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Macdonalds of Castle Camus

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This branch of the family of Sleat is descended from JAMES MACDONALD of Castle Camus, son of Donald Gruamach Macdonald, 4th Baron of Sleat. Owing to the long minority of Donald Gormeson, his nephew, James, after the death of Archibald the Clerk, was, for many years, the leader of the Clan Uisdein, and acted a prominent part in the affairs of the family of Sleat. ... James of Castle Camus, known in his time as Seumas a' Chaisteil, or " James of the Castle," married a daughter of Macleod of Harris, by whom he had two sons. The last time he appears on the Records of the Privy Council is in 1589, and it is probable that his death would have taken place early in the last decade of the 16th century. During his life he was a strong pillar of the House of Sleat, and served its interests with fidelity and devotion. The tribe of the Clann Uisdein, of which he was the progenitor, were distinctively known us the Clann Domhnuill Ghruamaich. His 2 sons were —

1. John, who is described on record as the son and heir of James Mac Donald Gruamach of Castle Camus.
2. Donald Gruamach Mac James, Ostaig, of whom the Macdonalds of Capstill, Balvicquean, etc. See Macdonalds of Rigg & Balvicquean
II. JOHN of Castle Camus. He seems to have predeceased his father, but it is convenient to reckon him in the genealogy as the second of his branch. He seems to have incurred the enmity, and suffered unjust treatment at the hands of the Earl of Argyll, who, in 1578, imprisoned him in the Castle of Inchconnell, Lochawe, but was afterwards com- pelled to liberate him. He was killed in Mull in 1585 in the course of the feud between the families of Sleat and Duart. He married a lady of the Clanranald family, by whom he had an only son, his successor,

III. DONALD, who was one of the most remark- able men in the history of the Clan. Domhnull Mac Iain 'ic Sheumais, as he was known in the Western Isles, was born at Moidart, his mother's native district ; but he was brought up mainly at Castle Camus, a fact of which there are echoes in his bardic effusions ; for Donald was not only a warrior but a poet of no mean order, and snatches of his songs long lingered among the people of Skye and Uist. Like his contemporaries, he did not receive the education which may be described as literary, but he was from his boyhood a great expert in the use of sword and bow, a species of culture highly useful at a time when the pen was not yet mightier than the sword. Tradition describes him as large- boned, of a heavy if not lubberly gait, and of a moody cast of countenance, predisposed to habits of thoughtful ness and retirement, yet, under provoca- tion, quick in his movements ; terrible when roused, and prompt in the hour of action. His sword, which he named " Cuig Mharg," because five merks was the price he paid for it, was a terror wherever his name was known, always ready to be drawn in the cause of right, and to be the avenger of the blood of injured innocence. It never suffered defeat. From an early age he was the undisguised enemy of the Macleods, never as the aggressor, but as the defender of the interests of his chief and people. He distinguished himself as a warrior on many occasions, but the circumstances are forgotten, save in the conspicuous instances of Coolin and Carinish, which have been duly chronic-led in the history of the family of Sleat. At the battle of Carinish he was wounded in the foot, and judging by the song of Nic C6iseim, his foster-mother, also in the body. He was conveyed to a house in Carinish with the arrow sticking in the flesh, and tradition has it that Nic Coiseim procured a band of women, whom she arranged around a waulking board, and who joined in a loud Luinneag to drown his complaints while the arrow was being extracted and the wound bound. This is a highly improbable story about the heroic Mac Iain, which probably had its origin in the fancy of his foes.

