Alexander Macdonald

Alexander Macdonald

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Alexander Macdonald, the son of a colliery worker, was born in New Monkland, Lanarkshire, on 21 June 1821. At the age of eight Alexander joined his father down the mines. Macdonald worked in both coal and ironstone mines for the next sixteen years.

As a boy Macdonald had received virtually no formal education, but in his twenties he began attending evening classes where he learnt Latin and Greek. He also took an interest in politics and carefully followed the career of Richard Oastler and his campaign against child labour.

Macdonald was one of the leaders of the 1842 Lanarkshire mining strike and after its defeat he lost his job. Macdonald found work in another colliery and was able to save enough money to attend winter sessions for students at Glasgow University. Every summer he returned to the pits until he had enough money for the next stage of his education.

Macdonald opened his own school in 1851 but after four years decided to concentrate his efforts in improving the pay and conditions of mine workers. In 1855 Macdonald formed the Coal and Iron Miners' Association and the following year the organisation fought a severe cut in wages. After a three month strike, the miners were starved back to work and had to accept the lower wages offered to them.

Undaunted by this failure, Macdonald continued to recruit members to his union. At a meeting in Leeds in November 1863, workers formed the Miners' National Association. Macdonald was elected president and over the next few years the organisation had many successes including the passing of the 1872 Mines Act.

In 1873 Alexander Macdonald was a member of the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and the following year he was invited to stand as the Lib-Lab candidate forStafford in the 1874 General Election. Macdonald won the seat and joined Thomas Burt as the first working-class members of the House of Commons.

In Parliament Macdonald tended to concentrate on trade union matters but he was also a strong supporter of Irish Home Rule. Macdonald's views became more moderate and some socialists, such as Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels, criticised him for his close relationship with Benjamin Disraeli and the Conservative Party.

Alexander Macdonald was re-elected for Stafford in the 1880 General Election but died the following year on 31st October 1881.

Lord Elcho: What year was it in which you entered the mines?

Alexander Macdonald: About the year 1835 I think; I could not fix the year. I entered the mines at about eight years of age. The condition of the miner's boy then was to be raised about 1 o'clock or 2 o'clock in the morning if the distance was very far to travel, and at that time I had to travel a considerable distance, more than three miles. We remained at the mine until 5 and 6 at night. It was an ironstone mine, very low, working about 18 inches, and in some instances not quite so high. Then I moved to coal mines. There we had low seams also, very low seams. There was no rails to draw upon, that is, tramways. We had leather belts for our shoulders. We had to keep dragging the coal with these ropes over our shoulders, sometimes round the middle with a chain between our legs. Then there was always another behind pushing with his head.

Lord Elcho: That work was done with children?

Alexander Macdonald: That work was done by boys, such as I was, from 10 to 11 down to eight, and I have known them as low as seven years old. In the mines at that time the state of ventilation was frightful.

Lord Elcho: Did that want of ventilation at that time lead to frequent accidents?

Alexander Macdonald: It did not lead to frequent accidents; but it lead to premature death.

Lord Elcho: Not to explosion?

Alexander Macdonald: No; carbonic acid gas in no case leads to explosions. There was no explosive gas in those mines I was in, or scarcely any. I may state incidentally here that in the first ironstone mine I was in there were some 20 or more boys besides myself, and I am not aware at this moment that there is one alive excepting myself.

The Trades Unions were very dissatisfied with the attitude of the Liberal Government to the legal position of Trade Unionism. In 1869, at the instigation of John Stuart Mill, an organisation was formed under the name of the Labour Representation League to carry out a national campaign to secure the return of working men to Parliament. It does not appear to have been the intention of this League to form a party which could be permanently in opposition to the Liberal Party. Mills' idea was that, if the working classes put forward working-men candidates and threatened the Liberal majority, the Liberals would be glad to come to terms and provide opportunities for the return of working men. After the election of 1874 the League placed twelve working men in the field, and of these Thomas Burt and Alexander MacDonald were elected at Morpeth and Stafford respectively.

In the 1874 General Election, twelve Labour candidates were offered to the electorate. When the bitter election campaigns were done, and the polling was over, England awoke to an amazing fact. Two Labour representatives had been returned to Parliament. Thomas Burt and Alexander MacDonald, the forlorn hope of the mighty army of British workers, flung open the gates of St. Stephen's; and those gates have never been quite shut against since.

It was in 1856 that I crossed the border first to advocate a better Mines Act, true weighting, the education of the young, the restriction of the age to twelve years, the reduction of the working hours to eight in every twenty-four, the training of managers, the payment of wages weekly in the coin of the realm, no truck, and many other useful things too numerous to mention here.

Lord & Lady Macdonald of Skye - Highland heritage and hospitality

“it’s rather romantic to say his decision might have altered the course of history. I think all it might have done was to delay the inevitable, which was the Jacobites would be defeated,” Godfrey, Lord Macdonald of Macdonald, 34th High Chief of Clan Donald, tells me.

We’re at his ancestral home, Kinloch Lodge on the shores of the sea loch Na Dal, and we’re talking about his family history. The subject is Sir Alexander Macdonald, who decided not to send an army to assist Prince Charles Edward Stuart at Culloden in 1746. The wild landscapes of the Hebridean Isle of Skye, sliced through the middle by the jagged Cuillin Hills, have such raw power that you can easily imagine Sir Alexander wrestling with his thoughts on a walk with trusted friends.

“He could have put probably another two or three thousand men in the field,” Lord Macdonald continues. “Who knows what could have then happened?”

Read more

But leave aside for the moment the what-ifs of history and the reason why a great Jacobite supporter stayed at home. There’s a Celtic belief that the souls of the good spend eternity in the tranquillity of the Western Isles, and anyone who stays at Kinloch in the southeast “Garden of Skye” must feel they’ve been very good indeed. This one-time family shooting lodge, associated with the Macdonalds’former residence at Armadale Castle, dates back to the 17th century. Since 1973 it has also been a small, intimate hotel, though oil paintings, distinctive furniture, generous log fires, and equally generous drinks trays in the drawing room constantly remind you that you’re a personal guest of Lord and Lady Macdonald.

Lord Macdonald is urbane and quietly charming. He takes his position as chief of the largest and one of the most important Highland clans very seriously. In the 21st century it’s a mainly ceremonial role. “Gone are the days of leading the clan into battle, thank goodness. I look upon myself as an ambassador for the Highlands of Scotland when I travel. I also act as a post box for millions of clan members around the world—there’s an enormous society in North America and Canada. The Clan Donald Centre at Armadale handles lots of genealogical enquiries.”

No Clan exercised such a powerful influence in early Highland history. During the 12th century, Somerled expelled the Vikings from western Scotland. His grandson, Donald, became the founder of Clan Donald, giving his descendants and followers the name of Macdonald, “son of Donald.” These mighty ancestors were Lords of the Isles, rulers of the “Sea Kingdom” on the west coast of Scotland. Their supremacy was not without challenge, notably from the Campbells and also the MacLeods whose seat at Dunvegan on Skye is said to be the oldest inhabited castle in Britain. “We’re all friends now,” Lord Macdonald insists.

The Macdonalds arrived in Skye from the Southern Hebrides in the 15th century, and the story of their turbulent lives is told at The Museum of the Isles at Armadale. Major conflict with the Scottish Crown had led to the abolition of the Lord of the Isles title by 1493, but perhaps the most shocking blow was dealt the Macdonalds in 1692 at Glencoe.

“The Highland chiefs were required to sign an oath of loyalty to King William III, and Macdonald of Glencoe was late in doing it, so the English Crown made an example of him,” Lord Macdonald reflects. “There were 28 people killed, but it was the way it was done that was so terrible. It was slaughter under trust because [Captain Robert Campbell’s] troops were billeted on the Macdonalds and accepted their hospitality, then rose up in the night and killed their hosts.” This treacherous act added white-hot fire to the Jacobite cause.

