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Amelia Volume 2 chapter 24

Events in Balquhidder 1720 to 1730, and Death of Rob Roy 1734-5

[page 325]
IN February 1720 an attack was made by some MacGregors on a Sergeant and party of the Royal Scots Fusiliers who were escorting a prisoner to Edinburgh as related in the following letters. [1]  

Duke of Atholl to Colonel Reading.
“Huntingtower March 1. 1720.
"Sir,-Having heard accidently some days after the barbarous murder was committed at Kirktown of Balquhidder, in the late Earl of Perth's Interest, I sent immediately a servant to that place to bring me an account of it, and if possible to get information who were the actors. He returned last week and acquainted me of the horrid circumstances of that affair, that it was done by some loose men that uses to frequent that country, but have no fixed residence, who shott in at a window upon the souldiers who were quartered there. But could not get information of the rogues' names, the people of the country being affraid to discover them, Lest they might also murder them in the night time. But told my servant that if they were cited in a legal manner and put to their oath, they were willing to declare whatever they know as to the loose men and Rogues that haunt that country, or were concerned in that affair. Whereupon I immediately sent my Sherriff officer to cite before the Sherriff Court of Perth tomorrow severall of the late Earle of Perth's tennents and also of mine who border upon his Interest that I may both get the best informatione and prevent rogues being harboured, and I design to be at Perth myself tomorrow at the Court to examine them in the strictest manner and also to take the most effectual course to prevent rogues being harboured in these countries in tyme coming; and I desire that you'l be pleased to send an officer here or to Perth tomorrow with the information, that the party that was in the Kirktown of Bal¬quhidder can give in that barbarous affair, and to concert the most proper measures with me how to apprehend the actor; and I assure you there shall be nothing wanting [page 326] in me that is necessary both to discover and punish the actors of so barbarous an action.

I cannot omit to acquaint you that I had ordered my Baily in Balquhidder to apprehend one McMillan a loose man and Rogue who uses to harbour in that country he was accordingly apprehended and delivered to a party of his Majesty's forces at Loch Earn, commanded by Sergeant Rouk, with iron shackles on the hands, and the Baily desired him only to keep him one night, till he should provide a party of my men to carry him down to me, but next morning when the Baily came to receive him, be had made his escape as it is said by some of the Rogue's friends drinking with him in the night time. I desire that the truth of this matter may be enquired into and if you find that the Sergeant has been negligent in his duty you will doe to him as you think fit. My Baily writes to me that next morning he waited upon the party and offered them a guard down the country towardt Stirling and horses to carry off their wounded. I desire to know if it was not so.

Major Jones to the Duke.
"Stirling March 2.1720.
"My Lord. Coll; Reading being gone for England, I had the honour of your Grace's letter last night about nine a'clock and immediately desired a Magistrate to take the depositions of the four wounded men left here, two of whose lives are despair'd of; but he refused it in the following express terms.- 'there is nothing that seems to require anything to be done by the Magistrates of Stirling in that affair, and tho' they be willing to serve the Government upon all occasions, yet they do not see how they can take depositions in the affair at Major Jones's verbal desire, with¬out a special commission from such as are empowered to grant the same, which is only suppos'd would be, to take precognition in such affair.' There seems to be incoherence and nonsense in this answer, but it is his very words, after reading your Grace's letter. "They were a party of the Royall Scots Fuzileers from Fort William The Sargt with one wounded man and the rest of his party are gone to Edinburgh, where doubtless Brigadier Preston will order them to give what information your Grace thinks requisite. Your Grace's intention of having these barbarous villains dis¬covered if possible is much to be praised, and doubtless the people of the country can do it if they will. I shall make a strict enquiry into Serg. Rooker's behaviour in letting that Rogue escape, and if I find it was by his neglect he shall be severely punished for it. I am, &c.

