Written by Margaret Kemp Rose Ross Gilchrist during 1870’s

This family is variously said to be descended from Gilchrist Earl of Galloway whose Arms stand in the Lyon Register and from Dovenaldus MacGilchrist, Dominus de Tarbert on Loch Lomond, who was seated there in the reign of Robert Bruce and was, as the existing Register of the Abbey of Paisley informs us, a benefactor to it; in as much as he gave the monks permission to cut wood on his lands for the repairing of their edifice and also for the good of his soul and of those of his ancestors and of his descendants.

From him was said to descend Donald MacGilchrist, a wealthy Glasgow merchant who in 1671 purchased the estate of Northbarr in the Parish of Inchinnan Renfrewshire, and of that family, although in what degree is not at present exactly proven, descend the Gilchrists of Ospisdale.

(This Donald MacGilchrist is entered in the burgh Tax book at Rothsay as possessor of certain crofts in that said burgh 3 times:  1st as Donald of Barr, 2nd as Donald MacGilchrist merchant of Glasgow and 3rd as Donald MacGilchrist, Williams son – probably therefore his fathers name was William MacGilchrist.)         added 1878.

About 1700 it was fashion for many Highland families to drop the ‘Mac’ which until then had preceeded their name and the Gilchrists, among others, did so but even up until 1742 and 1760 some of the brothers of this branch signed themselves MacGilchrist.

          Here lyes Donald MacGilchrist,

(clerk to Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck)  

who died 23 (or 13) July 1672


Phinguel Stewart his spouse

Who died April 1688

These are the first of those Gilchrists who are distinctly known to be so (ancestors of the Gilchrists of Ospisdale) This inscription is on the tomb in the Church yard of Kilmichael Glassary in Argyllshire.  Donald and his son and grandson were factors to the Campbells of Auchinbreck in that county.

His (Donald’s) will entered in Ct of Argyll state his marriage to have taken place in 1645 about which time he was Town Clerk of Rothsay.  His wife was not Ambrismore but daughter of John Stewart of Overkirkton. (her pedigree see elsewhere) 

He (Donald) was also Notary Public and had been deprived of the title and was given it again in 165-.

In deed of Dalrymple reg July 20 1661, John MacGilchrist baillie of Rothsay, gives bond for a loan to Major William Campbell dated 4 December 1649 in which Donald MacGilchrist Town Clerk of Rothsay is termed ‘said John’s brother’ and is his cautr.

The said John’s wife is named Helen Stewart as other deeds prove so he was the same John who, with consent of Helen Stewart his spouse, gives a loan to Ninian Stewart of Ascog in 1639 and is there called Sheriff Clerk of Bute (see Dalrymple April 10 1662)

The father of John and Donald MacGilchrist is named Donald MacGilchrist merchant in Rothsay and his wife is Elizabeth Boyd.


This Donald’s father is named John and he had 4 sons:

Robert, Patrick, Donald and William

Donald MacGilchrist was a Notary and Sheriff Clerk of Buteshire and apparently died Sheriff Depute of that county.  His son John was of age in 1627 and was a notary, married Helen Stewart.

His son Donald was Town Clerk of Rothsay and married 1 Janet Sympsoun ( had at least one child by her named Robert MacGilchrist) and  married 2 Phinguel Stewart.

Robert was alive between 1608 & 1611

Patrick was alive in 1614

William was the same William living in Kintyre (and was the father of Donald MacGilchrist of Northbarr) and he was alive in 1614 and probably a 2nd or 3rd son

As his son in entering his arms enters according to Nesbit as ? Humph  ? Will ?

Perhaps it was the son who was the 2nd or 3rd son.


In 1694 a MacGilchrist and his tutors had a case:

Fountainchall’s decisions Vol 1 646

Again Dec 12 1668 Jacobus Stewart Aubrismore haeres William Stewart patris; - in 4 liberatis terrarum de Quien ? E6 Colloe hordec vc – 40 Solidatis terrarum de Amberismoire E3 bolla hordie etc

28 Solidatis terrarum de Barnauld, E7 firlotoe hordie &c – 25 solidatis terrarum de Birgadillknock – E2 bolloe hordie. Omnibis in insula de Bute (No 68)

xx1x 160 from Ing: Speciales Bute Vol 1 Record Commission 1811

1698 June 7  MacGilchrist against Stewart of Ambersmore –

the first cause was at MacGilchrist’s instance against Stewart of Ambersmore, Doctor of Medicine, for payment of a sum whereto he was constituted assignee.

The defence was ‘your title is null being an assignation to a bond granted to a wife designing her such and the sum jure mariti falling to the husband her assignation could give no right.’

(Fountainhall Vol 11 page 1 .  As above 408 Vol 4


John MacGilchrist was a son of Donald and  and was also factor to Auchinbreck.  His tombstone is in the churchyard of Kilmartin and bears the Arms of the MacGilchrists of Northbarr.

(this fact is from Principal Campbell of Aberdeen but he is not quite sure of its correctness)

It stand written in family papers that he was a ‘writer’ and died at Balliemore in Argyllshire.

He had 3 wives:  his first wife was Joan Bannatyne.

The present writer has always had an indistinct impression that the Gilchrists were related to the Scrynegiours (spelling??) of Dudhope and one of that family having lately said that he was related to the Gilchrists of Ospisdale.

His 2nd wife was a Miss Lamont of Strone which is fully shown by the following quotations:

1st -  letter from Daniel/Donald 1st son of said John to Dugald his half brother “1757 Our Uncle Strone died about 6 weeks ago.

2nd – letter from William Gilchrist (son of the Rev James Gilchrist who was 3rd son of the said John) Pell River June 25th 1757 to Dugald 1st of Ospisdale “this comes under cover to your brother Daniel whom my uncle Alexander has written to with 10 guineas .  He likewise some time agone sent him a Power of Attorney to take his mothers portion out of Uncle Strone’s hands which he likewise made him a present of (Alex. Was a son of John by his 2nd wife the said Miss Lamont)

3rd – Letters from a Mr Sharp Inverness and Mr John Robertson Rothsay Isle of Bute to Dugald 1st of Ospisdale. 