“We were very active supporters of the 1715 rebellion,” Lord Macdonald returns to the story. “And as a result we had our lands confiscated. They had only been reinstated in 1744, which is why my ancestor Sir Alexander thought, ‘I’m not going to do that again!’ So they didn’t overtly support Bonnie Prince Charlie, but underneath they were great Jacobites.”

Which brings us to Flora Macdonald who helped the Prince, disguised as her maid Betty Burke, escape after his defeat at Culloden. “Her mother married my ancestor—it was her second marriage—and Flora married into one of the junior branches of the family. Of course what she did was greatly supported, even if covertly.” Flora’s final resting place is at Flodigarry at the north end of the island.

As the old order of the clans further broke down following the ‘45, many Scots emigrated. “In the course of a week dozens of people contact me about Clan Donald,” Lord Macdonald says. “The role of the clans continues to evolve, and these days it’s to do with people more and more wanting a sense of identity and belonging.”

That sense is vivid for Macdonalds on Skye, though you don’t need to be an extended family member to appreciate the qualities of Kinloch. The Isle of Skye is just 49 miles long and varies in width from seven to 25 miles. Its scattered population numbers a mere 7,500. Whether you come via the new bridge or by ferry from the Scottish mainland, your first glimpse of a sunset behind the “far Cuillins” of the song is profoundly peaceful. Great sea lochs lick into the wiggling coast cliffs look primed to bite. Above the wooded hillside where Kinloch sits you’ll probably see a golden eagle soaring.

“We’ve five golden eagles up the hill,” says the ever-vivacious Claire, Lady Macdonald. She’s the mastermind behind the welcoming décor of the lodge and new house, in contemporary shades of warm apricot, red, gold, and green that complement, here, a 17th-century refectory table, there, a print of 18th-century Macdonald ancestors sporting early golf clubs. It was also Claire’s idea to have the portrait on the turret staircase painted of Lord Macdonald in his Lord of the Isles green tartan. “It was for his 50th birthday, and it was about the unkindest thing I could have done,” she recalls ruefully. “He hated posing. The tense look in his face shows it!”

But far more than history is served up at Kinloch. A highlight of any stay is the locally sourced food, copious Scottish breakfasts of porridge, fruit, natural yoghurt, “the finest sausages in the U.K., from our butcher in Inverness,” homemade jam, and scones. Leisurely evening dinners ease their way through fresh fish and Scottish beef to the most mouth-watering puddings—perhaps dark chocolate cream pie with vanilla and orange pastry. As Lord Macdonald has recently planted his own vegetable garden, it’s only a matter of time before Kinloch strawberries feature on the menu.

None of this is surprising, of course, because Claire Macdonald is an award-winning cookery writer—16 books to date—and a refreshingly down-to-earth doyenne of modern Scottish cuisine. Forget haggis—“oh, that is rather a sad cliché”—good Scottish fare is all about the quality of local ingredients.


You’ll find another story about “The Misty Isle,” Flora MacDonald, and Bonnie Prince Charlie in the February 1998 issue, available to order on the Back Issues page at .

“The Highlands and Islands of Scotland are the last great wilderness area in Europe, and some of the best food in the world is caught, grown, and cultivated here,” Claire says without a hint of bias, adding: “Food should have a strong and local identity it is a welcome and the most important lure to anywhere.”

This is the theme in one of her latest books, Scottish Highland Hospitality , which follows a culinary odyssey to 20 of Claire’s favourite eating establishments in the Highlands and Islands, to places where you can savour shellfish landed less than 30 feet from the door, where the grouse is from the neighbouring estate.

Claire travels frequently to spread the word about modern Scottish cuisine, and when we talk she is fresh from giving two cookery demonstrations to members of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The focus was teatime food. “The Scots are wonderful, robust bakers” she says. “It’s a New Year tradition, for example, to make a very rich, currant-laden fruit cake encased in pastry called black bun.” But characteristically she “broadened the teatime subject to incorporate quality Scottish produce like salmon and the different types of smoking.”

Claire also holds popular cooking demonstrations at Kinloch when she promotes her philosophy, “to cook using ingredients that are naturally grown in season and to keep it simple.” She had no formal training herself and admits with an infectious laugh, “greed inspired me!” In a kitchen hung with Macdonald family portraits and prints of fruit and vegetables, you’ll be inspired by a cross-section of lusty dishes such as aromatic stir-fried monkfish and British pear and ginger with lemon and a fudgy crumble top.

Christmas at Kinloch is a private family affair with organic turkey and trimmings. Then at Hogmanay the Macdonalds throw open their doors to guests again. A four-night celebration features champagne dinners, picnics, and bonfires, culminating in Scottish dancing and fireworks at midnight with Kinloch champagne cocktails, smoked salmon, and chipolatas—from their butcher in Inverness, of course.

On New Year’s Day, a brunch of hot smoked salmon kedgeree with quails’eggs sets up for a hill walk. “On Skye we have the most wonderful landscapes for walking, which is a great hobby for me and my husband,” Claire says. “We walk for an hour every afternoon. We’re building a cairn on the end of our favourite walk up the forestry track behind the house—it’s compulsory to put a stone on it.” With so much fine food at Kinloch, energy certainly isn’t lacking.

Read More about Dalvay’s History

The house was built in 1895 by Alexander MacDonald, a wealthy businessman and one-time president of Standard Oil Company with John D. Rockefeller. Originally from Scotland, MacDonald left his native home to seek his fame and fortune and eventually landed in Cincinnati, Ohio. He became director of numerous companies, including several successful rail-lines, mining companies and the Third National Bank. He was also active in charities and philanthropy. His salaries and investments from a number of these posts allowed him to amass a considerable personal fortune.

He married Laura Palmer in 1862. They had one son, who died in infancy, leaving their only daughter, whom they also named Laura. Daughter Laura married Edmund Stallo, a young Cincinnati lawyer and son of the U.S. Ambassador to Rome. Laura and Edmund had two daughters, Helena and a third Laura. Unfortunately, Laura Stallo died at a young age in 1895, leaving the two girls in the care of Mr. & Mrs. MacDonald. With Alexander’s wealth, the granddaughters were given the best possible education and were able to travel with the MacDonalds all over the world.

It was on one of these vacations that Alexander MacDonald and his family spent their first summer on Prince Edward Island. After a few days in Charlottetown they moved on to the old Acadian Hotel in Tracadie. (Since destroyed by fire.) MacDonald became so intrigued with the area that he contracted George Longworth, a leading island businessman, to act as his agent on P.E.I. They bought 120 acres of land on the north shore, which included a variety of cleared farmland and forested area.

Building was underway in late 1895. He named the house “Dalvay By-The-Sea” after his boyhood home in Scotland. His house in Cincinnati, OH was also called Dalvay. Construction of Dalvay By The Sea was said to have run close to $50,000. Local building materials were used exclusively in the construction of Dalvay. The lower half of the house was built with Island Sandstone in its natural boulder form and the huge fireplaces were also constructed with quarried blocks of the famous reddish sandstone.

Much of the furniture was oak and mahogany. The family had travelled all over the world and bought beautiful articles of furniture, pottery and draperies in England, France, Egypt and Italy. Some very fine pieces of furniture were also purchased from established British families in Charlottetown.

It cost $10,000 a year to operate Dalvay, a huge sum even by today’s standards. They kept a large number of servants, cooks, housemaids, a gardener, two butlers, two laundresses, a caretaker and two men to look after the horses and stable. MacDonald and his family entertained a great deal and his summer home was usually filled with guests. Every season before leaving, they gave a dance for the local people with a hired violinist a lavish affair that was enjoyed and remembered by all.