"On March 4, Sheriff Craigie wrote to his Grace from Edinburgh sending by desire of the Lord Justice-Clerk the following declaration made by the sergeant commanding the company.
"Declaration of Daniell McKay Serjant, concerning the insult committed upon a party of his Majesty's forces at Balwhidder, 1720.
[page 327]
“In presence of Mr Walter Stewart, his Majesty's deputy Advocate, compeared Daniell McKay, serjeant in Captain Plendergerst his company of the Royall Regiment of Fuzileers, now in Garizen at Fort William, who upon being examined concerning the insult and violence committed upon a party of his Majesty's forces under his command at Kirktown of Balquhidder, Declares that the Declarant, accordant to Major James Cunninghamc Lieut Govemour of Fort William his order, marched the 14th ultimo with twelve men under his command to guard the person of Andrew Greg, as suspected guilty of the murder of Alex. McBain, souldier in the said Regiment, to Edin., and that he marched the first day to Glencoe, the second day to Derry beg, and the third being on his march entering Strathfillan, he discovered on a sudden severall men under armes, who immediately took to their healls and disappeared; making their escape through a Glen; that the Declarant's charge being of the afores'd prisoner, he made no search after them, But pursued his march to the house of Malcolm McGrigor in the afors'd strath, where he lodged his party that night it being the most convenient place in that part. But the Landlord being from home all night Isobell Aitkine his wife began to ask the prisoner severall questions, which the Declarant thinking unproper, confined him to a separate corner of the house to the charge of two sentinells with orders not to allow him any converse. But about ten of the Clock the Landlady on pretence she had cloaths stolen from her by a woman which she had lodged the night before, dispatched two of her men-servants about five in the morning as they pretended in quest of her, whereof one went by the name of James Grahame who the Declarant has been informed was 14 or 15 weeks in the tolbooth of Edinburgh as suspected one of Rob Roy's followers. But the Declarant and his party judged it was rather to alarm the country upon yem.

"On Wednesday the declarant and his party marched from the afores'd McGrigor's house to the Kirktown of Balwhidder and lodged there in the house of Patrick Stewart, who was himself all night from home; and there, were well accomodated till three of the clock in the moming, at which time one of the guard having gone to the door was attacked of a sudden by severall men in arms, and was wounded in the right hand and shoulder in making his escape to advertise the guard-whereupon the declarant immediately secured the door with four men in arms, the rest being in the best posture that could be thought upon, with the prisoner in the back room. But they finding they could have no access at the door, repaired to the window of the room where the prisoner and the rest of the men were, and there fired in severall shot at once, which broke the window in peices, and wounded four of the declarant's men; upon which sudden surprize the Declarant ordered his men to keep continuall firing out of the window, still expecting the second onsett, which caused him to keep the men under arms till daylight, at which time the enemy disappearing, he dispatched ane order to the Sergeant [page 328] commanding at the head of Loch Earn for his assistance to escort him to Kilmahog, who immediately sent a Corporall and seven men, and the Declarant also wrote to Mr Stewart, one of the Duke of Atholl's Baillies for his concurrence in providing horses and carriages for the wounded, who immediately came along with Mr Robertson, Minister of Balwhidder, and from whom the Declarant gott ready assistance accordingly. "Depones that before the declarant and his party left Patrick Stewart's house, the said Patrick had come home about eight in the morning, after the attack was over, and appeared to be in drink, and beleives that neither his wife nor servants had any accession to what happened, and knew none of their names, and further declares that from Patrick Stewart's house they came Thursday's night to Kilmahog, and Friday to Stirling, where the declarant left four of his party very ill wounded under the care of Mr Miller, Chirurgien to Collonell Clayton's regiment. And the declarant further sayeth, that the day they came to Stirling, they were informed that there were fourty men of the name of Macgrigor, about Stewart's house at the Kirktown of Balquhidder, the night that he and his party were attacked, and that Robert Royes pyper had been there the night before-all of which he declares to be truth, and that he knows no more of the affair."