The former says “Mrs Robertson is a daughter of the late Mr Lamont of Strone”

The latter says “your Uncle’s daughters are well and will be exceedingly happy in hearing from you”

4th – copy of letter to Robert Mackay from Dugald 1st of Ospisdale “to the enclosed to one Baillie Robertson in Rothsay, pray give course.  He is married to a cousin of mine with whom I am unacquainted as indeed I am with all my connections and relations in these parts of whom he informs me there are several; he invites me to see my relations there”.

5th – By those two entries in the Register of the county of Bute Parish of Rothsay presently in the new Register Office of Edinburgh “1753 bookt 23 May and married thereafter: John Robertson weaver in Rothsay son to George Robertson at Mount Stewart and Jean Lamont to Patrick Lamont of Stronein the Parish of Kilfinan (which is in Argyll).

February 1762 were bookt 29th Alex. Lamont factor to the Laird of Lamont and Barbara Lamont, daughter to the deceased Patrick Lamont of Strone.

(This Patrick seems to have been the brother of Mrs John MacGilchrist)

His 3rd wife: 

On July 20 1724 John MacGilchrist writer in Kilmichael in Glassarie and Elizabeth Kelburne relict of the deceased Robert Sinclair Shipmaster in Crar.

They were booked ‘in order to proclamation of bands’ in parish of Old Greenock on July 11th.


The only printed documents in which I have at present found John mentioned are in Hugh Scotts “Fasti Ecclesia Scoticanoe in which “one MacGilchrist is named as signing the call of the Rev Daniel Campbell (whose daughter his son afterwards married) in 1691 to the Parish of Kilmichael Glassay and in ….

John MacGilchrist had , as a paper sent by Daniel Gilchrist to his brother Major Dugald of Ospisdale about 1798 informs us, 6 sons.  He had only 2 daughters as far as I can learn.  One was married to somebody Lindsay.  She had been dead for over 10 years in 1765, she had a daughter Jean who was married to a James Cadzowan (spelling ?? could be Cadgowan - Lori) Lanark and left a daughter Mary who married a Duncan Campbell.  These were persons in apparently a very humble walk of life.

Mary had children but there is nothing further known about them.

The other daughter was named Helen – by which mother these daughters were does not appear.

(I believe the mother of the girls to be Miss Lamont - Lori)

John’s sons were:

By his first wife Joan Bannatyne:

Donald or Daniel

John (Rev)

James  (Rev)

By his 2nd wife Miss Lamont:




By his 3rd wife Elizabeth Kelburn

Not known if any



DONALD/DANIEL (called Daniel)

 married in 1719 Jean Campbell ( 3rd daughter of Rev Daniel Campbell of Duchenan and Graycrook and Minister of Kilmichael Glassary and Head of the McIvor branch of the Campbells)

Through her the blood of the Campbells of Torblaren (a younger branch of the Auchinbrecks) and of Pennymore, of Maxwell of Newark, of Baynes of Clyth and others, ran in the veins of his children.

The little we know of Daniel is from letters from himself to his stepbrother (actually half brother Lori) Dugald and a few incidental remarks from Robert Mackay (who was by profession a merchant in Glasgow)  by family one of the bighouses and for the rest Dugald’s (1st of Ospisdale) special correspondence in many matters.

The first example of Donald’s script is dated 1742 and is a receipt from Daniel MacGilchrist (writer in Kilmichael) “to Old Dugald for money received from him”.

More than one of the letters are addressed to Dugald MacGilchrist and all of the ‘Macs’ are crossed out by a sharp short line which is unmistakably old Dugald’s own.

Kilmichael is in the Parish of Glassary and formerly was a village or town of much larger dimensions than at present.  It is not far from Lochgilphead.

There old Daniel lived and as he tells old Dugald in 1762 “I was necessitated to take the house I live in, and our predecessors before us, for this year  and promised £20 of rent which we never paid before.   The end of the house fell in and I am obliged to rear it up myself being so long possessor and not having paid rent “.

It is therefore evident his family had lived there for some time.  In 1759 he writes “my wife continues in a very melancholy condition – wants the whole power of her body and cannot speak nor stir in bed”.  In 1762 he again alludes to her “I have not been 3 weeks out of town since my wife died”.

In December 1762 he says Mr Patrick Pollock died last year.  Mr Duncan Campbell’s relict, my sister in law, died also about 2 months past.  I have none of my sisters in law left except Mr Pollock’s relict.

From his first letters extant 1742 until his death, he complains of ill health and want of money – once he says he shall never get a farthing of 2600 merks due me by Auchinbreck of pound and rent thereof.

He died a painfull illness common to his sex.  The nearest notice of his death is through Robert McKay “I have paid your brother’s funeral expences to his friend Mr Campbell of Kilmichael” and the date of this is December 1769.

He left 3 children whom we know of:  John, Patrick and Jean.

(He also had children:  Daniel and Peter.    Lori)

JOHN GILCHRIST            (Rev)

Born 1691 .  The paper which mentions him adds ‘died without issue’

He did have issue but their fate is not known.

He was a Minister of Knapdale afterwards North Knapdale 1715 – his father and grandfather were of the family of Northbarr Renfrewshire and factors to the Campbells of Auchinbreck.

He obtained his degree at the University of Glasgow 23/4/1711.

He married Henrietta daughter of Dugald Campbell of Torbhlaren near Kilmichael and Kilmory.  His wife was a cousin of his brother Donald/Daniel’s wife Jean.

He died 7/2/1723 aged 32.


3rd son has the outer framework of his life thus chronicled in Hugh Scott’s Fasti Ecclescaux Scoticanae.

Parish of Kilmalie Lochaber

1724 he was presented “jure devolute by the presbytery of Tongue and called to that Parish but the presbytery refused his translation 14th April 1726.

He was appointed by the assembly 16th May following, to supply the garrison at Fort William as frequently as possible.  He was translated to Loth Feb 1732.

