In Irish folklore and legend, the ‘Sons of Mil’ were the ancestors of the current breed of Irish and Scottish people. There exists a link between Old-Greenfield Township and the Sons of Mil through the genealogies of many of its residents, past and present. This article will make an attempt to present an (abbreviated) history of the line of descent from Adam and Eve to the present generation in order to identify that link.
The sobriquet of Sons of Mil is derived from the name of Milesius Easpaine, and his sons, Eireamhoin, Eibhear and Amhairghin, who were the legendary descendants of Gaodhal Glas (who in turn, was a descendant of Noah.) It is through the Sons of Mil that the Irish claim to be able to trace their ancestry directly back through Noah to Adam and Eve. It is through the Irish Celtic tribe, the Dal Riada, from whom descended Kenneth Mac Alpin, the first king of the unified Scots and Picts, that the Scots also claim a direct lineage back to Adam and Eve. And it is by that course that the link between Old-Greenfield Township and the Sons of Mil will here be discussed.
The island which is known today as Eire, or Ireland, was settled down through history by a number of mythological races of beings. (Did you notice that I did not say ‘races of human beings’? The mythological races were not all believed to have been human, and it is from certain of them that fairies and pixies are believed to have sprung.) Those races included the Fir Bolg, the Fomhoire and the Tuatha de Danann. The Tuatha de Danann were inhabiting the island during the when the Sons of Mil arrived.
The epic, Leabhar Gabhala Earrainn, the ‘Book of Invasions’ was written during the 8th Century BC. It was in the Leabhar Gabhala Earrainn that the chronological history from Adam to the Sons of Mil was recounted.
According to the legend, the line which flowed down through the generations from Adam and Eve traveled through their son, Sheth to Enosh, to Kenan, to Mahabeel, to Jared, to Enoch, to Methuselah, to Lamech, and then to Noah. After the Flood, Noah divided the Earth among his three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. To Shem, Noah gave the lands we now know as Asia. To Ham, he gave Syria, Arabia and the continent of Africa. And finally, to his son, Japheth, he gave the lands which are now Europe.
Certain sources claim that Japheth and his wife gave birth to fifteen sons; we have the names for seven children: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras. Japheth’s descendants would give rise to the Celtic race, spread out across Europe.
It was Japheth’s son, Magog, who eventually inherited the lands which lay to the north of the Black Sea, which encompassed the modern-day countries of Ukraine, Byelorussia, Bessarabia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and a large portion of Russia. Magog passed these lands, which came to be called Scythia, over to his son, Baoth, who became known as the first Scythian king. (The name, Scythia is believed to have been derived from the Celtic word, Sciot, which represented ‘dart’ or ‘arrow’.)
Baoth, in turn, handed the kingship of Scythia over to his son, Phoniusa Farsaidh, more commonly known as ‘Fenius Farsa’or ‘Fenius the Ancient.’ Phoniusa fathered two sons, Nenuall and Niul. Phoniusa and his youngest son, Niul traveled southward to the lands of Assyria and Babylon. The Assyro-Babylonians were engaged in the construction of a tower that would reach to the heavens. Both, Phoniusa and his son, Niul, had an interest in learning the languages of other people in the world. Following the destruction of the Tower of Babel, and the dispersal of the people by God by causing them all to speak different languages, the father and son saw an opportunity to utilize their interest. Niul had developed a knack for understanding the mechanics of language, so he and his father established a school in the valley of Senaar, near the city of Aeothena, for the purpose of studying and teaching language. Shortly thereafter though, Phoniusa left to return to the land of Scythia. Niul was then invited by the Pharoah Cingeris to take up residence in Egypt, where he might teach. Niul took the Pharoah up on his offer, and while in Egypt he took the Pharoah’s daughter’s hand in marriage. Scota, the daughter of Pharoah would enter the annals of history by giving her name to a race of people: Scots.
One of Niul’s pupils, Gaodhal (variously spelled Gaedheal; formed from the words gaoith meaning ‘wisdom’ and gil, meaning ‘loving’, hence ‘a lover of learning’), became a very gifted linguist, and Niul engaged him to create a language by refining one called Bearla Tobbai. Gaodhal completed his task, creating the language which Niul’s family and descendants would use and continue to use to the present time. It was known as Gaodhilg, or more commonly, Gaelic.
Niul was so impressed with Gaodhal’s accomplishment, that he named his son after him. This son, it was said, was bit on the neck by a serpent when he was young, and was immediately taken to the prophet, Moses. Moses laid his rod on the wound and the child was instantly cured. The scar left by the serpent’s bite turned a glas, or greenish color. Because of that, Niul’s son acquired the epithet, glas; he was known the rest of his life as Gaodhal Glas. According to the legend set forth in the Leabhar Gabhala Earrainn, Moses declared, upon curing the child, that his descendants would forever be safe from serpents, and dwell in a land where serpents did not exist.
Gaodhal Glas had a son, Easruth, who had a son, Sruth (variously, Sru). Sruth and his kindred, while living in Egypt, sympathized with the Israelites who were slaves to the Egyptian Pharoah. Because of that sympathy, and possibly because they had aided the Israelites in some way, Sruth and his family was forced to flee from the land of the Pharoah. They moved first to the island of Crete, where Sruth died. His son, Heber, then led the family, the descendants of Niul, north and westward to the land of his forefathers, Scythia. But the descendants of Niul’s brother, Nenuall, did not want their cousins to encroach on the ancestral lands, which they had maintained for so many generations. The two families fell into physical combat, with Heber’s claiming the victory. From that time forward, Heber was known as Heber Scutt, or ‘the Scythian.’
The victory of Heber Scutt was short lived. The descendants of Nenuall continued to harrass the descendants of Niul. A great-great-grandson of Heber Scutt, Agnon, finally decided he had had enough. He gathered together his family, who will be referred to hereafter as ‘the Scythians’ and set off across the Caspian Sea. For seven years, during which time Agnon would meet his death, the family traveled on the Caspian, and then on to the Mediterranean Sea in search of a better place in which to dwell. Lamhfionn, son of Agnon, landed on the northern coast of Africa at Gothi, known today as Lybia. There they established a colony and brought their seven years of wandering to an end.
Some eight generations remained at Gothi. But Brath, son of Deag, son of Arcadh, son of Alladh, son of Nuadhad, son of Nenuall, son of Febric Glas, son of Agnan Fionn, son of Heber Glenfionn, son of Lamhfionn, son of Agnon desired to move on. He gathered together a group of like minded kinsmen and obtained a ship. The party set sail for lands they had heard of which lay to the northwest - Galacia, or Spain. They landed and overpowered the local peoples and so established a colony. Brath’s son, Breoghan (variously, Brigus), soon built a large city, which was called Brigantia, or as it is called today, Braganza (in the present-day country of Portugal). It is said that Breoghan constructed a high tower at Brigantia, and it was from that tower, on a winter evening, that Breoghan’s son, Ithe, first caught sight of the islands of Britain and Eire.
Breoghan was enticed by the land across the water, so he sent a group of his kinsmen to establish a settlement there. They landed on the largest of the islands and started a colony in the region that is today, Cumberland, Durham, Lancaster, Westmoreland and York counties of England. When the Romans invaded the Isles, the descendants of these colonists were known as Brigantes.
