Friday, September 11, 2009

William MacGayhaye

William MackGayhaye was born William McGregor. He was the son of Patrick MacGregor of Ardchoille (called Aberach after his father). Patrick was the Chieftain of the Children of the Mist and is said to have fought under Montrose at Kilsyth in 1645.

William's mother was Marion McDonald of Auchatrichatan in Glencoe member of the family of the MacDonalds of Glencoe

In the latter half of the 16th Century this branch of the Clan led such wild and hunted lives in the misty mountains that they became known as MacEagh or “Sons of the Mist.” It may be that it is from this Gaelic patronym that James MacGregor took the name MacGehee.

The above information comes from a letter written to Gregor MacGregor
of MacGregor. Sir Gregor (1925-2003) was Chief of Clan Gregor for some 44 years before his death March 30, 2003 in Dundee, Scotland. He was succeeded by his son, now 24th Chief, Major Sir Malcolm MacGregor.

A Letter from the 23rd Clan Chief
Published in McGehee Descendants* Volume I


Fort Benning, Georgia 31905

2nd February 1970

The following information comes from, and

There is an oath of allegiance dated April 11, 1652 in Virginia State Historical Library
See W.G. Stubbs: Early Settlers of Alabama
William changed his name from James MacGregor in order to be safe in America.

“At a Court held for Yorke County 17 November 1658. William Magahee aged about 40 years saith That hee see ye said Browne bring away the cannoe from ye Landing of Mr. Hawthorne & was goeing downe ye Creeke & Mr. Hawthorne calling after him hee
put hir in at Francis Spurriers landing & there left hir & further saith not.”
William # Magahee

( This would make him about 20 during Montrose's campaign.)

One document states that he was killed by Indians. Another claims that he was scalped by Indians.

He was born about 1618 in Scotland. He died in 1675 in St. John's Parish, King William, VA.

It was also published in Year book of the American clan Gregor Society: containing the proceedings of ...‎ - Page 33
by American Clan Gregor Society - Reference - 2006

Mary McDonald is said to be the daughter of Sir James McDonald, 2nd Baron of Sleat and his second wife Mary Macleod.

Other information from the above website says that:
1653, April 14: York County, Virginia
William MackGahye is listed as a “headright” on a grant of 1000 acres to William Hoccaday. This means MackGahye is indentured to Hoccaday for a term of years, while the indenture accounts for a portion of the land grant to Hoccaday.

Whether or not James was William's given name, it was politically expedient for him to change his surname. The MacGregor clan were proscribed (forbidden by law) from using their name in 1621. This was a continuation into the next generation of a proscription in 1603.Responding to the King’s order to “extirpate Clan Gregor and to ruit oot their posteritie and name,” the Privy Council proscribed the names Gregor and MacGregor and prohibits any MacGregor from carrying arms. And in 1633 members of the clergy are forbidden to christen any child with the name Gregor.

William had two sons:

1. Thomas Mackgehee of St. John’s Parish, King William Co., VA

2. William Mackgehee, born about 1672 in New Kent Co., VA who married Mary Carr.
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