OutlanderHomepage Originals Written by Nancy M Guillory
|MacGregors Crest and Rob Roy Tartan|
|The McNabs were featured in Diana Gabaldon’s book. The Lallybroch chapter of OUTLANDER.|
The legendary story, handed down, of the Clan MacNab.
The clan MacNab got it's name from the Gaelic Mac an Abu, or "son of the abbot". While the clan founder is believed to be the Abbot of Glendochart, I would not equate the antics of many MacNabs that came after the Abbot to those of a clerical calling, or religious profession. It's well known that Highland clans are famous for warring against each other, and the feud between the MacNabs, and Neishes (also MacNeish) raged on for centuries, dating as far back as the 16th century. The last battle fought between these mortal enemies occurred at Glenboultachan, where the MacNabs were victorious, although several Neishes survived, and they retreated to what was known as Neish Island at Loch Earn. Although their numbers were decimated, the Neishes continued to plunder and steal over the next century, until they attacked their rival clan's supply wagon.
|CLAN MacNab Chieftain|
The MacNabs rowed down Loch Tay to Cloichran, where they carried their boat up the steep slope of Alt Breaclaich, over the snowy mountain pass, reaching the banks of Loch Earn in the middle of the night. Steathily they rowed across Loch Earn to the ruined keep on Neish Island, where they guided their boat into a burn, and crept up to a candlelit window. Inside lay the entire MacNeish clan, drunk, gorged, and snoring in his chair was the uncouth, old chief many referred to as The Savage. The MacNab brothers followed Smooth John around to the makeshift wooden door, drawing their weapons as he hammered on the planks with his dirk handle. "Who beckons?" called the Savage, groggy with sleep and drink. Ever the true Highlander, Iain Min replied, "Who would ye least care to see?" "Smooth John MacNab!" came the answer, along with drunken laughter.
The severed head of The Savage became the MacNab crest, and while it is a rather gruesome tale, it is a perfect example of the Highlander mindset. Piss off the wrong clan, and "ye'll likely find ye heid a parted from ye shoulders by a claymore".
When we find a Jamie Fraser connection, we use it!
From what has been recorded, and oral histories passed down through generations, such as the story above, Smooth John shared many similar experiences with another Highland warrior we all know, and love. Apparently, John Bassoon MacNab was a robust, rowdy fellow of great height, and very good looks, and quite skilled with a blade. Also like Jamie Fraser, Smooth John MacNab married ( a daughter of Campbell of Glenlyon), fathered a daughter, and a son, became clan chief, and even escaped hanging, and imprisonment from the Tollbooth in Edinburgh. Unlike his fictional counterpart, since Diana hasn't finished the book series yet, my ancestor died doing what he loved best. Some accounts have Smooth John meeting his demise on the battlefield in Worcester in 1651, others claim he was killed during a skirmish with Cromwellian troops raiding his cattle in 1653, but no matter when or where, Iain Min MacNab died with his blade in hand, under the open sky, which is a noble death for any true Highlander.
|Louisiana state Tartan|
My ultimate goal is to visit Scotland, particularly Killin, and Inch Buie, the MacNab burial ground at the Falls of Dochart. All the tombstones, including Iain Min's and his brother's, bear the head of the Neish chief.... Now that's what I call bloody Scottish pride.