Breoghan had two sons, the eldest being named Bile, the youngest being Ithe. Now Bile had two sons, Galamh and Ithe. Galamh was variously known as Milesius, Milethea Spaine, Milo Spaine, Mileadh or simply Mil. He had wanderlust, and desired to travel back to the lands of his ancestors. He left his family (he had, it was said, something like twenty-four sons by this time) and set off for Scythia, where he was warmly welcomed by his distant cousins. He was even given the hand of Seang, the daughter of the king of Scythia, in marriage. But despite the initial reception, he came to be at odds with the reigning king of Scythia. The king had made him an army commander, but grew jealous of Milesius as ‘the man of Spain’s fame increased. The king plotted to have Milesius put to death, but Milesius became aware of the plot, and slew the king before he could act. According to the legend, Seang bore him two sons, but had died prior to this incident, and so Milesius set off alone, journeying toward Egypt to the south, where, legend told him, his ancestor, Niul had found favor with the Pharoah.
At Egypt, Milesius likewise found favor with the then-reinging Pharoah Nectonibus. He joined the Pharoah in his war with Ethiopia, and for his valor, was given lands and the hand of Scota, the daughter of Pharoah, in marriage. The wife and eight sons that she bore to him, Milesius gladly accepted, but he was not long interested in the lands offered him by Pharoah Nectonibus. And so, he and Scota and their sons left Egypt after eight years there, and journeyed westward across the length of the Mediterranean Sea with the intention of settling on the island that his uncle Ithe had once espied. Enroute, Milesius received word that his family at Galacia were in trouble with enemies attacking them. He subdued the attackers, but he either had not the strength or the motivation to continue on to Eire. Milesius was destined to die in Galacia.
It was the sons of Milesius and his two wives, Seang and Scota, who would undertake, and successfully complete a conquest of Eire. They were Heber (variously, Eibhear), Ir, Dond (variously, Donn), Amergin (variously, Amhairghin Glungheal), Airech (variously, Aireach), Colpha, Heremon (variously, Eireamhoin) and Arannan (variously, Erannan).
Eire was then inhabited by the Tuatha de Danann. It is believed that the Tuatha de Danann were descended from the tribe of Dan, one of the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel. Legends tell us that at the time of the Assyrian Captivity, circa 725 BC, the tribe of Dan, also known as the Danites, who were accomplished sialors and shipowners, took to their ships and escaped captivity by sailing westward. They sailed through the strait at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea, and eventually landed on the shores of Eire. There they overpowered the Fir Bolg, who were then in control of the island.
Milesius’ uncle, Ithe led the expedition to Eire. And there they encountered the Tuatha de Danann. According to the Annals Of The Kingdom Of Ireland:
"The Age of the World , 3500. The fleet of the sons of Milidh came to Ireland at the end of this year, to take it from the Tuatha De Dananns; and they fought the battle of Sliabh Mis with them on the third day after landing. In this battle fell Scota, the daughter of Pharaoh, wife of Milidh; and the grave of Scota is to be seen between Sliabh Mis and the sea. Therein also fell Fas, the wife of Un, son of Uige, from whom is named Gleann Faisi. After this the sons of Milidh fought a battle at Tailtinn, against the three kinge of the Tuatha De Dananns, Mac Cuill, Mac Ceacht, and Mac Greine. The battle lasted for a long time, until Mac Ceacht fell by Eiremhon, Mac Cuill by Eimhear, and Mac Greine by Amhergin. Their three queens were also slain; Eire by Suirghe, Fodhla by Edan, and Banba by Caicher. The battle was at length gained against the Tuatha De Dananns, and they were slaughtered wherever they were overtaken. There fell from the sons of Milidh, on the other hand, two illustrious chieftains, in following up the rout, namely Fuad at Sliabh Fuaid, and Cuailgne at Sliabh Cuailgne. The Age of the World, 3501. This was the year in which Eremhon and Emher assumed the joint sovereignty of Ireland, and divided Ireland into two parts between them."
The Scythians made their landfall at Aileach, near present-day Derry, where the three kings of the Tuatha de Danann were convened to decide who should hold the title of Ard Righ (i.e. High King) over all of Eire or Ireland. The initial confrontation was not beligerent; in fact the three kings of the Tuatha de Danann requested Ithe’s assistance in deciding the outcome of their argument. But after he had done so, and was returning to his ship, the Tuatha de Danann murdered him. Perhaps they feared that if he knew how to settle their argument, he would attempt to take over the High Kingship himself. Ithe’s body was taken back to Galacia, where his own nine sons joined with Milesius’ eight to return and subdue the Tuatha de Danann.
The sons of Mil landed this time on the southwest coast near Inbhear Sceine (present-day Kenmare Bay in County Kerry). Even before they landed, misfortune befell two of the sons of Mil. Arannan had gone up into the mast of his ship to survey the coastline. He slipped and fell to his death. Then, Ir, in haste, rowed ahead of his kinsmen. His oar broke causing him to slip backwards into the sea, where he drowned before he could be saved.
Amergin was the first to set foot on the Irish soil. He led his kinsmen against a Tuatha de Danann force at Sliabh Mis, defeated them, and then proceeded on toward Tara, the seat of the Tuatha de Danann kings. The Tuatha de Danann kings attempted to trick the Scythians with a false truce. They asked that they be permitted to hold the land for a period of three days more, during which time the sons of Mil would wait in their ships at a distance of nine waves from the shore. Amergin agreed to the truce. But it was just a trick to get the sons of Mil back into their ships. Because once they were all onboard, the three kings of the Tuatha de Danann sang spells to raise a storm. The wind lashed out in wild fury and the waves rose high and crashed downward in an attempt to crush the ships to splinters. The ships were swept far out into the open ocean. But the sons of Mil were not ignorant of the druidic arts, and Amergin spoke a verse which calmed the storm. Enraged at the deceit of the Tuatha de Danann, Donn called for his brethren to attack the Tuatha de Danann and put every last one to the sword. Immediately, a wind arose casting Donn and his brother Airech into the waters, and they drowned.
Heremon assumed the command of the expedition and led the ships eastward to land at the mouth of the river Boyne. There they were victorious over the Tuatha de Danann in the Battle of Tailtiu, in present-day County Meath. This led to the final defeat of the Tuatha de Danann.
Heremon divided the island between himself and his brother, Heber. Whatever became of Colpha and Amergin is anyone’s guess; they were not heard from again. Heber ruled in the south, while Heremon ruled in the north. The joint rule of Heremon and Heber began just a year after King Solomon began construction of the great Temple in Jerusalem and lasted from circa 1699 to 1698 BC.
