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Articles by Marie Fraser of Canada
Abduction of Miss Jean Fraser


Baillie William Fraser

According to the Inverness-Kirk Session Records, Baillie William Fraser was elected an Elder on July 25, 1721: -

"to prevent the profaneing of the Lordís Day. Itís hereby recommended to the Elders to take Notice of their own Bounds on that day that there be no open abuses or Idle Crouds or Wandering of People on their parts of the Streets." The distribution included "Kirk Street (East Side) 2do. Baillie William Fraser, from Baillie Barbourís House to the said Common."

There is an interesting story in Antiquarian Notes by Charles Fraser-Mackintosh, of Drummond, F.S.A. Scot (A. & W. Mackenzie, Inverness, 1865, pp. 70-74):

Three of the Magistrates of Inverness in trouble arising out of a trial for Murder, taken Red-Hand, 1723. Included is a letter to the effect, "That your petitioners, William Fraser, William Maclean, and John Fraser, have been lately summoned to appear, the 18th day of November next at Edinburgh, to a criminal prosecution carried on against them by His Majestyís advocate for a supposed injustice in a sentence pronounced by the Magistrates of Inverness in June last against James Miller, a tide-waiter, and Richard Barlow and Francis Powell, soldiers in General Sabineís regimentÖ" They felt it was unfair to haul them away from their duties in Inverness.

Baillie William Fraser was married to Margaret Kinnaird, who had some very interesting friends, as evidenced by the witnesses at the baptism of their children:

Dec 22nd 1720 -

William Fraser Baillie of Inverness & Margaret Kinaird his spouse had a child baptized by Mr Robert Baillie called William. William Kinnaird, Will : McLean late Baillie William McIntosh, Merts., wits.

Jan 11th 1722 -

William Fraser late Baillie in Inverness & Margaret Kinaird his spouse had a child baptized by Mr Robert Baillie called Jean. William McLean Baillie, John Fraser Treasurer, wits.

Nov 22nd 1723 -

William Fraser Baillie of Inverness & Margaret Kinnaird his spouse had a child baptized by Mr William Stuart called John. John Forbes of Culloden, John Fraser Master of Lovat, John Hossack and John Fraser present Baillies of Inverness, wits. [Ed: John Fraser, Master of Lovat (aka John Fraser, of Beaufort, was supposed to have died in 1716 in the house of Major James Fraser of Castleleathers.]

Nov 26th 1726 -

William Fraser Baillie of Inverness & Margt. Kinnaird his spouse had a child baptized by Mr Alexr. Fraser called Simon. Simon Fraser Lord Lovat, Simon Fraser Master of Lovat, wits. [Ed: Lord Lovat (aka Simon Fraser, of Beaufort), was showing off his recently born male heir (1726-82), by his wife Margaret Grant, whom he had married in 1716; she would die soon after giving birth to Alexander (1729-62). ]

I cannot confirm if two other children listed in the IGI can be attributed to the same couple:

Nov 10th 1710 - George, s/o William Fraser & Kinaird.

Dec 16th 1712 - Margaret, d/o William Fraser & Margaret Kinaird.

The IGI records a marriage 3 June 1708 in Forres, Moray for William Fraser & Margret Kinnard, and baptism 15 Feb 1680 at Saint Cuthberts, Edinburgh, for Margret, d/o John Kinaird & Euphan Crawford. If this is the same Margaret, she would have been 46 when her last child [Simon] was born, which is unusual, but possible.

Abduction of Miss Jean Fraser

As noted above, there was a Baillie William Fraser in the 1720s but he was married to Margaret [not Jean] Kinnaird.