The MacDonalds also owned a number of horses and Alexander was a keen collector of carriages. The carriages at Dalvay included jaunting carts, coaches and double-seated carriages. Alexander also built a covered bowling alley for his guests’ enjoyment, there was also a billiards room on the third floor, and he had a small sailboat for sailing on Dalvay Lake. Water and power was supplied to the house by a series of windmills. Alexander MacDonald spent many summers at the lovely spot he now called Dalvay-By-The-Sea.

During his last visit in 1909, Alexander was not well. On his return to the station, he requested to have the horses stopped when he reached Long Pond. He stood alone for a while gazing back to the beloved house and quietly said “Good-bye Dalvay.” He was never able to return and died in 1910 in Long Beach, California where he had settled.

The Princesses Laura and Helena

Alexander MacDonald left most of his vast fortune to be shared equally between his two granddaughters. Helena and Laura were just 16 and 17 years old when Alexander died. The estate was worth roughly $15-million dollars and made the two young women two of the wealthiest women of their day. Their father, Edmund Stallo, who was entrusted to keep it for the girls until they reached legal age, oversaw the estate.

Though both girls had made plans to marry successful young men from the Cincinnati Society roster, they were convinced that two such wealthy beautiful young women could make better matches by striking out for Europe and seeking royalty.

Miss Helena married Prince Murat of France, a nobleman and nephew of one of Napolean’s former Marshals. They had one daughter who they predictably named Laura. Her sister, Miss Laura, married Prince Rosspiglioisi of Italy. The first few years were happy and they had two daughters, Francesca and Camilla.

Unfortunately, their financial situation worsened when both girls realized that her inheritance had been badly managed by their father, Edmund Stallo. Stallo had invested in several bad schemes, including a failed attempt at a Gulf States railway. As a result, the large fortune Alexander had provided dwindled to almost nothing. Both of the “princes” divorced the girls not long after learning that they no longer had access to money. Helena died of cancer at the age of 38 mostly destitute. Laura moved to New York where she had to work to support her family and while she lived comfortably, the family could no longer afford keep the Dalvay property.

William Hughes had been the caretaker at Dalvay for the entire period since Alexander’s death. Hughes lived in what is now the Park Administration Building just across from Dalvay house. Hughes continued to look after the house until it became clear that the MacDonalds were no longer able to afford to keep the house. He contacted Princess Laura in New York, and asked what she wished done with Dalvay. Princess Laura replied that Hughes could have the house for the sum owed in back taxes. Hughes went to Charlottetown and purchased Dalvay for the sum of $486.57! Hughes had no interest in keeping up the huge mansion, and Dalvay was sold through the years to several different owners.

Next was William O’Leary of Charlottetown, who lent the house to his brother, Bishop O’Leary from Montreal. Bishop O’Leary used Dalvay as a summer retreat. The O’Leary family unfortunately took most of the finer pieces of furniture back to Montreal and sold many pieces. Dalvay was then sold to the infamous prohibition rum-runner, Captain Edward Dicks. Dicks was looking for a “legitimate” business to cover his illicit activities off the north shore of PEI. Dicks had the idea to turn Dalvay into a hotel for upscale clientele. Unfortunately, he spent so much money upgrading Dalvay to hotel status that there was little money left for marketing to prospective guests. Dalvay was then remanded to one of Capt. Dicks’ creditors, former PEI Lieutenant Governor, George DeBlois.

In 1938, DeBlois was aware that there were plans to build a National Park on the North Shore. He then sold the house and all the land to the federal government. DeBlois made a caveat that he would retain a small piece of land in direct view of Dalvay. The large, white family cottage still sits across Dalvay Lake, and is private land to this day.

Dalvay In The Present (Since 1959)

Dalvay has since been operated as a leased private concession from Parks Canada. In 1959, Mr. and Mrs. Raoul Reymond became operators of Dalvay By-The-Sea. Hailing from Geneva Switzerland, the Reymonds had left Europe arriving in PEI in 1925 to take advantage of the lucrative fox breeding industry. After fox fur went out of fashion they turned their energies to inn keeping in summers and teaching music in winters to many Charlottetown families. The Reymond’s brought a European atmosphere of gentility and personal service to Dalvay that was unique to Prince Edward Island.

Dalvay By The Sea is currently operated by DP Murphy Hotels & Resorts. A major expansion was undertaken from 1995 to present. With an increase in demand for family/group accommodations, eight cottages were built on-site. Four are located immediately adjacent to the inn and another four along the shore of Dalvay Lake.

From 1999-2000 a full dining room expansion was also completed. The new dining facility is a spectacular curved room off the main house, offering views of Dalvay Lake from every table. All original materials were used to create this structure so it would retain the full Heritage Standard of the original house. This includes using pine wood panelling from the ceiling to the maple hardwood floor. Also, the exterior field sandstone was quarried locally and hand-built by local masons.

Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your Alexander Mcdonald ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name Alexander Mcdonald. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Alexander Mcdonald census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 642 immigration records available for the last name Alexander Mcdonald. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name Alexander Mcdonald. For the veterans among your Alexander Mcdonald ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name Alexander Mcdonald. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Alexander Mcdonald census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 642 immigration records available for the last name Alexander Mcdonald. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name Alexander Mcdonald. For the veterans among your Alexander Mcdonald ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

Cadets of Clan MacDonald of Keppoch

The Wikipedia entry for the Clan MacDonald of Keppoch lists the following ‘Principal Cadet Families’: Aberarder, Achnancoichean, Bohuntine, Clianaig, Cranachan, Dalchosnie, Fersit, Gellovie, Inch, Inverroy, Killiechonate, Murlagan, Tirnadris, Tulloch, Tullochrom. As part of trying to discover where my ancestors hailed from I’ve ended locating these places. I may end up visiting some of them, but at the moment I mapped the places out on StreetMap on my fantasy ancestry road trip to the highlands:

There’s amazing scenery and landmarks to see in the area, as well as a fascinating history, much of a bit bloody. I’ve added a few interesting things I have found out so far, which I’ve clustered around the cadet families that lived near to each other. I’ve also included the opening sections on the cadet families from The Clan Donald: Volume 3 by the Revs. Angus & Archibald Macdonald (1904), which are mostly genealogical. This is only my first stab, so what I hope to do at another time is to link the family stories to the actual geography as it would give my fantasy ancestry road trip some context.


Keppoch Macdonald cadet families of Keppoch, Clianaig (Chlinaig) and Inch (Insh)

I’ve started with Keppoch House near Roy Bridge in the Parish of Kilmonivaig, Inverness-shire, close to where the River Roy meets the River Spean.

As mentioned in an earlier post, the house is still standing and it’s where my great great great grandparents Angus McDonnell of Keppoch, the disputed 20th/22nd Chief, and Christina MacNab lived and where my great great grandmother Christina Mary Theresa McDonnell was born in 1845.

