George Sutherland

George Sutherland

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George Sutherland was born in Stony Stratford, England, on 25th March, 1862. When he was a child the family emigrated to the United States. They settled in Utah and was later educated at the Brigham Young Academy and the University of Michigan.

Sutherland was admitted to the bar in 1883 and practiced in Provo, Utah. A member of the Republican Party, Sutherland served the House of Representatives (1901-03) and the United States Senate (1905-17).

After being defeated in 1916 Sutherland became a legal adviser to Warren Harding. Soon after Harding became president he appointed Sutherland to the Supreme Court. Sutherland was a conservative justice and in 1923 outlawed the minimum wage.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Democratic Party candidate, was elected as president in 1932. Over the next few years Sutherland and the other justices who were supporters of the Republican Party, ruled against the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) and ten other New Deal laws.

On 2nd February, 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt made a speech attacking the Supreme Court for its actions over New Deal legislation. He pointed out that seven of the nine judges (Sutherland, Charles Hughes, Willis Van Devanter, Harlan Stone, Owen Roberts, Benjamin Cardozo and Pierce Butler) had been appointed by Republican presidents. Roosevelt had just won re-election by 10,000,000 votes and resented the fact that the justices could veto legislation that clearly had the support of the vast majority of the public.

Roosevelt suggested that the age was a major problem as six of the judges were over 70 (Sutherland, Charles Hughes, Willis Van Devanter, James McReynolds, Louis Brandeis and Pierce Butler). Roosevelt announced that he was going to ask Congress to pass a bill enabling the president to expand the Supreme Court by adding one new judge, up to a maximum off six, for every current judge over the age of 70.

Charles Hughes realised that Roosevelt's Court Reorganization Bill would result in the Supreme Court coming under the control of the Democratic Party. His first move was to arrange for a letter written by him to be published by Burton Wheeler, chairman of the Judiciary Committee. In the letter Hughes cogently refuted all the claims made by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

However, behind the scenes Charles Hughes was busy doing deals to make sure that Roosevelt's bill would be defeated in Congress. On 29th March, Owen Roberts announced that he had changed his mind about voting against minimum wage legislation. Hughes also reversed his opinion on the Social Security Act and the National Labour Relations Act (NLRA) and by a 5-4 vote they were now declared to be constitutional.

Then Willis Van Devanter, probably the most conservative of the justices, announced his intention to resign. He was replaced by Hugo Black, a member of the Democratic Party and a strong supporter of the New Deal. In July, 1937, Congress defeated the Court Reorganization Bill by 70-20. However, Roosevelt had the satisfaction of knowing he had a Supreme Court that was now less likely to block his legislation.

George Sutherland resigned from the Supreme Court in 1938 at the age of 76. He died at Stockbridge, Massachusetts on 18th July, 1942.


George Sutherland served as associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1922 to 1938. A conservative jurist, Sutherland opposed the efforts of Congress and state legislatures to regulate business and working conditions. During the 1930s he was part of a conservative bloc that ruled unconstitutional major parts of President franklin d. roosevelt's new deal program.

Sutherland was born on March 25, 1862, in Buckinghamshire, England. When Sutherland was a young child, his parents emigrated to the United States, settling in Provo, Utah. Sutherland graduated from Brigham Young University in 1881 and attended the University of Michigan Law School in 1882 and 1883. He was admitted to the Michigan bar in 1883 but returned that same year to Utah, where he established a law practice in Salt Lake City.

Sutherland took an interest in politics and served in the territorial legislature. In 1896, after Utah had become a state, Sutherland was elected to the first Utah Senate as a republican party member. In 1901 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and in 1905 he became a U.S. senator from Utah.

"[The] saddest epitaph which can be carved in memory [for] a vanished liberty is that it was lost because its possessors failed to stretch forth a saving hand while yet there was time."
—George Sutherland

Despite Sutherland's reputation as a political conservative in Congress, he did support President Theodore Roosevelt's reform programs. He also supported workers' compensation legislation for railroad workers and the nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which

provided for women's suffrage. Nevertheless, he believed that individual rights were paramount and that government should not intrude on most economic activities.

After being defeated in the 1916 Senate election, Sutherland became involved in national Republican politics and served as an adviser to President warren g. harding, who was elected in 1920. Sutherland's name had been mentioned for several years as a possible Supreme Court appointee, and in September 1922 Harding nominated Sutherland to the Court.

Sutherland joined a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives. Like the conservative majority, Sutherland believed in the doctrine of substantive due process, which held that the due process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution could be invoked to impose limits on the substance of government regulations and other activities by which government affects "life, liberty, and property." Since the 1880s the Supreme Court had invoked substantive due process to strike down a variety of state and federal laws that regulated working conditions, wages, and business activities.

Sutherland also adhered to the concept of liberty of contract, which held that the government should not interfere with the right of individuals to contract with their employers concerning wages, hours, and working conditions. Sutherland wrote the majority opinion in Adkins v. Children's Hospital, 261 U.S. 525, 43 S. Ct. 394, 67 L. Ed. 785 (1923), in which the Court struck down a federal minimum wage law for women workers in the District of Columbia. Sutherland concluded that employer and employee had the constitutional right to negotiate whatever terms they pleased concerning wages. Sutherland rejected the idea that Congress had the authority to correct social and economic disparities that hurt society in general.

With the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression of the 1930s, the conservative majority on the Court came under intense public and political scrutiny. Franklin D. Roosevelt's election in 1932 signaled a change in philosophy concerning the role of the federal government. Roosevelt's New Deal was premised on national economic planning and the creation of administrative agencies to regulate business and labor. This was anathema to Sutherland and his conservative brethren.

From 1933 to 1937 the Court struck down numerous New Deal measures. Sutherland, along with Justices james c. mcreynolds, willis van devanter, and pierce butler, formed the core of opposition to federal efforts to revitalize the economy and create a social safety net. The socalled Four Horsemen helped strike down as unconstitutional the national industrial recovery act of 1933 in Schechter Poultry Corporation v. United States, 295 U.S. 495, 55 S. Ct. 837, 79 L. Ed. 1570 (1935), and the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 in United States v. Butler, 297 U.S. 1, 56 S. Ct. 312, 80 L. Ed. 477 (1936).

Roosevelt responded by proposing a court-packing plan that would have added an additional justice to the Court for each member over the age of seventy. This plan targeted the Four Horsemen and, if implemented, would have canceled out their votes. Although Roosevelt's plan was rejected by Congress, the national debate over the role of the federal government and the recalcitrance of the Supreme Court led more moderate members of the Court to change their positions and vote in favor of New Deal proposals. With the tide turning, Sutherland retired in 1938.

Despite his conservative views on government and business, Sutherland defended liberty rights as well as property rights. In powell v. alabama, 287 U.S. 45, 53 S. Ct. 55, 77 L. Ed. 158 (1932), Sutherland overturned the convictions of the "Scottsboro boys," a group of young African Americans sentenced to death for an alleged sexual assault on two white women. Sutherland ruled that the sixth amendment guarantees adequate legal counsel in state criminal proceedings.

Sutherland died on July 18, 1942, in Stock-bridge, Massachusetts.

George Sutherland - History


Rooted in tradition and shrouded in the veils of time, the history of Clan Sutherland is full of enigma. It is believed that the genealogical tree of the Clan may have its origin in Flanders as well as Scotland with its tribal society of Picts and Celts. Much of the history, especially of the early period is lost, but from surviving written sources the genealogy of the Clan is traced from Moray in the 12th century to a new pattern of settlement and expansion, first in Sutherland and Caithness, later in Scotland and elsewhere.

