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Amelia Volume 2 chapter 16


[page 213]
THERE is distinct evidence to show that from John dhu McEan chaim op apud Stronmelochan 1415, Founder of the House of Glenstray and Dowlagneir, to Archibald MacGregor alias Graham of Kilmanan who died not long after 1707, the line of representation can be traced; i.e. for a period of nearly 300 years. The Fortingal Obituary and the Black Book of Taymouth prove the links to the death of Gregor Roy in 1570, and the Public Records of Privy Council &a continue the chain to the death of Archibald of Kilmanan, whose ancestor was Alastair the Father of Gregor Roy. This main stem has perhaps never been distinctly demonstrated till the present work and was certainly not known to the writer of the Memoir in the" Baronage." In Vol I, chapter v, where a genealogical table is given, the remark is made that it is not known which of John Cam McGregor of Glenurchay's two sons, Gregor McAne Chaim, or John dhu McEan chaim, was the senior, but through circumstances, at all events, the race of the latter established the position of Captain and eventually of Chief which title after Glenfruin and the subsequent severe measures, was reduced to that of Laird of McGregor. Granting the distinction achieved by the line of John McEan chaim, yet on the death of its latest representative Archibald son of Ewin, son of Duncan McEwen of Moirinshe, son of Ewin first Tutor of Glenstray son of Alastair, [1]   Sir John claimed that the Chiefship by right of blood devolved on the representative of Duncan Ladosach Great Grandson of Gregor McAne chaim VicGregor.
[page 214]
We return to Patrick eldest son of Duncan Abborach. He is stated to have fought under Montrose and to have been very active at the Battle of Kilsyth but he was not the leader of the Clan on that occasion, Patrick Laird of McGregor having had the command. Patrick, son of Duncan Abborach, married Marion daughter of MacDonald of Auchatrichatan Chieftain of a tribe of the MacDonalds in Glencoe, by whom he had three sons.

From the "Baronage":-

"MacGregor of MacGregor.
1. John, heir and successor of Patrick XVIII.
2 James a Major in the Army, he went to America and there married, he was eventually killed by a party of rebel Indians but is sald to have left descendants since flourishing at New York.
3 Duncan who was reckoned one of the bravest men of his time, he died unmarried.'

XIX. 'John of MacGregor who was like his father a steady loyalist. In the year 1689 he joined the royal party with his Clan, they continued in arms till the other Highland Clans dispersed.'

"Soon afterwards an Act was made by King William intitled an ‘Act for erecting a justiciary in the Highlands' at the end of which a short clause was thrown in rescinding King Charles II's act restoring the MacGregors" to their name."

The following paragraph is also taken from the "Baronage ":-

"The Clan of MacGregor being of new provoked by the said Act resolved to be revenged of a great family in their neighbourhood, and to put John in the possession of the Estate of his predecessor in resentment of the cruel oppressions they brought on the clan; But John however sensible of their misfortunes yet unwilling to be the cause of so much bloodshed or to make the sons suffer for the horrid actions of their fathers, argued the Clan out of their resolution.

By Ann, daughter of MacGregor of Roro he had a son John, his heir, and several other children of whom Mr Robert McAIpin, Gregor MacAlpin an eminent planter in Antigua, Donald a Captain in the Royal Americans [page 215] of whose bravery and conduct General Murray made mention in some of his letters to the Secretary of State."
The exact time of John's death is not known."


MACGREGOR OF ARDLARICH. This Family in Rannoch claimed to be closely connected with the House of Glenstray, which is probable, although no direct evidence to that effect can be adduced. "One MS. account states that 'In the year 1500 the 32 merkland of the Slios Mhin on north side of Loch Rannoch was divided into three divisions, the western division consisting of Dunan, Kinchlacher &c comprehending the 11 merkland west of the river Ericht, was held by Alexander mor a younger son of Roro and notwithstanding the Charter possessed by Sir Robert Menzies Sep.1, 1502, to the 32 merkland, Alexander More and his descendants maintained their right of occupancy until April 22, 1675, when Patrick MacGregor in Dunan took a wadset from Sir Alexander Menzies of the 2 merkland of Kinclacher under reversion of 500 merks scots.