Discord broke out between the two brothers regarding a difference of opinion between their two wives. The two brothers fought at Geshill, and Heremon was the victor, slaying Heber. Heremon continued to rule until his death circa 1683 BC. It was from Heremon that the Dal Riada culture would emerge in the province of Ulster. And it was from Heremon would descend the kings of Clan-na-boy, Connaught, Leinster, Meath, Orgiall, Ossory, Tirconnell and Tirowen; the kings of Dal Riada; the kings and queens of Scotland from Fergus Mor Mac Eirc to the Stuarts; and the kings and queens of England from Henry II to the present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
Before leaving Heremon, we should take a look at the lineage of his wife. Tea Tephi, also known by the names Tamar Tephi and Teamhair, was a daughter of King Mattaniah Zedekiah of Judah. Zedekiah’s genealogy can also be traced back to Adam and Eve through Noah’s son, Shem. It was Shem’s line of descent which flowed through Abraham and on to Jacob, and his son Judah, from whom the Jewish branch of the Israelites sprang. The line continued through Judah’s son, Pharez, and on down through nine generations to King David and then to his son, King Solomon. Another sixteen generations brought the line to Mattaniah Zedekiah, King of Judah in the Sixth Century BC, at the time of the invasion of the land of Judah by the Chaldean/ Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. It was in the year 587 BC that Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians and Judah became a Chaldean province. King Zedekiah, along with a great majority of the Judeans, was taken captive and forced to watch the killing of his sons; then his eyes were poked out and he spent the rest of his life a blind prisoner in Babylon. In the book of Jeremiah we read how Ishmael liberated a number of the captives, including the prophet Jeremiah and ‘the kings daughters’. Jeremiah was instructed by God to go to the lands which lay to the north and west of Judea; his destination was to be ‘the Isles’, which have traditionally been identified with the British Isles, including Eire or Ireland.
About the year 569 BC the prophet, Jeremiah arrived at Galacia, bringing with him a companion, Simon Berach, and Tea Tephi, the daughter of King Zedekiah. According to the legends, when King Milesius left Galacia and journeyed to the Middle East, he was accompanied by his son, Heremon. And it was while a sojourner in Judea, that Heremon met and fell in love with Tea Tephi, but she was left behind when Milesius and his kinsmen departed from the lands of their ancestors. Upon the arrival of Jeremiah and his party at Galacia, Heremon and Tea Tephi were reunited and married. According to certain accounts, Heremon was at Jerusalem when the siege of the Chaldeans took place, and that he and Tea Tephi were married there in the Holy Land in the year 585 BC.
(Now it needs to be noted that Tea / Tamar Tephi is sometimes confused with a princess by the name of Tamar the daughter of Ludhaidh, the son of Ith. That Tamar married a man known as Gede the Herremon. But that Tamar and Gede the Herremon lived at a time of King David, a few centuries earlier than Tea, the daughter of King Zedekiah and Heremon, the son of King Milesius.)
The Annals Of The Kingdom Of Ireland noted:
"Tea, daughter of Lughaidh, son of Ith, whom Eremhon married in Spain, to the repudiation of Odhbha, was the Tea who requested of Eremhon a choice hill, as her dower, in whatever place she should select it, that she might be interred therein, and that her mound and her gravestone might be thereon raised, and where every prince ever to be born of her race should dwell. The guarantees who undertook to execute this for her were Amhergin Gluingeal and Emhear Finn. The hill she selected was Druim Caein, i.e. Teamhair. It is from her it was called, and in it was she interred."
The hill, which was named for Tea / Tamar Tephi is still known by the name of Tara, and is honored as the traditional seat of the High Kings of Eire.
In addition to the people he brought with him, Jeremiah is believed to have brought the ‘Stone of Scone’, sometimes called the ‘Stone of Destiny’ or ‘Jacob’s Pillar Stone,’ from the Holy Land. The Stone of Scone is a block of hand-cut red sandstone, supposed to have originated near the Dead Sea, and upon which Jacob rested his head on the evening that he had a vision of angels ascending and descending the ladder to Heaven. Upon it the High Kings of Eire and, later, Scotland would be crowned. The English king, Edward I took the Stone of Scone and transported it to London, where it was placed in Westminster Abbey. A coronation chair was built over the stone, and it is upon that chair that the king or queen would sit to be coronated. A piece of cloth of gold would be placed over the Stone, and the monarch to be would sit upon it. It was believed that a rightful heir to the throne would cause the Stone to issue musical sounds, but when sat upon by a usurper the Stone would remain silent.
Heremon and Tea Tephi brought a child into the world, whom they named Irial Faidh. This son fought for and won the High Kingship of Eire as was noted in the Annals Of The Kingdom Of Ireland:
"The Age of the World, 3517. The first year of the joint reign of Muimhne, Luighne, and Laighne, sons of Eremon, over Ireland. The Age of the World, 3519. At the end of these three years Muimhne died at Cruachain. Luighne and Laighne fell in the battle of Ard Ladhron by the sons of Emhear. Er, Orba, Fearon, and Fergen, the four sons of Emer, reigned half a year. This half year and the half year of Nuadhat Neacht make a full year; and to Nuadhat Neacht it is reckoned in the age of the world. These sons of Emer were slain by Irial Faidh, son of Eremon, in the battle of Cuil Marta, at the end of the half year aforesaid. The Age of the World, 3529. At the end of this, the tenth year of the reign of Irial Faidh, son of Eremon, he died at Magh Muaidhe. It was by this Irial Faidh the following battles were fought: the battle of Cuil Marta; the battle of Ard Inmaoith, in Teathbha, in which fell Stirne, son of Dubh, son of Fomhor; the battle of Tenmaighe, in which fell Eocha Echcheann, king of the Fomorians; the battle of Lochmaighe, in which fell Lughroth, son of Mofemis of the Firbolgs."
Irial Faidh ruled in Eire for ten years, between 1680 and 1670 BC, and was succeeded by his son, Eithriall. Eithriall, in turn, ruled for twenty years, between 1670 and 1650 BC, until he was killed by Conmael, son of Emer. Conmael would eventually be killed by Tighernmas, grandson of Eithriall.
Tighernmas gained the kingship of Eire in 1590 BC when he defeated Conmael, son of Emer, at the battle of Aenach Macha. He would reign until his death in 1513 BC. The reign of Tighernmas, like that of all the kings of Eire, was one of almost constant warfare. But Tighernmas' reign also included some advances in science and the arts. Again, according to the Annals Of The Kingdom Of Ireland it was noted:
"It was by Tighearnmas also that gold was first smelted in Ireland, in Foithre Airthir Liffe. It was Uchadan, an artificer of the Feara Cualann, that smelted it. It was by him that goblets and brooches were first covered with gold and silver in Ireland. It was by him that clothes were dyed purple, blue, and green."
After Tighernmas died, Eire went seven years without a High King. About sixty generations passed between Tighernmas and a man by the name of Fergus Mor Mac Erc, more commonly known in Scottish history as Fergus I. The descendants of Heremon, a son of Milesius, continued to live in the northern part of Eire. Over time they lost the rights to the High Kingship over the whole of the country, but despite that, they still claimed kingship over Dal Riata.
Dal Riata was the name given to a kingdom established (according to some accounts) by a son of Conair Moir, a descendant of Milesius, who reigned as Ard Righ between 177 and 212 AD. Conair Moir was forty-one generations removed from Tighernmas, and ninety-six from Adam, according to the legendary genealogies.
Conair Moir had a number of sons, to whom he gave the name, Cairpre. It is believed that one of those sons was Cairpre Riata, and from him the kingdom gained its name: Dal Riata. According to legend, during Conair Moir’s reign as Ard Righ, there was a severe famine throughout the land (i.e. Munster). The three sons named Cairpre set out to search for new lands which would support their kinsmen. Cairpre Riata traveled to the north east, and there chose lands on which he and his family settled.
Of all the various Irish tribes, the Romans knew the people of Dal Riata as the Scotti, derived from their maternal ancestor, Scota. Of all the tribes which descended from Milesius and his ancestors, the Dal Riata was the most successful at retaining and spreading the Gaelic language. Perhaps that is why, of the various tribes of Scythian/Galacian origin, the Dal Riata alone has been viewed in history as the inheritors of the legacy begun by Gaodhal Glas and passed through the sons of Milesius. In an time when the history of a nation or people could only be preserved through vocal means, the importance of language was paramount.