In 1732 he was translated from Kilmallie called by the Presbytery jure devolute admited in 1732.  He received a commission as Sheriff Depute within his own Parish in 1734.  This appointment being expressly contrary to the Act of Parliament 1584 was brought under notice of the Presbytery and a visitation of the Parish was held in 1735 when it was enquired if he accepted and kept a commission to be Sheriff Depute in his own Parish:  answered that he did but not with a view to exerce that office personally but that thereby he might be empowered to nominate a substitute and more effectually curb vice and immoralities in his parish and further declared that how soon he heard offence was taken he gave up and dropt the said commission.

Upon which the presbytery having heard and considered Mr Gilchrists answer “Doe hereby discharge Mr Gilchrist and all of their brethren to accept any such commissions or exerce either by themselves or substitutes in the capacity of a civil judge being contrary to the constitution of our church.”

James was transferred to Thurso 7 June 1738.

James first letters to his step brother (half brother. Lori) old Dugald are dated from London and are somewhere about 1742-6.  He was trying to get a government chaplaincy from the Ministry with whom he evidently had some interest and was engaged along with the Earl of Sutherland, a Mr Williams, in arranging for the trade in Highland cattle which was for some time a prominent feature in connection with that uncivilized and unproductive county Sutherland.

In 1744 he complains of pecuniary losses by his father-in-law and brother-in-law’s executoty.  In the Culloden papers pg 433 stands the following letter regarding him:

Lord Sutherland to the Lord President

My Lord – the bearer is on his way to London.  I have sent him thither with letters to the Dukes of Argyll and Newcastle and others of the Ministry of State wherein I apply for a certain commission.  Your Lordship will know what it is from the memorials which Mr Gilchrist will show you.

Shall I hope your Lordship will be so good to second my application by writing to some of your friends who have most interest at Court.  I will hope this my Lord since what I propose is manifestly expedient for the service of our King and country in the present conjuncture and it will be an effectual measure for keeping the north Highlands in better order for the future.

The bearer Mr James Gilchrist of Thurso had made some discoveries relating to the rebellion both before and after it broke out.

Your Lordship may entirely rely on his veracity in answering any questions he is asked either on that or any other subject. It would be absolutely unsafe for him to return any more to Caithness. 

I shall hope your Lordship will interpose your good offices that something may be got done for him since it were extreme harm he should meet with nothing but ruin to himself and numerous family for doing his duty to his King and Country.

Will your Lordship recommend him to the Captain of the Saltash sloop by which I want he should take his passage.

I am with great regard

My Lord

Much obliged

Obedient servant


Dunrobin 26 October 1745

James and Sussanah had children whom we know of:

Daniel born 1728






(He had more children than these – Lori)

In December 1751 he talks of trying to raise money on his house in Fort William and in a letter from Alexander Pope minister of Reay (and a kinsman of the poet) to old Dugald December 26 1751, he says James departed on the 24th current and was interred yesterday. (Thus differing from Hugh Scott who makes his death to take place on 14th instead of 24th.

James died 24/12/1751

Susanna Myles his widow died 14/9/1766

Daniel – son of James and Susannah – embraced a military career.  The Scots Magazine of July 1747 informs the world that Daniel Gilchrist, son of the Minister of Thurso, has become one of the Officers of a regiment now raising in Scotland for the service of the States General.  In March 1753 Alexander Pope Minister of Reay (a relation of the poet and who courageously made a journey on a Highland ……. to Twickenham) writes to old Dugald (I think) that Lieutenant Daniel was with Drumlanrigs regiment (in the Dutch service) at Thurso.  Elsewhere he is spoken of as in London’s Highlanders.

His brother William writing from Hay River (in Jamaice I presume) in 1758 says Dan got into the British service in 1752 and on account of a reduction was put on half pay in 1763 (these dates are certainly wrong)

In the Army list for 1763 page 119, he stands as 2nd Lieut date of 27th August 1756.

In Feb 1757 he writes from Litchfield to old Dugald on his way home from London where he had been buying a commission in the 3rd Foot (Col Howard Commanding Officer)

After his death, Dan’s widow in a Power of Attorney to Mr Russell their London lawyer, styles him “my late husband was a Lieutenant on half pay in Hulls 111th Foot.

At one period he is adjutant to ……  61st Foot and as such he is usually designated  

Militia Regt if I recollect aright, in Yorkshire.  He is uniformly well spoken of.  One little disagreement with his old bachelor UncleDugald about his marriage, being the sole strife on record.

His wife was Miss Margaret Robertson daughter of the Rev Frances Robertson Minister of Clyne in Sutherlandshire .

His marriage took place at Creich (county Sutherland) on 7th January 1757 at five o’clock in the morning, being celebrated by the Rev Robert Kirk Minister of Dornoch.  This unseemly hour itself gives the wedding an unusual appearance and from one or two letters of excuse to his Uncle, it appears that the young soldiers heart had been affected for some time prior to it and, as he puts it “ what could he do knowing that he had won in return the affection of an amiable and virtuous young lady.

Old Dugalds objections had been on the score of ……but love overcame prudence and George McKay of Thurso aiding and abetting Daniel and the virtuous young lady were united.  Dugald being ultimately reconciled and at Dan’s death nearly supporting the whole family of 6 who in their turn died without issue.

James – the eldest born at Clyne 2/8/1760 baptized 11th of the same month by his grandfather Mr Robertson.  Some of his fathers Yorkshire friends got him an ensigncy in the 31st Foot and there are copious and wearisome letters from his mother to Lord Barrington and others upon the subject.

He was in this regiment for certainly 212 days as in one of old Dugald’s account books is the entry of a £ balance account for Jamie Gilchrist subsistence for 212 days as ensign in 1772.

In those days commissions were obtained by those who had interest for the very young boys and it seems as if Jamie drew pay without having joined or served or whatever the technical word may be.  He died at Cumbraes 24/3/1775 and lies buried at Bothwell.

Robert McKay of Glasgow tells old Dugald that he died on the 23rd and is to be buried at the church of Bothwell.

Francis – 2nd son of Dan and Margaret

Was born at Clyne 3 June 1763 and baptized the same day by Mr Martin McPherson Minister of Golspie.  He merchandized in Glasgow under the direction of Mr Robert McKay (a bighouse) formerly one of old Dugald’s clerks and died before he was eight and twenty (on 3/2/1791)  He too was an amiable and virtuous young man (as indeed all the children of his mother the amiable and virtuous young lady are said to have been!!)