In Antiquarian Notes (1897), pp. 92-98, Charles Fraser-Mackintosh (1828-1901) comments on the great sensation caused in Inverness and neighbourhood by the abduction of Miss Jean Fraser, only daughter of the deceased Baillie William Fraser and Mrs Jean Kinnaird. The young lady was a desirable match, having a fortune of 5000 merks. The abductor was William Fraser, then a merchant in Fort-Augustus, later a vintner in Inverness, and a member of one of the most respectable families in Stratherrick. If the lady herself was willing, her friends were not, as explained in the following letter, written by the Town Agent in Edinburgh, to Mr John Hossack, Provost of Inverness, 1st February 1744, quoted by Fraser-Mackintosh:

"Dear Sir, - Last night about six aClock the Bearer with the Magistrates letter and precognitions anent the Insult and Ryot committed on my good old friend Baillie Fraserís daughter found me in the Excheqr. Court where I was detained till betwixt eight & nine aClock at night upon closs business. But as soon as I got free I went down to Mr Robert Dundass, His Majestieís Solicitor-Generall & consulted him upon the affair, & after reading the precognitions and coppies of letters, &c., he drew a petition to the Lords of Justiciary in name of Mrs Fraser, the mother, & son, and by six aClock in the morning I got the Justiciary Clerk Dept. andÖ had the petition transcribed over, and a proper warrand write out ready agt nine aClock to get signed by a Lord of Justiciary. But haveing got as much time as to wait upon my Lord President & acquaint him of the affair, he was of opinion that as the thing was so very atrocious that the petition should be in name of the Lord Advocat & be signed by Mr Solicitor. Accordingly, when I came back to the Parliament House about ten aClock I first acquainted the whole Lords of Justiciary of the affair, and they thought as the President did, that the Kingís Advocat should give his countenance so far as to take the precognition for his own information and then sign the petition himself. Thereupon I got the petition write out of new & and the warrand made out upon it. I waited till the Lords rose & then got the Justiciary Lords to meet, and they ordered the warrand, which is signed by Lord Roystoun, & you have it inclosed. As it is now half ane hour after two, I doubt much if the bearer can overtake the tyde at Leith. However, to show you that I have been diligent, & not neglected a moment, I have despatched the bearer before I sat down to dinner. As for the assistance of the military, the Lords would not allow it except that they heard the Civill Magistrat was deforced, in which case proper application may be made, & assistance will be given. There is one thing that you must get done and that is to get a letter from Mrs Fraser and her son directed to Mr Robert Dundass, His Majestieís Solicitor, acquainting him that they have sent to me the precognition and proper information anent the Insult and Ryot committed by Wm. Fraser on their daughter and sister, & begging his countenance and assistance to get justice, which youíll send me any time with your conveniency that it may lye with the precognitions. This I undertook for, or I would not got the Solicitor to sign the petition. I received the five guineas you sent me.

I am, Dr Sr, your most obedient sert. (Sgd.) WILL. FORBES."

It would appear that Lord Lovat was applied to by William Fraser and his friends, but his Lordship absolutely declined, and the postscript to his letter, dated 25th January 1744, addressed to Hugh Fraser, younger of Foyers, shows his views of abduction in old age, different probably from what he would have written fifty years earlier.

"As to the letter which it seems the girl has wrote to Inverness, in order to Ďappease the Magistrateí, I can assure you neither that nor all the declarations that she can make, while her liberty is restrained will avail or better the case a single farthing. These proceedings can have no other effect but to aggravate the crime and to inflame the resentment to it and nothing but sending the girl immediately to Inverness, whether married or unmarried, can save every man that has been in this affair from ruin and destruction, the whole name of Fraser from eternal shame, and my person and family from hurt and trouble."

Charles Fraser-Mackintosh puts Lord Lovatís reluctance to condone the actions of William Fraser, down to his own lofty status. I wonder if the widow of Baillie William Fraser was related to Patrick 2nd Lord Kinnaird (d. 1701) who had married Anne, eldest daughter of Hugh Fraser 8th Lord Lovat (1643-72) and sister of Hugh 9th Lord Lovat (1666-96). After all, Simon Lord Lovat (c1668-1747) had only recently (1738) succeeded in paying off Amelia Fraserís son Hugh, by [Alexander Mackenzie] Fraser of Fraserdale, and obtained a release from Charles 5th Lord Kinnaird as heir to his mother Anne, daughter of Hugh 8th Lord Lovat, thereby enabling him to take possession of the Lovat estates.

