I’m writing this blog post partially in frustration I must admit. Over the last 3 years of research I’ve been continuously troubled by the mixing up, conflating, carelessness or what have you of the “researchers” on Ancestry.com over these two gentlemen. So, I’ll write this blog post in an attempt to clarify, once and for all, the distinction between these two men.

On one level, it is easy to see why there is confusion. Both Johns were born in roughly the same period and it was the distant past. Both married Camerons (and they were sisters). Both had sons named John. And, both were from the western part of Scotland. They were, by my reckoning, cousins. Here the similarities end. There is certainly enough information available for a researcher who cares to find the information to perceive the distinction.

John McLaurin was born about 1645. We have this from the G.G. McLaurin book “G.G. McLaurin and Some of His Kin.” The age is deduced and approximate. It is deduced from the tradition mentioned in the very old letter he had that John attended the coronation of Charles II, at Scone on 1 January 1651. So, the question is, “How small a child?” This we can’t know, so the birth year is put at approximately 1645 which would have made him about 5 years old. He may have been two or three years older or maybe a couple years younger but certainly born in the 1640s.

John MacLaurin, by contrast was born in 1658. How do we know this? Well, his sons were famous so we have the advantage that some care was taken in obtaining the specific information relating to the circumstances of their birth and that of their parents. This database entry provides the information about Rev. John MacLaurin, http://histfam.familysearch.org/getperson.php?personID=I28502&tree=Fasti. He was born in 1658. His wife was Mary Cameron. And, we even get a marriage date of 2 December 1690. Mary Cameron since she was also the daughter of a minister, we know her parents names were John Cameron and Mary Campbell.

The children. I think we get even more confusion because both their first sons were named John. John McLaurin’s first son was John (known as John of Culloden for having been killed in that battle at 65 years old) and was born in 1680. Rev. John MacLaurin’s son John was born in 1690 and would become the next Rev. John MacLaurin and publish many works of religious significance. Their other children, Rev. John had John, Daniel and Colin. Daniel died young. Colin and Rev. John’s lives are well documented. John McLaurin’s children were John, Duncan, Christian, Hugh and Dugald. Of these, I go back to Hugh, known as Hugh of Glennahyle, and Christian. Duncan I have verified though DNA with a match from a cousin at 66/67 markers. Our Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) is John McLaurin. The  information concerning the names comes from G.G. McLaurin’s book referenced above. As I said, we’ve since validated this information with DNA so it appears to be correct. Hopefully this information will be of some assistance to my fellow researchers and perhaps cousins.

 

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We owe the information about this topic mostly to the efforts of Banks McLaurin (whose letter system has become the standard designation for the family groups) and G. G. McLaurin who published his efforts in the book G.G. McLaurin and Some of His Kin, published in the early 1900s. The first individual for whom we have a record is Daniel McLaurin born 1610. The origin of this information is a letter written by G.G. McLaurin’s grandmother. The letter was very old and dilapidated when G.G. came into possession of it. We are told that Daniel was a minister of intelligence and distinction who married a Miss Stewart of the Stewarts of Appin. They had many children, but the only ones that were clearly discernible from the letter were Lauchlin, Duncan and John.

I will add here and in the forth-coming post about John McLaurin that there was a note in the letter that G.G. had that Daniel took his son John to see the crowning of King Charles II at Scone, 1 January 1651. John would have been about 4 or 5 years old at the time. Perhaps his siblings were older though. This is important on a number of levels. It was the last coronation at Scone. Charles was not able to sit on the British throne for another 9 years as Oliver Cromwell was proclaimed Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England and Scotland. Also, Daniel McLaurin, if G.G.’s book is correct, was a Presbyterian minister. His coming out for a Stuart king would have been significant. Later he may have regretted his choice as Charles’ representative in Scotland, the Duke of Lauderdale, attempted to suppress the covenanter uprisings.

