Alexander Macrae.

History of the clan Macrae with genealogies online

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settled with his family in Georgia, where their
descendants still live.

landed at Wilmington, about 1770, as mentioned
above. Thence he proceeded to Chatham County,
and lived for a time at Pocket Creek. Soon after-
wards he moved to Crane's Creek, in the same
County, and eventually settled at Little Rockfish, a
few miles south of Fayetteville, in Cumberland
County, North Carolina. Roderick married, first,
Catherine Burke, apparently a widow, and by her
had issue —

1. Colin, of whom below.

2. John, settled at or near Augusta, in Georgia.
He married, and left issue.

Roderick married, secondly, Christina Murchison,
with issue.

3. John, who was for a number of years teller of


the Commercial Bank of Wilmington, and died un-
married in 1863.

COLIN, son of Roderick, was a farmer at Little
Rockfish, where all his family were born. He was a
man of sound sense and good education, was for
many years a prominent Magistrate of his County,
and " was esteemed by all who knew him as an in-
dependent, upright, and honest man." He married
Christian, daughter of Duncan Black, and sister of
John Black, some time Sheriff of Cumberland County,
by whom he had issue as below. He died at a very
advanced age on the 8th of July, 1865 —

1. Alexander, of whom below.

2. Archibald, born on the 17th of January,

3. Isabella, born on the 9th of January, 1800.

4. Donald, born on the 19th of January, 1802.

5. Anne, born on the 26th of January, 1804.

6. John, born on the 26th of July, 1806, died
in 1883.

7. Catherine, born on the 6th of July, 1808.

8. Roderick, born on the 11th of October, 1810,
died in 1882.

ALEXANDER, son of Colin, was born at Little
Rockfish, North Carolina, on the 26th of March,
1796. When he was about eighteen years of age he
moved to Wilmington, where he engaged in various
pursuits. He was for many years president of the
Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company, and
being a man of great energy and much public spirit
was connected with most of the affairs of Wilmington
during his long, useful, and honourable life. He


volunteered as a private in the war of 1812-14, was
soon made Sergeant, and was about to be promoted
to a lieutenancy when the war ended. When the
War of Secession broke out in 18G1, although
he was then sixty-five years of age, he was
called upon because of his popularity and influence
to raise a company to aid in the defence of
Wilmington. So ready was the response to his
appeal for recruits that instead of a company he
raised a whole battalion, which became known as
" Macrae's Battalion of Heavy Artillery," and which
served under him with much distinction throughout
the war. He died at Wilmington on the 27th of
April, 1868.

Alexander married first, on the 30th of April,
1818, Amelia Ann, daughter of John Martin. She
died on the 24th of August, 1831, leaving issue —

1. John Colin, born at Wilmington, on the 10th
of March, 1819, was a Colonel in the Confederate
Army, and died unmarried on the 9th of February,

2. Archibald, born at Smith ville, on the 21st of
September, 1820, was a Lieutenant in the United
States Navy, and died on the 17th of November, 1855.

3. Alexander, born at Wilmington, on the 1st
of March, 1823, and died on the 18th of December,
1881. He married Elizabeth Chambers, with issue —

a. Caroline Amelia.

I). Elizabeth, married J. Fairfax Payne, with issue.

4. Donald, born at Wilmington on the 14th of
October, 1825, and died on the 15th of September,
1892. He married, first, Mary Savage, with issue —


a. Mary Savage, born on the 11th of December,
1851, and died on the 10th of May, 1896.

He married, secondly, Julia Norton, with issue —

b. Norton, died in childhood.

c. Agues, born on the 20th of November, 1859,
married Walter Linton Parsley, with issue —

cl. Julia, born on the 2nd of March, 1882.

c2. Anna, born on the 14th of January, 1886.

c3. Mary, born on the 25th of March, 1890, died
in infancy.

c4. Walter Linton, born on the 12th of January,
1892, died on the 8th of December, 1897.

c5. Donald Macrae, born on the 5th of October,

d. Donald, born on the 3rd of May, 1861, now
living at Wilmington, and by whom most of this
information about the Macraes of Wilmington was
communicated to the author in 1898.

e. Julia, born on the 15th of December, 1862,
died in infancy.

/ Hugh, born on the 30th of March, 1865, now
living in Wilmington. He married Rena Nelson,
with issue —

/l. Dorothy, born on the 26th of December, 1891.

f'l. Nelson, born on the 5th of June, 1893.

fi. Agnes, born on the 7th of October, 1897.

