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Glenbuchat Heritage

198 The Carmichael Family - Sons
The Glenbuchat Image Library
198 The Carmichael Family - Sons

Carmichael Family, Glenbuchat Connections. Page 2

This page is about the family of Archibald Carmichael , whose Glenbucket connections are shown on the previous page

This page gives more photographs and information about the male children of the family and the next page about the female children. A lot of the family information is contained in an article by Dr Lisa Curry a niece of Robert Curry. I am grateful to Lisa for permitting the reproduction of parts of her article.

'My Dear Nephew': letters to a student priest
Lisa Curry


From: The Innes Review

“The following compilation of letters date from between 1845 and 1854; they form part of a larger collection of papers relating to Christina Gordon and her descendants, which are currently in the author's possession. The bulk of the letters included in this article were written by a Scottish priest, Donald Carmichael, to his great-nephew and namesake whilst the latter was a seminarian in Europe and are full of kindly advice and news from home for the young student. They also offer a fascinating snapshot of Scottish religious and social history in the 1840s and 1850s. The correspondence is fundamentally a personal and family based one, reflecting as it does the mentoring relationship of great-uncle to his protégé. However, there is also much to interest historians in the post-emancipation but pre-reestablishment of the Scottish Catholic hierarchy era.

The elder Donald Carmichael was born in Perthshire, May 1772, to a Protestant family. The story of his family's conversion, at the instigation of his elder brother Duncan, is recounted by Archibald Carmichael, another of Carmichael's great-nephews:

My Grand uncle Duncan (the saddler) was a clever man, a great reader and a controversialist. At one time he worked where he became acquainted with a Catholic family from Braemar, named Macintosh. He [Duncan] lodged with one Jim, a protestant, who was ready to enter upon an argument with the Macintoshes on their religion. My Grand uncle perceived the advantage the Macintoshes had over Jim, and concluded that the Catholic religion was more misrepresented than known. He asked the Macintoshes to bring him to their chapel at Stobhall, which they did – Abbé Macpherson was the priest there at the time – and usually lectured upon Catholic dogma. My Grand uncle attended him zealously, corresponded with God's grace, and embraced the faith. He next got my grandfather to attend the lectures, to be instructed and received – Then my Great-Grandmother . . . My Grand uncle Donald the priest was only a child at his mother's conversion, so was Finlay – All were received.

Carmichael entered Scalan in April 1795, and was later a student of Bishop George Hay (1729–81) at the college of Aquhorties. After ordination in 1808, he was the priest at Tomintoul for thirty years, where he also spent his time farming. Whilst at Tomintoul, he contributed a short piece for the Scottish Catholic Directory of 1831 about the Roman Catholic chapel there, relating how a gallery had been added in 1820 to accommodate the steady increase in numbers attending the small church and that this addition, together with redecoration, had seen the building become 'one of the neatest Chapels in the north of Scotland'. In time, this chapel needed replacing entirely and it was largely down to the considerable efforts at fund-raising on the part of Carmichael that this was achieved. A wry anecdote relating to this can be found in Odo Blundell's first volume of The Catholic Highlands of Scotland:

How great this labour was may be judged by the tradition, still existing in Strathavon, that it was sad to see the poor priest's hands, so worn and marked were they with carrying the bags of copper and silver which he had gathered during the fifteen months he was absent collecting for the building.

During these years when the new chapel was under construction, Mass was said in a room in the region of Cults, near Tomintoul which was still being referred to in Blundell's time as the 'priest's room'. The new chapel, called St Michael's, was completed in 1839, although this was too late for Carmichael to celebrate Mass there since he had already been sent to Blairs College in Aberdeenshire. Of this he is said to have expressed the regret that 'Indeed I had a great work in building yon chapel, yet I never had the pleasure of saying Mass in it.'

