A Little Rebellion…

One of my favorite ancestors is Dugal McQueen, mostly because I just love saying his name. I don’t recall if I have ever said anything to the family about him. With so many ancestors to keep track of one forgets these things. But I thought I would spend a little more time with him today. The most interesting thing about Dugal is he was a Jacobite prisoner or war, transported to the Colonies by the British in 1716. He was born in 1698 in Pollocaig, Moy, Inverness, Scotland. He was married to Elizabeth McIntosh first, they had one daughter Anne. He married Grace second, and they had at least 3 sons all named in Dugal’s will, Thomas, William, Francis. He died in 1793. We descend from Thomas and a possible daughter Ruth. Their descendants eventually married into the Goble family.

Below is the story of the battle which changed Dugal’s fortunes forever.

Battle Of Preston, 1715
After the death of Queen Anne riots broke out in a number of English cities when the accession of George I was declared. Led by John Erskine, 11th Earl of Mar, known derisively as ‘Bobbing John’ the ’15’ was started. Erskine had been Secretary of State for Scotland in Anne’s government and although he supported the Hanoverian succession, George I dismissed him, resulting in him becoming a fervent Jacobite by the time he arrived back in Scotland. 

On 7th November, the Jacobite army marched into Lancaster with bagpipes playing and drums beating, colours flying and swords drawn, and occupying the town, proclaimed James III king at the market place. Five of the local Catholic gentry and two townsmen joined the Jacobites ‘the Gentleman soldiers dressed and trimmed themselves up in their best cloathes, for to drink a dish of tea with the laydys of this town. The laydys also here appeared in their best riging and had their tea tables richly furnished for to entertain their new suitors’. This pleasant interlude over, the army assembled on Wednesday 9th and marched south, having acquired 6 small cannon from a ship moored at Lancaster. 

On 9-10 November 1715 the Jacobite Army around 1,700 strong marched into Preston without opposition, two troops of dragoons who were stationed in the town withdrawing before them. James VIII was proclaimed king in the Market Place, troops were billeted on the townspeople and because ‘the Ladys in this town, Preston, are so beautiful and so richly attired, that the Gentlemen soldiers from Wednesday to Saturday minded nothing but courting and ffeasting’. More local gentry and their supporters joined the Jacobite forces or sent assistance. A severe disappointment was that most of the English supporters were Catholic, the High Churchmen and ‘tavern Tories’ staying at home. 

On the 12th news was brought that Government forces under General Wills were advancing from the south and the main streets of the town were barricaded and some trenches dug reinforced by the town bars, which could be used to close off the main roads by stringing chains across them. The barricades were manned and many of houses of the town occupied by troops to create a strong defensive position. Reserves were grouped in the churchyard and Market Place, ready to move to bolster the defence at any threatened point. 

The first assault was launched against the east barrier on Church St, around three hundred men taking part. Shooting from cellars and windows the Highlanders of the Jacobite army poured musket fire into the attacking redcoats. They were supported by two of the ships guns brought from Lancaster which were commanded by a sailor, reputed to have been drunk. The first cannon shots seriously wounded one of the town’s chimneys but following rounds of ‘small shot’ (probably grape shot) caused casualties among the attackers. The pitched battle over the barricades resulted in the Hanoverians being repulsed with heavy losses. 

Following the bloody repulse of the direct assault, troops were sent to fire the houses and barns east of the Church Street barricade. Fortunately for the defenders and the townsfolk of Preston the wind was against the attackers and failed to drive the flames into the town. However, Government troops, possibly aided by drifting smoke from the burning buildings concealing some of their movements, managed to infiltrate one of the alleys or weinds which led along the backs and between some of the properties and stormed Patten House which stood on the north side of Church Street and commanded the east end of Church Street and the barricade there. 

As dusk fell, the attackers, attempted to bypass the northwest barricade on Friargate by an attack down a back lane. The Jacobites unleashed a hail of fire which ‘killed the Captain and about one hundred and forty of his men’ and beat off the attack. Houses beyond the barricades here were also set alight although whether as a result of this action or earlier is uncertain. 

With nightfall, blazing buildings and the long, red muzzle flashes of musket fire illuminated the town. General Wills ordered his men to set lighted candles in the windows of any buildings captured by Government troops so that progress could be seen. To confuse the enemy, the Jacobites responded by illuminating all the windows they could and some of the townsfolk, misinterpreting an order to extinguish the lights lit still more candles, to the amusement of both sides but doing harm to neither. As the night drew on the fighting around the barricades petered out although sporadic shots were fired through the night. Both armies’ front line troops spent the night snatching what sleep they could in their positions although Forster retired to bed. 

A replica of the ship Friendship which
transported Dugal to America.

On the following morning Wills was reinforced by another 2,500 men enabling him to surround the town and block off all means of escape. The Jacobites, trapped in the town, were left with the choice of fighting their way out or surrendering, having no provision for a long siege. Derwentwater and Mackintosh were for fighting, having inflicted heavy casualties on the attackers the day before and still being in possession of most of their strongpoints but Forster overruled them to the dismay of the ordinary soldiers who were well aware of the fate that might await them. Furious with Forster ‘had he appeared in the street, he would certainly have been cut to pieces’ and an attempt to shoot him in his chamber was made by Mr Murray. Murray actually fired a pistol at Forster but a Mr Patten knocked up the barrel of the weapon and Forster survived. Patten was later to turn King’s Evidence and to write an eyewitness account of the Rebellion.
On the 14th the Jacobite army therefore laid down their arms in the market place, the senior officers, to spare their feelings, proffered their surrenders more privately in the inn where they had been billeted. 

Sherriffmuir was fought on the same Sunday and any hopes the Jacobites may have had of success were thwarted. The proclaimed but uncrowned James VIII landed at Peterhead in December but departed soon afterwards to spend the rest of his life (he died in 1766) in exile. 

AftermathThe prisoners were confined in the church and fed on bread and water for a month, at the expense of the townspeople. Some were transferred to Lancaster Castle and some taken to Liverpool and tried. Around fifty died in prison. 

Much has been written about Dugal, so I won’t be putting in his biography. He lived in Maryland after finishing his indenture of 7 years. I was able to find original copies online of the Friendship’s passenger lists – both departure and arrival:

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