Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

The Scottish Nation

MACADAM, the surname of a family who were originally MacGregors, descended from Gregor MacGregor, the chief, whose 2d son, Gregor, captain of the clan, with his cousin, gilbert MacGregor, progenitor of the Griersons of Lagg, took refuge in Galloway, after the outlawry of the clan Gregor. After being guilty of various acts of depredation and marauding, Gregor was at last captured and executed at Edinburgh.

      His son, Adam MacGregor, the ancestor of this family, changed his name to Adam Macadam.

      The latterís son, John, had a son, Andrew, who, July 31, 1569, obtained, at Perth, a charter of the lands of Waterhead, from James VI., by the hands of the Regent Moray.

            Gilbert Macadam of Waterhead, the 4th in descent from Andrew, was served heir Aug. 2, 1662. He was a well-known Covenanter; and in the troublous times of 1682, he was taken prisoner and carried to Dumfries, on a charge of non-conformity, but was liberated on caution to the extent of £400, which, on his non-appearance, was forfeited. Soon after, he was again apprehended and carried to Glasgow, and on his refusal to take the oath of allegiance and supremacy, was banished to the American Plantations. His father gave him £20 sterling with him, and with this he bought his freedom, and returned to Scotland in 1685. On a Saturday night, in a cottage near the village of Kirkmichael, he was surprised, at a meeting for prayer, by a company of militia, and shot in attempting to escape by the window.

      His son, James Macadam, served heir in 1686, married a lady of the Cunningham family, and appears to have died in 1687. Like his father, he was a strict Covenanter. In an attempt on his life, he was followed one evening along the road, by Crawfurd of Camlarg and Crawfurd of Boreland; but, missing him in the dark, they overtook, and, in mistake, shot Roger Dunn, his uncle.

      The third from him, another James Macadam, was one of the founders of the first bank in the town of Ayr, in 1763. He married Susannah, daughter of John Cochrane of Waterside, niece of the heroic Grizel Cochrane, and cousin-german of the 8th earl of Dundonald. Her mother, Hannah De Witt, was of the illustrious Dutch family of that name. He had two sons and eight daughters. Grizel, the 4th daughter, married Adam Steuart, Esq., and was mother of William Macadam Steuart, Esq., of Glenormiston, Peebles-shire, an estate purchased from him by William chambers, Esq.

      James, the elder son, a captain in the army, predeceased his father, in 1763.

      John Loudon Macadam, the younger son, the celebrated improver of the public roads, was born in Ayr, September 21, 1756. He received his education at the school of Maybole. His father, having sold the greater part of his estate to a younger branch of the family, the Macadams of Craigengillan, whose daughter and heiress married the Hon. Col. Macadam Cathcart, went to live at Lagwine, on the river Deugh, in the parish of Carsphairn. His residence there was unfortunately consumed by fire, and he left Scotland for America, where he embarked in mercantile speculations. His son at the time was only about six years old. On his death in 1770, young Macadam was sent to New York. He remained there until the close of the revolutionary war, and as an agent for the sale of prizes he realized a considerable fortune, the greater part of which, however, he lost.

      On his return to Scotland he resided for some time at Dumcrieff, in the neighbourhood of Moffat. He afterwards lived for thirteen years at Sauchrie in Ayrshire, where he was in the commission of the peace and a deputy-lieutenant. In 1798 he was appointed by government agent for victualling the navy in the western ports of Great Britain, in consequence of which he removed to Falmouth.

      It was while acting as one of the trustees upon certain roads in Ayrshire that he first turned his attention to the mechanical principles involved in that branch of national economy, and during his residence in England, he continued silently to study the process of road-making in all its details. In 1815 he was appointed surveyor-general of the Bristol roads, when he was at length afforded a full opportunity of carrying his system into practical operation, and it was soon adopted throughout the whole kingdom. In 1825 he was examined before a committee of the House of Commons respecting the propriety of converting the ruble granite causeway of the principal streets of towns into a smooth pavement, resembling those which he had already formed on the ordinary roads; when he strongly recommended the change. The leading streets of London, Edinburgh, Dublin, and other cities, were, in consequence, Macadamized.

      In introducing an improvement of such extensive utility, Mr. Macadam had expended several thousand pounds, which, in 1825, he proved before a committee of the House of Commons; and received from government, in two grants, the sum of £10,000, which was all the return he ever obtained. In 1834 he was offered the honour of knighthood, but he declined it on account of his age, and it was conferred on his second son, Sir James Nicoll Macadam, general surveyor of the metropolis turnpike roads, appointed a deputy-lieutenant of Middlesex in 1848. Mr. Macadam died at Moffat, November 26, 1836, aged 80.

      He was twice married, and by his first wife had 4 sons and 3 daughters. His two eldest sons died before him. The eldest son, William, left 3 sons and 3 daughters. Williamís eldest son, William Macadam of Ballochmorrie House, Ayrshire, succeeded his grandfather in 1836. He was Surveyor-General of Roads in England, and died, unmarried, Aug. 28, 1861, aged. 58.

Return to The Scottish Nation Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus