The MacGowans Flee West

by Steven Gowin

Some believe the Scots were encouraged to emigrate, hired guns as it were, to Ireland to civilize that population. 

If that's the case, we would see it as another evil English trick. No matter, we MacGowans are Scots Irish and Protestant.

For whatever reason, probably famine, we fled Ireland, but when we did, we were already practiced at flight. Here's why the MacGowans quit Scotland in the first place. 

In the 14th Century, both MacPhearsons and Davidsons had been part of a greater political and military confederation. But for a battle against the hated Clan Cameron, the Davidsons had claimed right flank attack position which greatly infuriated the MacPhearsons who believed that to be their own honored position. Consequently the MacPhearsons withdrew from the fight.

After the battle, an internecine struggle ensued, MacPhearson against Davidson. A showdown known as the Feud of North Inch, near Perth, 1396, was arranged to settle the conflict. The clan of the last man standing of 30 would be vanqueurs. The day of the fight, the MacPhearsons came up a warrior short, but the Davidsons refused to sit out a man. The MacPhearsons, casting about for help, offered a shilling to he who would stand with them.

Our ancestor, Henry Wynd known as Gow Crom or Gowan or MacGowan, the son of Gowan, a smithy, took up the call, killed his Davidson, and withdrew from the fray. But the MacPhearsons hadn't done with fighting and offered Gow Crom further treasure for more Davidson heads. At the end of the day, MacGowan, the hired gun, stood with ten surviving MacPhearson brethern. So indebted were the MacPhearsons, they invited MacGowan home to MacPhearson lands where he set up shop and joined the clan.

Sadly, in several generations, MacGowan's heirs had degenerated into mean and miserable thieves. As Dad heard it, the MacPheasons, faithful to the last, had reluctantly thrown the MacGowans out, not for the crime of sheep theft itself... all the clans stole from their own and robbed the others to one degree or another... but rather over an issue of contrition and repentance.

The MacGowans would never confess the crime and refused to apologize; they'd practiced spite and deceit well enough but knew nothing of repentance and grace. It was Ireland and then the Americas for us. 

Dad said that we remain a bull headed and destructively stubborn people. He claims that those bereft of an obstinate and contrary nature who would join us do betray themselves as MacGowan pretenders. 

We have continued to move westward and westward, but to this day will never retreat from a Davidson nor admit malfeasance against a MacPhearson. 

As Dad said, really, what else can you expect of mercenaries?