Clan Donald in the South Eastern United States by J.A. McDonald of Savannah, Georgia.

For too many years the Southern United States was inactive in the affairs of Clan Donald but we are proud to report that in the last five years this has changed. In 1970, at the great Grandfather Mountain gathering, only Nestor MacDonald and Robertson McDonald officially represented the Clan and there were less than a dozen active members on the clan rolls. At the 1974 games, over 360 registered at our tent and they were able to get information of historical, genealogical, and current interest from a large staff of clan officers. By the end of 1974 our active membership has reached 300.

Clan members have become very active in promoting our Southern games. Nestor MacDonald is the long time President of the Grandfather Mountain Games and to him is due much credit for building it into what may be the largest of all the Highland Gatherings – 65,000 total attendance in 1974. Alexander Donald, our Virginia Commissioner, is President of the new Alexandria, Virginia games which in its inaugural year, 1974, drew 8,000. Stewart Ronaldson, South Carolina Commissioner, was very active in the founding of the Charleston, South Carolina games. Donald Boney, Georgia Commissioner, and our many Clan Donald members of the Atlanta St. Andrew’s Society, are prime supporters of the Stone Mt. Games. Their efforts were highly successful and 1974 saw attendance reach 8,500 and plans for next year are for expanded facilities and a two-day event.

This last gathering at Stone Mountain was to we in the South the culmination of our efforts to bring Clan Donald back to its rightful place as the greatest of all the highland clans. There as honoured guests were Lord and Lady Macdonald. Their charm captivated everyone and their unfailing devotion to and work for the Clan was most evident. In his short tenure Godfrey James Macdonald has become a true Highland Chief and under his leadership we can only prosper.

In addition to the above named State commissioners, the following appointments have been made: North Carolina, Donald Allan Gallamore; Florida, Donald H. Langford; Tennessee, Fred McCullough; and Mississippi, Claiborne McDonald. Regional Officers are: Vice-Commissioner, Robert D. MacDonald; Secretary-Treasurer, Hester R. McDonald; Chaplain, Father Tom Hudson; Genealogist. Adelaide McLarty; and Historian, Stanley MacDonald Carpenter.

All the branches and most of the septs of Clan Donald were represented in the great Highland migrations to the South in the 17th and 18th centuries. One of the first settlements was in the South Carolina Low Country where huge grants of land attracted many younger sons and other adventurers. Among the first to receive a land warrant was Neale McDonald in 1678. The given names of these first Clan Donald settlers in South Carolina seem to suggest that they represented all branches of the Clan.

By far the greatest of all the migrations was that to North Carolina from 1730 to 1775. These immigrants were primarily of Sleat, Clanranald, MacAlister and Islay; including many of their septs – MacArthur and MacQueen of Skye, Buie and Darrach of Islay and Jura, MacLarty of Kintyre, MacEachan and MacEachern, Galbreath, MacCraine, MacGill, Maclntyre, MacMurchie, MacBeath, Macvey, MacKisack, Curry, MacBride, MacAlexander, MacCulloh, MacDaniel, MacLallen, Macwilkin, MacCall, Allan and many more. These North Carolina clansmen spread into South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and all the way to Texas.

In 1736 General Oglethorpe brought over a group of Highlanders to build and man a fort at Darien, Georgia, as a frontier outpost against Spanish incursions. Nineteen MacDonalds were included, most from near Inverness and probably of Glengarry. They took part in the Invasion of Florida and in 1742 at least three of the Clan were in the 50-man Highland company of Foot which at the Battle of Bloody Marsh on St. Simmons Island destroyed a force of 460 Spaniards, halting forever Spain’s hold on Eastern North America. At this conflict’s end these MacDonalds spread into South Georgia and eventually into Florida and Alabama, today comprising one of our largest groups.

In 1746 Angus McDonald of Glengarry, escaping after Culloden, settled in Winchester, Virginia; his descendants spreading into West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Meanwhile, many of Clan Donald who had originally settled in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania had started the great westward migration into the Valley of Virginia and through Cumberland Gap into Tennessee, Kentucky and beyond. All Clan branches were here represented, including many Ulster Scots of Clan Donald blood.

Though fewer in number, descendants of Glencoe, Ardnamurchan and Keppoch are scattered throughout the South, while several MacDonnells of Antrim are found, especially in our port cities. So we hope that this brief summary of present and past activities of Clan Donald in the South will in some small way show the great traditions and heritage we are trying to maintain and prompt you, our worldwide members, to come visit with us and help in our efforts.