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See Pedigree Table C

I. Ian Aberach, son of VII Angus Du of Strathnaver by his second wife, a daughter of Alexander Carrach Macdonald of Keppoch, son of John, Lord of the Isles, by his wife, a daughter of King Robert II, was the first of this branch. We quoted already at page 61 from the Knock MS. that "Mackay of Strathnaver was taken, who married thereafter a daughter of Alexander Macdonald of Keppoch, of whom descended the race of Mackays called Slioc Ean Abrich". In various encounters, already sufficiently described, he gallantly led the Mackays, and for some years during his elder brother's absence governed Strathnaver. Of his banner, now preserved in the National Museum, Edinburgh, we shall have something to say in an addendum to this Account. The seat of the Aberach chieftains was at Achness, about two miles below Loch Naver, on the east side of the river. Their burial place was at Gnubeg, on an eminence close by the northern shore of Loch Naver, and in a special part of the cemetery there carefully walled off from the rest.

According to the Bute MS., Ian Aberach married a daughter of Macintosh of Macintosh, and had by her known issue two sons: -

  1. William Du
  2. John
II. William Du, who took a prominent part at the battle of Aldicharrish in 1487, when the Mackays were assisted by his cousin, Macintosh of Macintosh. He is probably the William McKy, one of the two "armigeris", who witnessed in the Cathedral Church of Dornoch, 2nd Apr 1497, the Precept [Appendix No 6] of King James IV to IV Iye Mackay of Strathnaver.
He married a daughter of Hector Roy Mackenzie of Gairloch by his wife, a daughter of Ranald MacRanald of Moidart (MacFarlane's Collections, Scot. His. Soc. 33: 78), and had known issue: -
  1. William
  2. Donald, killed at Loch Salchie along with his brother, 1517
[Footnote: In the Bute MS. Mackenzie's daughter is said to have been the second wife of Ian Aberach, but this is obviously a mistake. Looking to the dates at which they flourished, she must have been a contemporary of William Du, and was too young to marry his father.]

III. William was killed in 1517 at Loch Salchie, between Loch Shin and Oikel, fighting against the Murrays, who were probably in league with the Rosses.
According to the Bute MS.
, he married a daughter of Thomas Murray of Tulibardine, and had issue: -

  1. Thomas
  2. John
  3. Gavin
  4. Alexander
  5. Murdo
  6. Neil
Neil was placed in charge of Skibo Castle by the Mackays about 1545. When the Gordons came to power in the days of Mary of Lorraine, they tried to be avenged upon Neil for this and other acts of his. The Blk. MS. has the following item: "Letters of Fire and Sword granted by Queen Mary of Scots to John, Earl of Sutherland, against Neil Mcky and his accomplices accused of misorder and slaughter in Strathnaver, whereby the said Earl was empowered to raise and convene all fencible men within Sutherland and apprehend the said Neil and his accomplices and if need be to seize houses, raise fire, commit slaughter and mutilation upon the said parties, which shall never be imputed as crime to the said Earl. At Banff, 12 Sep 1556." The above savage clauses were usually inserted in Letters of Fire and Sword. The tradition is that Neil lay low until the storm blew over, hiding in Uamh Neil, Neil's Cave, in Ben Clibrig.

IV. John Williamson, and nine others were summoned [Appendix No 17] to appear before the Lords of Justice (Huntly, chiefly) at Inverness in 1538 "for alleged reset and intercommuning with Donald and William Galdochson, rebels, accused of the slaughter of umquhill Donald Henryson and others". In 1548 "John Willemson in Auchindes" witnessed a sasine of Langwell (William Gray's Protocol Book). He married the "umquhile Donald M'Kay's dochtir of Farr" (Orig. Par. Scot., II., ii, 713), in other words the daughter of the deceased XI(2) Donald of Strathnaver and Farr, and had known issue a son and a daughter.

  1. Neil MacEan Mac William
  2. Margaret, married 2nd May 1562, William Sutherland or Hectorson, in Langwell, receiving as her "tocher thrie skoir of greit ky". She had known issue: - John Sutherland "alias Aberach" killed at Syre in February, 1587, evidently for the part which he took at the Durness conflict. XIII Hugh of Strathnaver and Donald Balloch of Scoury obtained the king's pardon for the slaughter of the said John Sutherland, 1st Jan 1598 (Reg. Mag. Sig.)
V. Neil MacEan Mac William, as "Nigello McIeane MakWilliam, servis dicti Odonis" (Neil son of John son of William, acting for the said Iye), witnessed the sasine [Appendix No 26] to his cousin, XII Iye Du of Strathnaver, of the lands of Strathnaver, 20th Apr 1571. In the same capacity he also witnessed the Grant for the charter, and the Instrument of Possession which Iye Du obtained. From this it is evident that Neil and Iye Du were fast friends, and that they fought shoulder to shoulder. After the death of Iye Du, the Durness affair of 1579 drove a wedge between Neil and XIII Huistean Du, as we show in the memoir of the latter. It also resulted in a bitter and prolonged feud between the Aberachs and the Gunns, in which much blood was spilt on both sides. Tradition has it that one of their fierce encounters took place at Beallach Vigais, about the middle of Strathhalladale and on the west side of the river. Neil Aberach's foster-mother accompanied him to the field, and as she saw one after another of her own sons struck down as shield-bearers to the chieftain, she kept calling "Apran ur air beal 'obh Neil" (a new apron in front of Neil). Of doughty Neil Sir Robert Gordon says, he was "a good captain, bold, crafty, of a very good wit, and quick resolution". The pity is that XIII Huistean Du of Strathnaver had not the wisdom to give Neil a proper title to his ancestral lands of Achness. With such a man at his back he could have spoken with greater effect to his enemies in the gate.

