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Descendants of Robert McKay McCoy

Generation No. 1

1. ROBERT MCKAY1 MCCOY was born Bet. 1659 - 1675, and died 1746 in Augusta County, Virginia. He married SUSANNA. She died Unknown.

Notes for R
Probably the first McCoy of our line in the United States. The McCoy's are of Scotch Irish descent. Below are some history about the McCoy family going back to Scotland.

The McCoy's were originally from Scotland and went to Ireland in the 1500s to fight for an Irish Duke. 100 years later they were ostracized and driven out of Ireland. Many McCoy's were sent over in the 1600s and 1700s as indentured servants.

This unusual term refers to those Presbyterian Scots who settled in Ulster (modern-day Northern Ireland) during the seventeenth century. From these 200,000 original settlers, up to 2 million of their descendants eventually reached North America.
The Scotch-Irish left Ulster as a result of neo-mercantilist British economic policy in the region, requirements that they pay 10% of their income to the Anglican Church, ongoing friction with their Catholic Irish neighbors, and greater economic opportunity in the New World. Although the Scotch-Irish settled throughout the colonies, they concentrated most heavily in Pennsylvania.

The majority of Anglo-Irish lords, descendants of the Normans, had gone native circa 1465. Their language, appearance and law was Gaelic. Militarily, the Irish were no longer cowed by English or Welsh mercenaries. They had fierce mercenaries of their own. Emerging from the ancient relationship between Ulster and the Scots Isles and the Western Highlands, a potent military force had developed over the two centuries since Edward Bruce. Scots adventurers and families of professional warriors sailed to Ireland intent on hiring themselves out to the highest bidder. These were the GALLOGLAS, a fiery mixture of Scots, Irish and Norse.
Galloglas means 'foreign young warrior' and probably refers to their Viking blood. But, essentially, these warriors were Gaelic in tongue and custom. Some had accompanied Edward Bruce and many fought for the Ulster chieftains (O'Neills, et al). As their notoriety grew, they were hired by other Irish warlords. Such business enabled generations of galloglas families to prosper from Gaelic feuds. The principal mercenary dynasties were the MacDonalds, MacSwineys, MacDowells, MacRorys, MacCabes, and MacCoys. It was only a matter of time before the English felt the need to employ them as well. In between bouts of fighting, the galloglas set up their own settlements on Irish territory. By the sixteenth century they had become an institution and were the elite of every Irish army.
John Dymmok in the late sixteenth century captured their basic image: "The galloglas are picked and select men of great and mighty bodies, cruel without compassion. The greatest force of the battle consisteth in them, choosing rather to die than to yield, so that when it cometh to bandy blows, they are quickly slain or win the field." Although frequently from noble families and regarded as gentlemen soldiers by the English, the galloglas did not fight on horseback, but assembled in bodies of heavily-armored foot soldiers.

McCOY, (Origins of name)
Derived from the Scottish clan name MacKay.
Crest Badge: a dexter cubit arm holding erect a dagger in pale, all proper, hilt and pommel or.
Motto: Manu forti (With a strong hand).
Gaelic Name: MacAoidh,
Origin of name: Gaelic MacAoidh (son of fire).
Plant Badge: Great bulrush.
War cry: Bratach Bhan Chlann Aoidh (The White Banner of MacKay).
This powerful clan was known as the Clan Morgan and as the Clan Aoidh. The former name is claimed from Morgan, son of Magnus in the early 14th century, the latter from his grandson Aodh or Hugh. The MacKays are descended from the old Royal House of MacEth. In Gaelic the MacKays are known collectively as CLANN MHORGAIN, but this applies usually only to the Sutherland MacKays. The Argyle MacKays being, as a rule, CLAN AOIDH.
The MacKay country was the most remote from the seat of government of any part of the Scottish mainland. It extended from Cape Wrath along the north coast to the Caithness border, and varied between sixteen and twenty miles in depth, its southern frontiers defended by bleak uplands and splendid mountains. In 1427 it was estimated that the Chief of MacKay possessed 4,000 fighting men with whom to defend this province.
It was called Strathnaver, after the largest river that flows through it. Both Gaelic and Norse derivations have been offered for this name, but it is more likely that it has survived from some earlier language. The Gaelic still spoken in Strathnaver has many affinities closer to the Munster Gaelic of southern Ireland than to any Scottish dialect. Until the 17th century every known marriage of a Chief of MacKay was with a member of the Scottish Gaelic aristocracy

