MacGregor sisters from PerthShire, in Coigach

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MacGregor sisters
from PerthShire,
in Coigach

This file is one of many that link from my website that focusses on genealogy and history of Coigach;

Any suggestions for additions or edits please email me,

Donald MacDonald-Ross

MacGregor sisters from PerthShire, in Coigach

Two MacGregor sisters from Innerhaddon, Fortingall Parish, Perth, married MacKenzies from Coigach in the early 19th century, the ancestry and descent of those MacKenzies are explored in the files at corrie.htm and altimack.htm Another MacGregor girl had an illegitamate daughter born at Ullapool in the same period, for a while it looked possible she was a third sister, that now disproven, though she may have been related.

Duncan MacGregor, father of the sisters, is recorded in the McGregor of Roro genealogy noted below as born 1739 or 41, married 1770/1, and died at Pulrossie, Parish of Creich, Sutherlandshire in 1818. The Scottish historian, Malcolm Bangor-Jones, has provided some background on Duncan, inluding the following points;

In 1792 on the Balnagowan estate of Sir Charles Lockhart-Ross two sheep farms were created; Glen Cassley and Tutimtarvach in Strath Oykel. The tenants were William, James and Duncan McGregor. William and James took the west side of Glen Cassley, and Duncan became tenant of the lands of Tutimtarvach. He also later became tenant of Pulrossie on the Skibo estate, where he was resident at his death in 1818. Duncan also took over the lease of the small Rosehall estate, (which included the east side of Glen Cassley).

A newspaper report notes the death of John MacGregor, son of Duncan, 1817 at Polrossie.

As far as I can see there was no Coigach relationship for Duncan, other than his two daughters marrying there. Records have not been searched, but possibly Duncan rented a home at Ullapool, from where his agricultural produce was shipped south down the coast to his relatives and friends in the south-west Highlands, at the time roadways were not as well developed as shipping.

Duncan's wife, Margaret Stewart of Crossmount, stands out as having a greater likelyhood to have a Coigach connection, dating back to the 1745 Rebellion:

The website at includes a file about history of Stewart families in the area, credited to A.D. Cunningham. The file includes the following quote regarding Stewart families at Innerhadden and Crossmount;

There was one, Allan Stewart of Innerhadden, called Great Allan, who was a poet . . . some say a much better one than Struan Robertson. He strode on to the hill which bears his name now, Dun Allan, and chose it as his burying place so that on Judgement Day he and his race might come back and see their old lands stretched out before them. He was not killed at Culloden but after the battle he managed to hide himself successfully in the district and he and Stewart of Crossmount evaded capture until the hue and cry died down. They eventually got their lands back but their houses had been burnt down as reprisals.

Searches on the internet have not shown a lot of background on the Stewart of Crossmount family, other than they descended from the Stewart of Appin family. Margaret, mother of the two sisters who went to Coigach, would have been a child at time of the Rebellion, and presumably the burning down of the family home, and the fugitive years of her father would have been iconic events in her memory, and source of family lore for years to come.

James Irvine Robertson (EMAIL: ) has sent me extracts of a census of Atholl Stewarts compiled by Colonel David Stewart of Garth in 1817 and 1818. At that time the principle tenant of Crossmount, likely a brother or nephew of Margaret, was recorded as 31 year old Capt James Stewart, descended from the Stewarts of Overblairish ("Overblarish" in other parts of same record).

Margaret Stewart's parents receive mention in a paragraph James has also sent from the same source (Colonel David Stewart of Garth), found in a book published 1822 titled "Sketches of the Character, Manners, and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland etc." The paragraph is a note in a section discussing the Battle of Culloden;

"A friend of mine, the late Mr Stewart of Crossmount, carried arms on that occasion, of which he used to speak with great animation. He died in January 1791, at the age of 104, having been previously in perfect possession of all his faculties, and in such full habit of body, that his leg continued as well formed and compact as at forty. He had a new tooth at age of ninety-six. Mrs. Stewart, to whom he had been married nearly seventy years, died on the Tuesday preceeding his death. He was then in perfect health, and sent to request that my father, who lived some miles distant, would come to him. When he arrived the old man desired that the funeral should not take place for eight days, saying, that he had now outlived his oldest earthly friend, and prayed sincerely that he might be laid in the same grave. He kept his bed the second morning after her death, and died the following day, without pain or complaint. They were buried in the same grave on the succeeding Tuesday, according to his wish.

