McDonald, Flora

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McDonald, Flora

McDONALD, FLORA. (1722–1790). Jacobite and Tory heroine. As a schoolgirl, Flora McDonald (her name is also often spelled MacDonald) helped Charles Edward Stuart (known in history as "Bonnie Prince Charlie" and "the Young Pretender") escape to the Isle of Skye in June 1746, after the battle of Culloden. Captured, tried as a traitor to the British Crown, and imprisoned in the Tower of London, MacDonald was eventually released after the story of her exploit aroused national admiration. She even was presented in court, and when George II asked why she had helped an enemy of the kingdom she replied, "It was no more than I would have done for your majesty, had you been in like situation." This simple answer epitomized the "defense" that won her life and freedom.

Four years later, on 6 November 1750, Flora married Allan McDonald (a kinsman). In August 1774 she went with him and their children to join the colony of Highlanders that had settled in North Carolina. Here she did much to rally the Scots to the standard of Donald McDonald, who commanded Loyalist forces at the Battle of Moores Creek. Her husband, who had become a Tory brigadier general, was captured at Moores Creek Bridge on 27 February 1776 and sent to Halifax, Virginia. On his advice, Flora returned to Scotland in 1779, and he followed later. Two of their sons were lost with the French warship, the Ville de Paris, on 12 April 1782, when it commander, Francois Joseph Paul Grasse surrendered the ship. Flora is buried on the Isle of Skye.

SEE ALSO Grasse, François Joseph Paul, Comte de; McDonald, Donald; Moores Creek Bridge.


Powell, William S., ed. Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1878–1996.

                             revised by Robert M. Calhoon

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