We are trying to get a new discussion going about Farquhar and Duncan McRae to try to answer some questions we have been asking ourselves. We're hoping to find some new McRae researchers in the process and hopefully stop some of the apparently inaccurate info out there about this family.
DESCENDANTS OF FARQUHAR MCRAE
based on family tradition with known facts added)
1. Farquhar McRae was born in Inverness, Scotland. [Family tradition]
Farquhar had the following child:
+2 i. Duncan McRae was born about 1739-40.
2. Duncan McRae (Farquhar) was born in Dundee, Angusshire, Scotland about 1739-40. [Family tradition] died 10 January 1822 in Hope Twp., Bonaventure Co., Quebec, Canada, [Fact] at 82 years of age. [Family tradition] His body was interred 12 January 1822 in St. Andrew's Anglican Church, New Carlisle, Quebec, Canada. [Fact] He married Margaret Agnes McIntosh in Edinburgh, Scotland. [Family Tradition] Margaret was born probably in Edinburgh [Family Tradition], circa 1757 [Fact based on death record]. Margaret died 6 December 1842 in New Carlisle, at 85 years of age. [Fact]
The main problem with researching Duncan is the abundance of family tradition that has been considered fact for so many years. No record of his birth has yet been found. However, there exists documentation suggesting that he was probably born circa 1751-56.
To begin this discussion, we should look at the source of the family tradition date of 1739-40. The 1890 obituary of Duncan’s grandson William McRae (See #9), the unknown author stated that William’s grandfather “came with the regiment to Quebec at the time of the Siege of 1759.” It is unknown whether this was the first recorded mention of the family tradition however, various descendants passed on their version of the history of Duncan in letters all based on this single claim. Working with the thought that he was 17 when he first left home, went to Edinburgh and joined the army, the approximate year of 1740 was developed.
If he were born circa 1740 and died in 1822, then he was approximately 80 years old when he died. However, the same death record that stated his death and burial dates also recorded his age.
“On this tenth day of January 1822 Duncan McRae of Hopetown, died, aged 66, and was buried on the twelfth of the same month in the presence of his son and friends, which to this subscribe their names as witnesses.
By me, Richard Knagg, Min.
This entry suggests that Duncan was born circa 1755/6. It is possible that the transcription was read incorrectly or that the person giving the information did not know his correct age. When other factors are taken into consideration, the approximate age and birth year appears to fit the “new” family tradition forming today.
“The Contents of the 1816 Untitled Relief Book” (Raymond Garrett’s website) includes the following:
44. Duncan McRae Resident of East Nouvelle, age 65, has a wife age 65. Has been disabled for 12 years.
This entry suggests that both Duncan and his wife were born circa 1751. This importance of this is magnified when Margaret’s death record is considered.
Margaret McIntosh, widow of the late Duncan McRae of Hope Township, departed this life 6 Dec. 1842, aged about 85 years, buried in the presence of her son Farquhar and Farq. McRae junior, her grandson.
Witnesses: Farq. McRae
Farq. McRae Jr.
Margaret died approximately 20 years after Duncan. Considering this, the important clue here is that the death records suggest they were born about the same time – as does the 1816 Untitled Relief Book. All of the traditional genealogies either never saw these documents or chose to ignore the part that gave their ages. The various letters I’ve seen give the following death info:
“The Pioneers of Hopetown, Quebec, On the Baie Des Chaleurs” -a short, letter-type biography shared by William McRae stated “As no doubt this office [Grant Vicar] was given to him and a salary and also a pension is also given to disabled soldiers, for he became a cripple, yet lived 80 years his wife lived to be the age of 84.” [no death year given]
“The Pioneers of Hopetown on the Baie Des Chaleurs” – a book written by Peter M. McRae stated “…she was laid away at the age of 96 years yet and still smart and healthy in eyesight, body and mind untill the very last.” [no death year given]
“The Life and Times of Duncan McRae of Hopetown” shared by Peggy Willett, author unknown. “The records of St. Andrew’s church, entered by the Rev. Richard Knagg, give Duncan’s date of burial as 1822.” … “When the widow Margaret McIntosh died in December 1842 and was buried…” [no death age mentioned]
I propose that the Duncan McRae in question actually fought in the Battle of Quebec which took place during the Revolutionary War, Dec 1775. That would have him recuperating the winter of ’76, leaving Canada for Scotland Spring of ’76 to marry Margaret McIntosh. [Complete speculation] It would barely give them time to produce a son born Jan 1777 but more than enough time for Duncan and his family to be in the vicinity of Hopetown, Quebec 20 Mar 1784 when he requested land and his commanding officer submitted the following confirmation [transcription shared by Carole McRae].
“That your petitioner has served Your Majesty, during the late Rebellion in the capacity of Militia-man, as appears by the Certificate hereto annexed; and inasmuch as the said Duncan McCraw is desirous of retaining his allegiance to His Majesty and being in his Dominions; and for this purpose, is disposed to take up, improve, and cultivate a parcel of land, in the Bay of Chaleur, situated, lying and being in this province, etc, etc, etc”
“We do certify to all whom it may concern that the bearer Duncan McCraw has served as a private man in my company of British Militia during the late Blockade of Quebec, during which time he behaved himself on all Occasions as becoming a faithful Loyal Subject, and a Good Soldier, and as such I beg leave to recommend him to His Excellency the commander in Chief for persons under that Denomination and Given under my hand at Quebec.
20 Mar 1784
Captain Robert Lister
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