In February 1999 John MacLeod (CONTACT INFO) who has ancestors at Badenscallie, emailed me the following information, it is reinforced by a letter from Jean Stewart of Inverness to Gwen Smith (CONTACT INFO) of Tasmania in 1984. Jean said three sons from Appin had to flee west to the region which is now Ullapool. I think the Stewart refugees are also mentionned in the book "Peoples and Settlement in North-West Ross" edited by John R. Baldwin in 1994 (SOURCE INFO).

John MacLeod wrote;

Various families came into the area following the '45, including the Stewarts, a party of whom (women included!) escaped from the battlefield of Culloden and fled north through the hills until they reached the Oykel valley at Tutim. There one of the women is buried in the graveyard above the road. The party turned West and eventually settled in Coigach. Originally from the Appin area, all the Stewarts in Coigach are descended from those settlers.

The Stewart families of Coigach seemed to be originally concentrated at Badenscallie, the farm Susan's son William became Tacksman of in the early 19th century. Susan and her sister Elisabeth through the various census returns kept Coigach Stewarts as servants.

My guess is Margaret Stewart of Crossmount, mother of the McGregor sisters, was related to the Stewart refugees that settled in Coigach, that relationship leading to their own settling there, and their hiring over the years of Coigach Stewarts. Most servants in that time and area tended to be relatives of the employers.

The sisters at Coigach;

Susan MacGregor, the sources below indicate Susan was born 1782 and christened 15 April the same year at Innerchadden, Fortingall, She married sometime before the birth of her daughter Grace MacKenzie in 1816 to Murdoch MacKenzie, a merchant at Ullapool. Probably it was a second marriage for Murdoch, research is continuing on that question. Her husband was born 1759 or earlier, probably at Achiltibuie in Coigach though raised at Achnaclerach in Contin Parish, and in some records referred to as "of Achnaclerach". Murdoch was a prominant merchant and the Postmaster at Ullapool from about 1800, he died the night of 28 November, 1821, returning from market at Kincardine. A dark and tempestuous night, his horse in the storm wandered off the road over the bank into the Conan river.

Susan looks to have been quite a powerful character, following her husband as Postmaster at Ullapool. The newspapers reported the son of Murdoch MacKenzie would follow him in running the business, though not identified that was presumably young William, who a few decades later was running the family company, but in 1821 was only a few months old, indicating that probably Susan was in charge for some years.

Susan, as "Postmistriss" can be seen in the 1841 census at Ullapool 41-134. With her then was 18 year William with occupation as "C.G.", likely standing for "Corn Grocer" (though he also served as Tacksman of Badenscallie in Coigach till 1853), a 20-24 year old daughter "Grace", and Grace's husband, David Ferguson, Tacksman of Langwell (Grace and David are ancestors of Malcolm Ferguson in Australia, EMAIL: )

Elizabeth MacGregor, The sources below indicate Elizabeth "Betty" was christened at Innerchadden, Fortingall 18 May, 1788. She is in the 1841 Household at Ullapool at Susan's home. She married sometime before the birth of her daughter Catherine Scobie MacKenzie in 1823 to William MacKenzie, Tacksman of Badentarbat in Coigach, her husband and children were in the 1841 census at Badentarbat 41-1. By 1851 William MacKenzie has lost his tack, and the family is nearby at Dornie, living on a croft of 1 & 3/4 acres, see Dornie 51-48.

It is interesting Susan's first daughter was forenamed "Grace", and Elizabeth's second daughter "Susanna Grace". Clearly "Susan" and "Grace" were old family names, there was several generations back in their family a "Grizel" which is a form of the name "Grace" though as yet no near relatives with the names Susan and Grace have been identified.

Some notes and extracts from sources

Primary focus of this website is Coigach, and though this file deals with three sisters, it would seem appropriate to note the family they came from, and immediate genealogy.