In the tree of the Clan the Earls of Sutherland, the Lairds of Forse and the Lairds of Duffus and Skelbo together represent the stem and main branches. This essay is intended to give the descent of these three families: to indicate some of the younger branches and to place the history of the Clan in its geographical setting for the period preceding the great changes of the 19th century. Chiefs, chieftains and clansmen, the 'clanna' or children of one common ancestor, survive in the records of that period, a span of seven centuries with more than twenty generations. In Highland history they took part in the affairs of their Clan and lands, well before the great changes which followed the conflicts of Culloden, the Bastille and Waterloo and which extinguished the ancient way of life in the Highlands. Many of the Clan were involved in historical events as far and wide as Bannockburn and Halidon Hill the service of arms to the Low Countries and Russia and the planting of new colonies from Nova Scotia to the West Indies. It is not intended to enter into these aspects of history. They form part of the background for the genealogy of the Clan. Information for this essay is taken from printed sources which are numbered in () and listed below. Much quoted in these sources is one especially interesting work from the 17th century. It is 'A genealogical history of the Earldom of Sutherland from its origin to the year 1630 . with a continuation to the year 1651', written by Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun, son of Alexander, eleventh Earl of Sutherland, and by Gilbert Gordon of Sailagh, printed in 1813. These sources hold much interest for students of the history of Clan Sutherland.


The genealogy of the Clan and the dynasty of the Earldom began with Freskin. His origin is uncertain. His descendants are described as 'of Sutherland', later 'Sutherland'. The eldest son succeeded as the head of the family, and eventually as chief of the clan and earl (old Norse: Earl chieftain, nobleman). As early as the 15th century, probably much earlier, the family lived at Dunrobin Castle, which is believed to be one of the oldest houses in Britain continuously inhabited by one family. The name is from the Gaelic Dun Robin, Robin's hill or fort.

1. Freskin, first recorded ancestor of the Earls of Sutherland, who may be of Flemish origin, had from King David I (1124-1153) Strabrock in West Lothian and Duffus in Moray. Freskin is named in a charter to his son William by King William the Lion (1165-1214) between 1166 and 1171.

2. William, son of Freskin,. witnessed a charter in 1160 had a charter of his father's lands between 1166 and 1171 and may have been William Fresekyn, "Sheriff of Invernaryn" named in 1204. William had three sons:

b. William, son of William son of Freskin, named with his brother Hugh as witness after 1195, was Lord of Petty, Bracholy, Boharm and Arteldol, and is believed to be ancestor to the Morays of Bothwell.

c. Andrew, named before 1203 as son of William son of Freskin, and as Parsons of Duffus, later as brother to Hugh Freskin and William, may have been alive in 1221.

3. Hugh, son of William son of Freskin, also named Hugh Freskin and Hugh de Moravia in charters from 1195 onward, was heir to Duffus and Strabrock. The Bishop of Moray gave him, Lord of Duffus, a free chapel in Duffus Castle between 1203 and 1214. By 1211 he also had Skelbo and other land in Sutherland. He gave Skelbo, Invershin and Fernebucklyn to Gilbert de Moravia, Archdeacon of Moray. Skelbo was given for the service of one bowman and service to the king. Hugh Freskin died before 1222 and was buried in the church of Duffus leaving three sons:

b. Walter, son of Hugh Freskin married Euphemia, daughter of Ferquhard, Earl of Ross. He died c. 1263 and was buried at Duffus.

c. Andrew, son of Hugh de Moravia, named between 1203 and 1214 as Parson of Duffus and in 1222 as Bishop of Moray, may have begun the building of Elgin Cathedral. He died in 1242.

4. William, son and heir of Hugh Freskin and Lord of Sutherland, confirmed his father's charter of Skelbo and other lands given to Archdeacon Gilbert, between 1211 and 1222. He is named in 1232 as William of Sutherland and perhaps in 1235 or later was made Earl of Sutherland. Sir Robert Gordon states that he helped Gilbert, Bishop of Caithness in the building of Dornoch Cathedral. The Earl, it is said, died in 1248 and was buried in the Cathedral. He had a son William.

5. William, son of William and second Earl of Sutherland. named in accounts of payment to the King (Alexander m, 1249-1286) in 1263 and 1266, witnessed in 1269 a charter by the Earl of Ross of lands to the Church of Moray. At Scone in Perthshire he attended in 1283-84 the Parliament which accepted the Infant Margaret of Norway as Queen of Scotland. As granddaughter of King Alexander III the Maid of Norway succeeded to the Kindom of Scotland in 1286, but died on her way to Scotland c. 1290. Earl William supported the claim to the throne of King Robert I ('The Bruce' 1306-1329) and at Berwick in 1296 signed the homage roll, but later adhered to the English King (Edward I, 'Longshanks,' 1272-1307) and died c. 1306-7. He had two sons:

a. William, son of William and third Earl of Sutherland. a minor when his father died, succeeded in 1306-7. His ward was given to John, younger son of the Earl of Ross. In 1308-9 the young Earl attended Parliament at St Andrews. Sir Robert Gordon states that the Earl fought at Bannock- burn (Stirling), the battle of 1314 which gave Bruce the rule of Scotland. The Earl signed in 1320 the letter of the nobles to Pope John XXII known as the Declaration of Arbroath asserting full independence of Scotland from the English Crown. He died before 1331.

6. Kenneth, son of William and fourth Earl of Sutherland. succeeded his brother William before 1331. The Scots, endeavouring to raise the siege of Berwick, were with great losses defeated by the English, and the Earl was killed, in the battle of Halidon Hill in 1333. Sir Robert Gordon states that Earl Kenneth married Mary, daughter of Donald, Earl of Mar. He had two sons and one daughter.


c. Eastachia married c. 1330 Gilbert Moray of Culbin

7. William, son of Kenneth and fifth Earl of Sutherland, succeeded his father in 1333. The Earl is believed to have fought at Kilblene and participated in the siege of Cupar Castle, Fife. With the Earl of March he took part in a foray into England. Earl William married Margaret, sister of King David II (1329-71). The spouses had in 1345 lands in Angus, Kincardine and Aberdeen "Sutherland was made a regality." They also had in 1346 the crag of Dunnottar in Angus, with license to build a fortalice. In 1346-47,after the death of the Princess Margaret his Countess, the Earl married Joanna Menteith. Apparently, the Earl with 'many men at arms' accompanied King David II into England and both were captured at the battle of Neville's Cross by Durham in 1346, but in 1351 the Earl had a safe conduct to confer at Newcastle on the King's ransom. For the King's return to Scotland the Earl gave his infant son and heir as hostage. In 1357 both the Earl and his son became hostages for payment of the King's ransom. They remained in England for more than ten years, occasionally visiting Scotland. In 1358-59 they had from the King the barony and castle of Urquhart by Inverness. Earl William died probably in 1370, perhaps killed in revenge for his part in the murder at Dingwallof Iye Mackay, Chief of the Clan, and Donald his son, that same year. Earl William had three sons, of whom the eldest by his first wife:

a. John, a hostage in England, apparently still very young died there at Lincoln of the plague in 1361.


8. Robert, son of William and sixth Earl of Sutherland (in or before 1389) is named by the chronicler Froissart as a leader of the Scots invading into the West of England in 1388. In 1400-1 he gave to his brother Kenneth a charter of Drummoy and other lands. The charter gives the earliest known reference to Dunrobin Castle. The Earl married Margaret Stewart, daughter of Alexander, Earl of Buchan and is said to have died in 1442. He had three sons:

b. Robert, named by Sir Robert Gordon as son of Earl Robert.

c. Alexander, also named by Sir Robert.