[Footnote: Hollinshed referring to this period writes: - "In these days also the women of our country were of no less courage than the men, for all stout maidens and wives, if they were not with child, marched as well in the field as did the men." (Chronicles, V, 24)]

According to the Bute MS., he married a daughter of Hector Munro of Contalich, and had known issue four sons: -

  1. Murdo
  2. William Mor
  3. Robert, who witnessed the marriage contract of Murdo in 1615
  4. Neil
VI. Murdo held the lands of Gnubmore in wadset, and as cautioner to the 1st Lord Reay in a bond of 1636 is styled "Murdo M'Ky of Gnubmoir" (Reay Papers). He married, 15th Apr 1615, Christina, daughter of Donald Balloch of Scoury, and had known issue: -

  1. John
  2. Robert
  3. Neil
  4. Ann, married Neil Campbell of Achnalick
VII. John is traditionally known as a man of pronounced piety, and strongly sympathetic with the persecuted Covenanters.
He married Christina, daughter of the Rev. Alexander Munro, the poet preacher of Durness, and had one son: -

  1. William
VIII. Rev. William Mackay, minister of Dornoch. A very important document, bearing upon the Reay estates, was witnessed at Fortrose by "Mr. William M'Ky in Dornoch," 1st Feb 1673 (Reay Papers, Drawer 1, Bundle 2, Part ii, No. 5). From the importance of the paper, and the use of the courtesy title Mr., which was then the equivalent of Rev., we think the said William was the Aberach chieftain. Some years after that date, he frequently witnessed Mackay documents among the Reay Papers, as minister of Dornoch.
He married Jane, daughter of John Dunbar, Bailie of Elgin, and had issue three sons: -

  1. John, died unmarried
  2. George, Sheriff-Depute of Moray, married a daughter of David Sutherland of Kinstorie, but no issue
  3. Hugh, died unmarried
VIIa. Robert Mackay, second son of Murdo, was taken prisoner at Balveny along with the 2nd Lord Reay, 1649 (Privy Council Register). He had a condescendence from the 2nd Lord Reay, to himself and to his eldest son Murdo, "of the lands and grassings of Ainloine, Drumrinnie, and Coulnafearn, to sit and raise crops on the saids lands and grassings, aye and until payment is made of 1000 merks" contained in a bond by his Lordship to Robert, 28th Jan 1666 (Reay Papers). At that time he held Lettermore and Letterloyal in tack, residing at the latter place. When the fortunes of the Reay Family were very low, owing to severe losses incurred in the cause of Kings Charles I and II, Robert Mackay was one of the six in whose names the Reay estates were secured in 1673. He was also foster-father to Donald Master of Reay, who was accidentally killed in the Reay Forest.
He married Isabella Munro, and had issue: -

  1. Murdo
  2. Alexander
  3. John, a scholar of considerable attainments, teaching tutor of the 3rd Lord Reay. He witnessed the renunciation of the wadset of Eriboll, 8th Sep 1719, as "John M'Kay, Tacksman of Langdale, Sheriff-Depute of Strathnaver". He had known issue: -
    1. Rev. George, of Edderachilis, died unmarried 1743
    2. Lieut. Alexander, of the Sutherland regiment
    3. John, who was married and had issue
  4. William
  5. Janet married William Mac Angus MacCallan Mackay, eldest son of "Angus M'Callan and his spouse Margaret nein Angus MacAngus". The said William had sasine on a contract of marriage, 11th Apr 1670, of his father's wadset of the four pennylands of Strathmelness (Reay Papers). We showed that these M'Callans were descended of Farquhar, son of IV Iye of Strathnaver.
    The issue of this marriage was an elder son, of whom follows: -
    "William MacWilliam MacAngus alias M'Ky", who had a Precept of Clare constat, 23rd Apr 1686, as heir to his father in the wadset of Strathmelness.
    He married Elizabeth Mackay, and had known issue a son and a daughter, viz.,
    1. John Mackay of Strathmelness, who had a Precept of Clare constat, 1st February, 1726, as heir to his father in the wadset of Strathmelness. He was a poet, and a great friend of Rob Donn. He married Jane Sutherland, grand-daughter of the Rev. William Mackay, Rogart, son of Iye of Golval, and had issue, but we cannot trace them.
    2. Catherine, married to John Mackay of Clashneach, son of Hector of Skerray
  6. Christina, married Hugh Mackay of Cairnloch, son of John Mackay of Skerray
VIIIa. Murdo, "eldest lawful son and apparand heir to Robert Mackay in Lettirloyal", secured a bond from the 2nd Lord Reay, 12th Dec 1664, over the lands of Coulnafearn, wester side of Strathbeg, and Druminrini. He married "Jane third lawful daughter of Captain William Mackay of Borley", to whom he gave sasine of the above lands in life-rent, and to their eldest son Robert in fee, 17th Sep 1681 (Reay Papers). He then resided at Carnachie, afterwards removed to Edderachilis, but eventually returned to the valley of the Naver.
He had four sons and one daughter: -

  1. Robert, died young
  2. Donald, succeeded his brother in the bond by disposition 27th Nov 1683. He took part in the Darien expedition, and at St. Christopher, West Indies, 21st Jan 1700, disponed the above rights to his uncle, Captain Hugh Mackay of Borley, and died without issue.
  3. Angus Mackay, Clibrig, is charged by Borley to enter himself heir as eldest lawful surviving son to the "deceased Murdo Mackay", and to Donald his brother, 11th Jun 1712. The said Angus was alive on 4th Jun 1723, and residing in Moudail, but does not appear to have had any children.
  4. Murdo
  5. Elizabeth, mentioned in the disposition of 1683
IXa. Murdo, mentioned in the disposition of 1683. [For our account of his descendants we are indebted to information supplied by the Rev. Dr. James Mackay]
He is said to have settled in the Heights of Strathy, where he had an elder son, Hugh

Xa. Hugh, commonly called Huistean M'Corrichie, born about 1715, had a tack of Brae-Strathy, and married Catherine, daughter of John Mackay, Lettermore. He died in 1797, leaving issue three sons and two daughters: -

