The Clan History
The Macphersons, the other principle branch of the clan Chattan, are in Gaelic called the clan Vuirich or Muirich, from an ancestor of that name, who, in the Gaelic MS of 1450, is said to have been the "son of Swen, son of Heth, son of Nachtan, son of Gillichattan, from whom came the clan Chattan". The word Gillichattan is supposed by some to mean a votary or servant of St Kattan, a Scottish saint, as Gillichrist (Gilchrist) means a servant of Christ.
The Macphersons claim unbroken descent from the ancient chiefs of the clan Chattan, and tradition is in favour of their being the lineal representatives of the chiefs of the clan. However, this point has been sufficiently discussed in the history of the Mackintoshes, where we have given much of the history of the Macphersons.
In was from Muirich, who is said to have been chief in 1153, that the Macphersons derive the name of the clan Muirich or Vuirich. This Muirich was parson of Kingussie, in the lower part of Badenoch, and the surname was given to his descendants from his office. He was the great-grandson of Gillichattan Mor, the founder of the clan, who lived in the reign of Malcolm Canmore, and having married a daughter of the thane of Calder, had five sons. The eldest, Gillichattan, the third of the name, and chief of the clan in the reign of Alexander II, was father of Dougal Dall, the chief whose daughter Eva married Angus Mackintosh of Mackintosh. On Dougal Dall's death, as he had no sons, the representation of the family devolved on his cousin and heir-male, Kenneth, eldest son of Eoghen or Ewen Baan, second son of Muirich. Neill Chrom, so called from his stooping shoulders, Muirich's third son, was a great artificer in iron, and took the name of Smith from his trade. Farquhar Gilliriach, or the Swift, the fourth son, is said to have been the progenitor of the MacGillivrays, who followed the Mackintosh branch of the clan Chattan; and from David Dubh, or the Swarthy, the youngest of Muirich's sons, were descended the clan Dhai, or Davidsons of Invernahavon. (This is the genealogy given by Sir Aeneas Macpherson. From another MS genealogy of the Macphersons, and from the Mackintosh MS history, we find that the son of Kenneth, the alleged grandson of Muirich, married a daughter of Ferquhard, ninth of Mackintosh, cir 1410, so that it is probable Sir Aeneas has placed Muriich and his family more than a century too early).
One of the early chiefs is said to have received a commission to expel the Comyns from Badenoch, and on their forfeiture he obtained, for his services, a grant of lands. He was also allowed to add a hand holding a dagger to his armorial bearings. A MS genealogy of the Macphersons makes Kenneth chief in 1386, when a battle took place at Invernahavon between the clan Chattan and the Camerons details of which can be found in the account of the Mackintoshes.
In 1609 the chief of the Macphersons signed a bond, along with all the other branches of that extensive tribe, acknowledging Mackintosh as captain and chief of the clan Chattan; but in all the contentions and feuds in which the Mackintoshes were subsequently involved with the Camerons and other Lochaber clans, they were obliged to accept of the Macphersons' aid as allies rather than vassals.
Andrew Macpherson of Cluny, who succeeded as chief in 1647, suffered much on account of his sincere attachment to the cause of Charles I. His son, Ewen, was also a staunch royalist. In 1665, under Andrew, the then chief, when Mackintosh went on an expedition against the Camerons, for the recovery of the lands of Glenluy and Locharkaig, he solicited the assistance of the Macphersons, when a notarial deed was executed, wherein Mackintosh declares that it was of their mere good will and pleasure that they did so; and on his part it is added, "I bind and oblige myself and friends and followers to assist and fortify and join, with the said Andrew, Lauchlan, and John Macpherson, all their lawful and necessary adoes, being thereunto required". The same Andrew, Lauchlan, and John, heads of the three great branches of the Macphersons, had on the 19th of the preceeding November given a bond acknowledging Mackintosh as their chief. In 1672 Duncan Macpherson of Cluny, Andrew's brother, made application to the Lyon office to have his arms matriculated as laird of Cluny Macpherson, and "the only and true representative of the ancient and honourable family of the clan Chattan". This application was successful; but as soon as Mackintosh heard of it, he raised a process before the privy council to have it determined as to which of them had the right to the proper armorial bearings. After a protracted inquiry, the council issued an order for the two chiefs to give security for the peacable behaviour of their respective clans, in the terms given in the account of Mackintosh. The same year Cluny entered into a contract of friendship with AEneas, Lord Macdonald, and Aros, "for himself and taking burden upon him for the haill name of Macpherson, and some others, called Old Clan-chattan, as cheefe and principall man thereof".
It is worthy of note that this same Duncan made an attempt, which was happily frustrated by his clansmen, to have his son-in-law, a son of Campbell of Cawdor, declared his successor.