9. John, son of Robert and seventh Earl of Sutherland, accompanied his uncle Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, to Flanders c.1408. The contemporary chronicler Wyntoun states that the Earl of Mar knighted some of his esquires, of whom John of Sutherland "his newew a lord apperand of vertew, Heretabil Eri of that Country. In 1427 Earl John was probably one of the hostages for King James I who was held in England from 1406 to 1424. The Earl was confined at Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire and from there he gave in 1444 a charter of Torboll in Sutherland to his kinsman Alexander Sutherland of Duffus. In 1448 he was at Dunrobin and in 1451, together with his wife Margaret Baillie, was given land in the Parish of Loth in Sutherland. Sir Robert Gordon states that Earl John died in 1460 and was buried in the chapel of St Andrew's at Golspie in Sutherland. He had four or five sons, a natural son and one daughter:

a. Alexander, son of John and Master of Sutherland named in 1449 died probably in or before 1456.

c. Nicholas, named by Earl John in a charter of 1448 as his son.

d. Thomas Beg (Little Thomas), named by Sir Robert Gordon as ancestor of the Sutherlands in Strathullie, (the strath of Kildonan), a wide valley traversed by the river Uilligh (Helmsdale river) with tracts of flat, low lying land (srath), bounded by high ground in the parish of Kildonan in Sutherland.

e. Robert, may be the Earl's uncle named by Sir Robert Gordon as present at the conflict at Aldycharrish (Strath Oykell) in 1487.

f. Janet married in 1480 Alexander, son of Sir Alexander Dunbar of Westfield, brother of Sir James Dunbar of Cumnock.

g. Thomas Mor (Big Thomas), described by Sir Robert Gordon as the Earl's natural son whose two sons were killed by their uncle Earl John.

10. John, son of John and eighth Earl of Sutherland, named in 1455-56, was in 1494 declared insane and placed in care of Sir James Dunbar of Cumnock, who in 1497-98 accompanied the Earl and his son to King James IV (1488-1513). Sir Robert Gordon states that the Earl married a daughter of Alexander MacDonald. Lord of the Isles that nearly drowned while crossing at Littleferry the river Unes (the Fleet estuary between Dornoch and Golspie), she was slain by a robber. The Earl's second wife was apparently Fingole, daughter of William of Calder, Thane of Cawdor, widow of John Monro of Fowlis, who died in or before 1491, a divorce between her and the Earl was being prepared in 1497-98 and he married thirdly Catherine, named as Countess of Sutherland in 1509-12. The Earl is said to have died in 1508. He had two sons and one daughter:

b. Elizabeth, daughter of John and Countess of Sutherland married Adam Gordon of Aboyne in 1500, the year given by Sir Robert Gordon. Her spouse was the son of George, Earl of Huntly. Elizabeth succceeded her brother John by "infeftment" of 1515, resigning the earldom to her eldest son Alexander. ANCESTOR OF THE THE FAMILY OF GORDON, EARLS OF SUTHERLAND. The Countess Elizabeth died at Aboyne Castle, Deeside in Aberdeen in 1505.

c. Alexander, described by Sir Robert Gordon as the natural son of Earl John by a daughter of Ross of Balnagown, born in 1491, opposed his brother's succession, aged eighteen in 1509. Alexander's right of succession was reserved if his half sister Elizabeth's heir failed. He was also compensated with lands worth forty jerky yearly, but in 1514, assisted by his half-brother Robert Munro as procura tor he opposed his sister as heir to her brother Earl John. In 1515 he seized and held Dunrobin Castle whereupon he was incarcerated in Edinburgh. In 1515 he again took pos- session of the Castle, but was forced to surrender and in 1519-20 he was killed at Kintradwell by Brora. He married a daughter of Iye Roy-Mackay of Strathnaver and had descendants.

11. John, son of John and ninth Earl of Sutherland, at an early age was taken with his father in the presence of King James IV in 1493 and succeeded in 1508 as ward of the Crown, the Earldom being administered by Andrew Stewart, Bishop of Caithness. At Perth in 1514 the Earl was pronounced legally incapable. In the question of his successor the Earl declared that Elizabeth his sister and Adam Gordon her husband and their children were his nearest heirs. His death a month later in 1514 marked the end of the first dynasty of the Earls of Sutherland.


The family descended from Freskin through Kenneth, fourth Earl of Sutherland and Mary, daughter of the Earl of Mar, his Countess. They lived at Duffus by Elgin in Moray and Skelbo by Dornoch in Sutherland, two castles of venerable antiquity, both now ruins.

1. Nicholas, son of Kenneth, fourth Earl of Sutherland, had in 1360 Torboll in Sutherland from his brother William, fifth Earl of Sutherland, for the service of one knight. His wife, Mary, daughter of Reginald le Cheyne and of Mary, Lady of Duffus, brought him part of Duffus in Moray and lands in Caithness In 1370 Nicholas was involved in the murder at Dingwall (Ross-shire) of Iye Mackay, Chief of the Clan, and Donald, his son. In 1408 he is named as Lord of the Castle of Duffus. He had two sons:

a. John, son and heir of Nicholas, ratified a grant of lands by his father to his brother Henry m 1408. From 1424 to 1427 John was one of the hostages for King James I (1406-24 captive in England, r. 1424-37).

b. Henry (as 2) . 2. Henry, son of Nicholas, had Torboll from Robert, sixth Earl of Sutherland. He died before 1434. Margaret Mureff (Moray) is named as spouse of Henry of Sutherland in 1438. At her death she had land with houses east of Wick in Caithness 'abon the sand' held of God and 'Haly Kirk' and of St. Fergus patron of Wick. Henry had a son (as 3).

3. Alexander succeeded his father Henry in Torboll and had Duffus in or before 1434, when he gave twenty-one oxgangs' of land in West Lothian to Robert Crichton of Sanquhar. He sold his lands in Forfar. In 1444 he had confirmation of his lands of Torboll from John, seventh Earl of Sutherland and may have visited the Earl who was then a hostage at Pontefract Castle. In a Crown writ of 1541 he is named Sir Alexander Sutherland of Duffus He married Muriel, daughter of John Chisholm of Chisholm in 1433-34 and had Quarrelwood and other lands near Elgin in Moray. He appears to have died before 1484 and had two sons and three daughters:

b. Angus had Torboll and married Christina. They had issue.

c. Isabella, alive in 1502, married Alexander Dunbar of Westfield.

d. Dorothea, said to be daughter of Alexander Sutherland of Duffus, was named as contributing motive for the death in battle of Alli Charrais of Alexander Ross her spouse in 1486 (Note: Sir Robert Gordon mentions the battle as at Aldycharrish in 1487, DJJS).

e. Muriel said to be another daughter of Alexander married Alexander Seton of Meldrum and Andrew Fraser of Stanywood, with whom she had a Crown charter of Stanywood in 1501.

4. William is named 'of Berydall' (Berriedale in Caithness) in 1451 and as son and apparent heir of Alexander Sutherland and of Muriel his wife. He died soon after 1474. He had two sons and one daughter:

a. Alexander, probably he who had part of Strabrock in 1475, died before 1479 as grandson of 'Ald Alexander of Sutherland' and left a daughter Christina who is named in 1494 as daughter of Alexander Sutherland of Strabrock and succeeded to Duffus and lands in Caithness. She married c. 1489 William Oliphant and later Sir Thomas Lundin of Pratis. A dispute between Chnstina and her uncle William Sutherland was settled by an appeal to the Pope, c. 1507.

c. Isabel married in 1474 Hew Rose, younger of Kilravock.

5. William, assumed second on of William, named in 1484 had Quarrelwood and Duffus, and in 1507, a Crown charter of Duffus. He impeached the legitimacy of Christina his niece He died in or before 1514, perhaps in the battle of Flodden (Berwiek), the defeat of the Scots under King James IV (1488-1513) in 1513. William apparently married Janet Innes 'Lady Greeship' and had a son (as 6).