William – 3rd son of Dan and Margaret 

Born at Kilmote a farm in the parish of……..county of Sutherland 21/4/1765 and baptized the next day by Mr George McCulloch Minister of Loth.  He also spent part of his youth in Glasgow and was then shipped to Jamaica (I believe0 and died on 23 July 1786.

I am uncertain if he went abroad. 

(Later note) He wrote from Montpelier Jamaica.

Dugald – 4th son of Dan and Margaret

Born 4 Feb 1767, baptized on 10th by G McCulloch Loth, died on the 20th March. Buried at Loth. 

Janet – 5th child & 1st daughter of Dan and Margaret

Born at Kilmote 15/12/1769 and baptized on the 22nd by Mr Martin MacPherson

Of Golspie and she is unremarkable as the rest (except of course for their amiability and virtue)

Old Dugald and her mother had a mild dispute as to whether she should learn the spinnet, he maintaining it to be unnecessary, she it to be necessary but epislolary record recordeth not of this woman.

A notion seems to have gone around her kindred that she would be a good wife for her cousin Major Dugald but he must have thought otherwise and on the 28th February 1798 she died at Edinburgh.

“Miss Janet Gilchrist, daughter of the late Captain Daniel Gilchrist. 

After her mother’s death, who too had removed to Edinburgh, she lived with her Aunt Mrs Jean Robertson (who died on 2 Oct 1819 at her house in Queensferry St Edinburgh) (Blackwoods Magazine)

Robert Mackay acknowledges 10th July 1798 to Major Dugald his draft in favour of younger brother Edinburgh for £25.10.7 amount of Janet Gilchrists funeral expenses.

She was buried in the Canongate Churchyard.

George – youngest child of Dan and Margaret

Born 15/12/1769 at Kilmote, baptized on the 19th by Mr Geo McCulloch of Loth.

He was named after a relative on his mothers side – a Mackay of Tarboll, Rogart, Sutherlandshire.

George was a planter (or a kin) in one of the West Indian Islands.  There for some time he prospered but from what couse is not known, he sold the property he had acquired there and returned to Britain.

On the death of his grand uncle old Dugald of Ospisdale, he was much incensed that he was not the heir and talked of overturning the will, getting up a plea that old Dugald at the time of making it was of unsound mind, saying that the property had always been intended for him and the legacy of £ which was left to him was meant for his cousin Dugald and Ospisdale and Ardens meant for him.

At this time it is not easy to see what he would have gained by trying to overturn the will for had there been no will, Dugald was undoubtedly head of the family and  the estate would have come to him.

Captain Dugald (later Major) was advised to give him an annuity of £100 per year for life and so settle the difficulty for although George at this time was clearly fatuous (or mad)  yet it would be difficult to prove that a man who for a term of years had carried on business own his own account was so.

George accepted the annuity but both before and after he was a great annoyance.

When the Major first possessed Ospisdale he did not live at it and George used to come prowling about …… the place especially at nightfall and frighten the servants out of their little wits.  There are most plaintive and minute letters from a certain George Herkies who was manager over the farm.  George Gilchrist had commanded him to leave the place and, I think,  threatened to shoot him and his wife.  He, in his raving, named it Golden Grove which was the name of his property in the Island of ……

And as Geo Herkies says “he is always sending me letters full of foolish ….  Etc etc

As his life advanced he got more nuisance and Major Dugald was solicited by Mrs Esther McKay of Torboll to have him seen to as he wandered about the country desolate and unable to take care of himself and in 1800 or 1801 he was boarded at the Preston Pans with an Alexander Walker and latterly with a Joseph Butters.

He died (letter from Hislop, Jero ? and Fowler to Major Dugald) on Sunday 12 or 14th November 1819.

Elsewhere Geo Mackay of Glasgow tells the Major he was put into a place of confinement at Musselburgh in 1802.

Mrs Daniel, after her husbands death, took up her residence in Edinburgh.  In 1783 she lived in Todrick Wynd, Weir’s Lane Edinburgh for a time and she resided at the village of Ormiston again at Preston Pans.  And 30th August 1793 Janet (often called Jessie) writes from Preston Pans that her mother died yesterday. 

Daniel, who was known as Captain, died himself in August 1770.  All his effects were sold soon after; some of his plate, French and English books, farm stock and riding horses.  Margaret attempted amateur farming with old Dugald as guide but it did not suit so she went somewhere.  Let up hope she was permitted to have Janet taught the spinnet. 

The priority of Rev James Gilchrist children does not appear but we will take George next and the only note I at present find regarding him is in a letter from William to old Dugald where he mentions his death as that of our dear and only brother in 1779..

But with William and his wife Frances enter we a land of …, honey, summer roses.  William walks on rather under a cloud.  His father dies and Alexander Pope of Reay says “the great hardship of the case is William Gilchrist (now grown to manhood); he cannot now propose to be idle any longer. (1751/2 Xmas)

Nearly 20 years afterwards Oct 1771, he arrives at Bristol (from Jamaica I suppose) and went to Bath where he was told he would get rid of a complaint he had.  In February 1773 reports say he contemplates matrimony and by the 10th April he has been married to a very agreeable young lady of whom he is very fond.

This lady takes great pleasure in her wifely duties.  In June 1774 she has just had a daughter – she herself says later on “I have just presented my best love with a 2nd little girl named Susan after his mother” then she has a “dear infant which she takes great pleasure in suckling”. 

On March 28th 1777 William writing from Albion Place Surrey London, says his two little girls are sweet tempered, names his boy Fanny and expects an addition.

He has apparently settled in London and erected sugar mills but he soon returns to Jamaica leving his wife in England.  She resides at Lynington (spelling?? - Lori) in Hampshire where she has 3 sisters – one married to a Captain William Sutherland from the North.  At that time she has 3 girls and a boy named Dugald.  On the 22 Nov 1778 she writes, she intends going in January to join her husband and she sends a picture of her eldest daughter Mary to old Dugald.  Painting is her favourite art and she has done it herself.  Old Dugald thanks her with money calling the young Mary Frances, Frances alone.