"The middle division, consisting of the 12 merkland comprehending Ardlaraich, Kilchonan &c was possessed by Gregor MacGregor who died in the island of Loch Rannoch July 31, 1526, he was the son of John McEwne vich Allester MacGregor brother of Glenstray. The last of this family was Captain Robert MacGregor who commanded the MacGregor company raised in Rannoch for Prince Charles' army 1745.”

The details of the family of John McEwin vic Alastair are given in Vol. 1. [2]   of this Work quoted from the Black Book of Taymouth with additional particulars regarding his sons, the youngest of whom is men¬tioned as having died 1526 as stated. Mr MacGregor Stirling adopting the view of the MS. given above calls this Gregor the ancestor of Ard¬laraich. The impossibility of this theory is proved. [3]   Another account by some of the Ardlaraich family claims near relationship with the old family of Glenstray, but allows that the actual link is wanting. Colonel Hugh MacGregor's MS. remarks
[page 216]
"The first of whom, MacGregor of Ardlaraich, is said to have been an illegitimate son of the Laird of MacGregor. About the 13th century MacGregor of Ardlaraich assisted by Duncan Robertson of Strowan banished from the North side of Loch Rannoch a tribe called Clann an Lea, who were in the Baliol interest."

This lays claim to a very early descent, but the action could not have been before the 15th century considering the records given in the Chronicle of Fortingal.

The following account is compiled from a memoir by Lieutenant Alexander MacGregor in Innerhaddon, with additional notes from the Records in explication.

"It is universally admitted by the oldest MacGregors in Rannoch in their traditional histories that the Family of Ardlarich is no other than the identical family of MacGregor although it is not easy at this remote period to ascertain with any degree of certainty when or how they got possession there.

"It is however affirmed by tradition, that a succession of the Lairds or Chiefs of MacGregor lived in Ardlarich. That it was from Ardlarich, Alexander Roy of Glenstray marched with his men to the memorable but disastrous Battle of Glenfruin, is recorded by Sir Robert Gordon in his history of the family of Sutherland published in the year 1615. [4]   That the principal MacGregors of Rannoch were amongst the pledges proposed to the Earl of Argyle for the good behaviour of the Clan. That it was one of the Lairds of MacGregor living at Ardlarich who founded the Island of Loch Rannoch which is a collection, or immense cairn, of loose stones laid upon cross rafters of wood joined together.

This island was built at immense trouble and expense for the purpose of building a storehouse thereon where to deposit his most valuable effects during times of trouble. And moreover, that when Major MacGregor the last of the Family of Glenstrae [5]   died in Ireland possessed of considerable property and his heir being advertised for, we heard of no other but Robert MacGregor of Ardlarich laying claim to it. The said Robert, commonly called Rob MacDhonich Mhic Ghileasp Ruaidh of Ard¬larich, having procured testimonials of his being the true and legitimate heir of the deceased, and representative of the name and family of MacGregor, from his Grace the Duke of Atholl, Sir Robert Menzies of that Ilk, and most of the gentlemen of any note, the Campbells excepted, in that part of the country; he proceeded here¬with to claim the property as shall be shown hereafter and it is highly probable although it is difficult to trace it out now or to fix the lineal descent with any degree of accuracy before that of Gilespie Ruadh."
[page 217]
From other sources we find mention, however, of "Duncane McAllester wich Allester 1595." His name appears in an action by Robertson of Strowan warning him and other McAllesters alias McGregors to flit from his lands in the Barony of Fernan on Loch Tay side.

His name gives presumption that the following four brothers may have been his sons
1. Archibald dhu McCondachie Vic Allaster mentioned in Bail Bond given by Glenstray to Argyle, 22nd April 1601. He is evidently identical with the "Gillespa Ruadh," first known head of the House of Ardlarich. He is mentioned June 28, 1602 and again in July 1612 as "Archibald dhu McCondachie vic Allaster in Ardlarich," when he adopted the surname of Menzies. He was living 24th October 1629.- Leny Papers.
2. Allaster Mccondoquhie McAllaster is mentioned in the Roll of 1586, but except his patronymic of "Son of Duncan" there is no other link.
3. John dhu McCondochy VcAllaster "occupear of the 6 merk land of Ardlariche in Rannoch." Decreet of Court of Session 24 May 1595. He had a son Hugh who married Janet, daughter of John McGregor of Easter Innervar in Rannoch. He was enfeoffed with his cousin Angus MacDonald in the 3 merkland of Lerne, Rannoch, and had a son Hugh who was enfeoffed with his parents 17th May 1671 in Easter Innervar, and had in 1693 from Sir Alexander Menzies a Precept of Clare Constat of Lerne.
4. Donald Dhu McCondochy VcAllaster in Rannoch. [6]  

Inverhaddon styles the first head of the house "Ruadh" instead of "dhu "-the first may have been from his own complexion, whilst he and his brothers took dhu from their father.

