Alexander Macrae.

History of the clan Macrae with genealogies online

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Macra bursary at Aberdeen Grammar School, where
he had for his teacher the celebrated classical


scholar and Gaelic poet, Ewen Maclauchlan. He
entered the University in 1819, and after a disting-
uished career, graduated M.A. in 1823. He studied
Divinity from 1823 to 1827. From 1825 to 1833
he was schoolmaster of Lochcarron, and was licensed
by the Presbytery of Lochcarron in 1829. In 1833
he was ordained to the charge of South Uist, where
he remained for eight years, and in 1841 became
minister of Braemar. At the Disruption of the
Church of Scotland in 1843 he cast in liis lot with
the Free Church, and in 1849 became minister of
the Free Church in Knockbain, in succession to his
well-known fellow-clansman, the Rev. John Macrae.
Here he lived and laboured, trusted and respected
by his people until his death, which occurred at
Nairn on the 20th December, 1882. He was a man
of much culture and sound scholarship, and an able
and eloquent preacher, equally good both in Gaelic
and in English. The Rev. Farquhar married Anne
Murray and had issue, one surviving son — Francis

e. Christina married Roderick Mackenzie at
Camusluinie, with issue.

f. Isabel married Thomas Macrae at Camusluinie,
with issue.



IX. Hugh, son of Alexander of Inverinate. — X. Alexander of
Ardintoul. — Was at the Battles of Sheriffmuir and Glensheil.
Traditions about Him. — IX. Archibald of Ardintoul. — His
Marriage and Descendants. — Colonel Sir John Macra. — Alex-
ander of Hushinish. — His Marriage and Family.

IX. HUGH, the youngest son of Alexander of
Inverinate by his second wife, Mary Mackenzie
of Dochmaloaig. He is mentioned as one of the
leaders of the disturbance in connection with the
vacancy at Dingwall church in 1704, * and took part
in the Jacobite rising of 1715. He was wounded
in the battle of Sheriffmuir, and his name appears on
a list of "Gentlemen Prisoners" taken to Stirling
on the following day. It is said that he was
removed from Stirling to Perth, where he remained
in hospital until he was sufficiently recovered from
his wound to be able to accomplish the homeward
journey. Hugh was living at Sallachy in 1721.
He married Margaret Macleod of Swordlan, in
Glenelg, and by her had issue —

1. Alexander.

2. John, went to America 1774.

3. Roderick, went to America 1774.

4. Duncan.

l See note page 71.


5. Barbara, married Farquhar, son of Alex-
ander, with issue.

6. Mary, married G. Macculloch.

X. ALEXANDER, eldest sen of Hugh, was

appointed local factor of Kintail, and lived at
Aryugan or Ardintoul. He was one of the first
to join the Roman Catholic Mission, which has
already been referred to. As a young man lie
fought on the Jacohite side, both at Slier iffmuir
and at Glensheil, and is mentioned as taking
part in the affair of Ath nam Muileach in
1721. After the battle of Glensheil, he was for
three days among the hills without any food except
one drink of milk. It is said that on one occasion
when " Colonel Alexander Mackenzie, the next
Protestant heir to the Seaforth estates, had come to
the country with a view to take up the rents, but
finding that the people would not come into his
views nor pay him the rents they judged belonged
to Lord Seaforth, he went up from Ardelve to
Kintail with a large boat well manned, that he
might arrest some of the people and send them to
Fort-William. Alexander was up in Kintail at the
time, and observing a fellow carrying his own father
on his back to put him into the boat, his indignation
was roused. 'You silly, dastardly rascal,' said
Alexander, 'is it putting your own father in you
are,' and he set the old man at liberty. The
Colonel was in the stern of the boat and came up to
him. They grappled, and Alexander getting hold
of his thumbs, held him there until he yielded."' and


left the people alone. Alexander married, first, a
daughter of Fraser of Guisachan (or Culhokie), and
by her had a daughter, who married John Macrae,
Strathglass. On one occasion Alexander sustained
such heavy losses through a severe winter that he
became somewhat straitened in his circumstances,
and it is said that his wife, who was unwilling to
share the lot of a poor man, took advantage of a
temporary absence of her husband from home, to
pack up her effects and leave him. Circumstances,
however, turned out more favourable for Alexander
than his wife anticipated, and the tide of his
prosperity soon turned. His wife hearing of this,
decided to join him once more, and returned to his
sheiling at Glasletter, but he refused to receive her.
On her death, which occurred shortly afterwards, he
married, as his second wife, Isabel, daughter of
Alexander Macgilchrist (Macrae) of Strathglass, by
his wife, Anne, daughter of Farcpihar Macrae of
Morvich, and by her had issue —

1. Archibald.

2. Alexander.

3. Farquhar, who went to America.

4. John, a doctor. He went as surgeon of an
emigrant ship to America about 1817. The vessel
was wrecked on the return voyage off Prince Ed-
ward Island, but no lives were lost. In 1821 Dr
John himself left for Canada, along with "Alex-
ander, a brother of Mr Macrae, Dornie," and several
others from Lochalsh and Kintail, and he is men-
tioned as being at Glengarry in Canada in 1826.