A paper dated 1779 bears that:

"William Fraser, merchant in Fort-Augustus, thereafter vintner in Inverness, having under cloud of night, with a band of men, forcibly entered the house in the month of January 1744, of Mrs Jean Kinnaird, relict of Baillie William Fraser, merchant, in Inverness, and thence carried off Jean Fraser, only daughter of the said Baillie William Fraser, and brought her to Stratherrick, where he married her, the Magistrates of Inverness, entered a criminal prosecution against him and his accomplices before the Court of Justiciary."

Fraser-Mackintosh notes that the criminal proceedings were likely to be attended with very serious consequences to William Fraser, and Lord Lovat having failed them, William Fraser and his friends applied to Norman Macleod of Macleod to intercede with the Magistrates of Inverness to withdraw the prosecution.

Macleod was then member for the county, and possessed great influence therein, and also with the Magistrates and the Hanoverian Government. His private character was bad and this, coupled with his conduct towards Prince Charles, has given him an unenviable position in the history of his honourable house. But he did exert himself in the matter, though considerable time elapsed before an arrangement could be made, and it was not until the 17th of June 1745, that the proceedings were stayed by Macleod accepting a bill, payable on the 2nd of November 1745, to Mr William Forbes, Writer to the Signet, Agent, for the town, for the very considerable sum, at that period, of £70 sterling, being the expenses of the criminal process up to that date.

William Fraserís outrageous proceedings appear to have arisen from his impecuniousness, and as early as 1745, the portion of his wife, Jean Fraser, of 5000 merks was assigned by them to Thomas Fraser of Gortuleg. Owing to the troubles in the country in í45-46, no demand was made upon Macleodís bill until 1754. Charles Fraser-Mackintosh records William Fraserís ungrateful conduct in the matter.

Macleod naturally applied to Fraser, by this time settled as a vintner in Inverness, to relieve him, and as he declined to do so, a process was instituted against him in the Sheriff Court at Inverness.

As soon as the first interlocutor was pronounced, William Fraser advocated the case. In the meantime letters of inhibition at Macleodís instance were raised in 1758; and in January 1760, after a long proof and keen contest, decree was given against William Fraser for the said sum of £70, with interest and expenses from 2nd November 1745. In July 1761, Macleod took a process of adjudication against Fraser, adjudging a tenement of land or dwelling-house in Inverness, which he had himself acquired under adjudication, containing the following reference to the Burgage land west of the River Ness, viz, "Little Inverness"- "All and haill that house or tenement of Burrow bigged land lying in that part of the town of Inverness, which lies on the north side of the water of Ness, commonly called Little Inverness, formerly possessed by Alexander Chisholm, cooper in Inverness, and his sub-tenants, and now by his widow, with the yeard, area, and pertinents thereto belonging, if any be." Macleod at the same time adjudged an heritable bond over the lands of Erchitt for £200 sterling of principal and annual rents, granted by Fraser of Erchitt to the said William Fraser.

At the date of adjudication in July 1761, the original debt of £70 had run to £224 sterling. Macleod finding that the bond over Erchitt had been previously validly conveyed to Dr James Fraser of London, and William Fraser having died insolvent, was glad to get rid of the business even at a considerable sacrifice, and upon the 28th April 1767, assigned the debt to trustees for behoof of Ann Fraser, relict of the deceased Simon Fraser, merchant in Inverness. Ann Fraser and her trustees now took up the running with vigour, and in the first place obtained decreets of constitution and of adjudication against William Fraser, son and heir in general of the deceased William Fraser, and his tutors and curators.

Ann Fraserís advisers discovered that the deceased William Fraser had a debt against John Macdonell of Ardnabi, against whom he had obtained a decreet of adjudication on the 15th June 1752.

She also was confirmed executor creditor to William Fraser, giving up on inventory Jean Fraserís 5000 merks before referred to; as also £43 16s 9d, the amount of a bill drawn up by the deceased William Fraser and accepted by Simon Fraser, brother to Hugh Fraser of Foyers. It would appear that on the 3rd November 1761, there was a post nuptial contract of marriage between William Fraser and Jean Fraser. With regard to the debt against Ardnabi, James Fraser of Gortuleg, Writer to the Signet, offered Ann Fraser £60 for her rights, which she accepted on 31st May 1776.