I. Gillespie Ruadh MacGregor of Ardlarich was married and left two sons.

There is mention of an elder son, Gregor Gillespie Vic Connachie as well as of
[page 218]
1. John dhu McGillespie in Ardlarich who was alive in 1655.
2. Donald, of whom hereafter, being the founder of another Family called "Sliochd Domhnuil Mhic Patrick." [7]  

II. [8]   John who was also married and left issue two sons and three daughters.

I. Gilespa Ruadh, who succeeded him.
Ewan of whom hereafter
One daughter who eloped with MacDonald of Achnancoithichan in Lochaber
Another daughter married Patrick the 5th Representative of Dunan.
The third was married first to McGregor of Lerigan 2ndly to Ian og MacGregor in Camuserocht, all of whom had descendants.

Ewan as above, married Janet daughter of the Laird of Duiletter in Strath¬bran by whom he had two sons. Her Father was called Ian dubh ruadh, but of what tribe or family has not been ascertained.
1. John who succeeded him
2. Duncan who went to reside in Strathspey but left no issue it is believed.

This Ewan's wife is said to have carried on an intrigue in her husband's life¬time with one Gregor more, in Learan. On the occasion of a funeral passing from the west of Errocht to Killiechonan, a noted thief of the name of Stewart called MacDhonchie mhic Ian uidhir was observed by some of the funeral party to be sitting upon an eminence to the east of the river Errocht, upon which the said Ewan, Gregor More and others pursued him. He took to the hill crossed and recrossed the river after which he took an easterly direction towards the march-burn of Killiechonan hotly pursued all the time. Ewan led the van of the pursuit and Gregor at his heels encourageing him on. The thief being much exhausted with running, on coming to the above burn, stood, and called to Ewan to stand back, upon which Ewan who had a gun fired at the thief and broke his thigh bone. The thief who had also a gun cautioned Ewan to stand back or he would serve him the same way but Gregor who was anxious to have him out of the way, pressed him to his ruin, upon which the thief fired and killed him on the spot. Whether the thief died of his wounds or was dispatched by his pursuers is not known but certain it is that he died there and was buried by a burn side near the scene of the action, where his grave is still to be seen, pointed out by two or three small stones laid upon it. Ewan's body was carried to the burial ground of Killiechonan. His widow was married afterwards to the said Gregor more, and it is said that he was shortly after hanged at Crieff. The wife was a strange woman and in one of her jealous fits cropped off one of her servant maid's ears with a knife which made her name proverbial in the country as 'Nighean duibh ruaidh thug a chluas da searbhanta.'

[page 219]
Ewan's eldest son John married a woman of the family of Lerigan by whom he had no children. He resided first in Liaran, was of a cross and troublesome nature and very fond of hunting; many anecdotes are related of him, he was scarcely ever seen in company but he fought with some person. He removed to Cameserochd and afterwards to Corr Dunan where he died."

III. Gilespa Ruadh eldest son of John II of Ardlarich married first Annabella Stewart daughter to Dougal-dialan-Mac-Tighearna na-h-Appin by whom he had two daughters. He married secondly a daughter of John MacGregor of Drumlich in Bal-quhidder by whom he had two sons.
1. Duncan who succeeded him
2. John and several daughters.
3. Alexander who eventually succeeded to Ardlarich
He married 3dly Ann daughter to John dubh MacGrigair in Cambuserrocht by whom he had Elizabeth who married and left children
Marjory who married Alexander Fletcher in Cambuserochd to whom she had issue.

John the 2d son of Gillespa Ruadh married a daughter of Rob-an-fhraoich by whom he had two daughters [9]   He was known as lan MacGilespa, and was for some time in the Black Watch after it was raised.