The kingdom of Dal Riata started in the north, but was relocated twice. The people of Dal Riata moved southward from the Ulaid, which encompassed the present-day province of Ulster into the region now known as Munster, where they became involved in a war between two kingdoms already established there. They allied themselves with the Eoganachta against the Erna Mumaim, and were victorious. But they were not destined to remain there long. A famine forced the Dal Riata to moved back to the Ulaid.
The Ulaid was, by the time the Dal Riata returned, inhabited by two kingdoms: the Dal Fiatach and the Dal nAraide. The Dal nAraide is associated with the tribe known as the Cruithne (variously, Cruithneaigh) according to some historians. They are believed to have been either descended from the Picts, or closely allied with them, and journeyed from Alba, or present-day Scotland to establish a settlement in Eire.
The Picts were a ‘native’ tribe who inhabited the land that would one day be called ‘Scotland.’ It is believed that they were not a Celtic people. So little is known about the Picts that even their name for themselves is not known at the present time. Legend states that the Picts, or Cruithne, arrived at Eire during the reign of Heremon. They were seeking a place at which to settle. Heremon would not agree to their establishing a settlement in Eire, but he did give them the widows of the Tuatha de Dananns and directed them to cross the Irish Sea to establish their own settlement in Alba. It is said that because of this, the Picts were indebted to the Scythians and paid a yearly tribute to them. The name of ‘Pict’, given to the Cruithne by the Romans, comes from the Latin word, ‘Picti’ which means ‘painted ones’ or ‘tattooed warriors.’ They were one tribe which the Romans were never successful in subduing. Hadrians’ Wall was built by the Romans to prevent the Picts from venturing southward. The Pictish kingdom that emerged in the 6th Century AD was actually a combination of a number of iron-age tribes known to the Romans as the Picts, the Epidii and the Caledonii.
The Dal Riata made contact with the Picts a number of times from the 4th Century onward. Attempts may have been made to subdue the Picts, but not so much by open warfare as by peaceful assimilation. The Dal Riata men, by marrying Pictish women, attempted to inherit the kingdom by gaining a footing in the matrilinear succession of the royal Pictish line.
The Dal Riata allied themselves with the Dal nAraide in Eire, and it is believed that Cairpre Riata and a number of his kinsmen made a journey to Alba, perhaps to further cement the relationship between the two kingdoms. This was about the year 125 AD. The first mention of the Dal Riata in Alba in writing appeared in 400 AD when Roman historians noted an attack on the Roman-held Hadrian’s Wall by a combined force of Picts and their ‘Scotti’ allies. It would be apparent that contact between the two tribes had occured earlier than that date. Despite any such contact, the kingship of Dal Riata remained in Eire until some nineteen generations later. It was then that the sons of Eirc established a settlement on the west coast of Alba, in the vicinity of present-day Argyllshire. Unlike the earlier migration, the kingship was transported with them and remained thereafter in Alba, or Scotland.
Near the end of the Fifth Century AD, a figure named Eirc (variously, Erc) became the ruler of the kingdom of Dal Riata; Eirc died in 474 AD. The story of Eirc and his sons forms the basis of the oldest document known to exist regarding Dal Riata. The Senchus Fer n’ Alban (i.e. The Census Of The Men Of Alba) is believed to originally have been written during the 7th Century. That original document no longer exists; a copy was made during the 10th Century, and it is that copy that exists today. The Senchus Fer n’ Alban was part genealogical record and part inventory of the territories of the descendants of Eochaid Muin~remor:
"A statement of the history of the men of Scotland begins here.
Two sons of Eochaid Munremar i. Ere and Olchu. Erc, moreover, had twelve sons i. six of them took possession of Scotland i. two Loarnds i. Loarnd Bee and Loarnd Mor, two Mac Nisses i. Mac Nisse Becc and Mac Nisse Mor, two Ferguses i. Fergus Bee and Fergus Mor. Six others in Ireland i. Mac Decill, Oengus, whose seed, however, is in Scotland, Enna, Bresal, Fiachra, Dubhthach. Others say that this Erc had another son who was called Muredoch.
Olchu, son of Eochaid Munremar, had, moreover, eleven sons who live in Murbolc in Dal Riata, Muredach bolc, Aed, Dare, Oengus, Tuathal, Anblomaid, Eochaid, Setna, Brian, Oinu, Cormac.
Fergus Mor, son of Erc, another name for Mac Nisse Mor, had one son i. Domangart. Domangart, moreover, had two sons i. Gabran and Comgell, two sons of Fedelm, daughter of Brion, son of Eocho Mugmedon. Comgell had one son i. Conall. Conall, moreover, had seven sons, i. Loingsech, Nechtan, Artan, Tuatan, Tutio, Corpri. Gabran, moreover, had five sons i. Aedan, Eoganan, Cuildach, Domnall, Domangart. Aedan had seven sons i. two Eochaids i. Eocho Bude and Eochaid Find, Tuathal, Bran, Baithine, Conaing, Gartnait. Eocho bude, son of Aedan, had, moreover, eight sons i. Domnall brecc and Domnall Dond, Conall Crandomna, Conall Becc, Connad Cerr, Failbe, Domangart, Cu-cen-mathair. Eochaid Find, moreover, had eight sons, i. Baetan, Predan, Pledan, Cormac, Cronan, Feradach, Fedlimid, Capleni. These are the sons of Conaing, son of Aedan i. Rigallan, Ferchar, Artan, Artur, Dondchad, Domungart, Nechtan, Nem, Crumine. Four sons of Gartnait, son of Aedan, i….. two sons of Tuathal, son of Morgand, son of Eochaid Find, son of Aedan, son of Gabran.
Fergus Bec, moreover, son of Erc; his brother killed him. He had one son i. Setna, from whom are the Cenel Conchride in Islay i. Conchriath son of Bolc, son of Setna, son of Fergus Bec, son of Erc, son of Eochaid Munremar.
Oengus Mar and Loarnd and MacNisse Mar, these are the three sons of Erc.
Oengus Mar, son of Erc, had two sons, i. Nadsluaig and Fergna. Fergna had seven sons i. Thathal, Aed, Letho, Rigan, Fiacha, Guaire, Cantand, Eochu. Nadsluaig, moreover, had two sons i. Barrfhind and Caplene. Two sons of Barrfhind i. Nem and Tulchan. Tulchan had four sons i. Cronan, Breccan, Daman, Conmend. Others say that this same Barrfhind son of Nadsluaig had four sons, i. Aedan, Luagaid, Crumine, Gentene, who is also called Nem. Barrfhind, son of Nadsluaig, had three sons, Lugiad, Conall, Galan, a Cruthnech his mother. It is they who divided land in Islay.
Oengus Becc, moreover, son of Erc, had one son i. Muridach.
A cet treb in Islay, twenty houses, Freg a hundred and twenty houses, Rois sixty houses, ros Deorand thirty houses, Ard hEs thirty houses, Loch Rois thirty houses, Ath Cassil thirty there, Cenel nOengusa thirty houses, Callann.... But small are the feranna of the houses of the Cenel nOengusa i. thirty-one feranna. The expeditionary force, moreover, for sea-voyaging, two seven-benchers from them in an expedition.
