Niel McLarin murdered by John McIntyre

 Niel McLarin murdered by John McIntyre

John McLaren’s ancestors go back to the times of the Bishops of Argyle on Lismore. Sons John and Neil and Aunt Effie spent a short time at Bridge of Earn in Perthshire about 1770, then went to Glenorchy. Neil murdered in Appin. The family had to hire men to hunt for the murderer, no law enforcement in late 1790’s Appin for the common man. As opposed to the murder of Colin Campbell in 1752, when the Crown used everything in its power to prosecute and Appin man, James Stewart.

John Mc Claurin, listed on Lismore in, “A list of fencible men between sixteen and sixty in various parishes in Argyll as given up on 26th May, 1692.”, “The Commons of Argyll”, pg. 24.

John McClaurin b:abt 1720 (1)m:Mary McColl, (2)m:________ with:his sister Effie,

                           Farm: Ballymachelichan, Lismore

         Three male children by (1)

         (1) John McLaren b:abt 1750, m:Catherine McLellan from Edandonich,                                              Glenorchy, Farm: Dalmally in 1799 to Renton, Dunbartonshire.

                  Five children

                  (1)Margaret m:McKay went to Canada


                  (3)Janet b:1793, d:1883


                  (5)Duncan McLaren b:12 January 1800 Renton. d.26 April 1886

                           At 11 sent to live with McLellan’s at Dalmally.

                           He served as a member of the burgh council of Edinburgh, then                                              as Lord Provost, then as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Edinburgh.

         (2) Neil McLaren alias Neil McMarrich went to Appin, murdered by ______ McIntyre 

         (3) Duncan McLaren dies young.

“1774, December 17 Warrant by Alexander Campbell, younger of Glenure, J.P., for arrest of John McIntyre, son of Donald McIntyre, tenant in Achnacoan in Appine, for murder of Niel McLarin, servant to Duncan McFarlane, tenant in Candallich, 16 December. National Records of Scotland / GD170/473/4 Also "Scottish Highlanders" by D. Dobson

Warrant by Alexander Campbell, younger of Glenure, J.P., for arrest of John McIntyre, son of Donald McIntyre, tenant in Achnacoan in Appine, for murder of Niel McLarin, servant to Duncan McFarlane, tenant in Candallich, 16 December. National Records of Scotland / GD170/473/4 Also "Scottish Highlanders" by D. Dobson

The Murder: The sad occurrence was the result of misplaced affection, not however on the victim's part, and the incident well illustrates the yet unsettled state in which the Scottish Highlands remained at the end of the eighteenth century. Then, as Scottish now, the country was thinly peopled. Farming, it is true, was just emerging from its primitive and uneconomical methods, but roads were still bad and transport difficult, and the markets were too distant to justify the expenditure which alone could render farming really profitable, even if the crofters in general had been as well able as was Neil McLaren to stock their farms. Law was dispensed also by methods much less satisfactory and much less certain than those which obtain to-day; while the order that was maintained was achieved rather by the action of the well-disposed among the population than by the strength or vigilance of the central authority. In communities so placed, the passions, by which in all times humanity is actuated, have freer play, and the fear of punishment, which in more settled states frequently acts as a deterrent from crime, is much less powerful than where law is strong and the pursuing feet of justice swift and certain. In all conditions of society, settled and unsettled, jealousy and the desire to escape from inconvenient pecuniary obligations have acted as powerful motives in the human heart, and they did not fail of their influence in this family tragedy.

Neil had a friend called McIntyre, to whom he had been able to render pecuniary assistance, and McIntyre in turn felt himself bound to repay his obligations, either in similar form, or, as was more common at the time, in kind. Nor is there any reason to think he would have attempted to repudiate his liabilities had not jealousy entered his breast. McIntyre was engaged to a young woman who was also acquainted with Neil McLaren or M'Marrich, and over her heart Neil's handsome face and figure, together with his prosperous career, had obtained considerable influence. Neil himself, it is believed, did not at all reciprocate her admiration; but the fact of its existence, which she was unable to conceal from McIntyre, was sufficient to madden him against his friend. He made a pretext that a family he wished to repay Neil the advances he had made him, and invited him to meet him at a lonely spot in the country for this purpose. There was nothing unusual in this proceeding. It was generally considered a wise thing, when considerable sums or articles of value were in the possession of any one, that the fact should be concealed. Accordingly Neil made his way to the place without any misgiving, and was attacked by McIntyre from behind and brutally murdered before he could have had time to suspect foul play. Leaving the body by the ford where the deed was committed, McIntyre fled and disappeared. Alarmed at the prolonged absence of his brother, John went off into the Appin country to search for him. His horror at finding his brother's body lying by the ford wrapped in his plaid was such that he was never the same man afterwards.

John assembled twenty men, who raised the hue and cry and set off in pursuit of the murderer, with the intention that his blood should expiate his crime. The search was long and minute, but fruitless. McIntyre had a long start of his pursuers, and knowing that it would never be possible for him to return to the district, as his crime would sooner or later be traced to him, he made his way south and enlisted in the army. He was sent to Jamaica, where he was convicted of another capital offence and condemned to be shot.

On older brother John McLaren, besides the mental suffering he endured, the sad event had disastrous consequences. Not only did it dash to the ground all the hopes of the brotherly reunion to which he was looking forward, but in addition to this Neil's debtors for the most part seized the opportunity to repudiate the debts they owed him. It was with these moneys that John had hoped to stock the farm. Besides this, John felt himself not only bound in honour to pay his brother's debts, but also to fee the twenty men who had assisted him to pursue the murderer; and in doing so he completely impoverished himself.

In his wife, Catherine McLellan, however, he found a brave and competent helpmate. She too came of a good and honourable stock. Though bearing a Stewartry name, her family considered themselves Highland in blood as well as by birth. She was the youngest daughter of John McLellan and Sarah McIntyre, who occupied the farm of Edandonich in Glenorchy, between Dalmally and the boundary line of Argyleshire and Perthshire. John McLellan was a leading man among the farmers and crofters of the district, their representative in any dispute with the factor, and their spokesman in consultations or communications with a man of even greater authority than the factor—the minister. John possessed the confidence of the landlord as well as of the tenantry. His probity and discreetness caused him to be selected by the factor for the conveyance of the rent-money to Edinburgh, and in these missions he was generally accompanied by an escort of not less than ten men.” The Life and Work of Duncan McLaren; BY J. B. Mackie Vol. I.

John McLaren son was Duncan McLaren Member of Parliament from Edinburgh his son Charles Mclaren became 1st baron of Aberconway, both have wikipedia pages, if you trust their sources.

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