My family came to what is now Boulder, Colorado, arriving when Boulder was three months old. My Great-great-grandfather was Carson W. Arbuthnot and with him, he brought his four sons and a son-in-law. Since a little child I have loved the history of this beautiful mountain area, the legacy's of the Natives who were here when my family arrived, and the way our community has grown to what it is today. My blog is dedicated to seeking evidence of all that happened. The good, the bad and the ugly, I will share the evidence of what I find.

I also share Boulder County and Colorado History through entertaining storytelling. Dressed as one of my early Boulder County ancestors, I will make you laugh, smile and sometimes cry as I share the stories of the people who came before us and who established these communities that we enjoy today. Please visit my storytelling and events pages for information on performances.

Welcome to my blog, I hope you enjoy your time here.

Donlyn Arbuthnot


Interested in history?  

Hire Donlyn for a storytelling!

Be entertained as you learn about...

  • Colorado History
  • Boulder and Boulder County History
  • Gold Mining History
  • How they came - Pikes Peak or Bust!
  • Agricultural History
  • Grange History
  • Water Wars and Water Law
  • Immigration and Migration (a Genealogical Storytelling)
  • How Pioneers Acquired Land
  • And have a great time too!
Characters that Donlyn portrays...

Gold Hill Frannie - Stories of the Colorado gold rush, gold mining, Pikes Peak or Bust!

Widow Phoebe - Stories of agriculture, how to homestead, and what a Grange is all about.

Haystack Mary - Stories of immigration and migration, the Arapaho, water wars and the many ways that land was acquired.  

All presentations can be customized to your interest and your needs!

Contact Donlyn today for more information on scheduling a storytelling for your organization or event.  Send an e-mail or give her a call, she would love to work with you!

Phone  303-926-7538
Dressed as homesteader, Widdow Phoebe, 1880
 Sharing the history of the Granges and it's role in Agriculture.

Preforming as Mary Bader Arbuthnot at the Haystack Mountain Golf Course clubhouse.
Mary lived here from 1866 to 1923 when she died there.
I'm holding the buffalo gun that Arbuthnot men brought with them in 1859.

What others say upon hearing a one of Donlyn's historical storytellings...

Donlyn Arbuthnot brings early Colorado history to life by telling the stories of her ancestors. From her period costumes, to her quick wit and character style, Donlyn holds audiences captivated. Bring the kids, they'll learn about life in historic Colorado. Bring the grandparents, they'll take a fun-filled trip back to the days long gone. You come too. Listening to Donlyn's stories is fabulous fun!    ~~  Dina Carson – Boulder 150 Pioneers Project; Boulder County Historian; Iron Gate Publishing

Donlyn, you are a mine of knowledge of indeterminable depth! Thanks for all  your persistence and skill.  ~~  John Sand, Past-President, Gold Hill Club, Gold Hill, Colorado

Donlyn's character interpretation of Mary Bader Arbuthnot is enhanced by her total immersion in the image of this strong pioneer woman.  Fielding questions from the audience is downright fun as she holds fast to her presence in the 19th Century.  It takes a comprehensive knowledge of local history to pull this off, and Donlyn is a master.  ~~ Anne Dyni, Historian; Niwot Historical Society Board Member; Author, Niwot, CO

You may have heard the phrase, "Making history come alive," but until you've heard Donlyn Arbuthnot's historically accurate and emotionally resonant storytelling, you probably haven't experienced it yourself. Donlyn's warmth, compassion, and wit shine through each one of her performances. Go see her!  ~~ Buzzy Jackson, author of Shaking the Family Tree: Blue Bloods, Black Sheep, and Other Obsessions of an Accidental Genealogist.

She asked, "You mean you're just blabbin'? You don't have a script?”

I relied, “No I don't have a script, I'm just sharing what I know.”

She responded, “Well, I think you're a real good blabber!"
         ~~ A 99 year old member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Arapaho Chapter

Click here to contact Donlyn to book a storytelling for your event or organization.

Organizations where history has come alive through one of Donlyn's storytellings...

Gold Prospectors of the Rockies (Denver Chapter)
Ghost Walk, Ghost Talk; Historic Boulder
Niwot Historical Society
Boulder Valley Parks and Recreation
Boulder History Museum
Gold Hill Sesquicentennial, Gold Hill Club
Haystack Mountain Golf Course
Larimer County Genealogist Society
Foothills Kiwanis Club, Boulder
Niwot Elementary School

Private Parties & Family Reunions
Shepherd Valley Waldorf School
Daughters of the American Revolution (various chapters)
Carnegie Branch Library for Local History, Boulder
Boulder Public Library, Friends of the Library
Lafayette Historical Society
St. Vrain Valley Pioneer Association
Longmont Genealogy Society
Red Hat Ladies (various chapters)
Boulder Optimist Clubs
Dakota Ridge High School, Jefferson County