They are the three thirds of Dal Riata i. Cenel nGabrain, Cenel nOengusa, Cenel Loairnd Moir.
These are the sons of Loarnd Mor i. Eochaid, Cathbad, Muredach, Fuindenam, Fergus Salach, Dau, Maine. Others say that Loarnd had only three sons i. Fergus Salach, Muredach, Maine. They are the three thirds of the Cenel Loairnd i. Cenel Shalaig, Cenel Cathbath, Cenel nEchdach, Cenel Murerdaig. Cenel Fergusa Shalaig has sixty houses. The expeditionary force of the Cenel Loairnd, seven hundred men, but the seventh hundred is from the Airgialla. If it be an expeditionary force, moreover, for sea-voyaging, two seven-benchers from every twenty houses of them. Five sons of Fergus Salach i. Coildub has thirty houses, Eogan Garb has thirty houses, his wife is Crodu, daughter of Dallan, son of Eogan, son of Niall, Fergna has fifteen houses, Eogan has five houses, Baltan has five houses. Muredach, son of Loarnd, had two sons, i. Cathdub and eochaid. Eochaid, son of Muredach, moreover, had five sons, i. Ferdalach has twenty houses, Baotan has twenty houses, cormac has twenty houses, Bledan and Cronan twenty houses between them. Three sons of Cathbad, moreover, i. Brenaind, Ainmire, Cronan.
A hundred and fifty men, the ship expedition, went forth with the sons of erc, the third fifty was Corpri with his people.
This is the Cenel nGabrain, five hundred and sixty houses, Kintyre and Crich Chomgaill with its islands, two seven-benchers every twenty houses in a sea expedition.
Cenel nOengusa has four hundred and thirty houses, two seven-benchers every twenty houses in a sea expedition.
Cenel Loairnd has four hundred and twenty houses, two seven-benchers every twenty houses in a sea expedition.
It is thus throughout the three thirds of the Dal Raidda."
The statement at the beginning of the Senchus that: "Others say that this Erc had another son who was called Muredoch." would explain how the Stone of Destiny came to be in the possession of the Dal Riata and eventually taken to Scottish Dalriada by Kennth Mac Alpin. Muiredach Mac Erc is often listed in the early sources as Muiredach Mor Mac Erc, signifying that he reigned as an Ard Righ, or High King of Eire. The legends state that Fergus Mor Mac Eirc received the Stone of Destiny from his brother Muiredach, High King of Eire.
It was Eirc’s sons who carried Dal Riata across the Irish Sea to be planted in Alba. According to legend, the sons of Eirc left their homeland on Eire at the place known as the Giant’s Causeway a natural formation of basalt columns jutting into the Irish Sea, in Ireland’s present-day County Antrim. The Annals Of The Kingdom Of Ireland noted that:
"The Age of Christ, 498 recte 503. The twentieth year of Lughaidh. Fearghus Mor, son of Erc, son of Eochaidh Muinreamhair, with his brothers, went to Alba Scotland."
As can be seen in the above reference, it was generally believed that Eirc was a male, but there are certain historians who have proposed rather convincing arguments to the effect that Eirc might have been female, and a descendant of the Pictish royal line. The hereditary line of leadership in the Pict tribes descended through the female side. If that were true, then the sons of Eirc would have been descended from both the Scythians or Scots and also the Picts.
The domain of the kingdom of Dal Riada in Alba, or Scotland, was established by three sons of Eirc, Fergus Mor, Loarn and Aengus at present-day Dunadd, near the mouth of the River Add where it empties into Crinan Loch in Argyll. Three settlements were initially established on Islay, Lorn and Kintyre. The colony of which the settlements were segments, was called Ar-geal, or Argyll, meaning the ‘Eastern Irish.’ The Scottish Dalriada, as it is generally known today, would eventually be extended from present-day Argyllshire into Perthshire, then Lothian, and then into Mar and the Highlands.
The two parts of the kingdom of Dal Riata were ruled as a single unit for a period of time. But in the latter half of the 6th Century AD, certain of the land in Argyll was recaptured by the Picts. It was taken by the Scots once more in 574 by a new king of Dalriada, Aidan Mac Gabhran, a great-grandson of Fergus Mor Mac Eirc. Then, in 637 the Irish Dal Riata was destroyed with the defeat of the army of Domnall Brecc, the grandson of Aidan Mac Gabhran by the Ui Neill at the battle of Mag Rath. Increasing Norse incursions all along the coast of Ireland convinced the descendants of Heremon that there was no choice but to abandon the Irish Dal Riata. With the Dal Riata homeland lost, the Scottish Dalriada became the focus of the kingdom. The name of Dal Riata would likewise disappear with the loss of the Irish homeland. The members of the colony established on Alba would, more increasingly, be known as the Scotti or Scots.
Aidan Mac Gabhran was the first Dalriadan king to be coronated by a member of the Christian clergy. He was consecrated on the isle of Iona by St. Columba. Aidan Mac Gabhran and his wife, Ygerna Del Acqs, gave birth to eight children, the second of which was a son, born in 559, whom they named Arthur, and who became known as Arthur of Dalriada. This Arthur of Dalriada married the daughter of Leo de Grance, Gwenhwyfar de Bretagne. The two would be later known through the romanticization of actual history as King Arthur of the Round Table and his wife, Gwenivere.
Along with the sons of Eirc, Christianity spread from Eire to Alba, and it was probably because of it that the Dalriada culture was able to make a steadfast foothold in Alba and then branch out like it did. In 563 AD the monk, Colum Cille, better known as St. Columba, established a monastery on the island of Iona to both serve the Scottish Dalriada, and to convert the Picts.
The Dalriada expansion westward and northward across Alba and into the lands of the Picts continued relatively unabated until the 10th Century. Of course, there were victories and defeats for both kingdoms as the two intruded on each other. A particularly noteworthy instance occurred between 731 and 736 AD, when the Pict King Oengus I invaded and captured the fortress at Dunadd. By 756 the Scots had regained their territory. Expansion southward, though, was thwarted by the Northumbrians as early as the year 603 AD, when the Dalriadan forces under King Aidan Mac Gabhran was defeated by the Northumbrian King Aethelfrith at the battle of Degastan.
As noted before, the expansion of Dalriada was accomplished not so much by invasion, as by the joining together in marriage of the Dalriadans and the Picts. The two kingdoms of Picts and Dalriada/Scotti would practically fall into place by the year 844 AD. In that year Cinaeth, or Kenneth, MacAlpin unified the two into the single Kingdom of the Scots.
According to Norman Davies in his book, The Isles - A History: "By the early ninth century, the relationship of Dalriada to Pictland was characterized by an odd combination of political subservience and culteral ascendancy." In regard to the first part of Davies’ ‘odd combination,’ three Dalriadan kings married Pictish princesses (it was a Pict custom for kings to have their daughters married to important foreigners) and so made their way into the Pictish ruling lines. It was the third one, Cinaeth, son of Alpin, who seized the opportunity and wrested control of the Picts from his father-in-law, and became king of both Pictland and the Scots. The second part was the result of the spreading of Christianity by Gaelic speaking Irish monks. It served to consolidate the Gaelic language as the means of communication between the Scots and the Picts. Along with the Gaelic language came ‘Gaelic’ customs and laws, and via the bards and storytellers came ‘Gaelic’ history, mythology and legends.
