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Glimpses of Church and Social Life in the Highlands in Olden Times and Other Papers
Chapter III - Parish of Laggan

1. ABERARDER (Gaelic, Obar-ardair, the confluence of the high waters).—Aberarder was once the seat of a family of Macphersons of whom were descended the late John Macpherson, long so well known and respected as factor for Lord Macdonald in Skye, and latterly for Lord Lovat. His son, Dr Macpherson, rose to high rank as a medical officer in the army, and acquired reputation as the author of several excellent works on medical subjects. Aberarder was also noted as the residence of the Rev. Robert Macpherson, for several years chaplain of the 78th Regiment (Fraser’s Highlanders), long so well known in Badenoch as “Parson Robert,” who died in 1791, and was buried at Perth. Of his four sons three entered the army, one of whom attained the rank of Lieutenant-General.

It is related of one of the Lairds of Aberarder that he insisted upon entertaining every stranger that passed his way, and that on one occasion he followed a traveller for a considerable distance, urging him to accept his hospitality, which the stranger flatly declined to do. The Laird on his return was heard to say, “D—n the loon! I’m sure he is a bad fellow at home.”

2. Ardverikie (Gaelic, Ard-Mheirgidh, the height for rearing the standard).—Some suppose the name to be derived from Airdfhearghuis— that is, the high ground of Fergus, “the first of our kings,” who is said to have had his hunting-lodge here, and to have formed the parallel roads of Glen Roy for the enjoyment of the chase. “An old topographer remarks with much simplicity that they could not have been executed but by the influence of some of the first consequence and power in the State.’ ”On the walls of the principal room of the old Lodge of Ardverikie, as it existed prior to 1873, there were some exquisite sketches of the Children of the Mist, traced by the masterly hand of Landseer, such as ‘The Challenge” and “The Stag at Bay,” the engravings of which are well known, but these were unfortunately destroyed in the conflagration of the Lodge in October 1873. In the garden attached to the Lodge a mound is pointed out, adorned by the foxglove and thistle, in which the ashes of King Fergus and four other monarchs are said to repose. In trenching a piece of ground near it, in forming the garden, a silver coin was discovered, about the size of a sixpence, belonging to the time of Henry II. Ardverikie is now the property of Sir John William Rams-den, Bart., by whom the Lodge was rebuilt with excellent taste after the old Lodge was burned in 1873.

3. Blaragie (Gaelic, Bldragaidh, said to indicate the windy moor. It is related of a Skyeman who was smearing at Blaragie that he exclaimed, “Well, they have given this place its proper name, sure enough—it is a real Bldr-na-gaoithe”—i.e., windy moor).—Blaragie was the birthplace of Captain John Macpherson, who was orderly sergeant of General Wolfe the day he was killed, and received him in his arms when that famous General fell at Quebec. Blaragie was also the birthplace of Captain Donald Macpherson of the g2d Regiment. The remains of Captain John Macpherson are interred in the old churchyard of Kingussie.

4. Breakachy (Gaelic, Breacachaidh, speckled field).—Breakachy was for a long period the seat of a distinguished family of Macphersons who were closely allied to the family of the Chief, and took an active part in the many conflicts of the Clan down to the ’45. To the family of Breakachy belonged Samuel and Malcolm Macpherson, who figured so prominently in connection with what has been so well termed “A Romance of Military History,” of which the following account is given:—

“Early in the last century the Government raised six companies of Highland soldiers, as a local force to preserve the peace and prevent robberies in the northern parts of Scotland. These companies—the famous Black Watch of Scottish song and story—were formed into a regiment in 1739, and four years after were marched to London on their way to join the British army, then actively serving in Germany. Many of the men composing this regiment, believing that their terms of enlistment did not include foreign service, felt great dissatisfaction on leaving Scotland; but it being represented to them that they were merely going to London to be reviewed by the king in person, no actual disobedience to orders occurred. About the time, however, that the regiment reached London, the king departed for the Continent, and this the simple and high-minded Highlanders considered as a slight thrown upon either their courage or fidelity. Several disaffected persons, among the crowds that went to see the regiment in their quarters at Highgate, carefully fanned the flame of discontent; but the men, concealing any open expression of ill-feeling, sedulously prepared for a review announced to take place on the king’s birthday, the 14th of May 1743. On that day Lord Sempill’s Highland regiment, as it was then termed, was reviewed by General AVade on Finchley Common. A paper of the day says: ‘The Highlanders made a very handsome appearance, and went through their exercise and firing with the utmost exactness. The novelty of the sight drew together the greatest concourse of people ever seen on such an occasion.’

“The review having taken place, the dissatisfied portion of the regiment, considering that the duty for which they were brought to London had been performed, came to the wild resolution of forcing their way back to Scotland. So immediately after midnight on the morning of the 18th of May, about one hundred and fifty of them, with their arms and fourteen rounds of ball-cartridge each, commenced their march northwards. On the men being missed, the greatest consternation ensued, and the most frightful apprehensions were entertained regarding the crimes likely to be perpetrated by the (supposed) savage mountaineers on the peaceful inhabitants of English country-houses. Despatches were sent off to the officers commanding in the northern districts, and proclamations of various kinds were issued : among others, one offering a reward of forty shillings for every captured deserter. The little intercourse between different parts of the country, and the slow transmission of intelligence at the period, is remarkably exemplified by the fact that the first authentic news of the deserters did not reach London till the evening of the seventh day after their flight.

“The retreat was conducted by a corporal Samuel Macpherson, who exhibited considerable military skill and strategy. Marching generally by night, and keeping the line of country between the two great northern roads, they pushed forward with surprising celerity, carefully selecting strong natural positions for their resting-places. When marching by day they directed their course from one wood or defensive position to another, rather than in a direct northern line—thus perplexing the authorities, who never knew where to look for the deserters, as scarcely two persons agreed when describing their line of march.

“General Blakeney, who then commanded the north-eastern district, specially appointed Captain Ball, with a large body of cavalry, to intercept the Highlanders.

On the evening of the 21st Ball received intelligence that about three o’clock on the same day the fugitives had crossed the river Nen, near Wellingborough in Northamptonshire. Conjecturing that they were making for Rutlandshire, he placed himself in an advantageous position at Uppingham on the border of that county; Blakeney with a strong force being already posted at Stamford on the border of Lincolnshire. But the Highlanders encamped for the night in a strong position on a hill surrounded by a dense wood, about four miles from Cundle in Northamptonshire. Early on the following morning a country magistrate named Creed, hearing of the Highlanders’ arrival in his neighbourhood, went to their camp and endeavoured to persuade them to surrender.

“This they refused to do without a grant of pardon, which Creed could not give. After considerable discussion both parties agreed to the following terms : Creed was to write to the Duke of Montagu, Master-General of the Ordnance, stating that the deserters were willing to return to their duty on promise of a free pardon; they engaging to remain in the place they then occupied till a reply arrived from the Duke. Creed was also to write to the military officer commanding in the district, desiring him not to molest the Highlanders until the Duke’s wishes were known. At five o’clock in the morning the letters were written by Creed in the presence of the Highlanders, and immediately after despatched by special messengers to their respective destinations. In that to the military officer Creed says: ‘These Highlanders are a brave, bold sort of people, and are resolved not to submit till pardon comes down.’

“In the meantime a gamekeeper of Lord Gainsborough having reported the position of the Highlanders to Captain Ball, that officer arriving on the ground on the forenoon of the same day, demanded their immediate surrender. They replied that they were already in treaty with the civil authorities, and referred Captain Ball to Mr Creed. At the same time they wrote the following letter to Mr Creed, then attending church at Cundle :—

“‘Honoured Sir,—Just now came here a captain belonging to General Blakeney’s regiment, and proposed to us to surrender to him, without regard to your honour’s letter to the Duke of Montague, which we refused to do; wherefore he has gone for his squadron, and is immediately to fall on us. So that, if you think they can be kept off till the return of your letter, you’ll be pleased to consider without loss of time.’

