The MacDonalds of Glencoe are best remembered as the victims of the Massacre of Glencoe where 78 unarmed MacDonalds; men, women and children were massacred by troops under Robert Campbell of Glenlyon from Clan Campbell.
Tradition records that Iain's marriage to the MacEanruig or MacHenry the 'head man' in Glencoe brought the MacDonalds these Glencoe lands. Glencoe was however an ever hostile environment where people were obliged by the sparseness of the soil to raid and steal cattle from their neighbours.
The MacDonalds alliance to the Stuart cause made them more unpopular with the government. This led to the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692 where 78 unarmed MacDonalds were killed. Many of the clan did escape the slaughter only to die in the surrounding hills and mountains due to lack of food and shelter as their houses had been burned down.
The massacre was ordered upon them because of the Chief's failure to sign an oath of allegiance to King William III of England, Scotland and Ireland. However MacIain had intended to sign the oath but savage snow storms prevented him. Even though his attempt was known to the government they decided an example needed to be made and the massacre went ahead anyway.
The chief's sons escaped into the snow and although the clan was temporarily demoralised they fought in the 18th century for the House of Stuart during the Jacobite Uprisings of 1715 to 1716 at the Battle of Sherrifmuir and 1745 to 1746 at the Battle of Prestonpans.
The clan's tartan is sold as MacIain/MacDonald of Glencoe but sometimes is often sold as MacDonald of Ardnamurchan through confusion of both clans being known as MacIains. There is a separate tartan known as the MacDonald of Glencoe, it is very different from the MacIan or the Ardnamuchan. This is the proper tartan for Glencoe and was found on the bodies exhumed in the 1800's for burial in consecrated ground. This is an anchient tartan and predates the Highland Clearances.
The clan no longer has a chief and they are represented by the High Chief of Clan Donald. Currently there are 3 contenders for MacDonald of Glencoe Chiefship. It is anticipated that this matter will be settled by Lord Lyon King of Arms in the next few years.
Henderson, Johnson, Kean, Keene, MacHenry, MacIan, MacKean, McCain, MacCain.
From Scots Kith and Kin, Revised Second Edition; published by Albyn Press LTD, Edinburgh, p. 65
The list of Septs of the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe is:
Henderson, Hendrie, Hendry, Henry, Johnson, Kean, Keene, MacDonald, MacGilp, MacHendrie, MacHendry, MacHenry, MacIan, MacKean, MacKillop, MacPhilip, Philip, Philp