Alexander Fisher 1726 - 1803

Alexander's headstoneGreat great great great grandfather Alexander is the first ancestor we know much about. His gravestone lies in Kenmore churchyard with the family crest on its back. We do not know who erected the stone but it was probably his son Donald.

This headstone suggests that, as he died age 77 in 1803, he was born about 1726. Unfortunately there are no marriage, baptism or kirk session records for Kenmore* between 1723 and 1728. Either side of this period there were approximately 100 baptisms per year. In 1723 Alexander Comrie was removed by the presbytery at Dunkeld for his Jacobite activities during the 1715 rebellion to be replaced by John Hamilton from Blair Atholl. At first the majority the congregation, upset by the loss of their popular minister, absented themselves from his services but was he really shunned for 5 years?

No Alexander Fisher was baptized in Kenmore in the 20 years after 1728. The best fit we have for our Alexander was born 5 years earlier in 1721. Was Alexander actually 82 at death, was he never baptized or have his baptism records been lost?

At John's baptism in 1760, Alexander was described as an officer of Taymouth residing at Croftnamuick. In 1769 he was removed from 'his office and the country' - see Alexander's removals. By 1781 he had returned and joined his wife in Alekich. Fourteen years later he was removed again, this time for cutting down a tree and along with his family. He died in Mains of Murthly in 1803.

Can we identify his parents from baptism records?

Callum's childrenA search of the Old Parochial register reveals that, in the parish of Kenmore between 1700 and 1730, three Alexanders were baptized. They were all fathered by 'Callum Fisher'. These Callums also fathered five other children.

It would seem reasonable to assume there was more than one Callum Fisher in the Kenmore Parish because the birth dates of Donald b.1707 and Alexander b.1721, whose mother was Mildred McCorquodale, straddle the birth dates of the children of other mothers. I can find no baptism record suggesting any child was illegitimate.

A search of the OPR for any record of 'Callum Fisher' birth or marriage turned up nothing anywhere in Scotland. There are 15 'Fisher' baptisms in Kenmore prior to 1700 but none with the name 'Callum' and none prior to 1691.

Although we have a record of 3 Alexanders, the two below would seem possible candidates for our ancestor because they are reasonably close to the birth date suggested by the headstone.

  1. 10 July 1718: 'Baptized to Callum Fisher and Margaret Campbell in Garrows a child Alexander'. Callum and Margaret were married in Kenmore on 7 Nov. 1693. A Margaret Campbell from Garrows was baptized in 1701 in Kenmore - parents John Campbell and Margaret Campbell.
  2. 9 Feb. 1721: 'Baptized to Callum Fisher and Mildred McCorquodale in Croftmartage a child Alexander'. They also had a son Donald baptized in 'Croftmartaig' in 1707.

In 1691 the hearth tax rolls recorded the Fishers of Croftmartaig by the Gaelic name 'Easgr' and the Garrows Fishers as McKeaster.

The Garrows farms is about 5 miles over the hill from Croftnamuick and Alekich from where Alexander subsequently baptized his own children but Croftmartaig is right next door. With the date of birth reasonably close and the families near neighbours, Callum Fisher and Mildred McCorquodale are the best fit we have from baptism records.

Was Alexander born in 1726 and his baptism not recorded?

I suspect Alexander's 1726 birthdate is correct and Callum and Mildred are not our ancestors. Callum and Mildred are not names that appear in our family tree. They did however live right next door to our ancestors so we might assume they were related.

With no baptism records for the period around 1726 it is unlikely that we will ever be able to prove Alexander's ancestry. The best fit for Alexander's parents are John Fisher and Katrin McDugall (see Achianich Fishers) so they have been included in the Fisher tree.

A Donald Fisher married Janet McGrigar in 1736. On the Fisher tree I have stated that this Donald was the son of John and Katrin but Callum and Mildred from Croftmartaig also had a son Donald who was born in 1707. Interestingly Janet McGrigar may have come from Murthly where Alexander ended up 69 years later.

Alexander's wife and children

Alexander married Isabel McDougall in 1759.

At the baptism of their first son John, on 2 September 1760, Alexander and Isabel's address was Croftnamuick. There is no image for Catherine's baptism in 1763 but their address at Alexander's baptism in 1765 was again Croftnamuick. The next three children were born at Alekich: Donald in November 1769, Isabel in 1782 and Patrick in 1784.

Isabel's petition states that Alexander was removed from his office and the country in 1765 and that Breadalbane gave her the tenancy of Alekich after that removal. Did Alexander sneak home to get his wife pregnant or was Isabel's memory for dates imprecise? It is certainly unlikely that he was away for the 18 years that she suggests in her petition. The baptism records suggest none of the children were illegitimate so it most likely Alexander was removed early in 1769 having got his wife pregnant with Donald and returned in 1781 when he fathered Isabel who was baptized in April 1782.

Isabel was clearly a resourceful lady. There were few female tenants on Lochtayside and they were generally widows. In Alexander's absence, she coped with the demands of the farm while looking after her four young children.

Twenty years later, after her husband had been allowed home she and her son Donald were again forced to beg for compassion from the Earl of Breadalbane when Alexander's behavior resulted in the whole family's ignominious removal from Alekich.

What happened to Alexander's children?

Was Alexander married before?

Between 1735 and 1800 twenty five children were born in the parish of Kenmore with fathers named Alexander Fisher but various mothers. We must assume our Alexander did not father them all.

The Kenmore Parish records show Alexander Fisher and Anne Fletcher, living in Wester Acharn, having 5 children baptized (James 1747, Alexander 1748, Archibald 1749, Isabel 1753, John 1758). I can find no record of Anne Fletcher/Fisher birth, marriage or death but this couple reported the 'witchcraft' incident to the Kirk Session in 1754.

Their last son John was baptized in Kenmore one month after his birth at which time both parents were alive and living in Acharn. The village as we know it did not exist at that time so 'Acharn' must relate to the farm. Could Anne have died in the subsequent 9 months allowing Alexander to marry Isabel MacDougall or was there yet another Alexander Fisher living in this group of farms?

There are records for 3 other married Alexanders in the parish of Kenmore at this time:

  1. Alexander Fisher married Catherine MacDonald in 1749. They had 6 children baptized in Kenmore between 1751 and 1769 giving their address for their firstborn (Donald) as Croftmartaig. By 1761 when Elizabeth was born they had moved away to Braes of Taymouth. The same month our Alexander and his wife Isabel had Cathrine baptized.
  2. Alexander Fisher and Christian McEwen baptized two Margarets in 1745 and 1750 in Callelachan and Donald in 1753 in Ballinlaggan
  3. The last married Margaret Crerar in Croftnacabber

I have some suspicion that our Alexander married Anne when a young man and had 5 children with her. Maybe Anne die in 1759 allowing Alexander, now aged 38, to move into Croftnamuick and marry Isabel who was 22.

Isabel and Alexander had 6 children so our Alexander may have fathered 11 out of the 25!

*There are also no baptism records for Killin between 1724 and 1727. Robert Stewart, the minister there, was notorious for neglecting his duties while gathering all the wealth he could lay his hands on. It is recorded that 'he neither kept register or scrolls'. He was replaced by Adam Ferguson in 1728 who managed to get the church back to normal after Stewart died in 1729

Page last updated - 21/11/16