Colonel Anne of the Jacobites

Lady Anne Farquharson Mackintosh (1723-1784)

I’ve posted often about my genealogical research, but only about my own family. I’ve also gotten interested in my husband’s family, though I haven’t done a lot of research yet. And tonight I learned of a remarkable woman who may have been an ancestor of his; she was born into his mother’s Scottish clan, the Farquharsons.

Lady Anne Farquharson Mackintosh, also known as Colonel Anne, was fiercely loyal to the Jacobite cause, as were all of the Farquharsons. Her husband Angus Mackintosh, on the other hand, was a Captain in the Black Watch, the English government force raised from loyal clans to police the Highlands. Unlike many women of her time, Anne hung onto her own convictions instead of embracing her husband’s.

In fact, she not only believed in the Jacobite cause; she led an army for it. Anne Farquharson Mackintosh was the only woman commander in the Jacobite forces, raising a force of 350 Farquharson and Mackintosh fighters when she was all of 22 years old. As a woman, she was not allowed to actually lead her forces on the battlefield. But she is credited with saving the life of Bonnie Prince Charlie when she planned an attack to make the English-led forces believe they were up against the entire Jacobite army instead of a force of only five of her men.

At the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745, a victory for the Highlanders, Captain Angus Mackintosh was captured, and later paroled into the custody of his wife. When they met, she greeted him with the words, “Your servant, Captain” to which he replied, “your servant, Colonel.” After that, she was commonly known as “Colonel Anne.”

When the Jacobites were finally defeated at Culloden the following year, a high number of her soldiers were killed, and Anne was captured and held at Inverness. After six weeks, she was paroled into her husband’s custody. Despite their political differences, they appear to have lived together happily until his death in 1770.

We have not worked out her relationship to my husband’s family, if there is one. But as his mother’s clanswoman, she probably was related. I would love to learn more. Someday, when we can reschedule the trip to Scotland that we had to cancel a couple years ago, we hope to visit some of the sites connected with her life.

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