5. Henry, born at Wilmington on the 8th of
May, 1829. He was a Major in the Confederate
Army, and died on the 22nd of April, 1863. He
was married and left issue — Alice ; Mary.

Alexander married, secondly, on the 15th of
March, 1832, Anna Jane, daughter of John Martin


(his first wife's father) and his wife, Zilpah Mac-
Clammy, and by her, who died on the 17th of
October, 1842, aged thirty-five years, had issue —

6. Robert Burns, born at Wilmington on the
15th of December, 1832. He was a Major in the
Confederate Army, and died on the 28th of Decem-
ber, 1864. He was married, but left no issue.

7. William, born at Wilmington on the 9th of
September, 1834. He was a Brigadier-General in the
Confederate Army, and one of its most distinguished
soldiers. At an early age he displayed great apti-
tude for mathematics and mechanics, and, having
received an excellent education, he took up the
profession of Civil Engineer. In this capacity he
was employed for some time in surveying lines for
projected railways in North and South Carolina, and
also in Florida. On the outbreak of the war between
North and South, in 1861, he volunteered as a pri-
vate, but was soon elected Captain of a company of
the Fifteenth North Carolina Regiment, which was
placed at first in General Cobb's Brigade, and trans-
ferred the following year to General Cook's Brigade.
Macrae was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel in 1862,
Colonel in 1863, and Brigadier-General in August,
1864. His brigade consisted of five North Carolina
regiments, and had already become famous in the
war. Macrae never left it from the day he took over
the command of it until the fighting ceased, with the
surrender of General Lee, at Appomattox on the 9th
of April, 1865. Under his command it attained the
very highest degree of discipline and efficiency, and
so unbounded was the confidence of the men hi their


leader, that they considered no foe too numerous to
be attacked, nor any position too strong to be
assailed, if the order came from General William
Macrae. He fought in almost all the great battles
of the war, and was repeatedly complimented by
General Lee in general orders for personal valour
and able handling of his troops. At the battle of
Malvern Hill, he led into action a regiment three
hundred strong, and came out with only thirty-five.
At the battle of Fredericksburg, he was posted on a
hill under terrific fire, but held the ground though
he lost nearly half his men. He was in the great
battles of the Wilderness in May, 1863. At the battle
of Ream's Station, on the 25th of August, 1864, he-
captured nine pieces of artillery and more men than
he had in his own command. In April, 1865, when
General Lee, with the remnants of his brave army, was
attempting to make his way from Petersburg to the
mountains, Macrae's Brigade covered the retreat
near Farmville, and, while advancing towards Appo-
mattox, where preparations for surrender were
already being made, he attacked and drove off a
Northern force which had fallen on the waggon
trains. This is said to have been the last fight in
Virginia, and his brigade was the last of the Con-
federate troops to stack arms and surrender. General
Macrae was undoubtedly a soldier of the highest
order, and a born leader of men, possessing in an
eminent degree the power of imparting his own
courage and enthusiasm to others. Though indif-
ferent to danger himself, he was most careful of the
jives of the soldiers who fought under him and were


always ready to follow him with implicit trust. He
was a stern disciplinarian, yet not one murmur was
ever heard in his brigade against the most stringent
orders issued by him. " It was said of his company,
when he was Captain, that it was the best company
in the regiment. It was said of his brigade, when
he was Brigadier-General, that it was the best
brigade in the division. It was truthfully said of
Macrae that the higher he rose the more magnificent
his character appeared." 1

After the close of the war General Macrae filled
some important appointments as superintendent of
railways. In these positions he displayed the
highest order of ability, both as an engineer and
as an organiser of men, and was widely known
and universally respected as a man of humane and
generous disposition, and wide and enlightened
sympathies. He died unmarried at Augusta, Georgia,
on the 11th of February, 1882, and was buried at
Wilmington. 2

8. Marion, born on the 30th of November, 1835,
died in childhood.

9. Roderick, born on the 13th of September, 1838.

10. Walter Gwyn, born on the 27th of January,
1841, Captain in the Confederate Army.

Alexander married, as his third wife, Mary
Herring, without issue, and as his fourth wife,
Caroline A. Price, also without issue.

