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The Glengarry McDonalds of Virginia

Realizing some years ago how little effort had been made to preserve the records of the McDonald family, since the first member of it came to this country in 1746, and discovering—as I searched further into the matter—what an honorable and generous measure each generation had contributed to the history of the country, I determined to do what I could to rescue from obscurity, and put in some permanent form, a record of those men who had been so busy doing things that no time had been found to write them up.

Little of the data preserved in family and personal papers had escaped the ravages of time, to say nothing of two wars; hence I found myself much restricted along those lines. But a persistent following up of every clue, Ied finally to the unearthing of much that was hitherto unknown of their distinguished ancestor, by the descendants of the original Angus, who came here in 1746.

Strange to say, I found in the Library of the State historical Society of Wisconsin, more valuable and reliable information of his early activities in the French and Indian wars, than anywhere else. And I am much indebted to Dr. Reuben G. Thwaite, Librarian, for his assistance and courtesy in furnishing much that was not procurable elsewhere. I also found in `'American Archives" many references to his life and work.

It has always been the commonly received belief among the majority of his descendents, that he would have entered the Revolutionary army, but for his untimely death soon after the beginning of hostilities; his hesitation at first, resulting from a disinclination to serve under a man who had had no military experience, but Washington's great anxiety to have him in the field, as shown by his letter to him from Morristown, N. J., would, most likely, have resulted in his assignment to another command, had he lived. McDonald's lack of a knowledge of "wire-pulling," had, in all probability, a good deal to do with "the parson's" betting ahead of him.

Angus McDonald had been trained, like his forebears to service in the field, and had been an officer in the battle of Culloden, though but eighteen years of age. Macaulay says of his ancestors: "As military men the McDonalds have ever supported their high renown; the names of those distinguishing themselves, being truly far too numerous to mention, and had they been only as wise and prudent as they were brave and generous, there would never have been another clan equal to it."

A record of a more recent date, preserved in "Coyner's Diary," who served as Captain under Ashby, in the war between the States, furnishes additional testimony to their soldierly qualities. It has this to say:

"The McDonald that Ashby followed and the McDonalds who followed Ashby were alike brave and gallant soldiers, and stand beside the noblest names on the pages of history."

I have no doubt that some errors will be found but I have taken every pains to verify my statements, when given as facts. I have found my work most engrossing and interesting and close it with regret, for I shall miss the companionship of those whose activities I have recounted in the following pages. They have seemed very real and near to me.


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