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MacDonalds (M'Donalds, McDonalds) of Glenmoriston & Glenurquhart

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MacDonalds (M'Donalds, McDonalds) of Glenmoriston & Glenurquhart

Posted: 1054037536000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1075079627000
Surnames: MacDonald, McDonald, M'Donald
I am trying to go a little farther back from 1775 on the following MacDonald family:

from the book "Rawdon and Douglas: Two Loyalist Townships in Nova Scotia", by John V Duncanson (pgs 331-343) & the "History of Bridgeville", Nova Scotia

"John (or Iain) MacDonald was born in Inverness-shire, Scotland. m. (1) Jannet, m. (2) Margaret Grant.
John McDonald (Iain MacEoghainn Oig) was born at Glenurquhart and belonged to the Glencoe McDonalds.

At the time of the Glencoe Massacre, 1692, one of the McDonalds fled to Glenurquhart and settled there. John McDonald was a grandson or great grandson of that man. He was about eight years in the Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment, and three of his sons fought with him in the Revolutionary War on the Loyalists' side.

He was also reported to be a veteran of Culloden in 1746. In the History of Bridgeville NS, it is written that ‘Old’ John (of the 84th) was over 60 yrs of age when he finally settled in Bridgeville in 1784, marking his birth about 1720-1723.

He (John) was married twice. By his first wife Jannet(?), he had Duncan (20 Feb 1740-Loget), Alexander (26 Nov 1742-Loget), Mary and Christy. By his second wife, Margaret Grant, he had James, Ewen (Hugh), Ann, and Helen (Ellen), twin girls born on 1 July 1772 at Drumnadrochit, Glenurquhart, Inverness-shire.

According to an article by Rev. Alexander McLean Sinclair in the Eastern Chronicle "He (Iain) settled in Strathbeg, or the Soldier's Grant, East River. Duncan, James and Ewen Mor settled near him. (this is a known fact). Another 1895 article by Rev Sinclair says that daughter Mary remained in Windsor NS after 1783 and married another McDonald. He also suggeted that 2nd son Alexander also remained in Windsor, however, there are no records to indicate he survived the American War.

* Please note here - In a letter exchange from the MacDonald Centre on Skye, it is thought that our MacDonald’s were not from the Glencoe MacDonald’s, but were from the Glenmoriston MacDonald’s. At the time of the 1692 event, they were possibly aligned with the Glencoe MacDonald’s and on the night of the Massacre were probably visiting at the Glencoe camp

I have the following regarding the circumstances of their departure from Fort William and arrival in the Colonies:

September 30, 1775
Edinburgh Evening Courant
Extract of a letter from Fort William, Sept. 14.

“We have no news in this country; only yesterday sailed, the ship Jupiter, from Dunstaffuage Bay with about 200 emigrants on board, for North Carolina, mostly from the country of Appin in Argyleshire. Though formerly among the first to take up arms against the reigning family, they now declare their readiness to support government in case they find it necessary on their arrival in America.— This day likewise will sail the ship 'Glasgow', with emigrants from the port of Fort-William, bound for New York.”

Sep 4, 1775 -The ship Glasgow leaves Fort William, Scotland, with 251 emigrants aboard.

Oct 31, 1775 - It is the beginning of the American War. The Ship “Glasgow” arrives off New York City harbour, is boarded and turned away by the ship HMS Asia under the command of Captain George Vandeput. After sitting in the harbour for 30 days, the ship is renamed "The Glasgow Packet" (there was already a warship called the Glasgow in HM's Navy) and is sent on to Boston by city officials acting on Admiral Graves's orders.

The passenger passengers were given the option of going to prison or joining the British Army. On the ship was a father, John McDonald (known as Iain MacEoghain Oig and from a reference by Dr William Mackay - Iain MacEoghain Bhain)), with his 4 sons, Duncan, Alexander, James, Ewen (Hugh), 4 daughters- Mary, Christy, Ann and Helen (Ellen) and John's 2nd wife Margaret Grant, presumed also from Glenmoriston or Glenurquhart.
After arrival they were induced, partly by threats and partly by persuasion, to enlist for the war, which was expected to be of short duration. They were not only in poverty, but many were in debt for their passage, and they were now told that by enlisting they would have their debts paid, have plenty of food as well as full pay, and would receive for each head of a family 200 acres of land, and 50 more for each child, "as soon as the present unnatural rebellion is suppressed," while, in the event of refusal, there presented the alternative of going to jail to pay their debts. Under these circumstances, most of the able-bodied enlisted, in some instances fathers and sons serving together. Their wives and children were brought to Halifax, hearing the cannon of Bunker Hill on their passage.