It is, in the records, presumed that Daniel McLaurin was born in the usual way and thus they show his father being _______ McLaurin born about 1590. The year 1590 is 20 year prior to Daniel’s birth in 1610. It was probably determined that this was the earliest likely time for him to have conceived children with his wife. Thus, his actual birth may have been some time before 1590.

I’ll now indulge in some speculation. It is possible that we could prove this point though DNA, but I digress. I believe that Daniel had a brother and that brother also had a son named John and that son was the father of Rev. John and Colin MacLaurin. Why would I speculate in this direction? In his book, G.G.  mentions a section of the aforementioned letter that is very dilapidated, but the readable part describes the relationship of the women that John McLaurin and John MacLaurin married, they were sisters, Camerons. And, alluding to the unreadable part immediately preceding this said: “So, you see we are cousins on both sides.”

Very intriguing. But, how can we prove the connection? Owing to the lack of records, there is almost no chance to find relevant records in Scotland that far back. It’s much too close to the “Wall of 1600” for there to be much of use. I believe that this is where DNA may save the day. I have been able to connect with one cousin who is a DNA match at 66/67 with me. We were able to determine that our most recent common ancestor was John McLaurin, Daniel’s son. He goes back to John’s son Duncan and I go back to John’s son Christian. That’s a pretty good hit and proof for John born in 1645. It also helps to verify the original genealogical work of Banks McLaurin. Now, there are descendants of Colin MacLaurin and Rev. John MacLaurin living, I believe, in Australia. If they would take the DNA test, we might be able to see a match at about 65 or even 66 depending on the mutation rate. Certainly if there was a high degree of DNA match, we could prove the connection of the two lines within a couple of generations at the Daniel or just before generation.

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Well, the year is about to end and I haven’t added too much to this web site in the second half of the year. My only excuse is that it’s been a busy second half of the year preventing me from spending much time in the genealogy realm. But, the good thing about family history, or any history for that matter, is that it stays just where you left it.

If anything I have more to post that when I last left off. I’ve been back to Scotland. I’ve visited Cadderlie on Loch Etive. I’ve found a room in the ruins of Ardchattan Abbey that appears to be filled with McLaurin graves. I’ve had a recent minor win in noting that someone on Ancestry has posted a “find-a-grave” for John “of Culloden” McLaurin. The grave turns out to be on Islay. John is the the eldest brother of my direct ancestor Christian McLaurin (“B” in the Banks McLaurin notation). This location was unexpected as he had been thought buried in one of the mass graves. His son Neil survived though and perhaps was able to bring his body back.

I was able to take many pictures of Cadderlie and will attempt to post them on this site. I had always suspected that Cadderlie was more of a settlement that just a house. The ruins there confirm this suspicion. There are several buildings there along with animal pens (apparently as the size appear too large for houses). There is one very large size house, above the normal size I’ve seen in other ruins and several more average sized houses. I counted what I believe are six ruined houses there. There was an overgrown, but still identifiable cobblestone road that ran down though the middle of the settlement. This would have taken no small amount of work to install and the main road does not appear to ever have been paved, so this would have been an improvement even to that. In all, Cadderlie is an beautiful location fields for grazing rise up above it and down to Loch Etive. Cadderlie burn bubbles past on one side providing a constant source of clean water. And, of course, stunning Loch Etive lies a stone’s throw down from the building site.

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In the safe shelter of this quiet, well ordered Jewish household, Morag grew up into womanhood. She was a fine, capable girl, able to hold her own with most people and quite one of the family in her master’s house.

It was at this time that the Tea War – as it is called – broke out between Great Britain and her American Colonies. Troop ships, trading ships, ships of all sorts and sizes were kept continually running backwards and forwards between the two countries.

Morag’s master was among those whose business profited by the turn affairs had taken. Every boat that catered the harbour with cargo brought some consignment for his store.

One day he came home from his store in town with an expression of unwanted interest on his benevolent face. He carried an old newspaper in his hand.