In November 1782 William chronicles the birth of a daughter in December last  “but it pleased God to take her from us soon after.  Dugald was the finest child of the whole and the most promising.

It is instructive to notice how many name children this old bachelor had  and how promising they are and what a resemblance they had to himself!

Then, alas me! The adored husband  dies on the 10th April 1785.  In the June following his grief stricken widow talks of our Dugald not yet five and on the 27th August of the same year she dies at the birth of the last pledge of so much wedded love.

Captin Daniel’s son William gives a flourishing account of Mrs Gilchrist, his Aunt’s charm and what a leader she was in the society of that place which seems to have been of a grade far above contempt.

On 12th December 1784 Willie says she has 6 children:  Mary aged 12 (she can only have been 10), Susan, Phoebe, Dugald, Fanny and Willie 8 months old.  Dugald the image of our worthy friend in Sutherlandshire 5 years old!

This Mrs Gilchrist’s maiden nowhere appears.  A Captain and Mrs Scott of Forge are frequently named in her letters and Dugald William her son, who writes on the 19/2/1796 to Dugald in Sutherlandshire, tells him to direct to his Uncle Taylor’s 1 Palace St near Buckingham Gate London.

He, he says, and his 3 sisters were left orphans in Jamaica and only 2 sisters are now surviving – they are brought up by his mother’s family.  I have made one voyage as midshipman to the East Indies on board the Lord Macartney and will soon sail again in the same ship.

His further history is unknown – also those of his sisters.

SARAH or Sally – daughter of James and Susannah

Maiden daughter calls herself 52 in 1784 so she was probably born in 1732.  She visits about between her married sisters Mrs Waters and Mrs Baikie and does not seem to be much loved by any one.

MARGARET or Peggy – another of James and Susannah’s daughters was married in 1751 (so says Mrs Pope) and the marriage which was bought about by Lady Janet Sinclair and was to be kept secret just then.  Why, we do not know.

He, Thomas Baikie,  was one of those Baikies of Hall of Tankern… ……..and had property of his own.    Sometimes he is called Breckings or Brakings and at other times of Burness – perhaps they are different forms of the same name.

They had at least one child – it died early if not at birth.

A Hugh Baikie of Burness Orkney is mentioned in the Acts of Parliament in 1696 and 1698.

Mr Baikie, like all small Scotch proprietors, got into debt.  A Mr William Watt or Wall then merchant in Thurso and who was not at all liked by Mrs Thomas Baikie’s kinfolk, was in great part his creditor. 

She, in December 1758, begs old Dugald to show some attention to Mr Honeyman and his sister Miss Peggy who are passing through Sutherland.

Mr Thomas Baikie was finally supposed to be lost at sea.  He and another gentleman from Kirkwall had taken a boat and a crew of 12 men to attend the cargo of a Danish ship wrecked on North Bondashay.  They put off from Kirkwall on 28th December.  In the evening a storm broke out and it is supposed they all perished.  A strict search has been made through the north Isles but not one body has been found.  Presumed to be in 1781.

Mr Baikie’s will was written on stampt paper dated 1770.  Mr William Watt or Wall dating Burness 3 November 1787 says “I effected the purchase of the estate of the Brakneys.  I was a principal creditor and he had effected previously what was very distressing to Mrs Thomas Baikie’s friends; he had married her.  She died on 6th June 1788.

Sinclairs Stat account (Vol 16 page 18) mentions William Wall Esq first residing heritor parishes of Sandwick and Stromness county of Orkney.  This may have been him.

JEANNIE – another daughter of James and Susannah,

Married Mr David Waters in Caithness.  He seems to have had a farm called Brins.

Jeannie Gilchrist predeceased him and he married a second time.  His own death took place in the end of 1787 and by his will he left his sons William, Benjamin, Rose (? Lori) and James £200 each and the 3 girls £ 100 each and an annuity to his widow.

The tutors and Curators were Mr George Sinclair “Gicse”, Mr Miller at ……and Baillie Paterson.   He had a debt to Mr Sinclair of Holburnhead and Mr William Wall Esq of Brokings or Brakings at Burness purchased it as he was the principal creditor. 

One daughter married a Mr Sinclair.  

Miss G G Gilchrist (born 1811)  remembers either a Sinclair or Waters being at Ospisdale early in the century “a funny creature whose head had been shaved from illness and wore his grandmothers wig”.



ALEXANDER (Son of John MacGilchrist and Miss Lamont)

As far as I can gather Alexander the next brother who wrote from Lucca in Hanover in the Island of Jamaica in 1762 was a sugar planter and owned some estates in land and in human flesh.

He had an illness in 1746 and to recover from it’s bad effects he went over to North America where at Middleton in Connecticut he saw his brother Robert.

He returned to England and still in ill health, he lived in lodgings near London and died on the 10th or 14th May 1776 his little estate apparently in money, or most of it, falling to his brother Dugald who was the 5th son of John - and who to Alexander and who writes of himself thus: ( old Dugald wrote to Alexander – Lori)

“For a brief account of myself I left Kilmichael in October 1731 and came to our brother James at Fort William from whence he was transported in May 1732 to a parish in this county (Sutherland).  From that period until 1737 I got employment for two or three years in teaching gentlemen’s children at their own homes.

In 1737 I entered into the Earl of Sutherland’s service in which I still continue.  My business until 1741 was to keep accounts and have the charge of the granary etc.  In 1741 I commenced Factor on part of the Estate which was enlarged at several periods until in 1750 I got the management of the whole estate.  Thank God………and in a bachelor condition”

From 1737 until 1771 he lived in the House of Dunrobin.  Then he retired and took the farm of Lothbeg some 8 miles from Golspie and died there on the 1st January 1797.  He had a wadset.  It commenced 1757 and was ‘of the town and lands Grubeg Dinachkary grubmore and Hudle with the …… and pertinents lying in the parish of Farr County Sutherland.  He was infest in there on the 25th and his scism entered in the register of scisms kept at Inverness on the 1st October.  All which he disponed on the 20th February 1767.

