“To Conquer or Die”

The MacDowalls are a Scottish clan, heirs male of Fergus, Lord of Galloway in 12th century. One branch settled in Sweden, where they became Barons Duwall.

Fergus, whose ancestry is unknown, became Lord of Galloway in the reign of David I. Scholars believe he was candidate acceptable to both the Norse and the Gaels in Galloway. He probably had a Norse father and a mother who belonged to the ancient dynasty of Galloway. He married an illegitimate daughter of the English King Henry I, further suggesting a general pact to provide strong leadership in this lawless area.

The Lordship of Galloway continued in Fergus’ line until the death of his great grandson Alan, Lord of Galloway, about 1234. Alan’s daughter and heiress Devorgilla married John de Balliol of Bywell. Their son John de Balliol was Lord of Galloway. He was the famous John de Balliol, who contended with the Bruces for the throne of Scotland. John de Balliol gave his kinsman Dougal a charter in 1295 for the lands of Garthland.

Established at Garthland, the family became the Clan MacDowall, taking their name from Dougal, the 1st laird of Garthland. His brother Fergus was ancestor of the Fergusons. A year after the grant of Garthland, Dougal and Fergus M’douall appear on the Ragman Roll, a list of Scottish nobles who swore fealty to Edward I of England. Dougal’s grandson, Fergus, 3rd of Garthland, was sheriff depute for Kirkcudbright in the reign of David II. His grandson, Sir Fergus Macdowall, the fifth Laird, was taken prisoner by the English at the Battle of Homildon in 1401. Uchtred, 9th of Garthland, married Isabel Gordon of Lochinvar. Uchtred and his son, Thomas, were both killed at the Battle of Flodden in September 1513, along with James IV and the flower of Scottish chivalry.

The Macdowalls continued at Garthland until William, 10th of Garthland sold the estate about 1810, transfering the name to his estate at Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire. The chiefly family emigrated to Canada at the end of the 19th century. The present chief, Fergus Hort Day Macdowall of Garthland, lives in Canada.

Members of the clan wear the Galloway District tartan.

Coat of Arms

Macdowall of Garthland: Azure a lion rampant Argent crowned of a ducal coronet Or. Crest: Issuant from a crest coronet Or, a lion’s paw erased and erected Proper holding a dagger point upwards Proper hilted and pommeled Or. Motto: Vincere vel Mori (To Conquer or Die). These are the arms of the ancient province of Galloway.

Galloway Tartan
Galloway Tartan

Duwall Family in Sweden

The Macdowalls of Makerston descend from Sir Dougal MacDowall, younger son of Sir Dougal, 2nd of Garthland. Of this line, Tobias Albert Macdowall of Makerston (abt 1541-1641) emigrated from Scotland to Mecklenburg, and much later, about 1594, settled in Sweden. In 1626 he was Baliff of Örbyhus and Tierp in Uppsala län. He died in 1641, nearly 100 years old, having outlived seven of his nine sons — all of whom were officers in the Swedish army. His son Jakob Albrektsson Duwall (1589-1634) had a distinguished military career and was posthumously created a Baron in 1674.

Baron Sven Johan Duwall (1746-1819), a descendant of Jakob Duwall, had an estate at Tyllinge in Dalhem. His bailiff (befallningsman or betjänt) was Jonas Svensson Wåhlstrand (1747-1800), an ancestor of the Svanström family.

Wåhlstrand Family

1. Sven Jonsson Wåhlstrand (1719-1778), Soldier at Kullstugan in Dalhem. He married Anna Andersdotter.

2. Jonas Svensson Wåhlstrand (1747-1800), Baliff of Tyllinge in Dalhem. He married Helena (Lena) Persdotter.

3. Anna Ingrid Wåhlstrand (1782-1850). She married Peder Jönsson Honnett (1780-1831), a cavalry soldier at Börsebo in Gärdserum. He fought in the Napoleonic Wars, was taken prisoner in 1805 and never returned. He is thought to have died at a prison camp in Russia, with others of his unit.

4. Inga Lena Honnett (1803-1870). She married Jonas Svanström (1794-1881), a tailor at Landsberg u Broddebo in Gärdserum.

More Information

MacDowall at at

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