Lachlan Liath McGillivray (c.1718 - 1799)

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Birthplace: Scotland
Death: Died in Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom
Occupation: a Scottish trader who built trading-posts among the Upper Towns of the Muscogee confederacy, and traded with French Louisiana
Managed by: Hanne Caulk
Last Updated:

About Lachlan Liath McGillivray

a Scottish trader out of Charleston, SC. He may have had a sister named Margaret McGillivray.

From Dr. Marion Elisha Tarvin's "The Muscogees or Creek Indians, from 1519 to 1893-- also an Account of The McGillivray Family and Others of Alabama": "Lachlan McGillivray, a Scotch boy of sixteen summers, had read of the wonders of America. He ran away from his parents at Dunmanglass, Scotland, and took passage for Charleston, S.C., arriving there safely in 1735, with no property but a shilling in his pocket, a suit of clothes, a stout frame, an honest heart, a fearless disposition and cheerful spirits. About this period the English were conducting an extensive commerce with the Muscogees, Cherokees and Chickasaws. McGillivray went to the extensive quarters of the packhorse traders in the suburbs of Charleston; there he saw hundreds of packhorses, pack-saddles and men ready to start to the wilderness. The keen eyes of the traders fell on this smart Scotch boy, who, they saw would be useful to them.

"Arriving at the Chatahoochie his master, as a reward for his activity and accommodating spirit, gave him a jack-knife which he sold in Charleston on his return. The proceeds of this adventure laid the foundation of a large fortune. In a few years he became the boldest and most enterprising trader in the whole country. He extended his commerce to Ft. Toulouse in the Muskogee or Creek nation. At the Hickory Grounds a few miles above the fort, at the present town of Wetumpka, Alabama, he found a beautiful girl by the name of Sehoy Marchand, of whose father we have already given an account. Her mother, was a full-blooded Creek woman of the Wind family. Sehoy when first seen by Lachlan McGillivray was a maiden of sixteen, cheerful in countenance, bewitching in looks and graceful in form. It was not long before Lachlan and Sehoy joined their destinies in marriage. The husband established a trading house Little Tulsa, four miles above Wetulmpka, on the east bank of the Coosa, and then took home his beautiful wife." Dr. Tarvin was Sehoy's great-great grandson through David Tate and his manuscript has proven invaluable for providing familiy ties (many thanks to Joan Case for this contribution). See Tarvin's McGillivray family piece in its entirety.

Lachlan and Sehoy lived at Little Tallassee in Alabama. In 1782, after nearly 40 years in the Wilderness, because of his loyalty to the crown, Lachlan McGillivray was forced to return to Scotland at the end of the Revolutionary War.

From Woodrow Wallace: In America the McGillivray Clan was fur traders, a very lucrative business in those days. The Dunmaglas Estates in the Scottish Highlands had fallen on bad times, since the Battle of Culloden, in which the McGillivrays were participants on the side of the Stuarts, who lost to the present English first family. Another branch of the McGillivrays were commissioned from the king in the fur trading business in Canada and around the Great Lakes. Lachlan and Lt Col John were commissioned for the Southeastern Indians. Lachlan with the Creeks, and I think also the Cherokees. Lt Col John McGillivray was a prominent citizen of Mobile as well as being the Indian Agent duing the British tenure (1765-1780). Lachlan and Lt Col John McGillivray never married but fathered children by Indians, who were not recognized in the family because there was no recognized marriages by British law. Lachlan was practically forced to recognize his son Alexander and remember him in his 1762 will, because of his prominence and practical acceptance of him in Georgia. No mention is made of Sophia and Jeaanette, although Sophia was very much attached to her father.

The history of the McGillivray Indian descendants is not considered in the history of the McGillivrays of the Scottish Highlands.

Woodrow Wallace points out that from the perspective of the prominent McGillivray family of Dunmaglas in the Scottish Highlands, Lachlan's story is not of the poor lad of sixteen first appearing in Charleston, but of a business man who came to the New World to engage in the fur trading business. That contradicts the colorful Pickett story of a 16 year old runaway coming to Charleston and making it rich.

