McCartney's Journeys

Famous or Infamous McCartneys


The following stories are from various sources, but they are all about people named McCartney, or any variation of the name, who became famous (or infamous) in their time. The times are prior to Paul and the Beatles. None of these people are in any way related to the web master.

If you know of any stories about prominent McCartney's that are not mentioned here, please tell me the story and the original source. I will add it to this page and give you credit for having told me about it. Please contact me.


James Macartney, Esq.

Margaret was the wife of Charles Lostin. When some men arrived at their house to collect a tax, Margaret would not let them in. They became incensed and beat her mercilessly. The beating was so sever that she died a month later. There was a witness to the beating, one Thomas Donelson, but he would not come forward for fear of reprisals.

Margaret's ghost began to haunt Donelson. Apparently he was more afraid of the ghost than he was of the men for he brought charges against them. The case was instituted in 1685 in the Downpatrick Assize Court. Judge John Lindon presided. Charles Lostin was represented at the trial by James Macartney, Esquire.

James was appointed second puisne Justice of the King's Bench in 1701. On 31 March 1711 he and another Judge, Upton by name, presided over a trial of seven witches at Carrigfergus. It was the opinion of Judge Upton that the jury could not possibly convict the women. He felt the testimony of the plaintiff was not sufficient to warrant such a verdict. Macartney disagreed with this opinion. He said the jury would convict. He was later proven correct when the jury, consisting of twelve men, convicted all seven women.

This was the last witch trial in Ireland.

Macartney was appointed puisne Justice of Common Pleas in 1714 and retired in 1726. He was a native of Antrim. The word "puisne" is defined as inferior in rank. The title "puisne justice" would be read as "lower justice" or "junior justice".

Source: St. John Seymour; Irish Witchcraft and Demonology; Dorset Press, NY., 1992; p169-170


George McCartney, Lord Mayour

George McCartney was Lord Mayor, also called Sovereign, of Belfast in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. He was a Presbyterian and held strong prejudices against Catholics. In 1707 he is quoted as saying 'we have not amongst us within the town above seven Papists'. Regardless of his biases, George rose in prominence.

Source: Robert Johnstone; Belfast, Portrait of a City; Barrie & Jenkins, London; 1990; page 56.


George Macartney, Earl of the Realm

Another George Macartney, born in 1737 and, possibly a descendant of the Lord Mayor, (the spelling of the times was not always consistent) rose to prominence when he was named envoy to Russia and the court of Katherine, The Great. While there he negotiated an alliance between the two nations.

In 1775 he was named Governor of the Caribbean Islands and was elevated to Baron a year later. He was made Governor of Fort St. George (later Madras) India in 1780.

His most famous position came in 1793 when he was elevated to Earl and named Ambassador to China. His pomposity did not endear him to the Chinese lords in Beijing. They laughed at his manner of dress and the gifts he brought for the Emperor. A very interesting article about his Beijing episode can be read here.

Source: William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan; George Macartney Papers
This data was on-line at one time. It has since been removed.


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Some Scottish MacCartney Warriors

Thanks to our friend Len McCartney, we have the following story.

It was a dark and stormy night…or maybe it was clear and the moon was shining. I don’t’ really know. Neither Len nor I were there. It happened before we were born – way before - around four centuries before.

On the western border between England and Scotland is an area known as the West Marches. This area was inhabited by two noble families, the Maxwells and the Johnstones. The heads of these families had, according to the auguries of the court of King James IV, been appointed Warden of the West Marches.

Whether it was religious differences – the Maxwells were Catholic while the Johnstones were Protestant – or personal affronts between members of the families, a feud existed between the families.

On the night of 6 April 1585 the feud erupted again. A group of men, under the leadership of John Maxwell, Earl of Morton, went on a vengeful raid. They attacked Lockwood Towers, the home of the Johnstone family, and burned it down. They were caught, arrested and sentenced. Nine months later, in December of that year, a pardon was issued for their leader and all of the men.

John Maxwell had been accompanied by his brothers Robert and David, and a small army of one hundred and seventeen men. All 120 men involved in the raid and then were pardoned. Among them were eleven members named MacCartney. They were:

Thomas MacCartney of Arbour Roger MacCartney in Larg End
Downin MacCartney George MacCartney
John MacCartney Herbert MacCartney in Ernespie
Herbert MacCartney in Hillington John MacCartney in Nether Ernemery
Robert MacCartney in Garrieston Thomas MacCartney in Craigton
Thomas MacCartney (follows Willian Maxwell, Capt)

As Len said "I guess our forebears did something besides farm."


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