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MacArthur Tartan
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

MacArthur Tartan

An ancient Celtic clan who supported Robert the Bruce in the Wars of Independence and were rewarded with lands in Argyll. The MacArthurs moved from the district of Lennox. One branch of the family is said to descend from the Campbells. The clan were persecuted, along with many others, by King James I in 1427 who felt them too powerful and beheaded their chief and taking their lands. One branch of the family were armourers to the MacDonalds of Islay, while another were hereditary pipers to the MacDonalds of Sleat. There were also MacArthurs at Kilmuir (Skye), while the MacArthurs of Loch Awe had considerable land holdings causing jealousy amongst their neighbours which led to Duncan MacArthur and his son being drowned in the loch during a fight. MacArthurs fought on both sides during the Jacobite Rebellions and thereafter many sought a better life abroad, setting in the USA, Canada and the West Indies.

Notable family members include John MacArthur (1766 - 1834) credited with founding the Australian wool industry; General John McArthur (1826 - 1906, a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War and novelist Alexander MacArthur (1901-47).

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