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Clan MacDougall
Part One


The Macdougalls, Macdugalls, Macdovals, Macdowalls are all the ways the name is spelled. The clan derives its descent from Dugall, who was the eldest son of Somerled, the common ancestor of the clan Donald; and it has hitherto been supposed, that Alexander de Ergadia, the undoubted ancestor of the clan Dugall, who first appears in the year 1284, who was the son of Ewen de Ergadia, who figured so prominently at the period of the cession of the Isles. This opinion, however, Mr Skene conceives to be erroneous; first, because Ewen would seem to have died without leaving male issue; and, secondly, because it is contradicted by the manuscript of 1450, which states that the Clan Dugall, as well as the clan Rory and the clan Donald, sprung ont from Ewen, but fron Ranald, the son of Somerled, through his son Dugall, from whom indeed they derived their name. Mr Smibert's remarks, however, on this point are deserving of attention. "It seems very evident," he says, "that they formed one of the primitive branches of the roving or stranger tribes of visitants to Scotland of the Irish, or at least Celtic race. Their mere name puts the fact almost beyond doubt. It also distinguishes them clearly from the Norsemen of the Western Isles, who were always styled Fion-galls,that is , fair strangers (Rovers, or Pirates).

The common account of the origin of the Macdougallsis, that they sprung from a son or grandson of Somerled, of the name Dougal. But though a single chieftain of that appelation may have flourished in the primitive periods of Gaelic story, it appears most probable, from many circumstances, that the clan derived their name from their descent and character generally. They were Dhu-Galls, 'black strangers.' The son or grandson of Somerled, who is said to have specially founded the Macdougall clan, lived in the 12th century. In the 13th, however, they were numerous and strong enough to oppose Bruce, and it is therefore out of the question to suppose that the descendant of Somerled could do more than consolidate or collect an already existing tribe, even if it is to be admitted as taking from him its name,"

The first appearance which this family makes in history is at the convention which was held in the year 1284. In the list of those who attended on that occasion, we find the name of Alexander de Ergadia, whose presence was probably the consequence of his holding his lands by a crown charter; but from this period we lose sight of him entirely, until the reign if Robert the Bruce, when the strenuous opposition offered by the Lord of Lorn and by his son John to the succession of that king, restored his name to history, in connection with that of Bruce. Alister having married the third daughter of the RedComyn, whom Bruce slew in the Dominican church at Dumfries, became the mortal enemy of the king; and, upon more than one occasion, during the early part of his reign, succeeded in reducing him to the greatest straits.


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