1800: (29 Dec.) James Alexander, apparently a descendant of the Menstrie family in Scotland, created Earl of Caledon [Grant, p. 148; Montcreiffe, p. 63; Wikipedia]
1802: 1. Date of one of the earlier copies of the Kingsburgh manuscript, probably written down by Anne MacDonald Macalister of Skye and intended for members of the family [CMS(2), p. 3]
2. In this year one Charles McAllister is “running the open boat Rattlesnake from Cushendun [in Antrim] to Southend” in Kintyre as part of a ferry service. The ser- vice apparently ended some time in the 1830s, but “of its history virtually nothing is known” [Martin, p. 99].
1803: (9 Aug.) William McNeill of Hayfield seised of Loup lands of Portachoillan, Corran, Margard, Shirgrim, and Shenakeill with the mill on disposition by trustees for the creditors of Angus McAlester of Loup; McNeill also purchases three merklands of Dunskaig and two merklands of Lemnamuick, which were by sasine seised in life- rent to Jane McDonald (widow of Angus 11th of Loup) and Janet Somerville McAl- ester (wife of Charles 12th of Loup) and in fee to the trustees of Angus [11th] of Loup [Report, p. 5].
1805: See 1808
1806: Keith Macalister (son of Col. Matthew Macalister of Glenbarr) purchases most of the Loup estate from William McNeill, who had purchased these lands from the trustee of the Loup family; see 1803. “Loup” designation however remains with Charles as the representative of the name and family of McAlester of Loup [CMS, pp. 22, 35; Report, pp. 6, 10]; note: see 1847, #1.
1808: Charles, 12th of Loup, assumes the arms and name of Somerville; he is henceforth known as Charles Somerville McAlester of Loup & Kennox [Report, p. 9]. Note: The Clan MacAlister Society (USA) puts this at 1805 [“Fortiter”, Jan. 1982, p. 4].
1810: Norman Macalister (of the Kingsburgh family), governor of Prince of Wales Island [now Penang], is lost with his ship en route to retirement at the Clachaig estate owned by his brother Alexander [MacInnes, p. 68; “News”, no. 14, p. 3; “Fortiter”, April 1982, p. 5]. Note: This is the date usually given. However, the loss of the ship is on record as having occurred in 1812, and contemporary records indicate that although others in the government of Penang were unsure of Macalisters' where-abouts in December of 1810, they do not seem to be aware of his death.
1816: MacAlasdair tartan certified by the chief [“News”, no. 30, p. 1]
1816–20: Rent book from Loup estate covering this period survives [CMS, p. 37]
1817: Establishment of Clan Alasdair in Australia
Lachlan Macalister of the Strathaird family emigrates to Australia; he is the first of this family to emigrate, though they are now numerous in that country [“News”, no. 14, p. 3; “Lachlan Macalister”].
1818: Killean parish heritors erect a white marble tablet in Cleit Church to commemorate the generosity of Norman Macalister (see 1810), who donated £1000 to the poor of the parish [CMS, p. 22; NSA: Killean & Kilchenzie, p. 393]; interest of this poor fund was to be (and still is) distributed twice annually to those most in need [CMS, p. 35; “News”, no. 14, p. 3; “Fortiter”, April 1982, p. 5].
off-shore from Gourock and sinks in less than four minutes; among the 62 dead
are 32-year-old Charles MacAlister (youngest son of Alexander of Strathaird) and
his nephew John MacAlister. Charles's dog apparently survives, as 16 year old
Jane Munro credits it with "materially aiding" her in her own survival. [The sinking
caused a huge stir and was well documented in reports and commentary at the time; con-
temporary news reports can be viewed at the Scotsman digital archive on-line,
1827: 1. (February) “Alexander Campbell, Messenger at Arms in Lochgilphead . . . call[s] at Ballinakill House, . . . the seat of Angus McAlester. It [is] a disastrous meeting and end[s] up with charges against Campbell of . . . assault on Ballinakill and his brother John and on the other hand, Ballinakill [i]s accused of . . . assault on Campbell”. Witness statements regarding this incident are so contradictory that the Procurator Fiscal, though inclined to believe that Campbell is the more guilty party, declines to take action against either man [Stewart, ‘the Duel’].
2. (United States) James McAllister purchases McAllister’s Mills in Pennsylvania; later the Mills serves as a station on the Underground Railroad [McAllister, “Gettys- burg”, p. 170], whereby escaping slaves from the American South are smuggled to freedom in Canada.
