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Flora Macdonald & Glengarry McDonell - 2006 Clan Donald AGM

Ancestors of Father George Hay, of St. Mary's and other Glengarry parishes

Brig-Gen. D. J. Macdonald Personal History

A Vistors Report from 1814 clearances.org

Alexandria's First Mayor

Spanish John  clearances.org

Greenfield Macdonell Family

John Sandfield Macdonald, 1st Premier of Ontario

Will of John A. Macdonell Greenfield of Alexandria

Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame inductees

Glengarry Celtic Music Hall of Fame


Article on writer Dorothy Dumbrille, Mrs. Smith

Clan Donald St. Raphaels Article by David Anderson publ 2006

Clan Donald Plaque

Chisholms by Ken McKenna

Chisholm Tidbits Andrew Way



Obituary for Margaret Cameron of Long Sault, genealogist & Hugh Pearson MacMillan, founding force of Glengarry Historical Society and writer of the Adventures of a Paper Sleuth

John Sandfield Macdonald Statue (Ontario Parliament Buildings - Toronto

 Note, on changing computers I have had some problems with this webpage and am working to fix.
I have now attached a link "New at Glengarry Genweb" to summarize the updates and available pages and downloads to make it easier for repeat visitors to locate new material.
I have created a Favorite Pages heading at the left for the pages most often visited for your convenience.
  • Scroll below for the Story of the Week
  • Take a look at some of the picture collections, both people and places. Links are at the bottom of the page.

Evelyn Goulet

Host, Glengarry County Genweb
Finlaggan Councillor, Castle Tioram,  Clan Donald International
Visit her website at emswritecraft.com
Clan Donald Canada. In 2011 the AGM was in Cornwall, Sep. 9/10, 2011. Guest Speaker was myself talking
mainly about the pursuit of genealogy info, applied to my interest in Glengarry County.
                                                Here is a copy of my speech.
                                    Glengarry News Report on 2011 AGM
                                    Picture  Gallery 2011 Clan Donald Canada AGM
THe Glengarry Highland Games occur the Friday and Saturday of the August long weekend each year.
In 2012  the featured clan was Clan Donald. August 4th I was invited to speak and my topic was Ional and its relevance to Clan Donald and Glengarry County. - See my IONA webpage
If you are interested in Macdonalds - Clan Donald, visit their updated website at www.clandonaldcanada.ca
Happy 201st Birthday December 12, 2013 to John Sandfield Macdonald, Premier of the United Canada's and 1st Premier of Ontario. See the pages dedicated to his life and accomplishments.


Glengarry County was established in 1792. The first settlers, United Empire Loyalists' Herkimer's Batteau Company, Kings Royal Rangers (New York) and the 84th Regiment of Foot, arrived in 1783.


In 1786 500 settlers arrived from Glengarry, Scotland and were the first to settle inland, away from a river.

By the early 1800's the population of Glengarry was primarily Scottish but began to change when French Canadian settlers arrived. They had left neighbouring communities in Quebec due to land shortages.

"Farming was the main occupation of Glengarry families and although the county is well watered by the Raisin, the Baudette and the Delisle Rivers, as well as several branches of the Rigaud River, the land did not produce too many

 rich farms and it became customary for the young men to winter in the lumber shanties to supplement their income. The men also left for parts of the United States and the western provinces seeking a more lucrative way of life."

 Town of Alexandria

Glengarry County

Wikipedia reference to Glengarry County

       Person Profile - Story of the Week

 Angus Ban McDonald (Munial)

In Glengarry, where so many carried the same last name (and often the same first name as well), banks, post offices and government departments carried lists of nicknames for identification purposes. Many of these names are still carried by Glengarry families, such as the Angus Ban McDonalds. In 1785 the original Angus Bàn ("Fair-haired") came from Muineil ("the neck of land") in Knoydart, that remote area known as the Rough Bounds of the Western Highlands. His family were known as the Big People, and one of his sons earned the name Big Finnan the Buffalo for his epic wrestling match with a maddened bull buffalo on the Western Prairies in 1824. Another son, known in French as Le Borgne because he was blind in one eye, became a partner in the North West Company and was a friend and supporter of the explorer Sir John Franklin. (More on this later).

From the Newspaper: Highland Paths, Dec. 22, 1997 Glengarry News

Allan and John Sandfield Macdonald were first cousins of other shipmates, Angus Ban Macdonald of Muniall, and Malcolm Macdougall, reports George Sandfield. The mothers of all four had been sisters, it seems.

