Visit of Neil McLaurin to Scotland (1838?)

(Editor's Note: This story is published in Neil McLaurin's genealogical book Creag an Tuirc on page 453. The preamble to the story is quite confusing and I'll type it and then discuss it so the discussion with have context in the reader's mind. The other item that causes some vexation is the date, 1838. In so many ways that doesn't make sense according to the story. I'll add a post story note to address the date issue. This is only and extract of the letter and there is a reference to McLaurin, 1985, another work which would contain the entire letter. I'll try to find that and if I do, I'll put the complete letter up here.)

John C. McLaurin wrote an interesting letter on 22 December 1838, to his uncle, Duncan McLaurin, Esq., Simpson Co., Mississippi, USA (McLaurin ?1985). This letter reports a visit made by his cousin, Neill McLaurin of Wilmington, who returned from a visit to Scotland in 1838 (the same year that the James McLaurin family arrived in Australia). Extracts from this letter are quoted below:

(Editor's note: John C. McLaurin would be John Calhoun McLaurin, my 3rd great grandfather (1811-1887). My 2nd great grandfather Archibald Hugh McLaurin was born in 1838. I may have placed Duncan, but he lived in Covington county not Simpson county. This would have been John's uncle through Nancy (Calhoun) McLaurin. Duncan would have been Nancy's mother's brother. His father would have been Hugh of Glennahyle. John moved to MS when he was but 8 years old, I'm uncertain how he came to be in communication with a cousin in Wilmington although, Daniel was still alive and certainly had communicaitons with friends and relatives in North and South Carolina. A letter received by Daniel in the 1820s is reprinted elsewhere on this site. Perhaps then, John had knowledge of this from a letter to Daniel and was passing this information on.)


I started out for Scotland (from Liverpool) in the Glasgow steam boat John Blood on the 15th of July and arrived in Glasgow next day at 12 O'clock. In three days I went to Edinburgh by Canal in 8 hours from Glasgow. I returned to Glasgow and after 2 days departed in the steamboat Maid of Morven for Appin when I arrived at Port Appin in about 30 hours from Glasgow. On my way I stopped at Oban where I sent to see our relation Dr. Malcolm McLaurin. He was exceedingly glad to see me and asked a great many questions relating to his relations. His recollection of themis truly extraordinary. I could stay with him but 10 minutes but called on him on my return and stayed a half hour. He proposed taking a glass of Scotch Whiskey (sic) with meand we parted after I promised to write himafter my return home. There was a crowd at Port Appin when I landed. I spoke in the Gaelic language which by the by I speak better than any of them.... I went by a pressing invitation to the house of Duncan McKenzie who lives at Blachasgaig (near Port Appin) and there remained during my stay in Appin. In 2 days I went to Glenetive. Was in the house in which I was born. I was went upto the top of Benchirch. It was one of the finest July days that ever graced the top of that high and venerable mountain ... hard to the west was the well known Ben Starav and a little more remote Chrnochan Benn to the north and to the northwest the mountains of Mull .... A little to the east is Inverfaolain at the head of Loch Tollaie.... The whole of Druimatchoish (farm in Glenetive) is rented by Mr. Paul McColl, son of Soloman McColl of Corven.... I met by accident John McIntyre, son of Malcolm McIntyre of Invercharnan. He showed me no kindness whatever. He and a brother of his have 7 or 8 farms in different places 3 of them in the Etive Glen. Say the three farms above Druimatchoish on the same side of the river they are said to be rich.... Our uncle John died about 2 years ago and left a widow and sone (stone mason) and 4 daughters -- very fine children I was told by their acquaintance. In Glasgow I stayed one night with Mr. Neill McColl, son of Duncan Roy feuer a near relation of ours.... I was in company with Paul McColl who used to be our shepherd. He is a very fine old man. I also saw Lauchlin Og McLaurin a soldier of the 71st Reg't (this appears to have been the 86th Reg't), who was in America during the revolution. On my return to Glasgow I found out Archibald McColl, son of Malcolm McColl of Druimatchoish and some of his sisters. He is a merchant in Glasgow highly respectable.

(Editor's note: In the book the original letter is typed verbatim. I corrected the spelling and place name errors for ease of use. Back to the question of whether this can be from 1838. Perhaps the bit that gives me the greatest pause is at the end when Lauchlin is mentioned as having been "in America during the revolution." It's not clear whether this was meant to mean he was a soldier in the British army then or merely living in America. Either way, he's quite old to be a soldier in 1838. The revolution was 1775-1781. If he was born in 1778, he would have been 60 at the time of this visit. Either something got lost here, or the visit happened much earlier and was being relayed to Duncan in 1838, some years after the actual visit. I might believe a soldier in his 50s, but 60 or beyond would have been unheard of unless they were flag rank. I would think this must have happened )