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MacDougals in North America

Fed up with starvation and too irascible to get along with his clan, in 1835 Finan MacDougal left the Scottish Highlands for Canada. He came as an assisted immigrant, one of many to receive passage money in return for relieving his clan of the need to feed and house him.

Fort Laramie, 1874

Fort Laramie, 1874

Disdaining the city of Montreal, his fellow countrymen, and especially the English, he headed west. In 1844 he arrived in Fort Laramie with his Scottish wife, Phoebe, and sons Fin, Hugh, and wee Gillis.

Phoebe was in labor and, though Louisa Elliott did all she could to save her, did not survive the birth. Needing milk for his newborn daughter Finan went outside the fort and found Sunbird, a Cheyenne woman whose infant son had died.

Sunbird was starving, having been brought far from her home and people. She quietly accepted the large, angry red-haired Scot as her husband.

When the MacDougal and Elliott families learned from Sunbird that there was a fertile valley to the northwest, they followed her to what became Tanner’s Ford. Few whites lived in the area other than Mountain Men. Women were almost unheard of.

Old Walt Chamberlain was a mountain man, proud of his skill with his rifle as well as his knife

Old Walt Chamberlain was a mountain man, proud of his skill with his rifle as well as his knife

In 1863 gold was found in Grasshopper Creek, near Alder Gulch, and hordes headed west. Fed up with too many people Finan left his full-blooded Scot sons, Finan Junior, Hugh, and Gillis, and dragged his family, and the younger, orphaned Elliotts, to Texas.

Nuggets found before the gold rush were a good size

Nuggets found before the gold rush were a good size

They created the Bar M-D Ranch using gold nuggets gathered from local streams and hidden long before outsiders learned of it.

By 1867 Gillis, Ross, and Nevin had taken over running the M-D Connected, pleased that their brutal older brothers were in Texas with their even more brutal father.

Unfortunately, their youngest brother and the four younger Elliotts, their only sister, Jess, twins Ranger and Ben, and young Patrick, were forced to stay in Texas as free labor.6a00d83452354569e2011570e55256970b-800wi

Today, Simon MacDougal is still searching for the location of hidden casks of these nuggets.

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