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Old 01-10-12, 16:15
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Shona Shona is offline
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Default Illicit whisky galore

Researched my family tree, I kept coming across members of my family who were caught or implicated in illegal whisky distilling. Were they the black sheep of the community, I wondered. Far from it, it appeared that every cottar and crofter had their fingers in the illicit whisky jar. Below are some of the people involved in the illegal trade in the Kintyre area of Argyllshire in the first half of the 19th century.

Sources: Ledgers of Robert Colville, the Still Books of Robert Armour, coppersmith, records of the Duke of Argyll, court records, excise records

Tenants of the Argyll Estate Convicted of Malting or Distilling Illegally, 24 October 1800 to 2 April 1801

The following were caught with a still:

Thomas Brown, Machrimore
Donald Campbell, Killeonan
Robert Colville, Glenmanuill
Peter Galbreath, Laggan
James and John Harvie, Skeroblinraid
Peter McBride, Largybeg
Colin McEachran, Glenahervie
Duncan McLean, Kylipoll (Calliburn)
David Reid, Kildavie

The following had quantities of ‘wash’, ranging from 6 to 126 gallons:

Hugh McIliver, Remuil
Donald McLean, Corrylach
Malcolm McMath, Auchinslisaig
James McMillan, Cuilanlongart
John McPhaill, Darolochan

Malting was being carried on by:

Lachlan Bowie, Largymore
Alexander Campbell, Strone
Archibald Campbell Jr, Dailbhraddan
Donald McConnachy, Baligroggan
Hugh McMillan, Gartvain
John McNaught, Druimnarianach

Alexander Campbell, Carrine, was caught with five gallons of illicit whisky.

David Reid in Kildavie later satisfied the Duke, on oath, that he had no knowledge of the Distilling, which had been 'carried on by his herd, and others not resident upon His Grace's Property'.


From the Still Books of Robert Armour, plumber and coppersmith of Campbeltown who supplied the illicit stills:

Angus Gilchrist and Malcolm McEachern, Arifeach
Alexander and Donald McCoag, Loch Kieran
Gilbert and Malcolm McEachern, Loch Kieran
John McStalker, Achravad
Alexander McAlester, Donald Thomson and Archibald McEachern, Dunskegg
Gilbert and Samuel Currie, Lochend
John McKechney, Achaglass
Alexander Graham, Carnebeg
John McLean and Archibald Milloy, Loch Kieran

1815
John McTaggart, Neil McIlreavy, John McKinven, Neil Downie and Duncan McLean, Achapharic
John McCoag and sn, Beachmore

1817
Alexander and John McFarlane, Auchnadryan
Hector and Finlay Currie, Courshelloch
Donald McEachern, Auchnadryan
John Campbell, Carnbeg, Largiesland, now in Garvoline, Skipness
Archibald McMurchy, Stewartfield, Clachan
Samuel and Coll McAlester & Co. Brantian, Ballochroy Glen
Donald McMillan and Neil McEachern, Achravad, Clachan
John McFiggan, farmer, Barr
David Turner, innkeeper, Barr
Neil McCorkindale and Edward McCallum, Barr Glen
Gilbert McEachern and Angus Bell, Clachaig Glen, Muasdale
Archibald McEachern, Cleongart, Bellochantuy
Neil Downie and Malcolm Curry, Drumore-na-Bodach.

Around 20 cottars clubbed together to set up a large still at Rhounahaorine. The main operators were Dugald McLachlan, John McInnes and Duncanm Downie.

Captain Watson and Gauger Brown from the excise raided the village almost daily. The still was forced to close down due the constant raids. Many fled to Canada to escape justice.

McFater, McEachran, McKay, McMurchy, McPherson, McKinnon, Carmichael, Smylie, and McMillan families, descendants of shareholders were found in 1880 when Hugh McLean, factor to Lord Stonefield, surveyed Ontario and the Prairie Provinces of Canada, on behalf of Kintyre Agricultural Society for further emigration. He found well-doing farmers owning their own lands, many named after the places their ancestors had left.

Illicit Whisky Distillers who purchased malt from John Colville in Campbeltown 1814-1819 and 1823-26