At Whitsunday 1779 the original debt of £70, which, with interest and expenses amounted, in July 1761 to £224, had now reached with further interest the enormous sum of £424 sterling. Of this sum Ann Fraser had received the Ardnabi debt of £60, and she considered the Foyers bill with accumulated interest amounting to £80, good, thus leaving a deficit of no less than £282.

To meet this there was only the adjudication against the property in Little Inverness, and as there was a competition by other creditors, Charles Fraser-Mackintosh states: I fancy that Ann Fraser did not make much of her speculation, although I am unable positively to say how the matter terminated. Jean Fraser, the heroine of my story, lived into the 19th century. I find a receipt dated at Inverness, the 27th May 1803, wherein, "I, Jean Fraser, relict of the deceased William Fraser, vintner in Inverness, acknowledge to have received from James Fraser, vintner in Inverness, the sum of £60 sterling to account of the furniture sold him by contract."

Unsolved Mystery

I suspect that Charles Fraser-Mackintoshís premise that Jean Fraser, relict of the deceased William Fraser, vintner in Inverness in 1803, was the same Jean Fraser, relict of William Fraser, who abducted her in 1744, is a bit flawed, since the heroine of the story was born in 1722 and would have been 81 in 1803.

Although further research is required, it is more likely that the following inscription from the Inverness Chapel Yard Cemetery, relates to the daughter of Jean Fraser, abducted by William Fraser in 1744:

To the memory of William Fraser, writer and Commissary in Inverness, who departed this life the 29th day of June 1811, aged 80 years [born c1730]; and his dutifull spouse Jean Fraser, who departed this life the 12th day of Jany 1826, aged 79 years [born c1747]; and their children.

Baptism recorded in Inverness OPR:

Jan 12th 1764 -

Willm Fraser writer had a child in Fornication with Ann McLean his servt called Thomas. Alexr McTavish & Alexr McTavish, wits.

William Fraser married Jean Fraser 29 Oct 1764 Dores

Baptisms of their children recorded in Inverness OPR:

Aug 27th 1765 -

William Fraser writer & his spouse Jean Fraser had a child baptized by Mr Robert Rose called Alexander. Lieut. John Fraser & Lieut. Alexander Fraser, wits.

May 29th 1767 -

William. I do not have a copy of this entry.

June 21st 1769 -

William Fraser writer & his spouse Jean Fraser had a child baptized by Mr Robt. Rose called Simon. Hector Fraser Rector Grammar School & Duncan Fraser, Mert, wits.

July 6th 1771 -

William Fraser writer & his spouse Jean Fraser had a child baptized by Mr Robt. Rose called Jean (Jane). Arthur Robertson of Inches, Donald McQueen of Corryburgh, wits. [Inscription from Inverness Chapel Yard Cemetery: Here repose the ashes of Jane Fraser, eldest d/o William Fraser Esq., late Commissary of Inverness, and wife of Captn Simon Fraser. She died 8th day of April 1848, aged 76 years; also their youngest daughter Jamesina.]

Aug 29th 1778 -

William Fraser writer & his spouse Jean Fraser had a child baptized by Mr Alexr. Fraser called Anne. Arthur Robertson of Inches, Baillie John McIntosh, wits. [Inscription from Inverness Chapel Yard Cemetery: Sacred to the memory of Ann Fraser, d/o the deceased William Fraser, Commissary of Inverness, she died at Inverness, 21st Aug 1822 in the 43rd year of her age.]

Nov 16th 1779 -

William Fraser writer & his spouse Jean Fraser had a child baptized by Mr Alexr. Fraser called Angus. Arthur Robertson of Inches, Mr Hector Fraser, wits.

Dec 5th 1782 -

William Fraser writer & his spouse Jean Fraser had a child baptized by Mr Alexr. Fraser called Thomas. Simon Fraser of Farraline Esq. Sherriff & Arthur Robertson of Inches Esq., wits.

