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Memoirs of the Family of McCombie, a branch of Mackintosh
First printed by WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS. 19th century
COMPILED FROM HISTORY AND TRADITION WILLIAM M'COMBIE SMITH
From Angus Og, son of Angus, the sixth chief of the Clan Mackintosh, who died in 1345, were descended the M'Intoshes of Glen Tilt, who afterwards settled at Dalmunzie in Glenshee. It was probably owing to the settlement of this branch of the M'Intoshes in Glenshee, that the descendants of Adam M'William of Garvamore, in Badenoch, a natural son of William, the seventh chief, also settled in Glenshee, Strathardle, and Glenisla. This Adam M'Intosh, son of William, the seventh chief of the Clan Mackintosh, was the founder of that branch of the clan which after-wards came to be known by the surname of M'Thomas = son of Thomas, which in time became corrupted into M'Thomie, M'Homie, M'Omie, M'Comie, and latterly M'Combie. The surname M'Intosh was used interchangeably with M'Comie until the settlement in the area of Aberdeenshire.
The family of M'Combie took its rise, therefore, as a separate and distinct branch of the Clan M'Intosh in the latter half of the fourteenth century. In the original feu-charter, dated 9th September 1571, the M'Combies are described as being "ab antiquo" tenants and possessors of Finnegand in Glenshee. In the " Roll of the Landdislordis and Baillies " appended to the Act of Parliament, of date 1587, " for the quieting and keeping in obedience of the disordourit subjectis inhabitantis of the Bordouris, Hielandis, and His," commonly called " The General Band," there is first given " The Roll of the names of the Landislordis and Baillies of Landis in the Hielandis and lies, quhair brokin men hes duelt and presentlie duellis," followed by " The Roll of the Clannis [in the Hielandis and lies] that hes Capitanes, Cheiffis, and Chiftanes quhome on thay depend, oft tymes aganis the willis of thair Landislordis : and of sum speciale personis of branchis of the saidis clannis." Called Clan Mac Thomas the latter roll there occurs the " Clan M 'Thomas in Glensche." In the roll of the clans of 1587, following " Clan M 'Thomas in Glensche," are the " Fergussonis, Spaldingis," without locality given, and the " Makintoshs in Athoill," showing that Angus Og's descendants, together with those of Adam, son of the seventh chief, still held Glen Tilt and Glenshee as their headquarters. In the roll of the broken clans in the Highlands and Isles, in the Act of Parliament "for punishment of thift, reiff, oppressioun, and soirn- ing," of date 1594, there are included under "many brokin men," the "Fergussonis, Spaldingis, M'Intosheis in Athoill, M 'Thomas in Glensche," and " Ferquharsonis in Bra of Mar." The necessity for this second roll, so soon following on that of 1587, is set forth as follows: " Oure Soverane Lord and his estaitis in this present Parliament, considering that, nochtwithstanding the sundrie Actis maid be his Hienes, and his maist nobill progenitouris, for punischment of the authoris of thift, reiff, oppression, and sorning, 8 The Family of M'Combie. and masteris and sustenaries of thevis ; yet sic hes bene, and presentlie is, the barbarous cruelties and daylie heirschippis of the wickit thevis and lymmaris of the clannis and surenames following, inhabiting the Hielands and lies," &c. In both rolls the M'Intoshes, Fergussons, Spaldings, and M 'Thomases occur together ; and in the ' Geography of the Clans of Scotland,' by Mr T. B. Johnston and Colonel J. A. Robert- son, the M'Intoshes are marked in the map as in Glen Tilt only, and the M 'Thomas clan in the head of Glenshee, with the Fergussons lower down, and the Spaldings lowest down in what is now known as the Blackwater district, and in Strathardle around Ashintully. There is evi- dently something wrong in this arrangement. The M'Intoshes were in Glen Tilt previous to 1587; but they were also in Dalmunzie, in the head of Glenshee. Where the Fergussons are placed in the map, Finnegand is situated, where no Fergussons were at that time nor since ; and in 1 571 the M 'Thomases had been " ab antiquo" possessors of Finnegand, and were in possession Located in G lens he e. 9 of it for long after 1594. The Spaldings were, until comparatively recent times, tenants and possessors in the Blackwater district of Glenshee, and in and around Ashintully in Strathardle. Bearing in mind that the M'Intoshes and M'Thomases were of the same origin, and that long after this time of 1587, or even of 1594, the head of the Clan M 'Thomas used the surname M'Intosh interchangeably with M'Comie, there can be little doubt but that Glen Tilt in Athole, with the head of Glenshee, should be set down in a clan map of the sixteenth century as held by M'Intoshes, and the district between the head of