Combie, McColm, McComas, McComb, McCombe, McCombie, McComie, McComish, MacOmie, MacOmish, Tam, Thom, Thomas, Thoms, Thomson
The Clan MacThomas is the only clan associated with upper Glenshee. Tomaidh Mor (Great Tommy), from whom the clan takes its name, was a great-grand son of the 8th Chief of Clan Chattan. In his young days, he lived in the Badenoch district of what is now southern Inverness-shire. It was an inhospitable place and with him not being heir to the Chattan Chiefship, Tomaidh Mor took his family and kinsmen across the Grampian Mountains in an easterly direction in search of greater prosperity. Around 1470, he settled beside Shee Water amongst the lush grasslands opposite to what is today the Spittal of Glenshee Hotel. The early Chiefs lived at the Thom at the top of the glen on the eastern side of the river.
Their families and kinsfolk flourished in their new surroundings and houses and settlements were well established in Glenshee by the time Robert, the 4th Chief, was murdered by marauders at the end of the 16th Century.
The Chiefship then passed to his brother, John McComie (a phonetic form of the Gaelic MacThomaidh, son of Tomaidh) who lived at Finegand, which remains the official seat of the Chief to this day. By this stage, several clansfolk had adopted the names McComas (from MacThomas), McComb(e)/McColm (from MacThom) and other variations as shown above but the Government in Edinburgh knew them as MacThomas and that has remained the official name of the Clan throughout the centuries.
The most famous of the MacThomas Chiefs was John McComie of Finegand, a successful cattle dealer who was also heavily involved in Britain's only national civil war. Known as “McComie Mor”, he lived at a time of much trouble but in successfully protecting both himself and his clansfolk, his prosperity and wealth rose rapidly in the mid 1600s. His gallantry and courage, coupled with his extraordinary personal strength, marked him out as a great leader of men and a true Highland Chief. The legends of this highland hero abound to this day and in few areas of Scotland has the memory of a man, who died so many centuries ago, been maintained as vividly as that of McComie Mor, the 7th Chief of Clan MacThomas.
As time went by, some clansfolk moved to Aberdeenshire adopting the name McCombie, where one of whom created the world famous Aberdeenshire-Angus breed of cattle. Some others went south to Dundee and Fife anglicising their names to Tam, Thom, Thoms, Thomas and Thomson. The 15th MacThomas Chief became Provost of Dundee in the 19th Century. From there some went further afield to the new worlds of Africa, Australia, Canada and the United States. Others set sail from Dundee to parts of mainland Europe.
With the MacThomas Bridge over Shee Water and the Clan's gathering place, Clach Na Coileach, you cannot be in Glenshee without being aware of the historic connection with Clan MacThomas. The 19th and current Chief is Andrew MacThomas of Finegand. His dedication to his clan has led to many people, who would never have visited the area, coming to Glenshee with a result that MacThomas clansfolk still to this day contribute to the glen's economy through the tourist industry. Indeed, every three years, the descendants of the original clansfolk, who once lived in Glenshee, come from all parts of the world to Clach Na Coileach, which is south of Finegand, to remember together the deeds of the mighty MacThomas Chief, McComie Mor.
For more information, visit the Clan MacThomas Society by visiting www.clanmcthomas.com