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


  Events in the life of Samuel Arbuthnot and his son Carson W. Arbuthnot.

From the Arbuthnott Family Association

Samuel Arbuthnot is believed to have come from Northern Ireland, and was in the US before 1796, when he married Esther McMarland as his second wife. He is said to have come to the US with two brothers whose identity is unknown. Samuel and Esther settled in western Pennsylvania and had 12 children, most of whom moved west. Members of this large branch are now located throughout the US. 
The connection with Scotland has not yet been established.

1758 Feb 20 – Samuel Arbuthnot is born in Northern Ireland

Date Unkown – Samuel is married to [unknown woman] in No. Ireland

1781 – Birth of first son to Samuel and ?, William in Northern Ireland

Date Unknown – Samuel sent his first wife and son to the United States. He dressed his wife as a widow for the trip. The family story is that she ran off with the captain of the ship when they reached America.

Date Unknown – Immigrated (possibly from County Down or County Cork) to the United States, was not able to locate his first wife and son.  Believe that Samuel divorced his first wife.

1790 U. S. Census –  Samuel appears in Armstrong Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania; Roll: M637_9; Page: 100; Image: 63; Family History Library Film: 0568149.

1790 – 1800 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the capital of the United States.

1791 – Served in the Pennsylvania Militia, Westmoreland County, (specific dates unknown). (1789 to 1795 were the Indian Wars in Western Pennsylvania.)

1793 May 15 to Dec 14 – Served in the Pennsylvania Militia, Westmoreland County.

1794 – Whiskey Rebellion. Farmers in western Pennsylvania rebelled against paying a tax on their locally distilled whiskey and attacked federal revenue collectors. This uprising afforded the new U.S. government its first opportunity to establish federal authority by military means within state boundaries, as officials moved into western Pennsylvania to quell an uprising of settlers rebelling against the liquor tax.

1794 – Served in the Pennsylvania Militia, Westmoreland County, (specific dates unknown). Samuel Arbuthnot’s involvement in the Whiskey Rebellion is unknown.

1796 – Presidential Election. Pennsylvanian voters choose Jefferson, overtaking Adams.

1796 – Married second, Esther McMarlin (Born 21 March 1779 Ireland), in Pennsylvania.

1797 Sept 1 - First son with Esther, Alexander, born in Alexander, Pine Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

1799 – Son, David, is born.


1800 U. S. Census – Armstrong Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania; Roll: 41; Page: 75A; Image: 153; Family History Library Film: 363344.

1801 – Daughter is born, Jane.

1804 May 2 – Son, Carson William, is born. Fourth child and third son of Samuel and Esther's.

1806 – Daughter, Sarah, is born.

1808 – Son, Samuel, is born.

1810 – Son, Robert L, is born.

1812 – Daughter, Mary “Polly” is born.

1816 Jan 15 – Son, James Gibson, is born.

1818 – Daughter, Martha “Mattie” is born.

1821 – Son, Thomas Gibson, is born.  Thomas is the last child born to Samuel and Esther Arbuthnot.

1827 – Railroad transportation begins in Pennsylvania.

1829 June – Marriage of Carson W. Arbuthnot and Mary Frances “Frannie” Jones,  Pine Township, Alleghany Co, PA  [She is also noted as "Fannie" in some documents.]

1830 - U. S. Census Pine Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; Page: 356; NARA Roll: M19-144; Family History Film: 0020618.  Listing for Samuel (Generation 1).

1830 Sept 6 – Carson and Frannie have the birth of first child, a daughter, Esther Louise.  Pine Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

1833 Aug 7 – Carson and Frannie give birth to their first son, Samuel Cristy Arbuthnot.  Pine Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

1835 Aug 30 – Carson and Frannie have a son, William Carson Arbuthnot, Pine Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

1837 – Carson and Frannie have a daughter, Jane.  Born in Pine Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  

1837 – A convention was called to revise the Pennsylvania's laws and draft a new constitution.


1840 – [Samuel and Esther Arbuthnot] U. S. Census Pine Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Listed Samuel as a veteran. Roll 439; Page: 55; Image: 117; Family History Library Film: 0020536.

1840 – [Carson and Frannie Arbuthnot] U.S. Census, Pine Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  Males – 1 under 5 years of age, 1 between ages 5 and 10, and 1 between ages 30 and 40.  Females - 1 under 5 years of age, 1 between ages 5 and 10, and 1 between ages 30 and 40.