“Morag,” said he, “can you tell me what part of the old country you belong to?” and without pausing far an answer he went on to say- “There is an old Glasgow newspaper which was wrapped round some goods and which bears the date of the year in which you came to us. Listen to this advertisement and see whether it had anything to do with you,” -thereupon he read aloud the words that had arrested him. They were to the effect that a child of nine, named Morag, had unaccountably disappeared and if a child answering to the description given below were found anywhere, the advertiser would be most grateful if she were restored to him. There followed a description of Morag and the name and address of the advertiser, Duncan MacIntyre, the Croft, Kilmartin. “That was my uncle,” said Morag, in wide-eyed wonder.

“Would you like to return to your native country, Morag?”

“Of course I would, if that were possible!”

“Then I cannot detain you,” said the Jew.

“Our law commands us to allow a bond servant to return to his home and kindred as soon as he has repaid in labour the amount paid for him, should he so desire. In a comparatively short time you will have worked for your full price and as soon as you have done so you shall be allowed to go home.”

There was a year, or a little more, to run before the joyful day arrived, but at last it did arrive and Morag was free!

Her master had heard of a troopship which was to take a company of Scottish soldiers to Glasgow; the wife of one of the officers need a maid and Morag was at once recommended. The lady was pleased with her appearance and engaged her without hesitation. This obtained for her a free passage and wages for her services.

On arriving at Port Glasgow, that port which she had so much cause sorrowfully to remember, she found a number of the soldiers were to be taken by another boat as far as Inverary, and left there to make their way on foot to their various homes. Morag took her passage by the same boat, and on landing at Inverary walked with the group of men who belonged to Appin up Glenaray to Port Seoacnan, where Loch Awe, was crossed. On they trudged by Kilachrenain into Glen Nant, past Bonawe to Connel, where Loch Etive was crossed. Only four miles more and Shian was reached and there were the Appin Hills, brown, rugged and heathery, with green undulating pastoral hills interweaving here and there, and only Loch Creran’s broad tide heaving between. As they were crossing the ferry, and nearing the Appin shore, Morag asked one of the ferry men whether he knew if John McLaurin’s widow were still alive?

The ferryman turned his face shoreward and the replied, “There she is, standing in the doorway of that cottage near the shore.”

There then, was her mother, watching the ferry boat with evident interest, little knowing who was nearing her, with each strong oar stroke.

Morag was not encumbered by much luggage. As she neared the door, her mother hastily withdrew, seeing a strange lady approach. Morag stepped in after her without knocking and asked if she might be allowed to take a seat as she was weary with her journey?
The mother set her a chair, eyeing her askance the while.
“Would you oblige me with a drink of water?” asked Morag. The drink was handed in silence.

“I should like to stay here overnight, if you have a bed to spare – I am not inclined to go further to-day,” said Morag.

“I have no suitable accommodation for such as you,” was the reply, given with chilling coldness.

“I should be very easily satisfied,” said Morag.” I’d be glad of any accommodation.”

“But I mean to remain; not a step farther do I go to-night. I see that you have plenty of room and you can’t put me out!” said Morag, in a tone of mock bravado.

“I will not on any account harbour you within my house!” exclaimed her mother with rising wrath. “How should I know who or what you might turn out to be – you who have come over the ferry with a boatful of redcoats!

After a little more teasing, Morag could hold out no longer: -

“Mother, mother!” she cried, “do you not know your own Morag?” and springing up she laid a hand on each of her mother’s shoulders, smiling down all suspicion.

There was no more talk of ejecting her; she had been adrift alas long enough. She settled down with her mother to be the prop and comfort of her old age, and never left Appin again. She was married to Peter Thompson, who had been a lad of sixteen when at Culloden, and died no so long ago, and I was married to Morag’s son. The End.

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At last the long, stormy voyage came to an end. At dawn, on a calm, sunny autumn morning, the ship sailed past a long island, and cast anchor in a fine haven. There was a small, straggling town, built along the shore. Dark woods rose behind it and a range of forest clad hills towered in the distance beyond.