John McNish, Amad
Charles McMillan, Ardnicle
Dugald McTaggart, Arus
John Taylor, Auchadaduie
Mary Blair, Auchensavill
Alexander McDugald, Auchyglas
John McAlister, Barr
Mary McCallum, Barr
William McFater, Barr
Angus McMillan, Barr
Flory McTaggart, Barr
Duncan McCallum, Blary
Archibald McFarland, Blary
John McFarlane, Blary
Dugald McClavereb, Carnmore
John Gray, Carnmore
James Brodie, Clachan
Duncan Gilchrist, Clachan
Donald McCoig, Clachan (also at Lochkearan)
Charles Mertin, Clachan
Archibald McEachrane, Cloinagart
Donald McLeod, Cloinagart (also at Margmonagach)
Nany McArthur, Coalhill [Drumlemble]
Mary McKinven, Coalhill
John (Mc)Murphy, Coalhill
Bell McSporran, Coalhill
Archibald Blair, Crubastill
James McGill, Dalbuie
Andrew Kelly, Darlochan
John McInnis, Drumlemble
Archibald Downie, Drumore
Neil Currie, Drumorebolach
Sandy Heman (Hyndman), High Park
Thomas McKendrick, Homeston
Robert McGill, Kerrafuar
Robert Watson, Kerrafuar
Neil McDonald, Killegruir (also at Margmonagach)
John McAlister, Killegruir
John Kendry, Killocraw
Duncan McLarty, Killocraw
John McMillan, Killocraw
Duncan McCallum, Kilmaluag
William McKellar, Kilowaraw (Killarow)
Flory McTaggart, Knockhanty
Isbel Smith, Knockhantybeg
Alexander Campbell, Knocknaha
Mrs Craw, Knocknaha
Malcom Kelly, Knocknaha
Donald Kelly, Knockrioch
Donald Munro, Lagalgarve
John Campbell, Licken
Ket Kenzie, Lochend [Campbeltown]
Ket McNaught, Lochend
Donald Tyre, Lochend
John McLean, Lochkearan (above Clachan)
Sandy Cameron, Lossit
Gardener, Lossit
Gardener's widow, Lossit
John McDonald, Margmonagach
John Taylor, Margmonagach
James Thomson, Muclach
Mary McKinven, Paisley (above Lagalgarve)
John McMillan, Putichan
John Maloy, Rannachan
Donald Cameron, Saltpans (Machrihanish)
Dugald McClaverin, Saltpans
Hector Reid, Saltpans (also at Lossit)
John Smith, Saltpans
Archibald Gilchrist, Stockadale (Barr Glen)
Donald McLarty, Tangcoshan (Barr Glen)
Nancy Watson, Tangchoillan
William Armour, Tradicle (Trodigal)

From Excise correspondence

3 Aug 1848, fair held on 'Tanloan [Tayinloan] Ferry Green'
- Hugh Gillis, spirit retailer of Ballochroy 'a respectable man in moderately good circumstances' had four-and-a-gallons seized. He pleaded ignorance of the law.’
- Janet MacInnes, Ballochroy Glen, had a half-gallon 'exposed for sale'. She gave her excuse as poverty.
- Duncan Currie of Baycarr [Beacharr] lost an identical quantity. He was in 'poor circumstances' and denied having sold the whisky.
- Margaret MacCallum, Tayintruan, lost two-and-half gallons.

December 1848
Three men were discovered grinding illicit malt. Two escaped, but Duncan Currie was caught and jailed for three months. The miller, John Thomson, said that 'when he gives the key to parties to dry grain they hand it about from one to another...'

January 1850
Three tuns containing about 200 gallons of wash were discovered in a garden at Auchafarrick. The garden was in Robert MacSporran's farm and was overlooked by the house of his brother John, also a farmer. They were the suspects, but there were six others houses, occupied by servants and cottars, on the boundary between the two MacSporran farms. The brothers denied any knowledge. Both were prosecuted, but the case was dismissed.

January 1850
Thirty bushels of malt 'in operation' were found in a cave at 'Crubesdale'. Angus Bell was fined £25.

May 1851
John Thomson, miller at Barr, fined for allowing malt to be dried in his kiln.

February 1852
Adam McCorkindale, Clenegart, fined £50 for illegal malt. Later reduced to 10 shillings.

March 1852
John Thomson, miller at Barr, in trouble again for same offence. He implicated John MacMillan of Clachaig, who denied the malt was his.

April 1852
Isle of Gigha. Ten tuns containing 30 gallons of 'low wines' and 120 gallons of 'wash' found and destroyed. The cottars testified that the distillery belonged to Dugald Blue and John Gillies of Ballochroy on the mainland.
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Old 01-10-12, 17:57
borobabs
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Shona they would have been good to be friends with lol
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Old 01-10-12, 18:27
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Once of my uncles, who passed away recently had a wealth of stories which were told to hiim by his grandfather about how the distillers evaded the dreaded 'gaugers' - the excise men. On hearing that the excise men were on their way to search for whisky and stills, they quickly killed a hen and daubed all the children with spots of blood. When the excise-men called, they saw the children covered in what looked like spots. Fearing it was contagious, the gaugers retreated fast.

Just like the film Whisky Galore, my family claim that there are still jars of illicit hooch still hidden in the burns and glens.
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Old 01-10-12, 18:40
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Oh pity they hadnt left some sort of map ;;;
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