IV. Doncha MacGhilespa Ruadh of Ardlarich. He married 1st Elizabeth daughter to Gregor MacDhoncha-mhic-Geal-Challum by whom he had one son John who died young. He married 2dly Jean daughter to Patrick, brother to John MacGregor of Drumlich his Cousin by whom he had three daughters.
1. Sussie Ghorrach married to Doncha-Mac-Challum Oig in Ardlarich to whom she had two sons who went to America.
Janet married to Gregor MacEughain of the tribe of Clan Allister Auaidh by whom she had several sons and daughters
One of his daughters Isabel married Donald MacGregor in Edinburgh to whom she had son John who died leaving 2 sons Robert, and Donald;
2. Malcolm the notorious claimant of Miss McNeill and her jolly McGregors, [10]   he married Miss Robertson from Strathhran by whom he had 13 children who all died before himself ;
3. Duncan married in London. Many anecdotes are told of this Ghrigair McEughain, he died at last by the road side upon the hill of Drumuachter while hunting the deer.
[page 220]
Doncha MacGilespa married 3dly Mary, daughter to Archibald MacDonald of Dalness by whom he had three sons [11]   and two daughters
1. Robert who succeeded him
2. Gillespa who died young
3. James
His eldest daughter Margaret married Duncan MacGregor and had a son Robert.
James the third son went into the army and married but it is not known whether he left children.

V. Robert MacDoncha Mhic Ghilespa of Ardlarich. He joined the interests of Prince Charles in the Rising of 1745, while still very young and was a Captain in the Battalion raised by Captain Menzies of Shian in which also Callum MacGregor of Liaran was Lieutenant, Robert was a very tall handsome young man of great promise.

"Sir Robert Menzies of that Ilk jealous of his still enjoying the ancient family title of 'Fear Ardlarich' removed him from thence to Kinchlachair where he gave him half a mark of land rent free with a promise that as soon as he could manage to stock it he would get another half mark upon the same conditions during his lifetime in consideration of his having removed so peacefully from Ardlarich the ancient seat of the family whom he represented.

"It was about this time that Major MacGregor of Glenstrae [12]   died in Ireland, at least that his legitimate heir was advertised for and that the testimonials formerly alluded to were given by His Grace the Duke of Atholl, Sir Robert Menzies and other gentlemen of the County [13]   that he was the lineal heir and representative, with which he set off for Ireland and proceeded as far as Achtou in Balquhidder, where he took ill and died. He was unmarried, and was therefore succeeded in the representation by his paternal uncle Allaster MacGilespa ruaidh of Ardlarich, of whom hereafter.

"This circumstance of the certificate, together with that of MacGregor of Bal-haldies having in the year 1714 offered to this Robert's father the sum of 2000 merks Scots for his individual suffrage to the Chieftainship, which although at the time in comparatively poor circumstances he refused with disdain, confirms the belief [14]   that they were certainly the lineal representatives of the Lairds of MacGregor as well as that of Ardlarich.
[page 221]
“It is further presumptive from the circumstance that Robert's Father having waited upon Lord Breadalbane to claim the Title Deeds of the lands of Glenstrae which had fallen unjustly into his Lordship's hands, Breadalbane produced the same deeds and laid them upon the table preparative to their being presented to him when in the course of conversation which ensued Duncan unluckily said some thing in allusion to the manner in which his Lordship got possession of them which so annoyed his Lordship that he laid them up again and it does not appear that they were ever subsequently so claimed except by the celebrated Rob Roy to whom his Lordship replied that he himself knew well who had the best right to them namely Duncan MacGregor of Ardlarich and therefore that he, Rob Roy, should never soil them with his fingers."

These notes of the family traditions of the Ardlarich House furnish one of the many instances in which tradition, although very interesting and often valuable, drifts into inaccuracies, especially in questions of date and of individuals.

The Earls of Breadalbane had lawfully acquired the lands of Glenstrae by purchase about 100 years previously, viz. 1624, yet in addition to the impossibility of the above incident regarding the title deeds, Innerhaddon relates another to the effect that James MacGregor, “Laird of Glenstray," which he never was, was poisoned for the sake of these Charters which caused his brother, presumably Kilmannan, to flee to Ireland! Great caution must therefore be exercised in accepting the truth of many of these statements, which are unintentionally erroneous.

