Rob Roy MacGregor
Raibert Ruadh (1671 - 1734) Robert the Red later anglicised to Rob Roy) was born at Glengyle at the head of Loch Katrine in the Trossachs area of Stirlingshire.He became a well educated man, fluent in reading and writing Gaelic and English but was especially adept at sword fighting, some say due to his exceptionally long arms. He lived for some time near Inversnaid on the east side of Loch Lomond and supplemented his meager living by cattle rustling and cattle droving. Interestingly the word "blackmail" derives from the custom of cattle owners of that time who frequently paid for protection with "black meal", probably knowing that the payment was to the otherwise likely castle rustlers.
Rob Roy and his father Donald Glas fought on the Jacobite side at the battle of Killiecrankie in 1689 where many soldiers on both side died. in 1691, an armistice was agreed if clan chiefs agreed to swear an oath of allegiance.With more peaceful times. Rob Roy found time to marry in Helen Mary MacGregor 1693 and within a month the "official" clan leader died and Rob's father was more widely recognized as the true clan leader.
During the next few years Rob made his living as a cattle dealer, buying his stock in Scotland and driving them for sale in England. Flushed with success he borrowed £1,000 from the Duke of Montrose to finance a deal. Alas, The chief drover promptly disappeared with all the money and since Montrose believed that Rob was involved in the loss immediately made him bankrupt and had him branded as a thief. It is said that Rob's wife mary was raped and branded when she was evicted from their home.
Rob escaped to the Highlands where he evaded capture and eventually the Campbell Earl of Breadblane gave him some land in Glen Dochart. Rob then returned to his previous mixture of illegal cattle raids and apparently legal "cattle protection". During this time he gained a reputation for helping poor people who had financial problems with his enemy, the Duke of Montrose.
In 1720 Rob moved back near Balquidder, Montrose had now given up trying to capture him, and took up his previous life. The begriming of his fame was due to a book written by Daniel Defoe (the author best known for Robinson Crusoe) which published an embellished and romanticized version of his life entitled "Highland Rogue". It is likely that this provided some stimulus to Sir Walter Scott who later further enhanced his reputation.
The last 10 years of Rob's life were relatively peaceful and he died on 28 December 1734 at Balquidder, to the east of Loch Earn.