The trader James Adair who lived among the Creeks admired Lachlan McGillivray and also George Galphin. He felt very strongly that either one of them should be the Superintendant of Indian Affairs for the English. He writes on page 393 of "Adairs history of the American Indians by Samuel Cole Williams LL.D Editor, (Prommontory Press, New York) First published in 1930 by Colonial Dames of America and dedicated to "Hon. Colonel George Craghan, George Galphin and Lachlan McGillivray Esquires": "There might be introduced even among the Indian I have described, a spirit of industry, in cultivating such roduction as would agree with their land and climates; esecially if the superintendantcy of our Indian afairs, westward, was conferred on the sensible public-spirited and judicious Mr. George Galphn, merchant, or Lachlan Mcgillivray, Esq. of equal merit. Every Indian trader knows from long experience , that both of these gentlemen have a greater influence over the dangerous Muskohge, than any others besides. And the security of Georgia requires one or the other of them speedily to superintend our Indian affairs. It was chiefly the skillful management of these worthy patriots, which prevented the Muskohge from joining the Cherokee, according to treaty, against us in the year 1760 and 1761. -- to their great expierence and hazard of life..."

Born: 1719 in Drumanglass, Inverneshire, Scotland; Married: about 17340 in Wetumpka, now Elmore Co., Alabama; Died after 1782 Isle of Skye, Scotland

-------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lachlan_McGillivray

Lachlan McGillivray (Dunmaglass, Inverness, Scotland, c. 1718 –1799) was a prosperous fur trader and planter in colonial Georgia with interests that extended from Savannah to what is now central Alabama. He was the father of Alexander McGillivray and the great-uncle of William McIntosh and William Weatherford, three of the most powerful and historically important Native American chiefs among the Creek of the Southeast.

Early life


Details of Lachlan McGillivray's early life are sketchy; he left no account and his biographers often romanticized his tale. They claimed that he was fleeing the Highland rebellion of 1745 and that he arrived penniless in a strange land, though probably neither of these is true. He was born into the McGillivray (or M'Gillivray, as he himself wrote the name) family of the Clan Chattan, a large Scottish clan traditionally led by members of the McIntosh family.


More probable is that he emigrated in the late 1730s to either Charleston, South Carolina or Augusta, Georgia, where members of his family had been engaging in the Indian trade for a generation. He may have arrived as an indentured servant to his relative Farquhar McGillivray, a merchant with interests along the southeastern seaboard. Records attest that Farquhar McGillivray employed indentured servants, and it was not uncommon for such arrangements to be made between relatives.


Immigration to North America


Lachlan McGillivray was one of several Scottish Highlanders recruited by James Oglethorpe to act as settler-soldiers protecting the frontiers of Georgia from the Spanish in Florida, the French in the Alabama basin, and their Indian allies. On January 10, 1736, Lachlan and 176 emigrants, including women and children, arrived on board the Prince of Wales to establish the town of Darien, Georgia, originally known as New Inverness. The town was founded in January 1736 and named after the Darien Scheme, a former Scottish colony in Panama.


By the mid-1740s, McGillivray was well established as a trader in the Upper Creek nation in what is now central Alabama. He established a fur trading post and plantation at Little Tallassee (also spelled Talisi in some documents) near today's Wetumpka, Alabama, possibly on the site of the former Fort Toulouse. He prospered and invested his trading and plantation profits in businesses on the Atlantic coasts of Georgia, eventually settling in Savannah, Georgia as a man of considerable wealth. In a will drafted in 1767, long before his death, he planned the disposition of a 281-acre (1.14 km2) plantation on Hutchinson Island, Georgia, 1,000-acre (4 km2) plantation known as Vale Royal upriver from Savannah, Georgia, and cash bequests totalling more than £2,500, implying that he was in possession of that amount of currency, as well as numerous bequests of slaves and other valuable chattel.


Marriage and family


Though there is no record of M'Gillivray having married in the Scottish Presbyterian tradition, he took as a consort a high-status Creek woman named Sehoy Marchand. Their marriage was recognized by the Creek. Early biographers claimed Sehoy Marchand was the daughter of a French officer at Fort Toulouse named Jean-Baptiste Marchand. Her mother was also named Sehoy, and she was a high-status woman of the Koasati (alternative spelling: Coushatta), of the Wind Clan. Hers was a politically powerful family of the Upper Creek nation, which had matrilineal system of descent and property. Sehoy's immediate family included several important chiefs. The marriage was a strategic alliance for her family as well as for the ambitious trader; she could protect her children within the tribe.