I’ve written recently about how Doug helped me discovered the farm the farm at Inch or Insh recently (see here), so suffice to say it was the home of my ancestor Aonghus Ban Innse of Inch, ‘Tacksman of Inch’. I also found Clianaig or Chlinaig nearby. Hopefully, I’ll find out more about both families and places. In the meantime, here are some genealogical snippets from the Revs. Macdonald The Clan Donald book:

Alexander, known as Alastair Carrach, the progenitor of the family of KejDpoch, was the fourth son of John, Lord of the Isles, and the Princess Margaret of Scotland. He married Mary, daughter of Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, by whom he had Angus, his successor. MacVurich is in error in saying that Angus was a natural son of Alexander by a daughter of MacPhee of Lochaber. In two charters by John, Earl of E-oss and Lord of the Isles, of the years 1463 and 1464 respectively, Angus, who was a witness on both occasions, is designated a lawful son of Alexander. Alexander, who was styled Lord of Lochaber, died about 1440, and was succeeded by his son…

This family is descended from Angus Ban, eldest son of Alexander Macdonald XVII. of Keppoch, the issue, as already stated, of an irregular union formed by Alexander before his marriage to Jessie Stewart of Appin. He was twenty-one years of age when his father fell at Culloden, after which he took his place at the head of the family, a position which he retained for some time after his brother, Ranald, came of age. Angus fought by his father’s side at Culloden, and with difficulty escaped with his life, being hotly pursued by the Hanoverian troops. He attended the meeting of the chiefs held at Achnacarry on the 8th of May. He remained afterwards for a long time in hiding, and with MacNab of Innisewen assisted the Prince in his wanderings. Angus married, in 1752, Christina, daughter of Archibald Macdonald of Achnancoichean, and had by her…

This family is descended from Donald Gorm, son of Alastair Buidhe XIV. of Keppoch. He is among the followers of Coll of Keppoch in 1691. He married a daughter of Allan Macdonald of Gellovie, and had…


Keppoch Macdonald cadet families of Bonhuntin & Cranachan

Funnily enough it was a comment from Doug on my fantasy ancestry road trip to the highlands post about Cranachan farm that set this project in motion. He also helped me find Inch/Insh farm above. Would be interesting to find out more about these the Cranachan and Bohuntine families, but here’s snippets from the Revs. Macdonald The Clan Donald book.

The family of Bohuntin is descended from John DUBH, third son of Ranald VII. of Keppoch. He is frequently mentioned in record as playing a prominent part in the affairs of the House of Keppoch in the stirring time in which he lived. He was, undoubtedly, a great warrior, and his romantic life and hairbreadth escapes were the theme of song and story for many generations in Lochaber. The remarkable poetic talent which distinguished many of his descendants has preserved many pictures in verse of the early days of feud and foray. John Dubh is said to have been a man of noble appearance, ready wit, and great capacity as a leader of men. His prowess at Bothloine has been already referred to in the first volume of this work. In 1587 he is, with others, prohibited, at the instance of the Privy Council, from gathering in arms. In 1594 he, with his nephew, Alexander Macdonald of Keppoch, joined the Earl of Huntly, and took part in the Battle of Glenlivet, where Argyle, the King’s Lieutenant, was defeated. He is afterwards accused of taking part in a herschip and fireraising at Moy. In December, 1602, he and Allan and Angus, his sons, are denounced rebels for not appearing personally before the Privy Council to answer for the herschip of Moy and other crimes. It has been said, on the authority of tradition, that John Dubh was not a lawful son of Ranald of Keppoch, but tradition has been found to have been invariably very wide of the mark when looked at in the light of authentic documentary evidence. There are many references on record to John Dubh which are many references on record to John Dubh which might be taken as implying legitimate descent in the strictest sense, but in an original document in the Charter Chest of Lord Macdonald, to which several members of the Keppoch family were parties, it is expressly stated that he was the third lawful son of Ranald Macdonald Glass of Keppoch. John Dubh married a daughter of Donald Glass Mackintosh, referred to in several manuscript genealogies
as of Dunachtan. By her he had…

The first of this family was Angus, third son of Donald I. of Aberarder. He is frequently mentioned in record. He married a daughter of Macdonald of Achnancoichean, and had…


Keppoch Macdonald cadet families of Aberarder, Tullochrom (Tullochroam) and Gellovie (Gallovie)

I took me at while to locate Aberarder, Tullochrom (Tullochroam) and Gellovie (Gallovie) because they are further away from Roybridge around Loch Laggan. Luckily, I saw a forum discussion mentioning that Gellovie was on the south side of Loch Laggan. I also the found a map of the Clan Lands of Laggan (1775-1800) on the Clan Macpherson Association site that showed that the farms of Aberarder and Tullochrom on the north side of Loch Laggan, and were formerly occupied by MacDonalds:

I know little more than this at present, but have included maps and snippets from the Revs. Macdonald The Clan Donald book below:

Keppoch MacDonald cadet family of Aberader

This family is descended from Donald, second son of Angus Macdonald of Tullocb, second son of John Dubh of Bohuntin. Donald first appears on record as of Invervudden. He fought at Inverlochy in 1645, and was a poet of some reputation in his day. Fragments of his hunting songs are still extant. He married first a daughter of Alexander Macdonald of Inverlair secondly, a daughter of Alexander Macdonald of Tirnadrish and thirdly, a daughter of Alexander Macdonald of Bohuntin. He had..

Alastair Ban, the second son of John III. of Aberarder, was the first of this family. He married, first, a daughter of Mackintosh of Balnespick, and had by her…

The first of this family was Allan, son of John Dubh Macdonald of Bohuntin. He is mentioned in record in 1602. He was then tenant of Gellovie, which lies along the banks of Loch Laggan. The family afterwards obtained a feu charter of the lands of Gellovie. Allan married a daughter of Macqueen of Corybrugh, by whom he had his successor,…


Keppoch Macdonald cadet family of Fersit

This is all I have so far on the Keppoch Macdonalds of Fersit:

The first of this family was Donald, third son of Ranald Og IX. of Keppoch. He is mentioned in record in 16 12. He is in possession of the lands of Fersit in 1620. He had three sons…


Keppoch Macdonalds of Tulloch, Mùrlagan & Achnancoichean (Achnacochine)

My ancestor Angus Ban of Inch or Aonghus Ban Innse mentioned above, married Christina Macdonald, of Achnacoichine. She was the daughter of Angus Macdonald, 4th of Achnacoichine.

The Gaelic scholar and teacher Effie Rankin explains in her book As A’ Bhraighe: The Gaelic Songs of Alan The Ridge MacDonald 1794-1868 (2005) mentions that Achnacoichine is derived from from Achadh nan Cothaichean, the ‘Field of the Disputants’, but there are many forms of this name are common Achadh nan Comhican and Achadh nan Coinnicchine.

As mentioned in my Keppochs of Achnacochine or Achnancoichean post, I found a reference on the Clan Cameron Reference Guide below that made help me that Achnancoichean was another variation of Achnacochine:


“Field of the Disputants.” This location was once a favored rendezvous place for cattle reivers, while on their way to foras in either Perthshire or Strathspey. Located southeast of Achluachrach, in the Braes of Lochaber.

There are ruins located at Achnacochine on StreetMap, and I also manged to find Tulloch and Mùrlagan near by.

I’ve included the opening sections on Keppoch Macdonalds of Tulloch, Mùrlagan and Achnancoichean (Achnacochine) cadet families below from The Clan Donald: Volume 3 by the Revs. Angus & Archibald Macdonald (1904):

This family is descended from Angus, fifth son of Alastair nan Cleas X. of Keppoch, who gave him as a hostage to the Earl of Argyll in 1595. There was another family at Aclmancoichean, descended, according to MacVurich, from John Cam, a natural son of Sir Alexander Macdonald of Lochalsh, known as ” Sliochd an larla,” no doubt on account of their descent from Alexander, Earl of Ross. Angus is said to have married a daughter of Sir james Macdonald of Dunnyveg…

This family is descended from Angus, second son of John Dubh Macdonald of Bohuntin. His first appearance in record is in 1592, when, with a number of others of the Kej)poch following, he is accused of “manifest oppression and slaughter.” In 1602 he is denounced rebel for not appearing personally before the Privy Council to answer for his sharen the herschip of Moy. In 1611, Alexander Macdonald of Keppoch became surety for him ” under the pain of 500 merks.” In 1615, he is declared rebel for not appearing to answer to the charge of assisting Sir James Macdonald of Dunnyveg, and again in 1617 he is declared rebel and put to the horn.

This family is descended from Alastair nan Cleas X. of Keppoch, whose fourth son, Donald Gorm of Inveroy, was the j)i’Ogenitor of the family of Murlagan. There was another family afterwards at Murlagan which was of earlier descent. In 1727 one of this family had been put in possession of the lands of Murlagan by Mackintosh. In that year there is an Obligation by Angus Macdonald of Murlagan to Mackintosh, in which he declares that his predecessors had been standard-bearers to Mackintosh
” these three hundred years and upwards.”
This Angus further declares that he is of Sliochd
Dhomhnuill ‘ic Aongliids, the descendants of the
deposed Chief of Keppoch.


