THE MacDonalds are of very ancient origin. The clan founder was the heroic Somerled, who freed his countrymen from the Norse yoke, and rose to power that no subject has equalled. He died in 1164, leaving three sons. The second, Reginald, died in 1207, leaving, with other issue, an eldest son, Donald, from whom the clan takes its name. As Lords of the Isles and Earls of Ross, the Clan Donald were the greatest of the Highland clans, their chief until 1493 ranking as an Island Sovereign. After the fall of the Lords of the Isles, first Glengarry, and then the Lords of Sleat held the chiefship. The Chief of the Glencoe MacDonalds, Mac-Vic-Ian-Mac-Ian, was of Royal descent, and was, with nearly all his clan, massacred by Campbell of Glenlyon in 1692. He had remained constant in his adherence to King James, and loyally took the oath to serve William of Orange, but was rewarded with as foul an act of treachery as was ever perpetrated. Glencoe is the traditional home of the poet Ossian.
THE Fergusons are Celtic. They were long settled in Argyll, where the chiefs of Clann Fhearghuis of Stra-chur were Hereditary Maers of Glenshellich. Ferguson of Dunfallandy has long been Chief of the Fergusons in Atholl. Two of the clan, sons of the Laird of Badyfarow, near Inverury, figured prominently. “Robert the Plotter,” concerned in the Ryehouse Plot, escaped detection and died in 1714. James, a Major-General, served under Marlborough at Blenheim. The Fergusons, Baronets of Kilkerran, have held lands in Ayrshire since the reign of Charles I. Sir James Ferguson, 6th Baronet, a distinguished statesman, was killed in the Jamaica earthquake 1906. Adam Ferguson, historian and moral philosopher; Robert Ferguson,’the poet’; and Sir William Ferguson, F.R.S., were illustrious members of the clan. “Annie Laurie,” heroine of the song, was wife of Ferguson of Craigdarroch. Brigadier-General Ferguson commanded the Highland Brigade at the capture of the Cape of Good Hope.