Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MACDONELL, Miles, governor of Assiniboia, born in Inverness, Scotland, in 1767; died at Point Fortune, on Ottawa river, in 1828. His father, Colonel John Macdonell, of Scothouse, Inverness-shire, at the invitation of Sir William Johnson, came to this country in 1773, with several of his friends, and settled at Caughnawaga, on Mohawk river, in New York. At the beginning of the Revolutionary war, Colonel Macdonell migrated with his family to Canada, and took up his residence at St. Andrews, near Cornwall, where he died in 1810. The son Miles, who showed military tendencies at an early age, was appointed ensign in the king's royal regiment of New York in 1792, lieutenant in the royal Canadian volunteers in 1794, and captain in the same corps in 1796. At the request of Lord Selkirk he visited London in 1803, and was induced by that nobleman to assume the post of governor of his projected colony on Red river, Northwest territory. He arrived there with the first body of colonists, composed principally of evicted Scottish Highlanders from the Sutherland estates, in 1812, and was at once met with opposition from the agents of the Northwest company, whose headquarters were at Montreal. On 11 June, 1815, the Northwest company's servants attacked and fired upon the colonists, and demanded the surrender of Governor Macdonell, who, to save the effusion of blood, gave himself up voluntarily. He was taken to Montreal as a prisoner, and charges preferred against him by his enemies, but his case was not tried. During his ten or twelve years' connection with Lord Selkirk's Red river settlement he was its leading spirit and took an active and decided part in the feuds of the Hudson bay and Northwest trading companies. His latter years were spent at his farm at Osnaburg, Upper Canada, but he died at the residence of his brother, John.
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