The Cathey Surname
and Clan MacFie
The Cathey surname is of Scotch-Irish origin, tracing back to the Gaelic language in the Lowlands of Scotland in the 17th century.  The spelling in English before their migration to America was probably "Cathie" or "Cathy".  The Cathey's were members of the ancient Clan MacFie. The Gaelic spelling of the original MacFie name is "MACDHUIBHSHITH", which means the son of the dark (or black haired) one in peace.  The pronunciation of the word is something like: mac-doo-vee or mac-a-fee or ma-guff-ee. Names associated with Clan MacFie include MacPhee, Duffy, MacDuffy, McAfie, McFee, Mahaffey, McGuffey, MacCathie, Cathy and Cathey.

Tradition says that the MacFies were descended from a Selkie or seal woman who shed her fur to become a beautiful human woman.  She married the first MacFie, who hid her fur so she could not return to the sea.  The MacFies were the hereditary record keepers of the Hebrides Isles.  Their ancestral home was the island of Colonsay, located off the western coast of Scotland.  Another smaller island, Oronsay, was used by the MacFies for religious purposes and as a burial ground.  Ancient records show that the MacFies occupied Colonsay and Oronsay as early as the 13th century.  During the 15th century, the Scottish Crown took over the Lordship of the Isles from Clan Donald.  After 1554, the MacFies shared Colonsay with Clan MacNeil,  who had been pushed from it's home of the island of Gigha by the Campbell's. In 1593, the MacLeans from the island of Mull attacked Colonsay and killed Murdock, the MacFie Chief.  Leaders of Clan MacDonald forced Malcolm MacFie, new Chief of the Clan, to help in a rebellion against the king.  In 1615, after the uprising failed, Malcolm was captured and accused of treason.  He was later freed and returned to Colonsay, but in 1623 he was captured and killed at the Standing Stone on Colonsay by Colla Ciotach. Unfortunately, the MacFies became a broken and dispossed clan, scattered to many places.  Some followed the MacDonalds of Islay and others settled in Cameron lands under Lochiel.  Ewan MacFie became famous as the last of the Scottish outlaws in the mid-19th century. He lived on an island in Loch Quoich and recognized no laws. The rights to Colonsay were given to the other family on the island, the MacNeills, with whom it remained until 1930.

The MacFie Standing Stone was discovered on Colonsay in several pieces in 1970 and a plan to re-erect the stone was begun.  On May 9, 1977, the repaired stone was erected with a group of international Clan MacFie members present. The stone is dedicated "to all MacFies and their descendants wherever in the world they may live and whatever spelling of the name they may use".

The Catheys are thought to have come from Galloway in the Scottish Lowlands, were some of the early settlers of Ulster in the 17th century.   It has not been determined whether or not the Catheys were planted as part of the 1610 plantation program approved by King James or whether they settled in Ulster prior to that time.  Among the early Cathey settlers arriving in America from Ulster was James Cathey, born @1685 in Ulster, Ireland, who has been documented in  Cecil County, Maryland in 1718.  John Cathey, son of James, arrived between 1746 and 1751.  Most of the Catheys in the United States descend from James, John and George Cathey.   The migration path of James Cathey has been well documented.  Records prove that James Cathey moved from Maryland into Lancaster County, Pensylvannia in the early 1730's.   During the late 1730's, the Cathey's had moved into Augusta County, Virginia, to what was called "The Beverly Manor".  A land grant dated 13 August, 1743 from the "Colony and Dominion of Virginia" to James Cathey gave him 1,350 acres of land on the Shenandoah River.  James Cathey had migrated to Anson County in the Colony of North Carolina by the late 1740's.  The portion of Anson County in which they settled became Rowan County in 1753.  The Cathey Settlement or "Irish Settlement" was located west of present Salisbury, North Carolina, where James Cathey was by 1749.  On March 25, 1752, the Cathey heads of households of the Cathey Settlement received seven land grants totaling 3,752 acres.  On December 6, 1757, James Cathey made his will and died shortly thereafter in Rowan County, North Carolina.  Sons of James Cathey moved into Mecklenburg and Haywood  Counties by the late 1700's.   My Great Grandmother was Sarah Haseltine Cathey, a descendant of this James Cathey.

 Clan MacFie Badge 

Clan MacFie Tartan 

Clan Motto: Pro rege - "For the King"

Badge: A demi-lion rampant, proper


Plant BadgePine, Oak

Gaelic NameMacDhuibhshith

Origin of Name:   Gaelic - Mac=(the) son, Dhuibh=of (the) Dark one (black haired one), shith=in peace

Clan MacFie Society of Americacontact Jim McAfee,
7501 Hickory Ridge Road, Mt. Juliet, TN, 37122

MacDuffie/Macfie Clan Society of America:  contact H. Fritz McDuffie, 102 Colby Rd., Oak Ridge, TN., 37830

MacFie Clan Society in Canada:   Suite 123,  1 Benvenuto Place,  Toronto, ONT.  M4V 2L1  Canada

Clan Macfie Society:   26 Verona Avenue, Glasgow, G14  9EB  Scotland

The Macfie Clan Society of Australia:  contact Sandy, McPhie,
10 Havana Street, Rowes Bay, Townsville, Queensland 4810, Australia

Cathey Reunion Association:  1716 Walden Pond Lane, Waxhaw, North Carolina, 28173