The following is a transcription of a document written by Norman Angus MacEachern, my great-grandfather. In it he writes about a trip he and his wife took to Scotland sometime on or before 1959 in search of information about his ancestors and the history of the name MacEachern.
The original scanned document is available here (68mb). I’ve added links to relevant information in the transcription. Apologies for any transcription errors. If you happen to find any, please let me know.
Photo credit: Stramollach Ruins by Mark
I’ve also plotted the places Norman and Agnes visited on their journey. Enjoy!
A Search For Our Ancestors
In different countries of the world, there are many people with the same surname,– MacEachern. And yet they do not appear to be related. However they probable [sic] are descendants of the same clan in Scotland, a clan which, at one time, may have been very powerful but backed losing causes and met financial reverses.
Our branch of the Clan came to Canada about 1811 and settled along the Ottawa River. Three men born in Argyllshire married three MacDonald sisters and emigrated during that troublous time know as the “Clearances.” From 1803 to 1823 the lairds were clearing the crofters off the land, burning their small cottages and turning their small fields into sheep pastures. It is reported that one bedridden old lady was burned in her cottage. It was indeed troublous times, and it is no wonder our ancestors braved three months in a sailing vessel to cross the broad Atlantic Ocean and start anew in a wilderness called Canada, mostly inhabited by Indians and the French.
Duncan MacEachern married Marion MacDonald; John McCallum married Margret MacDonald and Robert MacLachlan married Mary MacDonald. They are buried in the Lochaber Bay Cemetery near Ottawa. The Committee in charge of this cemetery are to be highly complimented on the neat and tidy appearance of this very old burial ground. On the tombstones of each of these old pioneers it is recorded that they were born in Argyllshire. But what part of Argyllshire? There are thirty nine registry offices at which their births could have been registered. Nor do we have the exact data of their births. Would the names given to their settlements in Canada indicate the part of Argyllshire from which they came? Such names as Lochaber, Thurso, Glencoe, Glengarry, Cumberland and Rockland are a few of the many Scottish settlements on the Ottawa River near Lochaber Bay Cemetery.
When my wife (formerly Agnes Jean MacDonald) and I arrived in Edinburgh, the first place we visited was the Scottish Tourist Bureau where Mr. Iain F. Anderson gave us invaluable assistance and many suggestions to help us trace our ancestors. When we were leaving he presented us a copy of his new book, “Scotland”, a collection of many lovely photographs of old Scotia. Miss Oliver, the Librarian at the Central Library in Edinburgh, traced for us the different migrations from Scotland to other parts of the world. In 1760-1770 the Jacbobite refugees migrated and after the very severe famine in 1783, many more left their native land. Then there was more migration between 1803 and 1823 (The Clearances) on account of the introduction of sheep raising and the increase in population.
Then we visited the Scottish Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh and made a valuable discovery. On exhibition there is an exact replica of an old Celtic Cross which now stands in the market place at Campbeeltown [sic], Argyllshire. It is over ten feet high and dates about 1500 A.D., – about the time Columbus discovered America. The interpretation of the Gaelic inscription thereon is as follows: “This is the cross of Sir Ivar M’Eachern, once Rector of Kylrecan, and of Sir Ivar, his son, Rector of Kilchoman, who caused this Cross to be made.” This pointed to an old settlement of MacEacherns at Campbeltown in southern Kintyre Argyllshire, and we decided to visit there later.
From Edinburgh we went to Fort William and then along Loch Ness to Inverness. The Loch Ness monster did not put in appearance but a lady riding in the bus with my wife, was one of a party of seven people who saw it in the vicinity of the old Urquhart Castle. Nor did we locate any MacEacherns in this area as we seemed to be too far north. However we did secure a list of all the MacEacherns in Western Scotland who had telephones. This list came in very handy later on.
