Sections


Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell
The '45
Extracts of Statistics from the Annexed Estates for Western Strathearn (1755-56)
The Reports of the Annexed Estates (1755-69)
A Tour of Scotland - Thomas Pennant (1769)
Seismic Activity (1789)
Account of 1791-99 vol-11 - Comrie, County of Perth
Archibald MacNab (1734-1816)
Henry Dundas (1742-1811)
Sir David Baird of Seringapatam (1757-1829)
Companion and Useful Guide to the Beauties of Scotland – Sarah Murray (1799)
Roman Camp, Dalginross – October (1800)
Flash from the Caledonian Mercury – September (1814)
I've a Boat to Catch (1818)
A Picture of Strathearn - John Brown (1823)
St Fillan’s Highland Society (1827)
Letters from the Distant Past (1831 - 1859)
Comrie, St Fillans and Monivard (1837)
Statistical Account: Parish of Comrie (1838)
The Glen Lednock Census (1841)
The Queen’s Visit (1842)
The Road to Comrie (1857)
For the Sake of Nelly Fergus (1860)
From an Unknown Guidebook-circa (1892)
Comrie (1895)
Tales of Derring Do
Soldier, Soldier, won’t you marry me wi’…
The Adventures of Paddy or Highland Peter
Ghoulie Tales
A Serious Business
Mail Order Bride
The Man with the Powerful Voice
Double Entry bookkeeping
Hey, Gie’s ma Haun…or Murder Most Foul
Kate Mackenzie's Terrible Deeds
Watty and Meg Drummond
The Fencibles
Deacon Reid
Amazing Grace
The Day of the Penny Wedding
The MacArthur's were there before the Hills
The Beggar's Badge
A Pane by any other name can be a Pain!
The Powder Keg
The Coo didnae hae ony Teeth!
The Green Lady of Glen Lednock
The Queen of Tynasithe
The Great Wall of Comrie
Whisky, You're the Devil
A Wee Rumble
A Whale of a Time
An Encounter of the Third Kind
Another Debate
Bosom Pals
Getting Stoned in Comrie
Hanging about Comrie
It's Whisky in the Jar
Picking Other Folks' Brains
Porridge for Breakfast
Tarred and Buttered
Temperance
The Convert
The Debate
The Schism
The Levitation
The Twa' Brithers
There’s a Hare in my Soup
Yer bum's oot the Window

18th & 19th Century

Hey, Gie’s ma Haun…or Murder Most Foul

Murder as such was relatively unknown in Upper Strathearn other than (legally!) killing off one’s neighbours in clan warfare. However, there was one notable exception and involved a family called McOwan from Glen Lednock. At one time there were dozens of people called McOwan who lived between Balmuick and Innergeldie. Most eaked out an existence in subsistence living. They were honest and straightforward folk trying to survive in a world where survival was their daily bread...and there was a great shortage of that commodity as well!

One of them was a real “head-banger” with a violent temper. He was the sort that should have been laid out at birth but somehow or other had managed to make it to his early twenties. As a new-born infant he had probably intimidated his parents with a look!

He had met and courted a “fallen” angel who already had a daughter. They were not married and she was in the process of carrying another child with the prospective father being presumed to be McOwan. He decided that the three of them should go away for a few days to the Lothians and they set out from the Glen. They passed over the Dalginross Bridge at about three o’clock on a Sunday and for the girls it was their last farewell to Comrie, for only McOwan would return.

Somewhere, near Muthill, something sparked an argument between the adults and McOwan stabbed both pregnant mother and daughter to death with his dirk in the grounds of Pitkellonie House. He then covered both bodies with a tartan shawl! A nice touch! Returning to Comrie he went into a public house for a dram. Whilst there he met a woman who noticed traces of blood on his hands and clothes and asked him what he had been doing. He explained that he had been treating a horse for “batts” and that he hadn’t had time to clean himself for fear for being late for Church. She offered him soap and water but he declined, downed his whisky, and then went to the service, no doubt with an angelic expression upon his face!

As it was the summertime and warm it was not long before dogs were attracted to the resting place of the victims. As the dogs were hungry too, they had come across a real feast and they carried away tasty morsels which included a leg still covered in white hose complete with shoe. This artifact was later found by a local person and the hunt went up. The bodies were found by Mr. James Garvie of Pitkellony and taken to Muthill where they were laid out. The faces had been disfigured and no one recognised who the unfortunates were. They were stripped and given a pauper’s burial and their clothes retained in a nearby shop.

Enquiries were instituted throughout the parishes in the district and in time suspicion fell upon a sergeant and private of the 42nd regiment. They had been active in the neighbourhood on a recruiting drive. On hearing that enquiries were being made about them both soldiers appeared voluntarily in Muthill and served notice that they were staying at George Nish’s house and that if anyone had anything to say to them they could do so there. They also stated that they would stay there for a few days and thereafter they could be contacted at Fort George. To all intents and purposes they appeared to be innocent of the crime.

The clothes of the victims in the meantime had not been identified until after the harvest when someone recognised a piece of clothing as belonging to McOwan’s woman and then suspicion fell upon this wretch. A “posse” of four was rounded up with George Murray in charge and they headed towards Comrie. After making enquiries it was established that McOwan could be found at a wedding being held at the Milton. When they arrived the dancing was at its height and there, dancing lightly on his feet to an eightsome reel, was the villain.

When the lawmen approached, members of the wedding party took off there jackets and made ready for a punch-up. When Murray explained the reason for his visit, also alluding to the fact that if any got in his way they would be banished to the colonies, the “posse” arrested McOwan and took him to Perth jail.

A trial took place and he was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged at the Burghmuir with his offending hand cut off immediately before the swing! He was taken in a cart to the place of execution and a rope fastened around his neck. Before a fascinated audience, his hand was severed by the executioner who unfortunately displayed a certain amount of inexperience. As he was cutting the hand off, the executioner accidentally nicked a part of the rope at the same time. When the cart moved off the rope snapped and McOwan fell to the ground. Seizing the moment, and wiping his eyes with his blooded stump he declared that his life should be spared.

However, Baillie Fife didn’t quite see it that way stating that, “The sentence of law must be fulfilled.” The crowd roared their approval and a new rope fastened around his neck and he was hung, yea, hangit...until he was deid! His corpse was then wrapped in a canvas sack and covered in tar and there left to rot on the gibbet!

The sergeant and the private originally thought to have been the killers were in fact murderers, but of other people, and they too met their maker in a similar fashion!