Alicia Tompkins McDonald was born on 24th August 1815. Her father, John S McDonald of Ness Castle, was a tacksman, which meant that he had a lease for Ness Castle, and so was more secure than a tenant farmer. Her mother was Lydia Falconar, the sister of Alexander Falconar, of Falcon Hall, Edinburgh.
Alicia had five brothers and sisters. The eldest, Lydia Falconar MacDonald, married John Mackintosh of Moy Hall, near Inverness. Moy has been the home of the Clan Mackintosh chiefs since the fourteenth century John was a younger son, and he and his family emigrated to New Zealand. The next sister, Jessie, married Peter Grant, a sugar merchant from Demerara, and their son, Alexander Charles Grant became prominent in the sheep-rearing business in Australia. Another brother, Chessborough Claudius MacDonald, joined the army, and then became a landowner in Australia.
Alicia married the Rev David Sutherland in July1847. David was the minister of the East Free Church in Inverness. He was said to be a Celtic scholar of distinction, “versed in the varieties of the Celtic tongue.”
Alicia and David had five children: Lydia Elizabeth Kerr, Alicia Margaret, Henry Craigie, Caroline Georgina Irving and Annie Galbraith. Henry became a Lieutenant in the Royal Marine Artillery. Young Alicia married in September 1872. Her husband was William Miller who rose to become Lieutenant Colonel of the 17th Regiment Madras Native Infantry. The following year Lydia married Myles Edward Mather, who came from Wales.
David died in 1875, and in 1881 Alicia was living as a lodger at 4 Hope Street, in Edinburgh. With her were Annie and Caroline, and her seven-year-old grandson Edward Strathearn Mather, Lydia’s eldest son. We next hear of Alicia in 1891, when she was living in Dalrymple Crescent. She was now 75. Living with her was Annie, unmarried at 28, and four of Alicia Margaret’s children.
The following year Alicia Margaret died in Madras, and was buried there on 17th May 1892. Her husband, William, returned to Britain, presumably with his two youngest children., He was staying with Alicia at no 16, when he died on 23rd December 1893. In January the following year, The Scotsman newspaper reported that his eldest son, Hugh, had been elected to a Queen’s Honorary India Cadetship after his examination at Sandhurst. William Miller is buried in Grange Cemetery, and his headstone also tells us that his daughter,Elizabeth, married Rev Norman Nicholas Mackay, and that she died on 8th October 1919.
Alicia stayed at no 16 Dalrymple Crescent until 1897, when she moved to 7 Sciennes Road, Edinburgh. She died there on 8th November 1900 at the age of 85.