“With this letter they also sent a verbal message stating that they were strongly posted, and resolved to die to a man rather than surrender on any other terms than those they had already proposed. Creed replied, advising them to surrender, and offering his good offices in soliciting their pardon. Ball, finding the position of the deserters unassailable by cavalry, rested till the evening, when General Blakeney’s forces arrived. The Highlanders then sent out a request for another interview with Ball, which was granted. He told them he could grant no other terms than an unconditional surrender. They replied that they preferred dying with arms in their hands. They took him into the wood and showed him the great strength of their position, which from Ball’s military description seems to have been one of those ancient British or Roman earthworks which still puzzle our antiquaries. They said they were soldiers, and would defend it to the last. Ball replied that he, too, was a soldier, and would kill the last, if it came to the arbitrament of arms. They then parted, a guard of the Highlanders leading Ball out of the wood. On their way, Ball, by offering an absolute pardon to the two by whom he was accompanied, succeeded in inducing them to return to their duty. One went with him to the General; the other, returning to the wood, prevailed upon a number of his comrades to submit also; these persuaded others, so that in the course of the night the whole number surrendered to General Blakeney.

“As the Highlanders in their retreat conducted themselves in the most unexceptionable manner, none of the fearful anticipations respecting them were realised. So on their surrender, the public fright resolved itself into the opposite extremes of public admiration. The flight of the deserters was compared to the retreat of the Ten Thousand; and Corporal Macpherson was regarded as a second Xenophon. But the stern exigencies of military discipline had to be satisfied. By sentence of a court-martial, two corporals, Macpherson and his brother, and one private named Shaw, were condemned to be shot. The execution took place on the 12th of July; a newspaper of the day tells that ‘the rest of the Highlanders were drawn out to see the execution, and joined in prayer with great earnestness.’ The unfortunate men behaved with perfect resolution and propriety. Their bodies were put into three coffins by three of their clansmen and namesakes, and buried in one grave near the place of execution.

“General Stewart, in his ‘Sketches of the Highlanders,’ says there must have been something more than common in the case or character of these unfortunate men, as Lord John Murray, who was afterwards colonel of the regiment, had portraits of them hung up in his dining-room. I have not at present the means of ascertaining whether this proceeded from an impression on his lordship’s mind that they had been victims to the designs of others, and ignorantly misled rather than wilfully culpable, or merely from a desire of preserving the resemblances of men who were remarkable for their size and handsome figure.”

“It is impossible,” adds General Stewart, “to reflect on this unfortunate affair without feelings of regret, whether we view it as an open violation of military discipline on the part of brave, honourable, and well-meaning men, or as betraying an apparent want of faith on the part of the Government. The indelible impression which it made on the minds of the whole population of the Highlands laid the foundation of that distrust in their superiors which was afterwards so much increased by various circumstances.”

In an interesting pamphlet published after the execution of the unfortunate men, the following particulars are given of the parentage and character of Samuel and Malcolm Macpherson:—

“Samuel Macpherson, aged about twenty-nine, was born in the parish of Laggan, in Badenoch; his father, still living, is brother to Macpherson of Breachie [Breackachy], a gentleman of considerable estate in that country, and is himself a man of unblemished reputation and a plentiful fortune. Samuel was the only son of a first marriage, and received a genteel education, having made some progress in the languages, and studied for some time at Edinburgh with a writer, until about six years ago he enlisted as a volunteer in Major Grant’s company, where he was much respected both by the officers and private men, and was in a short time made a corporal.

“Malcolm Macpherson, aged about thirty years, and unmarried, was born in the same parish of Laggan, was son of Angus Macpherson of Druminard, a gentleman of credit and repute, who bestowed upon Malcolm such education as that part of the country would afford. He enlisted about seven years ago in my Lord Lovat’s company, where his behaviour recommended him to the esteem of his officers, and he was soon made a corporal.”

A brother of Samuel Macpherson was General Kenneth Macpherson, of the East India Company’s Service, who died in 1815. Breakachy was the birthplace of another distinguished soldier of the same family— General Barclay Macpherson—of whom a sketch is given on page 174. The last of a succession of soldiers possessing the farm of Breakachy was Captain Evan D. Macpherson, of the 93d Highlanders (a son of Colonel Macpherson, Kerrow), who died in 1866.

5. Catlodge (Gaelic, Caitleag, the hollow of the cat, or, perhaps, the hollow of the sheep-cote).—Catlodge was possessed for some years by Major-General Frederick Towers, who was born on 16th August 1797, and died on 13th October 1859. General Towers was noted as the best deer-stalker of his day in the Highlands. There is a marble tablet to his memory in the parish church of Laggan. Catlodge was subsequently possessed by Colonel Fraser Macpherson, of the Madras Army, a grandson of Cluny of the ’45.

6. Cluny (Gaelic, Cluainidh, a gentle sloping field).—Cluny for many generations has been the seat of the Chiefs of Clan Chattan. Of Ewen of the ’45 a sketch is given on pages 162 -171. His son, Colonel Duncan of the 71st Regiment (Fraser’s Highlanders), who succeeded him in the chiefship of the clan, was a gallant officer, and distinguished himself in the American War of Independence. Born in 1750, he was married in 1798 to Catherine, daughter of Sir Ewen Cameron of Fassifern, by whom he had four sons and four daughters. In an interesting letter addressed by him within two months of his death to Colonel Stewart of Garth, dated 9th June 1817, he thus describes the raising of the regiment in which he served for many years:—

“With regard to the 71st Highlanders, they were raised in the year 1775, and in the short space (if I recollect right) of three months, and consisted of two battalions of 1000 rank and file each. The men were all from Scotland, and chiefly from the Highlands, and that is not surprising when I inform you that there were no less than seven chiefs in the regiment—viz., Lovat, Lochiel, Macleod, Mackintosh, Chisholm, Lamont of Lamont, and your humble servant, most of whom brought 100 men to the regiment. They got no drilling before they embarked, but they got a little while on the voyage to America, particularly in firing ball at a mark, at which they were very expert before they landed. They had only one fortnight’s drilling on Staten Island before they were engaged with the enemy; and upon all occasions, whether battle, skirmish, or rencounter, from the day they were first engaged till the last—that is to say, whatever the general success or fate of the day was, that part of the enemy opposed to the 71st always gave way. The next year after they went abroad they had 200 recruits sent them, and out of the 2200 men, only 175 men came home alive, and I got the out-pension for most of them, being at that time a colonel in the 3d Regiment of Guards, and had, fortunately for them, every opportunity of attending the Chelsea Board. There is another circumstance worth mentioning, when the regiment was inspected on the Green of Glasgow they had 150 supernumeraries that were obliged to be left behind, and, what is a little extraordinary, most of the companies had three or four men who stole on board ship unknown to their officers, and did not discover themselves until we were out of the sight of land for fear of being sent on shore again. These men followed the regiment merely out of attachment to their officers and comrades. Lochiel brought 100 fine Highlanders from Lochaber; and Mrs Macpherson tells me that the Clan Cameron remitted Lochiel’s rents to him while in France, which is certainly much to their credit.