On the death, without male issue, of Duncan Macpherson, in 1721 or 1722, the chiefship devolved on Lauchlan Macpherson of Nuid, the next male heir, being lineally descended from John, youngest brother of Andrew, the above-named chief. One of the decendants of this John of Nuid was James Macpherson, the resuscitator of the Oassianic poetry. Lauchlan married Jean, daughter of Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel. His eldest son, Ewen, was the chief at the time of the rebellion of 1745.
In the previous rebellion of 1715, the Macphersons, under their then chief Duncan, had taken a very active part on the side of the Pretender. On the arrival of Prince Charles in 1745, Ewen Macpherson of Cluny, who the same year had been appointed to a company in Lord Loudon's Highlanders, and had taken the oaths of government, threw up his commission, and, with 600 Macphersons, joined the rebel army after their victory at Prestonpans. The Macphersons were led to take an active part in the rebellion chiefly from a desire to revenge the fate of two of their clansmen, who were shot on account of the extraordinary mutiny of the Black Watch (now the 42d regiment) two years before.
Ewen Macpherson, the chief, at first hesitated to join the prince; and his wife, a duaghter of Lord Lovat, although a staunch Jacobite, earnestly dissuaded him from breaking his oath to government, assuring him that nothing could end well that began with perjury. Her friends reproached her for interfering - and his clan urging him, Cluny unfortunately yielded.
At the battle of Falkirk, the Macphersons formed a portion of the first line. They were too late for the battle of Culloden, where their assistance might have turned the fortune of the day; they did not come up till after the retreat of Charles from that decisive field. Inthe subsequent devastations committed by the English army, Cluny's house was plundered and burnt to the ground. Every exertion was made by the government troops for his apprehension, but they never could lay their hands upon him. He escaped to France in 1755, and died at Dunkirk the following year.
Ewen's son, Duncan, was born in1750, in a kiln for drying corn, in which his mother had taken refuge after the destruction of their house. During his minority, his uncle, Major John Macpherson of the 78th foot, acted as his guardian. He received back the estate which had been forfeited, and, entering the army, became lieutenant-colonel of the 3d foot guards. He married, 12th June 1798, Catherine, youngest daughter of Sir Ewen Cameron of Fassifern, baronet; and on his death, 1st August 1817, was succeeded by his eldest son, Ewen Macpherson of Cluny, the present chief.
In Cluny castle are preserved various relics of the rebellion of 1745; among the rest, the Prince's target and lace wrist ruffles, and an authograph letter from Charles, promising an ample reward to his devoted friend Cluny. There is also the black pipe chanter on which the prosperity of the house of Cluny is said to be dependent, and which all true members of the clan Vuirich firmly believe fell from heaven, in place of the one lost at the conflict on the North Inch of Perth.
The war-cry of the Macphersons was "Creag Dhu", the name of a rock inthe neighbourhood of Cluny Castle. The chief is called in the Highlands "Mac Mhurich Chlanaidh", but everywhere else is better known as Cluny Macpherson.
Among the principal cadets of the Macpherson family were the Macphersons of Pitmean, Invereshie, Strathmassie, Breachachie, Essie, &c. The Invereshie branch were chiefs of a large tribe called the Siol Gillies, the founder of which was Gillies or Elias Macpherson, the first of Invereshie, a younger son of Ewen Baan or Bane (so called fromhis fair complexion) above mentioned. Sir Eneas Macpherson, tutor of Invereshie, advocate, who lived in the reigns of Charles II and James VII, collected the materials for the history of the clan Macpherson, the NS of which is still preserved in the family. He was appointed sheriff of Aberdeen in 1684.
George Macpherson of Invereshie married Grace, daughter of Colonel William Grant of Ballindalloch, and his elder son, William, dying unmarried, in 1812, was succeeded by his nephew George, who, on the death of his maternal granduncle, General James Grant of Ballindalloch, 13th April 1806, inherited that estate, and in consequence assumed the name of Grant in addition to his own. He was MP for the county of Sutherland for seventeen years, and was created a baronet 25th July 1838. He thus became Sir George Macpherson-Grant of Invereshie, Inverness-shire, and Ballindalloch, Elginshire. On his death in November 1846, his son, Sir John, sometime secretary of legation at Lisbon, succeeded as second baronet. Sir John died Dec 2, 1850. His eldest son, Sir George Macpherson-Grant of Invereshie and Ballindalloch, born Aug 12, 1839, became the third baronet of this family. He married, July 3, 1861, Frances Elizabeth, youngest daughter of the Rev. Roger Pocklington, Vicar of Walesby, Nottinghamshire.
Motto: "Touch not the cat without the glove"
Badge: There are two plant badges, boxwood and white heather.
