People: Scots of Windsor's Past
Angus Mackintosh (1755-1833):
"Touch not the cat bot a glove."
~ Mackintosh Clan Motto
Born in Castle Leathers, Inverness, to Duncan Mackintosh of Inverness and Agnes Dallas of Cantray, Angus Mackintosh entered life amid the turmoil of the post-Culloden era. The Mackintosh clan had fought under the Stuart banner at the Battle of Culloden, and suffered for their Jacobite sympathies after the defeat. The uncertainty and apprehension of day-to-day existence that followed the confiscation of the family estate may have prompted Angus to leave Scotland when he came of age.
The 1779 British census of Detroit marks Angus's first appearance in the New World; he is recorded as having been a merchant in the firm Forsith, Dye & Mackintosh. In 1783, he married Marie-Archange St. Martin, the daughter of prominent French Huron interpreter Jacques Beaudry. Mackintosh carried on as a Detroit area merchant through the American Revolution; but when the time came for Britain to officially surrender Fort Detroit, he elected to retain his citizenship. By this time he was working as the North West Company's agent in Detroit and Sandwich. In addition to buying provisions for the Company from local farmers, his major responsibility was to assume safe passage of the Company's pelts and merchandise between the Canadian West and Montréal.
In 1797, Mackintosh applied for a land grant in Amherstburgh and purchased farm lot 93 on the first concession of Sandwich, which is today the land on Riverside Drive between Moy Avenue and Gladstone Street. The construction of the two-storey frame house with a front verandah took two years, and the family moved from its home in Detroit into Moy Hall on 10 October 1799. The house formed part of a complex that included a wharf, a general store, and a storehouse, which enabled Mackintosh to function independently of his Detroit operations (these closed permanently after burning down in 1805).
In Upper Canada, Angus Mackintosh continued his activities with the North West Company, which had expanded his role to include the supervision of trade with Fort Erie. He also established himself as an independent fur trader, became involved in land speculation (he owned land in Sandwich, Detroit, and Ohio), and even managed Grosse Isle for ten years between 1796 and 1806. As soon as he moved across the river, he began to pioneer a small empire. By bringing the Jenkins and Hackett families, ship builders for the North West Company, to the area in 1799, Mackintosh launched a ship-building industry in Walkerville. The Caledonia began operation as a trading ship that same year, and served the British navy in the War of 1812 before being captured by the Americans. The Nancy also played an important role as a supply ship for the British navy during the war, but the American navy attacked and destroyed it in 1814 because of its value to their enemy. Mackintosh launched the Charlotte and the Duke of Wellington after the war and used them for merchant trading.
Moy Hall (named for the ancestral home of the Mackintosh clan) was more responsible for the early commercial development of Windsor and the Western District than any other singular enterprise. The general store's early inventory included basics such as blankets, kettles, knives, liquor, and firearms; but by 1819, its shelves were stocked with everything ranging from fiddle strings to fine china, including, but not limited to, prayer books, silk hose, black ostrich feathers, meat, furniture, books like Drydine's Virgil and Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, and more, worth approximately £8,300.
Aside from developing as a premier distribution centre, Moy Hall also became famous as a place full of lavish entertainment and social gatherings during the early nineteenth century. The Mackintoshes reigned as leaders of the local nobility, hosting great dances and feasts for the community during the year and entertaining visitors for weeks at a time during Christmas holidays.
Not contented to remain in the commercial sphere, Angus became involved in public service in 1810, when he was appointed a Justice of the Peace for the Western District, a position he held until 1827. In 1815, he was made paymaster to the 2nd Regiment of the Essex Militia, and in 1820 he stepped into government affairs with an appointment to the Legislative Council of Upper Canada.
Angus and Archange enjoyed great prosperity and prominence in the Western District, living happily together until 1827, when Archange died at the age of sixty-one. Their forty-four year marriage had been blessed with fourteen children, four boys and ten girls, half of whom were born in Detroit and half in Sandwich. Margaret, born in 1801, was first child Archange had at Moy Hall.
Shortly after Archange passed away, Angus received news from Scotland that his eldest brother Alexander had also died. Alexander Mackintosh had built his own Moy Hall in Jamaica, where he became a merchant, but had returned to Scotland to succeed his second cousin as clan chief. When Angus learned of his brother's death, he returned to Inverness to succeed him as the 25th Chief of Clan Mackintosh and 26th Chief of Clan Chattan. Angus lived out the rest of his days at Daviot House, which had been built on the bank of the River Nairn by his brother Alexander, until his death in 1833. He was, in turn, succeeded by his third son, Alexander, who had continued his father's trading business after Angus returned to Scotland. Alexander moved into Moy Hall in 1835.
The Mackintosh clan was founded in the twelfth century by Shaw MacDuff, son of Duncan MacDuff, Earl of Fife. King Malcolm IV granted Shaw lands in Inverness in gratitude and recognition of his loyal military service. Shaw took the name Mac-an-toisich, meaning "son of the chief," thus founding the clan. When Angus Mackintosh, the 6th clan chief, married Eva, heiress of the Clan Chattan Confederation, in 1261, its leadership also passed to the Mackintosh family.