Angus Macdonald.

The clan Donald (Volume 3) online

. (page 27 of 48)
Online LibraryAngus MacdonaldThe clan Donald (Volume 3) → online text (page 27 of 48)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

The Hon. Alexander Macdonald occupied a dis-
tinguished position in the public life of Canada, and



'd58 THE CLAN DONALD.

was highly esteemed both in his public and private
character. He was an enthusiastic Hig-hlander.
who loved his country, his people, and their
language. He married Anne, daughter of James
Smith of Henricks, Long Island, and had by her —

L Allan, who succeeded him.

2. James, Collector of Inlaud Revenue, who married, in

1835, Margaret Leah, daughter of Hon. Samuel
Smith, Colonel of the Qneen's Rangers, and Member
of the Executive Council of Upper Canada, and had
by her —

(a) Alexander, who died unmarried.

(b) Samuel Smith, who succeeded his uncle in the repre-

sentation of the family.

(c) John Greenfield, who died unmarried,

(d) James George, who married Anne Jane, daughter of

Ralph AValsh, Lancaster, England (1) James
Alexander Greenfield ; (2) Allan, who died April,
1895 ; (3) John George ; (4) son, wdio died in
infancy; (5) Margaret Jane ; (6) Jessie Heinretta;
(7) Olive Beatrice.

(e) Ronald Duncan, who died young.

(f) Helen, who died young.

(g) Emily Isabella, who married, in 1872, William George

M'William^s, Barrister-at-law, with issue.

(h) Margaret, who married, in 1873, John Beverley
Robinson, grandson of Sir John Beverley Robin-
son, Bart., with issue.

(i) Jessie Louisa, who married Arthur Bagshaw Harrison,
Major, late 10th Royal Grenadiei's.

3. Angus Duncan, who mari'ied Pauline-Rosalie, daughter

of John P. De La Haye. He died August 8, 1894,
and had —

(a) John De La Haye.

(b) Angus Claude, Barrister-at-law.

(c) Archibald Hayes, Lieut. Royal Canadian Regiment of

Infantry.

(d) Allan Stuart, of Lindsay, Barrister-at-law.

(e) Henrietta, who married W. M. German of Welland,

Barrister-at-law.



THE f4ENEALOGY OF CLAN DONALD. 359

(f) Helen, a nun in Loretto Convent, Toronto.

(g) Margaret, who married Louis M. Hayes, of Peterboro,

Barrister-at-law.
(h) Marie-Pauline.

4. Alexander, Earrister-at-law, born 19th Sept., 1820—

unmarried.

5. Samuel Smith, bora 23rd Feb., 1823, of Windsor, Essex,

Barrister-at-Iaw, Q.C., D.C.L. He married Helen
Gillis, daughter of Col. Daniel Brodhead of Brookline,
Boston, U.S.A., and had by her —

(a) Daniel, who died in infancy.

(b) Archibald, Inspector N.W.M. Police, who married

Mary Maud, daughter of Colonel Campbell of
Kingston, with issue.

(c) Henrietta- Aylmer, who married John Morley.

(d) Cornelia-Brodhead, who married Adam W. Anderson.
(b) Ellen-Gertrude, who married John Wallace.

6. Helen-Anne, who died in infancy.

7. Henrietta, who married George Edward Aylmer, Major

93rd Highlanders, with issue. He died March 3,
1844.

The Hon. Alexander Macdonald died 18th March,
1842, and was succeeded by his son,

VII. Allan, Barrister-at-law, and Sheriff of the
Gore district. He died unmarried, 9th September,
1888, and was succeeded in the representation of the
family by his nephew,

VIII. Samuel Smith Macdonald, who was
born 15th March, 1838, and married, 19th November,
1872, Mary Jane, daughter of Alexander Fisher,
and has by her —

1. James Arthur Edward, born 13th May, 1886.

2. Florence Mary.

3. Leila Isabella.

THE CLAN GODFBEY.

