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The origin of the Davidsons is attributed to a certain Gilliecattan Mhor, chief of Clan Chattan in the time of David I. This personage, it is stated, had two sons, Muirich Mhor and Dhai Dhu. From the former of these was descended Clan Mhuirich or Macpherson, and from the latter Clan Dhai or Davidson. Sir Aeneas Macpherson, the historian of the clan of that name, states that both the Macphersons and the Davidsons were descended from Muirich, parson of Kingussie in the twelfth century. Against this statement it has been urged that the Roman kirk had no parson at Kingussie at that time. But this fact need not militate against the existence of Muirich at that place. The Culdee church was still strong in the twelfth century, and, as its clergy were allowed to marry, there was nothing to hinder Muirich from being the father of two sons, the elder of whom might carry on his name, and originate Clan Macpherson, while the younger, David, became ancestor of the Davidsons. Still another account is given in the Kinrara MS. upon which Mr. A. M. Mackintosh, the historian of Clan Mackintosh, chiefly relies: This MS. names David Dubh as ancestor of the clan, but makes him of the fourteenth century, and declares him to be of the race of the Comyns. His mother, it says, was Slane, daughter of Angus, sixth chief of the Mackintoshes, and his residence was at Nuid in Badenoch. Upon the whole, it seems most reasonable to accept the earliest account, that contained in the MS. of 1467, which no doubt embodied the traditions considered most authentic in its time.
When the power of the Comyns began to wane in Badenoch, Donald Dubh of Invernahaven, Chief of Davidsons, having married the daughter of Angus, 6th of MacKintosh, sought the protection of William, 7th of MacKintosh, before 1350, and became associated with the Clan Chattan confederation.
The clan became known as the Clan Dhai from David Dubh of Invernahaven their first chief. Their entry into the Clan Cattan led to a dispute apparently regarding precedence. A portion of MacKintosh’s estate lying in Lochaber was let to the Camerons and MacKintosh had difficulty in obtaining rent for it. About 1370 the Camerons decided to attack MacKintosh, who was prepared to meet them at the head of several branches of the Clan Chattan. When the forces came in sight of each other, the Macphersons, owing to their dispute with the Davidsons, withdrew from the conflict, remained spectators, and the Clan Chattan were defeated. During the night, MacKintosh sent his bard as coming from the Camerons to the camp of the Macphersons and accused them of cowardice. Thus enraged, the Macphersons attacked the Camerons during the night and completely defeated them.
The enmity between the two branches continued, and by some historians the Davidsons are identified with Clan Dhai, who fought with the Macphersons in the famous Clan Battle on the North Inch of Perth, in 1396, before King Robert I, when only one man of the Clan Dhai survived, and eleven of their opponents remained alive at the termination of the combat.
In the 18th century we find important families like the Davidsons of Cantray and the Davidsons of Tulloch. The latter family came into possession of the lands and castle of Tulloch, near Dingwall, in 1762, when Henry Davidson purchased the estate from his cousin Kenneth Bayne.
Crest: A stag’s head erased, proper. Badge: Red whortleberry.
Pipe music: Tulloch Castle.
Septs of the Clan: Davie, Davis, Dawson, Dow, Kay, Macdade, Macdaid, MacDavid.
Names associated with the clan: MACDAVID, DENE, DAVISON, DAVISOUN, DAW, DAWE, DAWES, DAWESON, DAVYSONE, DAVITSON, DAVYSON, DAVIS, DAUSON, DEASONE, DAUISOUN, DAVIE, DAUISONE, DEASON, DAWYSOUN, DEANE ,DAUISON, DAVIDSON, DAUIESONE, DAUYSONE, DEASSOUN, DAWSON, DAUSOUN, DAWYSONE, DEIN, DAWSONE ,DAVIDSONE ,DASON, DAUYSON, DEAN, DAVESON, DAUESOUN, DAUESON, DAVIESOUNE, DEASSON ,DASONE, DESSON, DEYNE, KEY, KAYE, KAE, KAY, KEE, KEAY, MACDAID, MACDADE.