RLM: Epistle 1:
Father set off on an emigrant ship for Manitoba, accompanied by his pregnant wife, Margaret, as confirmed by the Bible entry that they had had a son, Andrew II who was baptised by the Rev. Robert Marr in 1819. Traditionally he was born after the shipwreck, "on the rocks"!
RLM Epistle 4:
Andrew Mackay II, traditionally 'born on the rocks of Orkney' in 1819 would be 5 years old when his parents entered into Lonachuan, rental, custom and labour: £1/7/4d per year. Presumably, with his younger brother, William, born 1826, they attended the little school which is now the Church Hall, half way on the road to Bonar Bridge.
Andrew I died in 1836 when Andrew II was aged 17, and his brother only 10. Miss Lyon has provided evidence that the croft at Lonachuan was in continuous Mackay tenancy up to 1921, sometimes on a 19 year lease. I have no evidence to contradict the view that Andrew II supported by his young brother William carried on the farm together, probably supported by advice and help by neighbours. It is curious that the 1851, 1851 and 1861 census returns do not mention Lonachuan. It is shown on the O.S. Map, but not named thereon. I have no reliable evidence to show that the young lads had brothers and sisters.
Less than a mile up the road lived the kindly John Murray II and Ann, his wife, busy raising their family of 10 children, from 1805 onwards. It was inevitable that the two lads should often visit there, receiving hospitality and other kindness from the Murrays, and be attracted by the two youngest Murray girls. Andrew II married Elspeth, taking her down to Lonachuan on 21st March 1843. On 21st December of this same year, their first child Donald Murray Mackay was born.
The young brother William would be 16 to 17 years old then. I don't know how he filled up the next few years, but around 1848/9 he married young Janet Murray, both being age 22 years. William and Janet then moved into a croft adjacent to that of John Murray II in Asdle. There must have been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, mutual help and frequent ceilidhs, between the three families. Also a fair amount of discipline and church going. Each marriage was rewarded by ten children!
Elspeth died in 1876 and Andrew II in 1890. Thereupon, William and Janet moved into Lonachuan, "because they loved the place". During their married life, William and his wife appear to have tried out a spell of perhaps two years in Glasgow, around the year 1881, doubtless keeping an eye on my father George, their youngest, who may have taken a temporary job in a pub, with his older brother Andrew. We'll never know! Then, like John Murray II some 60 years before them, they returned to their native hills, and Asdle. I have from time to time visited Lonachuan ruins. It is astonishing that ten children should have been reared, fed, clothed and educated from this windswept treeless site. From all I have learned both marriages were very happy, successful ones. The children dispersed widely, Scotland, England, Missouri, New York, Ontario, New Zealand, Queensland.
RLM 1976, Sixth series, chart 1:
Owner of land on which are the crofts of Craigton, Achuan and ruin of Lonachuan is MacNamara, of Invercarron House, Ardgay. Miss Lyon, of Dornoch, has some rent books of Lonachuan, dating back to 1824 when Andrew II and Elspeth Murray took it over as tenants at "Rent, custom and labour = £1:7s:4d". There is a house now at Rhaoine, and beside it a bit of old wall which may have been part of the croft of John Murray II, around 1804-12. Well worth visiting and photographing. Occupants Mr. and Mrs Gore. She is Australian.