He must have half supported most of his brothers and sisters and nephews and nieces and the others I should say he wholly supported.  He was regarded as a man of great shrewdness and of the highest personal integrity and most of the inhabitants of Sutherland and many of Ross shire appear to have had his advice and pecuniary assistance in their difficulties.

Everybody up there in those days had money difficulties.  Coin was so scarse and labour mostly paid in kind and rent most often by what was termed ‘victuals’ that was corn and as there was very little cultivated ground so it followed there was not much corn to pay.  Potatoes were only introduced into the county in the end of the 18th century.  Most of the trade then consisted in black cattle.  Some of them were driven South but a quantity of them were slaughtered, salted and packed into barrels and sent by sea to London.  This trading was in full force about the rebellion of 1745 and during a ruptiore (spelling ? Lori) of the rebels into the county there was a forcible seizure of which they were accused of a “kettle with a cock from one of the boiling grounds at Cyderhall (Sidera or Southera).

He (Dugald) purchased the estates of Ospisdale and Ardens from Robert Gray who was much in debt to him about 1783 for the sum of £1945 and left it to the grandson of his oldest step brother (should be half brother.  Lori) – to Dugald Gilchrist afterwards Major.

Dugald was buried at Loth in Sutherland where his tombstone existed in 1872.

ROBERT GILCHRIST – the youngest son of this family (John and Miss Lamont - Lori)  Is said to have emigrated to America from Argyll and Patrick (old Daniels son) says that his father set him out in life.   However it may be he went to America and then made himself a house.  His calling was not among the mighty of the earth but in it such as he was, he flourished.

He married a girl from Boston.  In 1770 or 1771 he had a son about 17 years old.

William Gilchrist (son of Rev James Gilchrist)  got him over to Jamaica.  (At that time Robert had also 3 daughters - Lori).   

He (Robert) was born 1720 or 1721 and when his brother Alexander visited him he lived at Middleton in Connecticut; he died  July 16th at Port Royal  in the state of Virginia in his 69th year.

Robert Gilchrist Esq a native of Scotland – so says the Scots Magazine of 1790.

Robert McKay of Glasgow writes (to) the Major (Major Dugald Gilchrist of Ospisdale - Lori) in 1800  the following extract from a letter which he had received ament Robert’s son at the time some relatives thought of disputing old Dugalds will. 

The writer says “I knew Gilchrist well.  He was an American by birth – he died about 10 years ago or more.  I underdstand his father died before him and that he had no brothers as his property in Jamaica was passed to his sister.  This is all the information I can at resently give you.  January 1800.

And of the sister who got his property in Jamaica we know no more.

HELEN GILCHRIST   – Old Johns daughter and the sister of these men, was the wife of John Wodrow who was at one time Master of the Grammar school at Greenock.  Wodrow removed to Tarbert in October 1762.

In 1765 we have a letter from her son John; he styles himself a poor parson with a farm and is in Islay.  At one time he became minister of Kildalon (properly Kildaton Islay).                    

His mother Helen (who wrote to old Dugald as your loving sister Helen) lived with him and died about 1775.  In 1769 his father being then about 70, became insane.

John, the son, married and somewhere I found that he died comparatively early and left his wife with some children, the daughters of whom were described as hansomer that any girls in the country or some such phrase.  

I find the following in Blackwood’s Magazine 21st April 1818.

At Glasgow Robert Raeburn Esq Surgeon Glasgow to Marion youngest daughter of the Rev John Woodrow late minister of Islay Argyllshire.

John Wodrows term of Ministery and his work are thus noticed in Hugh Scotts Fasti.

1758 John Wodrow a Mord 1758 9th May 1788.

He married 13 October 1768 Alice Campbell who died 2 October 1823.

Publications Ofoians Carthon and Darthula (spellings ? Lori)

translated into English verse 1768.  Fingal of Opian into English heroic 1771.

These are all the facts I have been able to glean about this generaion of the family.  They are meagre but are better than less.  I shall now go to the issue of the six sons already noticed.

OLD DANIEL who lived at Kilmichael had 3 children whom we find notice of:  John, Patrick and Jean.

Jean talks of herself as an only sister.  She was married to a Daniel Gilchrist whom I fancy I saw called her cousin.  She is first introduced by Robert Mackay in June 1763 who says he has been called upon by one Mrs Gilchrist who calls herself your niece, daughter to your brother Daniel; her husband Daniel has eloped to London for debt; she supports herself and her boy, her only surviving child”.

Of course she asks for money and of course she gets it.  In the same year she tells Old Dugald that her husband is in a low condition in London and not expected to live.

In the Register of the County of Lanark parish of Glasgow, I find the following which I write out in form:

Daniel & Jean Gilchrist

Henrietta b 1751   Archibald b 1753   John b 1754   Patrick b 1757

In the same register there is a James Gilchrist and his wife Isobel Thomson who have the following children:  James b 1722, George b 1725, Daniel b 1727, David b 1731 Isobel b 1736

As to age Daniel, Jeans spouse, may have been the son of this James.  The register calls Daniel ‘merchant in Glasgow’ and I suppose he was a little merchant for there is an heriditary bond amongst the letters, which is given by him over a shop in Glasgow to John his brother in law and part of which Major Gilchrist recovered about 1800.

Jean herself says I have one child living and one child dead but probably if her children died infants, like many parents she may only have counted those who lived to some age.  In some letters she says her remaining son ran off to sea but she does not say when or where. 

The Argyllshire tradition regarding the Gilchrists of Glassary is that the last member perished with the Royal George off Spithead.  This is of course incorrect for there were branches flourishing in various parts of the country at that time and we also concluded it to be incorrect that any members (of the family) perished along with that ill fated ship.

Principal Campbell of Aberdeen has the following note in his possession.  It is written by his grandfather Peter Campbell to Jean Gilchrist.  They were full cousins – his father being brother of her mother Mrs Donald McGilchrist.

“Glassary Manse 16th October 1774

Dear Cousin the enclosed came under cover to me from London.  It is from your son.  As I daresay he says the same to you as to his situation and news which he does to me, it will be needless to me to mention anything.

I rejoice with you that he is well and I hope that if he behaves right, he will not want friends.

