The name MacPhee is thought to have originated from the Gaelic MacDhuibhshith which means 'son of the dark fairy'. Tradition has it that the origins of the MacPhee clan come from a seal-woman prevented from returning to the sea.
The MacPhees of Colonsay were keepers of the records of Man and the Isles and fought alongside the Lord of the Isles at Bannockburn (1314). The MacPhees remained loyal to the MacDonalds even after the Kingdom of the Isles became part of Scotland in 1494.
The MacPhees and MacDonalds rebelled against Archibald Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll (c.1576 - 1638), in 1615 but were defeated and forced to sign the Statutes of Iona, abandoning claims to the ancient Lordship of the Isles.
In the early 19th century, Ewan MacPhee took up residence on Eilean Mhic Phee in Loch Quoich. Here he became famous for being the last Scottish outlaw.