In the handwritten account by John Alexander Ross of Minto dated May 28, 1962, he states, "This cup has been handed down to eldest of the Ross clan for at least 200 years." Further on, he comments that the record of those who received the cup has been lost, but quotes an estimate by Rodger Young to the effect that four generations had it before Alexander Ross and Margaret Noble. Alexander Ross and Jessie Fraser took part of the cup to Canada in 1842, but part of the base was given to Catharine Ross who was the youngest in the family.
In Our Ross Family Story, it is suggested quite strongly that the silver quaich was purchased for presentation to the grandfather of David Ross when an earlier one made of wooden staves fell into disrepair. The bottom of the quaich is stamped with the initials "RI" for the master silversmith Robert Innes, the Hallmark for Inverness "NS" and an exact date letter "A" for 1720. It was also customary for the silversmith to etch the initials of the original owner onto one of the handles.
ALEXANDER ROSS (c.1680) and (?) MANN
According to Alexander W. Ross, a story, as ancient as the cup itself and handed down orally, refers to a lady with the surname "Mann" who married the Alexander Ross whose initials are carved on the handle of the silver quaich. If our estimates are correct, Alexander was born around 1680 in Easter Ross and may have moved to the Black Isle during his lifetime.
JOHN ROSS (c.1712) and MARGARET ROSS
The next to possess the cup were John Ross and Margaret Ross. John was a mason in Chapelton, who joined a strong contingent brought by the McFarquhars of Redcastle to join the forces of Lord Cromartie prior to the Battle of Culloden (April 16, 1746). On the day before the battle, about 200 of the force were ambushed between Skelbo and Dunrobin Castles in Sutherland. John was one of the twenty or so men to escape after the skirmish and, as such, he was on the list of rebels. The handwritten account by John Alexander Ross in 1962 mentions that the silver quaich was "all they had left after the Battle of Culloden". He had returned to Chapelton before 1749 and was in time to witness the baptism of a child to a sister (?) Mary and her husband Colin McFarquhar of Burntown. In the interest of his own safety while hiding from the Duke of Cumberland's forces, he could not have his son David, born around the same time, listed in the baptismal records. It is my belief, from the research into the life of his son David, that close relatives lived in the vicinity of Balnagown Castle in Kilmuir Easter.
DAVID ROSS (c. Nov., 1748) and ISABEL DINGWALL
David Ross and Isobel Dingwall were next in line to receive the cup. David was a servant (cotter) in Parkton during the first couple of years of their marriage. Alexander Ross was born at Parkton (one-half mile north of Chapelton) on June 10, 1781. A second son John was born after they moved to Calrichie (misspelled "Calruichy") in the Parish of Kilmuir Easter of the County of Ross on November 24, 1783. A number of possible brothers and sisters surfaced in the records in close association with David. Chirstin (Christina), a daughter of the mason John Ross and Margaret Ross of Chapelton, was babtized at the Killearnan Church on February 2, 1745. In the Parish of Kilmuir Easter, David and an Elspet (or Elizabeth) Ross witnessed the baptism of a son John, whose parents were a John Ross and his wife Margaret McCulloch. Back in the small hamlet of Parkton, a son John of a Donald Ross and his wife Lilias Munro was baptized on January 28, 1782, at the Killearnan Church.
Following The Year Of The Sheep in 1792, David must have been aware of the families who faced clearances from the glens to the north.
ALEXANDER ROSS and MARGARET NOBLE
(1781.06.10 - 1863) ... (Jan., 1795 - 1866)
Alexander Ross was 11 years old when the week-long "sheep riot" of 1792 ended just eight miles from Wester Calrichie. He and his wife Margaret Noble became "runrig" farmers beside the Noble family at Spital Shore on the Redcastle estate. They were the next recipients of the silver quaich.
This family faced a different form of clearances in 1829. In 1825, the Redcastle Estate on the Black Isle had been sold to Sir William Fettes by the Mackenzie heritors. He would undertake the conversion of small run-rig farms into larger, "more efficient" single-unit tracts, placing factors in charge of each one. Fortunately, the Ross family obtained a twenty-one year lease at the Shore-of-Drynie ("Redhas") in neighbouring Knockbain Parish, and later negotiated a ten-year extension of the lease during the emigration of their family to Canada.
ALEXANDER ROSS and JANET "JESSIE" FRASER
(1814.01.11 - 1886.10.08) ... (1819.07.31 - 1893.10.21)
Alexander Ross was 15 when the family was evicted from Spital shore. He worked on road construction after his marriage to Janet "Jessie" Fraser, and they had two children before they departed for Canada from the Shore-of-Drynie in 1842. With them, they carried the upper portion of the silver quaich. Both children died --- 18-month-old Donald aboard the ship "Brilliant", and the other infant in Whitby. Their first surviving sons, Alexander Fraser Ross and James A. Ross, were born in Whitby, Ontario, before the purchase of Lot 13 on the Sixth Concession of Scott Township. The remaining children, beginning with William, were born in a humble single-storey log cabin built on the eastern half of the property. The farm became a "Home Base" to remaining members of the family as they arrived from Scotland until they resettled in Minto Township. The three eldest sons of Alex and Jessie also "pioneered" in Minto.
In Canada, the line of inheritance of the silver quaich is as follows:
ALEXANDER FRASER ROSS and EUPHEMIA SINCLAIR
(1842.09.22 - 1913.08.06) ... (1857.01.__ - 1918.06.06)
JOHN ALEXANDER ROSS and FRANCES ELIZABETH McCOMB
(1878.11.01 - 1974.09.20) ... (1884.02.13 - 1963)
ALEXANDER WILLIAM ROSS and MARION WATERS
(1916.05.31 - 2008.12.29) ... (1923.04.28 - 2008.08.05)
DONALD ALEXANDER ROSS and BRENDA JANE BENSON
(1943.11.23 - ____.__.__) ... (1948.06.23 - ____.__.__)
KYLE ALEXANDER ROSS
(1986.09.12 - ____.__.__) ...
Kyle is the nephew of Donald and Brenda. His parents are Harold Ross and Brenda Jean Finlay of Regina, Saskatchewan.
for a description of the uses of a quaich from Smuggling in the Highlands
(1914) by Ian MacDonald.
for a picture of another silver quaich emailed by Estelle Quick, curator of the Tain and District Museum.