From the Book: Some of the Sandfields

For her grave is thirty paces from that of Angus Ban a Mhuinneal, the old McDonald, who on the ship McDonald led ashore at Québec, in September 1786, five hundred and forty Highlanders to seek new hills and glens to hide their homes from the relentless pursuit of English policy. [The grave of Isabelle McRae (Belle John)], by Gregory Clark

Highland Paths

Monday, December 29, 1997 - Page 19

More on Gaelic names

We ended the previous column HIGHLAND PATHS with the Angus Bàn McDonalds who came to Glengarry over two centuries ago. Archibald and Isabel MacDonell and their family live on Muineil Farm here on the Summerstown Road in South Glengarry. lsabel is a direct descendant of the Angus Bans and is the sister of Angus Hughie Angus Ranald Rory Angus of St. Raphael’s. In a 1979 book "Inheritance - Ontario’s Century Farms Past and Present’ authors John and Monica Ladell had the privilege of interviewing Archibald’s mother about the barn that had been erected on the farm before she was born: "At eighty-two, Florence MacDonell knows much of the history of the family and the farm. Her notes on the construction of the barn, and on later alterations to it and other outbuildings, record the continuing process of accommodation to new farming methods and machinery. The skeleton of the fifty-by-one hundred-foot barn, she noted, was erected in a single day in 1886, when a crowd of neighbours gathered for a raising bee that had every last rafter in place by nightfall. The timber for the barn had been cut from the bush months before, then laid out in a field, where it was cut to fit by a man nicknamed "Koovish" McDonald, a skilled carpenter although he could neither read nor write". Koovish is the phonetic rendering of the Gaelic ‘cuimheas’ which means "sure of aim - unerring - an adjusted -in other words, the ideal word for a man who could frame a building. Although most of the people of Glengarry in those days spoke Gaelic, few could read or write it. It was not taught in the schools and children were often punished for speaking it, not only here but in Scotland as well. The general attitude was that the language was useless and a deterrent to the learning of English. But not everyone agreed. English may have become the language away from home, but in many families Gaelic was still the mother-tongue for many generations.

The authors of "Inheritance" make one small error when they state that the Angus Ban family "were evicted during the clearances" in 1785. To be more accurate, the notorious Highland Clearances belong more to the 19th century, and, more specifically, to the years after (he War of 1812. After Waterloo, great numbers of men were no longer needed to defend Britain ‘and British interests and landlords in the Highlands were faced with an increasing population and a worsening economy. To hold onto their lands, they had to make a choice between profitable sheep and unprofitable tenants. For the first time in history, land was cleared of people to make room for animals, and the excesses of this sad epoch of Highland history are well documented. By the middle of the 1800s vast areas were emptied of almost all human life, but Glengarry in Canada had been settled long before.

There had always been evictions in the Highlands. In the days of clan feuds, the victors often replaced the vanquished with those of their own clan. If an all-powerful chief decided, for whatever reason, to evict an individual or family from the clan lands, they were evicted. This process, or the fear of it, was certainly accelerated after the defeat of the Jacobite clans at Culloden in 1746, the destruction of the clan system and the vengeance of the government, but it would be a century before wholesale evictions became the norm. Angus Ban of Muineil was probably of the tacksmen class, the clan leaders who held a position just under that of the clan chief, and were identified by the names of their holdings, or tacks, so familiar here in Glengarry - Scottas, Greenfield. Aberchalder, and a dozen more. They were the more educated members of the clan, often schooled in Europe and speaking more than one language. Knowing that the old ways were gone forever in the Highlands, They looked across the sea to new lands and new beginnings before all was lost. And their clansmen and neighbours came with them. They had more choice in their decisions to leave than later emigrants.

These early arrivals in Glengarry seemed to have had a self assurance and confidence that may not have been so apparent in later arrivals, when generations of ill-treatment by the landlords had reduced and degraded the highland people. Many of the Macdonalds, MacLeods, the MacMillans and their kinspeople who first came here still lived in much the same way as they had in the latter half of the 18th century in the Highlands. And the Gaelic language was a basic part of that life.

From the Newspaper: Highland Paths, More on Gaelic names, Glengarry News, December 29, 1997



Alice M. Fairhurst

McRae and McDonald, Matheson and McKenzie - these names came down from my mother's mother's line. Towards the end of their lives, my mother, Elizabeth, and her two sisters would ask what new things I had uncovered about their ancestors. Sadly there had been a break in the chain from Scotland to the Canadian Wilds. Would I be the one who could heal that break?

Why did they leave Scotland? "they would ask." Can you trace them back to the beginning of each Clan? " After 20 years of work, the answer is resoundingly, " yes!

The first to come to Glengarry County, Ontario, Canada were the McDonalds and McRaes. The story of our people is found in The People of Glengarry: High/cinders in Transition, 1745 - 1829 by Marianne McLean. The drivers for this great migration were agrarian transformation, population growth, and the clans marginal, economic and social position. Absentee landlords jettisoned Celtic social values and substituted self interest for the common good. Our people emigrated communally to maintain community ties and to obtain land ownership for their families.

Our McDonalds lived at Muniall, a farm on the estate of Barisdale on the peninsula of Knoydart between Loch Nevis and Loch Hourn, on the west coast of Scotland, opposite the Isle of Skye. Today this rugged country with alpine lands, rising sharply from the sea has been allowed to revert to its natural state under the protection of the John Muir Trust. A stronghold of Clanranald, 960 Highlanders lived in Knoydart in 1764, about 450 in the Barisdale estate. In 1997 there are only 70 residents in the area.

