The Chiefs of Clan Cameron


XXIV Chief:
Donald Cameron of Lochiel, M.P.



Birth:   April 5, 1835
Death:    November 30, 1905
Parentage:   Father:  Donald Cameron of Lochiel, XXIII Chief of Clan Cameron
  Lady Vere Catherine Louisa Hobart
Marriage:   Lady Margaret Elizabeth Scott; December 9, 1875
Children:   [1] Donald Walter Cameron (November 4, 1876-October 11, 1951)
[2] Ewen Charles Cameron (February 18, 1878-1958)
[3] Allan George Cameron (July 27, 1880-September 25/26, 1914)
[4] Archibald Cameron (January 5, 1886-May 3, 1917)
Biography:   Lochaber joyously celebrated the birth of Donald Cameron during the spring of 1835, with commemorative dinners held by Camerons and the lighting of bonfires on many a prominent peak.  It was an auspicious beginning for a memorable life.

Like his father before him, Donald was educated at Harrow.  From an early age he entered the Diplomatic Service, being appointed 1st attache in Lord Elgin's mission to China in 1857 and afterwards to the embassy in Berlin.  A few years after his father's death, Donald retired from the foreign office service and made Achnacarry his permanent home.  He was the first chief to do so since the "Gentle Lochiel" of the Jacobite era.

In 1868 Donald was elected Conservative Member of Parliament for Inverness-shire, a position he would hold for 17 years.  The young chief welcomed Queen Victoria on a visit in 1873, which marked the first time a ruling British Monarch would venture onto the Lochiel Estate. Just two years later, in 1875, he married Lady Margaret Elizabeth Scott, the daughter of the 5th Duke of Buccleuch.

Active in sheep farming, Donald had to take on the stakes of practically all the sheep farms on the Estate during the acute depression in the industry.  As such, he had an intimate knowledge of the shepherds plight, and that of the related business of deer stalking.  He was appointed in 1883 to the Napier Association, to enquire into the grievances of the Crofters, and was later named to the Deer Forest Commission in 1894.  In 1887 Donald was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Inverness-shire, a position he would hold until his death.

Donald was also active in cultural circles.  The Gaelic Society of Inverness elected him as their Chief in 1884.  Due to his support of the concept, five years later, in 1889, the Clan Cameron Association was founded.  Donald was the Honorary Chief of the Association, and was in the chair two years later, to help inaugurate the society.  It is perhaps his greatest gift to the Camerons of the international community, who still embrace that Association well over one hundred years later.

He was an outspoken supporter of Highlander recruitment to serve in the army; all four of his sons took up the call to arms.  Speaking at an 1898 Clan Cameron Gathering, Donald stated:

"...Let the people see a little of the pomp and circumstance of war, let them see recruiting parties going round with drums and pipes and all the other paraphernalia of a soldiering life, instead of an odd recruiting sergeant here and there.  Then they would be spared the humiliation of being constantly told that those who lived in the Highlands did not take their share in the defences of the country..."

A statue of Donald, in full Highland regalia, resides in Fort William on The Parade.  It is a fitting tribute to a man who served both Lochaber and his clan so faithfully over his lifetime.