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The Scottish Nation

FARQUHARSON, the surname of one of the Highland clans, a division of the great clan Chattan; particular badge of distinction, the foxglove or red whortleberry; rallying cry, cairnna-chuimhme, ‘the cairn of remembrance;’ chiefship claimed by Farquharson of Finzean, on the ground of being heir male of the clan, of which the heir of line is Farquharson of Invercauld. It had large possessions in the district of Baremar, in the south-west extremity of Aberdeenshire, and also, at a later period, in Perthshire.

      The immediate ancestor of the family of Invercauld was Farquhar or Fearchard, a son of Shaw Macduff of Rothiemurchus in Strathspey, lineally descended, according to tradition, which has been accepted by Nisbet (Heraldry, vol. i. p. 283, and App. vol. ii. p. 26), and generally adopted, from a younger son of the ancient thanes of Fife, but without good grounds, as from the MS. of 1450, discovered by Mr. Skene, the Farquharsons, like the Machintoshes and all the other branches of the great native sept of clan Chattan, appear to have been, from the beginning, a purely Celtic race. Shaw Macduff joining the Macphersons, was very active in the expulsion of the Cummings of Badenoch, and is said to have obtained several large grant of land from Robert the Bruce. It is certain that his son Farquhar, who lived in the reigns of Robert the Second and Robert the Third, settled in the Braes of Mar, and was appointed bailie or hereditary chamberlain thereof. The sons of the latter were called Farquharson, the first of the name in Scotland. It is stated in Skene’s History of the Highlanders (vol. ii. p. 177) that the leader of the clan Yha, in the celebrated conflict on the Inch at Perth in 1396, with the clan Quhele, is by old authorities styled Sha Fercharson.

      Farquhar’s eldest son, Donald, by his wife, a daughter of Patrick Duncanson or Robertson, first of the family of Lude, had an only son, Farquhar, who married a daughter of Chisholm of Strathglas, and died in the end of the reign of King James the Third. The younger sons of this Farquhar settled in the Braes of Angus, and founded there several considerable families of the name. His eldest son, Donald, married a daughter of Duncan Stewart, commonly called Duncan Downs Dona, of the family of Mar, and obtained a considerable addition to his paternal inheritance, for faithful services rendered to the crown.

      Donald’s son and successor, Findla or Findlay, commo9nly called, from his great size and strength, Findla Mhor, or great Findla, lived in the beginning of the sixteenth century. His descendants were called MacIanla or Mackinlay. Before his time the Farquharsons were called in the Gaelic, clan Erachar or Earachar, the Gaelic for Farquhar, and most of the branches of the family, especially those who settled in Athol, were called MacEarachar. Those of the descendants of Findla Mhor who settled in the Lowlands had their name of Mackinlay changed into Findlayson. [Family MS. quoted by Douglas in his Baronage.]

      Findla Mhor, by his first wife, a daughter of the baron Reid of Kincardine Stewart, had four sons, the descendants of whom settled on the borders of the counties of Perth and Angus, south of Baremar, and some of them in the district of Athol. By his second wife, Beatrix, a daughter of Gardyne of that ilk or Banchory, he had five sons and five daughters. He was killed, bearing the royal standard, at the battle of Pinkie in 1547.

      His eldest son, William, who died in the reign of James the Sixth, had four sons. The eldest, John, after succeeding to the estate, was in 1641 ordered by the Scots parliament to levy one hundred men for securing the shires of Angus, Mearns, Mar, and Banff for two months; the country to compensate him, and the committee to give him an ample commission, and instructions from the parliament. [Balfour’s Annals, vol. iii. p. 38.] He had an only son, Robert, who succeeded him. He died in the reign of Charles the second.

      Robert’s son, Alexander Farquharson of Invercauld, married Isabella, daughter of William Macintosh of that ilk, captain of the clan Chattan, and had three sons.

      William, the eldest son, dying unmarried, was succeeded by the second son, John, who carried on the line of the family. Alexander, the third son got the lands of Monaltrie and married Anne, daughter of Francis Farquharson, Esq. of Finzean.

      The above-mentioned John Farquharson of Invercauld, the ninth from Farquhar the founder of the family, was four times married. His children by his first two wives died young. By his third wife, Margaret, daughter of Lord James Murray, son of the first marquis of Athol, he had two sons and two daughters. His elder daughter, Anne, married Eneas Macintosh of that ilk, and was the celebrated Lady Macintosh, who, in 1745, defeated the design of the earl of Loudoun, to make prisoner Prince Charles, at Moy castle. By his fourth wife, a daughter of Forbes of Waterton, he had a son and two daughters, and died in 1750.