6. William, son of William, had Duffus. probably also had Quarrelwood in or before 1513-14. and by infeftment of 1519-26 had his father's lands of Birchmond (Brichtmony in Nairn). in 1524 Ring James V (1513-42) gave him Kinsteary (Nairn). In 1525 he had Torboll and Pronsy. The earthworks of Pronsy Castle in the parish of Dornoch are the remains of an ancient stronghold. These lands had previously been held by Hugh Sutherland, son of Angus (as 3b), from Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland and Adam Gordon as overlords. He married Janet daughter of Alexander Innes of Innes and died in 1529. He had two sons and one daughter:

b. Alexander was Rector of Duffus in 1512, Chaplain for the chapel of Duffus Castle in 1524, and Dean (head of the chapter for a cathedral) of Caithness. (It was Gilbert of Moray, Bishop of Caithness and patron saint of Dornoch who founded Dornoch cathedral in the diocese of Caith- ness including the Earldom of Sutherland, DJJS>. Alexander founded anniversaries (the celebration of mass in memory of some one on the day of his or her death) for his parents, his brother William and others. In 1549 he was curator for his grandnephew Alexander Sutherland of Duffus and was still alive in 1551.

c. Elizabeth married John, third Earl of Caithness.

7. William succeeded in 1527-29 as eldest son his father William Sutherland of Duffus and Quarrelwood in Elgin and Nairn the lands of Brichtmony, Kinstearie and Auldearn. In 1529 he bought from John Kynnard of that Ilk certain lands including Skelbo in the overlordship of the Earl of Sutherland, paying 2300 merks Scots and giving a bond of manrent (the men whom a lord could call upon in war) as tenant and vassal to the Earl. In 1530 King James V gave him certain rights in Stratnaver previously held by Hugh Mackay of Farr. As stated by Sir Robert Gordon, William Sutherland of Duffus was by instigation of the Bishop of Caithness killed by the Clan Gunn at Thurso in 1530. He had a son (as 8).

8. William, son of William Sutherland of Duffus, challenged the Bishop to answer for his father's death. When the Bishop ignored his challenge. the young laird Sized the Bishop's servants, whereupon he and his uncle, the Dean of Caithness, were incarcerated and by the Privy Council compelled to make peace with the Bishop. In 1535 William inherited Terboll other lands, and in 1540 gave Kinsteary and Brichtmony to John Campbell of Calder. In 1542 a jury declared him lawful heir to his father's infeftment in lands and rents in Inverness-shire. Also in 1542 he settled a violent dispute with Donald Mackay of Farr over lands granted to his father in 1530, the Earl Moray acting as arbiter. William died in 1543. His wife Elizabeth married secondly James Murray of Culbardie. He had four sons:

b. William of Evelix (parish of Dornoch), a witness in 1562, took part in the taking of Berriedale Castle (Caith- ness) in 1566 and in the raid on Dornoch of 1570. where he is said to have scattered the ashes of Bishop Gilbert Moray ('Saint Gilbert') and died soon afterwards. (The Castle is now a much reduced ruin).

c. Nicholas, also a witness in 1562, named in charters of 1562 and 1566, was at Berriedale in 1566.

d. Walter is (perhaps in error) named as brother to Alexander in 1562).

9. Alexander succeeded his father William Sutherland of Duffus before 1544. Still a minor in 1554, he was infeft with dispensation from the Earl of Sutherland as overlord in the lands and castle of Skelbo, also in Invershin and other lands. He had sasine of Duffus in 1555. In 1562 the Earl of Sutherland made Skelbo. Invershin, Pronsy, Torboll and all other lands in Sutherland to be held by Alexander Sutherland of Duffus for 'ward and relief' and other services into the Barony of Skelbo. In 1560 he attended the Parliament which ratified the first Confession of faith. In 1563 the Earl had forfeited the Earldom and Alexander held Skelbo from the Crown. In 1559 the laird of Duffus and the Earl of Caithness entered into agreement for marriage of their respective eldest children. He became involved in the Earl's disputes and probably consented to the seizure by his brothers of Berriedale Castle from Lord Oliphant. Alexander also took part with the Earl's men in raiding Dornoch in 1567 and 1570. He married (contract dated 1552-53) Janet, daughter of James Grant of Freuchie. She married secondly James Dempster of Auchterless (contract of 1577). Alexander had three sons and one daughter:

a. Alexander, born c. 1554 is named in the contract of his intended marriage with Elizabeth Sinclair.

c. James, born in 1561. was placed 'in fostering with Angus Hectorsone' to whom James' father Alexander gave 'fyve meris (mares) with ane stallione' and by whom were added 'four meris' for the benefit of the child. In 1590 James was cautioner for his mother Janet Grant. On his marriage to Violet, daughter of Thomas Fraser of Strichen, he had Kinsteary in Moray from his brother William Sutherland. James was ancestor to the Sutherlands of Kinstearie.

d. Elizabeth married (contract of 1590) Archibald Douglas of Pittendreich.

10. William, son and heir to Alexander Sutherland of Duffus, was infeft in Duffus and Greschip in 1579. He also had Quarrelwood and other lands. Although he had been appointed to keep order in the North, he is said to have reset (harbour) 'broken men' (outlaws) on his lands in 1587. In 1588 Duffus, Quarrelwood, Greschip and other lands were made into the barony of Duffus. In 1606 the laird of Duffus and the burgh of Dornoch agreed the boundaries between the lands of Skelbo and Pronsy and the burgh, a subject of prolonged disputers He married first in 1579. Margaret, daughter of George Sinclair, Earl of Caithness and secondly, before 1604, Margaret. daughter of William Macintosh of Dunachton. He died in 1616 and had three sons and two daughters:

b. James bought Kinminitie in Banff from James Grant of Freuehie and Blanch in the parish of Rogart in Sutherland together with other lands from John Murray of Aberscors in 1624. He was tutor to his nephew Alexander Sutherland of Duffus. He married Margaret, daughter of Sir John Seaton of Mionylangain, Longford. He died in 1679-80 and was ancestor to the Sutherlands of Kinminitie

c. John, ancestor to the Sutherlands of Clyne. (parish of Clyne, Sutherland).

d. Margaret married (contract of 1610) Colonel Robert Monro of Fowlis. She died young.

e. Janet married George Ogilvy, first Lord Banff.

11. William, son and heir to his father William Sutherland of Duffus inherited the barony of Skelbo in 1616. He was involved in several disputes with Sir Robert Gordon, with the Earl of Sutherland in or before 1617 over tithes and with John Gordon of Embo, a feud breaking out in 1625. In 1612 he married Jean or Janet, daughter of John Grant of Freuchie. He died in 1626 and had three sons and one daughter:

b. William, heir to his brother John in the lands of Kinminitie and other lands in Banff, infeft in 1662: named in the testament of his brother Lord Duffus in 1674 had Inverhassie in 1694.

c. John, named in 1649 as brother to the laird of Duffus and Commissioner of Supply for Elgin. He married (contract of 1656) Isabella, daughter of David Ross of Bainagown who married secondly (contract of 1659) James Innes Lichnet. John died in or before 1658.

d. Anne married Patrick Grant. As lieutenant-colonel took part in the battle of Worcester in England in 1651. She was still alive in 1663.

12. Alexander succeeded his father William when five years old In 1627 she was named heir to Duffus. His uncle, James Sutherland of Kinminitie, became his tutor. In 1641 Alexandar accompanied the Earl of Sutherland on his visit to England attending that same year the Parliament at Edinburgh and the arrival of King Charles I (1625-49). He was knighted before 1643 and served as a Commissioner for Sutherland in 1646. In 1647 he petitioned and received from Parliament, for loss in adhering to the Covenant, 3000 merks Scots of which one third for his uncle James Sutherland. He travelled in France and Holland returning from the continent with King Charles II (1649-85) to Scotland in 1650. He was fined for his opposition to Cromwell and the taking of Perth with 600 men. Alexander married first Jean, daughter of Colin Mackenzie, Earl of Seaforth secondly Jean, daughter of Sir Robert Innes of Innes thirdly Margaret, daughter of James Stewart, Ear] of Moray and fourthly Margaret, daughter of William, Lord Forbes. Lord Duffus died in 1674. He had three sons and three daughters:

c. Robin, named in his father's letter of 1666.

d. Marie, (named as Robin her brother).

e. Margaret, named in her father's will.

f. Henrietta, named in her father's will, married George, Earl of Linlithgow.

