Military Service Record (1860-1881)

Thomas MacNiven, grandfather of Ellen Ann Fraser MacNiven Michie - Generation 4.

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The regiment in which Thomas served was the 78th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot (or Ross-shire Buffs), raised by Francis Humberstone MacKenzie, Chief of the Clan Mackenzie, on 8 March 1793. The regiment first assembled at Fort George in July 1793, before embarking for Holland in September 1794 for service in the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802).

It is worth mentioning that Fort George is the impressive military fortress built at Ardersier, 11 miles (18 kilometers) north east of Inverness, Scotland in 1769. It was built to pacify the Scottish Highlands in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745. It has never been attacked, and has remained in continuous use as a garrison.

Until the final year of his service in the military, Thomas had an exemplary career, so it is difficult to understand why he became involved in embezzlement and falsification (fraud). He certainly paid a high price for his folly when he was reduced in rank from Sergeant Major to Private. Fortunately, he did not forfeit his army pension.

Although it must have been difficult for Thomas to cope with his disgrace, it would have been just as difficult for his wife Ellen and their children who were quartered with him at Fort George.

Following his discharge, Thomas was employed from 1881 to 1890 as a janitor and clerk; from 1891 to 1894 as a commercial clerk; and from 1895 to 1904 as a bookkeeper. All of these occupations seem to be at odds with the nature of his military conviction, particularly bookkeeping.

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