Keppoch Macdonalds of Inverroy, Killiechonate, and Tirinadris

The Inverroy, Killiechonate, and Tirnadris or Tirindrish cadet families of Macdonalds of Keppoch cadet families are based around Spean Bridge and Inverroy. I know next to nothing about these Keppoch Macdonald/Macdonell families although the claim to the current chiefship of the Macdonald of Keppoch clan is based on sloinneadh showing a descendancy from Donald MacDonald or Domhnaill an Drobhair (‘Donald the Drover’) to Donald Gorm of Inverroy Mor through his son Alexander Macdonell, of Inveroy Mor. Donald Gorm was son of Alasdair Macdonell or Macdonald, Tutor of Keppoch, later 14th of Keppoch who was possibly drowned in River Spean.

The Clan MacFarlane has the following notes on Alasdair Buidhe Macdonald, 14th of Keppoch:

Alasdair Buidhe (yellow haired), who was the Tutor of Keppoch, became the unopposed chief after the murder of the young chiefs. In the Royal Commission, granted July 1665, to proceed against the murderers two of his sons were named. A band of 50 warriors arrived in the Braes of Lochaber in September of 1665, two years after the murders. They surprised Sliochd Dhughaill (Macdonalds of Inverlair) at Inverlair and after a bloody fight Alasdair Ruadh MacDughaill and six of his relatives were killed. lain Lom cut off the heads and ordered the seven headless bodies to be buried on a knoll opposite the house of Inverlair. (The skeletons of the bodies were unearthed in this century and no skulls were found.) The two sons of Alasdair Buidhe avoided capture. The elder, Ailein Dearg, had fled, some say to Lewis, others say to Badenoch. There is one story that has him killed at Tulloch. The younger son, Donald Gorm’s, name appears among those against whom legal proceedings were begun in 1671 for the 1663 murders. Keppoch was summoned, among others, before the Privy Council on 15 January, 1669 for using violence against a company of soldiers sent to assist in collecting the taxes. He is said to have drowned in the River Spean the same year. He was succeeded by his second son Archibald, also called Gilleasbuig.

Source: Ceapach: The Keppoch Newsletter by Joyce Haskell in turn edited from Clan Ranald of Lochaber by Norman H Macdonald FSA Scot

Well of Heads (Tobar nan Ceann)

The RCAHMS Camore database, explains that The Well of Heads(Tobar nan Ceann) monument, was erected 1812 by Col. Alasdair Ranaldson Macdonell, 15th Chief of Glengarry, in commemoration of the ‘foul’ Keppoch murders of 1663:

The Keppoch Murders are one of the best known incidents in a string of bloodthirsty inter-clan hostilities. The assumed perpetrator of the murder of the young chief Alasdair Macdonell and his brother at Keppoch in 1663 was their uncle, tacksman of Inverlair. Reprisals taken with the be-heading of him and his six sons at Inverlair on the orders of Macdonald of Sleat. The Monument marks the site of a spring or well at which the heads were washed before being presented to the Chief, Macdonell of Glengarry, at Invergarry Castle.

The inscription on the monument reads:

As a memorial of the ample and summary vengeance which in the swift course of feudal justice, inflicted by the orders of the Lord McDonnell and Aross, overtook the perpetrators of the foul murder of the Keppoch family, a branch of the powerful and illustrious clan, of which His Lordship was the chief. This monument is erected by Colonel McDonnell of Glengarry XVII. MacMhicAlaister his successor and representative in the year of our Lord 1812. The heads of the seven murderers were presented at the feet of the noble chief in Glengarry Castle, after having been washed in this spring: and ever since that event, which took place early in the sixteenth century, it has been known by the name of “Tobar-nan-Ceann”, or the Well of the Seven Heads.

For those less bloodthirsty, the Scotland Pilgrim Journeys site mentions the St Columba Journey from Maillaig to Spean Bridge/Inverroy. Think I’d rather take the Jacobite Steam Railway from Fort William to Maillaig though, and its appearance in the Harry Potter movie might be enough for me to persuade my wife and kids to come with me.

There’s no entry for the Keppoch Macdonalds of Inverroy in The Clan Donald: Volume 3 by the Revs. Angus & Archibald Macdonald (1904), but I found the following entries for the Killiechonate, and Tirnadrish (Tirinadris) cadet families:

This family, which branched out early from the main line of Keppoch, is probably descended fiom Donald Glass, the sixth chief. The first of whom there is any record was Angus, who lived at Killiechonate.

The first of this family was Ranald, known as Raonull Mor, second son of Archibald XV. of Keppoch. The former Macdonalds of Tirnadrish were of the Slfochd Gboirridh from Uist, the last of whom was Archibald, known as Gilleasbuig Mor. Ranald married Mary Macdonald of Glengarry…


Keppoch Macdonalds of Dalchosnie

Dalchosnie is actually in Rannoch in Pethshire. Electric Scotland has a history of the MacDonalds of Dalchosnie that explains that they are branch of the MacDonalds of Keppoch who built their keep at Dalchosnie where they lived for two hundred years. The first MacDonald of Dalchosnie was Alastair who came to Rannoch after killing a government soldier in Lochaber. There isn’t an exact date, but the Electric Scotland account mentions that Alastair had not been Rannoch long when the government forces attacked Dalchosnie in 1692.

Here’s the opening section on the Keppoch MacDonalds of Dalchosnie from The Clan Donald: Volume 3 by the Revs. Angus & Archibald Macdonald (1904):

This family is descended from John Dubh of Bohuntin, through Alexander Macdonald of Tulloch, who was the eldest son of Angus, the second son of John Dubh. The second son of Alexander of Tulloch from whom this family is descended may be reckoned from John Dubh …

Alexander McDonald

Ближайшие родственники

About Alexander McDonald, Jr.

ALEXANDER1 MCDANNALD was born 1715 in Aberdeen Scotland, and died 1783 in Culpeper County, Virginia. He married ISOBELL MCLAUGHLAN December 12, 1720 in West or Old Parish, Greenock, Renfrew, Scotland.


Alexander fought for Charles Stuart at Prestonpas and Culloden. see

He was deported to VA after Culloden 1746. Settled in Orange County, Virginia near Cedar Mountain.

Ranson McBride- "Lists of Scottish Rebel Prisoners Transported to America in the aftermath of Culloden 1746" lists Alexander McDonald.

He signed a will on January 29, 1783 in St. Mark's Parish, Culpeper county, Virginia. Children mentioned in the will:

John, Rueban, George, Mary Turner, Sarah Drisdle, Nelley, Elizabeth Turner, Peggy Shropshire and grandson Roddy Turner, son of Jeremiah Turner.

He had an estate probated on February 17, 1783 in St. Mark's Parish. Executors: Captain John Majors and Thomas Pourter. He was born in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The Scots were a choice few of 88 convicts of the Battle of Culloden.

They came to America on the ship Gildart, which was just one of many ships that carried the families that were banished for some reason or other. Transported on the Gildart, master Richard Holmes, from Liverpool, 24 February 1747 to Port North Potomac Maryland..August 5, 1747. On the list:


Marriage: December 12, 1732, West or Old Parish, Greenrock, Renfrew, Scotland


2. i. JOHN2 MCDANNALD, b. 1733, Scotland d. Bet. 1812 - 1813, Culpeper County, Virginia.

3. ii. GEORGE WARREN MCDANNALD, b. 1760, Culpeper County, Virginia d. July 05, 1819, Fleming County, Kentucky.



5. vii. REUBEN MCDANNALD, b. February 14, 1768, Montgomery County, Kentucky (possibly Culpeper County, Virginia) d. August 14, 1854, Paynesville, Pike County, Missouri.