Duke of Atholl to Brigadier Preston.
"Huntingtower March 5 1720. Sir,-On Wednesday I went again to Perth, and as Sheriff did examine several of the late Earl of Perth's tennents in the Kirktoun of Balquhidder and some of mine that live nixt it, as to what they know of loose persons haunting that country, the day before and after, that barbarous action at the said Kirk-toun, which examination I send you enclosed. You will find it discovers the persons' names who no doubt were guilty of that villaneouse action. I also send you an act I have made in the Sheriff Court discharging all in that Country to harbour them, or any louse men, under penalty of a hundred merks for every time, and if they should force their entry to their houses, the rogues being generally armed, that in that case they shal give immediat advertisment to the nixt party of his Majesty's forces or to my Bailie, and I have also given private orders to my Bailie, that in case they come again to that country he doe his utmost to apprehend them, and to desire the concurrence of the party of the King's forces there, and if you please to send orders to concur with my Bailie when required. But to make it more effectual that some of these rogues be apprehended, I think the government in so extraordinary a case should allow you to promise a reward of twenty or thirty pound to any person that apprehend any of these rogues who shot in at the window on the King's souldiers; but this must not be done by publick proclamation, which would rather make them keep out of the way, but by imploying fit persons privately, and if this be agreed to you may imploy any persons you think fit and I shall doe the same.
[page 329]
“For if there be nothing done that these rogues be apprehended there is none of the King's forces in safety travelling in these Countries, for you know these houses are all low and their windows so as any may shoot in at them in the night.

"I would also suggest to you whether or not you will think it more proper that the party lying at the end of Lochearn be removed to the Kirktoun of Balquhidder or that you will think fitt to settle a party there also, it being the high road by which the partys march to and from Inverlochy, and where the Edinburghe post to and from Inverlochy, passes weekly. I should think this were a very proper place for build¬ing a Barrack to contain a company; which I beleive would not cost above five or six hundred pounds, there being ston and also leime ston aboundance in the country & the firr wood of Glenlyon for deals and timber at no great distance. “I received the favour of yours of the 2d in answer to mine, and the Serjeant McKay according to your orders came here yesterday, who showed me a copy of his declaration concerning the barbarous action in Balquhidder. You will see the enclosed precognition I took from the country people agrees with it in several things but the information he had that the rogues were forty must be a mistake, for by all the accounts I can have, there were not above five or six of them the night before or nixt morning in the country, and if there had been that number it's probable they would have made further attempts to releive the prisoner, which it seems they designed, he being called Greig, which name was formerly of the MacGrigors.

"I shall add no more but to assure you that I am as much concerned to have justice done on these Rogues as if they had done it to my own people, and when I know your opinion what method is to be taken for apprehending them I shal not be wanting to follow your directions. I am &c"

Enclosure.
"Complains unto your Lordship I Gilbert Gardiner Fiscal of Court, upon Patrick Stewart in Kirktown of Balquhidder, Malcolm Mcallum there, Robert Stewart in Stronvar, and John Drummond at the Mill of Caller, Duncan Murray in Inner Loch'ig and Donald Murray there in manner following, That where albeit of late there were many Louse and Broken men who haunt and frequent that country where the defenders live, and from the Intertainment and Incouragement they meet with from the defenders and other inkeepers there, who afford them readily Liquors and other necessars, they take occasion the more frequently to resort thither and many in the neighbourhood have not only their bestial and other goods stolen by such loose and Broken men, but also their lives often in danger by them, and are in continual apprehensions of the greatest dangers, yet it is of verity that the said Defenders and every one of them under the pretext and colour of selling and vending Aquavite and other liquors do constantly harbour and Resett, Intertain, cheris & abett such Broken & Loose persons, who have no fixt or certain place of [page 330] abode & Particularly John Roy alias McGrigor, Alex. Roy alias McGrigor his brother, Donald Bain alias McCallum, Hugh McIntyre, Piper, Callum McIlcallum, Robert Stewart & John McMillan who are notourly known by the said defenders & all the country to be Louse & Broken men, & notorious Rogues capable of committing the worst of crimes and wickedness, & some of them notorious thieves and which is the more Remarkably Criminal, that the said defenders have harboured & resett all the Loose Persons above named upon Wednesday the 17th of Feb. last, on which day a most horrible Crime was committed under silence and cloud of night at the said Kirktown, in the house of the said Patrick Stewart, on a party of his Majestie's souldiers quartered there, severals of them being very ill, if not mortally wounded by such Loose & Broken men, whereof the said Persons are suspected to be the committers and notwithstanding the said Defenders have harbour'd, Resett and Intertain'd them about the same time, and before and since, and therefore the premisses being found to be of verity, the said defenders and every one of them ought and should be punished in their Persons and Goods and ought to find caution to be enacted to forbear the like practices for the future and to desist from selling Spirits to such persons, whereby they are Incouraged to resort to that countrey.

