OT: 27 May 1916 – Allan MacDonald “The Macraes of Kintail”



The Oban Times, 27 May, 1916

 The MacRaes of Kintail

Waternish, Skye, 6 May, 1916

Sir,–I noticed under the above heading a letter from a correspondence bearing the nom de plume “Eilean a’ cheo,” which to me appears rather appropriate, as the writer is undoubtedly in the nest, otherwise the Rev. John MacRae, Minister of Dingwall, would not have been confused with John MacRae of Achgargan, the lawful son of the Rev. Farquhar MacRae, “sometime Minister of the word of God at the Kirk of Kintail.”

We are told that Mr. Farquhar MacRae married in December, 1811, with issue two sons, namely:–

“Thomas, the eldest, who died without issue; and John, born at Aldlair, 13th March, 1614, who became Minister of Dingwall in 1640, and married Agnes Mackenzie, daughter of the Laird ofKincraig, by whom he had a son, Alexander, who married Florence MacKinnon of Corriechatachan, in Skye. Alexander’s sister, Isabel MacRae, married Lachlan MacKinnon of Corriechatachan.”

Now I should like to point out that, on the  28th of July, 1696, Finlay MacRae in Achgargan was served heir in general to his father –

John MacRae, lately in Auchgargan, the lawful son of the quondam Mr. Farquhar MacRae, sometime minister of the word of God at the Kirk of Kintail.

On the same date Finlay MacRae was served heir in general to his uncle, Christopher MacRae, and to his uncle, Thomas MacRae, both described as the sons the said Mr. Farquhar MacRae, Minister of the Kirk of Kintail.

Prior to this, on 12th July, 1681, Alexander MacRae was served heir in general to his father the Rev. “John MacRae, evangelical minister at the Kirk of Dingwall,” but the return does not indicate whose son the Rev. John was. We learn, however, from an assignation by Sir George Mackenzie of Tarbert to Kenneth Mackenzie of Scatwell in 1680 that he was of the Conchra family, as both he and his son, Alexander, were described as a Conchra thus:–“Alexander MacRa, son of Mr. John MacRa, Minister of Dingwall, of Conchra.” These services of heirs prove beyond a shadow of doubt that Mr. John MacRae, Minister of Dingwall, was not the son of Mr. Farquhar MacRae, parson of Kintail, the reputed Constable of Eilean Donan Castle. They also prove that Finlay MacRae of Achgargan was the male representative of Mr. Farquhar MacRae in 1696, and not Duncan MacRae of Inverinate. The fact of Finlay having been served heir in general to Thomas, the reputed eldest son of Mr. Farquhar, proves it. Further there is nothing to show that the Inverinate family were even descended from the said Mr. Farquhar as alleged by some writers that they were.

With reference to the MacKinnon and MacRae inter-marriages I take the following quotation from the “History and Tradition of the Isle of Skye” by Alexander Cameron, Lochmaddy:–

Lachlan MacKinnon of Corriechatachin, or Corry, who married Margaret, daughter of MacRae of Inverinate, the Chief of that Clan, by whom he had two sons, Charles MacKinnon of Corry, and Neil MacKinnon, Minister of Sleat, and a daughter, Florence, married to her cousin, Alexander MacRae of Conchra and Ardacheg.

This statement does not agree with that of your correspondent’s, who also states that Alexander’s sister, Isabel MacRae, married Lachlan MacRae of Corriechatachin. May I ask which of the Corries? I can scarcely think she married her brother’s father-in-law or the latter’s grandson who entertained Dr. Johnson and Boswell in 1773.

As regards the representation of the Lairds of Strathardle, there is no authentic evidence to show that Captain John McKinnon of McKinnon, the son of the last Chief, who sold his ancient patrimony, died without male issue. The next in legal succession were the Mishinish family, of whom there are many male descendents living in America. In 1737 on the death of John MacKinnon, younger of MacKinnon, without male issue, his grand-uncle, John McKinnon of Mishinish succeeded to the Chiefship and property as the next mail heir of the MacKinnon family, the chief, John Dubh, being dead in the eyes of the law for having joined the Rising of 1715. Mishinish possessed the MacKinnon Estates for upwards of 18 or 19 years and sold part of the property, namely, Strath, in 1750-1 to Sir James MacDonald’s Trustees. The old Chief in 1743 married a daughter of MacLeod of Raasay, and in 1753 a son, Charles, was born, and in consequence of this Mishinish had to divest himself of the property.–I am, etc.,

Allan McDonald

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