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Alexander McWhorter (1586 - 1641)

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Alexander McWhorter
Born in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotlandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in Scotlandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Irelandmap
McWhorter-174 created 19 Feb 2012 | Last modified | Last edit: 16 Oct 2017
11:54: Eric Andersen-Vie edited the Biography for Alexander McWhorter. (Added origins of the name) [Thank Eric for this]
This page has been accessed 1,219 times.


Alexander was born in 1586. Alexander McWhorter ... He passed away in 1641.

Died in a massacre during an uprising by Irish Catholics.


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  • Kim Weaver, firsthand knowledge. Click the Changes tab for the details of edits by Kim and others.

Origins of the name: The name McWhirter is derived from the Scottish name MacWhirter, and the family belonged to the Clan Buchanan, located along the eastern shores of Loch Lomond. It is thought that some of the MacWhirters migrated to Ireland, Wales and England and eventually, some to the United States. Slight changes in the spelling of the name were made with their migrations in order to keep track of each branch that moved to different regions. The Buchanan Clan dates back to Fargallus 156 A.D., monarch of all Ireland.

Of the history of the McWhirters in this country little is known prior to the year 1700, except that they were Protestants. John McWhirter of South Carolina learned from his father's papers that when three brothers came to this country from Ballybay, or thereabout - Armagh, Ulster, Ireland, all of the same tribe, they decided to the termination of the name be ‘ter -tar -tor', so in the future, descendants could determine to which branch of the family they belonged. Those who were proud of their Scottish ancestry spelled the name ,'Whir', while the Irish preferred ‘Whor'. A group settled in Pennsylvania and used the 'Wher' spelling. Robert White McWhirter of New Jersey says the prefix, Me, Ma, or Mc, means son.

The earliest recorded references to the name appear in the mid 1300s. There are references in land grants commencing in 1346. Legend reports that the McWhirter tower of Blairquhan Castle was erected in 1347. It was disassembled, however, in 1824 and the stone used in the construction of the current castle.

The name is said to derive from the Gaelic, Mac Chruiter, which finds its source in the Gaelic term "chruiter" meaning "harper", the cruit being an old stringed instrument. It was the custom of lairds to appoint a personal harper and the position of "cruiteir", or harper, was often hereditary in the Highlands, and the role devolved in each case to the son of the harper or the MacChruiter in Gaelic. This name became M'Whirter in Old Scots, the language of the lowlands and has since manifested itself in many variants of which McWhirter is one of the most common. In 1346, King David II granted a charter of land of Dalelachane in the earldom of Carick to Patrick, son of the late Michael, harper of Carrick. In 1385, this same Patrick was referred to by the Gaelic form of his name and thereafter it appears frequently in the annals of Scottish history, occurring in old records as M'Quhirtour, M'Qherter and M'Whyrter. While the MacWhirters are traditionally associated with the Clan Buchanan, and thus entitled to wear the distinctive Buchanan tartan, they may also have links with other clans whose chief retained the services of one so gifted.

The Buchanan Clan has the oldest established clan society in Scotland, and owns the clan's most precious possession, the heartland from which it gets its war cry. This is a small island, measuring just half a mile in length, named Clar Innis, or Clarinch, on Loch Lomond. It is on this island that the clan was first recorded in 1225. This was when the island was given to Sir Anselan of Absolon of Buchanan, said to be a son of McBeth. Another theory is that they descended from the son of a King of Ulster, Anselan O'Kyan, who landed in Argyll at the beginning of the 11th century. The Buchanans have ecclesiastical origins, and are hereditary clerics of the Celtic Church.

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No known carriers of Alexander's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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