After 4-6 weeks of sitting onboard the Glasgow, all the passengers agree to join the British Army for 'the duration' of the American conflict. The men were given full rations and promises of land (in America) after the war ended. The women received 1/2 rations and children under 16 received 1/4 rations. All were garrisoned at Fort Edward, Windsor Nova Scotia

After disbandment in 1783, several of the men & families of the disbanded 84th rejected the land offered them at Kennectcook and opted to start a predominantly Gaelic speaking settlement along the East Branch of the East River in Pictou County

From LDS records it is thought Duncan and Alexander were born in Loget (1740 & 1742). Another's personal search suggests son James' was born in Bunloit (1754). (*James died in Brucefield Ontario at age 103 in 1857). And the LDS also records the birth and christening of twin girls, Ann and Helen, to John McDonald and Margaret Grant on 1 July 1772 at Drumnadrochit.

A memorial cairn was erected this past century in Glencoe NS in memoriam to the father and 4 sons serving together, however, as mentioned, the Glencoe connection is suspect:

Situated on the west side of the East River at Glencoe, Pictou County, a memorial Cairn bears this inscription on its North face:




Because of information I have personally discovered and how it relates to my own family & generations, I am now a big believer in Scots families Oral Histories. Much of this information regarding a Glencoe event was recorded in writing while the grandchildren of John (Iain MacEoghain Oig) MacDonald were still in Nova Scotia occupying the East Branch-East River, Upper Settlement of Pictou County (also known as the 'Urquhart Settlement in Nova Scotia')

It has also been said of the many passengers of the Glasgow in 1775, that many may have been inter-connected through marriages. I would be interested in learning of any family ties to this MacDonald family. Of the original settlers of the East Branch-East River in 1784, the following was recorded:

From "Pictonians at Home and Abroad" by McPhie, section: Early Settlers of the East River

In 1784, a settlement of disbanded soldiers (*of the 84th Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment) was made further up the river. They came to Pictou at the close of the American War. They were, originally, from the Highlands of Scotland.

The first who came was James Fraser, Big James, who in company with Donald McKay, elder, settled on the intervale a little below where St. Paul's Church now stands. He and fifteen others took up a tract of over three thousand acres, extending up to Samuel Cameron's on the east side of the river, and to James Fraser's, Culloden, on the west side. The names of these first settlers were: Donald Cameron, his brothers Samuel and Finlay, Alexander Cameron, Robert Clark, Peter Grant, first elder in the settlement, James McDonald, Hugh McDonald on the east side of the river. James Fraser, Duncan McDonald, John McDonald, father of James, John Chisholm, (drowned at the Narrows with Finlay Cameron), John McDonald, 2d, John Chisholm, Jr.

The marriages of the children of John MacDonald (Iain MacEoghainn, Oig) of Glenurquhart, Inverness, Scotland:

o Ann MacDonald was married to Thomas Fraser (Basin)
o (Helen) Ellen MacDonald was married to James Robertson. Churchville
o Mary, his eldest daughter was married in Windsor to a McDonald.
o Christy married Duncan “Speech, Spied, or Speich” McDonald
o Duncan MacDonald, eldest son of John McDonald, was married to Catherine Fraser.
o Alexander MacDonald – no true record that he survived the American War, however, there was an oral history that said he remained in the Windsor area (unconfirmed)
o James MacDonald, their third son, was born about 1754. He was a Corporal in the 84th regiment. He married about 1782, Mary Forbes.
o Hugh (Ewen, eoghan Mor, or Evan) MacDonald was John Og's 4th and youngest son. Hugh is thought to have married Jane Grant in 1794.

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