Donald Mac Iain's occupation in times of peace was that of a drover or cattle dealer, and he is said to have been the first man who ever ferried cattle from Skye to Uist. When he travelled from home he took with him a staff of " Gilliemores," or big stalwart fellows who " breathed to do his bidding," and we doubt not but in the unsettled state of the Highlands he needed their warlike prowess and his own trusty Cuiy Mharg to protect his herds on the way to Southern trysts. In his early days he lived at Eriskay, which he held from Clanranald, and which was occupied by several generations of his descendants. He afterwards lived at Carinish, the scene of one of his greatest exploits, and of this we have evidence in a contract of marriage in which he appears as cautioner in 1626. It must be admitted that Donald Maciain, who had been such a pillar of the house of Sleat, received tardy recognition of his valuable services. Many years passed without his receiving an inch of ground on the territories of the family for which he had fought and bled. At last a clansman and fellow bard, the keen-witted John Lorn of Lochaber, took up the cudgels for his friend. Donald had set his heart upon the lands of Airdviceolan in Trotternish, but another was preferred. John Lorn, on hearing how the grand old warrior had been treated, went all the way from Lochaber to Duntulm and recited half a dozen verses laden with the fiercest invective in the hearing of Sir Donald, first baronet of Sleat. " In the name of the Almighty desist," said Sir Donald in Gaelic. " I have more," said the per- sistent wrong-righter. " You have more than enough," replied the baronet. " Have you a place for Domhnull Mac Iain 'ic Sheumais ?" returned the bard. " We will get a place for him," was the reply. " If not," said the bard, " you will hear of it on the deafer ear." The scathing tongue of John Lorn won for the Macdoriald hero what his own merits had been unable to secure, and the voice of tradition has it that Donald got the farm of Cuid- re'ach in liferent. Tradition is in this detail amply supported by documentary evidence. It was, how- ever, a tack for a certain number of years, which certainly extended very considerably beyond the lifetime of Maciain, for in 1660, long after his death, we find his widow a^d son in possession of the lands in question. These included not only Cuidreach proper, but also Arnishbeg, Arnishmore, and Glen- tinistle. Donald appears on record in 1648, but he must have been pretty well advanced in years, and we find no further notice of him. He spent a good deal of his old age in the house of his daughter, wife 'of Macleod of Gesto, a bold, irascible, and proud churl, who used to taunt her with being " Nighean aireach liath nam bo," or " the daughter of the grey-headed herdsman." Donald is said to have died at Gesto, and the date may probably be fixed as 1650. He married a daughter of Macdonald of Keppoch, and had issue —

1. Alexander, who appears in 1648 as Alexander Macdonald of Skirmish, and who carried on the senior repre- sentation of the line of Donald Mac Iain 'ic Sheumais.
2. John, of whom the Macdonalds of Eriskay. He was a brave warrior, and fought under Montrose in the Civil Wars, in the course of which he lost both his legs by a musket shot. He survived his wounds, and returned to his native Island of Eriskay. He had a son, James, who succeeded him there. James married, in 1696, Ann, daughter of Alexander Macdonald of Heiskir and Balranald, and had a son, Donald of Eriskay. Donald married and had a son, Angus, known in his day as Aoughas Mac Dhomhnuill 'ic Sheumais, who also was tacksmau of Eriskay. He flourished at the time of the '45, and it was in his house at Eriskay that Prince Charles Edward spent his first night on Scot- tish soil after disembarking from the Doutelle. He died without issue.
3. John, known as Iain Bodach, because he was fostered in Bute. He had a son who lived in North Uist, and was drowned while swimming from an islet on Loch Una in that parish, since which occurrence it has been known as " Eilean Mhie a' Bh6daich," or " the islet of the Buteman's son."
4. Hugh, who succeeded his father as tacksman of Cuidreach, and of whom the family so designed.
5. Mary, who married Macleod of Gesto.

Donald Maclain 'ic Sheumas was succeeded in the representation of the family by his oldest sou,

IV. ALEXANDER of Skirmish. Along with his brother John he also took part in the campaign of Montrose. He died c. 1680. He married a daughter of James Macdonald of Ostaig, and a niece of Sir Donald Macdonald, 1st Baronet of Sleat, a second cousin of his own. By her he had —

1. Donald of Scuddiboro, his successor.
2. Alexander of Flodigarry, who was Chamberlain of Trotter- ni&h. He married Mary Macdonald, with issue — (A) Alexander ; (B) James ; (c) John ; (D) Mary, who married Archibald Nicolson in Balvicquean ; (E) Ann, who married John Nicolson in Scuddiboro ; (p) Margaret, who married Lachlau Mackinnou in Penefiler. He died before 1697.
V. DONALD MACDONALD of Scuddiboro. He also inherited the warlike qualities of his sires, and was present at the battles of Killiecrankie and Sheriffmuir. He died about 1720. He married Margaret, daughter of Rev. Donald Nicolson of Scorriebreck, Minister of Kilmuir in Skye, and had —

1. Alexander, who carried on the succession.
2. John, who had the farm of Ardnacross, in Kintyre. He married Grace, daughter of Godfrey Macalister of Loup, and had a daughter Jane, who married Angus Macalister of Loup, with issue.

