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Famous Mackenzies of the younger history

Sir Alexander MacKenzie

Sir Alexander Mackenzie (or MacKenzie, Scottish Gaelic: Alasdair MacCoinnich, 1764 – 12 March 1820) was a Scottish explorer. He is known for his overland crossing of what is now Canada to reach the Pacific Ocean in 1793. This was the first east to west crossing of North America north of Mexico and predated the Lewis and Clark expedition by 10 years.


In 1764, Mackenzie was born at Luskentyre House in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. He was the third of the four children born to Kenneth 'Corc' Mackenzie (1731-1780) and his wife Isabella MacIver, from another prominent mercantile family in Stornoway. When only fourteen years old, Mackenzie's father served as an Ensign to protect Stornaway during the Jacobite rising of 1745. He later became a merchant and held the tack of Melbost; his grandfather being a younger brother of Murdoch Mackenzie, 6th Laird of Fairburn. Educated at the same school as Colin Mackenzie, in 1774 his mother died and he sailed to New York to join his father and an uncle, John Mackenzie. In 1776, during the American War of Independence, his father and uncle resumed their military duties and joined the King's Royal Regiment of New York as Lieutenants. By 1778, to escape the ravages of war, young Mackenzie was either sent, or accompanied by two aunts, to Montreal. By 1779 (a year before his father's death at Carleton Island), Mackenzie had secured an apprenticeship with Finlay, Gregory & Co., one of the most influential fur trading companies at Montreal, which was later administered by Archibald Norman McLeod. In 1787, the company merged with the rival North West Company.

 

On behalf of the North West Company Mackenzie travelled to Lake Athabasca where, in 1788, he was one of the founders of Fort Chipewyan. He had been sent to replace Peter Pond, a partner in the North West Company. From Pond, he learned that the First Nations people understood that the local rivers flowed to the northwest. Acting on this information, he set out by canoe on the river known to the local Dene First Nations people as the Dehcho, (Mackenzie River) on July 10, 1789 following it to its mouth in the hope of finding the Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean. As he ended up reaching the Arctic Ocean on July 14, it is conjectured that he named the river "Disappointment River" as it did not lead to Cook Inlet in Alaska as he had expected. The river was later renamed the Mackenzie River in his honour.

 

In 1791, Mackenzie returned to Great Britain to study the new advance in the measurement of longitude. Upon his return in 1792, he set out once again to find a route to the Pacific. Accompanied by native guides, French voyageurs and a dog called "Our Dog", Mackenzie left Fort Fork following the route of the Peace River. He crossed the great divide and found the upper reaches of the Fraser River but was warned by the local natives that the Fraser Canyon to the south was unnavigable and populated by belligerent tribes. He was instead directed to follow a grease trail by ascending the West Road River, crossing over the Coast Mountains and descending the Bella Coola River to the sea. He followed this advice and reached the Pacific coast on July 20, 1793 at Bella Coola, British Columbia, on North Bentinck Arm, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean. Thus, he completed the first recorded transcontinental crossing of North America north of Mexico. He had unknowingly missed meeting George Vancouver at Bella Coola by 48 days. He had wanted to continue westward out of a desire to reach the open ocean, but was stopped by the hostility of the Heiltsuk people. Hemmed in by Heiltsuk war canoes, he wrote a message on a rock near the water's edge of Dean Channel, using a reddish paint made of vermilion and bear grease, and turned back east. The inscription read: "Alex MacKenzie / from Canada / by land / 22d July 1793" (at the time the name Canada was an informal term for the former French territory in what is now southern Quebec.)[12]:418 The words were later inscribed permanently by surveyors. The site is now Sir Alexander Mackenzie Provincial Park and is designated a National Historic Site of Canada. In his journal Mackenzie recorded the Carrier language for the first time.

 

In 1801 the journals of his exploratory journeys were published. He was knighted for his efforts in the following year and served in the Legislature of Lower Canada from 1804 to 1808. In 1812, Mackenzie returned to England where he married the fourteen-year-old Geddes Mackenzie, heiress of Avoch. Her grandfather, Captain John Mackenzie of Castle Leod (great-grandson of George Mackenzie, 2nd Earl of Seaforth) purchased the estate of Avoch with money left to him by his first cousin and brother-in-law, Admiral George Geddes Mackenzie. Lady Mackenzie's father was a first cousin of the father of Sir George Simpson, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company. Alexander and Geddes lived between Avoch and London. He died in 1820 of Bright's disease, at an age ranging from 55 to 56 (his exact date of birth unknown). He is buried at Avoch, on the Black Isle.

Alexander Mackenzie

Alexander Mackenzie, PC (January 28, 1822 – April 17, 1892), a building contractor and newspaper editor, was the second Prime Minister of Canada from November 7, 1873 to October 8, 1878.

