Recorded in a number of spellings, this very famous surname is of early Scottish origins. First recorded in the time of King Robert, The Bruce, in about 1310, the clan were it is claimed, at their peak during this medieval period. They held large estates in Lorne, Argyllshire, had the hereditary keepership of the castle of Dunstaffnage from the crown of Scotland, held their seat at the castle of Strachur, and were also the hereditary pipers to the great MacDonald clan, the Lords of the Isles. Sadly the MacArthur influence seems to have waned with the later Scottish monarchs, and after only a hundred years the clan began to lose both its powers of influence in the great affairs of state, and the lands granted by the crown when the then chief John MacArthur fell foul of King James 1st, and paid with his life on the scaffold.Many poems and laments were written about the MacArthurs and their fall, although perhaps some of this was exaggerated as part of the glamour of the clans, as the MacGregors for instance, were banned entirely for nearly two hundred years! What is certain is that members of the clan continued to hold ranking positions, if not quite as eminent as previously. Early examples of the name recordings include Tarleto McArthir, a charter witness for the earl of Ross in 1440, and Dougall M'Airthour, sherrif of Argyll, in 1595. In more recent times the name has once again achieved world wide prominence. General Arthur MacArthur (1845 - 1912) being only the twelfth American to be appointed to the rank of General of the Army, whilst his son General Douglas MacArthur (1885 - 1952), not only held the same ranking, but was the victor in the Pacific sector of the Second World War (1941 - 1945).
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