"Perth 2 March 1720. Patrick Stewart, in Kirktown of Balquhidder, confest that on Thursday the 18th Feb. last, being the day after the crime was committed in the said Kirktown in his House upon a party of his Majesty's soldiers There came to the Confitent's House John & Alex: Roys alias McGrigors, Brothers, Donald Bane alias McCallum, Callum McCallum and Hugh Mcintyre piper, Having arms and abode there for the space of half ane hour, and the piper playing, aud During their being at the Confitent's house They challenged any Body to say or own they had committed the foresaid Crime, & confessth that while they were at his House they took Drink and paid Nothing for it and about 12. a clock at night it being Friday the 19th Feb. last, all the said persons came again to the door of his house, calling and threatening to Brake it open, if they were not allow'd access to the house & thereupon the Confitent opened the door and all the persons having enter'd his house with arms, they drew dorks and Swords and obliged the Confitent to give them drink and to stay in their company about ane hour, and then he went to bed, leaving them drinking, But knows not how long they stayed but they were gone before he arose next morning, and he did not see them since. Confesseth the said persons have no certain Residence, & are all look'd on as Broken and Loose persons. Declares he was not at home when the forsaid crime was committed But was in Strathearn Paying his excize, and produces Declarations to that effect, but when he returned home the said Thursday heard thereof.

"Malcolm McCallum in the said Kirktown, confesseth that on the said Thursday [page 331] the 18th Feb. last, John & Alex. Roys alias McGrigors, Donald Bain alias McCallum, Callum McCallum & Hugh McIntyre Piper and Robert Stewart, Bearing arms and the piper playing, came to the Confitent's house & one of them with a Durk beat him on the Head because he refused them drink, But they abode a Little and then went off: Confesseth they were at the door of his house the night before, & that some of them frequents his House, But others of them he did not see before. Confesseth they are Loose and Broken persons and have no certain Residence.

"John Drummond at the Miln of Callar, confesseth that on Tuesday the 16th Feb. last John and Alex Roys alias McGrigors, Donald Bain alias McCallum, and Hugh McIntyre as he believes came to his House, Where they abode about ane hour Drinking Aquavite, but saw them not since, but they have been at some time at his House before the said day, Confesseth they are all Louse persons, Having no Dwelling, and while they were at his House they had two guns. “Robert Stewart in Stronvar, confesseth that on Tuesday the 15th of Feb. last John & Alex. Roys alias McGrigors, and Donald Bain alias McCallum came to his House, where they abode all that night & next Day untill Hugh Mcintyre and Callum McCallum, & Robert Stewart Piper, came up to them, & in the evening they went all together from the Confitent's house, having Arms, but they were never before in his House together, but has seen them at his House severally in the company of others. Confesseth they are Louse Persons and have no residence.
“Duncan Murray, in Inner Loch'ig more, confesseth that he hath sometime seen the persons mentioned in the other Persons' confessions, But not these three weeks Bygone, and Declares he hath not seen John McMillan since he was apprehended by the Duke of Atholl's orders.
"Donald Murray there, Declares the Louse Persons mentioned in the complaint never haunted his House.

"Act of the Sheriff Court of Perth by his Grace the Duke of Atholl Sheriff principal.
"Perth March 2. The sherrif Having considered the Defenders' confessions & understanding that the vending and Retailing of Aquavite and spirits in so many different Houses Gives much occasion to Louse Persons to Resort to that place of the country, and to the Defenders' Houses, Ordains Patrick and Robert Stewarts, Malcolm McCallum and John Drummond, to enact themselves under the pain of ane hundred merks to be paid by each of them to the Fiscal in case of Faillie that they shall not vend or retail Aquavite or other spirits, to any Louse or Broken men, nor shall they receive them in their house but shal either apprehend them, or acquaint the Garrison or the Bailie of the Regality, or the Sherrif and his Deputs, when such Louse men haunts the countrey, to the effect they may be apprehended."