He was born in Logierait, Perthshire, Scotland to Alexander Mackenzie Sr. and Mary Stewart Fleming. He was the third of ten children. At the age of 13, Mackenzie's father died, and he was forced to end his formal education in order to help support his family. At the age of 16 he apprenticed as a stonemason and by the age of 20 he had reached journeyman status in this field. Mackenzie immigrated to Canada in 1842 to seek a better life as well as to follow his sweetheart, Helen Neil. Shortly thereafter, he converted from Presbyterianism to Baptist beliefs. Mackenzie's faith was to link him to the increasingly influential temperance cause, particularly strong in Ontario where he lived, a constituency of which he was to represent in the Parliament of Canada.

Mackenzie married Helen Neil (1826-1852) in 1845 and with her had three children, with only one girl surviving infancy. In 1853, he married Jane Sym (1825–1893).

In Canada, Mackenzie continued his career as a stonemason, building many structures that still stand today. He began working as a general contractor, earning a reputation for being a hard working, honest man as well as having a working man's view on fiscal policy. Mackenzie involved himself in politics almost from the moment he arrived in Canada. He campaigned relentlessly for George Brown, owner of the Reformist paper The Globe in the 1851 election, helping him to win a seat in the assembly. In 1852 Mackenzie became editor of another reformist paper, the Lambton Shield. As editor, Mackenzie was perhaps a little too vocal, leading the paper to a suit of law for libel against the local conservative candidate. The paper lost the suit and was forced to fold due to financial hardship. Mackenzie was elected to the Legislative Assembly as a supporter of George Brown in 1861.

When the Macdonald government fell due to the Pacific scandal in 1873, the Governor General, Lord Dufferin, called upon Mackenzie, who had been chosen as the leader of the Liberal Party a few months earlier, to form a new government. Mackenzie formed a government and asked the Governor General to call an election for January 1874. The Liberals won, and Mackenzie remained prime minister until the 1878 election when Macdonald's Conservatives returned to power with a majority government. It was unusual for a man of Mackenzie's humble origins to attain such a position in an age which generally offered such opportunity only to the privileged. Lord Dufferin, the current Governor General, expressed early misgivings about a stonemason taking over government. But on meeting Mackenzie, Dufferin revised his opinions: "However narrow and inexperienced Mackenzie may be, I imagine he is a thoroughly upright, well-principled, and well-meaning man."

 

Mackenzie also served as Minister of Public Works and oversaw the completion of the Parliament Buildings. While drawing up the plans, he included a circular staircase leading directly from his office to the outside of the building which allowed him to escape the patronage-seekers waiting for him in his ante-chamber. Proving Dufferin's reflections on his character to be true, Mackenzie disliked intensely the patronage inherent in politics. Nevertheless, he found it a necessary evil in order to maintain party unity and ensure the loyalty of his fellow Liberals.

In keeping with his democratic ideals, Mackenzie refused the offer of a knighthood three times, and was thus the only one of Canada's first eight Prime Ministers not to be knighted. His pride in his working class origins never left him. Once, while touring Fort Henry as prime minister, he asked the soldier accompanying him if he knew the thickness of the wall beside them. The embarrassed escort confessed that he didn't and Mackenzie replied, "I do. It is five feet, ten inches. I know, because I built it myself!"

 

As Prime Minister, Alexander Mackenzie strove to reform and simplify the machinery of government. He introduced the secret ballot; advised the creation of the Supreme Court of Canada; the establishment of the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston in 1874; the creation of the Office of the Auditor General in 1878; and struggled to continue progress on the national railway.

However, his term was marked by economic depression that had grown out of the Panic of 1873, which Mackenzie's government was unable to alleviate. In 1874, Mackenzie negotiated a new free trade agreement with the United States, eliminating the high protective tariffs on Canadian goods in US markets. However, this action did not bolster the economy, and construction of the CPR slowed drastically due to lack of funding. In 1876 the Conservative opposition announced a National Policy of protective tariffs, which resonated with voters. When an election was held at the conclusion of Mackenzie's five-year term, the Conservatives were swept back into office in a landslide victory.

After his government's defeat, Mackenzie remained Leader of the Opposition for another two years, until 1880. He remained an MP until his death in 1892 from a stroke that resulted from hitting his head during a fall. He died in Toronto and was buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Sarnia, Ontario.

In their 1999 study of the Prime Ministers of Canada, which included the results of a survey of Canadian historians, J.L. Granatstein and Norman Hillmer found that Mackenzie was in the #11 place just after John Sparrow David Thompson.  

Red McKenzie

Red McKenzie (William McKenzie) (Oct. 14, 1899, St. Louis, Missouri - Feb. 7, 1948, New York City) was an American jazz musician. He was the best-known, and one of the only, comb players in jazz history.