The name McCoy is a variation on the name Mac Aoid later Mackay. The name was changed after leaving Scotland for sake of ease of pronunciation.
The Mackays claim descent from the Royal House of Moray through the line of Morgund of Pluscarden and were originally known as Clan Morgan. The acceptance of the Mackay's origin deriving from Morgund of Pluscardine is one suggested by Sir Learney as a possible answer to why the clan was called Morgan by Sir Robert Gordon. A possible correct answer to the Morgan question is that the clan name came from an early member named Morgan. Others suggested that Duncan mac Sithig, leader of Clan Morgan, in 1130, was an ancestor of the MacEth/Morgan/Mackay ancestor of our clan. In fact, Duncan was Duncan son of Shaw, possibly of the Duff's of Fife, of the Macintosh line. There may be no connection with these "mac Sithig" Morgans to that of the Clan Mackay.
The clansmen were removed to Sutherland where they rose to a powerful position, at one time owning lands from Drimholisten to Kylescue. Their later title of MacKay comes from a chief so named living at the time of David II. The first record of the name was in 1326 when Gilchrist M'ay, progenitor of the Mackays of Ugadale, made a payment to the Constable of Tarbert. The Mackays supported Bruce and fought with him at Bannockburn and by 1427 the chief, Angus Dubh Mackay was described as leader of "4 000 Strathnaver men". Their fortunes fluctuated over the centuries and many bitter feuds ensued with the Sutherlands and Rosses. In the troubles of the 17th and 18th centuries the Mackays supported the Hanovarian forces against the Jacobites and helped secure the far north for the government. The Mackays of Strathnaver are especially remembered for the famous "Mackay Regiment" raised for the service of the Dutch and Swedish crowns during the 17th century. As a result of this many clansmen settled in Holland and Sweden and gave rise to a number of noble families there. In 1628, Sir Donald Mackay was raised to the peerage of Lord Reay by Charles I. His grandson, Colonel Aeneas Mackay of the Scotch-Dutch Brigade, married the heiress of the Baron van Haefton. The Mackays suffered badly in the Strathnaver clearances between 1815 and 1818 and finally in 1829 the Reay estate was sold to the Sutherland family and in 1875 the chiefship passed to Baron Mackay van Opermet who became 10th Lord Reay. His nephew Baron Aeneas Mackay, prime minister of the Netherlands was the great grandfather of the present chief.
The Clan Mackay Chiefship is vested in the Lords Reay who also hold the title Barons Van Ophemert in Holland. Donald MacKay, Chief of MacKay, was knighted first Lord Reay.
Donald MacKay, First Lord Reay, was knighted Baronet of Nova Scotia when he acquired Anticosti Island in (then) Nova Scotia. Baronet of Nova Scotia is a hereditary title; Hugh William Mackay, 14th Lord Reay, present Chief of MacKay, is 14th Baronet of Nova Scotia.

