; c.1962; Mrs. Campbell Lloyd Stirling)

The apparel is compelling because of the strong Scottish heritage in Baltimore, as well as our society's interest in socially acceptable situations where men wear skirts. I was especially attracted to the tartan of Campbell Lloyd Stirling's kilt. A tartan is a specific woven plaid design that identifies the wearer as belonging to a particular Scottish clan. The original definition of clan was synonymous with “family,” but in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the definition was expanded beyond the immediate family to include anyone who felt loyalties to the clan chief (Scottish Clans and Tartans FAQ, 2016.). One might assume that Campbell Lloyd Stirling would use the Stirling clan's tartan, instead, he used Campbell tartan.


My first thought was that the kilt tartan is worn in order to convey loyalty to one’s own family or clan, and that Campbell Lloyd Stirling's mother must been been from the Campbell family. Through some research, however, my theories were proven incorrect. Before I expand upon the importance of the tartan I would like to lay a foundation for the Stirling family genealogy in order to demonstrate how the name Campbell is singular in its appearance.


James Stirling (1751-1820), the great, great grandfather of Campbell Lloyd Stirling, came to Baltimore from Stirling, Scotland in 1775. During the Revolutionary War, James received a commendation from General Nathaniel Greene for gallantry during the campaign in the Carolinas. In 1782, he married Elizabeth Gibson, with whom he had four daughters and six sons. When James’s dry goods business prospered he acquired from Charles Carroll a large tract of land where he built his country estate, “The Homestead.” The original farm road to his estate is now known as Stirling Street. One son, Alexander, sold the land that became Madison Square to the city of Baltimore for $30,000 in 1853. James was an enthusiastic member of Baltimore’s St. Andrew’s Society, which was founded in 1806 (Maryland Genealogical Society, MdHS).


Archibald Stirling (1798-1888), James Stirling’s son, married Elizabeth Ann Walsh in 1830. Archibald and Elizabeth had a son, also named Archibald (1832-1892), who married Nannie Steele in 1855 and who would become the grandfather of Campbell Lloyd Stirling. Nannie Steele was the daughter of Daniel Lloyd, the surname of whom matches Campbell’s middle name. Campbell’s father, also named Archibald Stirling, married Estelle Mathiot in 1884 and had Campbell Lloyd Stirling in 1892. He appears to have been a lawyer who retired to a farm in Harford County (Maryland Genealogical Society, MdHS).


Therefore, in the five centuries since James Stirling arrived in America, the Campbell bloodline does not marry into the Stirling family. The name Campbell appears to be singular in the Stirling line, unlike Archibald or James. Campbell Lloyd Stirling did not chose the Campbell tartan because he had Campbell blood. Perhaps a look at the importance of tartans to the Scottish might explain Campbell's seemingly decision.


Specific tartans and crest badges for individual clans or institutions, such as that attached to Campbell Lloyd Stirling’s cap, did not come into existence until the mid-nineteenth century (Banks, 2007; Campbell of Airds, 2002.). The popularization of clan-specific tartans is due to Victorian era romanticism and  James Logan’s 1831 book, The Scottish Gael, which documented different sets of tartans (Banks, 2007; Halford, 2016.). The author allowed clans to choose a tartan that would represent their family, much like a family crest. The concept is one of belonging. There is no rule, however, that states that one must wear their clan or family's chosen tartan. The Campbell tartan, also called Grant Hunting, Universal, Government, and Black Watch tartan, was popular outside of the Campbell clan (MacDonald, 1995). Campbell Lloyd Stirling may have simply found the Campbell tartan more aesthetic than the Stirling.

I do not believe he picked the Campbell tartan believing it to be the Black Watch tartan, however, because of the Campbell clan crest found pinned to the cap donated to MdHS. The clan crest badge that Campbell Stirling pinned to his cap is the Campbell crest encircled by a strap and buckle; the strap and buckle signifies not that he was a part of the Campbell family, but had loyalties to the clan’s chief, or family (“Crests,” 2016).

Campbell crest (1981.6.9.2; c.1962; Mrs. Campbell Lloyd Stirling) Campbell crest (1981.6.9.2; c.1962; Mrs. Campbell Lloyd Stirling)

Campbell Lloyd Stirling understood that he wore the Campbell clan tartan, but his first name being Campbell may have been enough to prompt this decision. He wore this Scottish Apparel to the St. Andrew's Society of Baltimore, which his great, great grandfather had also been a member of. This is apparent by the Society's pin found in the lapel of his daytime jacket donated to MdHS.

Lapel pin (1981.6.3; c.1962; Mrs. Campbell Lloyd Stirling) Lapel pin (1981.6.3; c.1962; Mrs. Campbell Lloyd Stirling)

The St. Andrew's Society is known for its deep roots in the Scottish-American heritage (George, 2007). By continuing the tradition of membership to the Society, Campbell Lloyd Stirling demonstrated his loyalties to his Scottish ancestry, no matter Stirling or Campbell.



Banks, Jeffrey. "de la Chapelle Doria." Tartan:Romancing the Plaid. Rizzoli; New York. 2007.

Campbell of Airds, Alastair. A History of Clan Campbell: Volume 2: From Flodden to the Restoration. Edinburgh University Press; Edinburgh. pp. 289-290. 2002.

"Crests" The Court of the Lord Lyon. Retrieved 22 July 2016.

George, Christopher T. Scots in Maryland & A History of the St. Andrew's Society of Baltimore, 1806-2006. The St. Andrew's Society of Baltimore; Timonium, Maryland. 2007.

Halford, Ruairidh. "James Logan." Scottish Tartans Authority. Retrieved 29 July 2016.

MacDonald, Micheil. The Clans of Scotland, The History and Landscape of the Scottish Clans. Grange Books; London. 1995.

Maryland Genealogical Society. Maryland Historical Society. Retrieved 21 July 2016.

"Scottish Clans and Tartans FAQ." Rampant Scotland. Retrieved 22 July 2016.