“I am clearly of your opinion,” continues Colonel Macpherson, “that much of the attachment of the people to their superiors is unnecessarily lost, though I cannot impute the whole blame to proprietors. In many instances the people themselves are entirely in the fault, and in other cases factors abuse the trust reposed in them, and of course the proprietor gets the whole blame of their oppressions. You have given two very striking and opposite instances, which may serve to illustrate the situation of landlord and tenant all over the nation. I mean Sir George Stewart and the Earl of Breadalbane. The one has well-paid rents and the offer of a large sum of money besides, for his accommodation, while the other with difficulty gets one-tenth of his. If a tenant has a fair bargain of his farm it is an absurdity to suppose that one bad year will distress him ; but when the rent is so racked that he is only struggling in the best of times, a very little falling off in prices or seasons will totally ruin him, and I am sorry to say that much of the present distress is to be attributed to that cause. I am happy to have it in my power to tell you that my rents were all paid—that is, to a mere trifle, and even that trifle due by a few improvident individuals who would be equally in arrear in the best of times. The Duke of Gordon has not received more than one-half his rents either in Lochaber or Badenoch, and I have reason to believe his Grace’s rents were better paid in the Low country. Belville has not exceeded one-tenth, and though I do not exactly know in what proportion the Invereshie rent was paid, yet I know that it was a bad collection. The conduct of the family of Stafford is certainly unaccountable, for I am credibly informed that the old tenants offered a higher rent than those that came from England, consequently they are losers in every respect. I know it will be said by those who are advocates for depopulating the country that they could not stand to their offer, but neither could their successors; for a very large deduction has already been given them, and one man in particular has got five hundredpounds down. Upon the whole it is clear that the Marquis of Stafford was led into those arrangements (so disgraceful to the present age) by speculative men that wish to overturn the old system at once, without considering that their plans were at least only applicable to the present moment, and that such changes, even if necessary, should be done gradually and with great caution. I cannot dismiss this subject without making a few remarks on the conduct of Lady Stafford, and you will be astonished to learn that when her old and faithful adherents, who had given her such repeated proofs of their attachment, were cruelly oppressed by a factor, that she should refuse to listen to their complaints; and when that factor was tried for his life on charges of cruelty, oppression, and murder, it is most unaccountable that her Ladyship should exert all her influence to screen him from the punishment which he so richly deserved. I have only to add that as far as my own observations extend, much of the evil complained of arises from the absence of proprietors from their properties, by which they are in a great measure unacquainted with the real state of their tenants, and consequently open to every species of advice and misrepresentation.”

Browne, in his ‘History of the Highlands,’ relates that the 71st Highlanders were in 1779 “employed in an enterprise against Boston Creek, a strong position defended by upwards of two thousand men, besides one thousand men occupied in detached stations. The front of this position was protected by a deep swamp, and the only approach in that way was by a narrow causeway: on each flank were thick woods nearly impenetrable, except by the drier parts of the swamps which intersected them; but the position was more open in the rear. To dislodge the enemy from this stronghold, which caused considerable annoyance, Lieutenant-Colonel Duncan Macpherson, with the first battalion of the 71st, was directed to march upon the front of the position ; whilst Colonel Prevost and Lieutenant-Colonels Maitland and Macdonald, with the 2d battalion, the light infantry, and a party of provincials, were ordered to attempt the rear by a circuitous route of many miles. These combined movements were executed with such precision that, in ten minutes after Colonel Macpherson appeared at the head of the causeway in front, the fire of the body in the rear was heard. Sir James Baird, with the light infantry, rushing through the opening in the swamps, on the left flank, the enemy were overpowered after a short resistance.”

On a marble tablet in the Cluny burial-place, erected to the memory of Colonel Duncan, there is the following inscription :—





This Monument to the Memory of an affectionate Husband and Father has been erected by his Widow and Children.”

Of Colonel Duncan’s eldest son, Ewen of Cluny, who succeeded to the chiefship on the death of his father in 1817, and was long so popularly known all over the Highlands, a sketch is given on pages 282-302. One of “Old Cluny’s” brothers—Colonel John Cameron Macpherson —sometime of the 42d Highlanders, distinguished himself at the battle of the Alma, proving himself “a true representative of the warrior race of Clan Chattan.” Another brother—Colonel Archibald Fraser Macpherson of the Madras army—saw much service and acquired distinction for signal gallantry in India. “On his return to his native land he received a gratifying demonstration of the respect and admiration of his clansmen and countrymen in the shape of a splendid Highland banquet, characterised- by a true display of just, generous, and patriotic feelings and sentiments on the part of all concerned.”

On the death of “Old Cluny” on nth January 1885, he was succeeded in the chiefship by his eldest son, Colonel Duncan, C.B., sometime commanding the 42d Royal Highlanders. Worn out by the hardships of active service, Colonel Duncan did not long survive his succession to the chiefship and the Cluny estates, having died on October 3, 1886. The following appreciative sketch of his life and military career appeared in the ‘Dundee Advertiser’ of 6th October 1886 :—

“The intelligence of the death on Sunday, after a lengthened illness, of Colonel Duncan Macpherson, will be received by scores of military friends, and by many in civil life, with feelings of the deepest regret. The regret will be intensified by the knowledge that he has passed away war-worn and exhausted in the service of his country at fifty-three—an age when men of his class have hardly lost the elasticity and robustness of manhood’s prime. Colonel Macpherson was the representative of an honourable line of chiefs whose influence was perhaps unsurpassed in the Highlands. It is only a few months since he left Perth to take up his residence in Cluny Castle, and personal possession of the Cluny estate, to which he had a few months before succeeded on the death of his father, the late Cluny Macpherson, C.B. His health was at that time far from robust—indeed, he had just partially recovered from a severe illness; but it was fondly hoped that he would recover in the bracing air of the North, and that he would be long spared to reside in his ancestral home, as the worthy successor of a father who in a conspicuous manner united in himself the noble and generous qualities associated with the typical Highland Chief.

“Colonel Macpherson had been a soldier all his life, and had seen many years of that hard campaigning which too often saps the strength of those compelled to engage in its vicissitudes. He was born on the 9th October 1833, and had joined the Black Watch as ensign before his nineteenth year was completed. All through his military career till he resigned its command in 1882 he served under the colours of this famous old regiment. In April 1855 he obtained his captaincy, and, holding that rank, took part in the trying Indian Mutiny campaign. The Black Watch arrived on the scene of action at Cawnpore at a time when Sir Colin Campbell sorely needed its help, and Captain Macpherson was engaged with it in the terrible conflict with Nana Sahib’s Bithoor rebels and in the subsequent pursuit and battle at the Kalee Bridge. Arrived at Lucknow, the Highland regiments were brigaded under Adrian Hope, and the 426 was detailed to open the crucial contest by an attack in force on the Martiniere College. By the side of the Black Watch, when ready for action, stood the 93d; but the latter regiment was not to be engaged that day. In its ranks was Lieutenant Ewen Macpherson, the brother of the deceased; and just before the bugle sounded the advance an incident occurred which the late Colonel himself narrated to the writer. Things looked doubtful in front. The enemy, who were in strong force, looked stubborn, and the engagement seemed likely to be stiff and stern. Many men were marshalled there who would never again answer the muster-roll, and Duncan Macpherson, turning to his brother Ewen, took from his fingers his rings, removed his watch, chain, and trinkets, and, handing them to the latter, said, ‘Here, Ewen, you take these; if I come out of this all right I’ll get them from you; if not, they are yours.’ Ewen took the articles, and had the pleasure of handing them back to his brother when he came out of the conflict alive and well. He led his company with such dash against the Martiniere that Sir David Baird, watching the movements from the rear with a field-glass, exclaimed, ‘Well done, Cluny!’ He also accompanied his regiment through the Rohilcund campaign, and took part in the severe engagements at Fort Rooyah, Allygunge, and Bareilly. In July 1865 he was promoted to be Major, and with that rank commanded the Black Watch in the famous advance on Amoaful and Coomassie. He led his regiment in superb style through the bush, from which the Ashantees poured showers of slug-shot at but a few paces distant. Macpherson was hit twice, if not oftener, one shot passing through his leg; but he would not go to the rear, although requested by Sir Archibald Alison to do so. Supported by a stick he pluckily held on with his advancing men, and finally led them in triumph into Amoaful. ‘Nothing,’ said Sir Garnet Wolseley in his official report, ‘could have exceeded the admirable conduct of the 426 Highlanders, on whom fell the hardest share of the work. As Colonel M'Leod was in command of the left column, this regiment was led by Major Macpherson, who was twice wounded.’ For his share in this campaign the deceased officer was rewarded with a Companionship of the Bath, a medal and clasp, and was promoted to the rank of Brevet-Colonel. His latest campaign was in Egypt in 1882, when, holding the full rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in command of the Royal 42d Highlanders, he led his regiment over the trenches of Tel-el-Kebir. It was a proud position. The 42d is a regiment whose glorious traditions can never fail to challenge attention to its deportment in whatever enterprise it may be engaged. His long connection with the corps had forged strong the links of mutual confidence and esteem between the leader and the led. He was come of a long line of men accustomed to command, and behind him marched in majestic strength a regiment which had ever responded with loyalty and devotion to the call for action. The conduct of commander and men on this occasion equally confirmed the trust reposed in them. The success of the long night-'march and the brilliant daybreak-assault were not a little due to the splendid discipline and valour of the old Black Watch and its gallant leader.

