Descended from the Celts, the MacArthurs are one of the oldest clans in Argyll.
Coming to prominence during the Scottish Wars of Independence, the family would support Robert the Bruce as he battled to regain control ofo the country, being rewarded with lands in mid Argyll for their service.
Struggling to stay in one place, the MacArthurs would become ubiquitous around Scotland as they slowly dispersed from their Argyll homelands. Despite this large spread, two MacArthur families would come to prominence in the late 1400s back in Argyll, the MacArthurs of Loch Awe and the Macarthur Campbells of Strachur. Struggling to assert their dominance over each other, the two families would engage in fighting – something that would culminate in the drowning of Duncan MacArthur and his son in Loch Awe during 1567. Such was the damage done to the family after this skirmish, the Earl of Argyll would soon step forward to sort the feud, ordering compensation to be paid as he made John, son of Findlay, the new chief. This line of succession would continue until 1780, when it became extinct.
While this would be the end of the most prominent MacArthur family, the rest of the MacArthurs would continue to have success around the world. In particular, the family would rise to prominence within the military, as John MacArthur became deputy governor of St Kitts and Nevis in the Carribean. He would be joined in the Carribean by many of his clansmen – as a large number of MacArthurs would emigrate abroad in the aftermath of the Battle of Cullodden. This would also lead to an influx of MacArhturs in Australia, with John MacArthur becoming a successful commander in New South Wales, where he would later help to found the great Australian wool industry.
More recently, the MacArthur surname has become well known in the United States through Douglas MacArthur, the US commander of the Pacific Theature during WWII. Sadly for Douglas, he would not live to see the resurection of his clan as he passed away in 1964, almost half a century before the Lord Lyon’s recognition of James MacArthur of Milton, the firs recognised chief in almost 230 years.