 

McKenzie played the comb by placing tissue paper over the tines and blowing on it, which produced a sound similar to a kazoo. McKenzie also played the kazoo proper, and occasionally sang. He was a co-founder, with Jack Bland, of the Mound City Blue Blowers, who released a number of titles between 1924 and 1925 and were, for a time, a sensation. At the same time, McKenzie also recorded solo as Red McKenzie & the Candy Kids. In 1928, he fronted a group called McKenzie and Condon's Chicagoans for a few sides on Okeh Records. He returned to the Mound City name again in 1929, 1931, and 1935-36. Beginning in 1931 (no doubt due to the popularity of crooners like Bing Crosby and Russ Columbo), he started recording as a singer, processing a very warm crooner style as a solo for Columbia and with Paul Whiteman in 1932. He sang again with the Spirits of Rhythm in 1934 and the Farley-Riley group in 1935. He made two swinging vocal records for Variety in 1937. Between 1939 and 1943 he went into retirement, moving back to his birthplace of St. Louis and working in a brewery, but appeared with Eddie Condon between 1944 to 1947 as a vocalist. Known as heavy drinker, he died of liver cirrhosis in 1948.

Compton Mackenzie

Sir (Edward Montague) Compton Mackenzie, OBE (1883–1972) was a prolific writer of fiction, biography, histories, and memoir, as well as a cultural commentator, raconteur, and life-long Scottish nationalist. He was one of the co-founders in 1928 of the Scottish National Party along with Hugh MacDiarmid, RB Cunninghame Graham and John MacCormick.


Compton Mackenzie was born in West Hartlepool, England, into a theatrical family of Mackenzies, but many of whose members used Compton as their stage surname, starting with his grandfather Henry Compton, a well-known Shakespearean actor of the Victorian era. His father, Edward Compton, was an actor and theatre company manager; his sister, Fay Compton, starred in many of J. M. Barrie's plays, including Peter Pan. He was educated at St Paul's School and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he graduated with a degree in modern history.


Sir Compton Mackenzie is perhaps best known for two comedies set in Scotland, the Hebridean Whisky Galore (1947) and the Highland The Monarch of the Glen (1941), sources of a successful film and a television series respectively. He published almost a hundred books on different subjects, including ten volumes of autobiography, My Life and Times (1963–1971). He also wrote history (on Marathon and Salamis), biography (Mr Roosevelt, 1943, a biography of FDR), literary criticism, satires, apologia (Sublime Tobacco 1957), children's stories, poetry, and so on. Of his fiction, The Four Winds of Love is sometimes considered to be his magnum opus. It is described by Dr. John MacInnes (formerly of the School of Scottish Studies) as "one of the greatest works of English literature produced in the twentieth century." He was an influence on the young F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose first book, This Side of Paradise, was written while under his spell. Sinister Street, his lengthy 1913-14 bildungsroman, influenced the young and impressed established writers. Against the rules, George Orwell and Cyril Connolly read it as schoolboys. Max Beerbohm praised Mackenzie's writing for vividness and emotional reality Frank Swinnerton, literary critic, comments on Mackenzie's "detail and wealth of reference". John Betjeman said of it, "This has always seemed to me one of the best novels of the best period in English novel writing." Henry James thought it to be the most remarkable book written by a young author in his lifetime.

 

Following his conversion to Catholicism in 1914, he explored religious themes in a trilogy of novels, The Altar Steps (1922), The Parson's Progress (1923), and The Heavenly Ladder (1924). Following his time on Capri, socialising with the gay exiles there, he treated the homosexuality of a politician sensitively in Thin Ice (1956). He was the literary critic for the London-based national newspaper Daily Mail.

Mackenzie also worked as an actor, political activist and broadcaster. He served with British Intelligence in the Eastern Mediterranean during the First World War, later publishing four books on his experiences. According to these books, he was commissioned in the Royal Marines, rising to the rank of captain. His ill-health making front-line service impractical, he was assigned counter-espionage work during the Gallipoli campaign, and in 1916 built up a considerable counter-intelligence network in Athens, Greece then being neutral. While his secret service work seems to have been valued highly by his superiors, including Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming, his passionate political views, especially his support for the Venizelists, made him a controversial figure and he was expelled from Athens after the Noemvriana.

 

In 1917, he founded the Aegean Intelligence Service, and enjoyed considerable autonomy for some months as its director. He was offered the Presidency of the Republic of Cerigo, which was briefly independent while Greece was split between Royalists and Venizelists, but declined the office. He was recalled in September 1917. Smith-Cumming considered appointing him as his deputy, but withdrew the suggestion after opposition from within his own service, and Mackenzie played no further active role in the war. In 1919, be was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), and was also honoured with the French Legion of Honour, the Serbian Order of the White Eagle, and the Greek Order of the Redeemer.

