New member first impressions Clan Chattan Association Gathering 2018
In 2017 I first became aware of the Clan Chattan Association. Visiting friends near Forres we visited a bookshop with a 2nd hand section on Scottish history. The first thing I picked up was a copy of the Clan Chattan Journal and the opening article by Br Pascal Downs OSB was about my own family, the Macphails. For the first time I saw an account in writing of something I’d only heard about as a child. Namely that we couldn’t go back beyond 1746 because our direct ancestor, a young boy called James Macphail, was found orphaned at the Battle of Culloden. I bought that copy (Vol X11 – No 2 2008) and several others and read about the Association. It spurred me on and I contacted Denise and Donald McIntosh and was told about the Clan Chattan Gathering the following August 2018. My youngest daughter, Emily, offered to accompany me to the meeting.
In the interim Emily had moved from the south of England to Edinburgh and we decided to spend a week in the highlands doing family history before and after the Gathering. We went initially to Oban to visit Ardchattan and Eriska where earlier pre1291 generations of Macphails had lived and then via the Great Glen to the MacPhail area south of Inverness and Moy, including Dunlicity church to see the plaque put up in 2000 commemorating the Macphails of Inverarnie.
We then attended the AGM and Dinner at Lochardill House Hotel and met many new people. We were made so welcome by Donald and Denise McIntosh and introduced to John Mackfall whose table we joined and where we also met other Mcfalls and Glen Cook from the USA. Everyone was so helpful and to my amazement we realised John Mackfall and I had grown up in the same village in N.Yorkshire and he being much younger than me had known my brother Richard at school. What a small world.
Next day we attended the Field Fair at Moy Hall and met more members in the Clan Tent. We were delighted to visit the Mackintosh Museum at Moy Hall and also to buy many books about Clan Chattan and related subjects as well as John Mackfalls book The Clan Phail. The History of a people.
Anne Fraser Macquarrie gave me a great boost as she took our family’s details and offered to look up the parents of James Macphail in the archives.
A week later she emailed me her findings. Wonderful news for us as she had found where they were married and that they had another child, Margaret after James. This was a real breakthrough. The next day we went to Culloden and in the family history section and also in the book “No Quarter given “. We think we have established that James’ father John MacPhail was not killed but surrendered after Culloden and was transported to north America. This all has to be followed up now in the USA. We were staying in Nairn where my great, great grandfather John Sinclair MacPhail was buried and over the next 2 days visited Forres, Findhorn and Elgin where they had ministered to the people as Free Chrurch ministers. On our last day we went to Pluscarden Abbey where Simeon Ross Macphail, brother to John Sinclair, had written the definitive history of Pluscarden still quoted today. A History of the Religious House of Pluscarden (Edinburgh 1881)
We can not attend the 2019 Gathering as we will be away in the Solomon Islands, in the Western Pacific where we used to live but we hope to attend the autumn meeting in Edinburgh and look forward to that meeting.
Christine Rutherford Chisholm