This famous clan once dominated a large area in the southern portion of the highlands. Never total possessors of the land, and always squatters in this rugged and majestic landscape, the original area was in the glens of the rivers Orchy, Strae and Lochy on the western slope of the Grampian Mountains, or locally called the Trossachs. Over time the clan migrated to the east and settled in the watersheds of the Strathfillan, Glendochart, Glengyle and Roro. The Kilburn descendants come from the Roro branch, in the valley of River or Glen Lyon, just north of Loch Tay. Here in the center of the valley only two sheep farms (Roromore and Roroyere) bearing Roro as part of the name remain beneath Creag Roro as reminders of the clan activities of yesteryore.
The oldest proven ancestor is Gregor McGregor (b abt 1280) who was head of the clan in the early part of the 14th century. He claimed descent from Alpin, King of the Scots from the 9th century, through his third and youngest son Griogar, or Gregor, who was the true name-father of the clan. It was the Gregor 'Aulin,' grandson of the first mentioned Gregor (b abt 1280), whose fourth son Gregor (b abt 1360) first gained possession of Roro, became its first Laird, and is termed Gregor MacGregor I of Roro. Several Lairds, and several generations of MacGregors were born and raised in Roro.
It was one of the sons of a much later Gregor, Alexander MacGregor (b abt 1535 at Roro) who married a MacGregor lass from the next valley and who moved there to become proprietor of her father's farm. This ancestor of mine left Roro in the valley of Glen Lyon and moved to the next valley to the south to the village of Ardeonaig on Loch Tay. This move and marriage occurred near the close of the 16th century, a bloody and violent time for the members of Clan Gregor. For they were a clan on the wrong side of the crown, and many of them were about to be eliminated in an 'ethnic cleansing' by powerful enemy clans.
The family remained at Ardeonaig until the proscription of the MacGregors in 1603. The proscription was to last 150 years until 1774. In 1643 it became unlawful for anyone to bear the name of MacGregor; no document with that signature was legal; to kill a man with that name was not punishable; nor could any minister baptize a male child with that name. Various clan names were adopted by the MacGregors depending upon the clan from whom they could obtain protection. Our line adopted the name Drummond and moved to Culcrieff.
They were succeeded by their son Patrick Drummond who also purchased the lands at Balhaldie in Strathallan near Dunblane. Patrick's grandson Alexander Drummond succeeded to the Balhaldie estate and winter residence, still standing, in Dunblane. In 1686 he married Margaret Cameron, eldest daughter of Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel and sister of John Cameron, first Lord Lochiel at the time. Alexander and Margaret had 11 children.
My emigrant ancestor was Donald MacGregor Drummond (b 12 Sep 1713) who came to America in the mid-18th century and established himself in Poughkeepsie, NY. He was the 11th and youngest child of Alexander and married Anna Groesbeck 8 Dec 1855 in NYC and had six children. He remained a staunch Loyalist during the Revolutionary War and in 1783 sailed with his wife and three of his unmarried daughters to St. John, New Brunswick. He was 70 and died that first winter. She subsequently obtained some land grants as widow Ann Drummond. Daughter Ann married David McGibbon in the 1780's, moved to the McGibbon farm just west of Douglas on the St. John River, and raised a family there. See his page on this website.
1. The best summary of the complex history of my branch of the MacGregor clan is described in Chapter 12 in the author's book, 2002, Fathers and Mothers and the interested genealogist should examine this work which can be obtained from the author at 6695 Terry Court, Arvada, CO 80007 and email: [email protected].
2. My information is based on several sources including accounts from the Scottish Record Office, especially the notes and papers of John McGregor; and also the book by Duncan Campbell, 1886, The Lairds of Glenlyon; as well as GD 50/98 of the Scottish Record Office (SR0).
3. The MacGregor story after Alexander left Roro is from a 5 pp handwritten document on the "MacGregor Family History" by Susan Dayton Squires, direct descendant of the Roro MacGregors, from Public Archives of New Brunswick with a copy in the author's possession.
4. See the 13p unpublished paper entitled "MacGregor of Balhaldie in Strathallan," obtained from the MacGregor Society.
5. See Frank Adam, The Clans, Septs, and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands, 8th ed, pp246-248, for more information on the proscription.
6. Two excellent books detail the best Clan Cameron information; the first by John Stewart, 1994, The Camerons; a History of Clan Cameron, 3d ed; and Somerled MacMillan, 1971, Bygone Lochaber.
7. See D. G. Bell, 1983, Early Loyalist Saint John that lists these family figures in Appendix vii and viii.
8. Esther Clark Wright, 1955, The Loyalists of New Brunswick.