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The McAlpines of South Ekfrid, Ontario, Canada

Updated August 6, 2002

About Our Family Research

With the help of my long-suffering Anglo-Germanic husband Jim, I am continuing to carry on the ancient McAlpine tradition of preserving family history. We are currently researching the descendants of Malcolm and Mary (Curry) McAlpine of Lochgilphead, Scotland, whose six sons emigrated to Ekfrid Township, Ontario, near Glencoe. Representatives of several branches of "Siol Ailpein" attended our reunion this year and, with luck, we may be on the verge of carrying the documented McAlpine / MacAlpine lineage back one generation further in Scotland.

We still help run the reunion of the descendants of the six South Ekfrid McAlpine brothers, to be held again in 2003 on July 18-19 in Glencoe and in Port Glasgow on Lake Erie. The latter is where my ancestors landed beginning in 1829, part of a great wave of Highland Scottish emigration to Southwestern Ontario in the early 19th century. Any other McAlpine descendants are, of course, most welcome.

For more information, please visit our web site at and feel free to post a message on our message board. E-mail links, phone numbers, maps, itinerary, etc., etc. are available through the site. You can type in instead, if you like!

There is also a site for our family history book at

Some alternate spellings of the McAlpine surname are MacAlpine, McAlpin, M'Alpin, Kelpin and Calpin. None of these are "better" or "worse" -- they are all attempts to render the Gaelic in a foreign alphabet. :)

Drop me a line, cousin!

Family Photos
  • The McAlpine / MacAlpine Tartan (1 KB)
    The McAlpines were a Highland Clan "hoary with antiquity", quoting the words of my late mother in an article of hers, which appeared in the London Free Press daily newspaper. By tradition all McAlpines are descended from King Kenneth McAlpin ("Righ Coinneach mac Ailpein" in Gaelic). He was the first King of the Scots and Picts. The McAlpines lost their status as an official clan sometime in the late Middle Ages or early modern era. However, they still retain their memories, their ancient tartan and motto, "Cuimhnich bās Ailpein" -- Remember the Fall of Alpin.
  • Malcolm McAlpine 1803-1888 (7 KB)
    Malcolm was the only one of the six brothers whose image survives to the present. He arrived in Canada in 1829 with his older brother James and their widowed mother Mary. Tall, robust, red-haired, blue-eyed and a native speaker of the Gaelic tongue, Malcolm was a typical Highland Scot. He was a farmer, county councillor, officer in the reserve army and a devout Baptist.
  • Mary (Graham) McAlpine 1817-1910 (9 KB)
    Mary Graham was the wife of my great-great-grandfather Duncan, an Ekfrid farmer and brother of Malcolm. Born in Taynish, Knapdale, Argyll, Mary was the daughter of Duncan Graham (1781-1873), the first European settler in Glencoe, Ontario. A Presbyterian, she was known for her courage, strength and compassion -- qualities which served her well in early pioneer times.
  • Dr. John A. McAlpine, 1848-1925 (9 KB)
    A son of Malcolm, Dr. John earned fame as the first surgeon in Ontario to use anaesthesia. He was a brother-in-law of Lt.-Gen. Sir Sam Hughes of Lindsay. Despite being a man of medicine and science, Dr. John retained some of the old Celtic mysticism and believed in the banshee or "guardian spirit" as a harbinger of death -- in this case, his own, and he was proven right.
  • Doris Jean (McAlpine) Kendrick 1925-1992 (12 KB)
    Doris was the daughter of Malcolm M. and Jean E.(Wood) McAlpine. Doris and her husband, OPP Corporal Ken Kendrick, were my late and dear parents. Doris worked as Women's Editor for the London Free Press and played the organ at the Glencoe Presbyterian Church for over 50 years, beginning as a girl helping out in the summers and ending as Organist and Choir Director. Along with her Uncle Duncan and Cousin Jimmy McAlpine, she was one of the mainstays of McAlpine genealogy in Glencoe, having attended U. of T. and trained as a teacher.
  • Karen Jean Kendrick-Diamond (31 KB)
    C'est moi! This dynamic GIF shows me (1) at the annual Kendrick Reunion; (2) wearing my Dad's police cap at age 6 months; (3) at work in the Glencoe Library; and (4) with my husband Jim Diamond. I hold a Certificate in Library Management from SOLS and am taking 4th year Honours Classical Studies by correspondence from the University of Waterloo. Jim is a graduate engineering technologist and web-page designer. We have no kids (unfortunately), several pets and too many computers :)
  • Malcolm M. McAlpine, 1887-1946 (19 KB)
    Malcolm M. McAlpine, my grandfather, was born and raised on the family farm south-east of Glencoe. He only received Grade III education because the teacher at Ekfrid School No. 5 thrashed kids for speaking Gaelic. This did not prevent Grandfather Mac from becoming Glencoe's most successful insurance agent of his time, a past master of the local Masonic lodge and a member of the Glencoe High School Board. He returned to the other school in Ekfrid only once as an adult -- to meet his future wife, who had replaced the Scot-beater. Like many others of his clan, Grandfather was musically talented, sang tenor and came to be known as "Choir Mac." Very well-liked and family-oriented, his sudden and early death left a hole in many lives that was never really filled.
  • Jean E. (Wood) McAlpine, 1887-1977 (22 KB)
    Jean E. (Wood) McAlpine, was born and raised on her father's farm in Dawn Township. A sailing captain on the Great Lakes, he left the "sea" in order to farm. John Wood's wife, Sarah Irvine, was a relative of Lt. Col. Dr. John McCrae who wrote the Canadian elegy, "In Flanders' Fields", before being killed in action during World War I. Nana, as I called my Grandmother McAlpine, taught public school before marriage. Afterwards, she was active in the Glencoe Presbyterian Church, a member of the old Glencoe Library Board, Horticultural Society, Lawn Bowling Club, Book Club and bridge club, to name but a few of her pursuits.
  • P.J. McAlpine, 1849-99, & Mary McIntyre, 1851-1924 (10 KB)
    Peter J. "Black Pete" McAlpine, my first cousin thrice removed, was the youngest of the thirteen children of James and Mary. There were about 75 grandchildren in that family -- we get a different number each time we count. Family Christmases were a desperate time for the grandparents. After spending his early life on the farm, Black Pete made some lucrative land deals. He moved into Glencoe, bought what became the McAlpine House (Tavern & Hotel) and set himself up as one of the town's leading citizens. Contrary to certain tales, Black Pete was not so named because of some so-called "black" or evil trait in his personality. The nickname merely referred to his hair colour. There were several Red Jims (including Pete's own twin brother), Red Donalds (Donald Ruadh in Gaelic), Fair Donalds (Donald Bahn), et cetera. Considering some of the outlandish nicknames used over the years in Glencoe, such as Neily Buffalo McLachlan, Racker Dan McNaughton, Napoleon Siddall, Dit Davenport or ****** Dunc McEachran (I'm a good Presbyterian girl and I just can't say that awful p-word!), Black Pete did not fare too badly. When my father-in-law was a young boy, newly arrived from England on July 12, 1913, the first thing he saw in Glencoe was Racker Dan and ****** Dunc fly out through the doors of the McKellar House tavern. They were locked in each other's arms and punching furiously. Racker was trying to bite off ******'s ear. Mrs. Diamond, my husband's grandmother, pulled young Willie quickly away because their language scandalized her. Note: this was the McKellar House, not the McAlpine! After a temperance sermon, Black Pete did draw some flak when he bade farewell to the Presbyterian minister and marched his family across the street to join the Anglicans. Perhaps the "black" story may have been started soon after that.
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