This clan, one of the oldest branches of the Clan Chattan Confederation, came originally from Argyll, where they were numerous in Morven, Lochaber and Mull. They were one of the prinipal clans in the time of the famous Somerled whose father’s name was Gilliebride, but they suffered as many others during the conquest of Alexander II. This may have been the reason for the statement of a sixteenth century historian that about 1268 Gillivary, the progenitor of the Clan vic Gillivary took protection for himself and posterity of Farquhard MacKintosh, 5th of MacKintosh.
About 1500 the MacGillivarys settled at Dunmaglas in Strathnairn, and in succeeding years added considerably to their possessions and became very influential in this part of the country. The Clan Chattan Bonds of 1609 and 1664 were signed by three members of the clan, being gentlemen and heads of families. The MacGillivarys continued to take a prominent part in public affairs including local caln disputes. A story is related about Captain William-the Captain Ban-a son of Farquhar, 6th of Drunmaglas. A local lady disappeared and was reported to have been carried away by the fairies and every effort failed to restore the lady to her husband. The captian learning of wax candles of a particular virtue in possession of a MacQueen succeeded after many attemps in obtaining the desired charm and restored the lady to her unhappy husband. The candle was preserved in the family for many generations.
The MacGillivarys took a prominent part in the Jacobite Rising of 1715 and 1745, and at Culloden, Alexander, chief of the clan, led the Clan Chattan regiment which almsot wiped out the left wing of the Hanoverian army. The stone still stands on the battlefield bearing the inscription, “ Well of the dead where the chief of the MacGillivarys fell.”
Crest: A cat sejant proper. Badge: Boxwood, Red whortleberry. War Cry: Dunmaglas.
Septs :Gilroy, MacGillivoor, MacGilroy, MacGilvra, Macgilvray, Macilroy and Macilvraer
There has not been a recognized chief since 1914.
The bloodlines of Clan MacGillivary Chiefs has not entirely died out as was earlier believed, at least through the female lines, as Lachlan MacGillivrary's sister Margaret married John Mohr Mackintosh. Their son was Capt William McIntosh and his natural son ( Margaret's Grandson ) was Chief William McIntosh of the Creek Nation. (His first cousin once removed was Chief Alexander MacGillivrary of the Creek Nation).