Alexander Norman (Red Alex) Stewart

2023, Inductee

Red Alex Stewart was a well-known and respected musician for many years in Glengarry. He was known as “Red Alex” to distinguish him from his neighbour and cousin “Black Alex.” He spent his entire life in the Stewart’s Glen and Skye area of Northern Glengarry.

He was born on October 12, 1886 in Stewart’s Glen (lot 35 -9th Concession of Kenyon) to John A. Stewart and his wife Annie MacDonald. On June 16, 1915 he married Christie Ann MacLeod of Skye.  They farmed in Stewart’s Glen until 1918 when they took over the MacLeod farm in Skye (lot 11-9th Concession of Caledonia). When they retired, they moved to Maxville in 1965.

Their daughter Anna Mary (MacCrimmon) was the first pianist with the Skye Orchestra.

This valued piper and violinist loved good music and was a piper with the S.D.&G. Highlanders in Cornwall for 21 years. He was presented with a medal for his efficient service in 1942. The Regimental Pipes and Drums of the SD&G Highlanders are also in The Glengarry Celtic Music Hall of Fame.  For 130 years, this band has been participating throughout SD&G at many cultural events.

In the 1950s Red Alex also had the distinction of playing on Frank Ryan’s popular Farmer’s Notebook Radio Program on station CFRA in Ottawa.

Red Alex was always willing to help out with his gift of music at Orange Walks, Clan MacLeod gatherings, socials and parties with both the bagpipes and violin. It is said that he liked all tunes except The Road to the Isles. Every person who had played an instrument in Glengarry could appreciate this as it been requested so often that it has driven many musicians to despise this popular tune.

He also encouraged young musicians as they learned the music. A young neighbourhood lad, Melville MacLeod, fondly remembers the compliments and pointers as he practiced outdoors next door to Red Alex.

He was a “Kindly Christian Gentleman” and a good neighbour and was a valued member of Kenyon Presbyterian Church in Dunvegan.

Red Alex died February 10, 1965 at the age of 78. His wife Christie Ann died November 6, 1972 at the age of 80. Both are buried in the Dunvegan cemetery.

His contributions to Celtic music and community make him a deserving Inductee into the Hall of Fame.

Inducted in 2023