The foregoing correspondence shows in what a disturbed state some parts of the country still were, [page 332] a state which, a hundred years before, would have been normal and found most Highlanders prepared at any moment for a fray; but law and order had begun to prevail and, to succeed in carrying it on, it was necessary that the authorities should take strong measures and discourage all actions by which private individuals sought to right or avenge their wrongs by private means.

From the "Chartulary":-
"1720. February 16th. The Testament Dative & Inventary of the Debts & Sums of Money quhich were owing to umquhile John McGregour Fiar of Braiklie And the deceased Gilbert McPherson sometyme in Glencrachie theirefter in Ardlewie both within the Parochines of Arriequhair & Tarbert the tyme of their respective deceases as eftermentioned ffaithfully made and given up by John Campbell alias McGregour, son laufull & nearest of kin to the said deceast John McGregour of Braiklie his father, & by Donald Mcpherson son laufull & nearest of kin to the said deceast Gilbert McPherson, Executors Dative decerned to the said, two defuncts by Decreet of the Commissar of Glasgow of this date."

Inventar.
“There was justly adebted to the said, deceased John McGregour & Gilbert McPherson the time of their respective deceases the Sum of One hundreth & three pound Sterling money of England principall threttie pound money foirsaid of penaltie And annual rent of the said principal soume from 25 November 1691 to September or October 1708, in either of which the above John McGregour & the said Gilbert McPherson died, by Bond granted by William Palmer of Plumgam, Matthew Turner of Scailby Coully & Seally, 17th November 1632. Follows Bond of Cautionry - Malcom Murray alias McGregour of Marchfeild is Cautioner for John Campbell alias McGregour, who is Cautioner for Donald McPherson. Robert Mcfarlane of Callicherrane is Cautioner for the said John Campbell alias McGregour 31st December 1719. "-Commissary Books of Glasgow.

Letter from the Duke of Atholl to Lieutenant John Mcpherson [2]  
“Blair Castle Aug.22, 1721. " Sir,-I am very welI pleased to hear that there is a party of the King's forces gone to Rannoch, & shall be very ready to concurr with them all that's in my power for suppressing of theft, & for that end I desire you will either come or send one of your number with what orders you have, The bearer, Neil Robertson, a tennent of mine near this place, had six cows stolen from him a year ago & he has ground to believe that Duncan McGregor alias "our" in Killiechonan in Rannoch was the stealer of them, whom I desire you will apprehend and send [page 333] prisoner to me to this place, but that you will be sure to have intelligence about him before you send the party for him, for in case you miss him now he will not be easily got again.-I am &c."

Lieutenant McPherson to the Duke.
"Invercomry, Sep. 11, 1721. "My Lord, Sunday afternoon I had the honour of Yr Grace's letter and accordingly informed myself how best to lay hands upon that Duncan McGregor alias "oure" in Killiechonan. I have many other advyces anent him both before & since I came to Rannoch, but cannot get hold of him. I was truly assured by my best informers he has not been one night in his house since my coming here. He was seen once or twice in the day tyme yet keeps a particular watch whyle there. I am also told he has been often in ward formerly which makes him be the more on his guard. The other I have here but by reason of so many of my detachment being away from me these eight days cannot venture to diminish them until some return from a pursuit of horses stolen from this country. I am told they will be here against tomorrow by some who have returned last night. How soon they do I will do myself the honour to accompany him with a small party to Yr Grs dwelling.
"My lord if there is any possibility of my diligence being of use to yr Lop’s people, there shall be no man more reddie then &c.

Gregor Murray or MacGregor, one of the Duke of Atholl's tenants is so frequently mentioned in the Chronicles of the "Tullibardine and Atholl families" that some notes in regard to him are here put consecutively. He was probably descended from the "Ammonachs or Glen Almonds" frequently quoted in vol. I. of the Clan Gregor history.