13. James, second Lord Duffus, succeeded his father Alexander in 1674. He attended the Scots Parliament in 1678, 1681 and 1685, and became a Privy Councillor in 1686. Much indebted he sold or mortgaged his estate to his son James. In 1688, apparently in exasperation, Duffus drew his sword and killed William Ross of Kindeace, who had been pressing him for payment. Duffus fled to England but later appears to have been pardoned. In 1639 he supported the Prince of Orange and in 1690 took oath of allegiance to him as King William III (1689-1702). In 1695 his privilege of fairs and markets at Duffus was enacted in the Scots Parliament and in 1701 he supported the Darien Company, the dream of a Scots merchant colony in Central America (1698-1700), perhaps the worst economic disaster in Scottish history. He married (contract of 1674) Margaret daughter of Kenneth Mackenzie, Earl of Seaforth. He died in 1705 and had five sons and seven daughters:

b. James, advocate, in 1704 acquired his father's estate with a loan from Archibald Dunbar of Thunderton. Unable to pay, he parted with the estate to his creditor. After he married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Dunbar of Hempriggs. Assuming the surname Dunbar, he was made a baronet. He died before 1739 and had issue.

c. William of Roscommon married (contract of 1702) Helen, daughter of William Duff of Dipple. As a Jacobite he left Scotland after the rebellion of 1716.

f. Elizabeth had dancing lessons in Edinburgh in 1704 and married (contract of 1709) Sir John Gordon of Embo.

i. Mary married James Sinclair of Mey.

j. Katharine married John Cuthbert, town clerk of Inverness.

k. Isabel was buried at Greyfriars, Edinburgh, in 1694.

1. Esther married John Ross. They were infeft in Easter Balvraid, parish of Dornoch, Sutherland, in 1711.

14. Kenneth, third Lord Duffus, succeeded his father James in 1705. As a captain in the Queen's Navy (Queen Anne.1702-14), he, in 1711 with his frigate of forty-six guns, engaged eight French privateers, and wounded by five bullets was captured. Although he voted for the Union of the English and Scottish Parliaments (1707), he joined the Jacobites in 1715, leading that year more than four hundred of the rebels into Tain and there proclaimed the Chevalier St. George, 'The Old Pretender' as King James VIII. The Lairds of Culloden and Kilravock refusing to surrender, the rebels marched South to join the Earl of Mar at Perth. After the Jacobite defeat of 171S the estate of Duffus was forfeited and Lord Duffus, by way of Caithness, escaped to Sweden. Preparing to return to Britain he was seized in Hamburg and imprisoned in the Tower of London but freed without trial in 1717. Later he entered the Russian Navy. He married (contract dated 1708) Charlotta Chnstina, daughter of Eric Sioblade, Governor of Gottenberg in Sweden. He died in or before 1734 and had one son and two daughters:

b. Charlotta named in 1778 as one ef her mother's executors.

c. Anna married Baron and Count Marshall Gustaff Adolf Palbitzki of Sweden. She also was named in 1778 as one of her mother's executors.

15. Eric, baptized in 1710, succeeded his father Kenneth as titular Lord Duffus. In 1734 he petitioned King George II (1727-60) but his claim to the Lordship of Duffus was reflected by the House of Lords. It is said that Eric was an ensign in Colonel Disney's regiment in 1731. Residing at Ackergill Castle by Wick in Caithness and on a friendly footing with the Earl of Sutherland, he supported King George in the Jacobite rising of 1745-46. He married his cousin Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Dunbar of Hempriggs. He died probably at Skelbo, perhaps at Skibo, in 1763 and had two sons and three daughters:

a. James born in 1747, named as heir to his father in 1770 was captain in the 26th Regiment when he eloped with Mary, daughter of James Hayt Earl of Erroll, wife of General John Scott of Balcomie, who divorced her in 1771. The title of Lord Duffus was restored to James by Act of Parliament in 1826. He died unmarried at Marylebone in 1827. His death marked the end of the Sutherlands of Duffus.

c. Elizabeth married first Captain Alexander Sinclair, son of Sir William Sinclair of Keiss secondly Charies Sinclair of Olrig and thirdly, in 1772, the Reverend James Rudd, rector in Yorkshire.

e. Anne, third daughter born 1750, married at Embo in 1766 George Mackay of Skibo, advocate in 1737, 'captain in one of London's independent companies' in 1745. (1)

(Words marked- may require explanation)

Archdeacon: chief of the attendants upon a bishop.

Chalder: 16 bolls or 64 firlots of corn (1 boll: 6 imperial bushels 1 bushel: 2218.19 cubic inches). Charter: document or evidence for certain privileges or rights granted, originally by the sovereign to a subject.

Crag of Dunnottar: Gaelic, creag, rock (of difficult access): locality with ruins of ancient stronghold on the coast of Angus.

Esquire: old French, esquier, shield bearer in chivalry, a young man of gentle birth.

Fier: the owner of the fee-simple of a property (as opposed to a life-renter). Fee-simple: an estate in land belonging to the owner and his heirs for ever in absolute possession.

Forfeited: from forfeit, to lose in consequence of a breach of law.

Homage roll: (in feudal law) record or list of acknowledgement of allegiance by tenants or vassals declaring themselves men of the king or the lord of whom they hold and bind themselves in service.

Ilk: same, identical of that ilk, of the same place, territorial designation or name.

Infeftment: from enfeoffment, the action of putting a tenant legally in possession of a holding, or to surrender a holding.

Lord apperand: lord from old English hlaford, (hlaf, loaf and weard, ward or keepers master, ruler. Apperand: heir apparent, manifest heir, successor.

Master: heir apparent to a Scottish peerage (noble title).

Moravia: Latin for Moray or Morayshlre.

Merk: money of the value of a mark weight of pure silver or, in history, 2/3 of the L Sterling. In Scotland, a coin worth 13 shillings and four pence Snots: 13 l/2 pence English (1480) .

Oxgang: the eighth part of the ploughland, 10 to 18 or more acres. Ploughland: the unit of assessment of land after the Norman Conquest (1066) based upon the area capable of being tilled by one plough team of eight oxen in the year.

Parson: holder of a parochial benefice in full possession of its rights and dues, (clergyman).

Petty, Bracholy, Boharm and Arkldol:

Privy Council: the counsellors of the sovereign.

Regality: sovereign rule, territorial jurisdiction of a royal nature granted by the king area subject to a lord of regality.

Sasine: the act of giving possession of feudal property.

Sheriff: the representative of the sovereign, responsible for certain administrative functions and the execution of the law in a shire.

Teinds: from teind. tenth part or tithe of yearly produce from land, payable for the support of the clergy by the laity.

Thane: person ranking with the son of an earl, holding lands of the king.

Toune: from Gaelic, dun, fortified place, hence enclosed ground. 'In Scotland a single house may be called a town' (Sir Walter Scott in 'Waverley').

Vassal: In the feudal system, one holding lands from a superior on conditions of homage and allegiance. (See homage).

Ward and Relief: Ward, the control and use of the lands of a deceased tenant by knight service and the guardianship of the infant heir which belonged to the superior until the heir attained majority. Relief: a payment made by the heir of a feudal tenant on taking up possession of the vacant estate.

Writer to the Signet: a clerk in the Secretary of State's office who prepared writs to pass the royal signet later a law- agent practicing before the Court of Session and preparing Crown writs, charters, etc. Signet: a Small seal.