I am but recovering slowly of a lingering fever I had.  I have not been downstairs these few weeks but I have reason to thank God that I am alive and in a way of doing well.  My wife joins me in good wishes to you and I am your very affectionate Cousin.

To Mrs Jean Gilchrist of Tarbert                                        Peter Campbell

In the Public Record Office in London as unearthed for me by the courteous Mr Kingston in 1873, it is stated there were two John Gilchrists on board the Royal George.  One was born at  Reoll or Revell (spelling? - Lori) Armadale who was of course not our own and he died on the day in which the ship foundered.

There was also a John Gilchrist born at Glasgow No 397 – entered Hull Queen 1 January 1778 aged 23, a volunteer from the George and Molly and discharged 28 February 1779.

No 798 entered Hulls Royal George 1st March 1779 and discharged 29 August 1782 (the day the ship foundered at Spithead)

No 490 entered Hulls Vengeance (from the Diligent late Royal George)  29 August 1782 and served until the ship was paid off at Plymouth on 8th April 1783

Now, as Jean’s son John was born on the 22nd May 1754, he would be 23 by 1st Jan 1778 and as he was also born at Glasgow and as she had a son who ran off to sea and as the tradition is that the last McGilchrist either in the male or female line perished with the Royal George, this is most probably her son.  From his only being discharged the morning she foundered there is good colouring for the report of his death arising.

On 20th September 1781 Robert McKay writes to Old Dugald “I found the enclosed letter from Donald Henderson at Tarbert advising me of the death of your niece Mrs Jean Gilchrist.  Her son may of course have left issue…………

JOHN GILCHRIST – Daniel and Jean Campbell’s elder son – he was born 21 March 1725 was an Excise Officer and also had a farm at Ferintosh, Cullbrockie. 

He married in 1754 Margaret Graham daughter of Mungo Graham brewer of Auchterarder.  She was born 5th May 1738 and died 6 July 1769.

John was in the Excise and at that period as far as I can glean from contemporary writings and records, it was not beneath the dignity of a gentleman to take such a post. 

He write from Inverbroacky on 15th June 1770 and says that he has been in the Excise since 1742; he was in the Rothes division in 1748; was in Zetland for 5 years and was for a time Supervisor of Excise to Ross and Sutherland.

The following dates of his letters to old Dugald of Ospisdale give the only outline I can find of his wandering life:

Burghead 1750

Glasgow 1753

Lerwick Zetland 1763 and 1764

Lerwick June 1765

Findhorn August 1768

Thurso November 1768 and 1769

Cromarty February 1772

Culbockie Dingwall 1774


From the Register of Dunning County of Perth, which is much interspersed with Session minutes, I’ve learnt that on Sept 22 1754 ‘The Session resolving to meet on Thursday next appointed the Officer to summons to that meeting John Gilchrist Officer of Excise in this place and Margaret Graham daughter to Mungo Graham in Achterarder, who are said to have been lately irregularly married.  On Thursday the 26th the Session having met  and John and Margaret having been called appeared and at the Sessions desire, having produced documents of their marriage and having promised to live together as man and wife during their ……life and admonished to a conscientious performance of the requisite duties of that station, which they also promised under God. 

In 1755 on Monday Sept 29th the following rather amusing record is in the name register ‘ The session upon a report that Anna Crerar, servant to Mrs John Gilchrist Officer of Excise in this place, is with child.  Had her examined by Matron and according to the old form, who declared she was far advanced in pregnancy, she denied it.

The Minister decided to ask the advice of the Presbytery and the Officer was directed to ask Mr Gilchrist for his wife to keep a strict eye upon the said Anna’.

There is only one letter of Margaret’s at Ospisdale dated Dunning 1763.  It is to old Dugald and if I recollect aright thanks him for money.


By this marriage John had 6 daughters:

Jean born 16/11/1755 between 8 and 9 of the clock being Sabbath, at Ochterarder.  Baptized on the 19th,  married Mr Davidson, left 2 daughters Mary and Margaret.   

Mr Davidson had, at one time, a farm at Early Vale.  Their daughters lived and died as spinsters and had a flat in a house in Forres St Edinburgh.  They were strong Free Church women and lived in odour (?) of great sanctity with their own body..

Elizabeth born 25/8/1757,  alive in 1777

Mary born 8/7/1759 Sabbath at Dunning, baptized 12th July, married Mr William Penman aged 31 years  Surgeon in Glasgow 7/7/1790 at Edinburgh.  Two sons John and William.  William sr. died 8/12/1835.

Mary was an excellent woman and seemed from her letters to entertain the common but erroneous idea that we should love and respect those whom we know to be vile not less than those whom we know to be holy.

Margaret born Dunning 26/6/1761, baptized 3 July,  died  2/6/1762.

Hope born 8 June 1766 died 19 June 1769

Helen born June 1768 died 12 Feb 1769.

Margaret Graham died 6 July 1769 and then John married Margaret Ross of Priesthill and/or Auchnacloich and Tollie on 7th December 1770.  She was born 15/4/1750.  She was the last of these Ross’s who were a branch of the Ross family of Balnagown.

She was the sister of Capt John Ross of the 71st Foot (whose will was proved at Doctor’s Commons in 1785) whose father died in 1757.  Their mother was the youngest daughter of John McKenzie of Hyfield (a younger branch of the Kintails) and Margaret McLean whose sisters were married to McKenzie of Kilcoy and McKenzie of Ard and of whose younger brother Colin owned Meckle Scatwell and William Strathgarve.

The Auchnacloich’s themselves were no mean race being founded by Hugh 3rd son of Sir David Ross of Balnagowan, representatives of the Earls of Ross but my notes regarding them I shall write out separately.

The marriage took place at Rhives in the parish of Parkhill a property now (1874) in possession of Sir Charles Ross of Balnagowan.

They had 7 children:

Catherine born 1772 died  1789 at Edinburgh from consumption,

Dugald b 1773,

Joanna b 1775 at Culbockie, married somebody Lyon

Robert b 1777 at Culbockie d 1777

Daniel b 1778 at Drumaniach

Henrietta b 1781 married Mr Leckie who was in some business in Liverpool and had a family whom the present Mrs Gilchrist says are all dead.