In 1755, the society and agriculture remained essentially traditional and Donald Ban McDonell, the tenant at Muniall, had taught his 11 year old son, Angus Ban, the planting of potatoes, gray oats, and barley and the keeping of the main crop -- black cattle. But change came as the land was surveyed that year by the Commissioners of Annexed Estates. By 1760 the appointed factor, Henry Butter, insisted that the people build stone houses with proper interior divisions. Next, they must build dikes and fences between the farms so cattle could not wander. Crops planted on the small amount of arable land were strictly regulated. Oats could be grown on the same plot only every third year; the other two years must be peas or other green vegetables.

From 1755 - 1771 the number of cattle on the Barisdale Estates had increased by 31% while the number of sheep had increased 64%. Under the leadership of young Angus Ban, Muniall had increased grass and good pasture acreage from 4 to 61 acres; Angus Ban became an influential tenant farmer. The records (in Shillings) for Muniall in 1771 show sale of cattle: 250; Other Sources: no butter, wool, cheese or sheep; Tenant expenses: Meal - 48, Rent -- 133, Servants' Pay -- 100; Loss By Bone Break: 75. As for Servants' Pay, men were paid 33 shillings and women 16. Even though the clansmen were more controlled, many of the improvements did make their life better and more children survived. The push to leave Scotland was not great enough until the rents began to be raised. For instance, the small estate of McDonell of Scotus rented for 56 pounds in 1775 and 385 pounds in by 1795. The increase came from the stocking of sheep in 1785.

In 1782 / 83, there was a failure of the potato and oat crops, resulting in a famine. Than in 1784 Glengarry recovered the forfeited estate of Barisdale. Would this fancy dresser with expensive tastes behave as a true clan chief and care for his people? In November 1775, he sent for the tenants of Barisdale. What he said to them is not known, but it is reported that Glengarry planned to remove the tenants in the northern part of Knoydart and stock the land with sheep. Before he could issue an order of eviction, most of the Peninsula tenants signed an agreement to emigrate. Between 1786 and 1793, more than one third of the population of Knoydart left Scotland for British North America.

The first emigration was led by three men:

Lieutenant Angus Mcdonell of Sandaig, Father Alexander McDonell, a younger son of Scotus, and Angus Ban McDonell of Muniall. These were men of relative substance and the back bone of the community. Sandaig had served in the Revolutionary War in the 71st Regiment and was returned to Scotland on half- pay in 1785. His reports on the new world could be believed; he served as a spokesman for the emigrants. Father Alexander McDonell was the spiritual leader and would care for his flock. If Angus Ban of Muniall, the model tenant, was ready to go, then it was time. Sandaig and Father Alexander went to Greenock to charter the ship. The MacDonald was expected to arrive in Knoydart on May 23; not until June 29th, 1786 did it sail with 530 brave souls from Knoydart and North Morar to the new world. Kin sought out kin. Angus Ban's brother Finnan, uncle John, and cousin Duncan were Loyalists, who fought in the Revolutionary War for the British. They were given land grants in 1 784 to settle the newly surveyed Glengarry County. just west of the French territory, bordering on the St. Lawrence River. Father Alexander also had kinsmen who were loyalist settlers, including his half - nephew. Spanish John. Kin brought kin. Two of Angus Bans first loyalist settlers, including his half-nephew. Spanish John. Kin brought kin. Two of Angus Bans first cousins, Malcolm MacDougall and Allan [Sandfield - EMS] Macdonald came with their families.

Angus Ban brought his son-in-law, Farquhar McRae and Farquhar brought his younger brother, John. (John's grandson, Duncan Mc Rae, married Angus Ban's grand-daughter Mary McDonald to form our family line.)

They arrived in Québec, Canada on August 31st, 1786. The Québec commander-in-chief, General Hope, decided that the new Glengarry settlements were too recently established to support the newest arrivals over the winter so he supplied the emigrants with minimal provisions to help them survive until the 1787 harvest; the sum to be repaid in two installments in October 1788 and 1789. The provisions, women and children were placed in bateaux ( flat bottomed boats ), and the men walked along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. Some French Canadians gave them cucumbers, green corn, and pumpkins. Those that ate too many of these unfamiliar foods suffered from diarrhea which slowed the trek. They reached Glengarry County in October, 1786.

No longer renters, but new landlords, they swiftly went to work to tame this new land and to imbue it with their Celtic values and traditions.

<This material was submitted to Finlay McDonell by a Clan Donald Glengarry - Stormont Director, Archibald MacDonell. He states that he received it from his cousin George MacDonald who resides in San Marino, California. A copy of this material was placed in the Clan Donald Society Newsletter in California. Thanks Archibald.>  From the Newsletter:, Clan Donald Glengarry - Winter 2000.


St. Raphaels Church 

 St. Raphaels Ruins

 St. Raphaels Cemetery St. Andrews West

                                                                                                                                                                    John Sandfield Macdonald's Grave





































































































































































This page maintained by:Evelyn Goulet on Dec 28, 2013

Thanks to Alex W. Fraser, Ken Steffenson, Shanna Jones & Bill Morrison for hosting Glengarry County GenWeb 1997-2007

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Last updated: 2011