1841 Nov 2 – Carson and Frannie have a son, James A.  Born in Pine Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

1843 May 5 – Carson and Frannie have a daughter, Martha "Mattie" B. Arbuthnot.  Born in Pine Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

1844 Jan 21 – Samuel (Carson's father) dies and is buried in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, Buried Pine Creek Cemetery (formerly the first site of the Pine Creek Congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church) Grave H-7.

1845 Jul 9 – Carson and Frannie have a daughter, Margaret "Maggie" G. Arbuthnot.  Born in Pine Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

1847 Jul  - Carson and Frannie have a son, Charles Thomas Arbuthnot.  Born in Pine Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

1848 – Last child born to Carson and Frannie Arbuthnot, a daughter, Frances Anna Arbuthnot.  Born in Pine Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.


1850 – U.S. Census, Pine, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, family number 254.  Entire family members of Carson and Frances Arbuthnot is listed on this Census.  Esther is listed as living with her youngest son.

1852 Sept 28 – Samuel's wife (Generation 1), Esther, dies and is buried with Samuel in the Pine Creek Cemetery, Gibsonia, Pennsylvania. Grave H-8.

1853 - The Carson and Frannie Arbuthnot family relocate to Salt Creek Township, Tama County, Iowa.  They join his brother's Robert's family there.  Robert had relocated to this area and Benton County (next to Tama) in 1850.

1856 – Iowa State Census – Benton County, Roll IA_69, Line 21, Family 46 - Carson and Frannie Arbuthnot, listing all members of their family.

1858  July – Pike’s Peak or Bust!  “Green” Russel and Sam Bates find 20 troy ounces of gold in the Little Dry Creek, near the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River.  Pikes Peak was the only known mapped geographic location, so even though this peak is miles away from where gold was first found, this began the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush.


1859 January – Gold was discovered in Gold Run, a small creek in the Rocky Mountains.  In March of that year, Mountain District 1 was founded, more commonly known as the mining camp of Gold Hill.  This area was located on the Horsefal Mountain in Boulder County, named for the man who established the Horsfal gold mine.

1859 Feb. 10 – When a snowstorm hit the community of Gold Hill, some of the miners came down 12 miles to the mouth of Boulder Creek and started a new town.  On Feb 10th, Boulder City was incorporated as a town in Nebraska Territory.   Pearl Street is surveyed to line up with Valmont Butte.  Lots are prepared and offered for $1,000. Each.  Today this is Boulder, Colorado. 

1859 June 20 – Carson W. Arbuthnot arrived in Boulder City, Nebraska Territory (now Boulder, Colorado) with sons Samuel, William, James and Charles and son-in-law, Stephen D. Newton.  As recorded by Samuel Arbuthnot, Boulder Pioneers.  Published in the Boulder Daily Camera.

1859 – C. W. Arbuthnot mines at the Horsfal Load, Gold Hill with son, James and son-in-law, Stephen D. Newton.  There they meet Edward D. Steele of Lodi, Wisconsin.

1859 Sept 29, Thursday - Rocky Mountain News reports on page 2 that two men of the Arbuthnot & Company are mining in Pleasant Valley, lower part of Russell's Gulch.  Amount gained for this week is $50.

1859 - Fiftyniners' Directory-Colorado Argonauts-1858-1859.  ARBUTHNOT & COMPANY, mentioned in papers of 1859 as mining in placers of Pleasant Valley, and working two men.  This is most likely Samuel, William and Charles.


1860 – U. S. Census, Gold Hill, Unorganized County, Nebraska Territory Carson and his son James are listed.  They are sharing a cabin with son-in-law, Stephen Newton (married to Esther Arbuthnot, Carson’s eldest daughter) and A. Reinard

1860 – U. S. Census, Salt Creek, Tama County Iowa, West Irving Post Office.  Entire Arbuthnot family is listed.  I’m sure Frannie didn’t want anyone to know that the head of the household wasn’t there.  William and Charles had returned by then, Carson, Samuel and James were still in gold country.