This tribe, known in their native Uist as " Siol
Ghorraidh" or " Siolachadh Ghorraidh," derives its
origin from



360 THE CLAN DONALD.

I. Godfrey, youngest son of John, Lord of the
Isles, by -his first wife, Amie Macruari. Godfrey
obtained from his father a grant of the island of
North Uist, but whether the Charter was a verbal
one or was embodied in the form of parchment there
seems to have been no attempt to secure the royal
confirmation. Godfrey, Lord of Uist, \^ho is
described in an historical document of his time as
" Strenuus vir," probably believed more in the strong
hand than in the efiicacy of writs, a fact from which
his posterity no doubt suffered in times when more
value was attached to these evidences of ownership.
According to the historian of Sleat, Godfrey also
held the lands of Skeirhough, Benbecula, and Bois-
dale, in South Uist, after the death of his brother
Reginald ; but of these further possessions having
been his, we have no decisive evidence. After 1386,
which year Ranald died, Godfrey seized the lordship
of Garmoran, and until his death in 1401 exercised
the powers of a feudal baron over the mainland and
island territories of Clanranald. At what he styles
his Castle of Ellantirrim, he dates a charter in which
he calls himself Lord of Uist. In this Deed he
granted to the Monastery of St John the Evangelist
in Inchaffray and the Convent of the same, the
Church of the Holy Trinity in Carinish, and
the 4 merklands of Illera between Husabost
and Kenearach, with all the advantages with
which Christina, the daughter of Allan, the
true heiress thereof, and Reginald, called Macruari,
the real lord and patron, had granted the same
chapel. Godfrey acted a prominent part in matters
connected with the lordship of the Isles after his
brother Ranald's death, and although he accepted
the superiority of Donald as head of the race, he evi-



The genealogy of clan donald. 361

dently took the lead in various negotiations. On
14th June, 1388, the King of England gave a Com-
mission, fully recorded and signed at Westminster,
addressed to the venerable prior John, Bishop of the
South Isles (Sodorensis), to form an alliance with
Godfrey (strenuo viro), while letters patent are also
directed to the same bishop to adopt a similar course
with the strenuous men, Donald and John, his
brothers. He was alive in 1400, for in that year
his son Angus is styled the son of Godfrey of the
Isles, but, as already stated, he died the following
year. According to the MS. of 1450, an unimpeach-
able document touching contemporary genealogical
facts, Godfrey had four sons —

1. Angus.

2. John.

3. Somerled.

4. Ranald.

Whoever Alexander MacGorrie or Macruari of Gar-
moran was who was executed by James I. in 1427,
he could hardly have been a son of Godfrey, in view
of his exclusion from the above list. The use by the
chronicler of the patronymic Macruari rather than
MacGorrie seems conclusive against the hypothesis
of Skene and Gregory that he was a son of Godfrey,
Lord of Uist. The conjecture has been advanced,
not without plausibility, that the individual in ques-
tion — Alexander Macruari — was really a Macmahon,
and an early representative of the Matheson tribe.
Be this as it may, Godfrey, Lord of Uist, was
succeeded by his oldest son,

II. Angus. We have it on record that on 8th
June, 1400, Angus entered into a marriage contract
with Margaret junior, daughter of Margaret, Lady
of the Aird, who represented a family of great



362 THE CLAN DONALD.

importance in that region of Inverness-shire. The
contract, which was drawn out at Dumballoch, in
the Parish of Kirkhill, contains stipulations as to
the future enjoyment of the lands bestowed upon
the young couple by the mother of the bride.
These lands consisted of the davoch of Croicheil and
the half davoch of Comar Kinbady, with pertinents
amounting to 1 5 merklands, and they were entailed
upon Angus and his wife and heirs begotten of
them ; but failing issue,, they were to revert to the
wife's family. That Angus was a man of con-
sequence in the north appears further from a
document of 6th August, 1420, contained among
the Moray writs, in which William the Graham
resigned into the hands of Thomas, Earl of Moray,
the barony of Kerdale. At the drawing out of the
Deed of Resignation, a number of notables were
present, including John, Bishop of Ross ; Eugene
Eraser, baron of Lovat ; John Macloyd, lord of
Glenelg ; and Angus Gothrason of the Isles. Angus
dying without issue, about 1430, and John and
Somerled, the other sons of Godfrey, having left
no trace either in history or tradition, he was suc-
ceeded by his youngest brother,