"Fifth Jacobite Uprising (1745)

Charles Edward Stuart, the son of James VIII, aka The Young Pretender and Bonnie Prince Charlie, landed in Scotland in July 1745. The English, under General John Cope ( of the song Johnny Cope) moved north, but not knowing the size of Jacobite forces, avoided battle. He marched to Inverness and Aberdeen and then finally, in September sailed to Edinburgh to meet the Jacobite forces that were at Dunbar. The Battle of Presonpans was a complete victory for the Jacobites (largely due to the efforts of Lord George Murray). The total number of men involved was only around 2500 - and the battle was over almost as soon as it began. Cope's troops broke rans and fled.

The Jacobites got to within 130 miles of London, but at Derby fell to fighting amongst each other. Without support from the Scottish lowlands or England, and with a promised French force never materializing, they were forced to retreat. Murray led a skilful retreat from Derby and defeated the English at Falkirk in January 1747. He opposed Charles Edward Stuart's decision to stand at Culloden because of the terrain. Nevertheless, the Jacobites took the stand. At Culloden Moor they met the army of the Duke of Cumberland (King George II's son and known to Scots as "Butcher Cumberland"). The Scots were cut down by cannonfire and the exhausted few that made it to English lines were cut down.

Bonnie Prince Charlie was hounded for months by English troops. The Butcher of Cumberland brutally suppressed the Highlands. Wearing of the kilt and use of the tartan was prohibited on pain of death, the gathering of clans was forbidden and the Highland culture virtually destroyed. Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped only with the help of Flora MacDonald, who dressed him up as her servant "Betty Burke" to get him safely to the Isle of Skye where he then took ship to France.

Alexander Macdonald - History

I have been advised by the Chief of Keppoch that this history is not accurate. The Chief and his Seanachaidh are collaborating in re-writing the first authentic History of the MacDonalds of Keppoch.

BADGE: Fraoch gorm (erica vulgaris) common heath.
SL0GAN: Dia ‘s Naomh Aindrea.
PIBROCH: Ceapach na fasaich, and Blar Mhaol rua’.

AN interesting subject for the pen of the Scottish historical student would be the mass of evil consequences, extending for centuries afterwards, which flowed from the moral indiscretion of Robert II., first of the Stewart kings. As a warrior and a statesman the Stewart was in every way worthy of his grandfather, King Robert the Bruce. It was his private conduct, in the matter of his conjugal relationships, which entailed such endless woes upon his descendants and upon Scotland. Though legitimated by a Papal dispensation in 1347, eight years before his second marriage, there can be no question that the Stewart’s early connection with Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan was irregular. Out of this fact arose the claim of the children of his later marriage with Euphemia Ross, the Earls of Strathearn and Atholl, to be the proper heirs of the Crown, a claim which brought about the assassination of James I. and the terrible Douglas Wars against James II. At the same time, by their own acts the children of Elizabeth Mure brought a heritage of woe on Scotland. The eldest son, John, ascended the throne as Robert III., but the third son, the ambitious, able Robert, Duke of Albany, ruled the country, secured the death of Robert III.’s elder son, by starvation, at Falkland, and the capture and long imprisonment of the king’s second son, afterwards James I., by the English, for which betrayal a fearful nemesis was suffered by his own son and grandsons on Stirling heading hill. Elizabeth Mure’s fourth son was the savage Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, better known as the Wolf of Badenoch, whose defiance of the laws of God and man kept the northern half of Scotland in fire and bloodshed for more than twenty years. To mention only one other of the twenty-one children of Robert II., his eldest daughter Margaret, who was married to John, Lord of the Isles, in 1350, carried with her what seems to have been nothing less than a curse. To make way for her, the Lord of the Isles set aside his first wife, Amy MacRuari, with her children, and from that day the misfortunes of the great House of the Isles began, and the downfall of the whole race of Macdonald. It was Margaret Stewart’s son, Donald of the Isles, who married a sister of the Earl of Ross, and on that Earl’s death claimed the Earldom. This was claimed also by his uncle, Robert, Duke of Albany, for his own younger son. To assert his claim Donald, in 1411, marched across Scotland and fought the bloody battle of Harlaw, where he was defeated by his cousin, Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, eldest natural son of the Wolf of Badenoch. It is true that in 1431, the tables were turned, when the same Earl of Mar was defeated by the Islesmen, under Donald Balloch, in the fierce battle of Inverlochy but the victory brought down upon Alexander, the next Lord of the Isles, Margaret Stewart’s grandson, condign punishment at the hands of his other cousin, King James I., and the misfortunes of the house went from less to more, till in 1493 John, "fourth and last" Lord of the Isles, died a forfeited and landless man in Paisley Abbey or Dundee.

In these matters the Macdonalds of Keppoch shared the misfortunes of the great House of the Isles from which they had sprung. Their ancestor was Alastair, third son of John, Lord of the Isles, and Margaret Stewart, daughter of King Robert II. Angus Og, the father of John of the Isles, who figures as the hero in Scott’s poem, had received from King Robert the Bruce, as a reward for loyal support, the lands of Morven, Ardnamurchan, and Lochaber, forfeited by his kinsmen the MacDougals of Lorne, and John of the Isles made his third son Lord of Lochaber. In a deed of 1398 Alastair is termed "Magnificus vir et potens," and for three hundred years his descendants were known as the race of Alastair Carraich. It was not till the end of the seventeenth century that the Keppoch Chief, Colla MacGillieaspuig, on the persuasion of his kinsman, the Glengarry Chief, Lord MacDonell and Aros, resumed the family name of Macdonald. The stronghold of the Macdonalds of Keppoch stood on high ground at the meeting of the Roy and the Spean, where, within the last hundred years the fruit trees of their old garden continued to blossom and bear fruit.

Meanwhile much water had flowed past the walls of that Lochaber fastness. Notably in 1431 while Alexander, Lord of the Isles, lay a prisoner in Tantallon, and his mother, the Countess of Ross, was immured on Inchcolm, Alastair Carraich joined the formidable invasion of the Islesmen under his cousin, Donald Balloch, Chief of Clanranald, which routed the Royal forces under Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, and the Earl of Caithness at Inverlochy. For this the lordship of Lochaber was forfeited and bestowed by James I. on his loyal supporter, the Mackintosh Chief, Captain of Clan Chattan. This grant proved a cause of trouble for several centuries. Like the MacGregors further south, the Macdonalds resisted the Mackintosh’s parchment tenure, and continued for the most part to hold their lands by the ancient coir a glaive, or right of the sword.

Alastair Carraich’s son Angus, the second Keppoch Chief, had two sons, Donald and Alastair. Of these, Donald was slain in 1498 in a battle with the first Appin Chief, Dougal Stewart, and his son John earned the enmity of his clan by an act which the Highlanders invariably regarded as unpardonable. One of his tribe, having committed some offence, fled to him for protection. John, however, weakly handed the man over to the Mackintosh Chief, as Steward of Lochaber. By this act he sealed his own fate. The clan deposed him from the chiefship, and made his cousin and heir-male presumptive, Donald Glas, chief in his place. Ranald, the son of Donald Glas, met a still more tragic fate. Along with the Captain of Clan Cameron he took part, in 1544, in supporting the stout and capable John Moydertach, natural son of the late Chief of Clanranald, in his claim to the chiefship, which had been conferred upon him by his clan, in despite of the weak and unpopular legitimate heir, Ranald Gallda. For a time, while Moydertach was imprisoned by James V., Ranald was placed in possession of the Moidart estates by his mother’s people, the Frasers but on James’s death and Moydertach’s return, Gallda fled, and his rival, helped by Keppoch and the Camerons. carried fire and sword through the Fraser country. These disorders brought into action the Earl of Huntly, as King’s Lieutenant in the North. With a force of the Frasers, Grants, and Mackintoshes, he drove out Moydertach and his raiders, and replaced Ranald Gallda in possession of his estates. On their way back Huntly’s forces separated in Glen Spean, and Lovat with 400 men went homewards by the Great Glen. There, at the head of Loch Lochy, he was intercepted by the Macdonalds, and in the terrible battle of Kin-Loch-Lochy, or Blarnaleine, had his force completely cut to pieces, and was slain himself, with his eldest son and the luckless Ranald Gallda. It was in the following year that the Earl of Lennox Invaded the West of Scotland in the interest of Henry VIII., and he found it easy to gain over John Moydertach and his allies. These transactions proved disastrous to Keppoch. In 1546, along with the Captain of Clan Cameron, he was secured by Mackintosh as Deputy Lieutenant and handed over to Huntly, who first imprisoned them at Perth, and afterwards carried them to Elgin, where they were tried and beheaded in 1547.

