Here is Alexander Magruder’s most commonly accepted genealogy. In the families below, I use bold font to indicate Alexander’s direct line. Note that “James McGrudir (II)” is the first point in this lineage at which we can be reasonably certain of family relationships. Identification of his father and siblings is tentative at best.
- Details & discussion are marked with bullet points.
Spellings of the name vary. Where I am not quoting a particular document, I will use McGruder as the default spelling.
Earliest records of the name occur in Comrie and in nearby Glen Artney, in Perthshire. According to Scottish custom, when a person is recorded as “in” a certain place (as in “James McGruder in Cargill”) it means he lives there as a tenant. When recorded as “of” a certain place (as in “James McGruder of Cargill”) it means he owns land there.
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1. James McGrugor or MakGruder (I), active 1502-1540s
- Jacobus McGrugor/MakGruder appears twice in surviving records, on 10 March 1502/3 and on 7 June 1508.
- He may have been the father of at least two sons [Duncan and James (II)] and a daughter.
- From this period, if not before, the family is associated with the farm at Craigneich, south of Comrie.
2. a daughter? Some sources call her Margaret.
+ John (or Thomas) Drummond, 3rd of Drummondearnoch
3. John Drummond, 4th of Drummondearnoch
- It is known that in this period a McGruder woman married John Drummond, 3rd of Drummondearnoch. That she was a daughter of this James McGrugor or MakGruder is only surmised.
- The eldest son of this marriage–John Drummond, 4th of Drummondearnoch–was a Royal Forester in Glen Artney who in 1586 fell victim to an infamous murder, attributed to the MacGregors.
- If identification of the Magruder woman who married Drummondearnoch is correct, the murdered man was a cousin of Alexander the Immigrant’s father.
- See, under “Scotland,” the page called “McGruder / McGregor / Campbell / Drummond: Are you confused yet?” for more detail about the murder, its aftermath, and the McGruder-Drummondearnoch connection.
2. Duncan MakGruder (I), active 1525-1591
- Duncanus Makgruder is named among the supporters of John Drummond of Innerpeffray and Andrew Drummond of Carnock, in a legal action of 1525 regarding the slaughter of six men in 1519.
- On 26 February 1546/47, Duncane McRudir and James McGrudir [presumably James (II) (see below)] were among the 400-some men from Perthshire who were granted remission for rebellion in 1545–the revolt of the “Protestant Lords” against Queen Mary’s government. Prominent among leaders of the revolt were David, 2nd Lord Drummond, and Andrew Drummond of Belliclone along with his son William.
- Also in the lists are John and Duncane Bordoun, members of another Glen Artney family with whom the McGruders would later intermarry.
- In 1545 Duncanus MakGruder matriculated from the University of St. Andrews.
- In 1546 and 1547 he appeared as witness to several documents involving David, 2nd Lord Drummond; his brother James Drummond, Commendator of Inchaffray; and James, 4th Lord Drummond. Duncan also witnessed the Testament of Agnes Burdoun “at Craignocht.”
- A document of 1591 was witnessed by a man named James Cuik, identified as a servant of Duncan McGruder. (McGruther 43-44)
Duncan may have had a son and grandson–
3. William (I), active 1591-1606
4. Duncan (II), active 1603.
2. James McGrudir (II), active 1540s & after
3. John, 1st of Meigor, Chamberlain to Patrick, 3rd Lord Drummond
- James McGruder (II) is believed by most to be the father of the John McGruder who achieved the rare transition from land renter to land owner, acquiring title to lands in Meigor, in Glen Artney.
- He is also believed to be the father of Alexander McGruder (I), the father of Alexander Magruder the Immigrant and his brother James (III), who was Chamberlain to the Duke of Perth during the Civil Wars.
- John MacGregor, writing in 1919, collapses James (I) and James (II) into the same person, speculating that he may have been the father of both the McGruder woman who married Drummondearnoch and the John McGruder who acquired land in Meigor (see below). (66)
- John MacGregor also states that Duncan and James (II) were brothers (as I show here), but Don McGruther could not confirm that relationship when he examined the sources MacGregor cited. (43)
- Gordon MacGregor, writing in 2006, makes no claims about family relationships prior to James (II). His research focused exclusively on families who owned land (for whom there are more records than for any who did not), so his lineage begins with James (II)’s son “John MacGruther, in Innerclair and 1st of Meggar.” (491)
3. Alexander McGruder (I), Chamberlain to James Drummond, the 1st Lord Madderty, Barron of Innerpeffrey and Commendator of Inchaffray (eldest brother of Lord Drummond).
- In 1600, Alester McRuther witnessed a Bond of Caution involving James Drummond, Commendator of Innerpeffrey, William Drummnd of Balmaclone, and his son Andrew Drummond of Ardeweney.
- In May of 1602, Helene McGruer, daughter of Alester McRuther and Katherine Jardin, was christened at Canongate, Edinburgh. (McGruther 45)
- As Alester (Alastair) is the Gaelic form of Alexander, and there is no further mention of Alaster, it is likely that they are one and same person and that Katherine Jardine died some time after the birth of her daughter.
- By 25 May 1605, Alexander was married to Margaret Campbell, relict (widow) of Andrew Drummond, 4th of Belliclone. They are mentioned again as man and wife in 1606, and in 1610 he is identified as “Alexander McGruder in Belliclone.”
- He died before 1 May 1617, the first reference to Margaret Campbell’s third husband, Donald Campbell.
Thus I believe Alexander (I)’s wives and children were–
- In 1645, James McGruder appears in transactions undertaken for the Duke of Perth, supplying meal to the Army of the Covenant. In 1649 he was among those nominated to a Committee of War in the Sheriffdom of Perth, and in these documents is styled “Laird of Cargill” and Chamberlain to the Duke of Perth. In 1649 he is mentioned in a letter between John, 2nd Earl of Perth, and one of his sons.
- American oral tradition long held that James was killed at the battle of Worcester in 1651, but unless there was another James McGruder filling his shoes we find him still at his post in 1652, designated as factor to the 5th Lord Drummond and 2nd Duke of Perth.
- On 22 November 1622, one Alexander McGruder, 12 years old, was fined at Spittalsfield, Caputh Parish, about six miles from Cargill near Dunkeld, for illegally carrying arms and shooting deer and wildfowl. It is from this single record that we date Alexander’s birth to 1610.
- He appears in no other surviving record until his first acquisition of land in Maryland, in 1653.
- American oral tradition identifies this John with the John Magruder who was Constable of Kent County, Maryland, in 1668, but no evidence can be cited. Don McGruther located records of a John McGruder, a Burgess of Perth in 1654, but none ties him to Alexander’s family.
- If our identification of Alexander the Immigrant with the young deer-hunting Alexander McGruder is correct, he was more than 40 years old at the time of his capture and transportation and very likely had been married. If this is the case, we might just as easily speculate that the John Magruder briefly recorded in Kent County was his son from an early marriage. He was much too old to be Alexander’s American son named John.
- In my mother’s Maryland Magruder family a story was handed down that a young man from Scotland showed up at Alexander’s home on day, eighteen years old in my mother’s telling, and identified himself as Alexander’s son. I have never found a trace of this story, even as legend, beyond my own family.