1 Memorial Address on General William Macrae, delivered at Raleigh,
North Carolina, by the Honourable B. H. Bunu.

2 The above sketch of the career of General William Macrae is compiled
mainly from a " Memorial Address " delivered at Wilmington, North Carolina,
on the 10th of May, 1890, by the Honourable Charles M. Stedmau, and from.
Uie Rev. David Macrae's book on "The Americans at Home,"



Ian Mac Fhionnla Mhic Ian Bhuidhe. — A Sheriffinuir Warrior. — ■
His Descendants.

Among the Kintail warriors who fought at Sheriff-
muir, and around whose names have gathered tradi-
tions of that fatal day, was a certain John Macrae,
known as Ian Mac Fhionnla Mhic Ian Bhuidhe
(John, son of Finlay, son of Yellow John). In the
course of the fight, he received no fewer than seven
sword cuts on his head, and was left for dead on
the field. But during the night he revived, and
resolved to make an effort, under cover of the dark-
ness, to commence the homeward journey. Having
had the misfortune to lose his shoes in the battle, he
began to search for another pair with which to equip
himself for the journey, and while thus engaged, came
across Duncan Mor Mac Alister, 1 who was lying near
him mortally wounded, and suffering from intense
thirst. John recognised him by his voice, and having
no other means of fetching water, he took one of
Duncan's shoes and brought him a drink in it.
Before Duncan expired he gave John an account of
how he received his wounds, and this account is

1 Page 198,


still preserved in the traditions of the Clan. 1
John recovered from his own wounds, and made
his way back to Kintail, where he lived to a
very advanced age. He was a great hunter, and
possessed a famous gun called An Nighean Alainn
(the beautiful daughter), which he always carried
with him, even in his old age, wherever he went.
On one occasion, as he was passing down the hills,
probably about Scatwell, on his way to Brahan
Castle, he observed a magnificent stag, which he shot
and carried on his shoulders all the way to Brahan
as a present to Seaforth. John was married, and
had issue at least one son,

DONALD, who was a soldier, and was killed in
battle in the Netherlands, probably at Fontenoy, in
1745. He was married, and left one son,

DUNCAN, who married, and left also an only son,

JOHN, who was twice married. By his first wife
he had a large family, all of whom went to Canada
and settled in the district of London. By his second
mai'riage also he had a family, the eldest of whom was

ALEXANDER, who lived at Dornie, and went
to Australia in 1852. He married in 1842 Christina,
daughter of Donald Macmillan (a connection of the
Torlysich familv), and his wife, Helen, daughter of
Alexander, son of Farquhar Macrae, a younger son of
the Inverinate family, 2 and by her had issue —

1 See chapter on legends and traditions of the clan.

2 A comparison of dates leads to the conclusion that Alexander, the grand-
father of the above-mentioned Christina, who married in 1842, could hardly
have been Alexander, son of Farquhar of Morvich, mentioned on page 84 as
having been present at the affair of Ath nan Muileach in 1721. He might
possibly have been a grandson of Farquhar of Morvich, that is to say, a son of
Farquhar Og (page 83), son of Farquhar of Morvich, younger son of Alexander
of Inverinate.


1. John, living in Victoria, Australia, married,
with issue, four sons and one daughter.

2. Donald, living at Gelantipy, near Melbourne,
and by whom the information contained in this
chapter was communicated to the author in 1898.
He is married to Agnes, daughter of Hector Armour
of Stewarton, Ayrshire, without issue.

3. John (the younger), living in Victoria.

4. Duncan, living in Victoria.

5. Alexander, living in Victoria.

6. Helen, married Angus Gillies, in Victoria,
with issue.



The McCreas of Guernsey.— Descended from the Macraes of Kin-
tail— Connection with Ulster.— Emigrated to America.— Jane
McCrea, "The Bride of Fort Edward."— Major Robert McCrea
in the American War of Independence.— Governor of Chester
Castle. — Connection with Guernsey. — His Marriages and