  1. George
  2. Murdo, who at the time of the "Clearances" removed to Aberdeen
  3. John, served in the 93rd Highlanders, and settled in Glasgow
  4. Isabella married John Mackay, Bowsid, and had issue: -
    1. Captain Hugh Mackay, who settled in Glasgow and had: - Thomas, a shipowner in Liverpool; Isabella; and Hughina married Captain Adair
    2. John, served in the 93rd Highlanders
  5. Barbara Mackay married Angus Mackay of Dalvina, Strathnaver, but removed to Aberdeen at the "Clearances". They had an only son, Captain Hugh Mackay of the ship "Raymond".
XIa. George married Catherine, daughter of George Mackay of Arichliney, Kildonan, in 1785, and succeeded his father-in-law as tenant there. At the "Clearances" he sold out and removed to Wick, where he died in 1840. He had seven sons and three daughters: -

  1. George
  2. John, who was born in 1795, married a daughter of Mackay of Carnachy and had two daughters: - Jane; and Catherine, married Rev. J. Kennedy, Rosehall, Sutherland
  3. Hugh died unmarried at St. Ann, Jamaica, 1815
  4. Robert died unmarried at Demerara, 1829
  5. Angus died unmarried at Inverness, 1840
  6. William, a planter in Demerara, lost at sea in 1841, on board the "India", burnt off the coast of Brazil
  7. James died unmarried in Demerara, 1829
  8. Elizabeth died 1815
  9. Jessie married in 1820 Andrew Mackay, merchant and fishcurer, Helmsdale, with issue
  10. Isabella married Alexander Mackay, Wick.
XIIa. George Mackay became a merchant in Inverness, 1811 in partnership with his maternal uncle, Captain Robert Mackay of Hedgefield, and continued for over fifty years to carry on the business. He was a J.P., senior bailie, and one of the directors of the Inverness Royal Academy. He married in 1819 Lillias, 3rd daughter of Duncan Grant, Dalshangie, Inverness, by Marjory, daughter of Major Alpin Grant, fourth son of Glenmoriston. He died in 1869, leaving eight sons and three daughters: -

  1. Rev. Dr. James
  2. Robert, a merchant in Inverness, married a daughter of Mr. Davidson, C.E., Burnfoot, near Inverness, and died in 1895 leaving three sons: - Charles, died young; Edward, served in the British India Steam Navigation Co. for some years, married and lived in Inverness, but no issue; and James G., now (1905) a medical missionary in Madagascar, married Kathleen Hedges, but no issue.
  3. Dr. Duncan, medical officer of health and police surgeon, Inverness, married first, Jane Allan, and secondly Sarah Ann Boyes. He died in 1886 leaving three children by his first marriage: - George A.R., agent for the N.S.W. Bank, Wellington, New Zealand, married Annie E. Mirams in 1892, but no issue; Mary Isobel; and Sarah Jane.
  4. Hugh, born 1824, a merchant in London, married and had four daughters.
  5. George Grant Mackay, C.E., proprietor of Glenloy, Inverness, which he sold, settling in Vancouver, B.C., about 1850, and died there, 1893. He married, first, Annie Denny by whom he had two children: - George, married Gertrude Georgina Findlay, and has George, born 1900; also Margaret. He married, secondly, Jessie Simson and had four children by her: - Harry Hedgefield; Eric Aberach; Lilly Jane; and Florence.
  6. Rev. John died at Pau unmarried, 1864
  7. Joseph, died unmarried at Brighton, Melbourne, 1857
  8. William, married Christina Watson and died leaving two children: - Ronald; and Christina married a Mr Gunn, banker in Dingwall, afterwards C.A. in Glasgow.
  9. Lillias, who died in 1858, married J. Wallace Robertson, C.A.
  10. Catherine, married in 1866 William Stevenson, J.P., manufacturer, afterwards of " The Lea," Bridge of Allan, and has three children: - Lieutenant William F. of the 23rd Bombay Rifles, drowned in East Africa, 1898; George H., an engineer on the Staff of the Assam-Bengal Railway; and Lillian, married in 1902 Lieutenant Owen Jones, R.N.R.
XIIIa. Rev. Dr. James, born 1820, chaplain during the Indian Mutiny, for which he holds a medal, married, first, Lucretia Livingston Reed, by whom he had issue as follows. He married, secondly, Margaret Fowler, who died in 1900, leaving no issue. He now (1905) resides at Boscombe, Hants.
  1. Lieutenant-Colonel James Livingston Aberach-Mackay of the 8th Bengal Cavalry, now (1905) retired on half-pay
  2. George Robert, in 1873 appointed junior professor in the Government College, Delhi, and a fellow of Calcutta University, 26th Feb 1880. He married in 1873 Mary A. L. Cherry, daughter of General Cherry of the Madras Cavalry, and died at Indore, 1881, leaving four daughters: - Mary L. Mackay; Francis Lillian; Beatrice Georgina; and Catherine married in 1901 John Montagu E.S. Tharp, A.M.I.M.E., mining engineer.
  3. Lillias Grant, married at Merut, in 1870, William Edward Maxwell, son of Sir P.B. Maxwell, Chief-Justice of the Straits Settlement, at Singapore. Mr. Maxwell became Governor of Gold Coast and received the submission of King Prempeh at Coomassie, 1896, and for services performed then was knighted. He died at sea of fever, on his way home, leaving issue: - William George Maxwell, magistrate in the Straits Settlements; Charlton Neville Maxwell, also a magistrate; Eric Frank, a pleader, Singapore; Dennis Wellesley, an officer in the Indian Army; Gerald Vernon, in civil employ under the Governor of Fiji; Peter Benson, Captain of the 35th Sikhs.
VIIIb. Alexander, son of Robert Mackay, of Letterloyal, witnessed a document among the Reay Papers at Invernaver, 22nd Oct 1672. He married Margaret, daughter of Andrew Fearn of Pitcallion by his spouse, Christian Ross, one of the fugitive Covenanters, with issue four children: -