      His eldest son, James Farquharson of Invercauld, greatly improved his estates, both in appearance and product. “No place that I have seen,” says Dr. Stoddart, in his ‘Remarks on Local Scenery and Manners in Scotland,’ (published in 1801,) “is more characteristically adapted to the residence of a Highland chieftain than Invercauld, and few are more judiciously preserved in an appropriate state of decoration. There are many natural woods, but the extent of plantation is still greater, Mr. Farquharson himself, in the course of a long possession, having planted no less than sixteen millions of fir, and two millions of larch. But the most remarkable of Mr. Farquharson’s improvements are the roads, which he has carried, in a variety of directions, through his estate, for purposes both of utility and pleasure. They are in all considerably more than twenty miles; they are excellently constructed, and their level so well kept, that you reach, by a regular progress, the very tops of the mountains, ere you are well aware of having ascended.” He married Amelia, the widow of the eighth Lord Sinclair, and daughter of Lord George Murray, lieutenant-general of the Pretender’s army, and had a large family, who all died except the youngest, a daughter, Catherine. On his death, in 1806, this lady succeeded to the estates. She married 16th June 1798, Captain James Ross, R.N., (who took the name of Farquharson, and died in 1810,) second son of Sir John Lockhart Ross of Balnagowan, baronet, and by him had a son, James Farquharson, (married, and has issue,) a magistrate and deputy lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, representative of the family.


      The Farquharsons of Whitehouse are descended from Donald Farquharson of Castleton of Braemar, and Monaltrie, living in 1580, eldest son, by his second wife, of Findla Mhor, above mentioned. This Donald, usually called Mac-an-Toisach, ‘a son of the leader,’ was chamberlain and bailie to George Earl of Huntly, in Strathdee, then administrator of the earldom of Mar, under Queen Mary. He had seven sons, namely, Donald, who succeeded his father; Robert of Finzean; Alexander of Allanquoich; James of Inverey; John of Tullycairn; George of Milltown; and Thomas, who went abroad. Donald M’Fheanley of Castleton and Monaltrie, had for his second wife Elspet Ogilvie, daughter of Ogilvie of Inverquharity, and left by her three sons and two daughters.

      The above Donald Farquharson of Castleton of Braemar was elder brother of Robert of Invercauld.

      Donald, the eldest son, by his wife Beatrix, a daughter of Gordon of Knockespock, had five sons. The eldest, Donald Oig Farquharson of Monaltrie, called ‘the pride of Braemar,’ in 1639, at the head of some hundreds of the Highlanders of Strathdee, Braemar, Strathawine, or Strachan, Glenlivet, &c. appeared in arms against the Covenanters, having with him Lord Ludovick Gordon, third son of the marquis of Huntly, who had escaped from his grandmother at the Bridge of Gight and from school. This truant lad, in Highland garb, had the name of leader of this royalist band. [Gordon of Rothiemay’s Hist. of Scots affairs, printed for the Spalding Club, 1841, vol. ii. p. 361.]

      In 1645, as colonel of the Braemar and Strathdee men under the great marquis of Montrose, Donald Oig distinguished himself alike by his gallant conduct and his mild and affable manner. A contemporary writer, Patrick Gordon of Ruthven, in a chronicle of the period from 1639 to 1649, entitled ‘Britanes Distemper,’ published in an abridged form by the Aberdeen Spalding Club in 1844, speaks of him in the most eulogistic terms, as one generally beloved. He was six months at court, and so won upon the good graces of the king, that he ever after called him his man. At the parliament in Edinburgh, on being informed of his being threatened in a fray by some Covenanters, the king angrily exclaimed, “Who dares be so bold as to touch my man, Donald Farquharson?” When a party of royalists had possession of Aberdeen, Sir John Urry, with a troop of Covenanters’ horse, was sent for from Montrose at night, and on his arrival, Colonel Gordon and other royalist officers fled from the town, but Colonel Farquharson, on the first alarm, hastened into the street, with some of his friends and servants, and was attacked, and slain by a pistol-shot, 16th March 1645. For his great losses in the cause of the king he never received any compensation, and his son Charles found it necessary in 1702 to dispose of his patrimonial property, the lands of Monaltrie, to Alexander Farquharson, younger brother of John Farquharson of Invercauld. James, the second son, a writer to the signet in Edinburgh, was properly the first of this branch of the Farquharsons, as he purchased the lands of Whitehouse in Cromar. On his death in 1666 he was succeeded in the lands of Ballabrach and Whitehouse, by his son Harry, whose eldest son, Francis, purchased the lands of Shiells, in the parish of Cluny, Aberdeenshire. The latter’s son, Harry Farquharson of Shiells, was twice married. His eldest daughter by his first wife married John Henderson, Esq. of Caskieben, Aberdeenshire, and had an only son, Alexander Farquharson Henderson of Caskieben, M.D.