III. Ranald, son of Godfrey. He settled in the
Paible district of North Uist, in a place since his
day known as Balranald, so called after Ranald, the
son of Godfrey. Tradition says he was the first to
introduce into North Uist the feudal custom of
" herezeld," or giving to the laird the best horse in
the stable of a tenant or vassal who had died. Like
his brother and father, Ranald was undoubtedly
undisputed lord of North Uist. He died in 1440.
He had two sons, whose names appear on record —

1. Alexander.

2. John.



THE GENEALOGY OF CLAN DONALD. 363

ly. Alexander, the older son of Raoald, suc-
ceeded in the lordship of North Uist, but very little
is known of him beyond the fact. He is clearly
identified in the MacVurich MS., though the links
of the genealogy are singularly inaccurate. The
Clanranald Seanachie does sometimes trip when he
goes beyond the family of his own patrons. He
chronicles events which transpired in the year 1460,
and, among others, he tells that " In that year died
Alexander, the son of Godfrey's son . . . laird
of the northern end of Uist." Alexander left no
male issue, and the succession devolved upon his
brother,

y. John, the son of Ranald. John appears in a
list of the Council of John, Earl of Ross, who acted
as witnesses to a charter granted by that potentate
to Thomas, younger of Dingwall, on 12th April,
1463. He appears as " Joannes Ranaldi Goffridi,"
along with Donald Balloch of Dunnyveg and the
Glens, Celestine of Lochalsh, Ranald Bane of Largie,
and others. Although John thus appeared to possess
considerable influence and prestige, he was the last
of the family to occupy the position of a territorial
magnate. He probably died before 28th June, 1469,
for it was at that date that John, Earl of Ross,
bestowed a charter for extensive territories upon his
own brother Hugh, including the lordship of North
Uist, hitherto the patrimony of the Clan Godfrey.
Presumably the family of John, son of Ranald Mac-
Godfrey, found it difficult to compete with the in-
fluential pretensions of the brother of the Lord of the
Isles, as immediate vassals of that potentate.

Though Godfrey's family thus terminated terri-
torially, they did not disappear. They continued —
at least many of them did — in their " kyndlie



364 THE CLAN DONALD.

rowmes " as tenants of the family of Sleat. John,
the last lord of the Clan Gorraidh, who possessed
North Uist, had two sons —

1. Donald, who succeeded him at Balranald.

2. Godfrey, who received an invitation from the men of Loch-

aber to become the successor of Iain Aluinn, the deposed
chief of Keppoch. He was third cousin to the last
chief, and being the son of the head of the Clan Gorrie
was regarded as hereditarily fit to assume the chief-
ship of another branch of the family of the Isles.
Godfrey accepted of the invitation, largely' no doubt
on the ground that his hereditary position at home
had lost the ancient prestige. Eventually, however,
the claims of nearer kmship prevailed with the
descendants of Alastair Carrach, and Alexander the
sou of Angus, uncle to the deposed chief, was elected
to the chiefship. it is clear, however, that Godfrey
remained in Lochaber and settled on the lands of
Tirnadrish, where, during the sixteenth and seven-
teenth centuries his descendants were numerous.
Godfrey had two sons who appear on record —

(a) Alexander.

(b) Donald, who lived at Blarourbeg, and left several

sons.
Godfrey of Tirnadrish died c. 1548, and was succeeded
there by his son —

2. Alexander. He married, and had four sons —

(a) Alexander.

(b) Godfrey.

(c) Donald.

(d) Angus.

