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Flora Macdonald

Name
Flora Macdonald
First name
Flora
Last name
Macdonald
Born 1722
Place of birth
on South Uist, Scotland

Died March 05, 1790
Place of death
at Kingsburgh on Skye, Scotland
Gender
1
Biography

Daughter of Ranald Macdonald (d. 1723) and his second wife, Marion. In 1750, she married Allan MacDonald, with whom she had at least two daughters and five sons. 

Despite her family's government allegiance, she helped the young pretender, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, escape capture following his final defeat at the Battle of Culloden, leading to her imprisonment in the Tower of London, from which she was released in 1747.

She lived with her husband on Skye's Trotternish peninsula until 1774, when they emigrated to North Carolina in 1774. Her husband was taken prisoner by Revolutionaries at the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge in 1776, being released 18 months later as part of a prisoner exchange. He became a Captain in the 84th regiment stationed in Nova Scotia, but Flora, being homesick and of poor health, decided to return to Skye in 1779, Allan rejoining her only after the conclusion of the war in 1784. She spent the intervening years living with various members of their family, and also stayed for some time with her daughter Anne and son-in-law, Major-General Alexander Macdonald, at Dunvegan Castle. 

Life with Boswell

Boswell and Dr Johnson stayed with Flora Macdonald and her husband at Kingsburgh on September 12-13, 1773. He described her, in his Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, as "a little woman, of a mild and genteel appearance, mighty soft and well-bred." Boswell further wrote that they had "as genteel a supper as one would wish to see," and a punch that was "superexcellent"

At night, Johnson slept in the same bed as Prince Charles had done some 27 years before, and Boswell remarked in his journal that "To see Mr Samuel Johnson lying in Prince Charles’s bed, in the Isle of Skye, in the house of Miss Flora Macdonald, struck me with such a group of ideas as it is not easy for words to describe as the mind perceives them." 

Boswell later gave an extensive account of the prince's flight following the Battle of Culloden in 1746 and the Macdonalds' part in it in Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, followed by a discussion of his and Dr Johnson's views on monarchy and the proper right of succession.

Allan MacDonald of Kingsburgh

Name
Allan MacDonald
First name
Allan
Last name
MacDonald
Born 1720
Date of birth (prefix)
abt.

Died September 1792, 20
Place of death
in Kingsburgh on Skye
Gender
0
Biography

Chamberlain of the MacDonald lands on the Trotternish peninsula, and a British officer during the American Revolution. Son of Alexander MacDonald of Kingsburgh and Florence MacDonald. Married (ca. 1750) to Flora MacDonald with whom he had several children. 

Allan and Flora lived on their farm at Flodigarry until the death of Allan's father in 1772, when they moved to Kingsburgh. 

In 1774, the family emigrated to America, making their home at Cheek’s Creek in what is now Montgomery County, North Carolina. During the American Revolution, Allan was given the rank of Captain in the 85th Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment. However, he was taken prisoner at Moore's Creek, being released 18 months later as part of a prisoner exchange. After his he became Captain in the 84th Regiment of Foot based in Nova Scotia. He made his way back to Scotland in 1784, trailing his wife and other family members who had returned in 1779.

Life with Boswell

Boswell and Dr Johnson arrived at MacDonald's house at Kingsburgh on Skye in the late afternoon or evening of September 12, 1773, accompanied by Dr Murdoch Macleod of nearby Eyre and Donald Macqueen among others. The pair was received "most courteously" by Kingsburgh (as he was known), whom Boswell described as "quite the figure of a gallant Highlander[,] with jet-black hair tied behind and with screwed ringlets on each side, and was a large stately man, with a steady sensible countenance."  They supped together and Boswell was "in a cordial humour, and promoting a cheerful glass. The punch was superexcellent, and we drank three bowls of it."

Boswell further wrote how his "heart was sore to recollect that Kingsburgh had fallen sorely back in his affairs, was under a load of debt, and intended to go to America", which they did a few months after Boswell and Johnson's visit there. "However," Boswell continued, "nothing but what was good was present, and I pleaded myself in thinking that so fine a fellow would be well everywhere."

On the next day, Kingsburgh took Boswell and Johnson on his boat to somewhere near Greshornish further west on Skye on the way to Dunvegan Castle, thus saving them for, in Boswell's words, "eight miles of bad riding."

 

Anne Macdonald

Name
Anne Macdonald
First name
Anne
Last name
Macdonald
Gender
1
Biography

Daughter of Alexander Macdonald of Boisdale and his wife Margaret. Married to Dr Murdoch MacLeod of Eyre, with whom she had several children.

Life with Boswell

Boswell and Dr Johnson met Mrs MacLeod, as she then were, on September 12, 1773, at the house of her and her husband in Eyre on Skye. In his private journal, Boswell described her as "a decent well-behaved woman", altered to "a polite, agreeable woman" in the published version in the Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides.