“His period of service up, he shortly after retired from the regiment, and was appointed to the command of the 42d Regimental District at Perth—a post which still kept him in close touch with his old comrades. There he discharged his duties with energy, promptitude, and ability. He was a careful inspector and strict disciplinarian, but withal a kind-hearted and generous officer; and many an old, broken-down ‘British hero’ who had belonged to his company in the Crimea or India, or who had followed him in Ashantee, made long and not unsuccessful pilgrimages to Perth to see ‘the Colonel.’ This command he relinquished early in the present year before retiring to his ancestral home at Cluny. He has thus been but a short time out of harness, and his death has come at a time when the prospect of a long period of profitable and healthful rest seemed before him. In politics he was a Conservative; in private life he was cheery, affable, and entertaining—a man not to be respected only, but to be admired and beloved. In 1867 he married a daughter of Major-General Harris, of the Bengal Army, but there is no issue. The estate of Cluny therefore devolves upon his younger brother, Ewen Macpherson.”

Some years previous to his death a pension was conferred upon Colonel Duncan for distinguished and meritorious service. The following is the inscription on a beautiful marble tablet erected to his memory in the burial-place of the family:—




Erected by his Widow.”

Like his deceased brother, Colonel Ewen Henry Davidson Macpherson, now the Chief of the clan, has had a long and distinguished military career. With the 93d Highlanders, which he joined shortly after Duncan joined the Black Watch, he has seen most of the campaigning since 1854, and eventually rose to command the famous regiment in which he had so long served. The following is the record of Colonel Ewen’s military services as given in ‘ The Historical Records of the 93d,’ published in 1883 :—

“Ensign, 3d of November 1854; lieutenant, 9th of February 1855. Served with the regiment in the Crimea from 14th of July 1855, including the siege and fall of Sebastopol; also in the Indian Mutiny, including the relief of Lucknow by Lord Clyde, operations at Cawnpore and battle of the 6th of December 1857; pursuit to Serai Ghat; action of the Kala Nuddee; siege and fall of Lucknow, campaign in Oude, and attack on Fort Mittowlie. Became captain, 13th of May 1859; was aide-de-camp to the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal from 1st of June 1859 to 31st of May 1862. Served in the Eusofzai campaign of 1863, under Sir John Garvock. Brevet-major, 5th of July 1872; major, 29th of October 1873; and Lieutenant-Colonel commanding, 1st of January 1879. Lieutenant-Colonel E. H. D. Macpherson has the Crimean medal and clasp, Turkish medal, Indian medal with two clasps, and the Frontier medal with clasp for Umbeyla.”

Colonel Ewen has naturally taken the greatest interest in the 93d, and it was under his direction that the ‘ Records ’ of the regiment, written by Captain Burgoyne, were prepared and published. After relinquishing the command of the 93d, Colonel Ewen commanded the 1st Regimental District, “ The Royal Scots,” and he is now Brigadier-General commanding the Highland Volunteer Brigade. The following extract from a letter addressed to him by Field-Marshal His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, K.G., &c., Commander-in-Chief of her Majesty’s Forces, speaks for itself:—

“Horse Guards, War Office, 24^ August 1892.

“Sir,—I have the satisfaction to acquaint you that her Majesty the Queen has been pleased to approve of your receiving from the grant for Distinguished and Meritorious Service an allowance of ^jioo per annum, from the 20th July 1892 inclusive......—I am, sir, yours, George.

“Colonel E. H. D. Macpherson, Half-pay,
Coming. Highland Voir. Infy. Brigade.”

7. Crathie (Gaelic, Craichidh. The derivation is very obscure, but some suppose it to be from the Gaelic word Creigg, signifying rocky or abounding with stones).—Crathie was the birthplace of Colonel Andrew Macpherson of the 14th Indian Native Infantry—“a near relation of the Chief of Macpherson—who died in the command of the regiment in 1804, a distinguished officer, who was more than once publicly thanked by Government for his meritorious services, and whose private character was equally estimable.”

8. Crubinmore and Crubinbeg (according to old natives the proper Gaelic name of Crubinmore is Cro beinn mhor, or binnean mor—i.e., the fold of the big hill; and of Crubinbeg, Cro beinn bheag, or binnean beag —i.e., the fold of the little hill, representing respectively two conicalshaped hills in the immediate neighbourhood, the one considerably higher than the other).—Crubinmore was long the seat of a family of Macphersons, from whom Mr L. A. Macpherson of Corrimony is descended. The Tore, a high conical hill in Drumuachdar, was in olden times regarded by the Macphersons of Crubin as their future inheritance or Hill of Spirits. The admixture of Christianity with the ancient religion of the Gael created infinite confusion of ideas with respect to the state of departed souls. Heaven and hell were sometimes mentioned from the pulpit; but the nurse spoke daily of Flath-innis,3 and the hills of their departed kindred, to the children at her knee, and ancient tales of those who had been favoured with visions of the state of the dead prevented the Christian idea of heaven and hell from ever being properly established. It was supposed that only the souls of the supremely good and brave were received into Flathinnis, and those only of the very base and wicked were condemned to the torments of Ifrinn.4 The hills of their fathers were in an intermediate state, into which the common run of mankind were received after death. They had no notion of an immaterial being; but supposed that each spirit, on departing from this mortal habitation, received a body subject to no decay, and that men in a future state enjoyed such pleasures as had been most congenial to their minds in this world, without being subject to any of the ills “that flesh is heir to.”

9. Dalchully (Gaelic, Dail-chuilidh, or perhaps Dail-a’-chulaidh, the well-conditioned dale, or otherwise Dail-a'-chuilinn, the dale of the holly). —Dalchully was once the seat of John Macpherson, Esq., on which possession a jointure-house is said to have been built for the Honourable Lady Jane, daughter of Simon Lord Lovat, who was married to Cluny of the ’45.

10. Gallovie (Gaelic, Geal-agaidh, supposed to signify white field).— Gallovie was possessed for some time by a family of the name of Macdonald, of whom was Captain Ronald Macdonald.

Here also resided for many years Ian Ruadh Ghcal-agaidh, the last tacksman of Gallovie—the place after he gave it up being turned into a deer-forest. In a letter dated 19th January 1892, received from William J. McPherson, a distinguished counsellor-at-law in Rochester, New York (a grandson of Ian Ruadh), one of the most enthusiastic and patriotic members of the clan now living, and well known as one of the most gifted and prominent citizens and leading public speakers in that part of the state, he gives the following interesting account of the family:—

“My dear Sir,—As stated in a previous letter to you, I cannot well make up the notice you asked for concerning my family. Aside from the fact that I do not know the scope that would be allowed, or that your available space would permit, my innate modesty—a modesty peculiar to our people as a race—would prevent me from preparing such a notice, personal as it would be in some measure to myself. My father died when I was a child, and being since separated, except when on short visits, from those most familiar with the history of my ancestors, I have not that more complete record that otherwise I would have ; but I submit the following points that have come to me from my parents and others concerning my ancestors, and also some other matters relating to the family.