1. Paul, Sir James Balfour, Lord Lyon King of Arms, 'The Scots Peerage founded on Wood's edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, containing an historical and genealogical account of the nobility of that Kingdom', Vol. VIII, Edinburgh, 1904-14.

2. Fraser, Sir William, 'The Sutherland Book', 3 Vols., Edinburgh, 1894.

3. Henderson, John, 'Caithness Family History', Edinburgh, 1884.

4. Grant, F. J. 'Register of Marriage, Edinburgh 1751-1800'. Edinburgh, 1922.

5. Shorter Oxford English Dictionary and other sources.

George Sutherland, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, U.S. Senator and Congressman, and Women’s Rights Advocate

George Sutherland, the only Supreme Court Justice to come from Utah, supported women’s rights, particularly the right of women to vote and to engage as full members in American society. Sutherland was born in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, England, March 25, 1862, to Frances Slater and Alexander George Sutherland. The extended Sutherland family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and George and his parents traveled to Utah by ship, train, and wagon when he was only eighteen months old. Once in Utah, they settled in Springville, where George described his childhood as very simple and very hard. Because of his father’s problems with alcoholism, his parents left the church, and George was never baptized as a church member.

George quit school at age 12 and worked full-time to save money to attend Brigham Young Academy (BYA), a precursor to Brigham Young University. At age 16 he started at BYA, attended for two years, and then attended University of Michigan Law School for one year.

George Sutherland. Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society.

Returning to Utah, George married Rosamond Lee in 1883. They eventually became parents to three children. He practiced law with his father in Provo for three years, and then formed his own firm with Samuel Thurman in Salt Lake City. He entered politics, and in 1895 served on a commission drafting the Utah Constitution that provided for women’s suffrage, a cause which George would champion throughout his career.

In 1896, when Utah was admitted as a state to the Union, George, a Republican, was elected to the Senate in the first state legislature. In 1900, he was elected to Utah’s only U.S. Congressional seat, and in 1905, the Utah State Legislature elected him to the U.S. Senate, the method at the time for selecting U.S. senators.

Over the next decade, George became a leading figure in the national suffrage movement. Both he and his wife gave speeches and held meetings supporting the right to vote. The Sutherlands became friends with Alice Paul, the leader of the more radical Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, later the National Women’s Party, and helped her with events staged to garner support for the movement. In August 1915, women held a meeting in Salt Lake City to welcome Paul and her automobile train traveling from the Women’s Voter Convention in San Francisco to Washington, D.C. that gathered more than 500,00 signatures in support of a women’s suffrage amendment. At the meeting, Annie Wells Cannon, daughter of leading Utah suffragist Emmeline B. Wells, thanked George for his support, and he gave a few supporting remarks. When the train arrived in Washington, D.C. several months later, George and Wyoming Congressman Franklin Wheeler Mendell greeted it. On December 6, Representative Mendell introduced the Susan B. Anthony Amendment into the U.S. House, and the next day George introduced it into the U.S. Senate.

Senator George Sutherland, Winifred Mallon, Reverend Olympia Brown, Alva Belmont at the Utah State Capitol welcoming the suffrage envoys from the San Francisco Exposition that were carrying petitions to Washington D.C. in October 1915. Courtesy of the National Women’s Party.

On December 13, Paul sponsored a mass meeting that took place at the Belasco Theatre in Washington D.C. with George as a main speaker. He based his arguments on the practical experience of the twelve states, including Utah, that had already granted the vote to women:

To my mind the right of women to vote is as obvious as my own right. . . When we have proven the case for universal manhood suffrage we have made clear the case for womanhood suffrage as well. Women on average are as intelligent as men, as patriotic as men, as anxious for good government as men, and to deprive them of the right to participate in the government is to make an arbitrary division . . . .

Flyer advertising Senator George Sutherland of Utah as a speaker for a mass meeting of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage in Belasco, Massachusetts. Courtesy of Library of Congress.

He closed by affirming that “women’s fundamental nature” would not change once they were given the right to vote indeed, “it [voting] will deepen her sense of responsibility, give her a more intelligent appreciation of her country’s needs and broaden her opportunity to ‘do her bit’ for the common good.”

The amendment failed in 1916. George, too, suffered defeat after two terms in Congress, a defeat he felt came about because of his support for the amendment. He returned to legal practice and became President of the American Bar Association in 1918. He served as a campaign and later presidential advisor to Warren G. Harding. After the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, Alice Paul moved on to crafting the Equal Rights Amendment and consulted with George. Both agreed that the law should treat women and men equally no matter their alleged differences.

Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland. Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society.

President Harding appointed George an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 1922, and he served until 1938. An opponent of Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation, the conservative George became known as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. His most important opinion was the majority opinion rendered in the case of Powell v Alabama, which helped lead to the constitutional right to counsel in all criminal cases and a recognition of the illegality of systematically excluding African Americans from juries.

George died July 18, 1942, while on vacation in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Ann Engar is a professor/lecturer in the Honors College and LEAP Program at the University of Utah, specializing in intellectual history, pedagogy, and law. She has authored numerous short biographies, including for the online NASW project, and serves on the Holladay Historical Commission.

Spokane historian Jerome Peltier interviewed pioneer George Washington Sutherland (1854-1949) in the 1940s and in 1989 prepared this account for The Pacific Northwesterner. It describes Sutherland’s trip West, his years as a cowboy, and his service as a volunteer in the Nez Perce War. This essay was originally published in the Spring 1989 issue of The Pacific Northwesterner (Vol. 33, No. 1), pp. 8-14, and is here reprinted with permission.

A Young Man Goes West

George Washington Sutherland's grand adventure began in 1872 when, as an 18-year-old, he felt the urge to see the wide-open spaces of the American West. He had read letters from William Purington to his father, Captain George Purington, of Bowdoinham, Maine, that described in glowing terms the fertile grasslands of Washington Territory and the opportunities available to anyone daring to leave home and start again in a new land. At the time, George had been working as a farmhand for Purington, who had been a captain in the Union Army during the Civil War. When the captain mentioned that he and his family would soon be leaving to join William at his cattle ranch, George asked if he could go with them.

Unfortunately, George had a serious problem. He had only $15 to his name. Somehow, George convinced the captain to lend him $140, and his father chipped in $25 making a total of $180. The Puringtons were leaving on Friday, so three days before that, George asked his mother for permission to go. After much hesitation, she reluctantly agreed. In the meantime, Captain Purington had gone to Boston and purchased George's train ticket to San Francisco for $122. George was on his way on August 20, 1872, with $58 that had to last him until he reached the Purington ranch somewhere in the southeast part of Washington Territory.

This is the story that George Sutherland related to me as he sat on his bed at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane in 1941, when he was 87 years old. He later told me of many other events that happened to him during his long and active life, but exciting as they were, all were but an anticlimax to his trip west.

West by Rail

The Puringtons had first-class tickets and George was traveling second class, so George didn't see them again during the entire trip. For the first time in his life, he was alone without friends or family. The train did not have a diner, so for the entire nine-day trip, George ate from a large basket of food his mother had packed for him. At night, he slept on his stiff uncomfortable seat in the unheated car, covered by a pair of blankets that his mother had insisted he take with him.

He crossed the Mississippi at St. Louis over the Eads steel bridge, an engineering marvel for its time. At Council Bluffs, Iowa, he walked across the bridge over the Missouri River to Omaha, where he boarded a Union Pacific train. He stopped over in Cheyenne, Wyoming, for a day and a half. Wyoming was the first state in the nation to grant women the right to vote and he noted that many women in the town were voting. He continued his trip through Rawlins, Wyoming, and Ogden, Utah, passing bands of antelope as the train chugged along the plains. Once a herd of buffalo thundered down the tracks, almost destroying them. Finally the train crossed the deserts of northern Nevada and reached Sacramento. He arrived in San Francisco on August 29 to be met at the station by a confidence man who tried to swindle him out of his meager funds. George ignored him and hurried to the steamboat office where he bought a third-class passage to Portland, Oregon, for $20.

