Far back in my Family Tree I come to my tenth great grandfather, Alexander Magruder. I have not personally done research on him, but I have certainly enjoyed reading through some of the work that other family historians have done. He was probably born sometime between 1600 and 1620 in Scotland and he appears in the records of Calvert county Maryland by 1652. There’s lots of discussion as to his ancestors, and his wives, and that won’t be added to here. This posting wants to look at his homeplace in Scotland, in Perthshire.
Our Alexander Magruder was probably born near the village of Bellyclone, in the parish of Madderty, in the county of Perth. It is a short distance from the river Earn, and is designated in the district of Strathearn. The Magruder ancestors are associated with the nearby village or parish of Muthill, Perthshire, and earlier with the Glen Artney area to the west. On this map Muthill stands in the southwest corner of Perthshire (yellow on the map). Bellyclone,today in private hands, does not appear, but a more detailed map shows it northeast of Muthill, nearer the town of Crieff. The Magruders, and the related family of Drummond, are woven through the history of this little corner of Perthshire.
The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland, published in 1868 gives color to the Parish of Muthill. Resting on the Highland - Lowland border, ten miles in length and eight in breadth, the land along the rivers Earn and Allan is fertile for farming. Higher up, sheep grazing is practiced. The weather, cold and wet, is tolerably healthy. Most of the parish belongs to the Drummond family, but there are five or six other resident landholders. Drummond Castle, “being built upon a rock, commands one of the most extensive prospects in Scotland.”
For the modern traveler, the Visit Scotland website recommends that visitors to the Village of Muthill “can discover one of Perthshire's most unexpected jewels, Drummond Castle Gardens with its historic sundial. Literature lovers should travel east to Innerpeffray Library, the oldest surviving public library in Scotland.” The Innerpeffray Library was established by the Drummond family in 1680. At the center of the small town of Muthill are the imposing remains of the village church, built in the fifteenth century. The ruins are under the care ofHistoric Scotland. And, even more ancient are the nearby archaeological remains of Ardoch, a Roman military camp, probably established around 80 ad.
Madderty parish is in the Strathern district of Perthshire, just a few miles north and east of Muthill parish. In 1607 Madderty (Maderty) was given, by King James I, to the Drummond family, along with the title of Baron Maderty. It contained the village of Bellyclone (Balliclone, Ballyclone), which many family historians claim as the birthplace of Alexander Magruder. Today Bellyclone is a private family farm. Susan T describes, on her Magruder Blog, her visit there in 1999. Apparently, American Magruders had a plaque placed at the farm in 1975 and the owners anticipate “pilgrims”.
For more details on Alexander Magruder, visit his page at Family Stories, pamgarrett.com.
Photo: Muthill main street, Perthshire, Scotland, photo by Duncan David McColl, 2007, free use from geography.org.uk.
Moving back in time: Albert Luther Clarkson 1901 > Samuel Edwin Clarkson 1875 > Elizabeth Jane Robinson 1848 > Sarah Nugent Edmonston 1821 > William Edmonston 1796 >Bazil Brooke Edmonston 1766 > Ninian Edmonston 1735 > Mary Beall 1710 > Elizabeth Magruder 1685 > Samuel Magruder 1640 > Alexander Magurder 1610.