Donald of Scuddiboro was succeeded by

VI. ALEXANDER MACDONALD, who occupied a very prominent position in the Annals of the family of Sleat during about half a century. He was as eminent in the walks of peace as his ancestors were in warlike prowess. He was born in 1689, the year of the battle of Killiecrankie, and in 1718, when he was in his 30th year, was appointed to the important post of Chamberlain on Sir Donald Macdonald's Trotternish estates. In 1722 he obtained a tack of the lands of Knockcowe and Kilvaxter, which he seems to have held for a number of years. In 1723 he appears as one of the signatories to the " Bond of Uist men and others " for the preservation of the forfeited estates — then exposed for sale — in the possession of the Sleat family. He signs as " son of the deceased Donald Macdonald of Scuddiboro," and no doubt, as Chamberlain for Trotternish, took a leading part in these negotiations. As represent- ing his late father, he was also apparently a creditor on the estate. Though his race came in after years to be designated of Kingsburgh, they never had any connection with it until Alexander's own time, and it was only in 1734 that, having apparently given up Knockcowe and Kilvaxter, he became tacksman of that historic holding. Alex- ander's connection with the memorable events of 1745-6 have been the well-worn theme of many a pen, and it is not our purpose now to detail them. An unwilling actor in that drama, he suffered imprisonment in Edinburgh for about a year. After the death of Sir Alexander Macdonald in 1746, most urgent appeals were made by Lady Margaret Mac- donald and Macdonald of Castleton to President Forbes to use his influence with the Government for the release of one whose management of the Mac- donald estates during the minority of young Sir James was regarded as essential to their prosperity. These appeals were successful, and Kingsburgh was released from durance on 4th July, 1747, under the general Act of Indemnity. This decision was taken not so much out of regard for Kingsburgh or the family of Sleat as for reasons of State policy. In a letter of 27th December, 1 746, addressed by Presi- dent Forbes to the Secretary of State, and printed among the Culloden papers, there is an exceedingly good and convincing case made out from this point of view for the release of Kingsburgh, the President pointing out " what mav be the consequence if a kindred lately recovered from disaffection shall see a person so necessary for the management of Sir Alex- ander's private fortune after a long imprisonment tried and if convicted put to death."

Kingsburgh continued as Chamberlain to the Sleat family till about 1765, when he retired from active duty owing to the infirmities of advancing years, and in acknowledgment of his long and honourable services was awarded a pension of £50 per annum for life. He died on 13th February, 1772. He married Florence, daughter of John Mac- donald of Castleton, with issue —

1. Allan, his successor.
2. James, tacksman of Knockcowe. He married Margaret, daughter of Major Macleod of Balmeanach, aud bad —

(A) Captain Alexander Macdonald, who died in the island
of St Kitts, in the West Indies, in the British Service, without issue.
(B) James.
(c) Roderick. These two brothers were engaged as clerks in shipping offices in Greenock, and having been pressed into the Service, were never heard of afterwards.
(D) Jessie, married Captain Norman Macleod, " Cyprus," with issue — (a) Elizabeth Priugle, who married Rev. Roderick Maclean, minister of South Uist, and had a large family of sons and daughters ; their 5th daughter, Marion, married Rev. Roderick Macdonald of Harris, afterwards of South Uist, with issue — (a1) Rev. Archibald Macdonald, Kiltarlity ; (61) Roderick, died young ; (c1) Charles, died in infancy ; (dl) Alastair ; (e1) Elizabeth Priugle ; (/*) Susan, married Archibald Maclauchan, M.B., C.M. : he died in the Transvaal; (gl) Flora Alexandra, married Roderick Maclean, Esq. of Gometra, Mull ; (h1) Harriet Christina l ;