Abigail b 1784 d 29/3/1784.

John died 22/12/1784 at Ferintosh.  Margaret nee Ross died 11/11/1786.

With both parents deceased the children were left destitute and had it not been for old Dugald, would have had a sad battle with poverty but that worthy old man lent the same helping hand to them that he had done to nearly every member of his family.

The children were removed to  Glasgow.  They had relations there although it does not clearly appear who they were.  After 1790 their sister Mrs Penman came there.

In those days poor ladies supported themselves by ‘threadmaking’ and Joanna and Henrietta turned to this but it does not seem to have succeeded from their reports of it and from Joanna’s making a bad marriage with a Mr Lyon, a Glasgow tradesman or merchant.  Three of her children by him were alive in 1850 and are so still 1874.

I believe Margaret and 2 sons who are dissenting ministers; one was very popular among his order and drew great crowds about Islington.  Margaret is a spinster and the brothers are: ……….

Daniel studied medicine and died unmarried early in this century (19th)

PATRICK GILCHRIST was the brother of Jean and John whom we have just treated of.  He was born in April 1732.  He, like John, was in the Excise. 

Jean writes to old Dugald in 1763 “Peter has married a girl from Dunning.  She further intimates that she has no money; her name is Isobel” 

The little we know of him is from a few letters to Major Dugald.  He mentions 6 children.  His 2 daughters were named Mary and Jean.

On 31st March 1801, his eldest son Dugald was on board Hulls Foudrogant (spelling?? - Lori) and in the Mediterranean.  His station is on Quarterdeck.

The same month it was in Aboukir Bay Egypt and received on board the mortally wounded.  Sir Ralph Abercrombie.  It is called Lord Keiths ship.

His son Patrick went off 2 years ago we don’t know where.

Daniel was born 1764 and John who was born 1779 was ‘incapable

(Elsewhere )   dated 1797 “my younger son wants the use of his reason”

They lived at Bromfield near  Glasgow whence they write in 1797, 1800 and 1801 and after these dates they disappear altogether from our horizon.

They may have left families which I shall presently discover but in what rank of life they are, remains to be seen.  They were in great poverty and his letters to his nephew Dugald are all begging or thanking him for money.

Although his sister Jean notifies his marriage in 1763, it must have taken place rather before for his 2nd son was born in 1764.

We now return to the eldest branch:

DUGALD  GILCHRIST born 27th July 1773, son of John Gilchrist and Margaret nee Ross.

Succeeded his grand uncle Dugald as 2nd of Ospisdale and Ardens both in the parish of Creich Sutherlandshire.

He first saw the suns light in Ross Shire in or near Dingwall, probably at the farm of Culbockie.  He was his fathers 2nd child by his 2nd wife and he was also the first son who had been born to John.

This Dugald lives in the glorious obscurity of childhood as far as our history is concerned until (and forever as far as the world goes) in a letter, to his father from his mothers only brother, dated 1st September 1784 at London he says “Be assured that so soon as I am able to settle these matters regarding Regimental business I will purchase an ensigncy for Dugald on half pay for his education or something else.  You must know that I have none so near related to me as my sister and by God, none so dear”  but he died next year and the ensigncy was unpurchased.  The year after Margaret Ross died also so the children stood nearly alone in the world.

Mr Patrick Hay at Dingwall corresponds on their behalf with old Dugald of Ospisdale.  He says the principal relations they have in this neighbourhood by the mothers side is Mr McKenzie of Ord and Mr McKenzie at Corel brother to Applecross.

Dugald went to London to learn a business with a McKenzie of Lentran, a cousin of his mothers.  His grand uncle Dugald dying 1st January 1797, young Dugald at the age of 23 before he had committed himself to any line of life, succeeded to his small estates and adopted another line of life.

He was appointed Captain in the late 2nd or Rosshire Regiment of North British Militia – commission dated 22 May 1798 and continued so until it was embodied in May 1802.  In the August following he was requested to accept a commission in the 5th British Militia which he agreed to. 

He married on the 25th February 1800 Catherine, daughter of Captain or Lieut. Alexander Rose once of the Artillery and at another time of the 42nd.  Again he figures at of HGJCS – he was the only surviving son of Dr Alex Rose of Aberdeen who studied at Lynden under the great and good Boerheave and his wife who was a descendant of the Middletons of Middleton Coldhouse..

He was the son of Rev Francis Rose the well known and beloved Jacobite parson (by his wife……Keith, daughter of Rev Dr John Keith minister of Echtbirse and Old Macher)    who was a younger son of Alexander Rose of Tillesnaught – the Tillesnaughts being the oldest cadet family of Kelraooch (spelling ?? - Lori)

Catherine’s mother was a daughter of a younger branch of the Roses of Shandwick and by blood she was also descended from the Campbells of Delmie (near Hairu) , the Ferns of Tarlogie and many other well known families.

Catherine Rose was one of those fair creatures who was so fondly and tenderly nurtured that the wind was never allowed to blow upon her cheek – she was of a tall, slightly swaying figure. Delicately fair and with a beautiful face excepting a slight redness in the eyelids – like Leah; tender eyed.

Her mother died on the 16th June the year of Catherine’s marriage.  Captain Gilchrist had by that time been ordered off with his regiment.

His eldest child Margaret was born 20th May 1801 at half past nine pm.

Alexandrina Rose was the next child.  She married Mr William Lyon of London afterwards of Rushill county of Surrey – a son of one of the Lyon’s of Glamis in Forfarshire who had settled at one time in Cornwall.  By him she had 6 children:

Alexandrina born 1839, Dugald , Alfred, Reburra (?) married Mr William Wallace Dunlop son of General Dunlop.

William and Eleanorah

Dugald’s marriage did not turn out at all happily.  In 1814 he and his wife agreed to a separation and it gave place to a divorce.  The remainder of Mrs Gilchrists life is too sad to tell.  She died and was buried in England

The Major, which title he retained after the Militia was disbanded, lived for the remainder of his days at Ospisdale where he died. 

He was genial, hospitable and charitable and a popular man in his day and generation.