"1712. The duke signed a commission of forestry to Gregor Murray son to Alexander Murray alias MacGregor in Coynachan for keeping the grazings of Glenalmond, and allowing no bestial which are not allowed to pasture in the same, and to exact three pound Scots for every ox, cow, horse, mare and follower and a merk Scots for every sheep and goat after Whitsunday. He also signed an allow¬ance to the said forester of two pecks of meal per week of board wages, and at the rate of 24 pound Scots per annum of wages."

1715. Grigor Murray sometime McGrigor, was interrogated about purchases of arms for Rob Roy which entry has been already given.

“1723, Sep. The duke granted a fresh tack to Gregor Murray of the mill of Blair called Catherine's Mill and Ruidhchlacrie to pay £50 sterling, two good and sufficient mill-swine, twelve capons and four boIls of meal. mortified by the late Marquis of Atholl to poor old and decayed tenants of the parish of Blair Atholl"
[page 334]
Letter from Robert Stewart, Bailie in Balquhidder, to the Duke. [3]  
“Ballqwidder 11 Aug. 1722. May it please yr Gr. These are signifying that upon Wednesday last, being the 8th Instant, John Campbell of Glencharnek did come to the lands of Easter Innerlochlareg shoon in ye morning with thirty armed men, two messengers, and two other sub officers, for to uplift the whole goods of the said town, & Robert Roy McGrigor havinge a kindnesse and favour for the Mcintyres of Innercharnek, notwithstanding of the favour he had to his own kindred, those of lnnerlochlareg, did lie a night before John Campbell came with his men, in ambush with his lads, and seeing John Campbell come with his men, went out to meet them, & apprehended ye two messengers and two sub officers, with other three of the partie, and disarmed them & took them prisoners & kept a guard upon them 24 hours, and at last kept their arms & did let them go, taking a promissary oath of them that they would never come againe upon that Occasione."

1724 March 18. John Campbell MacGregor of Glencarnock sold to John Murray eldest son of Duncan Murray in lnnerlochlargmore and his wife Mary MacGregor a tack of the seven merkland of Innerlochlargmore. The witnesses were James Campbell in Innerarderan and Mr Finlay Fer¬gusson Minister of the Gospel in Balquhidder. [4]  

1725. Letter from Robert Campbell alias McGregor commonly called Rob Roy to Major General Wade (afterward Field Marshall Wade) Commander in Chief of His Majesty's Forces in Scotland. [5]  

"Sir,-The great humanity, with which you have constantly acted in the discharge of the trust reposed in you, and your having ever made use of the great powers with which you are vested, as thc means of doing good and charitable offices, to such as ye found proper objects of compassion, will, I hope, excuse my importunity in endeavouring to approve myself not absolutely unworthy of that mercy and favour your Excellency has so generously procured from his Majesty for others in my unfortunate circumstances. I am very sensiblc nothing can be alledged sufficient to excuse so great a crime as I have been guilty of, that of Rebellion; but I humbly beg leave to lay before your Excellency some particulars in the circumstances of my guilt which I hope will extenuate it in some measure. It was my misfortune at the time the Rebellion broke out, to be lyable to legal diligence and caption, at the Duke of Montrose's instance, for debt alledged due to him.
[page 335] To avoid being flung into prison, as I must certainly have been, had I followed my real inclinations in joining the King's Troops at Stirling. I was forced to take party with the adherents of the Pretender; for, the country being all in arms, it was neither safe, nor indeed possible, for me to stand neuter. I should not, however, plead my being forced into that unnatural Rebellion against his Majesty King George, if I could not at the same time assure your Excellency that I not only avoided acting offensively against his Majesty's forces upon all occasions, but on, the contrary, sent his Grace the Duke of Argyle all the intelligence I could from time to time of the strength and Situation of the Rebels; which I hope his Grace will do me the justice to acknowledge. As to the debt to the Duke of Montrose, I have discharged it to the utmost farthing. I beg your Excellency would be persuaded, that, had it been in my power, as it was my inclination, I should always have acted for the service of his Majesty King George; and that one reason of my begging the favour of your intercession with his Majesty for the pardon of my life is, the earnest desire I have to employ it in his service, whose goodness, justice, and humanity are so conspicuous to all mankind. I am, with all duty and respect
"Your Excellency's most &c
"Robert Campbell."