“My paternal great-grandfather was Murdoch Macpherson, long known in the native vernacular as Muireach Ruadh, or Red Murdoch. Tradition describes him to have been a strong, athletic, and active man; a man of few words, stern and courageous, and of great decision of character; ‘ a man who was trustworthy and trusted.’

“Murdoch joined the standard of ‘ Prince Charlie ’ on or shortly after the arrival of the Prince in Scotland in 1745, and followed the fortunes of the Prince to the failure of his cause, and the fortunes of Cluny until the latter left Scotland for France. He was in hiding with the Prince, and with Cluny until Cluny left for France, when he accompanied him to the coast.

“The following are among the traditions that have come down in the family from the days of Red Murdoch.

“On a cold night when the Prince and his little party were in hiding, and were watching from a hill-top the enemy’s troops who were in search of him, the Prince was dressed in a light-weight tartan, and was suffering from the cold and inclement weather. One of the party asked Murdoch in Gaelic to give his plaid, which was a large and heavy one, to the Prince. Murdoch replied in Gaelic that he would not give his plaid to the best man in the kingdom. The Prince asked what they were talking about, and being told of Murdoch’s answer, the Prince laughed, and stated that he would be glad to share it with him. This statement being translated to Red Murdoch, he and the Prince shared the plaid together.

“At another time, when the party were more than usually anxious and gloomy, the Prince remarked that he would give a guinea to see a smile on Murdoch’s face; and this being translated to Murdoch by one of their number, Murdoch, struck by the novelty of the expression, laughed, and the Prince tossed the coin to him.

“Murdoch and two other persons were each intrusted with a backload of gold (that had been sent by France to the Prince) to conceal it in the mountains or some out-of-the-way place. They concealed it in a place where they thought it was securely hidden, but when they afterwards went for it it was not there, and it was never recovered.

“Another story that has come down in the family from Murdoch’s time is, that on one occasion the Prince stated, either in earnest, jest, or to give strength to his expression of regard for Murdoch (most probably the latter), that if the crown were restored to his family he would make Murdoch the second man in the kingdom.

“After the Prince left Scotland, Murdoch remained with Cluny, and accompanied him to the coast when he left for France. The last night they were together was at an inn or other place provided for their secret entertainment, and where they had beds near one another. Far in the night Cluny came to Murdoch’s bedside, awakened him, and told him that just before getting up he dreamed that three red swine were tearing his bed to pieces, and that he was going to fly immediately. He left the place, and before his bed was fairly cold, three soldiers, ‘red-coats,’ hunting for him overhauled the bed.

“Many years ago I saw a letter, written by a Perthshire Macpherson of the early part of this century, in which it was stated that Murdoch was in some way a companion of the Prince, probably an attache of his person. From my early childhood days I have understood that Murdoch died in Badenoch at the great age of 103. He had a son, William Macpherson, who was born in Badenoch in 1753. He married Margery Macpherson, a sister of Ian Ruadh Macpherson, Gallovie. In 1798 he moved to Stanley, Perthshire, where he resided until his death in 1851 at the age of ninety-eight. His remains, with those of other members of the family, rest in the little old burial-ground across the Tay from Stanley. His regard for ancient Highland customs was evidenced by his provision for a granite boulder at the foot of his grave.

“In early life AVilliam was engaged as a drover, and in the purchase of live stock in the Highlands and its sale in the southern markets. He retired early in life from all active pursuits. Margery, his wife, died in 1838. They had five children—Gillies, who was born in Badenoch, Ann, Margaret, and Thomas, who was my father, and an earlier child named Thomas, who was drowned in the Tay, and all except Gillies were born in Perthshire. Margaret died in 1828 at Stanley, and Ann died there a few years ago. My father died at Caledonia, N.Y., in 1841, at the age of thirty-three; and Gillies died several years ago, at Warwick, Ont., Canada, at the age of eighty-three.

“The family were all well educated. Ann was known as one of the greatest Biblical scholars of her section of the country. She had committed to memory the Old and New Testaments and the Paraphrases, and in her advanced years, woe to her opponent in discussion in which Scriptural illustrations or expressions could be used as weapons by her; from Genesis to Revelation, both inclusive, she would hurl them at him. She was, however, one of the most canny of her race.

“My uncle, Gillies Macpherson, was educated at Edinburgh for the ministry, spending eleven years there prosecuting his studies. During all that time he was under engagement of marriage with Miss Ann Pullar, of the well-known Pullar family of Perthshire, and married her at the close of his studies. Instead of entering the ministry and preparing people for the spirit world, he took the Milton farm and distillery, near Stanley, worked the farm and manufactured spirits for the use of people in this world. About 1837 he came to the United States, where his brother Thomas (my father) then resided. He engaged in contract work in the States and in Canada, until in 1844, when he moved with his family to Warwick, which was then almost a wilderness, and set to work clearing away the forest. About sixty of his descendants now own and occupy large farms in what is termed the ‘ Eden of the Dominion.’ His good judgment and advice did much to form public opinion as to matters of interest to that section of the country. People went from long distances to counsel with him, and often matters of contention between parties were submitted to him instead of the courts for his decision. He was known far and near as ‘Lord McPherson.’ He had six children— William, John, Joseph, Ann (who married a Munro), Gillies, and Margery. Margery died many years ago, unmarried, and John died in 1891. All the living descendants of my uncle, Gillies McPherson, reside in and about Warwick, Ont.

“Thomas was educated at Edinburgh as a physician and surgeon, and was noticed in the annals of the Royal College of Surgeons for an important and difficult surgical operation performed by him. After his graduation he married his cousin, Jane Macpherson, a daughter of Ian ruadh Macpherson, Gallovie, and settled down to the practice of his profession in Kingussie, where I, their first child, was born January 18th, 1831. In the spring of that year a deaf-mute fortune-teller came to the house of my parents, and taking a tub of water, pointed out to them that they would soon cross a great body of water, and would encounter a great storm. Even in those days intelligent Kingussians honoured fortunetellers. At that time my parents had no intention to come to America. In the summer of that year, under pressing invitations from their relatives and other Highland people who, a few years before, had made a large settlement at and about Caledonia, N.Y., they moved to and settled in Caledonia. In crossing the ocean, they passed through a great storm in which the hatches were nailed down over them.

“My father became eminent and widely known as a surgeon, his practice extending over nearly the west half of the state. His fame was such that graduates of medical colleges of other states came to and remained with him a year or more to perfect themselves the more in their profession. As an illustration of the faith the people generally had in his professional skill I will relate an incident.

“A Mrs M'Kercher, a Highland lady, to give her children the advantages of a higher education, with them removed from the vicinity of Caledonia to Lima, the seminary at which I was then attending. On the invitation of the good lady and her family I was spending my birthday evening with them at their pleasant home. During the evening she spoke of my father’s ‘wonderful skill’ in his profession, and related a story which she said he had told to her and to a Mrs Deacon M'Pherson. The story was, that in the Peninsular War he was the surgeon of a British regiment; that during a battle with the French, the French cavalry broke through the lines of his regiment, behind which he was standing with his assistant surgeon; that a French officer by a sabre-stroke cut the head from the body of the assistant surgeon, the head falling to the ground; that he raised the head, and caught the body while it was yet standing, and fixed the head, as he supposed, properly on it; that under the circumstances he was labouring under considerable excitement, and that when the assistant surgeon walked away he discovered that he had fixed the head on the body wrong side foremost. I suggested to Mrs M'Kercher, that in telling such a story my father was only trying their credulity and meeting their flattering remarks; that he disliked flattery, and that no such thing ever occurred. The good old lady said to me, ‘Do you doubt your father’s words?’ ‘In that matter, I do,’ I replied. She then said, ‘I believe it happened just as he told it, and I will not permit any person to remain in my house who doubts his word; so you will please take your leave.’ Of course I did not leave the pleasant circle, but the incident well illustrates the great faith the people had in his professional skill.