Albert Pickett and other biographers portrayed Sehoy as a beautiful black-eyed Indian princess, with whom M'Gillivray was instantly lovestruck. Historical and circumstantial evidence suggest the marriage may have been strategic for both sides, as he gained by being allied with a high-status family of Creek, and Sehoy and her family had benefits from a connected European-American trader. They had three children: Alexander, Sophia and Jean (also spelled Jeanne) McGillivray (the latter named after Lachlan's sister.) The children lived most of the time with their mother in the Creek tribe and learned its language and ways, although the father sent Alexander to a European-American school in Charleston and Augusta.


Many Native American chiefs supported such alliances; European traders, who were men of capital, also sought the alliances of marriage into tribes to strengthen their relationships. Though the Creek tribes treated marriage as a serious institution and had strong taboos against infidelity (especially by women), divorce was permissible and easily achieved. A husband could divorce a wife by leaving her house, and a wife her husband by leaving his possessions outside of her door. To the matrilineal Creek tribe, the house always belonged to the wife; it was usually shared with her female relatives and their husbands. The Creek considered the mother's children as wholly Creek, regardless of partial European ancestry, due to the matrilineal kinship system of the Muscogee.


After the late 1750s, Sehoy married at least two other men (monagamously), with whom she bore at least two additional children, before McGillivray relocated to Savannah. McGillivray made neither provision nor mention of Sehoy in his 1767 will. She was the custodial parent of their son, Alexander McGillivray, whom he did acknowledge and provide for. The younger McGillivray became a prominent Creek chief and planter, and a slaveholder like his father.


Though M'Gillivray made neither mention nor provision for his daughters in his will, their accounts attest to a relationship with him, as they visited him in Savannah, and Sophia named her oldest son, Lachlan McGillivray Durant, for him.[1] McGillivray's will and other surviving writings frequently noted Alexander, referred to as his "natural son," a euphemism for illegitimate.


McGillivray, a patrilineal member of the Clan Chattan, may well have fought a kind of custody battle with his son's mother. As a member of the matrilineal Creeks, she considered her son and daughters as members of her own Wind Clan. As was traditional, Alexander was reared with his maternal uncle Red Shoes, who by varying accounts was either brother or uncle to his mother Sehoy. The role of maternal uncles in the upbringing of a male child was far more important to the Creek than that of the father, as they were of the same clan. The biological father belonged to a different clan. The uncle would mentor the boy through introduction to men's roles and societies.


McGillivray took an interest in Alexander, for he arranged and paid (at considerable expense) for the boy's education at Presbyterian academies in Charleston and Augusta. The father also arranged for the youth's apprenticeship in at least one mercantile house. He bequeathed him the substantial sum of £1,000 and made other bequests in his will. He bequeathed his most valuable assets, his plantations outside Savannah, to the "lawfully begotten" children of his Scottish siblings and cousins.


Loyalist and American Revolution


Lachlan McGillivray returned to Scotland for lengthy visits prior to the American Revolution, but appeared to have identified as a citizen of North America, the source and location of his considerable fortune. He took an active role in Savannah's administration, where his knowledge of Creek leaders and their languages/cultures were useful for negotiations of treaties between the tribes and the city.


In the Scottish insurrections of the early 18th century, his Clan Chattan had mostly sided with the cause of James the Old Pretender and Bonnie Prince Charlie. In Savannah, M'Gillivray had signed petitions opposing certain Crown colonial policies (particularly parliamentary taxation). But he also had many business interests with British merchants and, at the outset of the American Revolution, he was a Loyalist. As the war progressed, he and other Loyalists in Savannah earned enemies among the Patriot factions and the Continental Army. Continental soldiers arrested McGillivray and at least two of his McIntosh cousins as suspected spies. They were freed when the British captured the city, and briefly fled west of Savannah after the British evacuation at the end of the war. Following the 1783 Treaty of Paris, the new US government confiscated and sold the property of many Loyalists: McGillivray lost his lands, slaves, and much of his other property. He and several of his Loyalist relatives and friends liquidated whatever property they still possessed, and left for Scotland with whatever monies they could take out, returning to the McGillivray clan's estates in Dunmaglass, Scotland.