1829: Matthew Macalister of Glenbarr and Rosshill dies; he is succeeded by his son Keith, who undertakes extensive building at Glenbarr Abbey; Keith “also ad- minister[s] the estates of Loup, Inveryne, Balenakill,” Torrisdale, and Clachaig [CMS, pp. 22, 34–35; “News”, no. 14, p. 3]. Note: Balinakill is still owned by Angus MacAlister in 1837; not sure when it changed hands, or perhaps it was divided? “A considerable extent of land [is] laid down with plantations of larch and other forest trees” on Glenbarr’s properties; they are “regularly thinned, and kept in good order” [NSA: Killean & Kilchenzie, p. 383].
1830: Birth of Charles Somerville McAlester, later 14th of Loup
1836–7: In these years, the potato fails on a sufficiently significant level to bring real need to people throughout the Highlands; if not for aggressive fundraising by some of Scotland’s landowners and philanthropists, “a fearful loss of life must have been the consequence” [NSA, vol. 14, p. 314]. It is possible that this partly explains the wave of emigration seen in the years immediately following (see 1839–45). Cer- tainly many of the ministers reporting for the New Statistical Account advocate emigration as the only way to prevent future calamity.
1837: Pigot’s Directory, published in this year, tells us that Angus Macalister, Esq., of Balinakill is proprietor of Clachan village; his is a “neat residence . . . a little to the east” of the village. Barr House, the property of Keith Macalister, “is a fine struc- ture, built in the gothic style” and offering “an extensive view of the sea and the north-east of Ireland” [p. 222]. Keith’s mother, the widow of Matthew of Glenbarr, now lives in Campbeltown [p. 219]. Keith Macdonald Macalister, Esq., resides in Inistrynish, near Inverary [pp. 225]. Duncan M’Alister is the postmaster and merch- ant at Bridge-End (Islay), and John M’Alister is an ironmonger and copper & tin smith at Bowmore on the same island [pp. 227-8]. Archibald M’Alister is school- master at Ardnaw [p. 231]. Beyond Argyll, we find Col. Charles Somerville Macalis- ter of Kennox, Stewarton [p. 278], Rev. John Macalister in Edinburgh [p. 55], and surgeons Norman and Duncan M’Alister at Strathaird [p. 498].
1839–45: 1. Rent book from this period, relating to farms on the estates of Inveryne, Loup, Balinakill, Torrisdale & Barbreck, as administered under Keith Macalister of Rosshill and Glenbarr, survives; rentals in this year are paid partly in cash, partly in kind (i.e., live-stock or produce) [CMS, p. 37].
2. These years see a significant increase in emigration to N. America from Kin- tyre [CMS, p. 37], and about 200 people from the parish of Strath in Skye have emi- grated to Australia since 1837 [NSA, vol. 14, p. 307].
1839: 1. “In the district of Strathaird, in which divine service is performed every third Sab- bath, a comfortable church [i]s . . . fitted up by the Trustees of Mr. Macalister. But previous to this there was no church in that district; and [the previous minister] when he preached there, officiated in the recess or cavity of a rock, for a period of fifty-two years” [NSA, vol. 14, p. 312]. Note: interesting that the previous owner of the estate never saw fit to do this, even though he lived there.
2. Charles McAlester of Loup and Kennox attend the Eglinton Tournament, where they have seats in the grandstand; afterwards, Charles serves as one of the stewards at the banquet [Charles attendance is mentioned in numerous publications of the time and since; the details of his role there are said to come from Accounts of the Tournament at Eglinton Castle in August 1839, vol. II, p. 73; I have not yet located this publication].
1840: “The property of Strathaird . . . is now represented by [Alexander Macalister’s] grandson, Mr. Macalister of Loup, in Argyleshire” [NSA, vol. 14, p. 305]. Macalister’s grandson, now proprietor of Strathaird, is in fact Alexander of Torrisdale. Keith, here incorrectly designated ‘of Loup’, is his nephew and does not own the Strath- aird estate. Note: Although Keith has purchased most of the Loup lands by this time, the designation properly belongs to the chiefly family. See 1847.
1842: 1. Loup family
New Statistical Account report for the parish of Stewarton in Ayrshire names among the resident landowners C. S. McAlister, Esq., of Kennox, whose modern building is one of four deemed by the author ‘most worthy of notice’ in the parish [NSA vol. 5, pp. 732, 734].