“He was a man of fine literary taste, a good writer, and something of a poet. It is something to his credit in that direction that N. P. Willis, one of the noted American poets, and the proprietor and editor of the finest literary paper ever published in America, ‘The New York Mirror,’ away back in the ‘thirties,’ went by stage from New York to Caledonia, a distance of over five hundred miles, to visit him.

“When Gillies left Edinburgh he could read eleven languages, and recite from memory five hundred Scotch and English songs and poems. When he was over seventy years of age I heard him recite at the dinner-table ‘Tam o’ Shanter,’ without a break that he did not correct. I think that there were but few men living at the time of his death who had more of the traditions of our clan and people, and of the neighbouring clans, than he had; and those traditions were gleaned by him in his early years, and from people bordering on the time that marked the commencement of the changes which have so much affected the people of Badenoch and of other parts of the Highlands.

“My father could read seven languages. I have several of the text-books used by my uncle and father in their studies in Edinburgh.

“Although my father held title to real estate, his home in Caledonia, and knew that it would be subject to escheat to the state in case of his death without becoming a citizen, or filling his Declaration of Intention to become a citizen of the United States, he would not do either. He always asserted that his allegiance belonged to Great Britain, and his intention to return to his native land. My uncle Gillies was equally devoted to the land of his nativity. It can, at least, be said of them and of their paternal ancestors, that if in nothing else they were illustrious, they were illustrious examples of allegiance and devotion to their mother country, and of pride of their name, of their race, and of their clan. Some degree of that weakness, if weakness it can properly be called, is charged as pertaining to the nature of your humble servant. I have in my possession the large dirk—skean dhitbh—carried by Red Murdoch in the affair of 1745-46. It descended from Red Murdoch, and it never has been out of our family. John and Agnes Macpherson, now or lately at Blairgowrie, and some of their kin there, and others now or lately in Calcutta, are descendants of Red Murdoch.

“I do not know who was the father of Ian ruadh Macpherson, Gallovie. For many years—for nearly half a century, I think—he was a tenant of Cluny, holding the great cattle and sheep farm or land known as Gallovie, about eight by twelve miles in extent, embracing about seventy-six thousand acres of land, and described by Logan in his ‘Antiquities, &c., of the Highlands,’ as one of the largest sheep-farms in Scotland. He had seven children—John, Jessie, Alexander (known as ‘Sandy’), Jane, Ann, Duncan, and Jane, my mother. To them all he gave a good education, mostly under tutors away from home.

“Jessie—a beautiful and accomplished girl—was known as the ‘Belle of Inverness-shire.’ I often heard my parents speak thus of her; and up to a few years ago there were many aged people in this country and in Canada who knew her in her younger days, and thus spoke of her and her accomplishments. I visited her in London, England, as late as 1867, and then, in her old age, she was tall, erect as a statue, a beautiful and accomplished woman. An English general, going to the shootings in the Highlands, met her in Badenoch and wooed her. Her father, descended from an old Jacobite stock, and thoroughly imbued with a spirit of dislike towards the Sassenachs, opposed their meeting. Going to the shootings the year following, the General won her, and Ian Ruadh being much opposed to such an alliance, they went away and were married, and her home afterwards was in London. The General was stationed in India many years, and died there. She had six children by him, and in her various visits to him, one after the other died, and were all buried at sea.

“After the death of the General she married Professor Hawkins, one of her Majesty’s tutors. He died of a broken heart within two weeks after the unexpected failure of a great manufacturing company in which all his estate was invested. In the legal trouble which followed, her Majesty acted towards his widow the part of a warm personal friend. By her second marriage Mrs Hawkins lost her pension. Some time after the death of Mr Hawkins, a lady (I think Lady Stewart) called on her and invited her to attend a gathering at her London residence. Mrs Hawkins having attended the gathering, the lady introduced to her General Macpherson Neil of the Horse Guards. She and the General were of kin ; had been at school together when children ; had parted when they were about sixteen years of age, and had not met before through all the years that had intervened. The story of the life of each was told by the one to the other. A few days subsequently the General was riding in Hyde Park, when the Duke of Wellington, the “Iron Duke,” rode up to him, and they rode along together. In the conversation between them the General told to the Duke the story of Jessie’s life. The Duke had known her first husband. With a pencil the Duke made a memorandum on the pommel of his saddle. Within about two weeks afterwards her pension was restored to her, and when I was with her in 1867 she was enjoying her pension, and living a life of ease and comfort.

“Her father soon became reconciled to her marriage with the General. I have some beautiful presents, and among them a snuff-box that she brought from the East Indies to her father. After his death they were returned to her, and in 1867 she gave them to me. The snuff-box has in it yet snuff that was in it at the time of his death. I have understood that in her early years in London she did much to form or build up a school or seminary for girls.

“Ann married a Mr Stevenson, who, I think was a store-keeper at Laggan, and died there. I believe that Mrs Stevenson died there, although I have heard that she removed to Australia, where some of her family had gone. I have a large photograph of her taken but a short time before her death. It represents a woman of good Highland features, of strong form, and of strong and womanly traits of character—a Macpherson through and through.

“Some years before my father’s death ‘ Sandy ’ paid my father and mother a long visit at Caledonia, N.Y. A Mrs M'Gregor, whom I met by chance near the top of Birnam Hill, Dunkeld, informed me that he died at Gallovie, and that she assisted in preparing his remains for burial.

“I have heard that Duncan went to Van Diemen’s Land, and had there a large sheep-farm; and that afterwards he removed to Australia.

“John graduated as a physician and surgeon at Edinburgh, and, I understand, in the same class with my father. I do not know whether he ever went into the general practice of his profession. He was, I have understood, for some years connected with the East India Company, and probably as surgeon. J. Macpherson, a grandson of Ian Ruadh, was for many years connected with, and died in, the British Civil Service at Hong-kong; and a grandson, Stevenson, was for many years, and still may be, in the same service at Hong-kong.

“I believe that Dr John Macpherson died at Kingussie. He was the same Dr John Macpherson named in the abstract of title that lately came into your hands, and from which you quoted to me, of a property in Kingussie. Ian ruadh Macpherson died in 1844, and his remains were interred under the wide-spreading branches of a fine tree in the churchyard of Laggan, and at the head of the grave there is a marble slab with the following inscription :—




“My mother was always noted for her fresh and womanly beauty, a freshness and beauty that are characteristics of so many Highland women. She was well educated by her father, and for a year before her marriage he kept her at Fort William, learning to do needle-work and to cook. She died on the family estate in Kendall, N.Y., in the sixty-fourth year of her age. She had experienced vicissitudes in life and of fortune, and her life-work having been well done, she calmly and courageously passed to the great and ever ‘ Unknown Beyond.’ My parents had six children—two sons and four daughters. My brother John went through the first battle at ‘Bull Run,’ in our late civil war. He Married Mary E. Shattuck, an authoress and writer of some merit. He died here a few years ago, leaving his wife and one child, Helen L. Macpherson, who is now a teacher at Montclair, N.J. One sister, Margaret, is the wife of E. D. W. Parsons of Rochester, N.Y., who was a lieutenant of the U.S. navy during the same war.

