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  • Writer's pictureEunice Taylor

Highland Clearances - Kildonan, Sutherland

Updated: Jan 29

Katherine McBeath my 4th great grandmother was born in Kildonan, Sutherland about 1791 to Andrew McBeath, a Miller and Ann Sutherland. Kildonand is one of the areas cleared to make way for sheep in the 'Highland Clearances'. Nothing is known of her until at age 18 she is living in St Machar, Aberdeen about 170 miles south. In 1809 aged 18, she marries Alexander Ross an Irishman and a quarrier who had come from Cashel in Ireland. They go onto have at least three children Margaret B: 1824 in Old Machar- a lint spinner; Ann B: 1815; and George B: 1823. None went into the quarry - probably a good idea as it would have been a very tough job.


Alexander Ross B: abt 1782, probably emigrated from Ireland to Scotland for work, attracted by the vast amount of jobs in mining granite which gave Aberdeen its distinctive look and the name of the 'granite city'. Despite it being back-breaking work Alexander worked as a Quarryman until he was at least 69. Nothing is noted of the quarries he worked in but he may have worked in Rubislaw Quarry about 3 miles from his home. The Rubislaw Quarry provided stone in the late 1800s for the Paris Opera House in France and the State Capitol Building in Austin, Texas!!



Census 1841 Scotland. Old Machar, Aberdeenshire. ROSS. PN 168B. (transcription) 1841 Scotland Census. http://www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 8 January 2024, Census 1851 Scotland. Old Machar, Aberdeenshire. 1851. ROSS. PN: 168B. 75 Old Machar. Occ: Quarrier. Ed: 15. P:41. SN: 187. Ln: 8. Roll: CSSCT1851-40. 1851 Scotland Census (transcription) http://www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 17 August 2023 See a bit more about the 'granite men' here https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/articles/aberdeen-s-granite-men-hard-men-hard-work/


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