The MacEacherns had no separate tartan of their own. The institution of clan tartans was a later development. Also tartans were originally district tartans, rather than clan tartans. Thus the Murray tartan is correctly the Athold tartan and has always been worn by all the people of Athol. It is never called the Murray tartan in Athol, but always the Athol tartan. Similarly the correct tartan for the MacEacherns is the tartan of the MacDonalds of the Isles, Lords of Argyllshire, the home of the MacEacherns, where they had at least five estates.
The MacEacherns and the MacDonalds were closely associated as clans occupying territory in the same districts of Scotland, namely Kintyre and the Western Isles. The MacDonalds were a great clan numerically, but were not once of the “SIOL” clans, that is great stock clans or seed clans. But as Lords of the Isles they were a powerful clan and had the use of the swords of other clans in the district including the MacEacherns, the MacAllisters and the MacInnnes [sic], whose old name was MacEachern. But this circumstance did not make these clans septs of the MacDonalds. There was a MacEachern in the Council of the Lords of the Isles in Mull, according to a manuscript written in the reign of Charles II.
From Fort Williams we went to Oban, which is about the centre of Argyllshire and well served by railway, bus and steamer. Here we were treated to Highland hospitality in the home of Mr. & Mrs. J. Dunn of Glenroy on Rockfield Road. Also attended their son, Ians, wedding, – a lovely wedding and a lovely bride. We visited Tobermory on the Isle of Mull and spent a very interesting evening at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Nesbit. Mrs. Nesbitt [sic] was formerly a Miss MacEachern of Islay. There are large and ancient settlements of MacEacherns on both the Isles of Mull and Islay and our ancestors could have come from either of these islands. At one time in the village of Conisby on Islay, the villagers were all MacEacherns and all pipers, – and very good pipers too.
From Tobermory we went by car and ferry to Iona, – the Sacred Isle. St. Columba landed in Iona in 563 A.D. and the existing Benedictine Abbey was founded in 1203 by Reginald MacDonald of the Isles. Buried in the ancient cemetery are forty eight Scots kings, four Irish Kings and seven Norwegian kings. There can be few places throughout Christendom who whose soil is so rich in the dust of princes, prelates and saints. The Iona Community is a Church of Scotland brotherhood composed of ministers and laymen founded in 1938 by the very Reverend George MacLeod. During the summer months the Community has its headquarters on Iona when the members are engaged on rebuilding the ruined monastery as their future home. The work of rebuilding the Abbey is also progressing very well. So may St. Columba’s prophecy be fulfilled:
In Iona of my heart, Iona of my love,
Instead of monk’s voices shall be lowing of cattle;
But ere the world come to an end,
Iona shall be as it was
According to that prophecy it may be later than we think. There is a large settlement of MacEacherns on the Isle of Mull across the channel from Iona.
At Tobermory we boarded the steamer “Claymore” for Lochboisdale on South Uist in the Hebrides. We visited Mr. Finley MacKenzie, propreitor of the Lochboisdale Hotel. Imagine our surprise when we found out that he was formerly a Sergeant in the Royal North West Mounted Police and stationed at MacLeod and other points in Southern Alberta before World War I. He told us a very interesting story of Neil MacEachern, a relative of Flora MacDonald, who escaped with Prince Charlie to France in 1745. In France the French people had considerable difficulty in pronouncing the name MacEachern, so Neil MacEachern changed his name to Eachan MacDonald. He married a French woman and one of their sons became quite famous in Napoleons army as Marshall MacDonald, Duke of Tarenton. Then Mrs. MacKenzie brought us two large volumes, – Recollections of Marshall MacDonald”. After Napoleon’s defeat Marshall MacDonald swore allegiance to the King of France. At Waterloo he offered his services to the Duke of Wellington and served with distinction in that great battle. After Waterloo the Duke of Wellington invited Marshall MacDonald to visit him in England and the invitation was accepted. While Marshall MacDonald was the guest of the Iron Duke he expressed his wish to visit his father’s birthplace in Lochboisdale. The British government put a ship at his disposal and he arrived safely at Lochboisdale. From the village he walked twelve miles to Howmore, where his father, Neil MacEachern, had been born. Imagine his disappointment when he found that the people could talk Gaelic only, and he, only French and English. A dead end, so Marshall MacDonald returned to France.