  1. Angus
  2. Robert
  3. Rev. William, died minister of Tongue, in 1730, without issue
  4. Barbara
Excursus. - Barbara Mackay married Rev. George Brodie, minister of Edderachilis. On the death of her husband, she took a tack of Achovarasaid, 1742 (Reay Papers). The issue of her marriage was three daughters: -
  1. The eldest daughter married Rev. Alexander Oliphant, Bower, Caithness, with issue.
  2. Henrietta Brodie, married William Gordon, Langdale, and had a son Robert Gordon, tacksman of Langdale. Robert Gordon married Grace, danghter of Rev. William Mackenzie, Tongue, and had an only daughter, Barbara, of whom follows: - Barbara Gordon, married Rev. David Mackenzie, Farr, and had Grace, of whom follows: - Grace Mackenzie, who died in 1905, married John Macdonald, C.A., Edinburgh, and had the following seven sons: -
    1. James Macdonald, W.S., Edinburgh
    2. Hugh Mackenzie, died 1862
    3. John
    4. Rev. David
    5. Dr. William Burns, died 1903
    6. Duncan Robert
    7. Alexander Moody Stuart
  3. Christina Brodie, married John Mackay, Auldanrini, and had known issue, two sons: - Angus, married and settled in Glasgow; and Captain Alexander Mackay, tacksman of Duartbeg, who married Helen, daughter of Rev. Alexander Falconer, Edderachilis, with issue two sons and five daughters as follows: -
    1. Rev. Dr. Mackintosh Mackay, Moderator of the Free Church in 1849, editor of the London Society Gaelic Dictionary, and also of Rob Donn's Poems
    2. Lieutenant George Mackay, removed to Banff, married, and had a daughter, Helen Dr. George Macdonald, poet, novelist, and preacher, who died in Sep 1905, was the son of Helen (Mrs. Macdonald), daughter of Captain Alexander Mackay, Duartbeg.
    3. Isabella Mackay; Mary Mackay; Alexandrina Mackay; Christina Mackay; and Helen Mackay
IXb. Robert Mackay, tacksman of Halmdary He married with issue five sons and one daughter.
  1. Angus, tenant in Kinlochbeg
  2. Robert, a merchant and shipowner in Glasgow, had an only daughter, who died unmarried, 1865
  3. William, Tubeg, Moudale, but of whom nothing further is known
  4. George, tacksman of Halmdary, married one of the Mathiesons of Shiness, who bore him two daughters as follows: -
    1. Marion, married Angus Mackay, Kealmie, Farr. While Mackay was serving in the 93rd Highlanders, his wife and family were evicted owing to the "Clearances". Barbara, one of her daughters, married Angus Macleod, Achina, and had issue: - William Macleod, merchant, Achina; John Macleod, Inspector of Poor, Achina; and others living in Achina.
    2. Christina Mackay married John Macleod, and removed to Strathy at the "Clearances," where their issue can be traced
  5. Murdo Mackay, tenant in Lettirmore, married a Miss Munro, and though a very old man had to remove to Orkney at the "Clearances". He had issue: -
    1. Angus, drowned in Orkney
    2. John, a farmer near Stromness, married Bella, daughter of Grant, Falsaid, Tongue, with issue: - Murdo, who returned from Orkney to Strathy. married his cousin, Bella Grant, and had issue (John, tenant in Brawl, who has two daughters; David, died unmarried; Hugh, died in Glasgow leaving one daughter; Bell, married Angus Macphail; Christina, married James Douglas, no issue; Margaret, married William Miller, Dunnet; and Janet, married Alexander Mackay, Strathy-Point, with five children); Angus, died in St. John's, Newfoundland, leaving a widow and family; Christina, married Donald Campbell, Orkney, and had issue; and Kate, married in Australia.
  6. A daughter married Robert Mackay, Xf. Clibrig
Xb. Angus, tenant in Kinlochbeg in 1789, married with issue four sons and two daughters: -

  1. Rev. Hugh, minister of Moy, Inverness, died in 1804, young and unmarried
  2. William, served in the Reay Fencibles, and afterwards a teacher in Orkney, where he married. His known issue was a son William, clothier, on "The Bridges," Edinburgh
  3. Robert, settled in Orkney
  4. Angus, settled in Orkney
  5. A daughter married Robert Mackay
  6. A daughter married Angus Macleod, Carnachy, and had with others Donald Macleod, an officer of the Army Commissariat, afterwards of Whitefield, near Thurso. Commissary Macleod had a daughter, Catherine, now (1905) widow of William Telford, Skerray, with issue: - Rev. William Hall Telford, U.F. Manse, Reston; Donald, married in Montreal; John, married in Skerray; Hugh, died young; Elizabeth (Mrs Maclauchlan); Mary (Mrs. Munro); Catherine; Anna; Benjamina; and Jessie.
VIIIc. William Mackay, son of Robert, married and had issue a son Hugh

IXc. Hugh, married Ann Mackay and had known issue a son William

Xc. William, married Christian, daughter of Robert Mackay, Durness, by his wife Janet, grand-daughter of Captain the Hon. William Mackay of Kinloch, and had issue a son and daughter, as follows: -

  1. Robert
  2. Anna, married George Levack, merchant, Thurso, and had four children: -
    1. Aeneas, died at Thurso in 1874, unmarried
    2. William
    3. Christina, married Robert Miller, no surviving issue
    4. Marion, died in Glasgow in 1888, unmarried
Excursus. - William Levack, settled in Glasgow in 1836, and became a partner in the firm "Scobie Brebner and Levack". He was one of the founders of the Glasgow Caithness Association in 1837, of which he continued a member till his death in 1893. He married Helen Noble and had issue, nine children: -

