- Category: Families
Up the Mackenzie River!
Sir Alexander Mackenzie was born in 1763 in Luskentyre House, which was on the site of Martin's Memorial Church, Stornoway.
His mother was Isobel Maciver (Iseabail Dhomhnaill Bhain) daughter of Donald Maciver, who was the tacksman in Tolsta from 1755-1780.
Isobel married a Stornoway merchant, Kenneth Mackenzie. She had at least two brothers. One of these, John Maciver, was a New York merchant known as 'Ready Money John' and young Alexander may have gone with this uncle to New York when he left home.
The other brother, an arts graduate of King's College, Aberdeen, became the minister of Lochalsh and was drowned on a passage from there to Gruinard.
Domhnall Ban was the son of Alexander Maciver, who was also tacksman in North Tolsta and his grandfather was Duncan Maciver (Donnachadh mac Choinnich), who came from Ross-shire. Duncan was a tacksman in Carloway.
The South Tolsta tacksmen's house was somewhere on croft number 2 North Tolsta. The tacksmen let most of their lands to subtenants and lived on the proceeds of the subtenants labours doing very little work on the land themselves. The relationship between the tacksmen and the rest of the community gave rise to the proverb, "Aithne an Leodhasaich mhoir air an Leodhasach bheag: aithne gun chuimhne."
The Mackenzie River in Canada is called after Sir Alexander Mackenzie.