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Mini Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (T)
Rebecca Talmage and
Captain Charles MacDonald

Charles MacDonald was the son of Colonel Charles MacDonald who was the nephew of the famous Flora MacDonald.

Charles married Rebecca Talmage in Ringwood, Hampshire on 5 January 1823. They had no children.

CAPTAIN CHARLES MACDONALD entered the army at age 16 years and served a total of 17 years and 10 months up to December 6th 1828. He became an ensign on February 11th 1811, a lieutenant on May 25th 1815, moved regiments on August 10th 1820, switched to half pay on February 14th 1822, back to full pay on January 15th 1824, and then half pay on April 7th 1826. 

In the Army Lists, printed annually, which list all officers in the army Charles Macdonald is listed as being in the 19th (1st Yorkshire North Riding) Regiment of Foot as an ensign (being promoted to that rank on February 7th 1811) in the Army Lists for 1811 to 1815.  For those covering the years 1816 to 1820 he is listed as a lieutenant, being promoted to that rank on May 25th 1815.  On August 10th 1820 he joined the 47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot, and appears as such in the 1821 & 1822 Army Lists.  On February 14th 1822 he joined the Yorkshire Light Infantry and was placed on half pay, and appears listed as such in the Army Lists for 1823 and 1824.  On January 25th 1824 he joined the 86th (Royal County Down) Regiment of Foot on full pay and appears as such in the 1825 and 1826 Army Lists.  He is then placed on half pay on April 8th 1826 and appears as unattached to any regiment in the 1927 to 1830 Army Lists. 

The promotions were earned, not bought, but for his transfer to the 86th on full pay he did pay the difference.  He ‘was placed on half pay both times, receiving the difference, on account of ill health contracted on service in the island of Ceylon, but he was ‘very desirous of service as long as his health permits’.

Upon his marriage in 1823 he states that he has been resident ‘in Ireland on full pay and in Ringwood and Winchester in Hampshire since placed on half pay.  He signs the document (Charles MacDonald Lieut. Half pay unattached Winchester) and the document is stamped ‘Winchester 6 Dec 1828’. Finally in the 1831 Army List he appears under the section for “Resignations and Retirements”, indicating that he was no longer in the army. However upon his death on  21 April 1836 at Hobart Town, van Diemensland (now Tasmania) Australia he was an officer on half pay.

His death notice in the local Hobart newspaper dated Friday 29 April 1836 read as below

Lt Charles MacDonald – Her Majesty’s Service – 40 years
After a lingering illness – Bathurst St – 21st April

After Charles died, Rebecca returned to England and lived with her sister in Northam, Devon, until her death on 18 August 1885.

Flora MacDonald was given a brooch by Bonnie Prince Charlie for her efforts in aiding and abetting his escape after the foiled attempt to regain the Crown of Scotland. After her death the brooch was passed down from her nephew Charles MacDonald to his son Charles MacDonald and became the possession of Rebecca MacDonald, upon her husband’s death.  Rebecca in turn bequeathed the brooch to her niece Rebecca MacDonald Kent (nee Hodges) and upon her death it was inherited by Ivy Rebecca MacDonald Kent, her grand daughter in New Zealand.  Ivy married Mr Howie and the brooch is now in the possession of Ivy’s grandson, deposited in a safety deposit box along with the papers that authenticate it. The brooch was brought to New Zealand by Dick Kent after the First World War as it had been left to his sister Ivy Kent.

Painted on the ivory of the brooch is a likeness of Lt. Charles MacDonald. On the other side it has a fine ivory carving of 3 doves perched on an urn surrounded by very delicate 'branches' - you can swivel this inner part so that either the ivory carving or painting is facing to the front. In a painting by Alexander Johnstone in the Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield; Flora is depicted wearing this particular brooch.

Information provided by Rachel Kent. Email Contact:

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