The Testimony of Seonaid Nic Neacail:
She would sometimes tell me about the time she and her family were 'Cleared' out of Mhealbeag when she was about 5 or 6 years old. I am of the opinion that this was an experience that scarred her for life, because she would often break down in tears at the recollection of it. My Grandmother translated difficult words to help me and to the best recollection this is her story...More at Electric Scotland
"When I was about 5 years of age, just one year after my father came back from the War against the Russians, the whole township was warned by the factor at the time of paying the rents, that his 'Lordship' was wanting the people to move away from the township, in order that his lordship could let out the ground to Shepherds from the Lowlands. The menfolk did not believe that they would have to move, as there was plenty of ground where sheep could graze.
However two months later a notice ( In English ) was posted, requiring the inhabitants to remove themselves, their goods and chattels, within ONE Month. A Visiting Priest translated the notice into Ghaidhlig for them, but the Menfolk still did not believe that his Lordship would cast them out into the depths of winter. However three months went past without anything being done by the factor, and the people of the Township relaxed. There had been rumours of 'terrible doings' elsewhere, of people being turned out and the roof trees of the houses being destroyed, but this was 'elsewhere'.
Suddenly in the month of January, the factor turned up, accompanied by a large number of policemen from Glasgow, Lowlands Estate workers and Sheriffs Officers from Dunedin and told the people of the township to be out of their homes by dawn the following day, where they would be taken to Ullapool to be put on board a ship to the Americas (Nova Scotia). The menfolk were cast down ( in modern parlance - 'Shattered' ) and only the womenfolk made any protests. A group of them went to the factor to protest and were beaten up by the policemen's batons, my Mother amongst them.
The Dawn came, hardly anyone had moved their possessions and furniture out, we waited to see what would happen. An hour after dawn, the factor and his men went to the house of Eachunn MacLeoid, a widower of 86 years of age, thrust him out of his house and proceeded to throw his chattels out of the door. Then two men with axes cut through the rooftrees, causing the roof to collapse. They then piled winter forage inside the door and put a torch to it. Within a few minutes the pall of smoke had rolled through the township, causing panic as people raced to save their few things before the factors men arrived.
Our house was next, my mother tried to stop the men entering the door, they called us 'Irish filth' and one of them floored her with a mighty punch to the head and laid her out senseless on the floor. My father tried to protect her, despite having one arm, but he was punched and kicked senseless by four of the policemen. My brothers and I managed to drag our parents out of the house, and by the time we had got them outside, the axemen had already cut through the rooftrees. They then set fire to the house and went next to the house of my Uncle Coinneach."