Clansfolk of Clan MacDonald

Crest of Clansfolk of Clan MacDonald
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Several folks of Clan MacDonald emigrated from the Isle of Lewis with those of Clan MacIvor and settled among them at the Gulf Shore in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia.

John Munro MacIvor, a descendant of some of these MacDonalds, outlined their history in Chapter Fifteen, Chapter Sixteen, and Chapter Seventeen of his History of the MacIvor Clan in Canada.

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The following of Clan MacDonald were listed among the Landowners on the East River in (now) Pictou County, Nova Scotia:

Alex. MacDonald
Dunc. MacDonald
Hugh MacDonald
Jas. MacDonald
John MacDonald

The following was contributed by Ben MacDonald of Glendale, Arizona - June 2003

September 30, 1775
Edinburgh Evening Courant

Extract of a letter from Fort William, Sept. 14.

"We have no news in this country; only yesterday sailed, the ship Jupiter, from Dunstaffuage Bay with about 200 emigrants on board, for North Carolina, mostly from the country of Appin in Argyleshire. Though formerly among the first to take up arms against the reigning family, they now declare their readiness to support government in case they find it necessary on their arrival in America.- This day likewise will sail the ship Glasgow, with emigrants from the port of Fort-William, bound for New York."

Sep 4, 1775 -The ship Glasgow leaves Fort William, Scotland, with 251 emigrants aboard. Reference

In the meantime, the following order has been issued. "Royal Highland Emigrants - Orders to Raise a Corps" By His Excellency The Honorable Thomas GAGE General and Commander in Chief of all His Majesty's Forces in North America. To Lieutenant Colonel Allan MACLEAN You are hereby empowered with the Officers under your command by Beat of Drum or otherwise to enlist for His Majesty's Service, in any of His Provinces of North America, such Highlanders or such other Loyal Subjects, as you may be able to procure, to be formed into a Corps of two Battalions, to be paid as His Majesty'' other Regiments of Foot, and to receive Fifty Shillings Bounty.

Oct 31, 1775 - It is the beginning of the American War. The Ship "Glasgow" arrives off New York City harbour, is boarded and turned away by the ship HMS Asia under the command of Captain George Vandeput. After sitting in the harbour for 30 days, the ship is renamed "The Glasgow Packet" and is sent on to Boston by city officials acting on Admiral Graves's orders. Reference

The passengers were given the option of going to prison or joining the British Army (as a group).

After 4-6 weeks of sitting onboard the Glasgow, all the passengers agree to join the British Army for 'the duration' of the American conflict. The men were given full rations and promises of land (in America) after the war ended. The women received 1/2 rations and children under 16 received 1/4 rations. The were all garrisoned at Fort Edward, Windsor Nova Scotia.

The war rages for 8 years and these unfortunate (or fortunate) highlanders have now spent 8 years in the service of the 84th Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment.....

The Order for the Day for October 7th, 1783, of Brigadier General Fox, Head of the Forces in Nova Scotia, announced that the 84th Regiment of Foot or Royal Highland Emigrants would be disbanded on the 10th of October 1783 at Windsor, Nova Scotia. On that date a muster was taken, a copy of which is now in the Public Record Office, London; reference number W.O.12-8806.

In the Crown Land Office. Halifax, Nova Scotia, is a " General List and Returns" of the different companies of the 2nd Battalion of His Majesty's 84th Regiment as they stood when disbanded in Windsor, Nova Scotia, in October 1783 specifying, among other things, those who meant to avail themselves of the offer of Crown Land in Nova Scotia. A blanket grant of some 105,000 acres of "Crown Land" (or wild, ungranted land owned and controlled by the government) in what, in 1968, is Hants County, Nova Scotia. and covering what are now the districts of Nine Mile River, Gore, and Kennetcook, was made to the colonel of the 84th Regiment in trust for himself and the officers and men under him

From Urquhart & Glenmoriston to Nova Scotia
(from W. MacKay's Urquhart &Glenmoriston 1893) (submitted by Peter Grant - update submitted by Elizabeth Brownell)