2. Macalister-Hall family established at Tangy
James Macalister-Hall (eldest son of Grace Macalister-Hall), having previously purchased estates of Killean from an unrelated Hall family, now purchases the Tangy estate and takes title of James Macalister-Hall of Killean and Tangy [CMS, p. 24].
1843: Clan Alasdair lands in Kintyre
Glenbarr, Loup, and Glentangy estates are in the possession of Macalisters, and agricultural improvements to beautify the Loup estate are underway [NSA: Killean & Kilchenzie, p. 391; Kilcalmonell & Kilberry, p. 412]. Alexander MacAlister is still in possession of Torrisdale [NSA: Saddell & Skipness, p. 449; see 1864], but Alexander Morison is the “new laird” of Balinakill [NSA: Kilcalmonell & Kilberry, ibid.].
1844: “Gothic Revival” wing of Glenbarr Abbey, started by Scottish architect James Gil- lespie Graham, is completed by Keith Macalister [CMS, p. 34]. Of the substantial landowners in Killean & Kilchenzie parish, Keith is one of only two who reside in the parish, and the only one who lives there year round [NSA: Killean & Kilchenzie, p. 391].
1846–49: Potato Blight; many from Kintyre parishes emigrate
With large segments of the Highland population almost completely dependent on the potato, the failure of the 1846 crop is a catastrophe. Quick action by govern- ment and charitable agencies, combined with the efforts of landlords (some of whom experience financial ruin in the process), spare Scotland the horrors seen in Ireland, but many from the Kintyre parishes emigrate.
1847: 1. (29 July) Charles McAlester recognised as chief of Clan Alasdair
The MacAlasdair matriculates arms (entered in the Lord Lyon register, vol. 4, Folio 105) and is recognised as “heir male and representative of the ancient family of the Macalesters of Loup” by the Lord Lyon [Report, pp. 9–10; Castleton, p. 173].
2. (7 Oct.) Death of Charles, 12th of Loup: Ayr Advertiser gives notice of the death of “Lieut. Colonel Charles Somerville Macalester, of Loup and Kennox” [Report, p. 10].
1852: In this year 44 families are ‘cleared’ from Keppoch township on the Strathaird es- tate. According to evidence heard by the Napier Commission, most of these fam- ilies are sent to Australia; those who refuse to go settle in the neighbouring Elgoll township, where they live as cottars and add to the overcrowding there [Napier et al., Report, pp. 223, 230; T. Mullock, ‘Compulsory Emigration – Strathaird, Skye’ (Inver- ness Advertiser, 1 July 1850): 228-235.]
1854: 1. (17 May) Birth of Donald (later Sir Donald) Macalister, descendant of 9th laird of Tarbert and later chancellor and president of Glasgow University [CMS, p. 12]
2. Serious outbreak of cholera in northern Kintyre which ends the fishing season; villagers apparently believe that the epidemic is “‘a judgement of Providence on trawling’, a method of herring fishing which [was] recently . . . proscribed, but which [i]s carried on defiantly by the men of Tarbert”. According to local oral tradi- tion, the ‘plague’ is brought by an infected ship, the summer’s intense heat allows it to spread, and many people die [Martin, pp. 111-2].
1857: Directory of Noblemen and Gentlemen’s Seats, Villages, etc., etc., in Scotland: Giving the counties in which they are situated, the post-town to which each is at- tached, and the name of the resident, with Copious Miscellaneous Lists (Edin- burgh: Sutherland and Knox, 1857) lists Major Somerville M’Allister, proprietor, Kennox House in Stewarton [p. 86], James Macalester of Chapelton, near Stew- arton [p. 37; despite the spelling, this is M’Allister of Kennox’s son]; Robert Macalister in Rothesay (Bute) [p.7]; James D. Macalister, farmer, in Kilcattan (Bute) [p. 87]; William and John Macalaster, thread manufacturers in Paisley [p. 120]; Rev. D. Macalister of Stitchell, four miles from Kelso [p. 139]; Norman M. M’Alister, MD, at Straithaird (Skye) [p. 140]; and Archibald Macalister of West Clyth Cottage in Caith- ness [p. 151]. Glenbarr Abbey near Tarbert in Argyle is listed, but the questionnaire sent regarding its residents was not returned [p. 69].