By this time we were looking at our watch as the “CLAYMORE” was scheduled to remain in port only two hours and my wife had remained on board. We were very pleased indeed to have the Captain of the “Claymore” arrive to visit the MacKenzies for we knew the boat would not leave without the Captain. We wish to thank Mr. & Mrs. MacKenzie for treating us so royally on our brief visit to Lochboisdale.
Back to Oban and we prepared to move south to Campbeltown. We were indeed fortunate to accompany Mr. A.B. MacArthur who was attending a meeting in Campbeltown that afternoon. Under his guidance we were able to take many colored pictures of the beautiful scenery along the way. We visited Arnicle, Glenn Barr, the home of the MacArthurs, who are both Oxford graduates and have six thousand acres in the Glen, with nineteen hundred sheep, some cattle and one hundred and sixty acres of cultivated land. Glen Barr is a lovely glen with a trout stream and at one time may have been an estate of the MacEacherns. We did not meet Mrs. MacArthur at this time but on our bus trip later, from Campbeltown to Glasgow a lady took the seat in front of us at Glen Barr store and turning around remarked, – “Are you Mr. MacEachern? My mother met you and told me that Mr. MacEachern had a wonderful outdoor complexion.” (This is an idea for a mystery story, – identification by complexion.). Mrs. MacEachern and I enjoyed our bus trip to Glasgow very much as Mrs. MacArthur pointed out to us each point of interest enroute.
At Campbeltown the first item of interest, of course, was the MacEachern Cross, a replica of which we had discovered in the Museum of Antiquities at Edinburgh. The Cross had been moved from the centre of Main street to the Market Square near the Pier. It is in excellent repair and probably the best preserved of the old Celtic crosses erected about 1500 A.D. The front of the Cross has been defaced in three places. The story is that during the reformation a stone mason took a hammer and chisel and chiseled away the crucifx and other images. Therfor the cross was not destroyed as others were at that time. What is the history of the MacEachern Cross? Why was it erected? Is there an ecclesiastical line of MacEacherns? We wended our way to the Library House on Shore St. in Campbeltown, where Mr. E. McKiernan gave us invaluable assistance and refered us to three books.
The first book was, “The Surnames of Scotland”, an American book, which on page 489 deals with the surname MacEachern, MacEachran, C. MacEach-thigh-earna, Son of the Horse Lord. The name goes back to Oir, when it appears as Each-tigern. Mentioned is a cross at Kilkerran near Campbeltown, Kintyre, which was probably erected to Colin MacEachern, who was Chief of the Clan in 1499. On this Cross is a very interesting Coat of Arms. There is the galley of the Isles, near the base of the Cross, and the small shield with trefoil depending from the rigging. That was the family coat of arms, which the MacEacherns used but never recorded.
The second book, “Something about the Campbeltown Cross” was written in 1922 by Col. C. MacTaggart, CSI, CIE. He disclaims the theory that the Cross was stolen from Iona. He claims the MacEacherns were Rectors of Kilkeven, four miles from Campbeltown. Because of the wording on the MacEachern Cross “This is the Cross”, he contends that it is a wayside cross, – to warn pilgrims they are nearing the place to which they are making their pilgrimage. He also mentions that sixteen years after Dunaverty fell, the ninth Earl of Argyll gave back to the heirs of the MacEacherns all of their Kintyre estates.
The third book was “Archeological Sketches in Scotland”, – Kintyre, Chapter 8, Campbeltown, by Captain White R.E. He describes the private burial ground of the MacEacherns and how the Clan Eachern of Killelan was an ancient tribe. He then described the defacing of the MacEachern Cross. He mentions that the MacEachern geneology contains about a dozen names, from father to son, and is headed “Genelach Clann Ectigearne”.