Alexander died c. 1580, and was succeeded by his
eldest son,

3. Alexander. He died c. 1615, and was succeeded by the

only son that appears on record —

4. Godfrey, If his memory is not greatly maligned in the

traditions of Lochaber, he was one of the party that
discovered the hiding place of the persecuted Mac-
gregors near his own dwelling at Tirnadrish, in con-
sequence of which the Macgregors were taken by
c their pursuers and put to death. Afterwards the



TtlE GENEALOGY OF CLAN DONALD. 365

headless spectre of a slain Macgregor was said to
haunt him, and at last when one of the survivors took
refuge in Godfrey's house on some pretence, the latter
was panic-stricken at the sight of the supposed spectre,
and the Macgregor stabbed hira to the heart. Such
is the tradition, whatever its historical value may
amount to. He died about 1640, and was succeeded
by hi.s son,

5. Alexander, who appears on record in that year. Alex-
ander's name is mentioned in the submission to
Governnier.t by Coll Macdonald of Keppooh in 1691.
He was succeeded at Tirnadrish by his son,

6. Archibald, known as Gilleasbuig Mor Thirnadrish, and

his tombstone is still to be seen in the burying-
ground at Cille Chaoraill, a curiously carved stone
with his name inscribed and the date of his death,
1720. After him the lands of Tirnadrish fell into
the hands of Kanald Macdonald, bother to Coll of
Keppoch, after which such of the Sliochd Ghorraidh
as were still to the fore have been lost trace of.
VI. Donald, the son of John, succeeded his
father at Balranald as tenant of the family of Sleat.
We find him here flourishing in the time of the
sons of Hugh of Sleat, of whom he was a con-
temporary. Hugh Macdonald, the Seanachie of the
Clann Uisdein, describes an episode in Donald's
family life of which Angus Collach, son of Hugh,
was the hero, and which led to fierce and sanguinary
feuds, to which reference has been made in Vol. II.
Donald married a lady of the Clanranald family, a
daughter of Ranald Ban Allanson, r2th Chief He
had at least two sons —

1. His successor at Balranald, name unknown.

2. Godfrey, who settled at Vallay.

Foi at least two hundred years his descendants
occupied Balranald, and with other branches of the
Clann Goriaidh engaged in many feuds, particularly
with a tribe of Macdonalds — the Siolachadh



366 THE CLAN DONALD.

Mhurchaidh. This sept is said to have been des-
cended from an individual of the name of Murdoch, a
natural son, according- to the Sleat historian, of Anffus
Mor of Isla, and was numerous in North Uist, the
only region where, so far as we are aware, they had
a local habitation and a name. A tradition has
been handed down in Uist regarding a strange
weird act of vengeance perpetrated upon the
Siolachadh Mhurchaidh by the Clan Gorraidh.
Loch Hosta in North Uist at present adjoins the
fai'ms of Hosta and Baleloch, and it is said that in
olden times the hollow now occupied by this sheet
of water was dry, a ad inhabited by a settlement of
Siolachadh Mhurchaidh. To the east, and on a
higher elevation on the moor, was a lake, and
the scheme of retribution concocted by the Siol
Ghorraidh took the form of opening a way for its
waters, so that their course might be directed down-
wards upon the unfortunate hamlet. The operation
was with little difficulty carried through owing to
the character of the moorland, and the lake let loose
rushed down into the hollow at Hosta, through the
channel of a burn now known as Amhainn Ealaidh,
thereby submerging the habitations, and drowning
many of the Siol Mhurchaidh. The night on which
this terrible scheme was executed, a Clan Gorraidh
piper composed and played a piobroch of savage
vindictiveness, to which the words were wont to be
sung —

" thr^igh gu tr^igh Siolachadh Mhurchaidh."

The links of the genealogical succession of Godfrey's
descendants at Balranald have not been preserved
either in record or tradition up to the time of
Donald Macdonald in Paiblisgeary, whom we find in
1723 witnessing the Bond of Uist men in favour of



THE GENEALOGY OF CLAN DONALD. 367

securing the forfeited Estates of Sleat to the family
in occupation. He had three sons —