Ranald’s son and successor, Alastair of Keppoch, was mixed up with the affairs of that turbulent chief, Sir James Macdonald of Islay and Kintyre, chief of clan Ian Vor, and last representative of the second son of John of the Isles and the daughter of King Robert II. When Sir James, after trying to burn his father and mother in their house of Askomull in Kintyre, was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, he made several attempts to escape. After the first of these he was confined in irons, and in the second attempt the irons severely injured his ankle as he leapt from the wall. At last, however, in 1615, by the help of Alastair of Keppoch and his eldest son, he succeeded in getting away. His estates in Islay had by this time been feued to Sir John Campbell of Cawdor, brother of the Earl of Argyll, and Sir James proceeded to raise his forces to make a last stand against the usurpations of the Campbells, who for centuries had been ousting the ancient House of the Isles from its heritage. In the struggle he was vigorously helped by Keppoch, and the affair caused an immense commotion in the Western Isles. In the end, however, the Earl of Argyll himself was brought from England, whither he had fled, it is said, to escape his creditors. Armed with the King’s commission he gathered his forces at Duntroon on Loch Crinan, drove Sir James and his supporters from Islay and Kintyre, and finally secured these territories as Campbell possessions. Keppoch seems to have followed his leader to Spain, and when they were recalled to London and pardoned by King James VI. in 1620 he received a pension of 200 merks, while Sir James got one of 1,000.

Twenty-five years later, during the Civil Wars, the House of Keppoch was very active on the side of King Charles. When the King’s general, the Marquess of Montrose, made his astonishing march in the snows of winter to overthrow the pusillanimous Marquess of Argyll at Inverlochy, it was a member of the clan, John MacDonald, the famous lain Lom, the poet, who guided Montrose’s army through the difficult mountain passes. After the death of Montrose the bard of Keppoch composed a lament in his honour.

At a still later day lain Lom played a dramatic part in another tragic episode in the history of his clan. The tradition runs that a Keppoch Chief, Donald Glas, sent his two sons to France to be educated, and died during their absence. On the return of the lads, Alastair and his brother Ranald, they were barbarously murdered, in September, 1663, by certain members of the clan, who took possession of their land. No one seemed disposed or powerful enough to avenge the crime: only the poet seemed to feel the outrage, and he exerted himself unceasingly to induce some chief to take the matter up. At last he managed to enlist the interest of Glengarry, who had recently been raised to the peerage as Lord MacDonell and Aros. By this chief a body of men was sent to Brac Lochaber, and the murderers were attacked in their dwellings and slain. The sequel is told in the inscription on a curious monument with an apex representing seven human heads which stands near the south-west end of Loch Oich. The inscription runs :—"As a memorial of the ample and summary vengeance which, in the swift course of feudal justice, inflicted by the orders of the Lord McDonell and Aross, overtook the perpetrators of the foul murder of the Keppoch family, a branch of the powerful and illustrious clan of which his lordship was the Chief, this monument is erected by Colonel McDonell of Glengarry, XVII. Mac-Mhic-Alaister, his successor and representative, in the year of our Lord 1812. The heads of the seven murderers were presented at the feet of the noble chief in Glengarry Castle, after having been washed in this spring, and ever since that event, which took place early in the sixteenth century, it has been known by the name of ‘Tobar-nan-ceann,’ or ‘The Well of the Heads.’ "

In its chronology the inscription is somewhat astray, as lain Lom was not born till about 1620. At the Restoration in 1660 he received a pension, and he is sometimes referred to as the poet laureate of Charles II. He was present with the Jacobite army under Dundee at Killiecrankie in 1689, and celebrated the victory of the Highland army on that occasion in a poem, " Rinrory."

Meanwhile the Macdonalds of Keppoch had been making history vigorously in their own way. In 1682 Archibald Macdonald of Keppoch died and was succeeded by his son Coll, then a youth at St. Andrews. After his father’s funeral Coll went to Inverness and tried to arrange terms to settle the old difficulties with the Mackintosh Chief. The latter, however, replied by throwing Keppoch into prison, and it took an order from the Privy Council to set him free. After this treatment Keppoch naturally refused to have dealings with Mackintosh, and in the end the latter procured a commission of fire and sword against him. It was in July, 1688, that the Mackintosh Chief, irritated by Keppoch’s refusal to pay rent and admit his authority, at last raised his clan, and, accompanied by a body of Government troops under Captain Mackenzie of Suddie, descended upon Brae Lochaber, and encamped on the height of Maol rua’, near Keppoch’s stronghold. The upshot, however, was far different from what he expected. His force numbered about a thousand men, while Keppoch had his own force increased by the Macdonalds of Glengarry and Glencoe and some Camerons. At dawn on the 4th of August Mackintosh beheld his enemies descending upon him from the ridge above. They charged without shoes, stockings, or bonnets, and did dreadful execution with their swords and Lochaber axes. Suddie was killed and Mackintosh himself taken prisoner, while his banner only escaped by its bearer leaping a chasm over which no one could follow him. The battle of Mulroy, which was the last clan battle in the Highlands, was celebrated with characteristic vigour by Ian Lom.

Mackintosh complained to the Privy Council, which sent two companies of foot and a troop of dragoons into Lochaber to destroy the Macdonalds, "man, woman and child" and burn their houses and corn. The Macdonalds, however, managed to escape to the hills, from which they witnessed the destruction of their homes and crops. In the following year, Mackintosh having refused to join the Jacobite forces under Dundee, Macdonald had the satisfaction of driving off his cattle, and burning his new mansion of Dunachton. For his activity in cattle-raiding for the Jacobite army Dundee nicknamed Keppoch as "Coll of the Cows."

In the interest of King James, Coll threatened Inverness with a force of 8oo men, but was drawn off by Dundee, and he led a thousand Highlanders to the battle of Kiliiecrankie. After the building of Fort William in 1690, however, he saw it to his interest to become reconciled to the law, and he entered into an arrangement with Mackintosh to pay a regular rent for his lands in Lochaber. He still, however, remained loyal to the Jacobite cause, and at the rising of 1715 he joined the Earl of Mar and fought at Sheriffmuir.

It was the son of Coll of the Cows, Alexander Macdonald of Keppoch, who played a very notable part in the rising under Prince Charles Edward in 1745. At the Prince’s landing he was one of the first of the Highland Chiefs to declare for him, and it was in his country, at the bridge over the Spean, that the first shots of the rising were fired and two companies of Government soldiers taken prisoners. Keppoch himself led three hundred clansmen to the raising of the Prince’s standard at Glenfinan, and having been an officer in the French service he proved of very great value throughout the campaign, till the last onset at Culloden. Since Bannockburn the Macdonalds had claimed the place of honour on the right of the Scottish armies. At Culloden this was denied them, and from their assigned place on the left they refused in consequence to charge. As the critical moment was passing, Keppoch, who was their colonel, uttered the cry, "Have the children of my tribe forsaken me?" and rushing forward himself, sword and pistol in hand, received a bullet through the breast and fell dead.