Mc. McKiernan then brought us a cardboard box containing many exhibits of the Kintyre Antiquarian Society. One of the members of this Society was Archie McEachran, who lived at Kilblaan, Southend. The late Archie McEachran delved very deeply into the history of Clan MacEachern. All his notes and findings were presented to the Kintyre Antiquarian Society by Mr. Robert Klley in December 1956. There is considerable correspondence with American MacEacherns from many of the States of the Union. A Clan MacEachern Society has been formed in the United States.
There is an Ecclesiastical line of MacEacherns of four generations:
Yvarus – Rector of Kilkerran in South Kintyre before 1370
His son – Andreas – Rector of Kilkerran in South Kintyre about 1370, and also Rector of Kilchoman in Islay before 1376.
His son – Yvarus Filius Andrei, Rector of St. Malruba in Islay 1437.
Andrew MacEachern, Rector of Kilchoman and Ellenfinan in Ardnamurchan in North Argyll, died 1515.
The Skene manuscript in the Advocates Library at Edinburgh gives the pedigree of the “Siol MacEachern” for eighteen generations prior to 1434 as follows:
COMI of the Hundred Battles, Scottish Irish King, AD 177 – 212. Colla NCUIS (4th Century). (ANOTHER) AID-AEAA-RATH SIOL EACHERN ATH EATGAR ANDREA EATGAR ANGRAMUR MURDOCH MAIN (Norse influence) Nicol (Norse influence) FINLAY FERCHAR SETH (Disiab – latter half of 12th century and founder of Killelan family). CORMAC MACEARTACH MacRATH GILCHRIST MacRath (ICIAR – same as Icreuit but maybe IVAIR) COLIN ANDREW (Gillamandrias – servant of my St. Andrew) Died 1434.
Exhibit #338 of the Kintyre Antiquarian Society deposited in the Library House at Campbelton is the most complete research on Clan MacEachern we found in our travels. It is “THE CLAN MacEachern” by Arch. McEachran of Kilblaan, Southend, and dated March 26th, 1952. We give it now word for word as written by the late Arch. McEachran:
The Gaelic form of the name is MacEachthighearna, – Son of the Horse Lord, and our clan has always been associated with the County of Argyll in the west of Scotland. There may be some significance to the fact that the name given to the Mull of Kintyre in the geography of Ptolemy in 140 AD is Epidon Akron, Promotory of the Epidii, which is derived from the Old British word Epos, a horse; the Epidii being the horse folk inhabiting Kintyre at that time. The arrival of the Scots from Ireland caused the old British language to be superseded by Gaelic, – the British P became C or CH; hence Epos (a horse) became Ech or Each. On the other hand the clan name may be derived more directly from the ancestor bearing the old personal name Each-thighearn, – the name which also appears in the old Irish records as far back as 847 AD. Although this name does not appear among the eighteen generations given in the manuscript of 1450 one must take into account that the transcriber was unable to decipher number five on the list, and this may indeed have been the individual whose anme was perpetuated in the clan.
Before 1000 AD there were no surnames in Scotland as we know them. Each individual had but a single name, and this usage led to a multiplicity of quaint old names giving a very varied and interesting Gaelic nomenclature. Some of these names have long since entirely disappeared; some like Dombnall, Eoghan, etc. have been in uninterrupted use from the earliest period of which we have any record, right down to our own time; while many other, though long obselete as Christian names are still preserved in our surnames.
The prefixing of Mac, son, to the genetive of the fathers name or “O”, grandson to that of the grandfather, gave rise to a great many of our Scottish and Irish surnames. Tradition of our own clan, going back to the 12th century, seems to confirm that by the time the surname MacEachern had been firmly fixed. The Chief of that period, – Toshech Ban MacEachran (Fair haired Toshash) was proprietor of Nether Craignish on the western coast of Mid Argyll, but made over his estate to his foster son Dugall Campbell, third son of Campbell of Lochow and travelled south and founded a new home at Killelan in South Kintyre, which was occupied by his descendants for more than five hundred years.
