Highland Scots - Inverness & area:
Macdonell of Milnfield
Alexander MacDonnell was a writer [law agent] in Inverness and at least two of his sons followed careers as lawyers - James [1785-1841] becoming a writer to the signet and the youngest, Alexander [1800-51] becoming sheriff substitute of Wigtonshire.
Another son, Roderick, went to Berbice from where he wrote to his father in 1809. The letter reveals the petty rivalries among the young white men in the colony.
NAS D128/9/2 No 106
Roderick Macdonell to his father from Old Belladrum, Canzie Creek, Berbice 4th Feb 1809.
Roderick had received his father’s letter three months after its date. He reports that he is on the way from Trafalgar, West Coast, where he was working in his professional capacity repairing dams destroyed by the rains – ‘now find myself somewhat seasoned to this swampy country but not without undergoing many violent fevers’.
He then relates some of his problems in maintaining his position: ‘Both Shaw the carrier’s sons were overseers on Golden Fleece where they were unhealthy in consequence of which they were obliged to leave the estate which is and then was managed by Evan Fraser of Belladrum – prior to this my friends family wished young Shaw on Trafalgar and to effect his purpose had made very unjust tattles to James Fraser Belladrum personally which were received without hesitation at first so much that with them one detection was only necessary – all this without knowledge of poor Rory and his managers but after watching very well and not being successful the next attempt was to send me to the Golden Fleece till the Shaws were to get better in health. I accordingly went and the very next day both were taken away, the oldest sent to the Corantine Coast and the other to No 28 (Reelig’s estate) and from there to No 29 (Trafalgar) . . . Shaw was quickly sent away by Mr John Fraser the manager for not doing his duty and insisted on my return . . . since then that Gentleman and I are just a little cool and can poind a Negroe or two when they attempt crossing our sidelines.’