1860 Oct 31 - Sugar Loaf Mining District, Boulder County - On this date, this district was established.  Three leaders, the President, Secretary and Constable, were voted in by the miners.  Carson W. Arbuthnot is elected constable by a majority vote. It's unknown at this time how long he served in this position

1860 Dec 15 - Gold Hill Mining District, Boulder County - President of this mining district called a meeting to determine if the first Constable, James Carlile was charging more than the fee bill allowed.  The committee found Sheriff Carlile guilty on more than one occasion.  An election was held and Carson W. Arbuthnot is voted in as Constable of the Gold Hill Mining District.  serves as Constable or Sheriff of Gold Hill District, Boulder County, Colorado Territory.  Sheriff C. W. Arbuthnot served until to Nov 22, 1862.


1861 Feb 28 - Colorado becomes a Territory of the United States of America.

1861 April 10 – Arbuthnot & Co. (Mining company) Operate tunnel, Sailorville Load, Sugarloaf Dist.  Rocky Mt News 10 April 1861 p.2 c.2

1861 April 17, Wednesday - Rocky Mountain News page 1.  "To Gold Hill and Back, II"  by reporter Sniktau.  In the article he reports at the Sugar Loaf District that Arbuthnot & Company are tunneling on the Sailorville Lead.  Right next to the Sailorville Lead is the Hinman Lead.

1861 Aug 19 – Territorial Elections, Gold Hill, Colorado Territory.  Carson (HH-14) and Samuel (HH-51) vote in the home of W. H. Corson.  Sworn by Judge L. Nichols, Gold Hill District V. P.  91 votes were taken that day.


1862 Oct. 8 - C. W. Arbuthnot is appointed to serve on the Grand Jury by the Boulder County Commissioner.  His son, Samuel is appointed to serve on the Petite Jury.  Boulder County Commissioners Journal 1, p.67.

1862 Oct 15 -  Sheriff C. W. Arbuthnot sold a mine claim between No. 5 and No. 4 on the Horsfall Lode to Geo. W. Chambers for $400.  Dept. of Records, Boulder County, Colorado Territory, Book A, Page 489


1863 Jan. 1 - Carson declares his homestead. - this is the first step in the Homesteading process.  Carson made this declaration on the first day that one could do this.  The area that he claimed includes Haystack Mountain along the Left Hand Creek.  His son William later purchased the land south of Haystack Mt using a military bounty script from Santa Fe, NM.  Carson's declaration is witnessed by Probate Judge, Peter M. Housel whom Carson had beat out to become the Sheriff of Gold Hill.  Carson was setting down his roots for his future generations and this blog is about these same family roots.  Carson's sons Samuel, James, and Charles all acquired land just north in Haystack Mountain.

1863 Jan 9 -  C. W. Arbuthnot is chosen to serve on the Grand Jury by the Boulder County Commissioner.  Journal 1, page 71.

1863 July 27 - Boulder County Commissioners Special Session.  Carson's son Samuel is appointed to serve as an election judge for precinct No. 6 along with James Carr and S. S. Wemott.

1863 May 1-15 -  William Arbuthnot (Carson's son) digs the first ditch off of Left Hand Creek near Haystack Mountain.  It is first known as the Arbuthnot Ditch No. 1.  Later he sells it and it is known as the Holland Ditch.  Owners are listed when this document was filed in 1882 are:  Chris Nelson, Wm Arbuthnot, A.P. Lawson, Mrs. M. A. Grill, Barnett Dodd, M.E.Bader’s Estate, J. Hugo Anderson, Henry H. Birch, Sam Williamson, Granville Holland, and Fred Bond. 
Decreed on 2 Dec 1882.
Colorado State Archives. S1383H.  Boulder District Court Judgement Book: Water Decrees.  Vol 2, District 5-6, 1869-1896. p. 394-397.

1863 May 16-31 - William Arbuthnot digs the Bader Ditch No. 2 [Most likely with the help of Nicholas Bader, who had died when this court document was recorded in 1882.)  Owners in the court document as listed as John G. Bader and Wm Arbuthnot.  [Note that John George Bader was not in the area at the time that this ditch was dug, But his brother Nicholas was.  Nicholas died in 1873 and the date of this document was recorded was in 1882 when John George Bader was still living.]  Decreed on 2 Dec 1882.
Colorado State Archives. S1383H.  Boulder District Court Judgement Book: Water Decrees.  Vol 2, District 5-6, 1869-1896. p. 398-400.

