Emmeline Sophia MacLeod

While most of the sources on Emmeline and her family are about their management of the estates in Harris, it appears there was little 'Highland lassie' about her: she had colonial roots and her father preferred to reside in England. It is striking that despite this cosmopolitan beginning, which continued with her husband's career, her marriage was a traditional alliance of Highland families.

Lived
Born after 1786 when her parents married, probably mid-1790s as she seems to be a younger daughter. Died before 1843 when her husband remarried.
Origin
She was probably born in Hyderabad her father returned to his estates in Harris, but lived mostly in England.
Father
Alexander Hume MacLeod. His father was Captain Alexander MacLeod, son of Donald MacLeod, tacksman of Bernera. Donald was known as 'The Old Trojan' and was out in the '15 and '45. Captain Alexander made a fortune as owner and captain of the East Indiaman Mansfield. He lent Emilia MacLeod's father money when his fortunes were desperate, which gave him leverage in his quest to buy Harris (which included Bernera). Alexander was now his father's landlord: he left him in charge of Bernera, and improved Harris. His work was described by John Knox, surveying the fishing potential of the west coast. He made the bay at Rodel into an excellent harbour, built storehouses for salt, fish casks etc, an a boat house, imported fishermen from the east coast and Orkney, and explored the fishing banks. He established fishermen with free cottages and potato grounds in all the bays around the coast of Harris, supplied them with salt etc. at cost price and bought their catch at market price. he built a 'manufacturing house' for spinning wool and linen and built meal mills. He repaired the church and built a school and public house at Rodel. His efforts were frustrated by heavy coal and salt duties. Knox said that his encouragement of tenants 'ought to be a model' to rack-renting Highland proprietors, and he was one of the founders of the Highland Society. However, he bought Harris in middle age and died in 1790, ending his 20 year effort to develop Harris. (3 p.573-6) Alexander Hume Macleod, his eldest son, had a lucrative appointment in India with the Nizam of Hyderabad. He returned to Harris in 1802 to find the kelp boom in full swing and contended with the tacksmen for higher rents. In 1807 he brought an action against his cousin Isabella MacLeod of Berneray to terminate her tack and divide the property amongst the crofters. Disliking the Harris climate, he mainly lived in England. He died before 1817 and his son was responsible for notorious clearances on the estate. (5)
Mother
Sophia Wrangham, married 1786 in India. She b.1766, daughter of William Wrangham, First in Council at St Helena, and Elizabeth Draper. St Helena was landfall on the route from India, and Sophia and all her sisters married East India Company servants. Her elder sister Amelia was a famous St Helena belle, and her grandfather and great-grandfather were St Helena planters. (6)
Chapel connection
1817 (wedding)
Married on
1817
Spouse
Frederick Fraser
Children
Frederick Charles, Colin, Isabel
Connections
Her grandfather bought Harris from Emilia MacLeod's father.

Sources

  1. Registers of Charlotte Chapel (NAS CH12/3)
  2. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1818
  3. I.F.Grant, The MacLeods (Spurbooks, Edinburgh 1959)
  4. Alexander MacKenzie, History of the MacLeods (A and W MacKenzie, Inverness, 1889) p.260
  5. Donald MacKinnon and Alick Morrison, The MacLeods: the genealogy of a clan (Edinburgh, The Clan MacLeod Society, 1968) p.80,95-6
  6. Miguel de Avendano, 'Family Tree of Oswald Wrangham of Witton Gilbert' (online accessed 31 August 2011)

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