In this he is manifestly in error. The Highlanders, to defend themselves from the arrows of their enemies, with their belts tied their shoes on their breasts, hence the name "Bealach nam Brog," or the Pass of the Shoes.] The Balnagown of that date was not the Earl of Ross's son, but a near relative.
Angus Og, after many sanguinary conflicts with his father, finally overthrew him at the battle of the Bloody Bay, between Tobermory and Ardnamurchan, obtained possession of all the extensive territories of his clan, and was recognised as its legitimate head. He then determined to punish Mackenzie for having taken his father's part at Court, and otherwise, during the rebellion, and swore that he would recover from him the great possessions which originally belonged to his predecessors, the Lords of the Isles, but now secured by Royal Charter to the Baron of Kintail. With this object he decided to attack him, and marched to Inverness, where he expected to meet the now aged Mackenzie returning from attendance at Court. Angus, however, missed his object, and instead of killing Mackenzie, he was himself assassinated by his harper, an Irishman. This tragic, but well-merited, close to such a violent and turbulent career, is recorded in the Red Book of Clan Ranald in the following terms:--"Donald, the son of Angus that was killed at Inverness by his own harper, son of John of the Isles, son of Alexander, son of Donald, son of John, son of Angus Og;" an event which must have occurred about 1485.
Alexander was the first of the family who lived on the island In Loch Kinellan, while at the same time he had Brahan as a "maines," or farm, both of which his successor for a time held from the King at a yearly rent, until Kenneth feued Brahan, and Colin, his son, feued Kinellan.
The Earl of Sutherland had been on friendly terms with Mackenzie, and appointed him as his deputy in the management of the Earldom of Ross, which devolved on him after the forfeiture. On one occasion, the Earl of Sutherland being in the south at Court, the Strathnaver men and the men of the Braes of Caithness took advantage of his absence and invaded Sutherland. An account of their conduct soon spread abroad, and reached the ears of the Chief of Kintail, who at once with a party of six hundred men, passed into Sutherland, where, the Earl's followers having joined him, he defeated the invaders, killed a large number of them, forced the remainder to sue for peace, and compelled them to give substantial security for their peaceful behaviour in future.
Kintail was now a very old man. His prudence and sagacity well repaid the judicious patronage of the first King James, confirmed and extended by his successors on the throne, and, as has been well said by his biographer, secured for him "the love and respect of three Princes in whose reign be flourished, and as his prudent management in the Earldom of Ross showed him to be a man of good natural parts, so it very much contributed to the advancement of the interest of his family by the acquisition of the lands he thereby made; nor was he less commendable for the quiet and peace he kept among his Highlanders, putting the laws punctually in execution against all delinquents." Such a character as this, justly called Alastair Ionraic, or the just, was certainly well fitted to govern, and deserved to flourish in the age in which he lived. Various important events occurred during the latter part of his life, but as Kenneth, his brave son and successor, was the actual leader of the clan for many years before his father's death, and especially at the celebrated battle of Park, the leading battles and feuds in which the clan was engaged during this period will be dealt with in the account of that Baron. There has been much difference of opinion among the genealogists and family historians regarding Alexander's two wives. Both Edmonston in his Baronagium Genealogicum, and Douglas in his Peerage say that Alexander's first wife was Agnes, sixth daughter of Colin, first Earl of Argyll. This we shall prove to be absolutely impossible within the ordinary course of the laws of nature. Colin, first Earl of Argyll, succeeded as a minor in 1453, his uncle, Sir Colin Campbell of Glenurchy, having been appointed his tutor. Colin of Argyll was created Earl in 1457, probably on his coming of age. He married Isabel Stewart of Lorn, had two sons, and, according to Crawford, five daughters. If he had a daughter Agnes she must have been his sixth daughter and eighth child, Assuming that Argyll married when he became of age, about 1457, Agnes, as his eighth surviving child, could not have been born before 1470. Her reputed husband, Alexander of Kintail, was then close upon 70 years of age, having died in 1488, bordering upon 90, when his alleged wife would barely have reached a marriageable age, and when her reputed son, Kenneth a Bhlair, pretty well advanced in years, had already fought the famous battle of Park. John of Killin, her alleged grandson, was born about 1480, when at most the lady said to have been his grandmother could only have been 10 to 15 years of age, and, in 1513, at the age of 33, he distinguished himself at the battle of Flodden, where Archibald second Earl of Argyll, the lady's brother, at least ten years older than Agnes, was slain. All this is of course impossible.
A similar difficulty has arisen, from what appears to be a very simple cause, about Alexander's second marriage. The authors of all the family MS. histories are unanimous in stating that his first wife was Anna, daughter of John Macdougall of Lorn, or Dunollich, known as John Mac Alan Mac Cowle, fourth in descent from Alexander de Ergedia and Lord of Lorn (1284), and eighth from Somerled, Thane of Argyle, who died in 1164. Though the direct line of the house of Lorn ended in two heiresses who, in 1388, carried away the property to their husbands, the Macdougalls of Dunollich became the male representatives of the ancient and illustrious house of Lorn ; and this fully accounts for the difference and confusion which has been introduced about the families of Lorn and Dunollich in some of the Mackenzie family manuscripts.
The same authorities who affirm that Agnes of Argyll was Alexander's first wife assert that Anna Macdougall, was his second. There is ample testimony to show that the latter was his first, although some confusion has again arisen in this case from a similarity of names and patronymics. Some of the family MSS. say that Alexander's second wife was Margaret, daughter of "M'Couil," "M'Chouile," or "Macdougall" of Morir, or Morar, while others, among them the Allangrange Ancient MS. have it that she was "MacRanald's daughter." The Ardintoul MS. describes her as "Muidort's daughter." One of the Gairloch MSS. says that she was "Margarite, the daughter of Macdonald of Morar, of the Clan Ranald Race, from the stock of Donald, Lord of the Aebudae Islands," while in another MS. in Sir Kenneth Mackenzie's possession she is designated "Margaret Macdonald, daughter of Macdonald of Morar." There is thus an apparent contradiction, but it can be conclusively shown that the lady so variously described was one and the same person. Gregory in his Highlands and Islands of Scotland, p. 158, states that "Macdougall" was the patronymic of one of the families of Clan Ranald of Moydart and Morar. Speaking of Dugald MacRanald, son and successor to Ranald Ban Ranaldson of Moydart, he says, "Allan the eldest son of Dougal, and the undoubted male heir of Clan Ranald, acquired the estate of Morar, which he transmitted to his descendants.
He and his successors were always styled, in Gaelic, MacDhughail Mhorair, ie., MacDougal of Morar, from their ancestor, Dougald MacRanald." At p. 65 he says that "the Clan Ranald of Garmoran comprehended the families of Moydart, Morar, Knoydart, and Glengarry." This family was descended from Ranald, younger son of John of the Isles, by his marriage with the heiress of the MacRorys or MacRuaries of Garmoran whose ancestry, from Somerled of the Isles, is as illustrious as that of any family in the kingdom. A district north of Arisaig is still known among the Western Islanders as "Mor-thir Mhic Dhughail" or the mainland possession of the son of Dougall. The MS. histories of the Mackenzies having been all written after the patronymic of "MacDhughail" was acquired by the Macdonalds of Moydart and Morar, they naturally enough described Alexander of Kintail's second wife as a daughter of Macdougall of Morar, of Muidort, and of Clan Ranald, indiscriminately. But in point of fact all these designations describe one and the same person.