Another sister, Margery, is the wife of Z. Aldrich of Grand Rapids, Mich. He was the colonel of a Michigan regiment in that war, and for a time experienced the horrors of the Andersonville prison-pen. Another sister, Jessie, now of Salt Lake City, Utah, is the widow of the late John D. Robins, who was major in, and adjutant of, the Fifth N.Y. Heavy Artillery, and went through the same war, and than whom a cooler and braver officer never lived. At the annual reunions of the survivors of that regiment songs of praise are sung to his memory. The other sister, Thomasina, is the widow of Almarin Martin, and with her two children, daughters, resides at Salt Lake City.

“About four years after the death of my father, my mother married William Ross, who was from Dundee. Mr Ross’s first wife was a Macpherson of our kin. My father was her attending physician at the time of his death, and in what proved to be her final illness. She died within a few days after the death of my father. Mr Ross became a large landowner in Kendall and Carlton, N.Y., and devoted the remainder of his life to farming. He was killed accidentally on a railway, a train striking him. He was a deacon of the Presbyterian Church. He left four children by my mother. Jane, a daughter, is dead; and the three other children—Winfield S. and James Ross; and Susan, wife of J. Langton—are all at Salt Lake City. All of my kin at Salt Lake City are Gentiles!

“I have before me some memorandums that were given to me by my aunt Jessie in London in 1867. One of them is, ‘Kingussie.—Call on Mr Macpherson, the banker; he is a distant relation of ours.’ Another is, ‘Call on John Macpherson, Lag Catlodge, a little south of Balgowen.’ I called at the humble home of Lag. A short elderly man met me at the door, and bade me ‘come ben.’ When I reached the middle of the room his wife exclaimed, ‘The great and good God! that man looks like Dr John.’ She referred to the Dr John Macpherson already mentioned. I was an utter stranger to these people  neither had seen me unless before I was eight months old; nothing had been said by me as to who I was; and no one in that section knew that I was in Scotland. On the occasion of my first visit to Mrs Hawkins, who had never previously seen me, and had no reason to expect to see me, she remarked, after looking at me for some little time, ‘I do not know who you are, but you belong to my family.’ While I am represented as resembling my father and his family, I have referred to these incidents as showing that I take also from Ian Ruadh’s ‘side of the house,’ and that family features and traits descend even to the third and fourth generations. When I was in Badenoch (1867) several middle-aged and older men and women came to me and gave me some of their pleasant recollections of Ian Ruadh and his family, and so of some of the men on the grounds of Cluny Castle when I passed through them. I cannot avoid stating, in this connection, that when I alighted from my carriage at one of the lodges of the castle I was met there by a kind, hale, hearty, and strongly built old lady of the name of Mackintosh. By some questioning on her part, combined with a little Highland tact, she learned who I was, where I was from, &c., and told me that when my parents were on their way from Ian Ruadh’s to America (thirty-six years before) they stopped at the castle to bid their Chief good-bye; that I was then passed from the carriage to her arms at the same lodge, and carried by her to the castle and back to the carriage. A similar illustration of long service (thirty-six years) to one person would be difficult to find in this country. Truly, ‘Ewen Macpherson of Cluny Macpherson, Chief of Clan Chattan, C.B.,’ was ‘a Chief who delighted in old servants, in old services, and in old kindly usages of all kinds.’

“With the blood of ‘Red John Macpherson, Gallovie,’ and the blood of ‘Red Murdoch Macpherson’ coursing my veins, I think it can fairly be said of me that I am of the ‘red Macphersons.’

“In 1860 I married Miss R. Anna Burr, a daughter of the late Colonel Riley Burr of Broadalbin, N.Y., son of Reuben Burr, who was of near kin to Aaron Burr, the third Vice-President of the United States, and who with Alexander Hamilton fought the duel in which the latter met his death at Weehawken Heights, N.J. We have three children — Maud, who is the wife of Mr Cyrus H. Polley of Rochester, N.Y.; Jane McPherson; and May McPherson.—Yours sincerely, Wm. J. McPherson.”

11. Garvamore (Gaelic, Garbhamor, the big rough ford).

In days long since gone by, the Macphersons of the house of Garva believed that their spirits would inhabit Tom-Mor, a hill in the immediate neighbourhood. On the entrance of every new inhabitant, Tom-Mor was seen by persons at a certain distance in a state of illumination. It is related that it was seen on fire for the last time about the end of last century, and it was confidently asserted that some member of the house of Garva was passing from this into a better state of existence. But no deaths being heard of in the neighbourhood for some days, an opinion, beginning to decline, was on the eve of being consigned into oblivion, when, to the confusion of the sceptics, news arrived that the daughter of a gentleman of the house of Garva had expired at Glasgow at the very moment Tom-Mor had been seen in a blaze. But into whatever state the departed spirit passed, it had for a time to return to perform a sacred duty on earth. It was the duty of the spirit of the last person interred to stand sentry at the churchyard gate from sunset until the crowing of the cock, every night, until regularly relieved. In thinly inhabited parts of the country this sometimes happened to be a tedious and severe duty; and the duration of the Faire Cladh—i.e., graveyard watch—gave the deceased’s surviving friends sometimes much uneasiness. About the beginning of the present century a young man, we are told, had an interview with the ghost of a neighbour’s wife, while she watched at the gate of the old churchyard of Laggan. She was clothed in a comfortable mantle of snow-white flannel, adorned with red crosses, and appeared at the time—though a very old woman when she died—in the full bloom of youth and beauty. She told him that she enjoyed the felicity of Flath-innis, and they exchanged snuff-mulls. She directed him to a hidden treasure she had hoarded, and desired it might be added to the fortune of her daughter, who, she said, was to be married on a certain day, which she named, and, strange to say, though the girl was not then even courted, she became a wife on the day foretold.

Garvamore was long possessed by a true Highlander of the old school, Mr John M‘Donald, noted for his hospitality and genuine kindness. As an illustration of the bodily strength of the Badenoch men of the time, Dr Longmuir gives the following anecdote relating to M‘Donald:—

“A Mr Lumsden of Aberdeenshire laid a bet with Glengarry that there was not a Highlander on his estate that could jump, put the stone, or throw the hammer with him. The challenge was accepted, and the contest was to take place on Corryarrick. Glengarry attended at the time with a numerous retinue of his tenantry; but Lumsden sent a message that he would not come to such a place unless his life was insured for 3000. The Marquess of Huntly bantered him that he was afraid of losing his bet, and told him that his life was as safe in Badenoch as at home. Lumsden then challenged any one on the Marquess’s estate—the parties being restricted to seven throws of the hammer. The Marquess wrote to John M‘Donald of Garvamore to come and enter the lists with Lumsden. M‘Donald requested Captain M'Donald to take care of his wife and children, as he declared he would never return to Badenoch were he unsuccessful! He then proceeded to Huntly, and arrived there three days before the competition. On that day Lumsden, for the first four throws, took the lead; but M‘Donald was ahead of his antagonist for the next three, and beat him by twenty inches. The Marquess rewarded him with a silver jug of considerable value, and sent him home happy in having worthily maintained the honour of the district.”

Garvamore was the last stage in former times on the road over Corryarrick to Fort-Augustus. So mountainous and wild is the district, that the very spring after the formation of the road eleven soldiers perished together, and many since at different times. It is related that, about the time the last Mackintosh of Borlum made his escape, the inn at Garvamore “was occupied by the tenant of Aberarder. He and his brother, Black Ranald of Tullochroam, happened to be in a room upstairs when Borlum arrived, and begged them to save his life, as he was pursued by Captain Macpherson. Ranald is said to have secured the door, while Alexander, tying two pairs of sheets together, enabled Borlum to escape by the window, so that when the Captain arrived his search for the fugitive was in vain.”