"When Rob Roy was nearly exhausted and worn out by the vicissitudes of a restless life, and confined to bed in a state of approaching dissolution, a person with whom in former times he had a disagreement, called upon him and wished to set him. 'Raise me up,' said he to his attendants, 'dress me up in my best clothes, give me my sword, and place me in the great chair, that fellow shall never see me on my deathbed.' With this they complied and he received his visitor with cold civility. When the stranger had taken leave Rob; exclaimed, 'It is all over now, put me to bed; call the piper and let him play "Cha t-phill mi tuille," "I'll return no more," as long as I breathe.' He was faithfully obeyed and calmly met his death which took place at the farm of Innerlochlarig.beg among the Braes of Balquhidder in 1734 in the 64. year of his age." [6]  

The special edition of the Caledonian Mercury of Jan. 9, 1735, gave the following notice, which a few years ago was reprinted.

"Rob died on 31 Dec. 1734. 'On Saturday was Se' night died at Balqhuidder in Perthshire the famed Highland partisan Rob Roy.' [7]  

Robert MacGregor or Campbell was buried [page 336] in the Churchyard of the old parish Church of Balquhidder in a very beautiful situation. An ancient slab of stone on which is carved the figure of a man and of a sword covers the grave. For the further preservation of Rob Roy's resting place, a suitable bronze rail supported on four bronze fir cones was placed round it in 1890 by the Clan Gregor Society. (The grave is represented in the accompanying photogravure in the original edition of Amelia - PJL.)

The admirable romance of Rob Roy has not been quoted in the present history of the Clan, as everyone is familiar with it, and the incidents are not strictly historical; there is, however, much interesting information in Sir Walter Scott's introduction to the novel. In his later editions he recanted the error which ascribed a Murder of Students to Dougal Ciar, but several errors remain, such as the presence [8]   of Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss at the Battle of Glenfruin, etc., etc.

A kindly tribute from the Rev. Alexander M. MacGregor, long Minister of the Parish of Balquhidder till his death in 1888, may now be quoted from a letter which he addressed to a Great Grandson of the famed Rob, dated April 14, 1864.

“I believe Rob Roy to have been very unjustly treated in his own time and unfortunately as unjustly treated in the representations which are often given of him. He was unquestionably the first pacificator of the Highland Border. The Black Mail paid to him was no robbery but a compensation as justly due for protection afforded to the lands and farmers of the low country as the police money of the present day. And after his time the Government which denounced him was constrained to take up his self constituted office and establish the far-famed Black Watch. In regard to his Son Robert, I look upon his execution as one of those judicial murders which were the disgrace of a period when a judge could utter the boast, 'Give me a good jury and I will hang any man.'"

Such was the lenient view taken by a Ilighland Minister who lived a hundred years after the events in question.

Rob Roy was survived by his Widow and left five sons.
1.Coll a man of high Character He was tacksman of thc Kirkton of Bal-quhidder, he died in 1735 few months after his Father. Coll married in Dec. 1721 Margaret eldest daughter of John Campbell, or MacGregor in Kerletter in Glenfalloch i.e. Caol-letir.

[page 337]
In the MS. Collections of Colonel Hugh Macgregor (compiled, it is understood as regards Glengyle, chiefly by Alexander Campbell the Editor of "Albyn's Anthology" at the request of Miss Eliza or Betsey, a daughter of "Ghlun dhu," who resided in Glasgow and lived to a great age), an error was made in regard to Coll's wife, as she was stated to be a daughter of Robert MacGregor of Glencarnock, although his only daughter, so far as is known in the Glencarnock family or Papers, was Christian, and who married Captain John Graham of the 42nd Regiment, a brother of Duchray. The mistake has been repeatedly copied in genealogies since, till the conract of marriage, or rather discharge in which it is mentioned, was found among the Edinchip Papers during the compiling of the present work. [9]   Coll married a second time, but the name of his wife is not known, and by her he had no family. He left by his first wife two sons and one daughter.

