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.
SINCE the extinction of the direct line of the family of the Isles, in the middle of the 16th century, Macdonald of Sleat, now Lord Macdonald, has always been styled in Gaelic Mac Dhonuill nan Eilean, or Macdonald of the Isles. As the claim of Lord Macdonald, however, to this distinction has been keenly disputed. That the family of Sleat are the undoubted representatives of John, Earl of Ross, and the last Lord of the isles, appears to be admitted on all sides; but, on the other hand, if the descendants of Donald, from whom the clan received its name, or even of John of the Isles, who flourished in the reign of David II., are to be held as constituting one clan, then, according to the Highland principles of clanship, the jus sanguinis, or right of blood to the chiefship, rested in the male representative of John, whose own right was undoubted.
THE Farquharsons are of Celtic origin. Their clan country is Strathdee, in Aberdeenshire. Some of them were originally named Shaw. The offspring of Shaw of Rothiemurchus took the name of Farquharson. In 1645 Farquharson of Invercauld fought at the head of his clan under the famous Marquis of Montrose. The clan was well represented in the army of Prince Charlie in 1745. In 1748 the Laird of Invercauld leased his castle to the Government for ninety years as a military station. The garrison has long been withdrawn. The above-said Laird died in 1750. His son, James, succeeded, and lived until 1806. James left a daughter, Catherine, to whom the insignia of the Farquharson chiefs were confirmed by Lyon Court. She married Captain James Ross, R.N., who adopted the name Farquharson of Invercauld, and to whose line the chiefship descended. The Farquharsons of Inverey have as their most celebrated member the “Black Colonel,” famed in Dee-side legend. In 1745 the clan was led by the “Baron Ban,” Farquharson of Monaltrie.