History of the McGillivrays at Spring Creek Submitted by Anne MacGillivray, UEL Source: “Our Kindred Spirits” by George Duncan Military Cross (MC), UEL, with notes by Myrtle (McGillivray) Stanger, UEL. The history was awarded the 1996 Family Genealogy Prize by the Ottawa branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society
A memorial commemorating the “The Founding Fathers of the Congregation, 1794-1894” is mounted beside the sanctuary at the front of St. Columba Church in Kirk Hill, Ontario. The second name that appears on the plaque is that of Archibald McGillivray. From 1793 to 1794, Loyalist Archibald 'King' McGillivray (circa 1756-1836), member of the 71st Regiment of Foot (Fraser's Highlanders), and his comrade-in-arms, 'Big' Alexander McLeod, helped shepherd 40 Highland families from Scotland to Glengarry, known to history as the MacLeod migration. As young men, the two had emigrated from Scotland to the New York colony before the American Revolutionary War, likely settling in the upper Hudson River Valley. After the colonial rebellion burst out in 1776, the two enlisted in the 71st. It was because of their military experience in America and their fluency in both English and Gaelic that, in 1791, they were chosen as scouts to explore prospects in Glengarry for the Scottish migrants. Archie 'King's' first wife, Catherine McLean (circa 1768-1790), had died before leaving Scotland, bearing him two children, Ann in 1785 and Donald in 1788. In 1794, after violent storms forced the expedition back twice, and after three months at sea crammed below the decks of the 145-ton brig Argyle in rough, unheated spaces, 12 McLeod, five McGillivray, and 19 other families, including McCuaigs, Mclntoshes, Campbells, and Frasers arrived in Lochiel Township, taking up 200-acre lots near Kirk Hill. Remarkable for the times, Archie 'King' and 'Big' Alex had crossed the Atlantic to the New World five times in 20 years—as settlers, soldiers, scouts, and finally, as co-leaders of the MacLeod migration. Archie and 'Big' Alex McLeod acted as interpreters on the voyage, giving rise to the nickname Archie `King' McGillivray, to distinguish him as a spokesman, foremen or boss. Archie 'King' and `Big' Alexander were, on arrival, among the first to receive their 200-acre Lochiel lots. `Big' Alexander's was lot 33, conc. 7 at present day Laggan, and Archie 'King's' was lot 17, conc. 6, west of Dalkeith, later known as Spring Creek Farm. Another reason for Archie's nickname was likely his role as overseer for the construction of Glengarry's first road, the King's Road. His abilities as a leader were recognized soon after he arrived on the Glengarry frontier. and he was named roadmaster to supervise the construction of the first all-weather road across the province. The military and service road, called the King's Road, was a major undertaking for the time, providing military defence, economic and social development as a postal route, and a market road necessary for settlers to transport their goods to gristmills and markets. As the King's Road roadmaster, Archie. 'King' lived at lot 1, conc. 7, Charlottenburg. Before the migration, Archie had remarried in Scotland, taking Catherine McIntosh as his bride. Their five children, Murdoch, Flora, Donald (the second son of the same name), John, and Mary, were all baptized in Glengarry by Rev. John Bethune spanning the years 1795 to 1803. In 1810, Archie `King' was re-assigned to oversee the construction of a military road, the present-day Hwy. 34, from Lancaster to Alexandria. Soon, later in 1812, Archie 'King,' then around 56 years of age, was called up for duty With the Glengarry Regiment of Militia where he served as the company's senior non-commissioned officer. Archie 'King' and his son Donald cleared their land at lot 17, conc. 6, in Loehiel, first erecting a log cabin in 1797, and in 1830 raising a large comfortable log home set on a stone foundation just west of the original cabin. The extra space was needed — Donald married Mary McMillan and they proceeded to have 11 children. Donald and Mary's fourth son Donald, `Dan King' (1833-1919) took over the farm. Donald married Catherine McIntosh, and the next heir to the farm, their son Archibald King, known As _Archie 'King of the creek,' married Cassie McMaster. Their only son Donald 'Archie King' married Ruth McGillivray in 1929. The couple had three children, Evelyn, Anne and Garry. Faith was an important guiding light in the lives of the Archibald `King' McGillivray family. Rev. Bethune baptized the children and the family worshipped regularly in the home until 1822 when a wood frame church, later replaced by The stone St. Columba's, was erected at Kirk Hill. In the McGillivray home, the large family Bible occupied pride of place and family readings were common. Like other settler families in the area, the “Auld Kirk,” and later St. Columba, maintained the connections between the family's Scottish identity and their Church of Scotland faith. Today, Archie 'King's' great-great-great-grand- daughter, Anne MacGillivray, lives in her ancestor's 1810 log home, and her brother Garry owns the original lot's back 75 acres. Spring Creek, fed by springs, still runs through the property, dropping 20 feet in elevation. The original 'King' property remains as farmland.