(b) Margaret, who married Mr Calder, school- master, Kilmuir, Skye, without issue ; (c) Matilda, who married a Mr Campbell, Durinish, Skye, with issue.
(E) Anne, married John Mackenzie, architect, with issue, among others, Margaret, who married a Mr Mac- donald, schoolmaster and catechist, with issue, (p) Margaret, died unmarried. (G) Flora, died unmarried.
3. Anne. She married Ranald Macalister of Skirinisb, who was for some time factor for Troternish, with issue a large family, who have already been detailed under the Macalister genealogy.
Alexander Macdonald of Kingsburgh was succeeded in the representation of the family by his older son,
VII. ALLAN. Having received an elementary education in his native parish, he was afterwards sent to Edinburgh to complete his studies, at the expense of Sir Alexander Macdonald. He lived for a number of years at Flodigarry, of which his father had a tack, and continued there until 1772, when, on his father's death, he succeeded him at Kings- burgh. On old Kingsburgh's retiral from office in 1765, Allan was installed in his place as Chamber- lain for Troternish, a post which he held until 1774. It was while at Kingsburgh that Allan and his distinguished wife entertained Dr Samuel Johnson and his biographer, in 1773.
In 1774 a change came over the fortunes of the family of Kingsburgh. It was a transition time in the Isles when great economic changes rendered it difficult for the good old class of gentry to maintain their ancient state. Animated by the desire to repair the somewhat shattered family fortunes, Allan broke up his establishment at Kingsburgh arid sailed for the new world. Soon after his settlement in N orth Carolina, the American War of Independence broke out, and Allan was appointed Captain of a
Company in the Royal Highland Emigrant Regi- ment. With his five sons he played a brilliant part in the campaign of 1777, but on the defeat of the loyalist army he was captured at Moore's Creek and taken prisoner to Halifax, where he was confined till 1783, when, the American War having been concluded by a Treaty of Peace, he was liberated, and returned to Scotland after an absence of nine years, his wife and other members of the family having returned in 1779. For a short time after his return to Scotland, Allan lived at Daliburgh in South Uist. in the neighbourhood of Milton, his wife's native place. About 1785 he and his wife and family left South Uist for Skye, and once more took up their occupancy of the house and farm of Kingsburgh, Allan in the enjoyment of a captain's pension. Here he died on the 20th September, 1795, and was buried in the family burying-ground at Kilmuir. Allan married on the 6th November, 1750, Flora, daughter of Ranald Macdonald of Milton by his wife, Marion, daughter of Rev. Angus Macdonald, minister of South Uist, with issue—
1. Charles, a Captain in the Queen's Rangers. He married
in 1787 Isabella, daughter of Captain James Mac- donald of Aird, son of William, Tutor of Macdonald, without issue. He died in 1795.
2. Alexander, Lieutenant 84th Royal Highland Emigrant
Regiment, lost at sea, unmarried. He went down in the ship " Ville de Paris," captured from the enemy, at the battle of Eustati in 1782, and in which he and his brother Ranald were placed to take charge of the prize and crew.
3. Ranald, Captain Royal Marines. Lost at sea with his
brother Alexander.
4. James, known as Captain James Macdonald of Flodigarry.
He married Emily, daughter of James Macdonald, of Skeabost, and died in 1807, leaving issue — (A) James Somerled Macdonald, Lieut. -Colonel of the 45th Madras Native Regiment of Infantry. He died
unmarried in London in Jan., 1842, and was butied in Kensal Cemetery.
(B) Allan Ranald, a Captain in the 4th Bengal Native Infantry. He married Miss Smith, daughter of General Smith, of the Bengal Army, with issue — (a) Reginald Somerled Macdonald, of the Colonial Office, who married Zeloe, a daughter of Sir William Grove, an English Judge, and died 1877, leaving issue — (1) Zeila Flora, who married Colonel Baker, R.A. ; (2) Leila, Mrs Cracken- thoi'pe ; (b) Leila, who died young in Florence ; (c) Leila Flora, who married Marshal Canrobert, and died in 1895, leaving issue — (1) Marce Certin, an officer in the French Army ; (2) Claire, who married Paul de Navacelle, a naval officer.
(c) John, who died young.
(D) Flora, died unmarried.
(B) Charlotte, died unmarried.
