The Dunderave McNaughtons

From Argyll Scotland to Quebec Canada

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Thomas McNaughton, Olive, Robert, Rebecca, and Laura (Lawson) McNaughton

of St Paul Minnesota, about 1898

Our McNaughton Database

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More McNaughton Photos

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Our line of the McNaughtons descend from Chief Malcolm "Glenshira" MacNauchtan who died between 1646 and 1649 from wounds sustained while commanding a garrison in the defence of the Campbell clan's Skipness Castle which was under attack by Colkitto's army. Chief Malcolm MacNauchtan had two sons, Alexander and John. Alexander the older became chief of the clan upon the death of his father. Alexander had ridden with his father in Campbell's Covenantor army, but around 1650 he changed sides and became a Royalist, and fought for the return of King Charles II to the throne.  After the restoration in 1660 Alexander was knighted by King Charles II and John MacNauchtan produced evidence that brought Campbell of Argyll to the chopping block. Sir Chief Alexander McNaughton served King Charles II as a lawyer and spent much time in the royal court in London. Chief Alexander's brother John MacNauchtan was the head of the household in Dunderave castle while his brother was away in London, and he raised his family there. John became heavily involved in the disputes between the Campbell clan and the McNaughton clan, and led his McNaughtons into Campbell lands in 1685 on raids that captured much property, establishing a deep enmity between Campbells and McNaughtons, which only grew worse with each passing year. In 1689 when William of Orange claimed the throne of Britain and King James VI fled to France, John MacNauchtan and his two sons were among the 50 clansmen who fought victoriously at the battle of Killiecrankie. Chief Alexander's son, also named John MacNauchtan was there too, wearing his father's suit of armour. This fact is mentioned in the famous poem The Grameid. But the next battle was not so glorious. Chief John MacNauchtan and his uncle John and his uncle's 2 sons were all captured and suffered long and terrible imprisonment afterwards. The Campbell's Inverary Castle was only 3 miles from the MacNauchtan's Dunderave castle. The Campbells were now backed by King William and all their lands and rights were restored. One of the first things on their agenda naturally was to destroy the MacNauchtans, and this they managed to accomplish, with the MacNauchtans losing their castle and all their lands. Chief John MacNauchtan had two sons, Alexander and John. The elder Alexander would have been chief of the clan, but he served in the British army as a Captain in Queen Annie's Guards and he lost his life at the battle of Vigo Spain in 1702. With the death of young Alexander MacNauchtan the chieftanship would have fallen upon his younger brother John, except there was nothing really to be chief of anymore, since the castle was gone and all the lands. John became a custom's officer in Anstruther Fife and died in 1773 without leaving any heirs. The Great Uncle of the last chief, John MacNauchtan and his two sons lived on in Dunderave castle with their families, until their ultimate eviction by the Campbells, which probably occured around 1720. One of the two sons, also named John MacNauchtan married and had two sons, both born in Dunderave castle before the final end. They were named Thomas and Malcolm. Our genealogy descends from these two brothers.

In 1818 400 McNaughton clansmen selected Edmond Macnaghten of Northern Ireland to be the chief of the clan, which carries forth in the Irish line to this day. The Irish Macnaghtens' castle was also named Dunderave. Some in our line have wondered why they didn't choose the chief from our Scottish line back in 1818? Especially since the Irish line of Macnaghten had its ancestral connection with the Scottish line almost 3 centuries previous. I think there are two or three main reasons. First, our ancestor John MacNauchtan, younger son of Chief Malcolm "Glenshira" MacNauchtan, must have been a bitter nut in their craw. John MacNauchtan was very active in "the killing times". In 1685 King Charles II died. He had been secretly Catholic most of his life; he received last rites from a Catholic priest on his death bed. His brother James then became King, and he made no effort to disguise the fact that he was a Catholic. Under James VII's reign many nobles sought the king's favor by switching from Protestant to Catholic. And also in 1685 many Catholics who had been oppressed by the Protestant Campbell clan rose up against the Campbells in acts of terror and murder. John MacNauchtan's testimony in 1660 played a part in bringing Campbell of Argyll to the chopping block, and then 25 years later in 1685 this same Campbell's son also lost his head on another chopping block, thanks no doubt to Sir Alexander MacNauchtan's counsel to King Charles II. Sir Alexander MacNauchtan was one of the king's favorite lawyers. And during the same year, 1685,  Chief Sir Alexander's brother John MacNauchtan led groups of raiders into Campbell lands and confiscated everything of value he could lay his hands on - which he converted into quick cash and sent for safe-keeping to Ireland. These actions fueled the deep enmity between Campbells and McNaughtons. It would not have served any good purpose for the McNaughton clansmen to have given the chieftanship to a descendant of John MacNauchtan considering how bitterly he must have been remembered by so many people. Secondly, the loss of Dunderave castle in Argyll, and all the lands once owned there, left the descendants of John MacNauchtan in a very low position. Some of his sons and grandsons seem to have owned farms, but others were reduced to being servents and poor shepards. There would be no sense in making one of this line chief when there were descendants of the ancient McNaughton lineage in Ireland that still had castles and lands. And then there is religion to consider. Most McNaughton clansmen were Protestant. But somewhere around 1685 John MacNauchtan and his family had returned to the Catholic church to be closer in spirit with King James VII. So not only were the Campbells against this family, but also the Protestant McNaughtons of Perth and Argyll didn't want to have much to do with them. The Protestant McNaughtons weren't likely to be inviting anyone from the Catholic line to be their chief. This was probably about the time when our Catholic line converted back to the Protestant religion, but it would not make any difference to the decision of who would be chief. My ancestor Donald McNaughton married Elizabeth Kennedy of the very Catholic Leanachan Kennedy family in 1814. The 400 McNaughton clansmen met to chose their new chief in 1818, and chose Edmund of the Irish Macnaghten line. Our line decided to leave Scotland then. Donald's brother Finlay and his family crossed the ocean to Quebec in 1821, followed ten years later by my ancestor, Donald McNaughton, and Elizabeth having died, his new wife Ann Cameron. Our McNaughtons settled in Hemmingford, Quebec, and their religion was Protestant from the beginning here. In 1826 Finlay McNaughton built a large house of hewn stone with walls 10 feet thick and named it Dunderave.

Fifteen years ago I was introduced to the writings of Arnold McNaughton of Hemmingford Quebec, the acclaimed author of one of the world's greatest books on royal genealogy, and the person who researched our own McNaughton line: all the descendants of Thomas and Malcolm McNaughton born in Dunderave Castle. Since then I have read all the books that have been written about the McNaughton clan. None of those books mention our McNaughton line at all. We have been entirely left out of McNaughton history. Haha. Hopefully, this website will change that.

T.R. Holme

grayovalbutton.gif (5497 bytes)           ARNOLD MCNAUGHTON'S WRITINGS AND CHARTS.

 grayovalbutton.gif (5497 bytes)          MY OWN WRITINGS ON THE MCNAUGHTONS

The background on this page is the weathered McNaughton tartan

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Irvine Levarre-Water of Australia heavily researched the McNaughton family before his death in 1993. His brother Leo built an excellent McNaughton website with his brother's material. Leo and I corresponded and were friends through the internet. Leo died in 2004 and his brother Peter took over the site. Their McNaughton line is not directly related to our Hemmingford McNaughton line. However their McNaughton website is full of good information for any McNaughton wanting to learn the history of Clan McNaughton. Click here to go to Peter Levarre-Water's excellent McNaughton website:

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