About 4 p.m. the next day, he left on what he called "the old tub, the Oroflame, a sidewheeler." He continued, "No one would travel on such a boat today. When we got outside the Golden Gate, the boat began to pitch and wallow for four days until we got to Astoria."

At that time, Astoria consisted of a cluster of huts on pilings. The boat tied up there for half-a-day while cargo and mail from the East were unloaded. He finally reached Portland by evening and learned that another boat would be leaving for Wallula the next morning. He hurriedly spent $12 of his rapidly depleting money for a ticket. He couldn't afford to buy meals or a berth, as they cost extra.

His boat left early the next morning and by 10 a.m. had reached the cascades of the Columbia River, where cargo had to be unloaded and carried by cars on a narrow gauge railroad six miles upriver to another steamer, which continued the trip to The Dalles. Following an overnight stay, freight and passengers were again transported by narrow-gauge railroad to another steamer eight miles upriver, which went as far as Umatilla, where it stopped for the night. At that time, Umatilla was a lively town of about 3,000 people. All supplies for eastern Oregon and southern Idaho came through there until the Oregon Steam Navigation Company constructed a rail line to its docks on the Columbia at Wallula. Supplies then went from there to Walla Walla, which became the main distribution point.

The Real West

The day he arrived at Umatilla was windy, and sand was piling up in the streets in drifts three or four-feet deep, according to George. After a night in town, he boarded another steamer, which took him to Wallula where he arrived penniless and hungry. He had spent the last of his money for a berth. He made a deal with a teamster to haul his rifle and baggage to Walla Walla while he walked, arriving there about 6 p.m. after a hot, dusty hike. He went to the St. Louis Hotel and told the proprietor that he wanted a meal and a place to sleep, but had no money. The proprietor said, "Young man, the world is yours. Help yourself." George took him at his word, had a good meal and a good night's sleep.

George recalled, "Every other door was a saloon. There were many teamsters. I watched some of them packing mules, as many as 75 to a train (for the trip to the mines), and the mule trains were strung out for miles. There were many large corrals mainly for the mules."

Walla walla was the supply center for the region. "The mules were hitched in teams of six, eight or 10 to large freight wagons. Horsedrawn stage coaches were coming and going through town. Men worked hard and played hard, and saloons had plenty of patrons. Card games were going on all of the time."

In his wanderings around town, George located a teamster who had heard about the Purington ranch and was passing by it. He agreed to transport George's belongings and guide George there if George was willing to walk all of the way. George borrowed $2.50 from his new-found friend, paid his hotel and food bill with it, and left that afternoon on the last leg of his journey. This would be a jaunt of 80 miles to the area around Penewawa on the north side of the Snake River approximately 25 miles due west of present-day Pullman, Washington.

The man's team consisted of a small mule hitched to an unkempt, scrawny cayuse pony, barely able to pull an unloaded wagon let alone a loaded one. George felt so sorry for the animals that he left his trunk behind, taking only his blankets, his rifle, a pistol, and a saddle bag. He had brought the guns as protection from the "Indians and badmen" that he understood "infested" the West at that time.

The first day's travel brought them to what George called Whetstone Hollow, which offered good grazing for the team. The road was merely an Indian trail showing traces of heavy use. In places, the ruts were two-feet deep, while in other places, the trail could barely be discerned. Drivers often deviated from the track, going where they felt they could make the best time.

The second day, George observed that the hills were dry and parched, although they were covered with nutritious bunch grass. By noon, they reached the Tucannon River where a man named Platter ran a crude rest station. After climbing out of the Tucannon Valley, they started down toward the Snake River on a narrow hilly road, the wagon nearly tipping over several times. Finally the river came into view, glistening in the distance, and Brown's Ferry became visible. While they were hastening down the Snake River breaks, a post rider charged past them, carrying the mail from Kelton, Utah, to points north via Walla Walla, Colfax, Spokan Bridge, Rathdrum, Idaho, and by boat across Lake Pend Oreille to Missoula, Montana.

Two other Snake River crossings existed at that time: Lyon's Ferry near the mouth of the Palouse River and the ferry at Lewiston where the Snake joins the Clearwater River. Dusty sign-boards advertised these ferries declaring that plenty of wood, water, and grass was present along the road.

George described Brown's rest stop as a square box shanty and a shed in which a man could rest himself and his horse. This was the first habitation George encountered since leaving the Tucannon River. After crossing the river, George helped pull the wagon up the hill where the team found good grass and water, as the signs had promised.

By noon of September 17, George arrived at Gooseberry Springs in Whitman County and his teamster friend told him that after they reached Alki Flat, he could easily find the Purington ranch by heading south toward the Snake River. George thanked him, gave him his pistol as a pawn for his $2. 50 debt, and they parted.

Riding the Range

With a feeling of loneliness, the youth started across the rolling hills. No other human being was in sight. It seemed as if there was always a hill ahead of him, but finally, he came to a ravine that led down to the Snake River, where he quenched his thirst. He realized that he had turned south too soon and was lost, but after walking several more miles, he saw a small shack ahead of him. The sun was setting and his pack was heavy, so the hut was a welcome sight. He knocked on the door and a surprised William Purington answered with a warm welcome for the weary traveler.

A man named Holbrook was staying with Purington at the time, and these two men were George's first acquaintances in Whitman County. He rested a few days and after getting a horse, went out with the other hired hands to learn how to be a cowpuncher. The next phase of his life had begun.

"My wages were $25 a month and board, and I wasn't worth that much as I was a green Easterner. I did become quite a cowboy eventually," George said. It was not long before George became fully trained in riding and rounding up cattle. Soon he was able to go on long trips in search of strays.

"There were thousands of cattle down there, and we had a huge range to cover. My employer ran a herd of from 500 to 1,000 head. Our range extended from Lewiston to the Palouse, 90 miles east and west, and from the Snake River to Spokane Falls." There were no fences. Cattle from various ranches mingled freely as they grazed, and were separated by brand at roundup time.

"Spokane Falls was a poor feeding ground, so we did not give it much attention. I think that the first time I was there, there were only two houses in the place. Colfax was the same."

In a conversation several years later, George described the rangeland in the Snake River country:

"Along the banks of the river, large portions of the hills at the north had slid down the canyons (in the past) due to cloudbursts and the continuous flow of small streams, and had formed bars . which were very fertile. A number of Indians had claimed this land, but then the settlers started coming in, some of whom took squatter's rights on it. This, of course, caused trouble right away. The first place to become involved was four miles above the place that I was working -- Penewawa.

"There were two brothers named Smith who were cattlemen, who were the first to settle on this land and they thought that the Indians were not entitled to such good land and should be back on a reservation, so they took it for themselves. This land is in cultivation today [1945] with fine orchards of peaches, pears and cherries, and is worth many thousands of dollars.

"There were two other bars on the river that received freight from Portland from a steamer that called once a week. One was at Almota, where Henry Spalding, son of the missionary, ran a store and a hotel. The other was at Wawawai. Senator La Follette of Wisconsin and the Holt brothers had a large orchard there and shipped quantities of fruit all over the country. There was trouble here between the Indians and settlers and one Indian was killed by the man I was working for. The trouble was finally settled by Chief [Spokane] Garry, who was a noted Indian at that time.

"During those days, the Indians became rather insulting and would come into cabins if there was no man around and (ask the womenfolk) for something to eat, tobacco, or matches. Of course, the settlers were frightened by them at first, but later became somewhat used to them. The women would stand no nonsense and always kept a rifle or pistol handy. I was afraid of them at first, (but) after awhile picked up enough of their jargon to talk with them and was able to understand [them].