One is entitled to ask, – does the name Toshash (sometimes given as Joshach) fit in with one of the names in the clan geneology? The writer puts forward his own theory that the name may be a corruption of the name DISIAB (#11 in the list) but is content to leave the solution to someone who is better qualified to tackle the problem.
Of the next generation in Kintyre very little can be learned except that several of them were churchmen and there would appear to be four connective generations of these beginning wit Yvarus who was Rector of Kilkerran, now Campbeltown about 1350; his son, Andrew, who succeeded his father as Rector of Kilkerran and also was Rector of Kilchoman in Islay by 1376; Yvarius filius Andrei, Rector of St. Moloubha in Islay in 1434 and Andrew, presumably a son of Yvar who was Rector of Kilchoman and Ellinfinan in Ardnamuchan and who died before 1515. The lovely old Celtic cross which adorns the lower end of main street in Campbeltown commemorates two of these ecclesiastics and is considered to be one of the finest of its kind in all of Scotland.
Concurrently with the foregoing, the successive heads of the Clan at Kilellan held the office of Mair of South Kintyre under the Lords of the Isles, and one of them, presumably while his kinsman was Rector, mortified the one markland of Glanramskilbeg to the Altar of the Church of Kilkerran.
The early years of the 16th century let in a flood of light on the records of Kintyre. By that time the lands of North and South Kintyre had come directly under the Crown in the person of King James the Fourth, following the foreiture of the family of the Isles at the end of the previous century. The new dispensation seems to have caused no inconvenience to the local inhabitants and the old office bearers were reinstated under the Crown and retained the freehold of their old lands. Colin MacEachran of Kilellan was at that time Mair of South Kintyre and we find that in the rentals of 1505-1506 that he had freehold of eight marklands, consisting of Kelellan, Pennygown, Gaotloakan, Ellerig and Armascavoch. He also had rented the twelve marklands of Achnaglach, Lagnacrag (now Homestone), Kerrafaur (Carnaf Maenad), and Teirdonyl (now Bullybrennan), Douglas, Strong and Upper Glendale. Other MacEacherns of this period were Gillespie who was tenant of the 7½ marklands including Nigle, Achequhook (now Oatfield) etc. Angus tenant of 4½ marklands of Knockriobeg etc.; John tenant of 5½ marklands of Knock riochmore etc. John tenant of 12½ marklands of Kinloch etc Achern (Eachran) tenant of 2 marklands of Kerramenach and Miklach and Andrew (the Rector) tenant of 3 marklands or Garvalt and Stokeadill in North Kintyre.
I have given the line of Colin’s immediate descendants in the genealogical tree. For a time after 1541 during the minority of John Roy MacEachern the Mair of South Kintyre was held by MacNachtanMior and the lands of Kilellan were for a few years in the possession of James MacConyll of Duneveg in Islay. When John of Kilellan resigned his office of Mair in favor of his son Andrew in 1601 it was recorded of him that he served the King without defect. The tombstone of Andrew lies within the low stone walled enclosure in Kilkerran near Campbeltown and bears this inscription, – “Here Lyes Andrew McEachern of Killeland who depairted this mortal lyfe in the first of May the year of God 1641.” This inscription is clearly cut but has obviously been more deeply chisled at some intervening period and the date now reads 1611.
This slab was probably placed there by his successor Angus of Kilellan who lost his own life six years later in the massacre of about 300 defenders of Dunaverty Castle. The garrison had to surrender to General David Leslie in the summer of 1647 and every man murdered. The estates of Angus were forfeited and were held by the Marquis of Argyll until restored to his eldest son Colin in 1659. His second son whose name appears to have been John took up business as a merchant in Campbeltown.