Immediately on arriving, the vessel was surrounded by a fleet of small boats, the occupants of which clambered up the sides of the ship on to the deck. Most of those people spoke English, but a few spoke in a tongue which was unknown to Morag.

A middle-aged man with a pleasant expression was talking to the Captain. He had a flowing beard, clear, kindly eyes and a nose shaped like an eagle’s beak.

Morag observed him and thought in her own mind -” What a fatherly look he has!”

As if he had heard the thought, he turned and looked at her attentively. The captain noted the look and drew the stranger aside.

The two talked in a low tone, giving Morag an occasional glance, which led her to understand that she herself was the subject of their conversation. She saw the stranger take out his purse and count down a sum into the Captain’s palm. Then he of the long beard came over where Morag was and said-”Follow me, my child, you will make a nice little maid for my wife,” and Morag followed, not at all willingly.

The man who had bought her was a Jew. He and his wife were a God-fearing couple, who daily read the Old Testament Scriptures and whose lives were moulded in accordance with its precepts. They treated the orphan kindly, which soon made her feel at home in the family and she did her best to please them.

One day, in the late autumn, when she had finished her household duties, she was sent into the woods to gather withered leaves for bedding for the cattle. Joyfully she sallied forth with a sack over her arm and bounded to the woods, which were quite near at hand. She set the sack on the ground with its mouth wide open and began to gather the leafs into heaps, so as to stuff them more easily into the sack, when she noticed a fine large heap at the foot of a tree, seemingly gathered together by an eddying wind. She went promptly to take possession of the heap, spread out her arms to their widest reach, and giving a vigorous plunge took up a great quantity. The heap at her feet billowed tumultuously, and with a bewildering whirl and rattling noise, a huge snake uncoiled itself and fled into the depths of the forest, in sheer fright at the unexpected invasion of its winter retreat.

Morag’s terror was such that she gave but one spring aside and then stood motionless as if paralyzed. Her unceremonious attack upon the covering of the sleeping snake had, however, filled it with as great an affright as her own, and it fled precipitately, leaving Morag to gather her leaves unmolested for the rest of the evening.

On another occasion Morag went into the same forest to gather sticks for fuel. She wandered hither and tither, picking up fallen branches and gathering them into heaps, ready to be taken home. When she found she had collected enough, she discovered that she had strayed farther into the wood than she had been aware of. To find the way back baffled her, and her efforts only led her deeper and deeper into its mazes.

Night was approaching. There were bears and panthers in the less frequented parts, as well as deer, and other harmless wild animals. What was she to do?

“Put your trust in the Father of the fatherless.”
whispered the girl to herself, and she waited with a quieted heart, fearing to go further into the unknown dangers.

In the dusky distance a human form appeared. Morag called out and some one heard and approached. It was a red Indian. He would not eat her up, that was one comfort! He could not speak English, but he beckoned her to follow him. The Indian led her to his wigwam and gave her over to the care of his wife. He had shot two birds, which the squaw plucked and roasted, giving Morag a generous share. Supper over, the woman motioned Morag to lie down to sleep on a heap of feathers that were in a corner of the hut. Morag thankfully laid herself down on the strange bed. How much better there than out all night in the woods in danger of being devoured by wild beasts!

Next morning the Indian again beckoned his little guest to follow him. He led her safely through the forest until they were within sight of the town on the outskirts of which was her home.

Thus did the orphan find both the Jew and Indian more compassionate and kind than her own so-called Christian countrymen, whose better feelings were seared by the love of gain. (To be continued….)

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Short indeed had been Morag’s stay in her grandmother’s house; but, bent upon her purpose of reaching aunt Flora, she left it and and took the road to Lochgilpead. When within a short distance of the little town, whom should she meet but the master of the vessel in which she had come from Appin only ten days before. The skipper recognized her instantly.