12. Garvabeg (Gaelic, Garbhabeag, the little rough ford).—Garvabeg was long possessed by a family of the name of Macdonald, from whom the late Mr D. P. Macdonald of Ben Nevis was descended. Mrs Macpherson of Corrimony is also descended on the maternal side from the same family. During the French war this family, like every other family of note in Badenoch, gave several brave officers to the British army.

13. Gaskbeg (Gaelic, Gasgbheag. The word Gask is now obsolete in Gaelic, and the derivation is uncertain, but apparently the prefix was applied to the flat meadows in Laggan which bear the name).—At Gaskbeg was situated the old manse of Laggan, rendered so famous as the residence for many years of the celebrated Mrs Grant, of whose husband, who was minister of Laggan from 1775 down to the date of his death in 1801, a brief sketch is given on pages 238, 239, and glimpses of Mrs Grant on pages 102-108.

14. Gaskmore (Gaelic, Gasgmhor. See Gaskbeg).—Gaskmore was the birthplace of Colonel Ronald Macdonald, Adjutant-General, Bombay. Commencing his career as an officer in the 92d Regiment, his gentlemanly manners and talents attracted the notice of the friend of the Highland soldier, the Marquis of Huntly, while Colonel of that regiment. In 1833, as Major of the 92d and while still a young man, he was through the influence of his Grace the Duke of Gordon nominated Military Secretary to General Sir John Keane, the Commander-in-Chief, Bombay Presidency, afterwards Lord Keane of Afghanistan celebrity, through whose influence and high recommendations Colonel Macdonald succeeded to the post of Adjutant-General to that Presidency. Soon after his death in 1848 the following obituary notice of Colonel Macdonald appeared in the 4 Inverness Courier

“We regret to perceive that the Bombay papers announce the death, on 31st May last, of this gallant officer. Colonel Macdonald was a native of the parish of Laggan, and his services were long and meritorious. He joined the expedition to Sweden in 1808, and was subsequently in Portugal and Spain, where he was engaged in several battles and severely wounded. He was also in the campaign of 1815, and was wounded severely at Waterloo. He afterwards served on the Staff in the West Indies ; and in 1834 accompanied Lord Keane to India as Adjutant-General of the Queen’s troops, and officiating Military Secretary to his Lordship in 1838 and 1839. He was at the capture of Candahar, Ghuznee (for which he received a medal), and Cabul. In India he was greatly beloved and esteemed. A gentleman in Colonel Macdonald’s native parish of Laggan informs us that a more excellent man in every relation he never knew. He was devotedly attached to his native country, and sent a sum of money annually for the poor of Laggan. His loss will be deeply felt in the district, and also by all who knew him. His relations now alive are three sisters and a brother, the former in the neighbourhood of Cluny, and the latter in Australia. The Colonel’s death was caused by apoplexy. He was fifty-four years of age, and it is supposed he must have left a considerable fortune.”

There is an admirable portrait of Colonel Macdonald in the diningroom at Cluny Castle.

15. Glentruim (the derivation of the name is involved in obscurity. Mr MacBain supposes it to mean the Glen of the Elder-tree).—Glentruim is now the seat of Lieutenant-Colonel Lachlan Macpherson of Glentruim, of the Ralia Macphersons, who were closely allied to the family of the Chief. See pp. 324, 325. Colonel Macpherson entered the army in 1853 as ensign in the 30th Regiment, and embarked for the Crimea in May 1854. He landed with the regiment at Old Fort in September following as lieutenant, and was present at the battle of Alma, where he received a slight contusion. On the captain of the Grenadier Company being severely wounded, he succeeded to the command of the company, and brought it out of action. Colonel Macpherson was present also at the powerful sortie from Sebastopol on 26th October, and at the battle of Inkerman, where his regiment came out of action with only five officers uninjured. He served throughout the siege in the trenches up to August 1855, when he was invalided to England. He is in possession of the Crimean war-medal with three clasps, the 5th Class of the Order of the Medjidie, and the Turkish medal. Succeeding to the estate of Glen-truim on the death of his brother in 1868, Colonel Macpherson has displayed so much taste in improving the amenity of the mansion-house, that it is now one of the most beautiful and attractive residences on the whole run of the Spey.

16. Ovie (Gaelic, Ubhaidh, awful or awe-inspiring; or perhaps the name may be derived directly from uaimh, a hollow or den).—Ovie was the birthplace of Captain Ewen Macpherson of the 79th Regiment, sometime of Culachy (mentioned in Mrs Grant of Laggan’s correspondence), afterwards Major of the g2d Regiment, Colonel of the 6th Royal Veteran Battalion, and Governor of Sheerness. He died in 1823.

17. Shirrabeg (Gaelic, Siorra-beag. Siorradh signifies a deviation, and the name taken in this sense would exactly indicate the position of Shirrabeg and Shirramore, each lying within loops or windings of the river Spey. Shirra -mdr would thus mean the great bend, and Shirra-beg the little bend).—Shirrabeg was long possessed by a family of Macphersons sometime represented by Lieutenant-Colonel John Macpherson.

18. Shirramore (Gaelic, Siorra-mdr. See Shirrabeg).

“Sherramore,” says Dr Longmuir, “reminds us of those ‘Bonds of black-mail’ or contracts by which certain Highland gentlemen undertook to protect their Lowland neighbours against the freebooting of their countrymen of the glens, which the law was unable to repress. The parties granting these Bonds undertook to protect the places specified from ‘thieves and soarners,’ and to pay the price of such goods as should be stolen, were the goods themselves not recovered within two months of the robbery, provided notice was given within forty-eight hours after the robbery had been committed. In a Bond of this kind granted by ‘John M'Pherson of Shero-more and William M'Pherson, lawful son of Murdoch M'Pherson of Clem,’ notice of any depredation is to be given at the dwelling-house of ‘ William M'Conchy of Duldavoch.’ The Bond is written by ‘Andrew M'Pherson, son to Andrew M'Pherson, Clerk of Badenoch at Kingussie,’ and the date is ‘ sixt day of Jun, 1688 ’—John of Sheromore subscribing by a notary.”

19. Strathmashie (Gaelic, S’rathmhathaisidh, the strath of the slow-moving or sluggish-going stream).—The Mashie, from which the place derives its name, is a small rivulet rising within a few miles of the head of Loch Erricht, flowing into the Spey a short distance above Laggan Bridge, and is thus described by Mrs Grant:—

“Deep in a narrow vale, unknown to song,
Where Maishy leads her lucid stream along,
Then turns, as if unwilling to forsake
The peaceful bosom of her parent lake,
While her pure streams the polished pebbles show,
That through the native crystal shine below.”

Strathmashie was the residence for many generations of a Macpherson family. Of this family was Lachlan Macpherson, long so well known in Badenoch, “an accomplished Gaelic poet and scholar, who accompanied James Macpherson in his researches in the Western Highlands in quest of Ossian’s poems, and assisted him in the translation and publication of that great national work.” Strathmashie was subsequently possessed by the gallant Colonel Mitchell, who distinguished himself on the memorable day of Waterloo ; and more recently by Lieutenant-Colonel D. Macpherson of the 39th Regiment, “a gallant soldier, who had seen much service in India, where he was universally beloved and respected by all who knew him, and particularly by the sons of the Highland mountains, who found in him a father and a friend.” In the parish church of Laggan there is a marble tablet with the following inscription to Colonel Macpherson’s memory:—

“In Memory of COL. DONALD MACPHERSON, K.H., 39TH Regt.,



As a Memorial of his loss and affection this Tablet is erected by his Widow.”

“Lord, while for all mankind we pray,
Of every clime and coast,
O hear us for our native land,—
The land we love the most.
Our fathers’ sepulchres are here,
And here our kindred dwell;
Our children, too;—how should we love
Another land so well?”

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