Kenneth MacAlpin brought the Stone of Destiny from Eire and had it installed in the church at Scone (hence its one alternate name) for his own inauguration. The act was perhaps somewhat of a conciliatory gesture on the part of Kenneth toward his own mother’s Pict ancestors; Scone was the seat of the Pictish kings. From that point to the present time, the kingdom forged by Kenneth would be known neither by the name of Pict nor Dalriada, but rather as Scotia, or Scotland. Eight generations beyond King Kenneth Mac Alpin, Malcolm III seized the throne of the kingdom of the Scots. Malcolm III was born in 1031. Due to the size of his head, Malcolm was nicknamed Caenn-Mor, which literally translates as ‘large head.’
Malcolm Caenn-mor was the son of Duncan I, the grandson of Malcolm II through that king’s daughter, Bethoc. Bethoc had married Crinan, the Abbot of Dunkeld, and they had two sons, Maldred and Duncan. Malcolm II had no sons, so when the time came for him to name a successor to the throne, he named his grandson, Duncan. To avoid problems, he had all the sons of his cousin, Kenneth III, murdered. After a reign of six years, Duncan I died in battle at the hands of MacBeth, another cousin who was married to Gruoch, a granddaughter of Kenneth III. MacBeth ruled Scotland for seventeen years. He was killed in the battle at Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire, and his step-son, Lulach gained the throne in 1057. His rule was shortlived, because it was during the next year that Malcolm Caenn-mor saw the chance to seize the throne.
Malcolm Caenn-mor married Margaret, daughter of Edward ‘The Exile,’and brother of Edgar Atheling. Between them they bore a family of eight children, a number of whom would bear the crown of the Scottish kingdom or be married to foreign monarchs. The couple’s eldest child, a daughter named Matilda, married Henry I, King of England. Their sons, Edmund, Edgar, Alexander and David wore the Scottish crown successively. Margaret was a very devout Christian; she is often styled, St. Margaret. Margaret’s personal chapel still stands in Edinburgh.
Margaret influenced Malcolm in a number of things which brought changes to the kingdom. She convinced Malcolm to replace Gaelic with Norman French as the official court language. Through her influence, Malcolm encouraged the rise of feudalism in Scotland.
One of the Malcolm and Margaret’s sons chose the ecclesiastical, rather than the secular, path. That son, Aethelred, or sometimes known simply by the names, Eth or Aedh, became the last hereditary Abbot of Dunkeld and later was named the First Earl of Fife - of the Kindred of St. Columba.
The title of ‘Earl of Fife’ was an important one ~ one which gained more importance with each generation. King Malcolm III granted this title to his son, Aethelred in 1061 in gratitude of his assistance in helping him regain the crown which had been usurped by MacBeth. In the Buik of the Chroniclis of Scotland appears the following passage:
"To guide Makduffe the erle of Fyffe gaif he
Ane priuledge and his posteritie;
The first quhilk wes ane priuledge conding.
The erll of Fyffe quhen crownit wes the king,
Onto his chyre suld him convoy and leid,
The croun of gold syne set vpoun his heid
With his awin hand, all seruice for to mak,
As president most principall of that act;
The secund wes, that battell in ilk steid
In his gyding the vangard for to leid:
The thrid also, that neuir ane of his clan
Suld judgit be wnder ane vther man.
Quhen that he war accusit of his lyffe".
What the above verses told was that the ‘Earl of Fife’ should be entitled to place the crown upon the king’s head at his coronation; to lead the van of the king’s army into battle; and to be granted sanctuary at the Cross of MacDuff near Abernethy if he should take another man’s life. (The last of the three privileges was to be extended not only to the Earl himself, but to his kinsmen to the ninth degree.)
Aethelred married his fifth cousin, the daughter of Lulach (the Simple) and only living granddaughter of Queen Gruoch, through whom she was descended from Dubh (i.e. Black), a son of Malcolm I, and a brother to Kenneth II (who was Aethelred’s great3-grandfather). The couple gave birth to four sons: Duff, Cairpre Ri Fata, Malcolm and Gillecoimded, all of whom took the surname or MacEth (variously, MacAedh).
The eldest son of Aethelred, Duff, sired two sons, Constantine and Gillemichael, both of whom took their own father’s name to make their own surname, MacDuff. Because of the fact that Duff died prior to his father, Aethelred, he is considered by some to never have possessed the title of Earl of Fife. That instead passed to Constantine, who was known, variously, as the Second or the Third Earl of Fife and then, upon his death in 1129, the title was passed on to his brother, Gillemichael, who became known, vraiously, as the Third or the Fourth Earl of Fife. Gillemichael MacDuff served as a witness to the great charter of David I to the Abbey of Dumferline.
Gillemichael’s eldest son, Duncan, became, variously, the Fourth or the Fifth Earl of Fife upon his father’s death in 1139. Duncan MacDuff was also known as the Toiseach, which was Gaelic for ‘Thane’ or ‘Earl.’ Duncan died in 1165.
Duncan’s own son, Seach, (variously, Shaw) took the appellation of Mhic-An-Toiseach (variously, Mac-An-Toiseach or Mac-An-Toisich). The word Toiseach meant ‘thane’ or ‘earl.’ Therefore ‘Mac-An-Toiseach’ meant ‘son of the Toiseach’ or ‘son of the thane.’ Through evolution, the name became Mackintosh (variously, Macintosh). Shaw Macduff therefore is regarded as the progenitor of the Mackintosh Clan. (It might be noted here that the name of Shaw is generally derived from the Old Gaelic word, sithech, meaning ‘wolf.’) Seach/Shaw MacDuff married Giles de Montgomery a daughter of Hugh de Montgomery. They took up residence in the royal castle at Inverness after Shaw was made ‘keeper of the castle’ by King Malcolm IV. Seach MacDuff had accompanied King Malcolm IV northward to suppress a rebellion in Moray, and it was in gratitude for his services that the king made Seach/Shaw the custodian of the castle. Shaw MacDuff died in the year 1179, and was succeeded as 'mackintosh' of Clan Mackintosh by his eldest son, Shaw.
Clan Mackintosh was one of the primary clans which formed the confederacy known as Clan Chattan, believed to have been instituted by Chief Gillechattan Mor, who was descended from Loarn Mor Mac Erc. Clan Shaw would also become part of the Clan Chattan confederacy as a cadet of Clan Mackintosh. The Clan Chattan Bond of 1609 listed the principal members of the confederacy as: the Macintoshes, Macphersons, MacQueens, MacBeans, Macleans of Dochgarroch, MacGillivrays, Farquharsons, MacPhails, Shaws, and some lesser families including the Clarks, Gows, Gillanders and Davidsons.
Shaw Oig MacDuff (i.e. the Younger) married Mary de Sandylands, a daughter of Sir Harry de Sandylands. (Note: Members of the Mackintosh Clan attach the name Mackintosh to all descendants of Seach MacDuff by virtue of his title of the Mac~An~Toisich. The name of MacDuff continued to be used for a number of generations. Shaw Oig was the Second Chief of Mackintosh. He was chief of the clan in 1196 when Thorfin MacMadach, the Earl of Orkney and Caithness made a raid into Inverness, and he defended the Castle of Inverness, the seat of the Mackintosh clan bravely. Shaw Oig died in 1210, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Ferquhard. (His firstborn son, Malcolm preceeded Shaw in death.)