5. Anne married John Macrae of Conchra.


6. Margaret married Donald Macrae, Torly-


7. Mary married Farquhar Macrae, Fadoch.
She died in 1823, leaving issue.

XI. ARCHIBALD, eldest son of Alexander by
his second wife, Isabel Macrae, was bom in 1744.
He was educated in the house of Archibald Chis-
hobn of Fasnakyle, probably by a priest, to whose
instructions he did no small credit. He was a
devout Catholic, a man of sound judgment and
high character, " a courtly old gentleman, shrewd,
practical, but warm-hearted and unobtrusively re-
ligious ; able, too, to face difficulties, the common
lot of all mortals, with the clear conscience and
stout heart of a strong and upright man." For
fully half-a-century he occupied a foremost place
in the affairs of the Seaforth estates, of which he
was for many years chamberlain. He was created
a free Burgess and Guild Brother of the Burgh of
Dingwall on the 16th October, 1789. Archibald
married on the 9th September, 1783, Janet, daughter
of John Macleod, the tenth chief of Raasay. John
Macleod was one of the Highland chiefs who enter-
tained Dr Samuel Johnson in the course of his
celebrated tour in the Hebrides in 1773. Writing
of his host on that occasion, Dr Johnson says :—
" The family of Eaasay consists of the laird, the
lady, three sons, and ten daughters. For the sons
there is a tutor in the house, and the lady is said
to be very skilful and diligent in the education
of her girls. More gentleness of manners, or a
more pleasing appearance of domestic society is not


found ill the most polished countries." 1 Archibald
died about 1830, leaving issue —

1. Flora, born 9th September, 1783, died un-
married in 1852.

2. Colonel Sir John Macra, K.C.H, who was
born on the 14th February, 1786. He obtained an
Ensign's commission in the 79th Highlanders in
1805, and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant
in the same year. His subsecpient promotions were
as follows: — Captain, 1812; Major, 1818; Lieu-
tenant-Colonel, 1821; Colonel, 1837. He was
created a Knight of the Order of Hanover (K.C.H.)
in 1827. His military career was both disting-
uished and eventful. He was present at the siege
and surrender of Copenhagen in 1807, and went to
Sweden with the army under Sir John Moore in
1808. Later on in the same year he accompanied
the British force which was sent to Portugal, and
was present in all the operations of that campaign,
including the retreat of Sir John Moore and the
battle of Corunna, on the 16th January, 1809.
From Spain he accompanied his regiment in the
Walcheren expedition, and was present at the siege
and capture of Flushing in August the same year.
At Walcheren he suffered from the fever which
caused so much havoc among the British troops,
and from the effects of which he never completely
recovered. The following year, however, he was in

IThe China tea service used by the Kaasay family at the time of Dr
Johnson's visit is now in the possession of Captain John MaeRae-Gilstrap of
Balliinore, Tigh-na-bruaich, Argyllshire, great grandson of the above-men-

tk'tiixl Janet Macleod.



the Peninsula, and served with his regiment
throughout the campaigns of 1811 and 1812, being
present at all the operations in which his regiment
took part, including the battles of Fuentes D'Onoro,
on the 5th May, 1811, and Salamanca, on the 22nd
July, 1812, the siege of Burgos in September and
October, 1812, and many smaller engagements. In
1813 he joined the staff of the Marquis of Hastings,
then Lord Moira, who in that year was appointed
Governor-General of India, and who was married to
Sir John's cousin, Flora Campbell, daughter of the
fifth Earl of Loudon, by his wife Flora, daughter of
John Macleod, tenth chief of Raasay. The Marquis
of Hastings was one of the ablest and most success-
ful of our Indian statesmen, and his rule, which
extended from 1813 to 1823, was a period of great
importance in the history of that country. In
1814 and 1815, after some severe fighting, he
succeeded in subduing the Goorkhas, who had
established a power of considerable strength m
Nepaul. But the circumstances and events to which
Lord Hastings owes his great celebrity as an Indian
ruler and statesman arose in another quarter. The
centre of India was at this time occupied by the
great Princes of the Mahratta nation, who, although
partly subdued, were still powerful, and evidently
preparing to make an effort to recover their former
greatness. Besides these restless and active enemies
there existed also a formidable body of freebooters
called the Pindarees, who had established them-
selves along the south of the Viridhya .Mountains.
During the Goorkha War the Pindarees, secretly