History of Clan Mackey

1) Around 710 A.D., three separate tribes leave Ireland from a region known as Dalriada and land in what is now known as Argyll and the southern Hebrides. One of the tribes is known as the C'nel Lorne, the progenitors of Clann MacAoidh. The C'nel Lorne are descended from Aedh, grand-son of the Irish king N'iall.
2) Around the year 1100 A.D., the C'nel Lorne move up the Great Glen (the Loch Ness divide) to the present day region of the Moray after centuries of battle with the C'nel Gabhrain. The Mac Aedh (then Gaelic spelling...) left in Argyll become a later war sept of the Clan Ranald of McDonald, later known as the "Lords of the Isles".
3) The Mac Aedh/Mac Aed/Mac Heths (all variations of the Gaelic pronunciation of the time) become a virtual separate kingdom around the Moray Firth on Scotland's middle north eastern coast, becoming known as the "Mormaers", or Great Rulers (of Men). However, in the 1200's their power was broken after the grandson of MacBeth, by virtue of Lulach (or Gormflaith) his wife, challenged one of the early Scottish kings. The Mormaers were banished over the far northwestern Munros (Mountains) into the region of the Strathnaver.
4) The Strathnaver at the height of the Clann MacAoidgh (modern Gaelic spelling) stretched from Assynt in the west to Loch Naver, to the borders of Ross-shire and just west of present day Thurso. From late 1200s until the middle 1400s, the power of the Aoidgh was unchallenged particularly after the battle of Drum na Cub in the shadow of Ben Loyal, when Iain Abrach Mackay led a party of 500 men into battle againt men of the Sutherland (Clann Suderland). Some 1500 Suderlands were killed, virtually the entire war group. These Suderlands were NOT related to the later infamous Sutherlands of the Clearances of the 1800's.
5) Throughout the 1500s and 1600s the Clann Aoidgh was under constant pressure from the Gordon-Huntly Clann (later assuming the name Sutherland by royal decree) throuch fractricidal policies. The Chiefs of Mackay always backed the Crown and WERE NOT at anytime Jacobites. ONLY those whom remained as septs of the Clan MacDonald were Jacobites. The famous Mackay's Regiment came into being in the middle 1600's, fighting as mercenaries in Holland and Germany for William the Orange. In 1688, the Chief of Mackay through his support behind William fully, thus ending the House of Stewarts reign as Kings of Scotland and England.
6) The Clann Mac Aoidgh declined throughout the 18th and 19th century due to the avarice of the Suitherland's, a failure of land reform policy of the newly united "Kingdom", and the lure of America.
7) In the year 1999 in Sutherland County, which comprises one-quarter of the original "Strathnaver", there are only 2,126 inhabitants. In 1825 at the beginning of the worst years of the "Clearances", there were 26,245 inhabitants. Some 76 percent were blood relation Mackay's and were Gaelic language speakers as their ancestors had been for 2000 years. While "mythical" historians relate a relation to the Clann Mhoirgunn (Morgan), it remains that and nothing more.
While certain portions of the Coat of Arms and later colors may have been adapted, they have nothing to do with the Aoidgh's actual history. Per political and military septs allied to the Clann Mac Aoidgh, they are as numerous throughout history as the colors of the rainbow, from Frasers to Mackenzie, to Grant and Blair. Thus, it is quite okay for one to "ally" himself to any modern "Clan" should they so desire. However, in doing so one is an anachronist (or one who portrays history) and not per se following the "modern" conventions of some form of "blood" relationship. (That is merely a commentary on the situation as I see it here in Scotland!)
Finally, on tartan. Tartan was not specific to Clann but to region--thus, the Gunn colors are similar to Mackay etc. There is a very specific regional sett called "Strathnaver Mackay" which is dyed in the actual known colors of that region (heather brown and grey-blue) in the same pattern. (I have them, much nicer than the "modern" Mackay I think, but only an opinion!) Should you desire to come to Scotland, travel to Edinburgh, thence to Thurso, thence to Bettyhill, where there is the Clan Mackay Museum at the Farr Bay Church in Sutherland County.
To finish, Clann M'hic Aoidgh is one of the most famous and certainly oldest of the true Gaelic Clanns. If you are blood related, then you may count King Niall of Ireland, King David of Scotland, and Macbeth as your relations--not to mention a legion of Barons, Lords, and Knights and can be justifiably proud. I close with the words of the original Clann M'hic Aoidgh motto and inscribed on the tomb of The Scourie-Mackay at Balnakiel Church in Durness, "Bi Tren, Bi Treun!" Be True, Be Steadfast! Cheers, Dr. Gary Mckay Barra Suite Dept. of Archaeology and Geography Univ. of Edinburgh Edinburgh Scotland EH8 9XP Scotland, UK 011 44 131 650 2532
(ed. note: Dr. McKay also recommends reading the following books, "Chief of Mackay" and "The Trial of Patrick Sellar" by Ian Grimble. Both are now in soft copy reprint.)

Children of R
2. i.   MOSES2 MCCOY, b. Bet. 1699 - 1715; d. Bet. 1760 - 1800.
  ii.   ROBERT MCCOY, d. Unknown.
  iii.   JAMES MCCOY, d. Unknown.
  iv.   ZACHARIA MCCOY, d. Unknown.

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