“Whither away now?” he asked, stopping on the middle of the road in front of her and shaking hands heartily.

“I am going to see my aunt Flora.”

“Your aunt Flora – Does she live in Lochgilpead?”

“No, she lives in Port Glasgow.”

The master stared at the child. “How do you expect to get there?” he asked.

“I’ll cross the ferry and walk the rest of the way.”

The skipper looked serious. “How does it happen that you are setting out thus, all alone?”

Morag answered not a word.

“Come, come!” said the skipper, “whatever the matter is, you must not be allowed to wander about the country in this friendless fashion; I have no time to lose and the “Maryanne” leaves for the Clyde in three hours. Go on to the landing at Lochgilpead. I’ll take you on board on my return and I’ll see to it you are safely lodged with your aunt.” So saying the kindly skipper walked off, leaving Morag to find her way to the landing.

The little maid was overjoyed to find her difficulties vanish through the timely appearance of her friend. She readily picked her way to the landing, opposite which the “Maryanne” lay at anchor, with the incoming tide lapping against her sides.

Once on board the vessel Morag was quite at home. It was delightful to sail backwards and forwards from one landing place to another and watch the little bustle that their arrival caused, as the flitted along the kyles, and up the Firth of Clyde. The master and his crew were so kind to her that she was quite sorry to come with him to her aunt’s house, as the had now reached Port Glasgow. On seeing her safe under her aunt’s care he bade her good-bye, charging her to be careful and not to get lost in the busy streets that were so unlike her country home, as he should not be there to look after her again. So saying he went back to his ship.

Her aunt received Morag with open arms. Her quick, helpful ways made her a welcome quest in the household. She was a bright, intelligent little lassie, apt in learning whatever work she was set to do and doing it well.

Not long after her arrival, Morag was sent by her aunt for groceries to a shop near the Clyde. A glimpse toward the little forest of masts at the water side awakened pleasant associations. She would run down and see whether the “Maryanne” was still there; it would take but a few minutes.

Instead of the “Maryanne” she found there was large ship, oh, so much larger and finer than the one in which she had sailed up the Clyde. She stood still wrapt in admiration.

“Would you not like to see the inside of this grand vessel, my child?” inquired a soft voice at her side.

Morag looked up into the face of a lady clad in a long scarlett cloak, such as were common at the time. How kind of such a fine lady to offer such a treat! How good everybody in the world seemed to be!

Morag glanced at her basket and again at the ship. The lady saw the glance an understood her hesitation. “I am going on board now, it would not take long to have a look around. The vessel is starting almost immediately, so we must be quick, – come!” and the lady stepped on to the gangway. Morag was persuaded. She followed her conductress and was soon absorbingly interested.

Suddenly she missed the lady. At the same moment she realized that her aunt must be wondering at her long absence. She ran hither and tither in search of the lady. but nowhere could she be found. She climbed the companion ladder just in time to see the scarlett cloak disappear round the corner of the next street. She flew to the gangway to find it was being withdrawn. The anchor was weighed, the cables were being coiled up; the ship was under way. In vain did Morag implore the sailors to put her ashore. They gruffly bade her get out of the way!

Before night the ship was down the Clyde, and tossing on the open sea. Hungry and miserable Morag crept into a sheltered nook among the cargo on deck.

Her stock of English was but small, yet she was able to gather from what she overheard that the ship was bound for an American port. She also concluded, in her shrewd little mind, that the scarlett woman had purposely left her on board. Not without cause had the skipper given her warning to be careful.

Then suddenly there flashed upon the troubled child all the faithful counsel spoken by the lips of her dying father, and disregarded until now. Clearly and impressively the words came sounding back in her memory- “If you do not in time control your impulsive spirit it may lead you into trouble.” Morag burst into tears. She looked upwards to the clear, starry sky. There was the Plough shining on high as she used to see it when twinkling above Ben Bheithir. Again came her father’s words, dropping this time like dew upon her tarnished spirit-”Put your trust in the Father of the fatherless.”

