The McRannall or Reynolds Family

McRannall or Reynolds family crest

(Crest No. 287. Plate 18.)

THE McRannall family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of Ir, fifth son of that monarch. The McRannalls belonged to the Clanna Rory tribe, so called from its founder, Heber Donn, son of Ir. The founders of the family were Fergus, King of Connaught, and his consort, Maude, A. D. 60. The ancient name was Granuale, which signifies “Defiant.”

The chiefs of the McRannalls were Princes of Clan McCall, in the present County of Donegal, and Chiefs of Muinter Eolius, in the County of Leitrim. This latter territory was sometimes called Clonmacni of Moyrein, and comprised almost the whole of the present baronies of Leitrim, Mohill, and Carrygallen, in the County of Leitrim, with a portion of the north of Longford.

The McRannalls were of the same stock as the O’Ferrals, Princes of Anally or Longford. They had castles at Rinn, Leitrim, and Lough Scur. This name has been Anglicized Reynolds and McReynolds, and one of the descendants of this family was the celebrated wit and poet, George Nugent Reynolds of Letterfian, in Leitrim, who disputes with Thomas Campbell the authorship of the famous song, “The Exile of Erin.”

In the United States also the name has an honorable record. Dr. Reynolds of Philadelphia was one of the most strenuous opponents of the Alien and Sedition Laws under John Adams’ administration, and materially aided in effecting the repeal of those obnoxious measures.

Major McReynolds, a native of Dungannon, County of Tyrone—the same town that gave birth to General Shields—was a member of the Michigan Senate when the Mexican War broke out, and having tendered his services to the Government, was given command of a body of dragoons. “The assault of Kearney’s and McReynolds’ dragoons,” says a contemporary writer, “on the bloody field of Cherubusco was one of the most daring and brilliant deeds of heroism among the many proud instances of valor which have shed such undying luster on the American arms in the history of the Mexican War.” And the commanding general of the division thus speaks in his official report of the charge of McReynolds, who was wounded in the action: “Both of these fine companies sustained severe losses in their rank and file also. We are informed that the enemy numbered, by their own report, five thousand infantry and one thousand cavalry, while our dragoons did not exceed one hundred. This small force drove the Mexicans upward of two miles, and ceased not until they were within the battery that covered the gate of the city. In this charge the dragoons cut down more than their entire number of the enemy. When we consider the extraordinary disparity in point of numbers and the raking position of the enemy’s battery, into the very mouth of which our brave dragoons fearlessly threw themselves, we think we may safely say it has no parallel in modern warfare.”

The Most Rev. Dr. Reynolds, Bishop of Charleston, immediate successor of the distinguished Bishop England, was a descendant of this family.