Nov 14th 1786 -

William Fraser writer & his spouse Jean Fraser had a child baptized by Mr Alexr. Fraser called Marjory. Arthur Robertson of Inches, Simon Fraser of Farraline, wits. [Inscription from Inverness Chapel Yard Cemetery: Under this stone lie interred the remains of Marjory Fraser, d/o the late William Fraser, Commissary of Inverness & spouse of Alexander Tolmie, merchant in Glasgow, who departed this life 13th February 1818, aged 31 years.]

I am puzzled by the comment made by Charles Fraser-Mackintosh: Jean Fraser, the heroine of my story, lived into the 19th century. I find a receipt dated at Inverness, the 27th May 1803, wherein, "I, Jean Fraser, relict of the deceased William Fraser, vintner in Inverness, acknowledge to have received from James Fraser, vintner in Inverness, the sum of £60 sterling to account of the furniture sold him by contract."

A more likely candidate for Jean Fraser, relict of the deceased William Fraser, vintner in Inverness in 1803, would be the following:

To the memory of William Fraser, late vintner [in] Inverness, Mason Lodge, who died the 11th day January 1802, aged 43 years [born c1758]; and of Donald and John his sons, who died in infancy. This stone is place by his affectionate [spou]se Jean Fraser.

William Fraser Bught married Jean Fraser 13 May 1794 Inverness.

Baptisms [among others] recorded in Inverness OPR:

Oct 20th 1794 Supplement -

William Fraser vintner & his spouse Jean Fraser had a child bapt by Mr Alexr Fraser called Janet. Willm Welsh & Donald Fraser, wits.

July 20th 1796 -

William Fraser vintner & his spouse Jean Fraser had a child bapt by Mr Alexr Fraser called Simon. Farquhar McDonald & Donald Fraser, wits.

March 20th 1798 Supplement -

William Fraser vintner & his spouse Jean Fraser had a child bapt by Mr Alexr Fraser called James. Farquhar McDonald & Donald Fraser, wits.

May 27th 1800 Supplement -

William Fraser vintner & his spouse Jean Fraser had a child bapt by Mr Alexr Fraser called Peter. Simon Fraser & Farquhar McDonald, wits.

Charles Fraser-Mackintosh, M.P. (1828-1901)

Charles Fraser-Mackintosh, M.P. The following has been extracted from a lengthy biographical sketch in The Celtic Magazine (pp. 265-74), by Alexander Mackenzie (1838-98), a prolific writer and publisher in Inverness:

"Mr Fraser-Mackintosh was born on the 5th of June 1828 at Dochnalurg, on the estate of Dochgarroch. His father, Alexander Fraser, a cadet of the family of Fraser of Kinneries [Culbokie], was born so far back as 1764. His great-grandfather, also named Alexander, lived in 1708 at Achnabodach, now Charleston, on the property of Kinmylies, and is on record as having paid a sum of money to the Town Council of Inverness for the freedom of toll over the old stone bridge, carried away by the flood of 1849, for himself and for his heirs for ever. Two of his sons, having been "out" in 1715, were among the first Highlanders who emigrated to South Carolina; and from them sprung the numerous and wealthy Frazers (for so they spell their surname) who, for the last century and a-half, have held such influential positions in the city of Charleston, and were so prominent in the late Federal and Confederate war in the United States of America."

Charles Fraser added the Mackintosh in order to inherit his uncleís estate. He was a descendant of the Frasers of Culbokie through his father, Alexander Fraser (1764-1834) and the Mackintoshes of Borlum through his mother, Marjory Mackintosh (1786-1865). His g-g-g-g-grandfather Alexander Fraser 3rd laird of Guisachan renounced his rights as heir in favour of his younger brother, Hugh Fraser. Duncan Warrand, in Some Fraser Pedigrees (1934), notes that the late Fraser-Mackintosh thought the matter extremely discreditable to the family, but the deeds were considered to be valid, and the renunciation was upheld by the Court of Session. In 1876 he married Eveline May Holland but died without issue in 1901, by which time the male line of the Frasers of Guisachen and Culbokie had died out in Scotland.


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