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by Alexandria O'Brien

When you think about sentimental items that are passed down in families, what comes to mind? Perhaps photographs, diaries, or beautiful sets of China. What about the things carried daily, like jewelry or $2 bills? Charles G. MacLeod-Stuart was given a fully-intact set of spurs from his father's sheriff uniform and he has graciously donated them to the Galveston County Museum. They are pictured below.

Ian G. Stuart

Ian G. (MacLeod) Stuart was born in 1911 and raised in Perthshire, Scotland. Circumstances would take him to Argentina as a young man and he spent a little more than two years stationed as a missionary there. Finding little interest in that, Stuart found a job herding cattle on horseback between Argentina and Uruguay. After he turned 21, he boarded a tramper (a type of boat that does not operate under a regular schedule nor carry many passengers) to sail from the Port of Buenos Aires to the Port of Galveston.

Just after his arrival, he decided to go out for a drink in town and was approached by a local sheriff. After a brief conversation, the sheriff determined that Ian spoke fluent Spanish and offered him a position as deputy sheriff. A horse, two sets of spurs and official documents were given to him and he began straight away. Ian spent some of his time in South Texas as an undercover agent working to deter Mexican raids across the border. For another two year stint, he served as Deputy Sheriff in Galveston. Below are some of the only surviving photos he took in Texas.

Photographs of a mule named Flora crossing the 'Rio' and a young child, both dated November 1934.

Rumors of war began circling and Ian had to return home to join his father’s regiment Black Watch as the Captain. He fought in France and Germany and escaped capture twice (during WWII). Following this, Ian was stationed in Nigeria with the 11th Nigerian Rifles as police officer overseeing their transition to peace and independence from British rule. Then he resigned from the military in 1959 and returned to Scotland.

Photographs of Ian G. McLeod - Stuart in his full military uniform, provided by his son, Charles G. McLeod-Stuart

After Ian died in 1971, the spurs were passed down Charles, one of Ian’s 3 sons. Charles chose to donate the spurs to the Galveston County Museum as a contribution to our preservation of history.

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