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Arbuthnott Family Association (UK) Newsletter, April 1999

A warm and sunny spring day at last after one of the wettest winters on record provides much needed inspiration for the writing of the annual Family Association Newsletter.

We have sadly lost two of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Association.

First, Jake Arbuthnot, a retired Commander (RN) OBE, who served in the Fleet Air Arm in the Second World War. Jake was the Association Treasurer for many years up to 1996. He coped successfully with two major family gatherings, many AGMs and other meetings, while handling all the transactions and subscriptions in between with patience and good humour.

Secondly, Canon Edmund Arbuthnott, who apart from regularly attending our AGMs up to and including 1998, jointly led the services in Arbuthnott Church which concluded our initial Gathering in 1977 and the second Gathering in 1992. He was unable to attend in 1997 due to ill health. He was the last of his generation, being the last surviving great-grandchild of John, 8th Viscount, who is the common ancestor of many of the present `double-tts'. His pastoral work as a priest in London Docklands during the war was acknowledged as quite outstanding and he was persuaded against his will to appear on the BBC TV "This Is Your Life", series in the days of Eamonn Andrews.

Edmund completed an autobiography entitled "A Priest's Life" in 1995, which was his Jubilee year, after 60 years in the priesthood. An episode in the book records the occasion when he was living in a house in London in March 1945 that received a direct hit from a German V2 rocket. The service sheet of Edmund's funeral concluded with an extract from "A Priest's Life" describing this episode. I feel it merits wider circulation and I have added it at the end of the Newsletter. I am advised by Elisabeth Evans, Edmund's niece, that "A Priests Life" has been printed and is available from her at St Jacques, St Peter Port, Guernsey, C.I. GY1 1 SW at 6 including "P&P". I have a copy of the first Edition and can recommend it.

We have good news from AUSTRALIA through our redoubtable correspondent Jean Arbuthnot of Tarwin Lower, Victoria. Her son, Alexander received the Order of Australia in the 1998 Queen's Birthday Honours List. The farmers' journal 'Stock and Land' says, under the heading "Gippslander wins OAM" - Mr Arbuthnot was awarded the Order for service to the dairy industry, his political work with the Victorian Farmers Federation and in particular Landcare. He said his award was one of the first to recognise the community's dedication to Landcare. 'Landcare is my life', said Mr Arbuthnot, who spent the Queen's birthday holiday in rubber boots feeding 300 cows.' Congratulations to Alexander. Landcare is a cause with many strong supporters in our Association.

We have also been in touch with Warrick and Emma Turton who have been working/studying in Aberdeen. They are descendants, as was Jean's husband, Rudy, of the patriarch Alexander Arbuthnot who arrived in Australia from Peterhead around 1850 and eventually set up a successful timber business on the Murray River. The old paddle steamer "Alexander Arbuthnot" was recommissioned in 1994 in his honour.

Anthony William Arbuthnot has confirmed his intention to organise a Family Gathering in Natal, SOUTH AFRICA, on 17 September 2023 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the landing of his Arbuthnot ancestor in Natal in 1850. Details will be given in next year's newsletter.

The CANADIAN branch remains as active as ever - so active in fact that Joyce manages to write very informative newsletters, "Hi-Lites", twice a year. A Gathering was held in Cornwall, Ontario in September, together with lunches and picnics at other times of the year. We were pleased to see in the latest "Hi-Lites" that Edna Arbuthnott had celebrated her 91st birthday in January this year.

The UNITED STATES branch have recently published in their Newsletter "Arbuthnots in early American records and "Early Arbuthnots in the US".   These articles are very interesting and are founded on records going as far back as 1715.

The US Biennial Gathering was held in Spokane, Washington. Anne and I were able to attend and much enjoyed the Meeting, Banquet and Sightseeing Tours. Our hosts were Dennie and Judi Byram. Dennie had badly stretched his Achilles tendon in a fall and conducted operations throughout from a wheel chair. In spite of this handicap everything worked out according to plan and a great time was had by all. A coach tour took us to the Grand Coulee Dam, where the associated Power Station provides one third of the electricity in the USA. Not far from the Grand Coulee Dam was Dry Fails, which gives evidence of the biggest flood on earth that took place at the end of the last ice age. Anne and I were glad to have been lured to the North West Pacific States. We drove through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming (for Yellowstone and Grand Tetan National Parks) and back through Idaho and Oregon to Seattle (Washington). Very spectacular scenery and wildlife. Highly recommended. We also discovered on return that VCRs sold in the UK can now automatically accept US videos, so that we can enjoy our videos of the history of Dry Fails and the Mount Washington explosion/eruption in 1980. The next US gathering is to be in Omaha,
Nebraska in 2000.

Alister McReynolds keeps me advised on matters of interest to the Association in NORTHERN IRELAND. Last October he spent a week in Virginia and Tennessee lecturing on 18th century emigration from Ulster to America in Universities and Colleges. He is also doing considerable research on Alexander Arbuthnot, the Scottish trader, who in 1818 was found guilty in his absence of aiding hostile Indians in Florida and was later captured and hanged on the orders of Andrew Jackson. Alister intends to publish a booklet on the subject.

The UK Branch AGM took place on June 12 1998 at the Naval Club London. There were 29 members at the meeting and we were very pleased that 3 members who could not stay for the Meeting and Dinner joined us for pre-dinner drinks. They were Sir John Arbuthnott , and James Norwich Arbuthnot, MP and his wife Emma , I failed to record last year that James had been made a Privy Councillor and is thought to be the first Arbuthnot(t) to have achieved that distinction. At the meeting it was decided that the Association would advance ?1,000 from existing funds towards the printing of a revised edition of Christy Bing's "The Lairds of Arbuthnott". It will be available in May this year. The Office Bearers were all re-elected.

On July 25 the Association were the guests of Simon and Susie Arbuthnott at Winterfold School for a Family Day. A total of 41 Arbuthnotts and their relatives were around at some time in the day, participating in sporting activities - Golf, Tennis, Swimming (or just chatting) and refuelling with picnic lunches, tea, and an evening barbecue. This was a farewell to Winterfold, which has been a very happy meeting place on a number of occasions, thanks to the hospitality of Simon and Susie.

Finally, notice of this year's AGM. It will take place once again at the Naval Club, 38 Hill Street, Mayfair, London. The private bar will be open from 6.30pm. The AGM will be at 7.30pm and the Hot Buffet at 8pm. The charge to members will be 20. The date is Thursday May 27.

Hon Hugh S Arbuthnott

For further information please contact
The Webmaster, The Arbuthnott Family Association
who will welcome constructive comments, suggestions, additions and amendments

Arbuthnott Family Association, 1999