A new missive from Scottish researcher Duncan McGruther:
I have recently confirmed some information that was not available to me when I wrote my book MacGrouthers in Scotland to 1855, and feel I am in a position to make some reasoned speculation on the source of the McGruthers of Meigor wealth. In 1620 the McGruder family, tenants in Innerclair alias Wester Craigneich, acquired the lands of Meigor near Comrie, Perthshire. In an era when it was almost unheard of for any tenants to acquire land, they became the first McGruther landowners in Scotland. The date is intriguing. Around this time the Dukes of Perth family became one of the ‘Undertakers’ in what is now Northern Ireland of a scheme to populate the land there with Scottish and English tenants – the Plantation of Ulster. Scottish Perthshire names begin appearing from then on in Ulster, including John McCrue, father and son, whose ancestors’ written testimony speculates their name was derived from McGruder.
Thus, the Drummonds of Perth, to curry favour with the King (whose Scheme was the Plantation of Ulster) undertook to supply tenants for Ireland. The McGruders supplied their junior family members, but extracted Meigor in Scotland as their price. The McGruders who moved to Northern Ireland themselves got 9000 acres of land. The Source of the McGruder/McCrue name is thus Perthshire, and there is no separate Irish McGruder (or variations thereof) name.
This may explain why, since [my] book was published in 2007, no Ulster McGruder/Magruder/etc has come forward.
A reader just asked me the meaning of Craigneich, the farm near the foot of Glen Artney where Alexander McGruder/Magruder presumably was raised after the death of his father. Though no longer associated with our family, in Alexander’s time the place had long McGruther/McGruder/MacCrouther associations and was his father’s homeplace. In Maryland, Alexander named one of his properties Craigneich (now most often spelled Craignight), which suggests a strong attachment to this wee farm.
I have read that Craigneich means “rock of the raven,” but have never found confirmation of that. Nor have I had any luck asking locals. The online Dictionary of the Scots Language gives neich as a variant of nech(e), a verb meaning to draw near (intransitive) or to draw near to (transitive). Considering the standing stones on and near the present-day Craigneich–including one in a field by the road, close to the buildings and visible from both the road and the driveway–we can speculate that the name might mean something like “gathering stone” or “meeting stone.” This is, I stress, pure speculation on my part. Perhaps someone reading this can shed some light?
Here are a couple of sites with information on the Craigneich stones: Peter McNaughton’s Highland Strathearn and The Northern Antiquarian. ** Peter McNaughton gives the meaning as “Craig of the Horse,” and I’m hoping he can shed light on the etymology.
Tues, May 24: 7 pm: reading from and talking about Trafficke, along with Karen Branan, author of The Family Tree, @ The Potter’s House, a D.C. institution since I was too young to drive. 1658 Columbia Road NW, DC, 202-232-5483. Come early, eat supper, buy a book…
We were initially scheduled for the 26th, but in the meantime The Potter’s House decided to make Thursdays the night for jazz…so drop by for that.
At the end of 2014, in a meeting of the DC chapter of Coming to the Table, I met Karen Branan, a retired investigative journalist. My book Trafficke was in production; Karen was negotiating a contract and putting last touches on her book, The Family Tree. We realized immediately that we were in some way related, through the Beall family who, like the Magruders, were among the first arrivants to Colonial Maryland. We next realized that though our foci were different, each of us had been investigating for decades our ancestors’ culpability in slavery and white supremacy.
Today, I finally did my homework and discovered that Karen, too, is a Magruder descendant. My line runs from Samuel Magruder, Alexander’s grandson, born in what was then Calvert County MD, about 1687. Karen is descended from Samuel’s sister, Verlinda Magruder, born 1693, who married John Beall, son of Alexander Beall and Elizabeth Coombs. Samuel and Verlinda’s parents were the well-documented Samuel Magruder and his wife Sarah (also believed to have been in some way related to Ninian Beall, though we’re pretty sure now that she was not his daughter). I have at least one more Beall in my line–Charity Beall, who married Haswell Magruder in 1762–but haven’t yet figured out if that ties me more closely to Karen’s family.
So now you have one more reason to drop by Karen’s web site and read about The Family Tree: a lynching in Georgia, a legacy of secrets, and my search for the truth at karenbranan.com. One truth Karen discovered is that she is related not only to white men involved in the lynching, but also to one of the four black victims. On her site, you’ll find links to thoughtful and enthusiastic reviews and to several radio conversations. The Family Tree is available in hardback, as an e-book (Kindle or Nook), and as an audio book (CD or streaming). Karen is working hard to promote the book–more accurately, to use her book to promote conversation and action. Check out her scheduled appearances in numerous states. Invite her to yours!
Don’t forget: this Sunday, 28 Feb 2016: 2:00-3:30, I’ll be reading from Trafficke, with Karen Branan, author of The Family Tree (Simon & Schuster, 2015). @ The Writers Center, Bethesda, MD. Unknown to each other until we met at a gathering of Coming to the Table in 2014, we each spent 20+ years researching our families’ history–in my case, Alexander’s true Scottish origins and the history of slave-holding among his descendants/my ancestors in Maryland; in Karen’s case, a “kinship lynching” within her family in Jim Crow Georgia. I’m a poet, she’s a journalist, and as fate would have it we are distant cousins, both descended from Ninian Beall in Maryland. (I haven’t yet figured out if Karen is also descended from Alexander…) Please come out and join the conversation. Free parking on Sundays in the lot across the street from The Writers Center.
4508 Walsh St
Bethesda MD 20815
GPS users please note: Enter “Chevy Chase” as the city…though, really, it’s Bethesda.
Read about The Family Tree on Karen’s web site–including rave reviews.
Tues, 17 Nov: 7:00. Reading from Tafficke @ University of Illinois, Springfield. Great Room of Lincoln Residence Hall, 2160 Vachel Lindsay Drive, Springfield IL 62703. Parking lots right by the building, I’m told. Free and open to the public. If you come, please let me know you are a reader of Magruder’s Landing.
If you’re nearby…I’ll be reading from my Magruder book, Trafficke, on Friday, October 9th, 7:00 pm @ University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. University Center, Room 303.
Follow signs in the building. Parking is open to visitors (other than handicap or reserved spaces) after 4:00 pm on Fridays. If you’re there, be sure to say hello! I’ll also have books there for sale.
Read about Trafficke on my website http://susantichy.com/books/trafficke/ or the Ahsahta Press website https://ahsahtapress.org/product/tichy-trafficke/