FLORA MCDONALD - A ROMANCE OF THE HEBRIDES
The News and Observer, (Raleigh, NC) Wednesday, Sept. 15, 1880 Issue 160; col E
Transcribed by Myrtle Bridges February 6, 2013
Most readers are familiar with the story of Flora Macdonald's heroic rescue of Prince Charles Edward, but
there are few who associate her with out revolutionary war. The following extract is from Amelia E. Barr's
interesting article entitled "A Romance of the Hebrides," in Harper's Magazine for October:
On her return to Skye she was married to young Macdonald of Kingsburgh, and on the death of his father became
the Lady of Kingsburgh. But the estate was greatly impoverished by war, fines, and unstinted hospitality, and
when all hopes of the Stuarts' return had to be abandoned, Flora and her husband resolved to emigrate to the
Carolinas. It was at this time they had a visit from Dr. Johnson, and it is very amusing to find Flora writing
to a friend two weeks before it, saying, "I am expecting from the mainland Mr. Boswell, and one Mr. Johnson, a
gay young English buck, with him."
The Macdonalds settled near Halifax, in North Carolina, and seem to have been regarded as the head of a large
Scotch emigration scattered around that vicinity. Unfortunately the revolutionary war broke out before they
had become attached to their new home, and Macdonald, who had given his allegiance to the house of Hanover
when Charles' cause b4ecame dead and hopeless, transferred with it the rigid loyalty that had been so marked
a characteristic of his race. A soldier of a long line of soldiers, and an intense partisan of royalty, he
was quite unable to sympathize with republican ideas, or to see any reason in popular rights.
He raised first the royal or Tory standard in the Carolinas, and it is said, was urged into active warfare
by his wife. A regiment o' Highlanders, known as the Eighty-fourth, was formed, Flora's husband being its
colonel, and her eldest son, a lad of sixteen, one of its captains. The first fight between it and the colonists
took place at Moore's Creek, February 27, 1776. Early at daybreak the shrill notes of the bagpipes called the
Highlandmen to battle, but Macdonald was seriously ill, and had to depute the command to Macleod and Campbell.
Both were killed at the very first onset, and the battle-which was the initial one of the revolution in North
Carolina-was a brilliant victory for the colonists under Generals Moore and Caswell.
After the battle of Moore's Creek, Flora's husband remained some time a prisoner in Halifax jail, and on his
release served with his regiment in Canada. During these years Flora endured many hardships, and at the close
of the war General Macdonald retired on half pay, and they returned to their home in the barren, cloudy mountains
The homeward journey was not uneventful. They were attacked by a French privateer, and a sever conflict took place.
Flora remained on deck during the whole battle, succoring and stimulating the sailors by her heroic speeches and
behavior. Her foot slipped in the blood which covered the deck, and she fell and broke her arm; but not even this
calamity induced her to leave the scene until satisfied that her services were no longer needed.
She rejoiced greatly to be once again in the wild desolate freedom of the Hebrides, and she never more left them.
As a wife she had shared all her husband's dangers and labors; as a mother she strove with a passionate earnestness
to make her five sons worthy of their illustrious name. Everyone of them became soldiers. Charles, the eldest, was
a captain in the Queen's Rangers. "There lies the most finished gentleman of my family and name," said Lord Macdonald,
when he saw him lowered into the grave. Alexander, also an officer, was lost at sea. The third son, Ranald, famous
for his handsome person and elegant manners, had a professional character equal to his personal one, and was a captain
of marines; James was an officer in the British Legion; and John, the youngest, rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
Flora retained to the last her beauty, her vivacity, and her spirit. She died on the 5th of March, 1790, at the age
of seventy years. Her winding sheet was actually one of those in which Prince Charles had slept at Kingsburgh.
[The Macdonalds lived near Fayetteville, not Halifax.]
Flora Macdonald Miscellany
House Flora Visited
Return to Richmond Co. Home Page
Return to Index to Newspapers
Return to Whats New in Richmond County?
February 6, 2013