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Letter from Alexander Cameron
to Ewen Cameron, Younger of Fassifern
regarding Coanich/Caonich, Lochaber
March 20, 1764

Dear Sir,

I wrote you yesterday an answer to your favour of 27th February, which I received four days ago, Acquainting me that you had set the farm of Coanich (see: Editor's Note #1) to your Brother Capt. Donald (see: Editor's Note #2) as also desiring me look out for a sufficient man to be his Bowman (see: Editor's Note #3) & you may assure of yourself I would not neglect it nor anything else Recommended by you, as far as lay in my power, I sent down to Mr. Stewart yesterday about some little Bussiness of my own, who returned back that letter & wrote me that your Brother had given up thoughts of taking Coanich this season, & that you was so good & kind as to let me have it on the terms I wrote you last, for which I return you great many thanks & Shall always be most gratefull for good offices.

I now think that I may flatter myself with the hopes of being my Chief's Tennent in Coanich, till providence put him in possession of his Paternal Inheritance, then I shall Expect to be better provided in Lands which I pray god may soon be the Case - until which time this miserable divided Country can never enjoy peace or happiness.

I would incline to know if or not our Chief intends to visit the Highlands this season, or if we expect to see yourself soon.  I offer my humble duty to my Chief my Respectfull compliments to your father, Lady mother & whole family - with due regard & much Esteem.

I am Dear Sir

Your most humble servant -

Alexander Cameron

Editor's Notes:

1) The location referenced in this letter seems to be spelled as either Coanich or Caonich.  It was a farm on the north side of Loch Arkaig, between the farms of Callich and Kenmore.  The Fassifern family sub-let it during the 1760s from the official renters, the Camerons of Clunes (Ewen Cameron paid the rent straight to Margaret Cameron, widow of Donald of Clunes, as her son Duncan, the official Tacksman, owed her money.)  It seems that they in turn were going to sub-let it to Alexander Cameron.  It is unlikely he was going to be living there, he in turn would sub-let the living accommodation to someone else.  Regardless of the spelling, this farm was listed 1787 Lochiel Estate Rentals.

2) Listed in Stewart's "The Camerons" as "Lieutenant" in the 78th Fraser's Highlanders, which were raised in 1757

3) "Bowman," a Scots term for an individual in charge of the cattle on a farm; a tenant with a bow, which was a stock or herd of cattle, especially cows

Ewen Cameron, the recipient of this letter was the nephew of Donald "The Gentle" Lochiel.  Later named "Sir Ewen" upon his son Colonel John Cameron's death at Quatre Bras in 1815.  He lived at Inverscaddle in Ardgour at this time (or possibly Alnwick) moving to Fassifern when his father died, in 1785.  Ewen was apparently in communication with his cousin young Charles Cameron of Lochiel (son of Donald "The Gentle Lochiel," who became the XXI Chief in 1762.)

Alexander Cameron, of "Achnaherie," the author of this letter, was that same Alexander Cameron "of Strone and Achnakerry" whom supplied information for the 1761 Valuation Roll of the Annexed Estate of Lochiel, stating that "...his elder brother, Captain of Foot in North America, is the Head of the Tribe of Macallonavies..."  It is believed that "Achnaherie" was not a spelling variation of "Achnacarry" but another distinctive place.  This brother, John Cameron, the head of the Strone family, was in 1763 a Lieutenant in the 2nd Virginia Provincial Regiment and a Volunteer in Colonel Montgomerie's Regiment.  It is not believed that John ever returned to Scotland.  As for Alexander, he was employed by the Fassifern family to handle all of their stock deals.  Until his death in 1771 he was the principal judge at the annual Cattle Show at Inverlochy and was known to the Fassiferns as "Sandy Strone."  Alexander was one in the same with that gent wounded at Culloden, who later married Jean "A' Bhanntrach Ruadh" Campbell.  This youthful red-haired lass, once widowed a few years later, would be the inspiration of the dual in 1772 between young Alan Cameron of Erracht and his cousin, Alexander Cameron of Muirsheorlaich.  With Muirsheorlaich's death, which was said to have been committed outside of the proper rules of the duel, young Alan Cameron of Erracht fled into temporary exile [later to return and become the famed General Alan Cameron of 79th Regiment fame.]

Twelve years later Charles Cameron, XXI Chief passed away and his seven-year-old son, Donald Cameron, became the XXII Chief.  Ewen Cameron, the aforementioned recipient of this letter, became one of the young Chief's curators/guardians (along with Donald of Lochiel's mother, Martha Cameron, and Donald "The Banker" Cameron, son of Dr. Archibald Cameron, of 1745 Jacobite fame) and was appointed factor of the Lochiel Estate after its restoration in 1784.  This reinforces the fact that the "Chief" whom the author of this letter refers to was in fact Charles, XXI Chief and that the Fassifern family were in close contact during those "grey years" before restoration.