supported by the Mahrattas, crossed the British
frontiers and plundered and destroyed more than
three hundred villages. Lord Hastings resolved
to put an end to these robbers, and having
obtained permission to proceed against them on a
great scale, he collected forces from all parts of
India, and brought into the field the "grand army,"
with which, after a war of two years' duration —
1817-18 — the Pindarees and the Mahrattas were
completely conquered. Other native powers were
subdued at the same time, and Lord Hastings had
thus the honour of being the first to render British
authority absolutely supreme in India. In all these
operations Sir John Macra, who held the post of
Military Secretary to the Governor-General, took
an important part. He was in the field throughout
the war against the Goorkhas in 1814 and 1815,
and was with the grand army in 1817 and 1818.
At the end of 1818 he was sent home with de-
spatches announcing the successful termination of
the war, and returning immediately to India, he
continued to serve under the Marquis of Hastings,
who was now in a position to rule in peace and
to effect wise and useful changes for the good of
the people of India. The importance of Lord Hast-
ings' measures, which have been fully justified by
time, was not then appreciated by the Directors
of the East India Company, and this, together
with failing health, for he was now an old man,
induced him to leave India in 1823. In the follow-
ing year he was appointed Governor of Malta, where
Sir John, after a short visit home, joined him once


more in the capacity of Military Secretary, until
the death of the Marquis, which took place in 1825.
Sir John retired in May, 1826, after a most dis-
tinguished career of more than twenty years, which
were nearly all passed in active service. After his
retirement he lived chiefly at Ardintoul and Eaasay,
where he is still remembered by old people as a
man of frank and generous disposition and a genuine
Highlander. He was an excellent performer on the
bagpipes. He was also an amateur maker of hag-
pipes, and it is said that some of those which he
made are still to be found in the West Highlands.
He died on the 9th August, 1847, and was buried
in Kintail. A plain iron cross, which has been
placed by his nephew, Captain A. M. Chisholm, on
the wall of the old ruined church of Kilduich, marks
the place of his last rest.

3. Alexander was born on the 3rd of May,
1787. He obtained an Ensign's commission in the
75th Highlanders in 1806. He joined that regi-
ment the following year and served with it for
some time. He was for many years tacksman of
Hushinish in Harris, and was a Justice of the
Peace and a Deputy-Lieutenant of the county of
Inverness. He was a good Catholic, and was well
known in the West Highlands as a liberal and
large-hearted man. He was " pre-eminently a man
without guile,'* and it was said of him at the time
of his death, that the poor on the West Coast
lost in him "a friend who always kept his heart
open to their wants, and assisted them without
ostentation." As an amateur musician he


unusual taste and cultivation, and was an excellent
violinist. He had also a keen appreciation of the
national music and poetry of the Highlands, and
was himself an excellent type of the old Highland
gentleman, dignified, cultured, generous almost to
a fault, and in full and kindly sympathy with all that
was hest and nohlest in the character and traditions
of his countrymen. He died on the 25th January,
1874, and was buried at Kilduich. He married
Margaret, daughter of Farquhar Macrae, and by
her, who died at Strathpeffer on the 10th July,
1896, and was buried at Kilduich, had issue —

a. Janet Macleod.

b. Isabella Christian married Alister Macdonald -
Maclellan of Portree. Ceylon.

c. Archibald Alexander.
(/. John.

e. Marion Flora.

4. Isabella was born on the 6th April, 1789,
and married, in 1808, Major Colin Macrae (75th
Highlanders), Conchra family, with issue.

5. Jane was born on the 8th April, 1791, and
married, at the end of 1816, or beginning of 1817,
Donald Macrae of Achtertyre, with issue.