Robert V having died unmarried, as did his brother James, he was succeeded by his paternal uncle

VI. Alexander 3d son of Gillespa Ruadh I, whence he was called Alastair Mac-Gilespa Ruaidh, he married Rachel, [15]   the daughter to Neil MacGregor of the family of Dunan, by whom he had one son and eight daughters. Of the latter
1 Mary married Duncan Cameron son of Doncha mor in Invercomrie and had issue.
2 Catherine married Donald MacGregor by whom she had a son John a Lieutenant in the 4th Veteran Battalion and three daughters.
[page 222]
3 Margaret married Alexander Cameron commonly called Corrybhiurich by whom she had a numerous family.
4 Ann, married to Hugh Cumming Schoolmaster in Stratherie by whom she had a numerous family.
5 Elizabeth married to Archibald Campbell Schoolmaster at Kinlochrannoch who also had a very large family.
6 Rachel Ruadh who died at an advanced age unmarried.
7 Janet who also died unmarried.
8 Marjory married to Duncan MacGregor IX of Learagan by whom she had five sons.

Gillespa Ban Alastair's only son died before his Father. He married Margaret Burden by whom he had two sons.
both died before their father. He had also two daughters
1 Catherine married to Mr Symon Fraser House Builder Edinburgh, after whom Symon Square is named, and left two daughters. 2
2 Mary married to John MacGregor tenent in Druimearn to whom she had a numerous family.

On the death of Alastair Ruadh VI without surviving issue the representation of the family devolved on the descendant of the second son of Gilespa Ruadh I whose name was Patrick Donald. The following were the generations of this branch.

I Donald who had married and left a Son
II Patrick
III Donald who married first a daughter of Donul-ban-laidie of the Stewarts of Bohespic residing then at Drumchastil in Rannoch he was of the tribe called Dubh Shuilich, "Black eyed." By his first wife Donald had two sons
1 Para more, his heir
2 Doncha ban.

Donald married secondly Elizabeth daughter to Donald Robertson a Cadet of the family of Clachan by Grisel daughter of Donald Robertson of Auchleeks, by whom he had nine sons and three daughters.
3 Ewan
4. Alister ban,
5 6 Robmore & Donald Og, twins.
1 Catherine married to Ranald McDonald in High Bridge Lochaber, no family.
2 Margaret married … McNaughton, Smith in Kinloch Rannoch.
and secondly Duncan McGregor in Culdar more and left a family.
3 Janet married … McNaughton, Smith, in Kinloch Rannoch.

[page 223]
IV Para more, a very athletic and brave man of whose valour many anecdotes are still related. He married Cirstan daughter to Donald MacGregor commonly called Fear-fada-choin-uidhir, by whom he had six children, two sons and four daughters
1 John the heir.
2 Patrick who died young
1 Cirstin married Duncan McIntosh and left a family.
2 Elizabeth married Malcolm Mcintosh and left a family
3 Margaret a poetess of no inconsiderable merit, married Donald Gow in Auchinruidhe and had issue
4 Janet married Donald Stewart in Glasgow

Para mor lived in Camuserochd in his younger days but subsequently removed to Ardlaraich where he died. He was succeeded by his eldest son,