  1. Rev. George S. Levack, Dollar, died 1905
  2. John A.M. Levack, died unmarried, 1880
  3. Ellen B.N., married Lieutenant Robert Assheton Napier, R.N.R., and had issue: - George L.M. Napier; and Ellen N.L. Napier, married James Dunnachie, manufacturer, Glasgow, with issue
  4. Anna Mackay Levack, married Alexander Ritchie, manufacturer, Glasgow, with issue: - Gilbert Ritchie of the China Inland Mission; and Ellen (Mrs. Kirkpatrick)
  5. Robina, in Glasgow
  6. Elizabeth, married James Dunnachie, Director of the Glenboig Fire-Clay Company, Glenboig House
  7. Margaret, 33 Westbourne Gardens, Glasgow
  8. Marianne, 33 Westbourne Gardens, Glasgow
  9. Jessie Mackay Levack, married Samuel Hyslop Kerr, M.A. and Ph.D.
XIc. Robert Mackay, writer in Thurso, and factor for the Trail estate, Caithness. He was the author of The History of the House and Clan of Mackay, published in 1829. He married Barbara, daughter of Alexander Campbell, Thurso, and died at Thurso, 1846, having had the following issue: -

  1. Captain William Mackay of the 3rd Foot, married Jane, daughter of John Hutchinson of Cairngall, Buchan, and died in Bombay, 1827, leaving a son Robert.
  2. Rev. Robert Dowie Mackay, Toronto, who died in 1899. He had one son Robert, who predeceased his father and left a son Robert Mackay, born 1894
  3. Rev. John Mackay, Free (now U.F.) Church, Cullen. He married in 1850 Charlotte, 3rd daughter of Captain Patton, 12th Royal Lancers, and died at Edinburgh in 1903, leaving one daughter: - Caroline Charlotte Mackay, married in 1877 John Craig, general manager of William's Deacon Bank, Manchester, with issue
  4. Hannah Mackay, married Rev. James Cairncross, Birsay, with issue
  5. A daughter married Mr. Hyder Brown, London
VId. William Mor, son of the Aberach chieftain, Neil MacEan Mac William. Sir Robert Gordon styles him "William Neilsone (chieftane of the Sleaght Ean Abrigh)", at page 403 of the Earldom of Sutherland, and about the year 1626. The Privy Council on 1st Jun 1624, commissioned "William McKy of Achannes" and others to apprehend certain parties charged with misdemeanour. This shows that he had a wadset of Achness, and that he took a very prominent place among the Aberachs. In the House and Clan of Mackay he is said to have resided at Carnachy, and we shall afterwards show that his sons lived there. On the 9th Jan 1609, he and his elder brother Murdo, accompanied by a considerable body of Aberachs, went to the assistance of John Sutherland of Millery, Latheron, a sister's son of XIII Hugh Mackay of Strathnaver, who had a dispute with the Earl of Caithness over some property in Latheron. When the Aberachs arrived they found Taylor, an official of the Earl of Caithness, with a number of men arresting Sutherland's corn, cattle, etc. They at once set upon the earl's party, "bound them with cords and bowstrings", led them captive to a certain place, where "they stripped them naked, bereaving them of their weapons and entire clothes, and then chased them back again as naked as they were born, exposing their bodies to the injury of a cold stormy day. They then stole from the lands of Berriedale horses, cows, etc., and drove them back to Strathnaver" (Privy Council Register, 9th Mar 1609). To strip and lash home with the bowstring was a common mode of showing contempt for the person.

William Mor married Janet, daughter of Donald Balloch Mackay of Scoury, and had known issue two sons: -

  1. Neil Williamson
  2. John, who removed from Carnachy to Thurso, where he became a merchant and burgess. In a bond by the first Lord Reay to Neil Williamson of Carnachy he is described as "John McKy alie Williamsoune in Carnache". In a bond by the same to himself, 6th Mar 1636, he is described as "John McKy burgess Thurso " (Reay Papers)
VIId. Neil Williamson. In our memoir of the 2nd Lord Reay we give a brief account of him until he fell at Thurso in 1649. He married and had known issue six sons: -

  1. Robert
  2. Neil Neilson in Corrihuron, against whom the Earl of Caithness and others took out Criminal Letters, 6th Feb 1667, for spoils which he and his brothers took out of Caithness in revenge for their father's slaughter (Privy Council Register and Justiciary Record).
  3. Hugh Neilson in Mudale, whose name is included in the above Criminal Letters
  4. John Neilson in Corrihuran, also included in the above Criminal Letters, made many raids into Caithness as we record at page 146
  5. Angus Neilson in Skelpick
  6. Donald Neilson, married Christian, daughter of Iye of Golval, son of William Mackay I of Bighouse
VIIId. Robert Neilson lived for a time in Moudale, as is stated in the Criminal Letters of 1667. In a sasine of Eriboll, 3rd Nov 1707, witnessed by his eldest son Neil, he is designated "the deceased Robert Macky possessor of Achness". He married first _ who bore him two sons: -

  1. Neil MacRobert of Clibrig
  2. William Mor MacRobert, Achoul
Robert Neilson married secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Captain William Mackay of Borley, and widow of the Hon. Charles Mackay of Sandwood. The said Elizabeth granted a Judicial Renunciation to her eldest son, by the first marriage, of lands which she held in life-rent as spouse of the Hon. Charles Mackay, 8th Mar 1705, and is therein described as "relict of the deceased Charles Mackay of Sandwood, and now spouse to Robert Mackay alias Neilson in Achness" (Reay Papers). Of the second marriage there were two sons: -

  1. John, had a tack of Moudale in 1736, and was a religious poet of no mean order, as some of his published pieces show. Rob Donn had a great admiration for John of Moudale, and composed an elegy to his memory in which the following stanza occurs, of which we also give a translation: -

    "Cuis ardain nan Abrach,
    Laimh laidir nach bagradh,
    Ian failteach macRaibert 'icNeil.

    The pride of the Aberachs,
    Strong of hand without menace,
    Genial John, the son of Robert, son of Neil.