6. Christina, born 11th January, 1793, died

7. Mary, who was born in June, 1794, married
in 1821, Dr Stewart Chisholm, of the Royal
Artillery, who was at the battle of Waterloo, and
attained the rank of Deputy Inspector-General of
Army Hospitals. He died at Inverness in 1862,
leaving issue —


a. Archibald Macra, born 6th July, L824, late
Captain 42nd Royal Highlanders, now of Glassburn.
He is a J.P. for the counties of Ross and Inverness.
He married, 14th October, 1853, Maria Frances,
only daughter of William Dominic Lynch, and
granddaughter of the late Lewis Farquharson limes
of Balmoral and Ballogie, 1 without issue.

b. Loudon, who served in the 43rd Regiment
H.E.I.C.S., and was killed in the Burmese War in

c. Mary Stewart, who married Philip Skene,
Esquire of Skene, and died at Inverness on the 4th
January, 1895, aged 72 years, without issue.

d. Jessie Macleod married Charles O. Rolland of
Ste. Marie Monnoir, near Montreal in Canada, with

8. James, born 30th October, 179G, was an
Army Surgeon, and died, unmarried, in India, in

9. Anne, born 1st October, 1798, married
Captain Valentine Chishohn, with issue, Join: and

1 A biographical sketch, with a portrait, "1' Captain Chisholm, appeare.l
in the Celtic Monthly for February, 1893.



VIII. The Rev. John Macrae of Dingwall.— Birth and Education.
— Appointment to the Living of Dingwall. — He Supports the
Episcopal Party. — Mr Thomas Hogg and Mr John Mac-
killican. — Ecclesiastical Affairs in Dingwall after the Restora-
tion of Charles II. — Mr John's Marriages and Family. — The
Macraes of Balnain and their Descendants. — IX. Alexander
Macrae of Conchra. — His Marriage and Family. — X. John of
Conchra. — One of the "Four Johns of Scotland." — Killed at
Sheriffmuir. — His Marriage and Family. — XI. John of Conchra.
— His Marriage and Family. — XII. Major Colin of Conchra. —
His Marriage and Descendants.

VIII. JOHN, son of the Rev. Farquhar Macrae of
Kintail, was born at Ardlair on the 13th March,
1614. He received his early education at Fortrose
Grammar School, and thence proceeded to St
Andrews, where he studied under Mr Mungo
Murray, and became one of the most distinguished
students of the University. We read that he had
for his "antagonist" at St Andrews the Duke of
Lauderdale, who afterwards played so prominent a
part in public affairs during the reign of Charles II.
Upon completing his course, and taking the degree
of M.A. at St Andrews, he went to Aberdeen, where
he studied Divinity for three years under Dr Robert
Barrow, and became " a great divine and profound
schoolman." In 1638, when the Presbyterians
gained the ascendancy in the Church of Scotland


and deposed the clergy who would not subscribe
the National Covenant, 1 Mr John wished to leave
the country, but was prevented by his father, who
kept him with himself in Kintail. He had several
offers of a living at this time, hut refused to accept
any because of the necessity of signing the National
Covenant, an act which would mean the abjuration
of Episcopacy. In 1G40 the severity of the Presby-
terian measures was somewhat relaxed, and George, ,
Earl of Seaforth, presented Mr John to the living of IS
Dingwall, from which the previous incumbent had
been ejected for refusing to acknowledge the Acts of
the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland,
which met in Glasgow in 1638. Mr John entered
into possession of the living of Dingwall without
subscribing the Covenant, and continued a staunch
Episcopalian until his death. His learning and
force of character soon brought him to the front,
and he became the leader of his own party in the
Presbytery, so that there was frequent and sharp
contention between himself and the Presbyterian
party. In 1G54 the noted Covenanter, Mr Thomas
Hogg, became minister of Kiltearn, and three years
later his almost equally noted friend, Mr John
Mackillican, became minister of Fodderty. To Mr
John and his followers these two men and their

l In 1638 the Presbyterians of Scotland drew up and signed The National
Covenant, by which they bound themselves to defend their religion and then-
freedom of conscience with their lives. Hence the tern, Cav, nanU r. In 1643
this term received a further meaning in consequence of an alliance entered
into by the Covenanters and the English Parliament, called The Soli mn League
ami Covenant, by which both parties pledged themselves to mutual defence
against the king.