1863 June 1-15 - William Arbuthnot digs the Arbuthnot Ditch No. 2, later to be known as Farmer's Ditch No. 6 in District No. 5.  Owners are listed as Wm Arbuthnot, Richard Goyn, and P. M. Hinman. [Porter Mortimer Hinman].  Decreed on 2 Dec 1882.
Colorado State Archives. S1383H.  Boulder District Court Judgement Book: Water Decrees.  Vol 2, District 5-6, 1869-1896. p. 400-405

1863 Oct 6 - Certificates were presented by the Left Hand Ditch Company for consideration but no action was taken.  Boulder Commissioners Journal 1, p. 91.

1863 Oct 9 - Boulder County Commissioners selected Grand Jurors.  Carson W. Arbuthnot was selected.  (Fred Affolter was also selected)  Boulder County Commissioners Journal  I, p. 93

1863 Oct 9 - "Left Hand Ditch Co's Certificate was then considered.  Said Ditch Co. Purposes to build or make a ditch to start at a point opposite the west branch of the James Creek.  Thence down said creek to Left Hand Creek.  Thence down Left Hand Creek to St. Vrains Creek.  Water to be used for mining, milling and agricultural purposes.  Said Ditch Co. of the following named persons H. N. Williams, P. R. Pennock, A. N. Allen. Certificate approved with the following conditions:  That no water shall be taken out of St. Vrains Creek when it is needed in it's natural channel for Milling, Mining, or irrigation purposes.  above where it is conveyed back to it's natural channel again."  Boulder County Commissioners Journal I, p. 93-94.


1864 – Land Office Application, Homestead Act.  T2N, R70W, 6th PM. Application no. 1145.00, Denver Land Office. (Hand written application)  

1864 May 16-31 - William Arbuthnot and Merritt Hinman digs the Bader Ditch No. 1 [Most likely with the help of Nicholas Bader, who had died when this court document was recorded in 1882.]  Owners in the court document as listed as George G. Bader [this is the same person as John George Bader], Merritt Hinman and Wm Arbuthnot.  [Note that John George Bader was not in the area at the time that this ditch was dug, But his brother Nicholas was.  Nicholas died in 1873 and the date of this document was recorded was in 1882 when John George Bader was still living.]  Decreed on 2 Dec 1882.
Colorado State Archives. S1383H.  Boulder District Court Judgement Book: Water Decrees.  Vol 2, District 5-6, 1869-1896. p. 410-411.

1864 Oct 7 - Carson W. Arbuthnot was paid $2.50 (no. 355) and $10.20 (no. 371)
Samuel C. Arbuthnot was paid $2.50 (no. 358) by the Boulder Commissioners Journal 1, p. 108-109.

1864 Nov 29 – Sand Creek Massacre – James A. Arbuthnot was a soldier with the Colorado Calvary 3rd  Regiment, Company D.  It was recorded in newspaper articles about the “battle” that Samuel also participated, but no record of military service has been located for Samuel.


1865 May 16-31 Altona Ditch (originally called the Noblit Ditch) was dug.  Owned by the Altona Ditch Company (no other names listed), Altona CO   Decreed on 2 Dec 1882.  Boulder District Court Judgement Book: Water Decrees.  Vol 2, District 5-6, 1869-1896. p. 410-411.



1867 – William Tull hung in Boulder as an alleged horse thief.  He was hung in a tree along Boulder Creek.  Chief Niwot threatens to burn down the town.  Arbuthnot’s were not involved (as far as we know), but created a fear in the family that it was spoken of generations later.

1867 Jan 11 - Boulder Commissioners select William C. Arbuthnot to serve as Petit Juror along with 11 others including Fred Squires and Mortimer Hinman.  D.H. Nichols and Fred Affolter chosen along with 22 others to serve as Grand Jurors.  Boulder Commissioners Journal 1, p. 219.

1867 April 2 - Boulder County Commissioners pay William C. Arbuthnot no. 181 $20.70 [most likely for his jury duty].  Bond no. 182 is issued to Mort Hinman for $23.60.

1867 Oct 8 - Boulder Commissioners select Carson W. Arbuthnot to serve on Petit Jury.  Also selected are P. M. Housel, William Hake, David Nichols, Porter T. Hinman, a total of 24 men were selected.  Twenty-four are selected for Grand Jury including Sylvanus Budd and Nicholas E. Bader.