    In the will of Major Hugh Mackay of Riarchar he was appointed one of the guardians of the said major's children, and is therein designated "Ensign John Mackay tacksman of Moudale" (Register of Deeds, Mackenzie Office, Vol. 179). As we showed in our memoir of the 3rd Lord Reay, he was the hero of the engagement at the Little Ferry, 1746, in which the Earl of Cromartie was overthrown. He married a daughter of Donald MacEachun Mackay of Skerray and had issue three sons and four daughters: -

    1. George, emigrated to Virginia along with other relatives in 1772
    2. Major Donald Mackay, tacksman of Eriboll, who married Bessie, daughter of James Mackay, tacksman of Skerray, and had known issue a daughter, Barbara (See Excursus below)
    3. Lieut. William Mackay, died young
    4. A daughter married Hugh Mackay in Kylestrome, son of John Mackay and his spouse "Elizabeth Mackay, lawful daughter and only child of the deceased John Mackay, tacksman of Forsinain, also apparent heir of the deceased Angus Mackay, sometime tacksman of the said lands of Forsinain, her grand-uncle, who was also sometime curator to the deceased George Mackay of Bighouse" (Reg. of Deeds, Mackenzie Office, 22nd June, 1733). The known issue of Hugh in Kylestrome was a son: - Colonel William Mackay. In a letter from Major James Mackay, a Judge in St. Louis, to his brother Captain Robert Mackay of Hedgefield, near Inverness, 5th Nov 1817, the following occurs: - "In 1785, before I left Canada for the north-west, Colonel William Mackay, a son of Hugh Mackay of Coylestrome in Lord Reay's country, who was an officer in the Queen's Rangers during the American Revolution, became acquainted with me and my friend the same time he was preparing to settle on his land, in the Bay of Kenty, on Lake Ontario."
    5. A daughter married George Morrison in Strathmore, chief forester to Lord Reay
    6. Margaret, married Robert Innes in Portchamil, and died at Clashneach, 1823
    7. Ann, married James Duncan in Moudale, issue: - Lieut. John Duncan, who married Christina Gunn, with issue
  2. William MacRobert, Tubeg

Excursus. - Barbara Mackay married Captain Mackay John Scobie of H.E.I.C., eldest son of Major John Scobie of the Reay Fencibles by his wife Barbara (died at Keoldale, 1818), second daughter of John Mackay 5th of Strathy. Captain Scobie was for sometime tacksman of Melness, and in 1815 removed to Keoldale, where he died 1818, leaving three sons and three daughters: -

  1. Major-General Donald Mackay Scobie of H.E.I.C., who died unmarried at Keoldale in 1878
  2. John Scobie, tacksman of Lochinver 1848-82, and of Keoldale 1878-89, where he died the latter year. He married a Miss Mackinnon, and had issue as follows: -

    1. Captain Neil Scobie of the Highland Rifle Militia, now (1905) in Montreal, married a Miss Sulivan, with issue
    2. Mackay John Scobie of the Indian Public "Works Department, married Miss Louisa Scott, with issue
    3. James M. Scobie, now (1905) residing at Smoo House, Durness
    4. Donald, of the Indian Public Works Department, married Miss J. MacEwen, and has issue
    5. Barbara, died 1885
    6. Alice
    7. Mary, died 1894
  3. Mitchell Scobie, farmer in Australia, married Flora Forbes, and had issue, an only son: - Mackay John Scobie of the 42nd Highlanders, served in the Ashanti war, and died at Musselburgh in 1894 as Lieut.-Col. of the 3rd Bat. Royal Scots. He married Matilda Agnes Hamilton and left issue: - Donald, tea planter in Ceylon; and Ian, still at school.
  4. Jane Scobie, married Captain B. Mackenzie of Creich House, Creich, and had issue: - Boyce J. Mackenzie, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, who has issue by his second wife, Susan Townsend; Mackay D.S. Mackenzie, manager of the National Provincial Bank of England, Clifton, married Margaret Stevenson, with issue; and John Mackenzie, Creich, married but no issue
  5. Bessie Scobie, died at Smoo House, 1891
  6. Barbara Scobie, died at Smoo House, Durness, 1891, aged 80
The last two were fine specimens of the old, stately, generous Highland ladies of the past generation.

IXd. Neil MacRobert Mackay of Clibrig is described in a sasine of Eriboll, 3rd Nov 1709, as "Neil Mackay, lawful son of the deceased Robert McKy, possessor of Achness.". In a sasine of Arnaboll, 16th Dec 1709, he is designed "Neil Mcky of Clibrig." He married _ and had known issue a son Robert.

Xd. Robert MacNeil Mackay married a daughter of Angus Mackay, Kinlochbeg, and settled in Kinloch. He had issue three sons and four daughters - two of the latter dying young: -

  1. Hugh, known as Huistean na Brataich, removed to Thurso at the "Clearances", married but no issue
  2. Robert, settled in Achintoul, married and had issue
  3. Angus
  4. Ann, married Robert Gordon, Corriehuran, and bore Robert Gordon, Achness. Barbara Gordon, a daughter of Achness, became the 3rd wife of James Anderson, Risbond.
  5. Betty, married, as his 1st wife. Donald Bain Mackay, Achina, and had issue: Angus, emigrated to America; Betty Mackay married William Morrison, Achina, and died in 1886, leaving issue; and other children died without issue
XId. Captain Angus of the Reay Fencibles. He joined the Fencibles as Lieut., 25th Oct 1794, and was promoted Captain, 4th Aug 1798, for bravery at the battle of Tara Hill (Reay Fencibles, by John Mackay, Hereford). He settled in Thurso after the regiment was disbanded, married Forbes Mackay, and had issue a son and some daughters. The Aberach banner passed to him on the death of his elder brother Angus.
His only son was: - Hugh Angus Mackay, who died unmarried at Thurso, 1881. When he died the banner passed to a friend, Alexander Mackay, assessor for Caithness, Thurso, as we show in our paper on the banner, an addendum to this Account.