The McCreas of Guernsey are descended from the
Macraes of Kintail, and their connection with the
main branch of that Clan, though now lost, was
known so recently as sixty or seventy years ago. 1
This connection is borne out, not only by the tradi-
tions of the family, but also by their personal
appearance and features, which, in many instances,
are strikingly typical of the Macraes of Kintail.
The family tradition is that in the time of the
Covenanters a certain Macrae of Kintail, who had
adopted Puritanic principles, left his own country,
where those principles were held in great disfavour,
and eventually made his way to Ireland and settled
among the Puritans of Ulster. It may be pointed out

lMra Carey, who was born in 1819, and of whom mention is made here-
after, a daughter ot Major Robert McCrea of Guernsey, was shown her own
name on a family tree while on a visit as a young girl to the country house of a
gentleman uf the name Macrae in Scotland. Mrs Carey died in 1878, and
there does not appear at present to be any possibility of ascertaining who that
gentleman was,


that this tradition is not at all without an appearance
of probability, for, although no trace of Puritanism ap-
pears in Kintail until well into the eighteenth century,
yet the Macraes of Kintail were closely associated
with Dingwall during the whole of the Covenanter
period, and as they were deeply interested in the
political and religious movements of the time, it is
not at all unlikely that some of them might come
under the religious influence of the neighbouring
family of Munro of Fowlis, who were among the most
active supporters of the Covenanter movement in the
Highlands, and to whom the chief Macrae families
of the time were closely related. 1 The adoption of
Puritanic principles would, of course, be extremely
distasteful not only to the Macrae vicars of Dingwall,
but also to the leading Macrae families of Kintail,
who were such ardent Episcopalians. A Macrae
holding such principles could hardly feel comfortable
among his own people, and would not unnaturally
seek a new home among people to whom his views
would be more acceptable than they were to his own
countrymen. Whether it was the man, who left the
Highlands, himself, or one of his descendants that
afterwards went to America, is uncertain, but it was
probably one of his descendants. At all events,
some members of the family remained behind in
Ulster, where their descendants are still living.
There is a tradition among the McCreas of Guern-
sey that one of their ancestors took part in the
defence of Londonderry during the famous siege

1 Appendix F. — Alexander Macrae of Inverinate married as his second wife
a granddaughter of Hector Munro of Fowlis, who died in 1603,


of 1689, but this ancestor may have been on the
female side, as there is a further tradition of some
family connection with the Kev. George Walker, 1
who organised the defence of Londonderry on that
occasion, and was afterwards killed at the Battle
of the Boyne, in 1690, shortly after being nominated
to the Bishopric of Derry by King William III.
From Ulster a certain William McCrea 2 emigrated
to America, and from him the Guernsey family trace
their descent as below. The McCreas of Guernsey
are a family of soldiers, and have served with much
distinction in every war we have been engaged in
during the present century. There is perhaps no
other family in the United Kingdom that has held a
greater number of commissions in the Army and Navy
during the reign of Queen Victoria than the descend-
ants of Major Robert McCrea of Guernsey.

WILLIAM McCREA went to America about
1710 or 1715, and was an elder in White Clay
Creek Church, near Newark, Delaware. His watch
and seal were in the possession of his descendants in
America in 1831. He married a Miss Creighton,
and had a son,

THE REV. JAMES McCREA, who was born at
Lifford, in the county of Londonderry, in Ireland,

1 One version of this tradition is, that the Rev. George Walker himself was
a McCrea by birth, and that the surname Walker was only an adopted one.

2 There is a tradition in the family that the ancestor who Bed from Ross-
shire changed his name from Macra or Macrae to McCrea, as a mark of his
complete religious severance from his family, but the spelling of the name is a
matter of no genealogical consequence whatever. At that time there was
frequently no fixed spelling of names, and this name appears in various forms,
M'Crea included, in Ross-shire documents of the period.


before his father left that country. He is mentioned
as a Presbyterian Clergyman of Scotch descent and
devoted to literary pursuits. He married, first, a
Miss Graham, who was dead before 1754, and,
secondly, Catherine Rosebrooke, who, after his death,
married Richard Macdonald. She died in July, 1813,
and was buried next her son Philip at Sanaton. By
his first marriage the Rev. James had issue —

1. John, who was educated for the law, and
settled in the city of Albany. " A man highly
respected in his day." He was a Colonel in the
American Army during the War of Independence,
and was the Colonel John McCrea mentioned in
connection with the murder of his sister Jane,
of whom below. He died in May, 1811. He mar-
ried Eva Bateman, by whom he had issue —

a. Sally, who was dead in 1831.

