(This branch of the Duffus family was originally from Forres)



Letter and genealogical information: provided by Richard A. Duffus regarding William Duffus who was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1824. (Note: Robert Luther Duffus who was an author and editor for the New York Times was a descendent of William Duffus)

130 Maple Avenue
Bridgewater,MA 02324
August 12, 1995

Mr. J. David Duffus
Duffus & Associates
110 Arlington Blvd.
P.O. Drawer 5026
Greenville, NC 27835-5026

Re: Letter dated April 30, 1995

Dear Mr. Duffus:

I am responding to your request for information regarding a Duffus family database. I have no family tree per se, but am including a copy of some research notes made by my great-aunt Leah Louise Duffus.

I am the son of William Wright Duffus (1919-) who married Iris Margaret Covington (1920-). I have one sister Joanne McLean Goodfellow. My father is one of three children of William McGlashan (1/20/1886-3/19/1966) and Effie Parmelee Wells. I will try to compile more information to update the enclosed notes and forward that to you at a later date.

I hope the information will be helpful and look forward to seeing the results of your work. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Richard A. Duffus

Apt 420
4000 Massachusetts Ave
Washington, D. C. 20016
March 19, 1976


Dear Parmelle <sic>; Ruth;
William; Marjorie; William;
Douglas; Helen; Bryan; Thompson:

I am enclosing for your family records "Notes on the Duffus Family" compiled by Leah Louise Duffus, including notes supplied by father/grandfather/uncle William Duffus in 1947. You will see that she compiled these "Notes" in October 1975 when she was in great discomfort following a painful illness. I am sure that you will find these "Notes" interesting and informative. The Melvin family will be able to visualize the Scottish background from their visit to Scotland in 1961.

As Leah Louise suggests some or all of you may wish to make additions to these "Notes" based on conversations with William, Robert, and Marjorie. And, in addition, you may wish to up-date the ''Notes" to reflect the present two younger generations. I would suggest that one suitable addition would be a statement of the academic degrees and professional activities of William, Robert, and of Marjorie's husband Sam Bryan. As a late comer into the Duffus family I am unsure of the dates. If a significant number of additions are received (after a period of a month or so), which would be of interest to all above recipients, I will be glad to prepare a "Revised version" in consultation with Leah Louise and send it to all of you.

This is the 10th anniversary of the death in Rome of William M. Duffus, a date from which I shall never fully recover. A memorial spray has been placed on the site where his ashes are buried, in Chestnut Grove Cemetery, Ashtabula, Ohio. My ashes will also be placed there. His spirit lives on as a wonderful memory and inspiration.


Ursula Hubbard Duffus


Channing House 1023
850 Webster Street
Palo Alto, California

Tuesday, October 28, 1975

Dear Ursula,

Here is my little effort re the Duffus Family History. I'm not proud of the style or of the organization, but is the best I could do with time and strength available and in my present state of health. The facts are, I believe, correct. Any mistakes are unintentional. One could go on and on the subject is endless, of course. Each person or family to whom you send it can add his or her or their additional facts, if they bother to read it through. You might enclose a copy of this letter with each. I had a Xerox copy made for myself.

Don't let the witches get you Friday - or the ghosts or ghoulies, either. The next day is All Saints, Ogni Santi, or Toussaints, when we honor our dear departed ones at the celebration on Sunday. It is also the special day for this parish, 82 years!

With love as ever,



I'm sorry this is scribbled. I should copy it, but I really am not able to. You'll need to have it typed, as you suggested, before it is copied.


Notes on The Duffus Family, as set down by L. L. (Deane) Duffus in November 1975, with corrections and suggestions from William M. Duffus, given by him in March 1947.

John McGlashan Duffus, the father of William McGlashan Duffus and Robert Luther Duffus and Marjorie Alice Duffus Bryan, was born May 14, 1353, in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. His father was William Duffus, born 1824 in Scotland. The Duffus family comes from near Forres in Morayshire, Scotland. The name in the Gaelic language is Dhu, black, and Fus, lake. The first Lord Duffus, Freskin de Moravia came there probably in the early 9th century, perhaps bringing mercenaries. He chose the name Moray for the vast grant of land awarded him, King David I stayed in Duffus Castle in 1151 while founding Kinloss Abbey nearby.

