In July of 1986, sixteen people were invited to the home of Jim and Dottie McKinney to form an organization that would cater to those of Scottish and Scots-Irish background and interests. Nearly all of these people were members of various Scottish clan societies, and many had attended highland games in the area. Within a short time, the Scottish Society of Knoxville as the group called itself, had grown to nearly 50 people.
The Society was given its first public exposure when it participated in the “Tennessee Celebrates” held in Knoxville as a part of the “Tennessee Homecoming 86” program that was an event asking Tennesseans from around the world to “come home” to the Volunteer State.
Later, in September, the SSK held its first formal dinner at CedaRun Farm in Seymour where over 90 people attended. By the end of the inaugural year of 1986, a newsletter, the “Tartan Times” was launched and the membership had grown to over 200 members representing over 80 Scottish clan affiliations.
In early 1987, the Hunting Stewart tartan was chosen as the Society’s tartan and adopted a logo which featured a purple thistle and white dogwood leaf within a strap and buckle badge.
The Society has members from all walks of life: medicine, law, education, public service, applied and technical science, military, sales, and the manual arts.
Membership is open to anyone who has a Scottish, Scots-Irish, Celtic background and to anyone who is interested in the history, music and culture of the people who settled in the area of East Tennessee.