1868 July 7 - Boulder County Commissioners establish voting precincts.
Voting Precinct No. 3, Known as Left Hand.
Commencing in Lykins Canyon at a point Four (4) miles west of Range Seventy, thence Southerly to the point where the road from Four Mile Canyon intersects the NiWot & Black Hawk Wagon Road including the present Willow Creek House, thence East to Range Sixty-nine, thence North along said line to the South East corner of Precinct No. 2, thence West along the South line of said Precinct to the place of beginning.
The place of voting in said Precinct shall hereafter be at the House of William Arbuthnot on Left Hand Creek.  Boulder County Commissioners Journal 1, p. 267-268.

1868 Oct 7 - William Arbuthnot is selected by the Boulder Commissioners to serve as Petit Juror along with Fred Affolter and 22 others.  Boulder Commissioners Journal 1, p. 299.

1869 July 14 Boulder Pioneer Newspaper announces the election judges for the election to take place in September of that year.  C. W. Arbuthnot is appointed to serve as the election judge for the area of Left Hand along with two others.  Boulder Pioneer, page 1.   Click here to see the article.

1870 June 22 - U.S. Census, Boulder, Boulder Co, Colorado Territory.  Sharing dwelling 17 in Boulder, Carson W. Arbuthnot with wife Frannie (keeping house), a carpenter, lecturer and a shoemaker, none who are family members as far as I can tell.  Click here to see the census along with an article about the lecturer.

1870 Sept 10 -  U.S. Census, Salt Creek Township (West Irving P.O.), Tama County, Iowa – Wife of Carson W Arbuthnot, Frannie and daughter Margaret have returned to Tama County, Iowa and appear on the  U.S. Census there.   Frannie and daughter Maggie are in the home of Philip and Anna Daily (Anna is Frannie and Carson's youngest daughter). 

1870 Nov – Wife of Carson W Arbuthnot, Mary Francis "Frannie" "Fannie" (Jones) Arbuthnot Dies in Iowa.  It is assumed that she is buried in the Arbuthnot Family Cemetery, Belle Plaine, IA 52208. South of US 30, and just west of SR 21. On the eastern border of Tama County.

1873 Jan 1 – Carson William Arbuthnot dies in Boulder, Boulder County, Colorado Territory.  Burial unknown.  This date of his death could be 1875 Jan 1, I've seen it written both ways.

1879 - George Coffin and nine of his friends dynamite the Left Hand Ditch Company's diversion dam at the head waters of the Left Hand Ditch.  This started a confrontation between the Left Hand farmers and the St. Vrain farmers.  Left Hand first sued Coffin and the nine others for damages.  After willing in the local court, Coffin and company counter sued and the case went to the Colorado Supreme Court.  Through out this whole ordeal, Samuel Arbuthnot was president of the Left Hand Ditch Company,  Porter T. Hinman - Secretary, Fred W. Bader - Treasurer.

1882  As President of the Left Hand Ditch Company, Samuel Arbuthnot (son of Carson) fights for water rights to the South St. Vrain River in the court case of  Coffin v Left Hand.  Colorado Superem Court affirms the doctrine of "first in time, first in right" in water rights dispute.  An appropriation the courts still uses today in water disputes.  Left Hand Ditch Company wins the suit and it becomes to be known as the Colorado Prior Appropriations Law.

1894 Feb 18, Sunday - Rocky Mountain News p.3.  "Foreigners' Rights".  A report that English settlers can settle and sell public land (which had been in dispute).  Ruling is in favor of Lena Mitchell and her claim NW1/4 of Sec. 3 T3N R69W.  Land was first filed on by James Arbuthnot Feb. 9, 1866.  When Arbuthnot abandoned, Mitchell came in claimed it.  It is now undisputed, it's hers.


1915 April 4, Sunday - Rocky Mountain News p. 7.  "Last of the Fifty-Niners Buried" (Boulder, Colo)  Funeral services were held here today for the last of Boulder's "Fifty-niners" Samuel Arbuthnot, who died here in his home on Wednesday.  Interned in Niwot.

1942 - Diary of Margie Ann (Coe) Arbuthnot, Niwot, Colorado.  Daily entries over 365 days for the year 1942 in the book that Margie Arbuthnot had received as a gift on Christmas of 1941 by her friend Ellen.  Source: number 9.


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