Colin’s first marriage was to Annabella daughter of Neil McNeill of Carsboy and had two sons Angus and Neil and daughter Isabel. His second wife was Elizabeth Chrystie. The elder son seems to have died before coming of age. Neil married Margaret Bethune, daughter of Rev. John Bethun, minister of Baracadale in Skye but had no family. Isabel married Margaret’s brother, Farquhar Bethune and had six sons and probably some daughters. Her eldest son, Angus, afterwards became Chief of the Bethunes of Skye.
When Colin took over Kilellan the family fortunes seem to have been at a low ebb, and the situation deteriorated as the years went on. The same thing happened in like circumstances to other small estates in the district and before another generation had passed, several of them had become mortgaged up to the hilt and eventually passed into other hands. This happened to Kilellan and when Neil died, some time before 1745, there was probably little property left to his name. It is recorded that his brother-in-law Farquhar Bethune found himself a loser rather than a gainer by the succession.
The heir male of the family of MacEachern passed on Neil’s death to his cousin’s son, John MacEachern, merchant in Campbeltown who thus became the last recorded Chief of the Clan. The following extracts are from the register of the services of heirs; (1) John MacEachern was served heir to Grand Uncle Colin MacEachern of Killelane Heir General on March 28th, 1745. (2) John MacEachern, son of John MacEachern merchant of Campbeltown, was served heir to his cousin Neil MacEachern, Killelane, – heir male general on March 28, 1745.
The arms of the MacEacherns consists of the Galley of the Isles, from the mast of which hangs a shield bearing a trefoil. The arms of their friends the Campbells of Craignish were similar except that in the latter case the shield bore the gerone of or and sable of the Campbells.
Before the tide of migration set in the MacEacherns had become so numerous in Kintyre that with so much vital information missing it is practically impossible to indicate their relation to the main family. A great many occupied farms, others were craftsmen, blacksmiths, carpenters, weavers and tailors, while many followed the sea. In the island of Islay where there is still quite a colony of MacEacherns, the family were, in olden times sword makers to the Lords of the Isles. I have seen a photo of one of these swords which is still in existence and the workmanship of which is said to be second only to that of Ferrari.
The island of Jura also had some MacEacherns and descendents still there, go under the name of MacKechnie. The district of Movern, too, had a colony but I believe these have all left that region, – some gone overseas and one family well known throughout the Highlands of Scotland was that of the late Rev. Charles MacEachern of Inverness and his three clergyman sons.
Malcom MacEachern, the famous bass singer, ws Australian born, but his forebears were probably from Movern.
Some of our clan on leaving their native district adopter the name Cochrane, believing it to be an Anglicized form of their own name. This is incorrect as the name Cochrane is derived from the lands of that name near Paisly in Renfreshire. MacKechnie, too, is incorrect for MacEachern. It is an Anglicized form of MacEachen, a clan which was also well known in Kintyre, and believed to be a sept of the clan MacLean. The student of Kintyre history may be faced with some difficulty in distinguishing between the MacEachens, and the MacEachrans, especially as so many of the old scribes got the names badly mixed up. However, if he bears in mind that the MacEachens were located mainly in a small area along the west coast between Kilkenzie village and Glenbarr, he will not go far wrong.
A good many Kintyre clansmen, MacNeils, MacKays and others took refuge in Northern Ireland during the troublous times and no doubt some MacEacherns went with them. Also the name is sometimes met with in that country as MacGauchrane. The O’Echthighearns of Southern Ireland, who now go under the name of Ahearne, are obviously of quite different origin from the Argyllshire clan, just as the MacKays of Kintyre are of different origin from the MacKays of Sutherland in the north of Scotland.
In this brief sketch the writer has mainly adhered to the current Kintyre spelling MacEachran, although he has to confess to a personal preference for the older local form, MacEacharn. In the island of Islay the form MacEachern seems to be in general use and the decendents of the Movern branch insist on spelling their name, MacEachern. Whatever the spelling the ties of kinship transcend it all. “We are all Jock Tamson’s bairns.” The writer sends his warmest greetings to all who may read these notes. Twenty-sixth March 1952. Arch McEachran.
All the clan is deeply indebted to the late Arch. McEachran for all the information he secured about our clan. May he rest in peace.