6. James, a Councillor at Law. He settled on a
large estate at Balston, Central Saratoga, in the
Province of New York, about 1816, and was alive in
1842, but appears to have left Balston for Ohio.
He married and had issue —

61. John Beckman (or Bateman), who was a
lawyer at Balston in 1831.

62. James, who was living at Balston in 1831,
and was then twenty-four years of age.

63. Catherine Mary, who was living at Balston
in 1831, and was then eighteen years of age.

64. Stephen, who was also living at Balston in
1831. He was then fourteen years of age, and
was the possessor of a watch and seal which had
belonged to his great-great-grandfather, William



2. Mary, who married the Rev. Mr Hauna, an
American, and had with other issue—

a. James, who was " settled in Pensylvania " in
1816, an Attorney- General.

b. John, who was a " Member of Congress." He
had a house and land " three miles south of Balston
Spay or Springs," and was dead in 1816.

3. William, who also had a house and land
three miles from Balston Spayor Springs, and was
dead in 1816. He married "General Gordon's
sister." She was alive in 1816, and had two
children, one of whom was called

a. Maria. She married a Mr Macdonald, who
was dead in 1833, and by whom she had two
children, who appear to have both died young. She
married, secondly, a Mr Staat, apparently without
issue. She was living in 1842.

4. Jane, died young.

5. James, who was born in 1745. He lived at
Balston, and died on the 7th May, 1826. He
married, and his wife was dead in 1816. He had
issue, at least, one son,

a. John, who was a Clergyman in Ohio in 1831,
and was married and had daughters.

6. Samuel, married a Miss Sloane, of New
Jersey, who was dead in 1816. He settled at
Balston, and had issue —

a. Samuel, who with his wife and four daughters
were living at Balston in 1842. He is mentioned in
that year as the only member of the McCrea family
then living at Balston. According to another
account, there were descendants of the McCrea


family still living at Balston and in other parts of
the State of New York in 1888. 1 In 1842 he had
issue — Mary Ann, Caroline, Elizabeth, Jane.

6. William, dead in 1830.

c. John, living in Virginia in 1831.

d. Mary, married Judge Betts.

e. Another daughter, unmarried in 1831.

7. Gilbert, married a Miss Meshet, and had
several children. He settled in Kentucky, and was
dead in 1816. His widow was alive in 1842.

8. Jane, who is said to have been born at Bed-
minster (now Leamington), New Jersey, in 1753,
though there is some reason to believe that she was
born before that date. She is known as " The bride
of Fort Edward," and was killed on the 27th of July,
1777, at Fort Edward, near Albany, on the Hudson
River, by an Indian, under circumstances which have
given her name a very prominent place in Anglo-
American history. She is described, on the authority
of persons who knew her, as " a young woman of
great accomplishments, great personal attractions,
and remarkable sweetness of disposition. She was
of medium stature, finely formed, and of a delicate
blonde complexion. Her hair was of a golden brown
and silken lustre, and, when unbound, trailed on the
ground." It would be quite impossible in the limited
compass of the present notice to give even a summary
of all that has been written about the death of this
young woman, or of the various versions which exist
of that tragic occuiTence. The outstanding facts

l Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, published at New York


are as follows :— After the death of her father, Miss
McCrea, who was engaged to a young man named
David James, an officer in the British Army, appears
to have lived with her eldest brother, John, who, as /
already mentioned, was a Colonel in the American
Army. As a natural result of opposite sympathies
with regard to the war, there arose an estrangement
between Colonel McCrea and David James. 1 Miss
McCrea resolved, however, to remain faithful to her
lover, and when the time appointed for their marriage
arrived, he sent a body of loyal Indians to escort her
safely from her home to the British Camp, where the
marriage was to take place. But on the way two of
the Indians appear to have quarrelled as to who
should have the honour of presenting her to the
bridegroom and receiving the promised reward. In
the course of the quarrel one of the Indians became
furious, and resolving that if he himself could not
receive the reward neither should his opponent,
struck Miss McCrea on the head with his tomahawk,
and killed her on the spot, He then carried the
scalp of his victim into the British Camp, where it
was soon recognised by the length and the beauty of
the hair. On the following day her body was re-
covered, and buried by her brother, Colonel John
McCrea. David James never recovered from the
shock caused by the tragic death of his bride.
Shortly afterwards he resigned his Commission in
the Army, and though he lived for many years he

1 In "The Tartans and the Clans of Scotland," with historical notea by

Online LibraryAlexander MacraeHistory of the clan Macrae with genealogies → online text (page 17 of 35)