“Oh, my own darling daddy!” she whispered to herself, “you are far, far away; far above those shining stars, but I will do as you bade me. I will place my trust in the Father of the fatherless. I was impulsive in coming on board this ship, instead of doing at once what I was sent to do. Oh, how can I now help my mother as I so glibly promised!” and at these thoughts Morag’s tears flowed afresh.

But her tears were not now so bitter. A sense of the Father of the orphan being near and watching over her gave strength as well as relief. She dried her tears and considered how she should act. Her mind became clear and resolved. She would return home as soon as a way of escape offered, and said she”whatever happens, these men must not see me cry!” Then, cold and hungry as she was, she fell asleep.

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Another story was that of a little Appin girl, who was stolen when she was nine years of age. Her name was Morag. She was the eldest of four when he father died. The family lived in the Middle Shieling, a lonely spot up among the hills.

Morag’s uncle, her mother’s brother, had come to her father’s funeral from Kilmartin. It was arranged while he was there that he should take Morag and one of the younger children to live with his mother and himself.
The young widow and the two remaining little ones were to live with the Appin grandmother, and thus an opportunity was made for the children’s mother to earn her own living and theirs, by going out to field work or other labour.

The uncle, with his young charges, took passage in a coasting vessel, which was to leave them at Craignish, whence they could make their way to Kilmartin.

The children were but a few days in their new home when the grandmother missed a shilling which, she said, she had laid on a shelf of the cupboard with her own hands. She accused Morag of having taken it. Morag indignantly denied having touched the coin; she had not even seen it, she said, much less taken it. Despite the child’s vehement assertions of innocence, the old lady was firmly convinced that Morag and no other had pilfered the shilling. Morag keenly resented the insult. Her uncle was absent, having gone to attend a market at some distance. She could not appeal to him, and even if she did, he would be more likely to believe his mother’s version of the story than hers. The thought became unendurable.

Morag promptly resolved what to do. Her Aunt Flora, a sister of her father’s, lived in Port Glasgow. Her aunt knew her, knew that she was incapable of taking the shilling. She would set out for Port Glasgow in the early morning, before her grandmother was up, and before she could be missed. She would find her way to her aunt’s house, and once there was sure of a welcome.

No sooner was the sun up than Morag got up too, dressed herself quickly, slipped quietly out of the house, and took the road to Lochgilphead, en route for Port Glasgow.

When her uncle was returned, Morag was gone.

The grandmother told about the loss of the shilling, and that she had charges Morag with the theft. Her son was distressed. “And if she had taken it twenty times over you have been too harsh towards the child,” he exclaimed. “When knows whether she did take it? She does not seem to me to be one likely to do such a thing.”

“There was no one else within the door since you left;who could take it but she, the little brat!” cried the old woman angrily; “to have fled as she has done but proves her guilt.”

“I’m not at all sure of that,” said Duncan. “But, however that may be, it means that I must make another long journey to Appin; her mother confided the girl to my care and I am responsible for her.”

“You will find her there before you, take my word for it. She has doubtless run home to Mammie to be petted!”

“God grant I may find her there, as you say, mother,” replied Duncan. “Meanwhile, there is a fairing for you,” and he flung a tiny packet on the table.

“Good lad! It is mindful of you to bring a new supply just when it is needed,” exclaimed the mother, producing her snuff-box and beginning to refill it. There was a little over, so she reached down another old box from the cupboard shelf. On opening the lid, she paused, then upraising her left hand, she cried–” What came over me? How did I forget? Here is the shilling where my own hand placed it!”

“So you see Morag is not guilty after all, and I am right glad for her sake that the shilling has been found so quickly,” remarked Duncan.

With a short delay as possible, he set out for Appin, inquiring as he went whether a child of Morag’s description had been seen passing northward. But no trace of Morag could be found.

