Farquhar - from the Gaelic 'fear' and 'char' meaning 'dear one'. In modern Scottish Gaelic, the surname is written "MacFhearchair".
The clan derives its name from Farquhar Shaw, 4th son of Alexander "Ciar" Mackintosh of Rothiemurchus, 5th Chief of the Clan Shaw, who settled in the Braes of Mar, the source of the River Dee. His descendants took the name Farquharson.
Farquhar Shaw's son married Isobel Stewart, heiress of Invercauld, however, it was their son, Finlay Mor who has become known as the first real Farquharson. He was killed during the Battle of Pinkie in 1547, aged 60, while performing the duty of the King's Standard Bearer. This was part of the Anglo-Scottish Wars.
His nine sons ensured that the clan became numerous and influential. In 1595 the clan entered a bond of manrent with the Clan MacKintosh, so also associating themselves with the Chattan Confederation.
At the end of the sixteenth century the Erskines attempted to reclaim the Earldom of Mar. Jon Erskine, who styled himself Earl of Mar, built Braemar Castle in 1628 to defend himself against the claims of the Farquharsons. The castle passed into the hands of the Farquharsons and remains the clan seat to this day.
In 1673 a skirmish took place between the Clan Farquharson and the Clan MacThomas. Of the six sons born from the clan MacThomas chief John and Robert, the eldest and fourth eldest respectively were killed in a skirmish at Drumgley on 28 January 1673. The feud was as a result of the MacThomases allowing their cattle to pasture on the Farquharson's land. After the skirmish the MacThomases were fined, there was a crippling lawsuit made against them. After the chiefs death which followed the remaining sons were forced to sell their lands.
The Farquharsons were staunch supporters of the House of Stuart and in 1689, John Farquharson of Inverey declared for John Graham of Claverhouse, Bonnie Dundee. He burned Braemar Castle and was a source of irritation to the government until his death in 1698.
In 1745 the strength of the Clan Farquharson was estimated as 500 by Forbes of Culloden. In 1745 the Clan Farquharson are believed to have supported Lord Lewis Gordon during his victory at the Battle of Inverurie (1745). Also during the 1745 Jacobite Rising, Angus, the chief of Clan MacKintosh, was a serving member of the British Black Watch. While he was away on duty his wife, Lady Anne Mackintosh, daughter of Invercauld was a supporter of Charles Edward Stuart and ensured that 350 members of the Clan Chattan Regiment fought at the Battle of Culloden on the side of the Jacobites. During her husband's absence, she successfully rallied the Clan Mackintosh to their Chattan allies including Clan Farquharson. Angus was captured at the Battle of Prestonpans and was paroled to his wife. She famously greeted him with the words, "Your servant, captain" to which he replied, "your servant, colonel" thereby giving her the nickname Colonel Anne.
The Chief of Clan Farquharson is Alwyne Arthur Compton Farquharson of Invercauld, Chief of the Name and Arms of Farquharson, 16th Baron of Invercauld and Omnalprie, MC, JP; as recognised by Lord Lyon King of Arms. Captain Alwyne Arthur Compton Farquharson of Invercauld was by Lyon Court in 1949 confirmed MacFionnlaidh. He served with distinction as a Captain in the Royal Scots Greys during World War Two. He resides at Invercauld Castle in Braemar on Royal Deeside.