The Catholic Highlands of Scotland
The Western Highlands and Islands
By Dom. Odo Blundell, O.S.B., F.S.A. (Scot.)
Sands & Co. 1917
" Thirty years later Dr. MacDonald, of Taunton, received an interesting account of
the Glengarry emigrants from his friend, Mr. D. McPherson. I give it almost in full, as it
occurs in "Memoir of MacDonald, of Keppoch."
"Chambly, Canada, N.A. 26th Dec. 1814.
" My Dear Sir, - Having just returned from a visit of a month to the new county of
Glengarry, I cannot help endeavouring to give some account of it, as well as the present
condition of many of our countrymen who were driven from their native land, and who
directed their course to America in search of a better fortune.
"The county is a square of 24 miles, all of which and the greater part of the next
county (Stormont) are occupied by Highlanders, containing at this moment from 1,100 to
1,200 families, two thirds of them MacDonalds. More able fellows of that name could be
mustered there in twenty-four hours, than Keppoch and Glengarry could have done at any
time in the Mother country.
" You might travel over the whole of the county and by far the greater part of
Stormont, without hearing a word spoken but the good Gaelic. Every family, even of the
lowest order, has a landed property of 200 acres; the average value of which, in its
present state of cultivation, with the cattle, etc., upon it may be estimated at from 800
to 1000 pounds. However poor the family (but indeed there are none can be called so) they
kill a bullock for the winter consumption; the farm or estate supplies them with abundance
of butter, cheese, etc., etc. Their houses are small but comfortable, having a ground
floor and garret, with a regular chimney and glass windows.
" The appearance of the people is at all times respectable, but I was delighted at
seeing them at church on a Sunday; the men clothed in good English cloth, and many of the
women wore the Highland plaid.
"The chief object of my visit to Glengarry was to see an old acquaintance, Mr.
Alexander MacDonald, a priest, who has been resident in this country ten years. I believe
you know him, or at least you know who he is.
A more worthy man is not in Canada; he is the mainstay of the Highlanders here; they apply
to him for redress in all their grievances, and an able and willing advocate they find in
him. He is well known from the poorest man to the Governor, and highly respected by all.
Were he ambitious of enriching himself, he might ere now be possessed of immense property;
but this appears not to be his object; his whole attention is devoted to the good of the
settlement; and the great and numerous services which he has done, cannot well be
" Colonel John MacDonald, of Aberchalder, died some years ago, and left one son and
three daughters .
The Colonel's sister, Mrs. Wilkinson, died a few months since and left a son and three
daughters- Mr. MacDonald of Greenfield, who was married to the other sister, has a very
considerable property here; he is Lieut.-Colonel of the Second Regiment of Glengarry
Militia. One of his sons, Donald, is also Lieut.-Colonel; his second son is a Captain in
the same corps . Mr. MacDonald of Lundi died in this settlement some time since, but his
brother, Allan, now upwards of ninety, is still alive and well .George MacDonald, son of
Captain John MacDonald of Lulu, who died Captain of Invalids, at Berwick, recruited the
Glengarry Regiment of Light Infantry, and is now Lieut.-Colonel commanding in this
district, and Inspecting Field Officer of Militia. The good conduct of the Glengarry Light
Infantry, as well as the Militia Regiments of the county, has been so frequently noticed
and thanked in public orders, that it is unnecessary for me to say anything in their
praise. They have on every!
occasion, when placed before the enemy, supported the character of Highlanders."
The Emigrations of 1773, and subsequent years, left but few of the older families in
Glengarry; and at the present time there is only too much truth in the lines of W. Allan
(Celtic Mag., Oct., 1885):
" The Glen of my fathers no longer is ours,
The Castle is silent and roofless its towers,
The hamlets have vanished and grass growing green
Now covers the hillocks where once they had been;
The song of the stream rises sadly in vain,
No children are here to rejoice in the strain.
No voices are heard by loch Oich's lone shore,
Glengarry is here; but Glengarry no more."
Sun, 17 Feb 2002 19:58:07 -0800
The People of Glengarry
Highlanders in Transition, 1745-1820
Allan MacDonell, half brother of Bishop Alexander Macdonell
" The story of the 1785 emigration to Canada cannot be established definitely in all
its detail, but when documentary and oral sources are put together, a cohesive narrative
of the emigrants journey to Canada emerges. The emigrants left Scotland under the
leadership of Allan MacDonell. Later a Justice of the Peace in Glengarry County and
described as "Esquire, " MacDonell was born at Inchlaggan on the Glengarry
estate in 1746. (His younger brother Alexander, later Bishop MacDonell of Kingston, was a
commanding figure in Canadian history).26
NA, MG9/D7/6 microfilm reel C-3029, parish register of St. Raphael's 15 Dec.1826, 520.
This identification of Bishop Alexander MacDonell of Kingston as the brother of Allan
MacDonell, leader of the 1785 party, is based on notes in George Sandfield MacDonald's
oral history of Glengarry. Sandfield Macdonald names Squire Allan MacDonell as one of the
1787 emigrants by way of Albany (NA, MG29 C29, notebook with first page blank, interview
with Captain Grey). The date (1787) is an error for 1785, as will be shown in the
following pages. George Sandfield MacDonald also refers to Squire Allan as the bishop's
brother (ibid.,notebook, Family II) The obituary of Squire Allan MacDonell that appears in
the Upper Canada Gazette names Allan as leader of the 1785 emigration(see note 24, above)
and was written by Bishop MacDonell (MacGillivray and Ross, History of Glengarry, 10).
The Scottish Years
Kathleen M. Toomey
"His parents were Angus (Aeneas) MacDonell and Nancy Cameron and he had a sister
Margaret and a half-brother, Allan, from his father's previous marriage.7 There were at
least two other brothers, but whether fully or partially related, is not clear. It is
doubtful whether either of them ever married for both died as "Adventures" in
the West Indies.8
He himself claimed to be a man of the people and not of the cadet families within the
clan, although he referred to the families of Glengarry, Scothouse (Scotus) and Chisholm
as his cousins, and was acknowledged by them as such, and Andrew MacDonell posits the
probability that his mother was a distant relative of Sir Allan Cameron of Erracht.
It appears that The Bishop MacDonell refers to the Bishops John and Aeneas Chisholm, sons
of Valentine Chisholm and Janet Macdonell, as well as William Fraser Ninth of Guisachan,
son of William Fraser 8th of Guisachan and his wife Margaret MacDonell, d/o John MacDonell
of Ardnabie and Mary his wife, daughter of Glengarry as his cousins.
It appears that the Ardnabie branch, in particular John MacDonell as the originators of
the MacDonell of Leek group.
Why don't you just put me out of my misery by telling me who the children of John
MacDonell of Ardnabie and his wife Mary are.
Janet MacDonell, wife of Valentine Chisholm
Angus MacDonell, father of the Bishop MacDonell
Margaret MacDonell, wife of Fraser 8th of Guisachan.