2. Ronald. He became in 1732 joint tacksman of part of the Kirktown of Balquhidder, and in a memorial to the Government some years afterwards, he claimed to have cultivated it in a very careful and liberal manner. [10]   He married his Cousin Jean or Janet, daughter of Gregor MacGregor of Glengyle, "Ghlun dhu," and had two sons and one daughter. [11]   He died in Balquhidder about 1786.
In 1747, Ronald MacGregor or Drummond appeared before George Miller Esqr Sheriff depute of the County of Perth, and an officer of the exchequer at Callander, and producing the tack between the Trustee of James Drummond of Perth and Ronald's father Rob Roy and himself, proved his right to the property and got full compensation for the loss of house and cattle, because the one was burnt and the other carried away by the King's troops in 1745, on the day after the expiration of the warrant authorising the troops to commit such ravages. [12]  
Children of Ronald: 1. Gregor, who eventually commanded a ship trading between the Clyde and the West Indies. He left two sons, Gregor and Dugald, who were merchants and ship owners in Greenock where both died, Gregor in 1830 and Dugald in 1823. They married and had families who left Greenock.

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2. Donald died unmarried in 1814 and was buried in the grave of his Grandfather Rob Roy.

Ronald’s daughter Jean married Alexander MacGregor from Rannoch. She died in Balquhidder about 1794, when her husband and family emigrated to Canada. 3. James commonly called mor, who assumed the name of Drummond. He accompanied his Cousin MacGregor of Glengyle with 12 men in 1745, and took the Fort of Invensnait; they found only 12 soldiers in the garrison, the rest having been working at roads; but they secured the whole of them in the name of the Prince and marched them, 89 in number, to the Castle of Doune."

James Mor afterwards fought bravely as a captain in the MacGregor Regiment at the Battle of Prestonpans. He died at Paris, Oct. 1754, leaving a family of fourteen children. One son, Gregor Drummond, carried on the business of a butcher in Edinburgh. He married and left a son, who was in the army, and a daughter.

4. Duncan left no family.

5. Robert commonly called by Lowlanders Roy, though of a dark complexion, but by Highlanders Rob Og or Junior, in reference to his father. He married first a sister of Graham of Drunkie, and secondly Jean Key, relict of Mitchell. His career will be given later. He was executed Feb. 17, 1754 and left no family.

John, eldest son of Coll, became a Captain in the 60th Foot. The name of his wife is not given. He left two sons, James and Robert, also a daughter. His eldest son James was a Major-General in the H.E.l.C.S. He married Miss Dunbar. His eldest son:
Robert Guthrie, Major in the Bombay Artillery, was father of Major-General Sir Charles Metcalfe MacGregor, K.C.B., who died in 1887, of whom later. His brother Norman MacGregor, Esq., of Lloyds, is now the representative of Rob Roy, and also chief of the House of Dougal Ciar since the death of the last descendant of Ghlun dubh of Glengyle who died in 1896.




[1] Chronicles of the Atholl and Tullibardine Families

[2] Atholl and Tullibardine Chronicles.

[3] Atholl and Tullibardine Chronicles.

[4] Edinchip papers.

[5] Copy in Edinchip Papers, and the letter has been frequently published in different Memoirs,

[6] Several different accounts, agree as to this narrative.

[7] A great grandson of Rob Roy - late Mr Gregor McGregor, Hill Street, Glasgow, gave the following dates: "Rob Roy was born 7th March 1671, married Jan. 1703, and died 28th Dec. 1734.”

[8] Scott reported the death of Sir Humphrey at Glenfruin, confusing him with an earlier Colquhoun killed during a MacFarlane raid on Rossdhu in 1592. Sir Humprey rode away from Glenfruin back to his Castle - PJL]

[11] The greater part of the details as to Rob Roy's descendants has been kindly supplied by Mr Skene of Avonmore, who obtained it from Mr Lee, Editor of "Notes and Queries," who derived it from Mr Gregor MacGregor in Glasgow, son of Captain Dugald mentioned above, see Appendix L.

[12] In a modern house in the Kirkton of Balquhidder part of the wall of Ronald's original building, burnt down, still remains.