The I.G.I. also shows from extracted church records two records of the marriage. It was common for a marriage to be registered in both the bride and groom's parish;

  1. Duncan Mcgrigor married to Margaret Stewart 10 August 1771, at Dull, Perth, Scotland (batch no# M113465)
  2. Duncan McGrigor married to Margaret Stewart 14 August 1771, at Fortingall, Perth, Scotland (batch no# M113552)

I have not yet consulted photocopies of the Parish Registers the Mormons extracted information from, however, a MacGregor researcher has done so, and included more details than included in the I.G.I. That research is available in a series of files on the website The christenings in the Fortingall Parish Baptisms were extracted by Dr. Richard McGregor where a parent had a variation of the surname McGregor. Notes there include "Please remember to check the original records in the parishes as the handwriting of the day is hard to interpret and there may be an error here and there", "Where there is no surname M(a)cGregor is to be understood", and "many early names are McGrigar"

  1. 1782 Duncan / Margt Stewart Susan Innerchadden
  2. 1784 Duncan / Margt Stewart Ann Innerchaddon
  3. 1786 Duncan / Margt Stewart John Innerchadden
  4. 1788 Duncan / Margt Stewart Janet Innerhadden

Note that Richard transcribed the forename of the fourth child as "Janet", and the Mormon's read it as "Betty". My guess is the Mormon version is right, as it corresponds with Elizabeth (McGregor) MacKenzie in the 1841 and 1851 census at Coigach. Clearly the register deserves a third look over!

Also included there is a file of details extracted from the register for marriages in Fortingall where either partner was a McGregor, it records;

And in a file there for marriages in the Parish of Dull where either partner was a McGregor is;

Note that the placename "Tulichros" looks to be a straight Gaelic translation of "Crossmount".

Fourth of the MacGregor daughters, though with no known direct Coigach connection herself, was Margaret.

The book:

TITLE: History of the clan Gregor, from public records and private collections
SUBTITLE: compiled at the request of the Clan Gregor society (Volume 2)
AUTHOR: Amelia Geogiana Murray MacGregor
PUBLISHED: 1901 by William Brown of Edinburgh
DIGITIZED: online by Ebooksread at

Notes on page 241;

Duncan born 1739 or 1741 married in 1770 or 1771 Miss
Margaret Stewart of Crossmount. He died at Polrossie in i8i8
without any surviving son but left four daughters i Susan
born 1782 who married Murdoch McKenzie Esq; 2 Margaret
born 1778, who married, Dec. 26 1818, Lieut. John McGregor
24th Reg.

Notes on page 246;

John [McGregor] born in 1778 married 1818 daughter of Duncan M'^Gregor formerly at Polrossie. He was a Captain in the Royal Veteran Battalion.

I have obtained a copy of the will of Lieutenant John that confirms his relationship to the sister in laws at Lochbroom, and notes his wife had been Margaret.

The I.G.I. shows from extracted church records four christenings to parents Duncan MacGregor and Margaret Stewart, varying spellings of father's names, batch no# C113552;

  1. Susan McGrigor christened 15 April 1782, at Fortingall, Perth, Scotland
  2. Ann McGregor christened 4 March 1784, at Fortingall, Perth, Scotland
  3. John McGregor christened 22 February 1786 at Fortingall, Perth, Scotland
  4. Betty McGregor christened 18 May 1788, at Fortingall, Perth, Scotland

The website of John Cameron Ward at includes a collection of McGregor files he amassed between 1980 and 1995. One is titled "The House of Roro in Glenlyon". That file explains the Gaelic expression "Ruadh Shruth" is pronounced roughly as "Roro", and translates as "red stream".

The descent of the MacGregor of Roro family shown in that file is credited as based on "GD 50 98 from The Scottish Record Office which refers to the notes and papers of John McGregor, Writer to the Signet". Others are also credited in that file for updates, and the file itsself should be consulted for details. In brief, it shows 17 generations of direct MacGregor descent to Susan and her sister Elizabeth. Their parents shown as Duncan, born 1739 or 41, married 1770/1 to Miss Margaret Stewart of Crossmount, Duncan is marked as died at Polrossie in 1818. Susan is marked as born 1782, married to Murdoch McKenzie Esq. Elizabeth is not noted in the file, other than a note "Two other daughters."

This file, and others dealing with history and genealogy of Coigach, links from my homepage at:

Any suggestions for additions or edits please feel free to email me,

Donald MacDonald-Ross, at:

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