      Harry Farquharson, the only surviving son, a captain in a regiment of infantry commanded by Colonel Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie, was killed at the battle of Culloden in 1746. He had four sons and two daughters. His second daughter, Grace, was the wife of the Rev. George Campbell, D.D. and F.R.S., principal and professor of divinity in Marischal college, Aberdeen.

      His eldest son, Harry, having predeceased him, his second son, William Farquharson, M.D. of Dundee, succeeded. The latter’s son, Patrick Farquharson, Esq. of Whitehouse, a justice of peace for Aberdeenshire, married in 1795, Marjory, only daughter of William Stewart, Esq. of Lessmurdee, Banffshire, with issue. His eldest son, George Campbell Farquharson, is also in the commission of the peace.

      From the Inverey branch descended the Farquharsons of Balmoral, as well as several others.


      Farquharson of Baldovie in Forfarshire, is descended from Lauchlan Farquharson of Broughdarg in Perthshire, third son of Findla Mhor, above mentioned, the common ancestor of the various families of Farquharson.

      John Farquharson of this branch married, in 1766, Elizabeth Ramsay, and with her acquired the estate of Baldovie, which she inherited from her uncle, Dr. Thomas Ogilvie. His son, Thomas Farquharson of Baldovie, born in 1770, a magistrate and deputy lieutenant of Forfarshire, succeeded to the estate.


      Farquharson of Finzean is heir male of the clan. His estate forms nearly the half of the parish of Birse, Aberdeenshire. The family, of which he is representative, came originally from Braemar, but they have held property in the parish for many generations. On the death of Archibald Farquharson, Esq. of Finzean, in 1841, that estate came into the possession of his uncle, John Farquharson, Esq., residing in London, who died in 1849, and was succeeded by his third cousin, Dr. Francis Farquharson. This gentleman, before succeeding to Finzean, represented the family of Farquharson of Balfour, a small property in the same parish and county, sold by his grandfather.


      The Farquharsons of Inverey, also in Aberdeenshire, on succeeding to the property of Ballogie in Birse, towards the end of last century, by the extinction of the family of Innes of Balnacraig and Ballogie, in the parish of Aboyne and adjacent parishes assumed the name of Innes in addition to their own. On the death of Lewis Farquharson Innes of Ballogie in 1840, that estate devolved upon his four sisters, the Misses Farquharson. Of these, Louisa married L.N. Barron of Denmore, staff-surgeon, and another is Mrs. Lynch of London. Their father was the male representative of the ancient house of Inverey. Balmoral, the seat of the Farquharsons of Inverey, was purchased in 1848 by the Prince Consort, and is the favourite autumn residence of Queen Victoria and the royal family.


      The Farquharsons, according to Duncan Forbes, “the only clan family in Aberdeenshire,” and the estimated strength of which was 500 men, were among the most faithful adherents of the house of Stuart, and throughout all the struggles in its behalf constantly acted up to their motto, “Fide et Fortitudine,” with faith and fortitude. The old motto of the clan was, “We force nae friend, we fear nae foe.” They fought under Montrose, and formed part of the Scottish army under Charles II. at Worcester in 1651. They also joined the forces under the viscount of Dundee in 1689, and at the outbreak of the rebellion of 1715, they were the first to muster at the summons of the earl of Mar. It was from the house of Invercauld, the seat of the chief of the Farquharsons, that the latter addressed that singular letter to his bailie or factor on his estate of Kildrummy, desiring him to inform his own tenants, that if they did not join his standard, he would send a party to burn “what they shall miss taking from them,” even though it should be to his own loss, for an example to others, and that he expected the gentlemen “in their best accoutrements on horseback, and no excuse to be accepted of.” The Farquharsons accompanied the division under Brigadier Macintosh of Borlum into England, and behaved with great courage at Preston, where Captain Peter Farquharson of Rohailly, “a gentleman of invincible spirit and almost inimitable bravery,” was shot in the leg, and being carried into the White Bull inn, where all the wounded were conveyed, “he called,” says Patten, “for a glass of brandy, and thus addressed his comrades, ‘Come, lads, here is our master’s health, though I can do no more: I wish you good success.’ His leg was cut off by an unskilful butcher rather than a surgeon, and he presently died.”

