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MacKintosh of Glenshee


The name Mackintosh is usually associated with the leading tribe of the Clan Chattan, which in the main is an Inverness-shire clan; but no doubt there have been and are many bearing the name without any connection either with Inverness-shire or with Clan Chattan. The word "toiseach" equivalent to the charter words " thane," "chamberlain," "seneschal," though primarily meaning a chief or leader, at an early period became attached to the person holding the position of steward or representative of the king or other high authority in a Gaelic-speaking district, probably because such person, in addition to being the collector of rents and the general administrator of the lands under his charge, would be responsible for mobilising and leading the men living on the lands in the event of their being called upon to fight. Thus wherever a toiseach or thane ruled there was always the possibility of his founding a family with the designation of Mac-an-toisich or Mackintosh, and having regard to the number of thanages known to have existed in early times it is somewhat surprising that such families are not more numerous than they are.

Cosmo Innes, in his Scotch Legal Antiquities (pp. 80-3), gives two instances of families, in Glentilt and Lochaber respectively, who took their surnames from the office, but neither of whom, as he correctly says, had any connection with the Mackintoshes of Clan Chattan.

Skene, in Celtic Scotland (iii. 358), mentions a Farchard McToschy in Aberdeenshire as coming under the notice of the Government in 1382 for certain proceedings affecting the lands of Brass, or Birse, and by a process of reasoning peculiarly his own makes him a Clan Chattan Mackintosh; thus "It seems probable that the name [i.e. MacToschy] was derived from the thanes of Brass, who may also have been thahes of Rothiemurcus and from whom the old Mackintoshes were descended." There is, however, not a shadow of reason, much less of proof, for connecting this Farchard MacToshy with the Mackintoshes sometime of Rothiemurcus and belonging to Clan Chattan. His name testifies that he was son of a toiseach or thane, and as it is evident from the records concerning him that he had some claim relating to the lands of Brass, it is reasonable to assume that he was son of a recent toiseach or thane of those lands; but what the thane's family name or connection was is unknown.

 In the 17th and 18th centuries Mackintoshes belonging to Glenshee and adjoining districts are frequently mentioned in record. Of these the principal families were those (1) of DALMUNZIE, (2) of the Twi and FINEGAIND later of FORTER in Glenisla, and (3) of Cams or Cammis all three landed families, whose genealogies are easily traced from the records; but there were in addition many of the name who cannot definitely be assigned to any particular stock. Thus in the first half of the 17th century we find in the Sasine Registers mostly as tenants individuals and even families of the name of Mackintosh who are distinguished by an " alias," sometimes retained for several generations, as for example" Duncanson " in Lair, " Keir " in Tomfin. of Soilzearie, " Esker " in Ballachraggan and Soilzearie, " McCartan in Auldnabowne, " Tailzeour " in Little Leonach, " Reid in Carrow, McIanDowy " in Inverchroskie, " McKain or McIan in Dalliarnich of Straloch, " McGibbon " in Balnakellie, Dow McMitschel " or " McMichel" in Glenbrerachan.

It would be a hopeless task to endeavour to connect any of these with the three principal families indicated, but it may perhaps fairly be assumed that such a connection existed with regard to some of them, while others may have had their origin in one or other of the smaller local " toiseachs or stewards of neighbouring great lords or church establishments as the Abbey of Coupar.

 In all probability the Mackintoshes of Dalmunzie, Finegand and Forter, and Cams were of three distinct stocks or families, but some grounds are apparent for referring them originally to the Mackintoshes of Clan Chattan. Some of them, indeed, as will be seen, actually claimed such a descent, while the heads of two out of the three families in 1595 joined in a band of manrent to the chief of Mackintosh in which they acknowledged him as their " natyff cheiff," and their descendants are found in active co-operation with his successors down to almost the closing period of the clan system.

Duncan Mackintosh of Dalmunzie, who concurs in the band of 1595, appears elsewhere with the alias "Cattanach," while other Mackintoshes with the same distinguishing appellation appear in documents relating to Glenshee as early as the beginning of the 17th century and are to be found in the district at the present day. A person with the curious name of "John McCoull. vcEane vcChattane vcIntoshe " is mentioned under date 15 Sept. 1613 in the Privy Council Register (x. 152).

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