Driving tours around Comrie & Glen Artney

For those planning to visit McGruder country in Perthshire–and for those who just wish they could–I just found this website: Highland Strathearn | Papers in a Trunk, by Peter McNaughton, a Comrie native. The history is a might romantic (repeating legends as if they were factual) , but the driving tours look wonderful. Open the Table of Contents and scroll down to the Twentieth Century, at the bottom. There you’ll find routes  and a travelogue for

For those interested in the Magruder/MacGregor question…

Please see comments by Jim Magruder on the page (under Alexander) called “Alexander’s Family Tree.” Continuing that conversation, I have updated the page (under Scotland) called “McGruder / McGregor / Campbell / Drummond: Are you confused yet?” I haven’t changed the argument I make there, but I have added more details, some sources, and some clarifications.

To all who still believe, or want to believe, in the Magruder-MacGregor connection: your comments are welcome. More welcome still would be evidence to back up the legend.

Jim Magruder says in his comments that belief in the connection goes back to the 17th c. I know of no evidence before the 19th; and the 19th c. Magruders whose writing I’ve seen, or whose stories have been published, make no claim pointing farther back than the late 18th.

When I first started researching Alexander and all these related histories, a long, long McGruder-MacGregor tradition was exactly what I expected to find…but I didn’t. I read about Alexander’s life, and I read about Clan Gregor, and I couldn’t find any intersections between them. Likewise, when Don McGruther began researching in Scottish historical records, he expected to prove the McGruther-MacGregor connection: instead, he wound up proving that there is no evidence.

So, really, if you have older evidence from Maryland, I can’t wait to see it. And if you have evidence from Scotland, bring it on! We can start the hunt all over again.

Directions to Belliclone Farm

For Liz, who is cycling around Crieff and Perthshire…traveling vicariously for us all…here are directions to Belliclone Farm.

I took this this partly from memory (from two previous visits) and partly from someone else’s typed directions.

Belliclone is east of Crieff on the old Perth-Crieff road. You can come from that direction, or reach it off the A85 east of Crieff.  About 6 miles from Crieff is an unnumbered road on the right that leads in about a mile to the ruins of Inchafray Abbey. You’ll see them on your right, not very large, across a field. There’s a private house there but the owner let myself and friend in to see the ruins in ’99. His electronic gate says Inchaffray Abbey. To find Belliclone, keep going on that road past Inchaffray about 2.5 miles to a paved road, which is the old Perth-Crieff road. Turn right. There are new houses along that road, in case you have to ask directions. The typed directions say it’s about a mile from there to the Bellyclone road on the right, a private road. I recall that it was or seemed farther. Once you turn right on the Bellyclone road it will run north a short way then hook back to the right (east) and you’ll see Belliclone on the right, if new houses haven’t been built in front of it. The tenants in ’99 were reasonably friendly toward our visit. Because of the plaque placed on the house by American Magruders in ’75 they weren’t too surprised to see strangers at the gate.

If you look at the outbuildings, you’ll find a partition wall between two sections where the stonework looks markedly older than the rest. It is visible from the outside where the end of the partition wall forms part of the exterior wall. This is said to be stonework dating from Alexander Magruder’s time, though I don’t’ know how this was established, nor what kind of building it is supposed to have been.

Also nearby is Maderty Church & cemetery.

Good luck, Liz!

McGruder / McGregor / Campbell / Drummond : Are you confused yet?

The more I learn about the McGrouther/McGruther/McGruder family in Scotland the more outlandish it seems to imagine they were part of Clan Gregor or that Alexander ever identified himself as a MacGregor. The Drummond family, to whom the McGruders were connected for many generations, were closely allied with the Glenorchy Campbells, with whom the MacGregors feuded bitterly. And, more particularly, the Drummonds and McGruthers had a powerful reason to feud with Clan Gregor themselves. See the new page I’ve just put up, with the same title as this post, under the heading Scotland.

McGruder/MacGrouther sites in Glen Artney

Well, I’m back from a summer spent 12 miles from the nearest internet, so you can expect more posts and new pages in the coming months. Jill asked if I had birth or death dates for the 16th c. McGruders in Alexander’s family tree–and the answer is no, no one does. Don McGruther and the other researchers mentioned on that page have reported the records that survive–mostly land transactions, legal proceedings, and the like. From those fragments we can make educated guesses about the the life spans of some of those named, but we can’t go any further.

So, where is Meigor, where Alexander’s uncle acquired title to land? And where is Craigneich, where we believe Alexander was raised by McGruder relatives after the death of his father…………?

I have moved this information to a new page, McGruder Sites in Glen Artney, under “Scotland,” with a couple of useful links added to help you find ’em.