The halls, where our ancestors first saw the light,
Now blackened in ruins they lie.
And the moss-covered cairns are all that remain
Of the once pleasant homes of MacKay.
I am a native of Strathnaver, and saw some of the burnings that took place there. I was born at Sgall, a township with six houses, where I lived till I was sixteen years of age, when the people in the township were driven away and their houses burnt.
Our family was very reluctant to leave this place, and stayed for some time after the summons for evicting was delivered. But Sellar's party came round and set fire to our house at both ends, reducing to ashes whatever remained within the walls. The occupants had, of course, to escape for their lives, some of them losing all their clothes except what they had on their backs. The people then had plenty clothes (home spun), which they made from the wool of their sheep.
The people were told they could go where they liked, provided they did not encumber Sellar's domain, the land that was by rights their own. The people were driven away like dogs who deserved no better fate, and that, too, without any reason in the world, but to satisfy the cruel avarice of Sellar.
Here is an incident that I remember in connection with the burning of Sgall. My sister, whose husband was from home, was delivered of a child at Grumb-mhor at this time. Her friends in Sgall, fearing lest her house should be burnt, and she perish in her helpless condition, went to Grumb-mhor and took her with them in very cold weather, weak and feeble as she was. This sudden removal occasioned to her a fever, which left its effects upon her till her dying day.
I declare this statement of mine is true.
-- Alexander Mackay
-- Murdo Mackay
29th Aug, 1883