(F) Jessie, married Nihian Jeffrey of New Kelso, Loch- carron, with issue — (a) Captain James Jeffrey, who married Mary Irwin, with issue. He died 1875. (b) Captain George Jeffrey of H.M. 32nd Light Infantry, a very brave soldier, who greatly distinguished himself in various campaigns in which the British Armj were engaged. He married Annie, daughter of Colonel William Geddes, H.E. I.C.S., with issue. He died in China in 1868. (c) William John, stipendiary magistrate at Demerara, married Sophia, widow of the Rev. William Hamilton, of the Episcopal Church at Leguan, Demerara, with issue, (d) Allan Ranald, who married, and had Allan Ninian Charles, (e) Thomas Mackenzie, lost at sea ; unmarried. (/) Alexander Lachlan. (g) Ninian. (h) John — both the last died in infancy, (i) Amelia Macdonald, died unmarried, 1864. (j) Agnes Johanna, married Ranald Livingstone of Drim- synie, Argyllshire, with issue — (1) Captain Ranald Livingston Macdonald, 3rd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders ; (2) Alexander ; (3) Emily ; (4) Mary ; (5) Flora.
5. John, who became Lieutenant-Colonel of the Clan Alpine Regiment and Commandant of the Royal Edinburgh
Artillery. He contributed largely to the literature of of bis profession, and became a F.R.S. He married — 1st, Mrs Bogle, a widow, with issue, two children, who died young. He married — 2nd, Frances Maria, eldest daughter of Sir Robert Chambers, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature, Bengal, with issue —
(A) Robert, a Major in the Indian Army. He married,
with issue — a son, Somerled, who died young.
(B) John, a Captain in the Indian Army, married, with
surviving issue — (1) Herbert Chambers, Lt.-Col. 108th Regiment. He married first, and had Clarence Herbert, Major 86th Berar Infantry, who married, and has several children ; (2) Flora, who married Colonel Cooke, Q.M.G. Madras Army, with issue. He married, secondly, and had (a) Percy Edward, (6) Hugh, (c) Annie Flora, (c?) Adrea Louisa, (e) Annabel Gladys.
(c) Allan, died young.
(D) William Pitt, a Major - General in the Indian Army, who married twice, and had issue —
(1) Reginald Mackenzie, General Madras S.C. He married, and has issue — («) Neville Doug- las, (6) Arthur Gabell, (c) Clarence Regi- nald, (d) Emily Florence, (e) Flora Mary, (/) Ethel Clanranald, (g) Grace Elizabeth.
(2) John Collins, General Madras S.C. He married, and has issue — (a) Reginald Percy, a Captain in the Army ; (6) Walter Douglas ;
(c) Fanny Julia, who married Robert Watson ;
(d) Florence, who married John Barras, with issue ; (e) Alice Maud. (3) Charles Frederick. (4) James Ochterlony. (5) Rev. Reginald Chambers, Vicar of Frampton, Dorchester. (6) George Edward Russell. (7) Rev. Grant William. (8) Henrietta Frances. (9) Caroline Eliza. (10) Catherine Austen, who married Rev. W. Johnson, with issue. (11) Ellen Maria, who married Colonel Chalon. (12) Alice Susan, who married Rev. J. Smith, Madras, with issue.
(B) Charles Edward, in the Indian Civil Service, married, with issue — (1) John, Major-General B.S.C., wh
married, and has (a) Charles, Captain 6th B.C. ; (6) Reginald, (c) Flora, (d} Annie, (e) Agnes.
(F) James, a Captain in the Indian Army, married, with
issue — Augustus and a daughter, both married.
(G) Reginald, Lieutenant 17th Lancers, married Miss
Morris, with issue — Amy, unmarried.
(E) Flora Frances, who married Edward Wylde, of the Royal Navy, without issue.
(i) Henrietta Louisa Lavinia, married Benjamin Cuff Greenhill, of Knowle Hall, Somersetshire. Issue — (a1) Lavinia, married Edward Amphlett, with issue, a son and daughter ; (61) Flora, married Thomas Hussy, with issue ; (c1) Clare, married, with issue.
Colonel John Macdonald died at Exeter on 16th August, 1831, aged 72 years.
6. Annie, married Major Alexander Macleod of Lochbay,
Skye, and of Glendale, Moore County, U.S.A., who fought in the American War of Independence, as also in European Wars, in all of which he greatly dis- tinguished himself, and rose to the rank of Major- General. Issue —
(A) Norman, a Lieutenant, who died from effects of a wound inflicted by Alexander Macdonald of Glen- garry in a duel. (B and c) Sons, one of whom married in India.
(D) Flora, who married Mr Mackay, Forres, with issue.
(E) Mary, who died unmarried in Stein, Skye. Mrs Major Macleod died in 1834.
7. Frances, who married Lieutenant Donald Macdonald of
Cuidreach, Skye, with issue.


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