 

After the publication of his Greek Memories in 1932, he was prosecuted at the Old Bailey under the Official Secrets Act for quoting from supposedly secret documents. His account of the trial, vividly described, is in Octave Seven (1931–1938) of his autobiography: the result was a fine of £100 and (prosecution) costs of £100. His own costs were over £1,000. Mackenzie states that a plea-bargain (described in the text as "an arrangement") had been reached with the judge prior to the trial: in exchange for his pleading guilty, he would be fined £500 with £500 costs. However Sir Thomas Inskip, then attorney general who prosecuted the case, succeeded in annoying the trial judge to such an extent that he then reduced the penalties to a token amount. The - still banned - 1932 edition of Greek Memories was published in 2011 by Biteback, including the Secret Intelligence Service memo detailing the offending passages of the book.

 

He was knighted in 1952. He was president of the Croquet Association from 1953 to 1966. He was also president of the Siamese Cat Club. In 1923 he and his brother-in-law Christopher Stone founded The Gramophone, the still-influential classical music magazine. A strong supporter of Edward VIII, Mackenzie was a leading member of the Octavians, a minor society that campaigned in support of the king and also for his return to the UK after he became the Duke of Windsor. According to a 1938 Time article Mackenzie had intended to write a book in support of Edward but abandoned the plan when the Duke of Windsor asked him not to publish.

 

Between 1913 and 1920 he lived with his wife, Faith, on Capri at Villa Solitaria, and returned to visit in later years. This Italian island near Sorrento was known to be tolerant not just of foreigners in general, but of artists and homosexuals in particular. Faith had an affair with the Italian pianist Renata Borgatti, who was connected to Romaine Brooks. Compton Mackenzie's observations on the local life of the Italian islanders and foreign residents led to at least two novels, Vestal Fire (1927) and Extraordinary Women (1928). The latter, a roman à clef about a group of lesbians arriving on the island of Sirene, a fictional version of Capri, was published in Britain in the same year as two other ground-breaking novels with lesbian themes, Virginia Woolf's love letter to Vita Sackville-West, Orlando, and Radclyffe Hall's controversial polemic The Well of Loneliness, but Mackenzie's satire did not attract legal attention. He was friends with Axel Munthe, who built Villa San Michele, and Edwin Cerio, who later became mayor of Capri.

 

Mackenzie went to great lengths to trace the steps of his ancestors back to his spiritual home in the Highlands, and displayed a deep and tenacious attachment to Gaelic culture throughout his long and very colourful life. As his biographer, Andro Linklater, commented, "Mackenzie wasn't born a Scot, and he didn't sound like a Scot. But nevertheless his imagination was truly Scottish." He was an ardent Jacobite, the third Governor-General of the Royal Stuart Society, and a co-founder of the Scottish National Party. He was rector of University of Glasgow from 1931 to 1934, defeating Oswald Mosley, who later led the British Union of Fascists, in his bid for the job.

 

Mackenzie was from 1920–1923 Tenant of Herm and Jethou. He shares many similarities to the central character in D. H. Lawrence's short story "The Man Who Loved Islands", despite Lawrence saying "the man is no more he than I am." Mackenzie at first asked Martin Secker, who published both authors, not to print the story, and it was left out of one collection. Mackenzie built a house on the island of Barra in the 1930s. It was on Barra that he gained much inspiration and found creative solitude, and where he befriended a great number of people that he described as "the aristocrats of democracy". One such friend was John MacPherson, known as "The Coddy". MacPherson's son, Neil, recalled Mackenzie as a man of huge imagination, generosity, and talent. He died in Edinburgh. Such was his love of the Scottish Highlands that he is buried in Barra.

Niall Mackenzie

Niall Macfarlane Mackenzie (born 19 July 1961) is a retired Scottish motorcycle road racer.

 

MacKenzie, who hails from Denny, won the British Superbike Championship three times from 1996 to 1998 on a Rob McElnea-run Yamaha team, and the British 250cc and 350cc titles earlier in his career. He had a long career in the Grand Prix motorcycle racing circuit, debuting in 1984 in the 250cc class. He moved up to the 500cc class in 1986 on a Suzuki before spells on Honda and Yamaha bikes. He was 4th in the championship in 1990, and in the top 10 on seven other occasions. His final racing season was the 2000 British Superbike series, although he did a farewell one-off at Knockhill in 2001.

 

Mackenzie now runs trackdays at Donington Park and Knockhill racetracks, and works as Road Test Editor for Visordown magazine. On 10 November 2006, it was announced that he would be returning to Yamaha to act as ambassador for the Virgin Mobile Cup and youth development coordinator for Team Virgin Mobile Racing.

Mackenzie has two sons who both ride motorcycles — 16-year-old Tarran, who is set to compete in the British 125cc with Redline KTM, and 18-year-old Taylor, who is set to compete in the British Supersport 600 with Mar-Train Racing.

 

 

 

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