We met Mr. Duncan Colville of Kilgour, Machrihanish which is about five miles from Campbeltown. Mr. Colville is a member of the Kintyre Antiquarian Society and was a close frend of the late Archie McEachran. Mr. Colville very kindly took us on a trip to Southend and return, through country inhabited by MacEacherns for hundreds of years. Kilellan is a large stately old house with greenhouses and lovely well sheltered grounds. There are palm trees eight inches in diameter growing on these grounds which is very unusual for Scotland or England either. From the front steps there is a lovely view of the glen to the south. We took a few colored slides of Kilellan and vicinity and wish we could have stayed longer to investigate its buildings and gardens. On the road further south there is a World War I memorial with several names of MacEacherns who made the supreme sacrifice while serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
We then visited Mr. and Mrs. John Brown at Aucharne Cottage near Southend. Mrs. Brown is a remarkable old lady and formerly a Miss MacEachern. We rapped at the door of her bonnie wee stone cottage and introduced ourselves as, – “MacEachern from Alberta, Canada, and I’m trying to trace my ancestors.” Mrs. Brown looked us over carefully and said, “You look like the MacEacherns. Come on in.” Mrs. Brown told us about many families of MacEacherns who emigrated to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia but she did not know of any that settled in the Ottawa Valley.
We then visited the ruins of Dunaverty Castle. This old castle was beseiged by John Bissell of Antrim in the interest of Henry III of England in 1250. Thirteen years later it was unsuccessfully defended by Alexander III against King Haco of Norway who had assembled his ships off the nearby island of Sanda in his attempt to conquer Scotland. The castle was again attacked by the English in 1306 when they were in pursuit of Robert the Bruce. It, or another great house, was burned down in 1558 on the orders of Mary Tudor of England. In 1647 it was destroyed by the Covenanters when all the three hundred occupants were massacred, including three MacEacherns whose remains are buried under a stone memorial in a nearby field.
Mr. Colville then took us to Southend and the Kiel Churchyard Cemetery where Archie McEachern and many early residents of the district are buried. Nearby in a rock is the imprint of two feet, reputed to be the spot where St. Columba once stood. We drove past the immense smugglers caves and through the broard glens back to Campbeltown. It is no wonder these lovely broad glens appealed to the Norsemen.
Mr. Colville has three farms near Machrihanish and had several complaints from one of his tenants about a large rock in a field which was interfering with his plowing. So last fall Mr. Colville decided to investigate and armed with a pointed iron rod he commandeered the services of the farmer and his sons. By jabbing his iron rod down in the earth he was able to define the outline of the rock about eighteen inches below the surface. They dug along the side and found the rock was flat and only four to six inches thick with a cavity underneath. The earth on top was removed and the stone tipped up revealing an ancient skeleton in a stone coffin with vessels of food and bronze implements. The University of Edinburgh was notified and two trained Archeologists took over. They state this man was buried in the Bronze Age about 3,500 years ago and they expect to make a full detailed report this fall. Three other similar graves were found in the same field. We wonder if they are some of the ancestors of Clan MacEachern???
Mr. Colville knew South Kintyre very well. We are greatly indebted to him for the grand tour of what was formerly the estates of the MacEacherns for so many hundreds of years. Our only regret is that we could not remain longer in this area for we are sure Mr. Colville could have given us many more interesting details about our ancestors.
Next day we took the bus to Glasgow passing through Tarbert where the Norse commander had his men drag his ship with him on board across an isthmus of over a mile of dry land and make his escape back to Norway. Then through Inverary where the Duke of Argyll resides in his castle which you can go through for 2/6. We then travelled along a Loch where several new submarines were being tested and along the bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond to the grimy old industrial City of Glasgow.
Our search for our ancestors was most interesting. Wherever we went and made our objective known, the Scottish people were most kind and co-operative. The second day of our visit to Scotland, in Edinburgh, my wife remarked, “My these people are friendly. It is just like home.” And so it proved throughout the rest of our visit to Scotland, “Just like home.” And were we not visiting the very old home of the MacEacherns?
