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Clan MacQueen

The Clan MacQueen were of West Highland or Hebridean origin and appear to have been originally associated with Clan Donald. The name is found in many forms, Cuinn, Suibne, MacCunn, MacSween, MacSuain and MacSwan. As early as the thirteenth century there were MacSweens in Argyllshire at Castle Sween, and the name remained in that district in the form of Sween and MacQueen for three or four hundred years thereafter.

MacQueens, MacSwans and MacSweens are numerous in Skye and Lewis, and the MacQueens held lands of Garafad in Skye for several centuries.

Early in the fifteenth century when Malcolm, tenth chief of the MacKintoshes, married Mora MacDonald of Moidart, the bride was accompanied by several of her clansmen, including Revan MacMulor MacAngus or MacQueen, who settled in the MacKintosh country of Strathdern and subsequently formed septs of the Clan Chattan. Revan MacQueen fought under MacKintosh at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. This branch of the family, known as Clan Revan became part of the great federation of clans known as Clan Chattan and by the sixteenth century they were in possession of the lands of Corrybrough. They became a prominent and important family of the district with a house named Corrybrough as their seat. Corrybrough (also known as Corrievorrie) is situated on the River Findhorn, east of Tomatin. The house was the seat of the MacQueens (Clan Revan). The financial difficulties of Captain Donald MacQueen forced the sale of the 7,000 acre estate in 1811.

Donald MacQueen, who signed the Clan Chattan Bond of 1609 , for himself, and taking full burden of John MacQueen in Little Corrybrough and Sween MacQueen in Raigbeg, was prominent in records of 1594, 1609, and 1623. His son George was mentioned in 1620. Donald died about 1623 and his nephew Angus MacQueen succeeded him as the Chief. Angus died about 1676 and was succeeded by his son, Donald MacQueen, who in 1685 and 1697 was Commissioner of Supply for the County of Inverness. He was succeeded by his son, James MacQueen the younger of Corrybrough, who was a captain in the Clan Chattan Regiment in the Rising of 1715. He died in 1762 and was succeeded by his son Donald MacQueen who was a sheriff substitute in Inverness and a noted authority on Celtic literature. He died in 1792.

He was succeeded by Captain Donald MacQueen, who was reportedly a spendthrift, though of high character. Under his guidance, the family estate was lost to the family because of financial difficulties. At that time the land holdings were approximately 7,000 acres. The estate went to a man named Smith, who sold it in 1844 to an Englishman named Malkin.

When Cpt. Donald MacQueen lost the lands in 1811, the tenants of the estate were disposed, and most of the MacQueens emigrated to the United States and Canada. Cpt. MacQueen died in 1813.

The chieftainship then went to his son, also named Donald, Captain of the second Madras Cavalry. He was succeeded by his brother, John Fraser MacQueen. John died in 1881, and his brother, Lachlan MacQueen, a distinguished officer in the East India Company, became chief. He died in 1896, and was succeeded by his only son, Donald MacQueen, of New Zealand.

The MacQueen clansmen were also numerous on the islands of Skye and Lewis and yet another branch of the family held lands at Castle Sween in Argyllshire. It appears that the branch at Skye came down from the Outer Hebrides along with the MacDonalds from Moidart to do battle with the MacLeods The MacDonalds and the MacLeods contiously fought over the Outer Hebrides and Skye and the MacQUeens were vassals of one then the other clan. At on time John 3rd Chief of MacLeod who had an uncontrollable temper discovered 2 of his daughters betrothed to 2 young MacQueens sons of MacQueen of Roag. To stop the marriages he is said to have buried the girls alive in his castle dungeon and flogged the 2 MacQueens so savagely "that there was scarcely a spark of life left in them".

Robert MacQueen, Lord Braxfield, the eminent lawyer, belonged to a Lanarkshire family of MacQueens.
His reputation as a judge of political prisoners was not a flattering one.

The present chief of Clan McQueen, John Alexander McQueen, is descended from the Corryborough McQueens and presently lives in New Zealand.

Crest: A wolf’s head couped, sable. Badge: Boxwood, Red whortleberry.