In Dr. William Mackay's Urquhart and Glenmoriston (1893) a short account is given of the Settlement in Nova Scotia. Dr. Mackay had written to Rev. D.B. Blair and Rev. A. Maclean Sinclair and from the information supplied by them this account was compiled. The manuscripts had been in the possession of Dr. Mackay's grandson, the late Mr. I.R. Mackay. Photocopies of which have been given to the Angus L. MacDonald Library, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish. Here is a list of natives of Urquhart and Glenmoriston who crossed the Atlantic to Nova Scotia, namely Pictou, East River (An Abhainn Mhor), Blue Mountain (A' Bheinne Ghorm) and Springville (Bail' an Fhuarain).

Among them were -
1. Father, John MacDonald (Gaelic - Iain MacEoghainn, Oig- referred to as "Old John"). - to East River, Pictou, N.S. in 1784 (with sons Duncan, Hugh (Ewen), Alexander, and James)
2. Son, Hugh (Ewen) MacDonald - From Glen Urquhart to Pictou, N.S. in 1784 - He was a son of Iain Mac Eoghainn, Oig. He settled at Bridgeville and was in the army.
3. Son, James MacDonald - From Glen Urquhart to Pictou, N.S. in 1784 - (brother to Hugh).
4. Son, Duncan MacDonald, b. Loget, 20 Feb 1740, brother. m. Catherine Fraser.
5. * There was initially another son, Alexander, born to John and his 1st wife Jannet(?) at Loget in 1742, but I seem to lose track of him after the American war. An 1895 article in the eastern Chronicle by Rev McLean Sinclair suggests Alexander remained in Windsor after the war, along with his sister Mary, said to have married another McDonald.

The arrival of another band of settlers must be briefly mentioned , who first occupied the upper settlements of East River. " These belonged to the 84th regiment, known at that time as the Royal Highland Emigrants. It consisted of two battalions originally embodied in the year 1775, though not numbered as the 84th till the year 1778, when each battalion of men was raised to 1000 men. Their uniform was the full Highland garb, with purses made of raccoon instead of badgers' skins. The officers wore the broadsword and dirk, and the men a half-basket sword. The first battalion was raised among the discharged men of the 42d Frasers and Montgomerys - Highlanders who had settled in Canada or the old colonies at the peace of 1763. 1t was stationed at Quebec under the command of Colonel Allan McLean, where it did good service in defence of that post, and was thus the principal means of preserving the province to the British crown. The other battalion was raised principally among immigrants arriving in the United States or Nova Scotia. At the time the war broke out, a large number were on their way from Scotland to settle in various parts of the old colonies. In some instances the vessels were boarded by a man of war before arrival. After arrival they were induced, partly by threats and partly by persuasion, to enlist for the war, which was expected to be of short duration. They were not only in poverty, but many were in debt for their passage, and they were now told that by enlisting they would have their debts paid, have plenty of food as well as full pay, and would receive for each head of a family 200 acres of land, and 50 more for each child, "as soon as the present unnatural rebellion is suppressed," while, in the event of refusal, there presented the alternative of going to jail to pay their debts. Under these circumstances, most of the able-bodied enlisted, in some instances fathers and sons serving together. Their wives and children were brought to Halifax, hearing the cannon of Bunker Hill on their passage. This battalion was under the command of Colonel Small. Stewart, in his history of the Highland clans and regiments, says: - "No chief of former days ever secured the attachment of his clan, and no chief ever deserved it better. With an enthusiastic and almost romantic love of his country and countrymen, it seemed as if the principal object of his life had been to serve them and promote their prosperity. Equally brave in leading them in the field, and kind, just, and conciliating in quarters, they would have indeed been ungrateful if they had regarded him otherwise than they did. There was not an instance of desertion in the battalion. Five companies remained in Nova Scotia during the war. The other five joined General Clinton and Lord Cornwallis to the southward. At Eutaw Springs the grenadier company was in the battalion, which, as Colonel Alexander Stewart of the 3d regiment states in his dispatches, drove all before them.

