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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - February/March 2004
The MacKerchers of Glen Lyon and Inverey

The parish records of Fortingall reach back only to 1749. Although nearby Kenmore Parish data pre-dates this time, no link between our great-great grandparents Duncan McKercher and Catherine McLellan has been found with the earlier Kenmore families.

Consequently, the search ends with them .. at this point in time. But we can't help but question how we MacKerchers got to Glen Lyon .. from where .. when .. and why?

History .. augmented by family lore .. provides a context by which a reasonale scenario can be postulated. For instance, the McKerchers .. according to historian Alexander Stewart .. came to Glen Lyon from Braemar in Aberdeenshire. He failed to cite a date. A HIGHLAND MONTHLY of the 19th century somewhat clarifies our chronology by noting M'Kerchars and M'Kerchers were among the Duke of Atholl's militiamen enrolled in Glen Lyon in 1706. Indeed this makes it probable our antecedents were among those Highland Jacobites who fought "like madmen" and almost annihilated English forces in the narrow gorge of Killiecrankie in Perthshire on July 27, 1689. We know from a search of records Donald McKerchar and his family were settled at Kenmore .. less than five miles south of Glen Lyon .. at least by 1678. And significantly, family correspondence which I hold characterizes our family as being originally from Inverey and "intensely loyal to the house of Stuart" and as "Jacobites".

A close look at Scottish history suggests another clue in the actions of James Graham .. the fifth Earl of Montrose. In the summer of 1644, Montrose enlisted a force of Highlanders from Aberdeenshire to serve in restoring King Charles I .. a Stuart .. to the throne. From that time until June 1645, Montrose criss-crossed the breadth of the Highlands in pursuit of the Duke of Argyl .. Archibald, chief of the Clan Campbell. Importantly, Glen Lyon then was Campbell country .. and the Montrose force campaigned through this region on its charge into adjoining Argylshire. There, Montrose decisively defeated the Campbell clan at their Inveraray stronghold. Eventually, he met defeat at Philiphaugh by the English in June 1645.. and because of King Charles" subsequent surrender in England .. the Earl disbanded his Highlanders in May 1646.

In his THE CLANS OF THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS, R. R. McIan observed Farquharson clansmen under their chief, Donald, joined Montrose "with a great number of gallant men". Furthermore, Alan McNie in his CLAN FARQUHARSON HISTORY noted the M'Kerachers of Perthshire had descended from this same Donald Farquharson of Monaltrie.

These findings convince me .. until someone proves otherwise .. our MacKerchers were among Montrose's army. In accompanying the Earl in his pursuit of the Campbells through Glen Lyon, our ancestors discovered the legendary protection of its mountain terrain and numerous caves. Once Montrose's force no longer existed, it was unsafe to return to Braemar.. by that time under British control. A safe haven for these rebels was there first priority.

Thus, in 1646 or soon thereafter, the MacKerchers made their way to Glen Lyon .. only 45 miles to the west and south of Braemar. There, they established a new life.

Should anyone be interested, additional information and graphics are availabe on the MacKercher website  at 

Thank you.

John C. MacKercher

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