Ferquhard Mackintosh was titled the 3rd Chief of Mackintosh, and the title should have gone to a son of his, but he died in 1240 without issue. The position of clan chief would devolve to Ferquhard’s nephew, Shaw Mackintosh. Ferquhard participated in the campaign against Guthbred mac Donald mac William in 1211 in the shire of Ross.
Shaw Oig’s third son, William Mackintosh married Bessie Learmond (variously, Beatrix Learmonth) of Dairsie. A relative of Bessie’s was Thomas Learmonth, better known to history as ‘Thomas the Rhymer,’ Scotland’s earliest documented poet. William and Bessie gave birth to a son, Shaw.
Shaw Mackintosh was the eldest son of William Mackintosh, for which he was sometimes called Shaw Macwilliam. In 1230 Shaw married Helena William, the daughter of William the Thane of Calder. Shaw Mackintosh acquired the lands of Meikle and Geddes, and also the lands and castle of Rait on the river Nairn. He also acquired a lease of Rothiemurchus in Strathsprey from Andrew, Bishop of Moray in 1236, from which his more common name of Shaw ‘of Rothiemurchus’ emerged. The lands of Rothiemurchus had been granted by King Alexander II to Andrew, Bishop of Moray in 1226. The descendants of Shaw would hold Rothiemurchus for over a hundred years. Shaw ‘of Rothiemurchus’ was named Fourth Chief of Mackintosh upon the death of his uncle, Ferquhard in 1240. Shaw (of Rothiemurchus) died in 1265.
Ferquhard Mackintosh, the eldest of five sons of Shaw (of Rothiemurchus) and Helena, became the Fifth Chief of the Mackintosh Clan. He married Mora, the daughter of Angus Mhor, Lord of the Isles. The marriage is believed to have been a strategic one, intended to curry the favor of the powerful Clan Macdonald (to which Angus Mhor belonged) because the Mackintosh were at odds with the Comyns. They gave birth to a son, Angus, born in 1268, and a daughter, Isabel, who married Kenneth Macpherson, the founder of the Cluny Macpherson clan. Ferquhard fought in Battle of Largs in the year 1263. Ferquhard witnessed a charter of the Bishop of Moray in 1234. He also held the key office of Seneschal of Badenoch under its first Cummin lord. During the life and chiefship of Ferquhard, the lands of Meikle, Geddes and Rait were taken from the Mackintosh clan by the Comyns, Lords of Badenoch; it would not return to Mackintosh hands until a hundred years later. Ferquhard died in 1274 as the result of wounds received in a duel with an Islander.
Angus Mackintosh, son of Ferquhard and Mora, married Eva Nhic Dougal in 1291. Eva was the heiress of the Chiefship of Clan Chattan, being descended from Gillechattan Mor, the founder of Clan Chattan. Gillechattan Mor had a son, Dougal Dall, aka Gillipatrick, and it was he who was Eva's father. Gillechattan Mor was descended from the Dalriadan king, Loarn Mor Mac Eirc through his son, Ferchar the Long. Angus, being descended from Fergus Mor Mac Eirc, Loarn’s brother, would have been a distant cousin to Eva. The marriage brought to the Mackintosh family new lands in Glenluy, Locharkeg and Strathlocie. It also brought an alliance with Clan Macperhson and the others who were already associated in the Clan Chattan confederacy.
Angus Mackintosh was sometimes referred to as Angus mac Fearchard, meaning ‘Angus son of Ferquhard.’ He held the title of Sixth Chief of Mackintosh; he also acquired the title of Seventh Chief of Clan Chattan upon the death of Dougal Dall, Eva's father. Angus and Eva initially resided at Torcastle in Lochaber, but they moved from Lochaber to Rothiemurchus about 1308 following the overthrow of the Comyns at Inverness by the forces of Robert the Bruce. A staunch supporter of Robert the Bruce, Angus served as a Captain for Randolph Earl of Moray at the Battle Of Bannockburn in 1314, in which the Scots routed a greater number of Englishmen under Edward III. Angus died in 1345.
Angus and Eva brought seven sons into the world, the eldest of whom, William, succeeded his father as the Seventh Chief of Mackintosh and Eighth Chief of Clan Chattan. The next eldest son, Ian Mackintosh, known variously as John mac Angus, is the person from whom the Clan Shaw diverged from the Clan Mackintosh. Ian/John is therefore acknowledged as having been the 1st Chief of Clan Shaw. Ian/John is believed to have fought at the Battle of Bannockburn and possibly alongside his brothers at Durham.
From Ian/John descended only one son, Gilchrist. Gilchrist mac Ian (variously, Macghillechrist Mhic Iain) succeeded his father as the 2nd Chief of Clan Shaw. Not much is known about Gilchrist with the exception that he sired Shaw Mor Corliacalich, (variously, Sheath Mor Sgorfhiaclach ~ the bucktoothed).
Shaw Mor Corliacalich, the Third Chief of Clan Shaw, was temporarily serving as the Chief of Mackintosh and therefore was chosen as the Captain of the Thirty at Battle of the North Inch at Perth in 1396. Tradition holds that Shaw Mor Corliacalich led the Clan Chattan (aka Clahynnhe Qwhewyl) to victory in that battle of the clans. In that fight he led the thirty best fighting men in Clan Chattan against thirty warriors of Clan Hay (aka Clan Cameron). When the fight was finally stopped, only one of the men of Clan Hay was left standing, facing Shaw Mor and nine of his Clan Chattan warriors. As a reward, he was given the lands of Rothiemurchus, site of the castle Loch-an-Eilean. (Those lands were sold in 1539 by Alastair Kiar's grandson, Alan to George Gordon, the Earl of Huntly. Huntly sold it to Dallas of Cantry, who in turn sold it to Grant of Freuchie.) When, in 1409, Ferquhard, son of Lachlan, the Eighth Chief of Mackintosh, willingly abdicated the chiefship of Clan Mackintosh, Shaw Mor Coriacalich assumed the position temporarily. It is Shaw Mor Coriacalich, who is credited with founding the "Shaws" as a clan, despite the fact that it was his grandfather, Ian/John who was the first of the direct line of the family that would be known as Shaws. He is believed to have married the daughter of Robert MacAlister vic Innish, who was of the Clan MacPherson, by whom he had seven sons, the eldest of which was Seamus, or John. Shaw Mor Coriacalich died in 1405, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Tuchaldus, near the Doune beside the river Spey in the parish of Rothiemurchus.
Seamus/James Shaw was the Fourth Chief of Clan Shaw. He married Elizabeth le Grant, Lady of Stratherrick, granddaughter of Patrick Grant, Lord of Stratherrick and Inverallan. James Shaw was killed at the memorable Battle of Harlaw on 24 July, 1411, fighting on the side of Donald, 2nd Lord of the Isles. It should be noted here that I have placed the surname of Shaw here, and on the succeeding generations, because of the clan's acknowledgement of Shaw Mor Coriacalich as the progenitor of the clan. But the name was not employed as a surname in the public records until the 1700s. According to the Kinrara Manuscript (by Lachlan Mackintosh of Kinrara, circa 1679), the name of James who served and died at Harlaw was given as James Mackintosh.