Death and legacy


In Scotland, M'Gillivray served as an advisor and guardian for the orphaned head of the Clan Chattan. He continued correspondence with his son Alexander and other friends and relatives in the United States. After his son's death in 1793, M'Gillivray paid for Alexander's orphaned children, Alleck and Mary (their mother had also died), to be brought to Scotland. He arranged for their education. Although not returning personally to the US, M'Gillivray took a role in the settling of his son's complicated estate. It was difficult for attorneys to ascertain what parts of McGillivray's lands belonged to him personally and which to the Creek tribe. Some of his assets in cattle and slaves had to be sold to pay off his many debts. Further complicating matters from a Scottish view, the younger McGillivray was a polygamist in the Creek tradition of successful men. He had other wives, who were also of mixed Creek and European ancestry.


Lachlan McGillivray died in his native Scotland in 1799 at around 80 years of age. His estate and place of interment are not known. Alleck and Mary McGillivray were still living with him in Scotland at that time. Alleck died as a young adult shortly after his grandfather. Mary McGillivray's life has not been traced.


Marriage and issue


Lachlan married Sehoy Marchand, member of the Wind Clan of the Creek, a daughter of Jean Marchand and Sehoy


They had the following:

Alexander McGillivray, became the leader of the Creeks as they attempted to prevent overrunning of Creek territory covering most of Middle and Southern Alabama and Georgia, as European settlers pushed inland from the Eastern seaboard.
Jean McGillivray, who married French officer Le Clerc Milfort, later of service in the Napoleonic army and famed as a memoirist.
Sophia McGillivray who married Benjamin Durant and was mother to a large family and may have died at the Fort Mims massacre in which her nephew Red Eagle was involved.

Sehoy Marchand married again after McGillivray. She had a daughter Sehoy (Sehoy III). Sehoy III married a man named Weatherford, and one of their sons was William Weatherford, better known to history by his Creek name, translated as Red Eagle.

-------------------- A Scottish trader out of Charleston, SC. He may have had a sister named Margaret McGillivray. He came into the Creek country and set up a trading post at Ochiapofa or Hickory Ground Town (also known as Little Tallasi), close to the present Wetumpka, Alabama.

From Dr. Marion Elisha Tarvin's "The Muscogees or Creek Indians, from 1519 to 1893-- also an Account of The McGillivray Family and Others of Alabama": "Lachlan McGillivray, a Scotch boy of sixteen summers, had read of the wonders of America. He ran away from his parents at Dunmanglass, Scotland, and took passage for Charleston, S.C., arriving there safely in 1735, with no property but a shilling in his pocket, a suit of clothes, a stout frame, an honest heart, a fearless disposition and cheerful spirits. About this period the English were conducting an extensive commerce with the Muscogees, Cherokees and Chickasaws. McGillivray went to the extensive quarters of the packhorse traders in the suburbs of Charleston; there he saw hundreds of packhorses, pack-saddles and men ready to start to the wilderness. The keen eyes of the traders fell on this smart Scotch boy, who, they saw would be useful to them.

"Arriving at the Chatahoochie his master, as a reward for his activity and accommodating spirit, gave him a jack-knife which he sold in Charleston on his return. The proceeds of this adventure laid the foundation of a large fortune. In a few years he became the boldest and most enterprising trader in the whole country. He extended his commerce to Ft. Toulouse in the Muskogee or Creek nation. At the Hickory Grounds a few miles above the fort, at the present town of Wetumpka, Alabama, he found a beautiful girl by the name of Sehoy Marchand, of whose father we have already given an account. Her mother, was a full-blooded Creek woman of the Wind family. Sehoy when first seen by Lachlan McGillivray was a maiden of sixteen, cheerful in countenance, bewitching in looks and graceful in form. It was not long before Lachlan and Sehoy joined their destinies in marriage. The husband established a trading house Little Tulsa, four miles above Wetulmpka, on the east bank of the Coosa, and then took home his beautiful wife." Dr. Tarvin was Sehoy's great-great grandson through David Tate and his manuscript has proven invaluable for providing familiy ties (many thanks to Joan Case for this contribution).

view all 17

Lachlan Liath McGillivray's Timeline

1718
1718
Scotland
1730
1730
Age 12
Florida, United States
1735
1735
Age 17
1742
1742
Age 24
Little Tulsa, Elmore, AL, United States
1744
1744
Age 26
Little Talisi, Elmore, Alabama, United States
1747
1747
Age 29
Florida, United States
1750
December 15, 1750
Age 32
Montgomery, Alabama, USA
1752
1752
Age 34
Little Talisi, Elmore, Alabama, United States
1759
1759
Age 41
Wetumpka, Elmore, Alabama, United States
1759
Age 41
Taskigi, AL, United States