The first two castles were built of timbered earthwork. Both were burned in the Revolt against England when King Duffus was loyal to the Plantagenets. In 1305 he received from King David I "a grant of 200 oaks from the royal forests" with which to rebuild the castle. The present stone ruin is situated on a hill, which was once an island in the Moray Firth, or "the Laich o'Moray", a grand imposing pile that can be seen from a long distance. After many ravages and changes of ownership among the family and descendants, in 1674-1705, James, Lord Duffus, deserted it and built Duffus House in Duffus Village nearby (using much stone from the castle), which is now part of Gordonstown School.

In 1926 Sir Edward Dunbar gave over the custody of the castle to the Commission of His Majesty's Works by whom crouch of the site was excavated and placed in some repair, as were also the farms at the foot of the hill and the interesting parish church of Duffus, St. Peters. In a book entitled "Illustrated Guide to Britain", the author writes, "Forres, a Royal Burgh, the site of King Duncan's Court, Dunsinane, where a stone marks the place where three witches accused of causing the death of King Duffus were burned in A.D. 965".

The Duffus family wear the Dunbar or the Gordon tartan. William Duffus was an expressman and later a member of a brewery firm. He was tall: 6 feet, 4 inches. In 1851 he married Margaret McGlashan, who was born in Scotland in 1830 or earlier. Her mother was Barbara McDonald. The McGlashan clan were Highlanders and great fighters. They wore the McIntosh tartan or that of Stewart of Athol or the McGlashan plaid.

William and Margaret Duffus had seven children: John McGlashan, William, and Joanna, and four other daughters, one of whom, Della, married a Mr. Scott.

William, the father, died in 1861 at 37 years of age of tuberculosis. Margaret, his wife, died in 1907, aged 77 years or more, also in Scotland where both were buried.

John McGlashan's schooling stopped at eight years of age when his mother became a widow. We worked one year for a bookseller' and at fourteen years he was apprenticed to his uncle to learn the granite-cutting trade. He came to the United States in 1873, aged twenty years, and landed at Mt. Desert Island, Maine. He worked as a stone-cutter in St. George, New Brunswick, in Burlington, Vermont, and later in St. Louis, Missouri, with Mr. James Marr as a partner.

In the Barre Daily Times of September 26, 1936, Mr. William Barclay wrote in one of a series of articles on "Barre's Scottish Population" - "Two of the footloose young Scots, John Duffus and James P. Marr, came and worked for a short time in the summer of 1880; later purchasing the retail memorial business of Foster in Waterbury, Vermont, but both returning to Barre several years later".

He was tall: 6 feet, 3 inches, and weighed as a young man in good health 225 pounds, but later about 175 pounds. He had black hair and "black" eyes. He became a member of the Free and Accepted Order of Masons of New Brunswick, June 6, 1875, and a Master Mason in Vermont, March 2, 1896. He got his final U. S. citizens papers in Burlington, Vermont, in the early 1890's.

His younger brother, William, later came to the United States and engaged in and then owned an iron and brass foundry business at 717-727 Frelton <Fulton?> Street, Brooklyn. He married Joanna, who was also Scottish. They had three children: Margaret, who died of tuberculosis, unmarried; William McGlashan, Jr.; and Joanna, who married a sea captain.

John Duffus worked in Barre, Vermont, and later in Waterbury where he met and married Helen Gertrude Graves on April 22, 1884, by the Reverend Mr. Wheeler. She was born in Waterbury, Vermont, November 2, 1855, and died in Madison, Wisconsin, February 5, 1915, aged 59 years and three months. Her mother, Mary Ann Wright, was born August 21, 1830, in Geneva, New York, where she met and was married to Josiah Snow Graves. His father was Luther Graves and his mother was Ruth Judd, daughter of Lucy Snow, whose father and mother were Moses and Abigail Judd.

It was said that Josiah was of Mayflower stock, entitling his female descendants to membership in the Colonial Dames, the Society of Mayflower Descendants.

Josiah was born in Geneva, New York, August 4, 1825, and died September 14, 1866, aged 41 years. His family had come from Deerfield, Massachusetts, driving north with one or more ox-wagons loaded with their household goods. They brought with them a barrel of doughnuts and other provisions and stopped at inns along the way.

Josiah was a carpenter. Later he went into the hardware business with his brother, Francis. They disagreed because Josiah wanted a fair, fixed, marked price, while his brother preferred to haggle. He moved to Vergennes, Vermont, with his wife and family where he opened a hardware and furniture store. There he died a year later on September 14, 1866, aged 41 years, one month, probably from tuberculosis.