Glenshee and what is now the Blackwater district, as held by the branch of the M'Intoshes known by the surnames of M'Intosh, M 'Thomas, and M'Comie, and below the M'Comies, the Spaldings. The Fergussons in the map ought to be placed in the Glenshee south of Dunkeld, held, in part at least, by Fergusson, Baron of Fandowie, and not in the Glenshee north of Dunkeld. It is clearly established, however, both by parliamentary records of Scotland and by charter, that the M'Comies were a distinct family, settled in Glenshee in the sixteenth century. The phrase "ab antiquo", in the charter of 1571, establishes a settlement long previous to that; and their descent from William, seventh chief of the M'Intoshes, points to this settlement as being probably in the end of the fourteenth or beginning of the fifteenth century. In the roll of 1594, the M 'Thomases in Glenshee are immediately followed by the Farquharsons in Braemar. The great hero of the Farquharsons was the renowned Finla Mor. In 1547, he was standard-bearer in the disastrous battle of Pinkie, where he was slain. It is an interesting fact that the great hero of the M'Comies, the M'Comie Mor, was a lineal descendant of Finla Mors. Finla Mor's first wife was a daughter of Baron Reid of Kincardine- Stewart. Their eldest son, William, married Beatrix Gordon, daughter of Lord Sutherland, whose ' daughter was married to Thomas M'Intosh of Finnegand. The family, therefore, had acquired considerable influence and power in the sixteenth century ; and in the words of the Act of Parliament of 1587, was depending on its own chief, " oft- times against the will," it may be, of its feudal superior, the Earl of Athole. The concern expressed by Parliament in the doings of these "broken men" - that is, branches of original clans who had assumed independence - naturally led these to confederate themselves. The measures adopted by the Scottish Government after the Act of Parliament of 1587, had evidently been ineffectual in bringing these broken men into submission; but the subject being taken up again so soon after, showed both that the independent branches were proving troublesome to their landlords and the Government, and that the latter was determined to bring them to account.
Accordingly, in the year following the Act of 1594, we find the distant colonies of the clan in Aberdeenshire and Perthshire granting a heritable •band of manrent, at Invercauld, to Lachlan Mor, the sixteenth chief of the M'Intoshes. In this band, dated March 1595, James M'Intosh Gask, Donald Farquharson of Tulligarmont, John Farquharson of Invercauld, George, Lachlan, and Finlay Farquharson, brothers to the laird Donald (these four were sons, and John of Invercauld a grandson, of Finla Mor), Duncan M'Intosh of Dalmunzie, and Robert M'Homie in the burn of Glenshee, promise to maintain, fortify, and defend Lachlan and his heirs, "as our natu- rall cheiff."
From the end of the sixteenth to about the middle of the seventeenth century, there seems to have been a period of comparative quietude. The tranquillity of the rest of the country, from the Union of the Crowns to the beginning of the great Civil War, exerted its influence on the Highlands also. About the beginning of this period was born John M'Comie, the M'Comie Mor, in whose lifetime the family rose to its highest point of influence and power in Perthshire and Forfarshire, and also sank to its lowest ebb, under powers and circumstances which the haughty chief was too proud to submit to, and in his old age unable successfully to resist. History and tradition alike bear testimony to the remarkable character of this Highland chief. The sagacity and indomitable spirit that characterized his mental qualities were not more conspicuous among his contemporaries than his extraordinary bodily strength.
Sir ^Eneas M'Pherson, in his MS. history, makes mention of "John M'Intosh of Forter, commonly called M'Comie," as among " the oldest and wisest not only of my own, but- of all our neighbor families ; ... all men of sense and reputation, and most of them so very old that if they were not acquainted with Finla Mor himself, they were at least personally known to his children." John M'Comie could not have been acquainted with Finla Mor, but might have been personally acquainted with his children, his own mother being a granddaughter of Finla Mor.
Sir ^Eneas M'Pherson speaks of John M'Intosh, or M'Comie, as of Forter, of which barony he had obtained a wadset from the Earl of Airlie, some time between 1651 x and 1660. After entering on possession of Forter, he built a mansion- house on the estate at Crandart, where he took up his residence. Crandart is situated on the right bank of the Isla, about a mile and a half north of the old castle of Forter, which had been burned down by Argyll in 1640.
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