IXe. William Mor MacRobert Mackay, son of Robert Neilson, is designed in a sasine of Eriboll, 4th Nov 1709, as "William McKy in Achoul", He is remembered as a leading layman in the Heights of Strathnaver, who took a great interest in things religious. He married and had a son, William

Xe. William Mackay, tenant Grumbmore, who married and had an elder son, William

XIe. William Mackay, who joined the 93rd Highlanders, leaving a wife and two children behind him. While serving abroad his wife and children were evicted like their neighbours to Naver, in consequence of the "Clearances". He married Isabella Mackay, issue five children: -

  1. William
  2. Redpath, tenant in Naver, died in 1871, married Barbara, daughter of John, son of Malcolm Mackay and had issue as follows: -
    1. William, at present tenant in Naver
    2. Alexander
    3. John, in Australia
    4. Jane married Henry Mackay, Duneiden, N.Z., with ten children
    5. Christie married George Gillespie, and died in 1899, leaving seven children, in Otago, N.Z.
    6. Williamina married George Coats Manchester, no issue
    7. Hughina
    8. Johan married Alexander Mackay in Durness, and has six children
  3. Alexander, lost at sea
  4. Jane, became the 1st wife of Alexander Manson, Dalcharn, Tongue
  5. Kate, married George Mackay, tenant in Naver, and died in 1899, leaving four children: - George; William; John; and Isabella (Mrs. George Mackay, Naver).
XIIe. William Mackay, tenant in Leckvuirn, married Lexy Mackay, issue two children: - William and Janet, married William Marshall, now (1905) in New Zealand with a large family.

XIIIe. William, married Ann, daughter of John Mackay, contractor, Achina, and died at Inishlampy, Naver, 1903, leaving eight children: -

  1. William
  2. John George
  3. Hugh
  4. Janet, married Hugh Ross, Strathhalladale
  5. Lexy
  6. Christina
  7. Jemima
  8. Robina
[For our account of William Mor MacRobert Mackay and his descendants we got much information from many living descendants residing in Naver. William who died in 1903, was patronymically known as "Uilleam nan ceithir Uilleaman", i.e., William of the four Williams, to indicate his descent for four generations from ancestors of the name of William. He was also looked upon as the hereditary bannerman of the Aberachs.]

IXf. William MacRobert Mackay, son of Robert Neilson, and tacksman of Tubeg, Mudale, like his two brothers, William Mor and John, took a very prominent part in the religious affairs of Strathnaver. He married and had four children: -

  1. Robert of Clibrig
  2. William, tenant in Achoul until 1810, during the "Clearances" evicted to Grumbeg, and from thence again a few years thereafter. He retired to Wick, where he died about 1828 (Memorabilia Domestica, 2nd Ed., p. 230). An eminently pious man, his memory is still fondly cherished by the people of Farr. He married Janet Mackay, and had a daughter who married Rev. John Robertson, preacher in Strathnaver, but afterwards minister of Kingussie - the latter had issue.
  3. George, Lochnaver side, married and had four sons: - Captain John Mackay, Rogart; Robert, in Kilmote; Captain Donald, near Tain; and Hugh, a merchant in Edinburgh.
  4. Elizabeth Mackay married first, Duncan Mathieson of Shiness to whom she bore Captain Donald Mathieson of Shiness, who married Catherine, daughter of Rev. Thomas Mackay, Lairg. She married secondly, Dr. Archibald Campbell, and accompanied him to America about 1772. Her son, George Washington Campbell, became U.S. ambassador to St. Petersburg.
Xf. Robert Mackay, tacksman of Clibrig, married a daughter of Robert Mackay, and had three sons, who all died without issue, and one daughter: -
  1. Captain Hugh, of the Sutherland Fencibles, who died in 1812, tacksman of Clibrig
  2. Lieut. William of the 93rd Highlanders, died at Wick, unmarried
  3. Thomas, who served in the 93rd Highlanders
  4. Janet Mackay, married Hector Gunn, merchant, Thurso, with issue: - Lieut. George Gunn, R.N., afterwards factor for the Duke of Sutherland; and a daughter (See EXCURSUS below.)
Excursus. - Miss Gunn married William Mackay, contractor, Clashedy, Tongue, and had issue: -

  1. George Mackay, married a Miss Munro and has issue. He now (1905) lives in Clashedy, Tongue
  2. Hector Mackay, teacher, Tongue, married a daughter of the late Patrick Mackay, contractor, Colbacky, Tongue, with issue. Jessie, one of his daughters, is married to Dr. Murdo Mackay, Birmingham
  3. William Mackay, teacher, Latheron, married Mary Chisholm, and died a few years ago leaving the following issue: - Rev. George J., Caledon, Ontario; Dr. John, Pelew, Newcastle, Canada; Rev. Edward, Madoc, Ontario; Dorothea (Mrs. Stewart, Latheron); Jessie (Mrs. Calder, Thurso).
VIIIg. Angus Neilson, son of Neil Williamson Mackay In a list of tenants [Appendix No. 63] on the Reay estate he is shown to have held lands in Skelpick, 1678, of 50 merks yearly rental. He had known issue a son, William.

IXg. William Mac Angus Mackay had sasine on a contract of wadset, 26th Nov 1694, as "William McKy alias MacAngus, in Skelpick, and Effrick McKy his spouse .... on the town and lands of Skelpick, in the parish of Farr, for nine years for 250 merks yearly." A witness to this contract was "William McKy minister at Dornoch", the Aberach chieftain. On the 20th Jun 1718, "William MacAngus alias McKy, late of Skelpick, now of Carnoch", had sasine on a contract of wadset of the lands of Carnachy, for a sum of 3000 merks advanced to William, Lord Strathnaver. He had known issue, two sons: -

  1. John
  2. Angus
Xg. John Mackay had a Precept of clare constat as heir to his father, 5th Jul 1731, and had sasine of the lands of Carnachy on the 23rd of that month. He married and had known issue: -
  1. Thomas
  2. William
  3. Angus
  4. John
XIg. Thomas Mackay, tacksman of Carnachy, married and had known issue, three sons: -
  1. A son, tenant in Carnachy, married a daughter of Macdonald, tacksman of Strathy. He had a son, settled as farmer in Cape Colony about 1817, and a daughter married to George Mackay
  2. Another son, tenant of Knockan, Strathnaver, married a daughter of Mathieson of Shiness, with issue: - Captain Donald Mackay of the 42nd Highlanders; and Betty - neither of whom married
  3. Captain William
XIIg. Captain William Mackay of the 93rd Highlanders, and tacksman of Skaill. He married first, Elizabeth, daughter of Donald Mackay of Borgy who bore him four children: -

