MACMILLANS LEAVE SCOTLAND FOR CANADA
Desperate poverty among Highlanders led to attempts to emigrate by ship to America. However, some unlucky Glengarry Highlanders were shipwrecked with one such venture, and ended up in Greenock in 1792, destitute. These people spoke only Gaelic, and were mostly Catholic. They found work in Glasgow manufacturies for a couple of years, but in 1794, a downturn meant unemployment, especially for the Highlanders. In this crisis, Alexander MacDonell of Glengarry (Lochaber), raised the Glengarry Fencible regiments as a Catholic corps. Unlike other Fencible regiments, theGlengarry Fencibles extended their service not only to England, but to any part of the British Isles or even Ireland, and the Islands of Guernsey and Jersey.
The Treaty of Amiens between France and England in 1802 meant a hiatus in the war. Fencible regiments, including that of Glengarry, were disbanded. The Glengarry (Catholic) Chaplain, Alexander MacDonald, made an agreement with the Crown that land (200 acres each) should be set aside in Upper Canada (now Ontario) to every one of the Highlanders who arrived in Canada. Allan Glenpean McMillan and his family were part of this exodus to Glengarry, Ontario.
The three ships carrying these emigrants from Lochaber were led by Archibald MacMillan of Murlaggan and his cousin, Allan Glenpean MacMillan. A list of the people on those ships can be found here. Both men were military men, and acted as such in the coming War of 1812, with the American colonies.
Allan Glenpean McMillan and his wife, Margaret Cameron arrived in Canada with 8 children. The family boarded their ship at Saltcoats near Irvine, on the Firth of Clyde. One of these sons, James, would leave the MacMillan name in the Yukon Territory, and on an island on the Fraser River.
Their descendents have not forgotten that exodus. Since 1948, Glengarry has hosted Highland Cames in Maxville, Ontario, a celebration that is estimated to be one of the largest Highland Games in the world. If you go here, you will see a clip of the massed pipebands at Maxville, playing "The Road to the Isles."
The chorus of "The Road to the Isles" begins with the line: "Sure by Tummel and Loch Rannoch and LOCHABER I will go..." The entire song may be found here.
Within a couple of years, however, young James MacMillan left the Glengarry settlement, for a life of adventure in the wilderness of Western Canada.
To go to Knapdale's McMillan Cross go here
For James McMillan and the Hudson's Bay Co, go here
To go back to the MacMillan introductory page: go here
For a list of sources used for Clan McMillan, go here