Hector MacLean was born at Golden Square, London, England, on May 24, 1751. During the American Revolutionary War, he was a captain in the 2nd Battalion of the 84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants), an infantry regiment composed of Scottish settlers. MacLean's battalion fought mainly in the war's southern theater, most notably in engagements at Savannah, Charleston, and Eutaw Springs. Postwar, MacLean received a land grant in Canada for his service and settled in Douglas Township, Nova Scotia, now called Kennetcook. There, he cleared land and started a farm. He married Elinor Margaret Mowet on December 15, 1788, and served in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1793-1799. He died in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on April 20, 1812.