After his removal to Blairs, Carmichael entrusted the overseeing and completion of the chapel to his nephew, Archibald (1801–85; father of both young Donald and the Archibald who wrote...
…‘My Dear Nephew': letters to a student priest”

Donald Carmichael,
Rector of St Peter's Seminary, Bearsden, Glasgow, Canon
Born: 15 December 1833
Christened: 16 December 1833, Tomintoul RC Parish, Banffshire,
Died: 16 March 1902, Glasgow, Lanarkshire,

"Donald was born on 15 December 1833 in Tomintoul and entered the Sulpician seminary at Issy, Vaugirard near Paris in 1845 before moving to the English Benedictine College, Douai in 1851. He spent nearly three years with the Benedictines at Douai before returning to the Sulpicians at St Sulpice, Paris in 1853 to complete his studies. Ordination to the priesthood followed in 1859, an event which took place at St Andrew's, Glasgow, where he remained for a short time before moving on to the large parish of St John's, also in Glasgow, for a period of ten years. After a three-year stint in Kilmarnock, Donald was assigned to St Mary's, Glasgow, a post which included duties at the Children's Refuge and membership of the School Board. His great-uncle's faith in him was evidently not misplaced, since Donald became a canon in the Catholic Church and later the rector of St Peter's College, Bearsden where he died, six years later, from pernicious anaemia, on 16 March 1902."

In a letter from Reverend Mr Donald Carmichael (1781-1854) to his great-nephew also named Donald (1833-1902) we read:

"St Mary's College, Blairs, 8 February 1847.

Dear Nephew, I duly received your favour of the 2nd January and delayed answering, until I had the happy news to communicate, that you have got another Brother - your Mother was safely delivered this morning of a fine stout boy, who in Baptism this afternoon, received the name of his father, Grand and Great Grand Father [Archibald]. Your dear Mother is as well as could be expected - James is not yet disposed to yield unto him his cradle - your father and all the family are in good health. You will probably have heard of the Death of your Grand Uncle Duncan - It happened at Buckie in Novr. Auntie and the Doctor are well, and anxious that you should write her a letter, to show your progress in writing and how you keep the knowledge of your own Language - on this you will be the better of a lesson from me before
I conclude."

William Carmichael, RC Priest, Reverend Mr

"It is probable that the two brothers, Donald and William, who were named after their priestly relations, were always intended to be students for the priesthood, or that this was at least encouraged from an early age. Both were sent abroad to study for the priesthood: Donald, as we have seen to Vaugirard at the age of eleven and William, who began his seminary training at the age of fourteen, to the Scots College, Rome (1858- 67), having first attended Blairs from 1855....

... William evidently possessed a fierier disposition than the mild-mannered Donald, and even the usual eulogistic style of the obituaries does not attempt to conceal the more mixed aspect of his personality. For example the panegyric offered by Canon George Richie of Shieldmuir reports that William was:

First and foremost a Catholic and a true Ultramontane. He was the 'malleus haereticorum' . . . to many he seemed to be of a stern and severe disposition, but those who knew him best are aware that never beat in man a kindlier, gentler heart.

Likewise, a fellow member of the Ardrossan school board, a Mr J. Pringle, commented with a dextrous equivocation:

Those of us who have sat around this table when we were dealing with defaulters must have been struck at times with his righteous
indignation against such defaulters, but I am sure we are all convinced that his indignation was born of a very sincere love of children.

