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Monday, November 2, 2015

Clan MacPherson

My Grandmother Broderick, nee Chambers, never got to know her paternal grandparents very well. When she was 8, her father was lost at sea and his parents had moved from New Brunswick to Maine. She and her mother eventually moved on to Boston while the grandparents moved to NJ to be closer to some of their other children. There wasn’t much chance to visit and by the time my grandmother was in her early 30’s, both grandparents had passed on.  So it was with some element of surprise when it was discovered that her paternal grandmother had been a MacPherson.

Sarah MacPherson was the daughter of James and a still to be discovered wife. We are not sure where she was born, but her death records say she was born Dec 22 1831 in Nova Scotia. Apparently many records in NS have not survived making research on her father, mother and siblings more than a little difficult.

However, that led me to doing some more in-depth research into the Clan MacPherson itself. There are variant spellings such as Macpherson, McPherson
Mcpherson and so on. It comes from the Gaelic Mac a’ Phearsain and basically means ‘son of the Parson.’  In this case the Parson was Muriach who was a 12th century lay-preacher in Kingussie, in Badenoch. Parson, at that time had a different meaning. The Parson was the church warden and collected the tithes.

For many centuries, the MacPhersons have been a leading Clan in the Clan Chattan Confederation, which is controlled by the Clan MacKintosh. Today the Chief of Clan MacKintosh is the President of the Confederation, while the Chief of Clan MacPherson is the Vice-President.

Cluny Castle served as the seat of the Clan Macpherson until sometime in the 1930’s. 

“Touch Not the Cat Bot a Glove” is the motto on the MacPherson crest. In this case ‘Bot’ means ‘without.’ It refers to a wildcat’s paw where the pad is the glove. If the wildcat does not have a glove, it means the claws are unsheathed. This is a warning to those to remember ‘the wildcats claws are without a glove.’ This refers to the historically violent nature of the clan.

There are 17 versions of the Tartan. I have included only one here,

It is considered a Highland clan and its District is Badenoch. The Clan Plant is White Heather.

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