In 1873, when these Highlanders of the 84th Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment were disbanded at Fort Edward (Windsor NS) and discovered that the land they were granted at Kennetcook could not support them, they wrote to the Governor of Nova Scotia, John Parr, and petitioned him for land in Pictou County.

From the webpage of Pictonians at home and abroad and the Early Settlers of the East River In 1784, a settlement of disbanded soldiers (of the 84th Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment) was made further up the river. They came to Pictou at the close of the American War. They were, originally, from the Highlands of Scotland. The first who came was James Fraser, Big James, who in company with Donald McKay, elder, settled on the intervale a little below where St. Paul's Church now stands. He and fifteen others took up a tract of over three thousand acres, extending up to Samuel Cameron's on the east side of the river, and to James Fraser's, Culloden, on the west side. The names of these first settlers were: Donald Cameron, his brothers Samuel and Finlay, Alexander Cameron, Robert Clark, Peter Grant, first elder in the settlement, James McDonald, Hugh McDonald on the east side of the river. James Fraser, Duncan McDonald, John McDonald, (* the father-not brother of James), John Chisholm, (drowned at the Narrows with Finlay Cameron), John McDonald, 2d, John Chisholm, Jr. Situated on the west side of the East River at Glencoe, Pictou County, a memorial Cairn bears this inscription on its North face:

John MacDonald (Iain MacEoghainn Oig) was the father from the book "Rawdon and Douglas: Two Loyalist Townships in Nova Scotia", by John V Duncanson

John (or Iain) MacDonald was born in Inverness-shire, Scotland. m. (1) Jannet, m. (2) Margaret Grant.

John MacDonald (Iain MacEoghain Oig) was born at Glenurquhart (about 1720-1723) and belonged to the Glencoe MacDonalds. At the time of the Glencoe Massacre, 1692, one of the MacDonalds fled to Glenurquhart and settled there. John MacDonald was (reported to be) a grandson or great grandson of that man. He was about eight years in the Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment, and three of his sons fought with him in the Revolutionary War on the Loyalists' side. He was also reported to be a veteran of Culloden in 1746.

In the History of Bridgeville NS, it is written that 'Old' John was over 60 yrs of age when he finally settled in Bridgeville in 1784.

According to an article by Rev. Alexander McLean Sinclair in the Eastern Chronicle "He (Iain) settled in Strathbeg, or the Soldier's Grant, East River. Duncan, James and Ewen Mor settled near him.

He (John) was married twice. By his first wife Jannet(?), he had Duncan (20 Feb 1740-Loget), Alexander (26 Nov 1742-Loget), Mary and Christy. By his second wife, Margaret Grant, he had James (abt. 1754), Ewen (Hugh, abt 1764) , Ann, and Helen (Ellen), twin girls born on 1 July 1772 at Drumnadrochit, Glenurquhart, Inverness-shire.

John had 4 sons, Duncan MacDonald was his eldest son. Duncan married Catherine Fraser 2nd son Alexander MacDonald either remained in Windsor in 1783 or did not survive the American War James MacDonald was his 3rd son and grandfather of John MacDonald, First Justice Minister in the Confederation Cabinet of Sir John A MacDonald. James married Mary Forbes. James is buried in Brucefield Ontario Hugh MacDonald (my direct line) was his youngest son and settled at Mount Maple Farm in Bridgeville. Hugh married Jane Grant.

There were also 4 daughters in John MacDonald's family Mary MacDonald remained in Windsor in 1783 and married a 'McDonald' Christy MacDonald married Duncan (Speich, peid, or Speech) MacDonald Ann MacDonald married Thomas Fraser (Basin) Ellen (Helen) MacDonald married James Robertson of Churchville.

Ben MacDonald ( writes (20June2003)- " If you know of anyone descended from these families I would be interested in exchanging information with them."

Document in Progress. Please stand by.

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