Even more revealing is a newspaper report entitled 'Sketches of Local Clergy' (Herald, 30 August 1877), which carries a report, written from a Presbyterian angle, of a Mass at which William was the celebrating priest. William was much criticised in this article for using the sermon both to attack his congregation for drinking too much and to accuse the local police of anti-Catholic prejudice, instead of preaching on the day's readings, which the writer thought would have been more fitting. In William's handwriting, marking his copy of the newspaper is the following withering comment: 'the fool has misquoted'. Also the passage is underlined and marked every time the unfortunate journalist has shown his ignorance about Catholic worship. Perhaps the last word on William Carmichael should go to the reporter from the Observer, January 1914, who wrote, rather ambiguously: 'He is gone, but many generations will pass away before he is forgotten.' "

From My Dear Nephew by Lisa Curry

Dr James Carmichael,
Born: 23 April 1845 Maryculter
Christened: 24 April 1845, St Mary's Blairs with Scalan RC parish, Aberdeenshire,
M,B., CM. 1867 ; M.D. 1889. .
Joined the Indian Medical Service (Bengal), ist Apr. 1868, and retired as a Colonel, 2nd May 1900. Died at Ealing, 23rd Oct. 1905.

Of interest is the fact that he also worked with Colonel A. J. F. Reid, whose family hailed from Baltimore Farm in Glenbucket
“Some difficulties arose on the transfer of Officers and materials to the Tirah Expeditionary Force on its formation, especially as large convoys of sick and wounded were on the line of this force at the time, but these difficulties were successfully overcome by Colonel A. J. F. Reid, who was in charge of the Line, and matters were ultimately restored to smooth working on the arrival of Surgeon-Colonel J. C. G. Carmichael, Indian Medical Service, who is now Principal Medical Officer of the Force”.

Dr Archibald,Carmichael,
Born: 7 February 1847
Christened: 7 February 1847, St Mary's Blairs with Scalan RC parish, Aberdeenshire,

Obituary. BMJ MARCH 18, 1916
Archibald Carmichael, M.D., Barrow.

Dr. Archibald Carmichael of Barrow-in-Furness, who died at Perth on February 22nd, graduated M.A .Aberd. in 1868, M.B. in 1871, and M.D. in 1873. He went to Barrow in 1871, and two years later joined the late Dr. Stark in partnership. He was appointed honorary surgeon to the North Lonsdale Hospital at Barrow, and was closely identified with that institution down to 1901, when he retired from the active staff, and was appointed consulting surgeon. He was certifying factory surgeon and medical referee under the Workmen's Compensation Act. In addition to a large practice, he had an extensive consulting connexion and was an enthusiastic member of the local clinical society. Although lhe never consented to accept any office in the British Medical Association, he was always deeply interested in its welfare. He was a strong opponent of the Insurance Act, and refused to join the panel. Some six months ago he was compelled by failing health to take a prolonged holiday. He hoped to return to Barrow to continue his consulting practice.

Whilst walking near Perth, where he was staying with his sisters, he died suddenly by the roadside. By his death he profession in Barrow has lost a distinguished member and valued friend. The funeral took place at Perth on February 25th.

Dr. Settle writes:
Being one who knew the late Dr. Carmichael perhaps longer and m-more closely than anyone else in the profession, I have been asked by his friends here to speak of him as I knew him. His coming to Barrow was synchronous with mine about forty-five years ago. His success and reputation soon caused him to be appointed honorary surgeon to the North Lonsdale Hospital, where his care and skill as an operator combined with the merit of his private work to make him well known by the prospective sick of North Lonsdale, so that to his general work was soon added a wide and lucrative consulting practice.

Dr. Carmichael's work was marked by carefulness, and, like many of exceptional merit, he was a modest man. His work was honest work, and, unlike the practice of many of less merit, he refrained 'from the adventitious aid of reporting and pamphleteering. His modesty also prevented him taking up public positions. Even in our local clinical society, of which he was a devoted member, he seemed to enjoy most to be a simple member, although his ripe experience, exhibited when he joined the discussions, added greatly to their value. In politics he was Conservative. In religion I believe he belonged to an old Roman Catholic family, but I understand scientific reading had disturbed his allegiance to that Church. Many years ago I had occasion to see the late Sir Jonathan Hutchinson. Our business being finished, he spoke to me in high terms of admiration of Dr. Carmichael's merits. I believe Dr. Carmichael died as he expected and hoped he would die.





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