1, Hugh Macdonald, known in his day as Uudean Ban.
He lived at Paible, in North Uist, but was also tenant
of Balranald after his father's death, holding it from
Macdonald of Griminish, wadsetter. In 1777 he left
North Uist, ajid got a tack of the lands of Torluui in
Benbecula from the Clanranald of the day. On 6th
September, 1786, having left Torlum, he received
from John Macdonald of Clanranald a tack of the
farm of Kilpheder, in the Boisdale district of South
Uist, and the same year succeeded to a tack of Dali-
burgh on the same property, which had been held
by his brother Alexander, who died without issue.
Uislean Ban was well known and respected in his day
as a man of remarkable natural gifts and a very
accomplished genealogist and folk-lorist. He sup-
plied Donald Grregory, author of the " Highlands and
Isles of Scotland," with a genealog}' of the Mac-
donalds of Sleat and Clanranald, which, for a purely
traditional utterance, is conspicuous for its accuracy.
It was written down at Balranald, in North Uist, on
the 10th August, 1800, and is preserved among the
Gregory Collections. One of the most interesting
pieces of evidence regarding the authenticity of Mac-
pherson's Ossian was also written down from the
dictation of Hugh Macdonald at Tighary, in North
Uist, on 12th August, 1800. Hugh married, and
had
(a) James, a most accomplished man and a minister of
the Church of Scotland. He was born at Paible,
in North Uist, in 1771, and had his University
education in Aberdeen, where he took his degree
of A.M. in 1789. In 1795 he was licensed by
the Presbytery of Edinburgh, and was presented
to the parish of Easter Anstruther in 1798, his
ordination following on 18th April, 1799. Having
been called to discharge an important duty at a
distance from Anstruther, he demitted his charge
on 3rd October, 1804. He made a tour of the
Continent in company with Mac<lonald of Clan-



368 THE CLAN DONALD.

ranald, and afterwards travelled with Sir Evan
Macgregor, but in the course of a voyage in 1808
was shipwrecked on the coast of Ireland, and
received injuries from which he never fully
recovered. He died at Edinburgh on 18th April
in the 39th year of his age. Mr Macdonald was
a scholar and a man of letters, aud his " General
View of the Agriculture of the Hebrides" (Edin.
1811, 8vo.) is a most able and masterly state-
ment. He also published " Travels through
Denmark and part of Sweden," " Translation of
part of Carsewell's Prayer Book," as well as
articles in Brewster's Encyclopaedia. He married
Janet, daughter of the Rev. Principal Playfair of
St Andrews, without issue. His widow died
20th October, 1864, aged 86.
(b) Donald, who succeeded his father as Tacksman of
Kilpheder and Daliburgh. He married Penelope,
daughter of Angus Macdonald, 4th of Milton, by
his wife Margaret, daughter of Colin Macdonald
of Boisdale. By her he had a daughter,
Penelope, who married John Maclellan, Tacksman
of Drimore, with issue. He had also a son, John,
who was successively Tacksman of Keill in Eigg,
and Coillechronain in Mull. John married Ann,
daughter of Rev. Roderick Maclean, South Uist,
by whom he had four sons — (a) Hugh ; (o)
Roderick, died unmarried ; (c) Donald ; (r/)
James, died unmarried— and two daughters — (a)
Mary, who married Alexander Maclean, of the
Killiunduin family, with issue, one daughter,
Elizabeth, married to Mr David Niven, Glasgow ;
and (b) Normana.
Donald had also a daughter, Flora, who married, as
his first wife, Roderick Macdonald, Cunambuintag,
Benbecula, with issue, one son, James, who died
while prosecuting his studies for the ministry.

Hugh of Kilpheder had a daughter, Ann, who died
unmarried at Keill, Eigg. Hugh of Kilpheder died
at an advanced age towards the end of the second
decade of the 19th century.
2. Alexander, son of Donald, and brother of Hugh of
Kilpheder. He received a Tack of the farm of



THE GENEALOGY OF CLAN DONALD. 369

Daliburgh in 1777, where he died in 1786, without
issue.
3. Donald Ban, who lived at Paible. He married Marion,
daughter of Arcliibald Ban Grianan Baleshare, and
had a son, John, who was father of the Rev. Hugh
Macdonald, successively minister of Bernera and
Trumisgarry, and of Rev. Alexander Macdonald, who
was minister of Stenscholl, Skye.