"VII Ian mac-Phara Mhoir, who upon the death of his distant Cousin Alister MacGilespa ruaidh, was held to be the lineal representative of the family of Ardlaraich. He was a powerful man of undaunted spirit, and many anecdotes are still related of his prowess and daring feats, both while in this country and after he emigrated to America. At one time he took the grazing farm of Stronchon from Mr Robertson of Auchleeks and had many notable frays with Doncha-buidhe laird of Trinafour about marches. He married first a daughter of Fear nan Coirechan in Argyleshire with whom he went to America and settled in the Province of New York previous to the breaking out of the American War in the year 1776. The Revolters offered him a Captain's commission in their own service but he preferred joining the British, upon which his whole property was seized and confiscated. The British offered him a Captaincy also, which he accepted and was generally employed with the Commissary General's department where he had many opportunities of being revenged upon the Americans for the treatment he had received at their hands which so annoyed them that they offered a handsome reward for his head dead or alive, and he had many hairbreadth escapes from them. He owed his life more than once to the swiftness of the mare which he rode Upon one occasion her mane was perforated in several places by the American balls but like Tam o' Shanter's grey mare Meg, she brought off her Master hale. The British Army was on one occasion much straightened in their quarters for provisions, being quite surrounded by the Enemy's land forces on the one side which cut their foraging parties, and the French Fleet lay moored before them round an Island, nor were they in a condition to attack either till re-inforced. In this dilemma a Council of War was called to devise what was best to be done, when it was resolved they could not do better than surrender. John was present and was much displeased at the above resolution and offered that if he was allowed a proper party he would attempt some of the Enemy's transports which lay close to the above mentioned island. His name for bold and daring exploits had by this time become proverbial in both camps. [page 224] He was readily allowed a party of his own selection and being favoured by the darkness of a boisterous winter night he quite succeeded in cutting the cables and carrying off one of the Enemy's ships laden with oxen unobserved. The consternation of the Enemy in the morning upon discoverihg their own loss and upon seeing their ship safely moored in possession of the British was bordering upon madness, and the Admiral is said to have exclaimed in his phrensy that 'There was not a man in the British Camp who would dare to make the attempt if the notorious MacAlpin had kept away.' This was overrating his bravery perhaps but it happened to be the notorious MacAlpin that had done it At the commencement of hostilities, it was held out as an inducement for the inhabitants to join the British Standard that the British Government would indemnify them for any loss they might sustain in consequence from the Americans. At the conclusion of the War John preferred his claims accordingly which were very considerable, his family having been plundered seven times. But from the magnitude of his claims the Government demurred and subsequently rejected them altogether, which put him to a good deal of Trouble and expense before he could establish them. He was obliged to present himself in London three times and ultimately upon procuring testimonials of his brave and eminent services from the General officers who commanded, his claims were allowed in full and a salary equivalent to a Captain's full pay settled upon him for life. He afterwards published an account of all his difficulties and of the share he took in the War. He was still alive in 1831 when he was about eighty years of age and in good circumstances near Halifax. He had four wives by whom he had four sons.

[1] The descendants of John dhu nan Luarach ended with James MacGregor of that Ilk after which the representative of the Tutor hecame Laird-Although the Tutor's family had been well. known for more than a hundred years, it is quite possible that their claim may have been doubtful, although accepted in the public records, there were 'no lands requiring legitimate proof or claims to Succession. The Baronage ignoring the race of John na Luarag, States "Gregor the Bastard having died, Ewan or Hugh his son, and after him Malcolm, his brother's son, whose son Gregor and after him Archibald MacGregor of Kilmanan severally claimed the Chiefship." several generations are here skipped, and the three latter names only are correct the erroneous view as to the succession sfter Glenfruin possibly related to the Tutor's line.

[2] See vol. i., pp.53, 54, and 123. Alastair McAllaster in 1572 when he was slain with his younger son Gregor and his brother Duncan volume 1 Chapter 5

[3] Gregor's elder brother was a child in 1528.

[4] Gordon's History relates that Glenstray started from Rannoch without naming Ardlarich

[5] Kilmanan

[6] Donald had a son Angus MacDonald in Auchnachoichine who was enfeoffed with his cousin Hugh in Lerne, and had a son John Roy McGillichonnell who in May 1671 was enfeoffed in the lands of Dualt.

[7] It does not appear why this Donald should be called McPatrick.

[8] Chiefly ftrom Innerhaddon’s MS

[9] One daughter married James Campbell in Dall, the other Robert Dewar, Tominteold, and had a daughter married to John MacDonald in Raiver, mother of James McDonald, Drummond Park, Logiealmond.

[10] The clue to this allusion has not been found

[11] Duncan also left an illegitimate son, called Alister Ban. He was grandfather to Alexander of the Union Hotel, Edinburgh.

[12] Kilmanan probably died some time previously.

[13] As title-deeds were scarce, it is difficult to understand how the neighbouring proprietors could vouch for the genealogy of the claimant.

[14] Innerhaddon's own belief, the wording of the narrative has been slightly altered to make it clearer, and avoid the personal pronoun.

[15] Probably from this Rachel the gift of second sight came into the family, and was the in¬heritance of every Rachel, especially of Ruaidh. Many still living can vouch for the truth of this Statement in regard to the later ones.--ED