  1. Donald, a tenant in Farr, who died in 1874, married a daughter of Alexander Mackay, Farr, and had an only daughter, Elizabeth, who married George Munro, Farr, issue four sons and one daughter, all living in Farr
  2. William, died at Crossburn, Tongue, 1866. unmarried
  3. Jessie Mackay, married a Mr. Young, merchant, Glasgow, issue: - John, in Demarara, died without issue; and Ann married a West Indian planter, no issue.
  4. Elizabeth Mackay, married Donald Murray, Glasgow, issue: - Eliza (See Excursus below); Patrick, deceased; William Mackay Murray married Margaret Morrison, now (1905) in Kilmun; Rev. Hugh M. Murray, Fielding, Wellington, New Zealand; and Barbara, Fielding, N.Z.
Excursus. - Eliza Murray, married William Denoon Young, issue: - Donald; Charles; Edward; Elizabeth; Catherine; Jessie; and J. A. Young, Osterley Court, Osterley, married Mary Louisa, daughter of John Southam of Fallowfield Hall, Manchester, with issue.

Captain William Mackay of Skaill removed to Farr at the time of the "Clearances", and married secondly, Henny Sutherland, niece of the Rev. William Mackenzie, Tongue, who bore him four children: -

  1. John, a soldier, died abroad
  2. Alexander, died unmarried
  3. Grace, died unmarried
  4. Barbara, married William Mackay, Armadale, with issue five daughters. (Henny; Angusina; Betty, married George Mackay, now (1905) in Naver; Mrs. Andrew Forbes, now (1905) in Armadale; Mrs. David Mackie, Dalkeith)
Xh. Angus Mackay, son of William Mac Angus Mackay witnessed a bond by John Mackay of Kirtomy, 4th Jul 1733, as "Angus Mackay lawful son of William Mackay of Skelpick" (Reay Papers). Owing to his fair hair, he, his children, and grand-children were known as Bain. He married and had known issue: -
Angus; and Alexander.

XIh. Angus, in Auchlochy, near Skelpick. It is a tradition in the family that he formed one of a party told off to help the Strathhalladale men to resist an expected invasion from Caithness during the '45, and that this party suffered much from exposure while watching the Drumholstein hills. It is recorded in the Book of Cromartie that Lord Macleod, son of the Earl of Cromartie, intended to invade Strathnaver from the Caithness side, but desisted on learning that the range of hills was held in force. Perhaps the tradition has some connection with Lord Macleod's project.

He married first, Janet Macleod, who bore him an only child Malcolm

He married secondly, and had issue: - William; and a daughter who married one of the Gordons of Skelpick, with issue - Angus Gordon; Kate; and Janet. These all removed to Brawl at the time of the "Clearances".

XIIh. Malcolm, joined Lord Macleod's Highlanders in 1777, was severely wounded on the head and taken prisoner at the bloody battle of Perambaucum, India, 6th Sep 1780. After remaining in the hands of Hyder Ali for a considerable time, he was set at liberty and invalided home. Thereafter he was drafted into a Highland regiment which proceeded to America, and obtained his discharge upon a pension about 1797. He was again, however, recalled as a pensioner in 1801, and attached to one of the Provisional Regiments of Veterans doing garrison duty, but eventually the old wound on the head rendered him totally blind.

[Footnote: Macdonald, the Skerray teacher, records in his Journal: - "About the beginning of Apr 1801, there was a general call for the out-pensioners. Those of Caithness and the county of Sutherland were ordered to appear at Dornoch on 30th Apr and 1st May. In consequence of the above order I appeared and was inspected by a doctor, but was returned unfit for garrison duty. A few only were ordered for garrison (I think there were only 12 kept out of 150), the rest were all dismissed, and got at the rate of a penny a mile to carry them home." ]

He married Barbara Mackay, and died at Newlands, Farr, 1820, having issue five children: -

  1. James, served in the 78th Highlanders through the Java campaign of 1811, and died of fever in that island after the regiment returned to quarters.
  2. Donald, served in the Gordon Highlanders, and was killed at Waterloo towards the close of the day by a stray cannon shot.
  3. Angus
  4. John, married in Newlands and had a daughter Barbara, who married Redpath, son of William Mackay
  5. Alexander, died unmarried, 1868
XIIIh. Angus Mackay, in Rianchaitel, married Jane, daughter of Donald Mackay, Riefail, and died in 1824, leaving three sons: -
  1. John, in Achneskich, born 1818 and died 1897, married Anne Mackay and had seven children: -
    1. John, died unmarried 1901
    2. Angus, Inspector of Works, Adelaide, Australia, married but died without issue;
    3. James, a contractor in St. Louis, U.S.A., married Jessie, issue four children (John; Angus; Ann; and Jessie);
    4. Eric
    5. Donald, merchant, Bettyhill, married Janet Mackay, issue three children (Ann; Jane; Angnsina);
    6. Johan (Mrs. Durward), New York, no issue
    7. Jane
  2. James, in Rianchaitel, born 1822 and died 1873, married Isabella, daughter of Murdo Macdonald, Achneskich, issue five children: -
    1. Rev. Angus, U.F. Church, Westerdale, the writer of this book. He married in 1901 Eva, daughter of Rev. Donald Mackenzie, U.F., Farr, and widow of Rev. Cathel Kerr, U.F., Melness, with issue two children: -
      James Iye, born 14th Feb and died 14th Jun 1902; and James Iye, born 14th Mar 1904
    2. Murdo, M.A., M.B., CM., a medical officer in Birmingham, married Jessie, daughter of Hector Mackay, teacher, Tongue, with issue: - James; and Winniefred
    3. Donald
    4. Jane
    5. Annie
  3. Donald, now (1905) tacksman of Achnabourin and Carnachy, married Janet, daughter of Murdo Macdonald, Achneskich, issue four children: -
    1. James Angus, born 1879
    2. Murdo
    3. Jane married James Mackay, Achargary, with issue (Mary; and Janet);
    4. Christina

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