Grand River Branch
United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada
Selected Reprints from the
Grand River Branch Newsletter, Branches
"The Scottish Jacobite Heroine : Flora MacDonald U.E.L. (1722-1790)"
Angela E.M. Files, February 1992, Vol.4 No.1, Pages 10-12
Flora MacDonald, Jacobite1 heroine and Loyalist, was the daughter of Ranald and Marion MacDonald of Milton, in the island of South Uist (Hebrides). Her brother, Ranald, died young in an accident.
Another brother, Angus, on reaching his twenty-first birthday, inherited the tacks2 of Milton and Ballivanoch, following the death of their father in 1724. Flora's mother later married Hugh MacDonald, tackman of Kingsburg and they had four children; Annabella, James and two younger sons.
There were five branches of the great clan Donald who intermarried and bore the same Christian names. Scots designated these individuals by their estates or tacks. Flora's father was known as Milton and her stepfather as Kingsburg.
In June 1746, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, "the young Pretender" or "Bonnie Prince Charles", 1720 - 1788, grandson of James II of Great Britain and Ireland, took refuge after the battle of Culloden, April 16, 1746, in Benbecula in the Hebrides, where Flora was living, and his companion, Captain O'Neill, asked for her help. Brave Flora obtained a pass to the mainland for herself, a man servant, an Irish spinning
maid, Betty Burke, and a crew of six men. The "Bonnie Prince" was disguised as Betty Burke. The party landed at Portree and escaped. Afterwards, the boatmen's talk brought suspicion on Flora and she was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. By the Act of Indemnity (1747), Flora was freed from prison.
On November 6, 1750, Flora MacDonald married Allan MacDonald, "a tall well-built handsome man, with black hair, high nose, and large widely spaced eyes"3, at Armadale. Allan had done military service in the independent British company of the Duke of Cumberland. During peace time, Allan and Flora lived on the tack of Flodigarry and Kingsburg, Scotland.
In 1774, Flora MacDonald and her husband, Allan, sailed from Campbelltown, Kintyre, Scotland, on the Bristol and arrived in the port of Brunswick, North Carolina in August and soon settled on a plantation in Anson County, North Carolina.
From the start of the American Revolution, Governor Josiah Martin of North Carolina, recruited Loyalists to join with British troops in order to restore royal rule in the colony...
As a trusted Loyalist, Allan MacDonald was appointed to the rank of Brigadier-General by Governor Martin. Flora MacDonald, who had assured George III that she would have helped him in distress, just as she had befriended Bonnie Prince Charles, rode about the countryside urging neighbours to fight for the British against the ungrateful Patriots. Many of the Highlanders joined the Royal Highland Emigrants under Major Donald MacDonald.
On February 27, 1776, Col. Caswell and Col. Alexander Lillington with 1.100 Minutemen faced MacDonald's 1,600 Highlanders at Widow Moore's Creek Bridge.
Flora MacDonald and her husband, Allan were captured at Moore's Creek. Flora was paroled and took no further part in the Revolution.
In 1778, Flora MacDonald sailed for Halifax to be near her husband's 84th Regiment (Royal Highland Emigrants) at Windsor, Nova Scotia. By October 1779, she decided to sail on the Lord Dunmore for London and return to her homeland, the Isle of Skye.
When the American revolution ended in 1783, the 84th Regiment was disbanded. Allan MacDonald received a regimental grant of land, 3,000 acres on the Kennetcook River in Nova Scotia. For his financial claim, he received only £440, which was not sufficient to care for his large tract and eight indentured servants. He also returned to the Isle of Skye.
Flora MacDonald died on March 5, 1790. She is buried at Kingsburgh MacDonalds at Kilmuir on the coast of Loch Snizort, sixteen miles north of Kingsburgh. Alan MacDonald died on September 20, 1792, a soldier, who in old age, lost the use of both legs due to his imprisonment during the American Revolution.
At Kilmuir, a monument, on Iona Cross, was erected in honour of Flora MacDonald. The cross bears the words of Dr. Samuel Johnson, the English lexicographer and essayist.
1Jacobites were partisans of James II of England or of the Stuarts after the revolution of 1688.
2Tacks were large grants of land received from Highland chiefs, which were partly farmed and rented to smaller farmers.
3Elizabeth Gray Vining, Flora, A Biography, (New York, N.Y.: J.B. Lippincott, 1966), 102.
4Christopher Hibbert, Redcoats and Rebels - War of America, 1770 -1781, (Glasgow: Grafton Books, 1990), 103.
5William S. Powell, North Carolina, A History, (Nashville, Tenn.: W.W. Morton, 1977), 62.
Lieutenant Colonel Cooper is married to the former Evelyn Yule of Perth, Ontario, and they have two sons and two daughters. Recently the Coopers have become first time grandparents.