When we started our search, our Scottish friends here in Canada warned us that they used to hang people in Scotland in the old days for sheep stealing. To ease the conscience of any MacEachern who may read these notes we can state without mental reservation or equivocation of any kind that in all our search we did not find the name of a single solitary MacEachern who was hanged for sheep stealing or for any other cause. They were killed trying to keep out invaders, they also were killed in two World Wars and massacred for defending what they thought was a just cause, – but never hanged for sheep stealing.
Here in Canada we have many public spirited Canadians with the surname MacEachern. Mr. Ronald A. MacEachern is the Editor of The Financial Post, – Canada’s National Weekly of Business, Investment and Public Affairs. Mr. Steve MacEachern has for many years been Commissioner of the City of Saskatoon, Sask. Mr Stanley D. MacEachern of Winnipeg, Man. is General Manager of Pioneer Grain Co. Ltd. Many MacEacherns have been prominent Ministers of the Gospel and occupied pulpits of our larger churches throughout Canada, – so, the ecclesiastical of MacEacherns is still continuing.
In Alberta we have the late Dr. I. W. T. McEachern, a well known and pioneer Edmonton surgeon and member of the Cancer Research Society and a distant cousin of our branch of the clan. Also the late Dr. MacEachern of Calgary who became very well known for his cancer research and in whose memory the MacEachern Hospital on the University of Alberta campus is named. Yes, – he died of cancer. Also Dr. J. M. MacEachern for many years lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Alberta and now retired. Another MacEachern of Class ’15 at the University of Alberta graduated in the trenches in France in World War I with a D.S.O. and bar, – the only Canadian Lieutenant in World War I or World War II to win a D.S.O. and bar, and also mentioned in dispatches three times.
The sixth generation of our part of the clan are now growing up in this great new nation, Canada. Duncan MacEachern, “Old Man MacEachern”, as he was known on the Ottawa River, as mentioned before married Marion MacDonald and emigrated to Canada about 1811. They both died in 1866 and are buried in Lochaber Bay Cemetery near Masson on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. They had three sons, – John, Archie and Alex, and several daughters. We regret we do not have a list of the decendents of Archie, Alex or the daughters. John MacEachern had three sons, – John, Duncan and Donald and three daughters, – Christie, Marion and Elizabeth. John had one son Gordon and four daughters. Donald did not have any children. Duncan had three sons, – Norman A., Stanley Duncan, and John Andrew and one daughter, Marion Mae (Mrs. Blundell).
Norman Angus has two sons, Norman Donald and Kenneth Lorne. Stanley Duncan has one daughter, Marvie (Mrs. Kennedy). Marion Mae has one son Duncan and one daughter, Margaret Jean (Mrs. Price). John Andrew has three sons, – Allan Ross, Norman Roger and John Stanley and one daughter Patricia Anne.
Norman Donald has one son, Richard Angus, and one daughter, Mary Leslie. Kenneth Lorne has three sons, – John Kenneth, Donald Scott and Norman Andrew. Marview (Mrs. Kennedy) has two sons, – Bruce Richard and Grant Robert. Duncan Blundell has two sons, – Malcom Stuart and Peter Kim and one daughter Kathryn Mae. (One set of twin, the prolific Blundells). Margaret Jean (Mrs. Price) has one son, Robert William and two daughters, – Wendy Mae and Linda Alice. To date none of John Andrews children are married.
Any one with the name MacEachern need not be ashamed of their ancestors. True they supported losing causes with their lives. True they met with financial reverses and lost their estates in Scotland. But there is also that ancient Ecclesiastical Line. Throughout the ages the MacEacherns have endeavored to worship God in sincerity and in truth and in public service serve their fellowman. And in what other way can any human being live a more useful, profitable life?
Norman A. MacEachern,
Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada.
July 1st, 1959