"At the Purington ranch, we planted peach, pear and apple trees. In the Spring of 1873 we planted all kinds of seeds and also sweet potatoes, tobacco, peanuts and cotton. They all grew well. The wind blew a gale at times so we set out a wind break of locust trees.

"The winter of 1874-5 was the worst I ever spent. Cattle died by the thousands, for the snow was deep and the springs were frozen so badly that it was impossible for the cattle to drink. It was frightfully cold. When Winter broke, dead cattle were everywhere. Great pieces of ice came down the Snake River. Some of the flows were 40 feet high."

George tired of the monotony of ranch life and left for the big city in 1875. He went to Portland where he started on a succession of jobs that took him from Walla Walla to Moscow, Idaho, and Newport, Washington. Employment was readily available for anyone willing to work and George tried everything from being a waiter, a barber, a sewing machine salesman, and a druggist. He even took a turn at practicing medicine.

Nez Perce War

In 1877, he was in Colfax when word arrived of the Nez Perce uprising. George provided me with a written account of his experience:

"On June 15, word came that a group of the Nez Perce Indians under the leadership of Chief Joseph had begun hostilities against the white settlers in western Idaho Territory by killing in cold blood several of the settlers. On Sunday, the 17th day of June, I, as well as many others, were at a camp meeting at what was known as Chase's Mill, about 18 miles east of Colfax, when a man by the name of Joe Evans came into camp about 11 o'clock with his horse covered with sweat, and said: 'The Indians are coming down Union Flat, killing and burning everything in sight.' (Actually, no fighting occurred in Union Flat.)

"The meeting broke up without waiting for the benediction, and everyone started for home or for Colfax. When I arrived back in Colfax, I found the streets barricaded and great excitement. An old man by the name of D. S. Bowman was upon the stoop of the only store in town, and he was saying, 'Gentlemen, I have lived in Indian country all of my life, and I can say to all of you people that we should organize a company of volunteers. Then you will be recognized by the government.' We organized a company on the spot. We appointed officers (and) all signed the roster and were sworn in. Then we were all told to go out and get all the firearms we had or could borrow. When we returned, all we could muster was 22 rifles, shotguns, and pistols. My duty, with two others, was to stand guard at the south end of town on the hills where it was supposed that the Indians would come through.

"The next morning, I was ordered to reconnoiter and report. I went first to Three Forks, where Pullman is now situated, but there was no one within five miles. From there I went to Palouse City. There were very few families there, but the men from town and country were building a stockade. I stopped over there to help where I could. The next day, I went on to Moscow. Only a few people were there, but they were building a stockade with a big cellar inside for the women and children. It was built on a sloping side hill, and we could see the Indians passing along the foothills [on] the trail between Spokane and Lewiston. I stayed there for two days and had a chance to send a report to Colfax. Then I went to Lewiston, arriving there the same evening that General Howard arrived by boat from Portland with company of Georgia troops. They had no experience in fighting Indians, but a company was ordered out to go up Craig's Mountain to Grangeville and Mount Idaho and White Bird Canyon. They were sent down in regular formation and the Indians were up on the sides of the canyon, and as I was told by one of the company, they had no chance at all .

"After Joseph and his band eluded General Howard and fled over the Lolo Pass into Montana with the intention of reaching sanctuary in Canada, Sutherland and the members of his company of volunteers were ordered to watch for any stragglers who might circle back. We went to Mount Idaho, Grangeville, White Bird and many other places where we thought we might run into Indians, but we did not see any from that time on. The company was mustered out in August or September of the same year, 1877."

George's account concludes, "All the records [of the company's activities] . were destroyed in the big fire, so we have no record of our company's doings. After our enlistment, we had to furnish all of our equipment, horse, saddle, blankets and eat where we could. After 60 years, I think I am entitled to a badge of some kind as five of my company were receiving pensions (and I was not). I have saved Uncle Sam quite a sum of money by not applying for one. I did not need the money and I did not think that I was doing anything but my duty. We had to protect our homes under any circumstances."

George continued traveling over the Northwest investing in various business enterprises including mining, all with mediocre success. He eventually settled in Newport, Washington. There, he was a member of the City Council, served several terms as Mayor, was County Commissioner of Stevens and Pend Oreille Counties and president of a bank. He died in 1949 after a long and active life in which he realized his ambition of being a pioneer in the American West.

This essay is part of HistoryLink's People's History collection. People's Histories include personal memoirs and reminiscences, letters and other historical documents, interviews and oral histories, reprints from historical and current publications, original essays, commentary and interpretation, and expressions of personal opinion, many of which have been submitted by our visitors. They have not been verified by and do not necessarily represent its views.


Spokane historian Jerome Peltier interviewed pioneer George Washington Sutherland (1854-1949) in the 1940s.

The Sutherland Archives makes collections available for research to the campus community and the public at large. Access to archival materials is with assistance of Archives staff only. Items in the Sutherland Archives do not circulate like other Library materials, but photocopies of documents or scanned images of photographs can be obtained by request, usually within 24 hours. Holdings information for materials in the Archives is available through the Fulton Library's online catalog. For more information regarding items contained in our collections or any other archives-related questions, please contact us.

The George Sutherland Archives focuses on building collections in the following areas:

  • • The history of Utah Valley University
    • Professional or personal manuscripts, publications, and papers of current and former UVU administrators, faculty, staff, and notable alumni or area residents
    • UVU students’ theses or other faculty-reviewed projects or other publications
    • The secular history of local cities, particularly Orem, Lindon, Vineyard, and surrounding communities
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We focus on collecting the following types of items that fit within the stated collection scope:

Please note: We are not actively collecting rare books and other rare items that do not fit our scope.

Arkes, Hadley. The Return of George Sutherland: Restoring a Jurisprudence of Natural Rights. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.

Mason, Alpheus Thomas. "The Conservative World of Mr. Justice Sutherland, 1883-1910." American Political Science Review 32 (June 1938): 443-77.

Paschal, Joel Francis. Mr. Justice Sutherland, a Man Against the State. 1951. Reprint. New York: Greenwood Press, 1969.

Sutherland, George. Constitutional Power and World Affairs. 1919. Reprint. New York: Johnson Reprint Corp., 1970.


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In 1883 Sutherland had completed one term at the University of Michigan Law School and qualified for the Michigan bar. That summer he returned to Utah and married Rosamund Lee. They had three children--Emma (born 1884), Philip (born 1886), and Edith (born 1888)--whom he supported by practicing law in Utah. In 1894 he helped to organize the Utah State Bar Association.

In 1896 Sutherland, a Republican, joined the first Utah House of Representatives. In 1899 he was admitted to the bar of the United States Supreme Court, and from 1900 to 1903 he served as Utah's only Representative in the U.S. House. He then served in the U.S. Senate from 1905 to 1916. During this period, he supported much progressive legislation, including a Utah law for an eight-hour day in the mining and smelting industries, as well as national statues such as the Pure Food and Drug Act.

Defeated for the Senate nomination in 1916, Sutherland went into private law practice, served as president of the American Bar Association, and became an advisor to Republican presidential hopeful Warren G. Harding in the campaign of 1920. Harding's election and the sudden resignation of a Supreme Court justice in 1922 paved the way for Sutherland's appointment to the bench.

Sutherland's Supreme Court record belied his earlier progressive stance. He penned such majority opinions as the landmark Adkins v. Children's Hospital, which outlawed a minimum wage for women. In the thirties, he opposed most of the New Deal legislation, and became the intellectual leader of the "Four Horsemen"--the four conservative justices consistently voting against President Franklin D. Roosevelt's programs. He retired from the Court in January 1938 and died on 18 July 1942. He retained the respect of his peers throughout his career and is rated by many historians as "near great" for his Supreme Court performance.

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