Never in my wildest dreams did I consider the possibility that the road on which our business (T J Ross Joiners) is situated here in Strathmiglo was linked to a famous American singer Johnny Cash.
It was only a couple of years ago someone mentioned it to me and I ‘Googled’ the alleged link.
The unlikely tale begins in the early 1970’s when Johnny Cash was returning on a flight to the USA and was sitting beside a gentleman who was Major Michael Crichton-Stuart, hereditary keeper of Falkland Palace, a neighbouring village to Strathmiglo.
During their conversation Johnny Cash mentioned that he had heard that his family originated from Scotland many years ago. Crichton-Stuart confirmed with Cash that there were farms and street names in Fife particularly around Falkland and neighbouring Strathmiglo that bore the Cash name.
Inspired by his chance meeting on his flight, Cash visited a genealogist and learned that he was indeed of Scottish descent and that his clan had originated around the 12th Century in the Strathmiglo area of Fife. The connection was traced back to when the niece of Malcolm IV (1153 – 1165) – who was named Cash or Cashel – married the Earl of Fife. The first transatlantic connection came in 1612 when mariner William Cash sailed from Scotland to Salem, Massachusetts with a boatload of pilgrims.
The shared roots of Country music and Celtic music inspired Cash to visit Fife and he is known to have travelled to Fife at least three times in his life, the most notably in 1981, when he recorded a Christmas special for US television.
He and his friend, the late Andy Williams, were seen walking the streets of Falkland, Cash in his trademark black trench coat and battered black leather boots, trying to blend into the local scenery and chat to the locals learning how they lived and getting some of their history.
Bob Beveridge, who runs a second hand violin shop in Falkland was charged with looking after Cash while he was in town and remembers Cash just perching on a wooden post outside the palace, ‘just talking to anyone who would walk past.’
Shortly after her father’s death in 2003, his daughter Rosanne Cash was in Fife and was reported as saying, ‘there was something about going there and feeling so connected and welcomed that satisfied my grief and soothed it’, she added, ‘the knowledge that I was returning to the place where our family’s story started and going to somewhere that gave my father so much pleasure and pride.’
She paid tribute to the Cash connection with Fife in a song called ‘Good Intent’, after the ship that carried the first Cash across the Atlantic in the 17th Century.
Rosanne has also visited Falkland and played at one of the recent Big Tent productions held annually in Falkland.
So that mention of a link, which I initially considered to be extremely tenuous, transpired to be actual fiction.