On arriving at the Middle Sheiling, he found his sister still at home; but no Morag was there. He related his story with such evident sorrow that his grief, not withstanding her own heavy heart, caused her to control her feelings, and instead of laying any blame on him or on her mother, she sought to comfort him.

But what was to be done? They talked the matter over until there seemed to be no more left to be said. They mutually promised that whichever of them should first hear tidings of Morag should immediately send word to the other.

While still musing over possibilities, the grandmother suggested–”Do you think it at all likely that Morag may have gone to seek out her Aunt Flora?”

Duncan looked inquiringly at his sister. “Who knows but that the same thought may have occurred to her,” she said, answering his look. “Flora was always so mindful of her; but would Morag have the courage to attempt it alone.”

“We shall soon find that out!” said Duncan. “I will go home now in case she may have returned; if she has not, I will seek Flora out and discover whether she has heard or seen anything of the little runaway.”

The suggestion brought some hope and encouragement to all hearts in the Shieling. Because of it, Duncan departed with more cheerfulness and hope of success than he had dared to cherish until it was mooted. Still the three people who loved Morag most had now to enter upon a long period of suspense, which tried their faith and patience sorely, for in those days – not so very remote – there were neither steamships nor even penny postage, not to speak of the electric telegraph.

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Old Kate Thompson told this story:

The years after Culloden, began Kate, were sore years for us Highlanders. It became quite a profitable trade to kidnap people and sell them as slaves to work on the sugar and cotton plantations of the West Indies and the Southern States of Maryland and Virginia in North America. Highland children were considered to be lawful prey as often as they could be laid hands on. On one occasion seven boys left the island of Luing for the Lowlands to be hired as herd boys for the spring and summer, intending to return home in autumn after all crops had been housed. They looked forward to winter as the season for going to school. With cheerful hearts they set out for the Lowlands in a trading vessel bound for Port Glasgow, which was then the port of call for all Glasgow shipping craft. They were to land there and make their way as best they could to the outlying farm lands.

The lads could not tear themselves away from the wharf without a look at the big ships that lay alongside, loading and unloading their cargoes. They stood gazing with admiration at one beauty that had specially attracted their attention:-

“Would you like to have a look over the vessel before she starts, my lads?” asked a pleasant voice beside them. There was no need to wait an answer. Of course they would.

“Follow me then,” said the man, and he led the way on board followed by the unsuspecting boys, who were seen absorbed in examining the various parts of the ship. While still deeply engrossed the ship weighed anchor and set sail.

Before finally starting for America she called at an English port to take in further supplies. One of the boys was a bright, intelligent lad named James McIntyre. Him the cook took on shore to carry the basket of purchases to be made at a butcher’s shop near the quay. While the cook was bargaining with the shopman, James set down his basket and went to the door. First looking stealthily up and down the street he bolted round the nearest corner before the cook could reach the door.

James lived for some years in England and returned to his native island in the Western Hebrides as soon as he had laid up enough to pay his way back. By that time he was able to take care that he should not again be entrapped by fair speeches into unknown dangers. It was only then that the fate of the other six boys became known to the sorrowing parents. James was ever afterwards known as “Seumas Sassunnach” -English James. His daughter was the mother of Allan Cameron, the grieve at Achananoon; and that daughter was one of my companions in early girlhood. (To be continued….)

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This is a story from the newspaper in Oban, a little town just south of where the McLaurins lived in the Appin area. I say the “Appin area” because as it turns out, Appin is a very small village and there is little likelihood that the McLaurins actually lived in the town itself. It is much more likely that we lived in the glens (valleys) in the surrounding area. We know that Hugh McLaurin (Hugh of Glennahyle) lived in the glen very near Appin called Gleann na H-Iola (anglicized to Glennahyle) because it is on his daughter’s tombstone in Stewartsville cemetery, Laurinburg, NC. The area around Appin is generally delimited by Loch Etive in the south, Loch Linnhe in the west and Loch Leven in the north and I suppose you could draw a line from where Loch Etive ends straight north to Kinlochleven and say that’s the boundary in the east. In reality it’s a lot fuzzier than that, but it will do.