Adam (variously, Ay) Shaw, the second eldest son of Seamus and Elizabeth, was the progenitor of the Clan Ay. Because Adam settled at Tordarroch in 1468, his descendants became known as the Shaws of Tordarroch. It was the Shaws of Tordarroch who supported Montrose and raised the Shaw contingent in the Jacobite rising of 1715.
The eldest son of Seamus and Elizabeth was Alastair Kiar (variously, Allister Ciar). The name Kiar/Ciar meant ‘Brown’ and probably referred to his dark complexion. Alastair inherited the Chiefship of the Shaw Clan from his father, and became the Fifth Chief. According to a deed dated 24 September, 1464, Alastair Kiar purchased the estate of Rothiemurchus from Duncan, the Eleventh Chief of Clan Mackintosh. In the public records, Alastair was always noted by the name of Mackintosh, and so with the acquisition of the estate of Rothiemurchus, he became known by addition of that name to his own in the form of ‘Alastair Kiar Mackintosh of Rothiemurhcus.’ Alastair married a daughter of Stewart of Kinkardine, and between them were born five sons: James, John (variously, Ian), Alister Oig (variously, Alexander), Farquhar and Ivor (variously, Evander). Of these sons, James would become the progenitor of the Shaws of Dalnavert, Alister Oig would become the progenitor of the Shaws of Dell, Farquhar would become the progenitor of the Clan Farquharson of Mar, and Ivor would become the progenitor of the Shaws of Harris and the Isles. It would be John, rather than the eldest son, James, who would succeed their father to become the Sixth Chief of Clan Shaw.
The eldest son of Alastair Ciar, James, acquired the lands of Dalnavert, which lay on the edge of the Inshriach Forest near the River Spey.
It was the Shaws of Dalnavert, descended from James, who began to use the name Shaw as a surname as we know surnames today. The first public record of its use as a surname was by Alexander Shaw of Dalnavert in 1620. It might be good to note at this point that the name of Shaw has never been used as a surname in conjunction with the prefix, Mac. The addition of the prefix would make the name mean, "son of Shaw". Instead, the title/name Na Si'aich, which meant "the Shaws" was sometimes used as a surname. James of Dalnavert was known as James MacAlasdair Ciar in some of the early records.
James of Dalnavert and his wife gave birth to two sons: Alexander and Donald Roy.
Alexander Shaw was the first of the family in Dalnavert to actually use the name Shaw as a surname without the direct connotation of a direct relationship to an individual. Because the early manuscripts state that James was the progenitor of the Shaws of Dalnavert, (i.e. the Kinrara MS stated that from James, son of Alasdair Ciar Mackintosh of Rothiemurchus, descended directly the Shaws of Dalnavert), the assumption can be made that Alexander, the first to use the surname, was James’ son. Alexander’s will, which was confirmed on 15 November, 1631, mentioned his brother, Donald Roy Shaw. Alexander Shaw married a daughter of William MacPherson of Bialid, and they gave birth to a son, William.
William Shaw, Alexander of Dalnavert’s son, was known to have taken up arms, along with other Shaws, Mackintoshes and MacPhersons, against Montrose during the Anglo-Scottish War. He was summoned by the Synod of Moray on 12/13 January, 1648 for such action, but was noted as ‘being absent without excuse.’ Shortly thereafter, a William Shaw appeared in Ireland. It is therefore believed that William, son of Alexander Shaw, and the William Shaw in Ireland were one and the same person. According to tradition, William Shaw, Sr left Dalnavert and traveled to England where he joined Colonel John Ponsonby’s Regiment of Horse, of Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentary Army in 1649, and served with that regiment in Ireland.
William Shaw, Jr was born in 1650, and died in 1734 in Fiddown, County Kilkenny, Ireland. William Shaw Jr is believed to have fought in the Battle of the Boyne, under King William III, in General Ponsonby’s Regiment in 1690. According to tradition, William Shaw carried General Ponsonby off the field at Boyne when he was wounded. For his service in the war, William Shaw received an estate in Ireland. The William Shaw estate was named "Sandpits." William married Elizabeth -----; She died in 1738. The family of William and Elizabeth included three sons and a daughter: Richard, Charles, John and Alice.
The eldest son, Richard was born in 1673, and died in 1729 in Ballinderry, County Tipperary, Ireland. He married Judith Briscoe in 1696. Their family of ten children included Robert who was born in 1698, and died in 1758 in Sandpits, County Kilkenny, Ireland. Robert married Mary Markhamm, daughter of Bernard Markhamm Esq., of Fenningstown, in 1736. Mary’s brother, William Markhamm, was the Archbishop of York. The Markhamm family tradition states that Mary was a descendant of Oliver Cromwell through his daughter, Bridget and her second husband, Charles Fleetwood.
Robert and Mary Shaw raised a family of seven children, of which Thomas was a son. Thomas was born on 21 November, 1744, and died in 1799 in Clonmel, County Kilkenny, Ireland. For that reason, he is often referred to as ‘Thomas of Clonmel.’ Thomas Shaw was listed in the General Directory of the Kingdom of Ireland published in 1788 as a woollen draper, timber-merchant and post-master with an office on Main Street in the city of Clonmel. Thomas married Susanna -----. Their family of six children included a son William.
William Shaw was born in 1767 in County Killkenny, Ireland. He married Mary Townson (variously, Townsend) in Ireland. She was born in 1770 in County Waterford, Ireland. Upon Thomas Shaw’s death in 1799, William, who was not the eldest son, did not receive any land on which to reside. So William and Mary emigrated with their family of seven children to America sometime around the year 1800. All the children are believed to have been born in Ireland before the family emigrated. The family is believed to have arrived at the port of Baltimore, because it is to that city that Mary had to travel in later years to receive a dowry left to her by her father. The Shaw family made their way to what was then Bedford County. They established a farmstead near the present-day village of Puzzletown. When William and Mary both died (he in 1850) their property would have been located in Juniata Township in the recently erected county of Blair. The formation of Freedom Township out of Juniata in 1857 would find the farmstead property falling under the jurisdiction of the new township.
From William and Mary Shaw’s family, quite a number of lines descended. Many of their descendants still reside in the Old-Greenfield Township region at the present day. Men bearing the Shaw surname married into families of the name: Baker, Furney, Garman, Glass, Griffith, Leighty, McIntosh, Stall and Wilt,. Women bearing the Shaw surname married into families of the name: Burk, Cassidy, Rohland, Smith, Stiffler, Stultz, Thompson and Wilt. There are, therefore, many people residing in the Old-Greenfield Township region who possess a connection to the Sons of Mil.
One of William and Mary Shaw’s sons, James, was born in 1794. He married Catherine Kelley on 25 June, 1818. James and Catherine Shaw raised a family of twelve children: eight sons and four daughters. The eldest daughter, Elizabeth, was born on 28 January, 1825. Elizabeth, in turn, married Solomon Smith. Solomon and Elizabeth Smith raised a family of seven children, the youngest of which was named George Washington Smith, born in 1871. George W. Smith married Celia Samantha Butler on 26 October, 1892, and they raised a family of ten children, the eldest of which was named Eldon Brooks Smith. Eldon B. Smith married Jennie Florence Bowser on 02 October, 1917 and they gave birth to Bernard Robert Smith on 25 June, 1919. Bernard R. Smith, in turn, married Dolllie Edith Nofsker on 18 June, 1944. Bernard and Dollie Smith gave birth to three children: Carol Jane, Leon Robert and Larry Dennis Smith, the author of this article.