Norman MacLeod - Soldier

Name
Norman MacLeod
First name
Norman
Last name
MacLeod
Gender
0
Biography

Son of Malcolm Macleod (1695-1761), 10th of Raasay, and Mary Mackenzie, a daughter of Alexander Mackenzie of Applecross. Brother of John MacLeod, 11th of Raasay, and Dr Murdoch MacLeod of Eyre.

According to The History of the MacLeods, Norman was an officer in the service of the States General. He died unmarried.

Life with Boswell

Boswell and Dr Johnson met MacLeod at the house of his brother, Dr Murdoch Macleod, in Eyre on September 12, 1773.

Flora MacLeod

Name
Flora MacLeod
First name
Flora
Last name
Macleod

Died August, 1780
Place of death
at Hope Park near Edinburgh
Gender
1
Alias
Flora Raasay
Flora Mure Campbell of Rowallan
Biography

Daughter of John MacLeod, 11th of Raasay, and Jane Macqueen. She married James Mure Campbell of Rowallan (1726-1786) but died in 1780 shortly after the birth of their only surviving child, also named Flora (1780-1840). James succeeded to the title of 5th Earl of Loudoun in 1782, but himself died in 1786, leaving behind the young Flora, then aged six, who became 6th Countess of Loudoun.

Life with Boswell

Boswell and Dr Johnson met Flora during their stay on Raasay in September 1773. Boswell described her as "an elegant woman (tall, genteel, a pretty face), sensible, polite, and good-humoured" and also noted that "[s]he alone [of the children of John MacLeod] has been at Edinburgh."

A few years later, on June 9, 1777, Boswell wrote to Johnson about the marriage between Flora and Colonel Mure Campbell, who had his own estate in Ayrshire:

You will rejoice to hear that Miss Macleod, of Rasay, is married to Colonel Mure Campbell, an excellent man, with a pretty good estate of his own, and the prospect of having the Earl of Loudoun's fortune and honours. Is not this a noble lot for our fair Hebridean? How happy am I that she is to be in Ayrshire. We shall have the Laird of Rasay, and old Malcolm, and I know not how many gallant Macleods, and bagpipes, &c. &c. at Auchinleck. Perhaps you may meet them all there.1

 

Janet MacLeod of Raasay

Name
Janet MacLeod
First name
Janet
Last name
MacLeod
Gender
1
Biography

Second wife of Malcolm Macleod (1695-1761), 10th of Raasay, with whom she had at least six sons and two daughers, including Charles MacLeod and Malcolm MacLeod (d. 1832), who became minister of Snizort. She was the daughter of a crofter tenant.1

According to tradition, she was "a flirtatiuous maidservant in Raasay House" with whom Malmcolm Macleod had contracted an irregular marriage, that was later legalised. Following his death, she was given a small house by the family's old seat in the village of Clachan.

  • 1Cf. The History of the Macleods by Alexander Mackenzie
Life with Boswell

Boswell met Janet MacLeod on Raasay on September 10, 1773, as he was taken to meet her at her house by her son Charles MacLeod. He described her as a "stout fresh-looking woman, very plainly dressed, [who] could not speak a word of English."

Charles MacLeod of Raasay

Name
Charles MacLeod
First name
Charles
Last name
MacLeod
Born 1750
Date of birth (prefix)
abt.
Place of birth
Raasay, Scotland
Gender
0
Biography

Son of Malcolm Macleod (1695-1761), 10th of Raasay, and his second wife Janet Macleod. Half-brother of John MacLeod, 11th of Raasay.

Life with Boswell

Boswell met Charles MacLeod while walking around the isle of Raasay on September 10, 1773. MacLeod took Boswell and his companions to visit his mother in her house next the old castle, and afterwards acoompanied them to the house of his half-brother, Boswell and Johnson's host on Raasay, John MacLeod. Boswell described him as a "strapping young fellow".

Norman MacLeod, MP - 23rd Chief of Clan MacLeod

Name
Norman MacLeod
First name
Norman
Last name
MacLeod
Born March 04, 1754
Place of birth
in Brodie House, Moray

Died April 16, 1801
Place of death
on Guernsey
Gender
0
Alias
23rd Chief of Clan Macleod
20th of Dunvegan
Biography

Son of John MacLeod (1730-1766) and Amelia Brodie (1730-1803). In 1772, he succeeded his grandfather, also named Norman (1705-1772) and nicknamed The Wicked Man. In addition to leaving him Dunvegan Castle and the chieftainship of Clan MacLeod, the elder MacLeod also left him with a sizable debt of about £50,000. He joined Fraser's Highlanders' 71st Regiment of Foot as a Captain in 1775 after growing weary of the situation on Skye and failing to pay off his debts. He spent several years serving in the East Indies, rapidly moving up the ranks until he was promoted to Major-General in 1794. In addition, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1790 and served as MP for Inverness-Shire from 1790 to 1796.

Following accusations of embezzelement in 1794, his latter years were beset by scandal. He gave up politics and turned to drinking before passing away in 1801 on the island of Guernsey.

 

 

Life with Boswell

Boswell and Dr Johnson first met MacLeod, who had recently become chief of his clan at the age of 17, as they arrived on Raasay.  

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