Having thus, so far as materials avail, disposed of
the genealogy of the Clangorry of Balranald, we
turn to that of the descendants of the younger son
of Donald, son of John, lord of Uist. This was —

1. Godfrev, the son of Donald, from whom this branch of

the tribe were called Mac Gorry as late as the
17th centurv. He is mentioned by Hugh Macdonald,
the Sleat Seanachie, as "Macdonald of Vallay " at
the time of the death of Gilleasbuig Dubh, son of
Hugh, at the hands of his nephews, Donald Gruamach
and Ranald, son of Donald Hen-ach. He thus
flourished during the first half of the 16th century.
He had two sons —

(a) Alexander, his successor.

(b) John. He had a son, Ranald, who is referred to in a

caption at the instance of Sir Donald Macdonald,
1st Baronet of Sleat, against Clauranald and
various tenants in Benbecula and Skeirhough
Godfrey was succeeded at Vallay by his son,

2. Alexander, known as Alastair MacGorraidh. He had

two sons —

(a) Donald.

(b) Alexander. He had a son, Angus, who, according to

MacVurich, followed the banner of Donald of
Clanranald during the Civil Wai*s of Charles I.,
and was among the gentlemen who landed with
him at Caolas Staolaidh after his Irish campaign
in 1648. He appears on record as " Alastair Mac-
Gorraidh."

(c) John Dow MacGorraidh, who appears on record in

1636, with his brother Alexander and many
others, to whom the serious attention of the

24



370 THE CLAN DONALD.

Privy Council was directed to the extent of
Decreet of Horning, for having, under the leader-
ship of John Macdonald of Clanranald, boarded
and robbed the ship " Susannah."

Alexander second of Vallay was succeeded
there by his older son,
3. Donald. He appears on record in 1614 as witness to a
sasine in favour of Donald Gorm Mor of lands in
Uist and elsewhere as " Donald Mac Gorry in Valay."
In the traditional genealogy of the tribe, he comes in
as " Donihnull Odhar Mac Alastair 'ic Gorraidh.''
In his time this branch of the Siol Ghorraidh
lost their tenure of Vallay through the earth hunger
of other individuals who had the ear of the powers
that were. The tradition is that the proprietor of
North Uist — presumably Domhnull Gorm Og, the
first Baronet of Sleat — was on a visit to that island
collecting rents. The stone on which he or his baillie
was wont to sit at the receipt of custom — at or near
Ceann traigh Bhalaidh, the head of the Sands of
Vallay — is still pointed out. The chief was travelling
on foot, and in his progress to the west side had to
cross a large tract of sand, near which was a deep
pool. Here there was observed a seal swimming
about and disporting itself in the waters of Faodhail
Mhor — the big ford. The chiefs curiosity was roused
to get near the phoca, and if possible capture it, a
feat not easily performed. One of his company,
however, remarked that if they had one of the young
Macdonalds of Vallay — sons of Donald — he might be
able to shoot the seal and secure it for the chief. A
messenger having been sent, the youngest of the three
sons came upon the scene, and having caused the
whole company to retire to a distance, he fixed his
bow and arrow, and the seal putting up his head to
breathe, young Macdonald discharged his arrow so
effectually that it went in at one eye and out at the
other. Sir Donald was so well pleased with the expert-
ness of the young archer that he asked what he could
do for him. It then came out that the family were
under warning to remove, and as the place had been
promised to another tenant, it appeared that they



THE GENEALOGY OF CLAN DONALD. 371

could not be left at Vallay, They, however, got the
farm of Malaglate, on the opposite side of the Vallay
ford, and it is not long since the ruins of the home-
stead were pointed out as Totaichean Mhic Gorraidh,
Mac Gorry's ruins. To illustrate the dexterity of
Mac Gorry's sons as archers, there was a stone cross
at a place in Vallay called Leathad na croise — the
declivity of the cross — which contained three holes,
and tradition has it that in the course of their
practice the three brothers used to select a hole each
for himself, and firing simultaneously, it was found,
as a rule, that each man's arrow was, in the proper
hole.

As already stated, Donald Mac Gorry and as many
more of his tribe as lived in Vallay had to remove,
Donald himself and his family settling at Malaglate.
It was probably at this time that some of the Clan
Gorry moved to the Clanranald country of Benbecula
and South Uist, so that in 1622 we find Ranald MacEan



Online LibraryAngus MacdonaldThe clan Donald (Volume 3) → online text (page 27 of 48)