1863: (July) Battle of Gettysburg (U.S. Civil War)
—Union troops defeat General Lee’s Confederates after three days of fighting. Among the Union soldiers is Lt. Col. Robert McAllister, who is badly wounded; among the Confederate soldiers is Private Levi McAlister. Both men survive the war [McAllister, “Gettysburg”, pp. 169–170].
—James McAllister’s Farm and Mills (see 1827), only a mile from the battlefield and now the home of his daughters Mary and Martha, becomes a makeshift Union hospital [ibid., pp. 170–171].
1864: Torrisdale estate sold by Alexander McAllister (see 1843) to Col. D. R. Buch- anan-Jardine; it is later rented by Peter McAllister Hall [CMS, p. 24]. But see note at 1872.
1867: Major Matthew Charles Brodie Macalister (son of Keith) purchases Crubasdale estate from a MacDonald, who had bought it from the Duke of Argyll [CMS, pp. 22, 38].
1868: Birth of Charles, later 15th of Loup
1871: Birth of William Henry Somerville McAlester, brother of the 15th chief and father of the 16th
1872: 1. Estates of Keith Macalister of Glenbarr and Rosshill now extend to over 17,000 acres in Kintyre [CMS, p. 22].
2. According to Hector Mackenzie and "News" [no. 14, p. 3] the Strathaird estate is sold in this year to William (later Sir William) MacKinnon of Kintyre, grandson of a Catherine MacAlester of Campbeltown. However, in 1884 the report of the Napier Commission names Alexander Macalister as proprietor of this property and Torris- dale.
1877: Royal Charter of Incorporation granted for the Library Association, due mostly to the initiative of John Young Walker MacAlister of the Tarbert family. MacAlister is something of a library pioneer, advocating methods and values that are familiar to modern librarians and writing extensively on the subject. He is well known in intel- lectual circles, counting among his friends the writer Mark Twain, whose personal archive includes their correspondence. The Library Association continues for a century before being incorporated into the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals.
1881: Gregory reports that Col. Somerville Macallaster is “the present heir-male of the old family of Loup”, and that despite the loss of the Loup family’s lands, “[m]any of the name are still to be found in Kintyre and the neighbouring districts” [p. 418].
1886: Tarbert Castle described by Dugald Mitchell as “a stately and picturesque ruin” [Mitchell, p. 17].
1891: (6 Jan.) Death of Charles Somerville McAlester, 13th of Loup, at Kennox, Stewarton. According to The West Country and Galloway Journal (8 January 1891), “Colonel M’Alester was the chief of the M’Alesters of Loup in Kin- tyre, Argyle-shire, a family of high and ancient lineage. . . . [A]uthority was given to the late Colonel’s father to bear the arms and supporters of the ancient family of Loup (or Loop) as Chief of the Clan Alester” [Report, pp. 10–11].
1892: As late as this year, “52.3 percent of the rural population [of Kintyre] live[s] in one- and two-roomed houses”, many with no sanitation at all. By this time, however, the Highland practice of keeping livestock under the same roof as people has largely ended [Martin, p. 128].
1896: I. Hamilton-Mitchell is quoted in an Edinburgh document as saying “there is no better landlord in Kintyre than Major Macalister of Glenbarr” [“Fortiter”, April 1982, p. 5].
1899: (January) "Campbeltown's new Library and Museum was formally handed over to the town by its donor, James MacAlister-Hall of Tangy and Killean". MacAlister-Hall had offered to fund the entire project three years earlier when local civic groups declared the absence of a free public library to be "an affront to civic dignity". On the 20th of this month, MacAlister-Hall was awarded the Freedom of Campbeltown [“Campbeltown's New Library and Museum, 1899", Michael Davis, in Kintyre Magazine, Issue 45: Spring 1999].
late 1800s: By this time, “Old families, such as the MacAlisters of Glenbarr . . . [have] parted with their estates” [TSA: Saddell & Skipness, p. 265]. Note: This probably means the McAlesters of Loup, who held most of the Clan Alasdair lands at one time or another. The current Glenbarr family was not, in 1799, an ‘old fam- ily’, and it did purchase some of its lands from the McAlesters of Loup. In any case, most of the Glenbarr estate is not in this parish and had already come into possession of the current Macalisters of Glenbarr, who continue to hold these lands into the 21st century.