This story was printed in 1925, in the Oban Times. It starts with a rendition of what holidays were like in Appin in 1850. While our family left some 60 years before then, I think it provides a good flavor of what holidays may have been like in times a bit more distant than the initial story. After relating how the holidays were, the story moves into the tale of Morag McLaurin, a resident of Appin in the middle 18th century. We hear the story of how a young girl, whose father died, had to go live with her relatives and was then spirited away to America, made an indentured servant and her eventual return Appin. How many stories must have turned out differently than this one!? The story is quite long so I’ll break it into several posts.

The story begins:

A New Year’s Ceilidh - 1850, Appin, Scotland

Appin had been at one time to a great extent Episcopalian, and this, no doubt, was at the root of the observance of Christmas as well as New Year’s Day. Not that it was held as a religious holiday, but, equally with New Year’s Day, the youth of the whole district gathered for the great Shinty matches of the year.

As a counter attraction, the Teacher’s wife spared no pains in preparing home pleasures for her young people; one of which was to invite a few friends, both young and old, for the evening of both days, when a sumptuous tea was laid out in the best room, and the evening was prolonged till the guests chose to depart. So, when Kate Thompson arrived with a full set of shinties, she was retained to pluck fowls, and help all round. For ten days beforehand there were aromatic odours of ginger cake, pound cake, and shortbread with designs formed of sweets as hard as chucky-stones; oatcakes with caraway seed, and other delights pervading the atmosphere; and the final result was a triumph of culinary art. It was on the fifth and twelfth of January these holidays were kept.

No porridge was made on these mornings. The day began by giving the cattle a sheaf each of oats instead of the usual straw, and every other living creature about the house was regaled, each according to its capacity for enjoyment. The family breakfast was fried home-cured bacon and eggs, with soda scones, thin scones made with boiling milk and a bit of butter, freshly toasted curled farls of oatcake, and fragrant China tea.

But the tea-table in the evening was a picture to be remembered. Lighted by four stately, frilled candles in glittering brass candlesticks, the snowy linen, the glasses of cut crystal with ruby red currant jelly, strawberry jam, and honey, the plates piled high with all kinds of home-baked delights, all together suggested boundless hospitality and over flowing goodwill.

The feast disposed of, the tables, with folded leaves, were moved aside to give more room, and the quests made a wide circle around the brightly burning fire. There were quiet games for the children; riddles were given out, and answered; then, finally came the story-telling. (To be continued…)

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scottish immigrationI was perusing the land records on the Bureau of Land Management web site over the weekend. They have a fairly nice set up for searching all the old land patents. You can get the image of the actual land patent and there is a linked map which will show you where the land actually is. Daniel McLaurin had quite a number of these land patents as did Duncan McLaurin. Duncan and Daniel’s land adjoined each other with Duncan’s being further east and surrounding Daniel’s to the south in kind of a backwards “L” shape. Daniel’s was mostly in Simpson County with some of it going into Jefferson Davis County. Duncan’s was in Simpson County, down into Covington County and then over into Jefferson Davis County. Archibald Hugh had one patent for 80 acres that he bought in the 1880s. That was located over by Bridgeport in Simpson County where the rest of his land was. I think Cousin Amanda Mitchell has been doing a lot of research on land records, but I really haven’t delved into that resource until now.

My project for the web site is going to be to download the images and get them put up and then get screenshots of the map and get those images up. Then I can write something, probably a blog post laying out what the land is and how much of it there was for each of the people for whom I find information.

I also found a research CD-Rom, and ordered it, that is a compilation of many books and other resources for Scottish immigrants. It’s a two volume set, so if this one is good, I’ll get the other volume too. The CD is “Scottish Immigrants to North America, 1600s-1800s. The Collected Works of David Dobson. Volume Two.” I’ll post any info I get up here.

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