views on Church government were specially objec-
tionable, and the strife between the opposing parties
soon became very bitter. In 1658 Hogg's party
appear to have been in the majority. He himself
was Moderator of the Presbytery, while his friend
Mackillican was Clerk, and they took their
revenge on their opponents by recording against
them in the minutes several entries which show
much personal animosity and very little of that
spirit of Christian charity which is sometimes
claimed in Eoss-shire for Mr Hogg and his party.
In these entries they record Mr John's "needless
strife, his great miscarriage deserving censure,
his litigiousness, needless contention and intract-
ableness, his stubbornness and wilfulness, his
wearying tediousness, his misapplication of scrip-
ture, and his pertinacity and loquaciousness." 1
Matters had come to such a pass that some of the
brethren were forced to declare that the meetings of
Presbytery were " bitterness to them," and to wish
the Presbytery to be dissolved and annexed to other
Presbyteries. It was probably as a result of this
quarrel that there was no meeting of the Presbytery
from April, 1658, to May, 1663. The restoration of
Charles II. led to the establishment of Episcopacy
once more. One result of the change was the
deposition of Hogg and Mackillican, and when the
Presbytery met again in 1663 2 the objectionable

1 Inverness and Dingwall Presbytery Records, edited by William Mackay.

2 The clergy still continued to meet as a Presbytery after the Restoration
of Charles II. and the re-establishment of Episcopacy, but it appears that
their acts, in order to have any force, had to receive the sanction of the Bishop.


minutes recorded against Mr John were deleted and
marked on their margin as "shameless lying" and
" the spirit of lieing and malice." Mr John's party
was now in the ascendant, and as far as ecclesi-
astical matters were concerned the remainder of his
days were passed in peace. It is said of him that
"he was more fit for the chair" of a Professor "than
for the pulpit," and that " he gave such evidence of
his learning as the place wherein and the society he
was among would allow, and of his piety and vigil-
ance such as they could desire or expect from any,"
while his public life was creditably free from that
religious intolerance which formed so marked a
feature of the age in which he lived. He appears
also to have been a man who prospered in his
worldly affairs. He held the wadset rights of
Dornie, Aryugan, Inig, and other places in Kintail
for some years in succession to his father, and there
is a sasine in his favour, on the 18th April, 1672, of
three Oxgates of the town and lands of Craigskorrie
and several others, including the quarterlands of
Balnain in the parishes of Contin, Fodderty, and
Urray. Mr John married, first, Agnes, daughter
of Colin Mackenzie, first laird of Kincraig, and,
secondly, Florence Innes, 1 heiress of Balnain. He
died in 1673, and was buried in Dingwall. His
tombstone was to be seen in Dingwall Churchyard
until very recently, but a search made in 1897
failed to discover any trace of it. By his first wife
he had issue —

After the death of Mr John, Florence Innes married, as her second

husband, Colin Mackenzie, uncle of Murdneh Mackenzie of Fairl>urn.


1. Alexander, mentioned hereafter.

2. Duncan, who was some time Bailie of Ding-
wall. He was attorney for his father in the above-
mentioned sasine on the 18th April, 1672. He
appears to have been the father of Harry Macrae,
Bailie of Dingwall, who is mentioned in 1697, and
also subsequently, as lawful son of the late Duncan
Macrae. Bailie Harry Macrae is frequently men-
tioned in the Burgh Records of Dingwall. He is
said to have left no male issue.

3. Catherine married Donald Ross of Knock-
artie. By the marriage contract, dated 25th March,
1672, " the said Donald Ross disposed to the said
Catherine Macrae in liferent the lands of Culrichics,
in the parish of Kilmuir and shire of Ross." There
is a " renunciation by Catherine Macrae, with con-
sent of Donald Ross, late of Knockartie, and now of
Rosskeen, her spouse, in favour of the Laird of Bal-
nagown, of her liferent right by contract of marriage
of the lands of Tormore, Gartie, and Knockartie,
&c. At Apidale, 26th February, 1699."

4. Isabel, married Lachlan Mackhmon of Corrie-
chatachan, with issue. There is a tombstone to her
memory in the old Church of Kilchrist, in the parish
of Strath, Skye, bearing the date 1740.

Mr John is said to have had another daughter
by his first wife, who married Mr George Tuach.

By his second wife, Florence Lines, Mr John had
issue —

5. John, of whom below.

6. James, who succeeded, in right of his mother,
to the estate of Balnain, his elder brother John


being for some reason passed by. There is a sasine
on the llth June, 1673, on disposition by his father,
dated at Fortrose, loth August, 1672, to James and
the "heirs male to be gotten of his body, whom
failing, to return to any other son to be gotten
betwixt the said Mr John Macrae and his said
spouse (Florence Innes), and the heirs to be gotten
of that child's body : whom failing, to John Macrae,
eldest lawful son procreated between the said Mr
John Macrae and his said spouse, his heirs male and

Online LibraryAlexander MacraeHistory of the clan Macrae with genealogies → online text (page 10 of 35)