      The family of Rohailly was a Perthshire branch, a cadet of the family of Farquharson of Broughdarg, being a third son of Lauchlan Farquharson of Broughdarg. The property has been long alienated. The Broughdarg family is said to be represented by W. Macdonald Macdonald, Esq. of Rossie and St. Martins, who assumed that name, his own being Farquharson.

      In 1745, the Farquharsons joined the Pretender, and formed two battalions, the one under the command of Farquharson of Monaltrie, and the other of Farquharson of Balmoral; but they did not accompany the prince in his expedition into England. Under Lord Lewis Gordon they contributed greatly to the defeat of the Macleods at Inverury, and afterwards marched to the general rendezvous of the Pretender’s forces at Perth, from which, with the other reinforcements, they were ordered to proceed to the main body of the insurgent army at Stirling, after its return from England. At the battle of Falkirk the battalion of Farquharsons under Balmoral occupied a position on the right of the first line, while the other battalion, under Farquharson of Monaltrie, had the charge of the cannon belonging to the prince’s army, and were not in the battle. At Culloden they fought in the centre of the front line, along with the Machintoshes, Frasers, Maclachlans, and Macleans. Farquharson of Invercauld was treated by government with considerable leniency for his share in the rebellion, but his kinsman, Farquharson of Balmoral, was specially excepted from mercy in the act of indemnity passed in June 1747.


      The Farquharsons of Haughton, in the parish of Alford, Aberdeenshire, are descended from the Cummings of Altyre, their immediate progenitor being Ferquhard, ancestor of the Cummings of Kellas, Morayshire, who, on account of the refusal of their chief to allow them to bury their dead in the family burial-place, and other causes, adopted the surname of Farquharson, instead of that of Cumming, as descendants of Ferquhard. The fourth in direct male descent from him, William Farquharson, married about 1580, Jean, third daughter of John, grandson of Findla Mhor, progenitor of the clan Farquharson, by his second wife, a daughter of Baron Roy, as above mentioned, and had issue. He was one of the barons of the north, who signed a “band” or roll for the protection of James the Sixth, after the Gowrie conspiracy.

      The Farquharsons of Kellas adhered faithfully to King Charles the First, whom they followed to York, and in consequence lost their estate. They were all killed in battle but one, named John Farquharson, who, on his return to Scotland, took up his abode at Monymusk, Aberdeenshire, and purchased the estate of Haughton. He married, in 1656, a daughter of Donald Farquharson, fifth son of Invercauld.

      His son and successor, John Cumming Farquharson, of Kellas and Haughton, had two sons and a daughter. John, the elder son, married Anne Stewart, countess of Blessington, in the peerage of Ireland, but died before his father, without issue. Mary, the daughter, married the Rev. Alexander Ogilvie of Cairnstown, Morayshire, the son of John Ogilvie, Esq. of Cairnstown, a lineal male descendant of Ogilvie of Findlater and Deskford.

      The only surviving son, Francis Farquharson of Haughton, purchased the two baronies of Alford, and having only a daughter, who died young, he was succeeded at his death by his nephew, Alexander Ogilvie, who assumed, upon inheriting the Haughton estate, the name and arms of Farquharson. He had two sons and two daughters, and died in 1788.

      His elder son, Francis Farquharson of Haughton, died, unmarried, in 1808, and was succeeded by his brother, John Farquharson of Haughton, born in 1779, married in 1812, Mary Anne, eldest daughter of Sir Archibald Grant of Monymusk, with issue. His eldest son, John Alexander Ogilvie Farquharson, was succeeded by his brother Robert, who married Mary, a daughter of Leith of Glenkindy and Freefield. The dormant earldom of Findlater is claimed by this family.

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