Septs of the Clan: Archibald, Gillespie, MacClunie, MacMurdo, Cattanach, Gillies, MacCluny, MacMurdoch, Carson, MacCluney, MacCurrach, MacMurdock, Clark, Gillis, MacCurrie, MacMurdich, Clarke, Gow, MacCurry, MacMuirich, Clarkson, Gowan, MacGillies, MacMurich, Clerich, Lees, MacGoune, MacVurich, Clerk, MacBurrich, MacGoun, MacVurrich, Clooney, MacCarson, MacGow, Murdaugh, Clunie, MacChlery, MacGowne, Murdo, Cluny, MacClair, MacLear, Murdoch, Currie, MacCleary, MacLeary, Murdock, Curry, MacCleish, MacLees, Murdoson, Ellis, MacClerich, MacLerie, Pearson, Ellison, MacClooney, MacLeish, Person, Fersen, MacCloonie, MacLise, Smith
Names associated with the clan: Alees Aleese Caidh Cananaich Carson Catan Catanach Catanache Catanoch Cate Cathan Catnach Cattan Cattanach Cattanoch Cattenach Cattenoch Ceiteach Claerk Clark Clarke Clarkson Clarksone Clearkson Cleary Clerach Clerc Clerck Clercsone Cleric Clerie Clerk Clerke Clerkson Clerksone Clerksoun Clerksson Clunie Clunnie Cluny Clwny Clwnye Couric Curie Curray Curre Curri Currie Curry Currye Feresoun Fersen Ferson Galeaspe Gellas Ghillaspic Gilasp Gilaspy Gilhaspy Gilhespy Gilies Gilise Gilispie Gillas Gillaspik Gillaspy Gilleis Gilles Gillespey Gillespie Gillice Gillie Gillies Gilliosa Gillis Gillise Gilliss Gove Gow Gowan Gowans Gowen Gowie Gowin Gylis Gyllis Kayt Keathe Keht Keith Ket Keth Kethe Keyth Keythe Keytht Kite Leary Lees Lios MacA'Phearsain MacA'Phearsoin MacAleerie MacAlees MacAliece MacAppersone MacBurie MacChananaich MacChlerich MacChlery MacClearey MacCleary MacCleche MacClees MacCleiche MacCleisch MacCleish MacCleishe MacCleisich MacClerich MacCleriche MacClerie MacClery MacClese MacCleys MacCliesh MacClirie MacClurich MacColeis MacColleis MacCourich MacCurich MacCurie MacCurrach MacCurragh MacCurrich MacCurrie MacCurry MacEleary MacElpersoun MacFarsane MacFarsne MacFarson MacFerson MacFersoune MacForsoun MacFuirigh MacGabhawn MacGhobhainn MacGhowin MacGillas MacGilleis MacGillese MacGillies MacGillis MacGillish MacGleish MacGouan MacGoun MacGoune MacGovin MacGow MacGowan MacGowen MacGown MacGowne MacGowy MacHillies MacIlees MacIleish MacIlishe MacIllees MacIlleese MacIlleish MacInclerich MacInclerie MacInclerycht MacInferson MacKeith MacKethe MacKilferson MacKinfarsoun MacKleiry MacKperson MacKpharsone MacKurrich MacKury MacLear MacLeary MacLeash MacLeerie MacLees MacLeesh MacLeich MacLeish MacLerich MacLerie MacLese MacLess MacLise MacLish MacLiss MacMhourich MacMhuireadhaigh MacMhuirich MacMhuirrich MacMordoch MacMuiredhaigh MacMuiredhuigh MacMuirigh MacMurich MacMurrich MacMurriche MacMurrycht MacOurich MacPearson MacPerson MacPersone MacPersonn MacPharson MacPhearson MacPhersen MacPherson MacPhersone MacUirigh MacUrich MacVarraich MacVarrich MacVeirrich MacVirrich MacVirriche MacVoerich MacVorich MacVoriche MacVorrich MacVourich MacVurich MacVurie MacVurirch MacVuririch MacVurrich MacVurriche MacWirrich MacWirriche MacWurie Makcurrie Makfarson Makfassane Makfersan Makfersone Makfersoun Makferssoun Makghobhainn Makgowane Makgowin Makimpersone Maklearie Makleis Makmurdie Makmurriche Makmurthe Makphersone Makvirriche Makynparsone Mordac Mordake Mordik Mordoc Mordok Mordyk Moreduc Morthaich Mourdac Muireach Muireadhach Muiredach Murdac Murdak Murdoc Murdoch Murdock Murdoson Murdy Murreich Murthac Murthak Pairsone Pearsain Pearson Pearsone Peirson Peirsond Peirsonde Peirsone Peirsoun Peirsound Peirsounde Peresone Perison Perisone Person Persone Persoun Peryson Perysoun Peyrson Peyrsoune Pieresone Pierson Pirieson Piriesoun Smeayth Smith Smyith Smyithe Smyth Smythe Versen MacPherson Of Pitm: Pitmain
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