Following the battle, Lochaber was burned, houses, corn-stacks, and woods, with ruthless barbarity, by the red soldiers under the Duke of Cumberland, and two of the clansmen who went to Fort William to deliver up their arms and avail themselves of the proffered pardon were immediately hanged at a spot still pointed out near the mill. In 1752, however, Keppoch’s son, Ranald Og, petitioned for the restoration of his property on the ground that his father had fallen before the passing of attainder. He served in the Fraser Fencibles, each company of which was commanded by a chief, and he distinguished himself very highly at the siege of Quebec. The chiefs remained tenants of the lands of Keppoch till Major Alexander Macdonald had to leave, in consequence of quarrels with Sir AEneas Mackintosh. The representative of the ancient chiefs was afterwards lost sight of in America.

Only less celebrated than Ian Lom was a poetess of the clan, Sheila Macdonald, daughter of Gillespie MacAlaistair Buidhe, sixteenth chief, who became the wife of Gordon of Baldornie in Aberdeenshire. In addition to her poetry she was a noted performer on the harp, and is said to have had the gift of improvisation.

Septs of Clan MacDonald of Keppoch: MacGillivantic, MacGilp, Macglasrich, MacKillop, MacPhilip, Ronaldson, Ronald.

I found an old account of The ClanDonald of Keppoch in the Celtic Magazine of 1879 and here is a scan of the pages for you to read.


The pattern of irresponsible or sadistic leadership would continue in Canada’s Indian Residential Schools, which Macdonald introduced as a nationwide program of assimilation in 1883.

“When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with his parents who are savages he is surrounded by savages … He is simply a savage who can read and write,” Macdonald told the House of Commons.

In the downtowns of Kingston or Montreal, Canadians remained relatively oblivious to the harsh realities of Macdonald’s policies, and largely assumed that the humane assimilation of natives into white society was going ahead as planned.

It was only in the wake of Louis Riel’s 1885 North-West Rebellion, that stories began to trickle east of starvation and suffering.


Highland Scottish patriot, Gaelic poet, and lexicographer (Gaelic name, Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair)b. Dalilea, Argyllshire, 1700? d. Sandaig, Invernesshire, 1770? He was the son of Alexander MacDonald, nonjuring minister of Ardnamurchan, Scotland. The younger MacDonald is known to have been employed (1729 – 45) by the Protestant society for promoting christian knowledge and to have served in his native district as catechist and schoolmaster. The aims of this society were so wholly at variance with the sentiments of MacDonald's chief, Allan MacDonald of Clanranald, and his Catholic fellow-clansmen, that one can only conclude that Alexander worked for it because of some personal quarrel.

Around 1730 he was asked to prepare for the society a Gaelic-English vocabulary in an effort to introduce English more widely into the Highlands. After revision by the Presbytery of Mull, this work, A Galick and English Vocabulary, the first Scottish-Gaelic vocabulary to be separately printed, was published at Edinburgh (1741). MacDonald's increasing absences from his school and his alleged composition of "Galick songs, stuffed with obscene language" caused his dismissal from the society on July 4, 1745.

Prince Charles landed (July 25, 1745) at Loch nan Uamh not far from Ardnamurchan. About this time MacDonald is said to have been received into the Catholic Church. He served throughout the Rising of 1745 as an officer in the Jacobite army [see jacobites (english)]. There is strong internal evidence that he was the "Highland Officer" who wrote the "Journall and Memoirs of P. C.'s Expedition into Scotland, etc. 1745 – 6." If so, he was one of the first persons to greet the Prince, whose Gaelic tutor he became, and he received the first commission given by the Prince in Scotland. After the Battle of Culloden (April 16, 1746) he became, in effect, an outlaw.

After the Act of Indemnity (1747), MacDonald was appointed Baillie of the Island of Canna by Clanranald. He visited Bishop Forbes in Edinburgh (1747, 1748), and in April of 1751 brought him an account of the Hanoverian atrocities on the islands of Eigg and Canna. His book of Gaelic poems, Ais-Eiridh na Sean Ch á noin Albannaich (The Resurrection of the Ancient Scottish Language), published at Edinburgh probably during this visit in 1751, was reportedly destroyed by official order because of its vehement Jacobite sentiments only one copy of a 1764 reprint is known to exist.

MacDonald's Gaelic verse is distinguished by the vigor and breadth of its vocabulary, its depth of outlook, and the passion with which it expresses the Highlanders' attachment to the Jacobite cause. MacDonald had great if uneven talent for descriptive poetry he merits a high place in the literature of abuse, though his ribald verses are sometimes obscene. His Ais-Eiridh, the first book of original verse in Scottish Gaelic, has influenced the style and vocabulary of Scottish Gaelic poets even to the present. He left poems in manuscripts, since included in nine later editions, the latest in 1924.

Bibliography: a. macdonald, Poems, tr. A. and a. macdonald (Inverness 1924). j. reid, Bibliotheca Scoto-Celtica (Glasgow 1832). j. l. campbell, "Some Notes on the Poems of A. MacDonald," Scottish Gaelic Studies, 4 (1934) 18 – 23 "Some Words from the Vocabulary of A. MacDonald," ibidem, 6 (1949) 27 – 42 "The Royal Irish Academy Text of Birlinn Chlann Raghnaill, " ibidem, 9 (1961) 39 – 79 "A. MacDonald: Portrait of a Traditionalist," Scots Magazine, 24 (1935) 61 – 76 tr. and ed., Highland Songs of the Forty-Five (Edinburgh 1933).

Memorable Manitobans: Alexander &ldquoSandy&rdquo Macdonald (1843-1928)

Born at Pitlochry, Scotland on 1 November 1843, brother of Duncan Macdonald, he came to Canada in 1868, and to Winnipeg in 1871. One of the founders of the Manitoba Free Press in 1886, he was President of the Tribune Publishing and its Chairman of Finance from 1887 to 1888.

He had numerous business interests. He was President of the A. MacDonald & Company (wholesale grocers at Vancouver, Nelson, and Fort William, with head office in Winnipeg), and President of the Great-West Life Assurance Company, President of the Edmonton Cement Company, a Director of the Northern Trust Company and the Northern Mortgage Company, President of the White Star Manufacturing Company. He was President of the Canada Free Trade League in 1910. In 1910 he was listed by the Winnipeg Telegram as one of Winnipeg&rsquos 19 millionaires.

On 27 September 1877, he married wife Annie Sullivan (1857-1927) of Guelph, Ontario. They had five children: Graham Macdonald (1884-1913), Grace Anne Macdonald (1886-1936, wife of John A. Forlong), Douglas Sullivan Macdonald (1891-1914), Charles Macdonald (?-1918), and Duncan Cameron Macdonald (1894-1928). He served on the Winnipeg City Council (1887-1888) and was Mayor (1892). He was an Independent candidate for the Winnipeg North constituency in the 1907 provincial general election but was defeated by John F. Mitchell. He was one of the most generous supporters of Laura Crouch&rsquos controversial Home of the Friendless orphanage.

He died at his Winnipeg home, 246 Dromore Avenue, on 23 August 1928 and was buried in the Old Kildonan Cemetery. His active pallbearers were John Crawford, D. G. Mathias, A. McMurdy, Neil Brown, Benjamin Sutherland, and Alexander B. Flett. His honorary pallbearers were Hugh John Macdonald, C. C. Ferguson, John J. Moncrieff, G. W. Murray, William A. Irish, William Robinson, E. F. Hutchings, and Robert T. Riley.

Following his death, a legal controversy over the disposition of his estate involved his son-in-law John Furlong and William A. Irish, and rebel judge Lewis S. Stubbs.

Watch the video: Oral Tradition in the Age of Smart Phones. Alexander MacDonald. TEDxFulbrightDublin


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