Josiah was one of seven or more children, among them Arad, and Cecil, father of Dr. Leonard Graves of New York City, and Luther, the father of Harvey, Sarah, and Julia. There were born to Josiah Graves and his wife, Mary Ann, two daughters: Helen Gertrude, November 2, 1855, and Alice Maud, October 20. 1857. The widowed mother, Mary Ann Wright Graves, returned to Waterbury, Vermont, where she took up practical nursing and later became a matron at the Spaulding Academy in Barre, Vermont. In 1876 she married Luther Davis, a widower, carpenter, and farmer. After a honeymoon spent at the Centennial Fair in Philadelphia, Pa., they moved into the house at 27 N. Main Street, Waterbury, Vermont, that he had built with wood from his farm on the Winooski River.

It was on this farm that the Duffus grandchildren were born: William McGlashan on January 20, 1886; Robert Luther on July 10, 1888; Marjorie Alice on June 21, 1892.

Luther Davis was born September 22, 1820, and died March 27, 1893, aged 72 years, 6 months. His widow, Mary Ann Wright Graves Davis, and his widowed daughter, Alice Graves Cooley (who was married to Lucius Cooley an 1882) lived in the house in Waterbury until Mary Ann's death June 21, 1907, aged 77 years, 9 months. Both Luther and Mary Ann Davis are buried in Waterbury, Vermont, Congregational Church Cemetery in the Luther Davis plot where most of the other members of the Graves and Duffus families are also buried.

Helen Gertrude Graves (Duffus) was educated in the Waterbury, Vermont, schools and at the Spaulding Academy in Barre, Vermont. She was gentle, small and slender, 5 feet 4 1/2 inches, weighed about 110 pounds, had red hair and gray-green eyes and artistic abilities. She wrote delightful letters. Before it was lost in "the bakery fire" in February, 1894, she had her own piano and often played on it. Later she had a parlor organ. At the Congregational Church in Williamstown, Vermont, she sometimes played the organ or sang soprano in the choir where John Duffus sang also from tingle to time, or both in the Ainsworth pew. He visited in Scotland in 1890 or 1891.

Helen Graves Duffus, a widow since October 8, 1907, moved to Madison, Wisconsin, in August 1912 and lived with her son, William, and daughter, Marjorie, and a classmate of William's at Stanford University, Sam Bryan, who, on July 12, 1916, married Marjorie there.

William married Effie Parmelee Wells, <in> October - 1914. She died in <Columbus, Ohio in 1928 and was buried in> Burlington, Vermont. On September 1, 1941, he married Ursula Hubbard in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Robert married Leah Louise Deane in Palo Alto, California, on February 23, 1914.

William died in Rome on March 19, 1966, aged 80 years, two months. Robert died in Palo Alto, California, on. November 28, 1972, aged 84 years, four months. Marjorie died in Madison, Wisconsin, on April 24, 1971, aged 79 years, 10 months.

This Duffus family remembered their years in Williamstown, Vermont, with special enjoyment. At one time they lived in a two-story, two-family house with their dear friend and medical doctor, Dr. Janes, and his lovely wife above them.

It was he who had delivered the three children and on whom they and the whole village relied for his kindly, sympathetic, and devoted care in sickness. His widow lived for many years in a home for aged ladies in Brattleboro, Vermont, longing every day to rejoin her husband. There Robert and Leah Louise called on her twice a year until her death. She told them stories from the early days during the Duffus family's time in Williamstown, Vermont.

Later they shared the large house and property with Mr. Ainsworth, the owner. (See "Williamstown Branch" and "That Was Alderbury". by R. L. Duffus.)

William and Robert went to live with their grandmother in her home on N. Main Street in Waterbury to attend high school there. Later, William worked in the Marble Works in <Proctor?> Vermont. Robert carried newspapers and worked in the Waterbury Record newspaper and printing shop after school and on all Saturdays and during summers and an additional year after graduation from high school. (See "The Waterbury Record", by R. L. Duffus.) He went to California to join his father and brother and to attend Stanford University in August 1906, Marjorie attended college and studied Domestic Science in Menominee, Wisconsin. for two years before her marriage.

John Duffus, his health failing, went in February 1905 with his son William to Redlands, California, then to Los Gatos, and last to Palo Alto in 1906. In 1907 he and William went out to Stanford where they lived in Cedro Cottage with Professor Thorstein Veblen and worked for him. There John Duffus died October 8, 1907, 54 years, 5 months of age. The autopsy showed the cause of his death as "myocarditis and edema of the lungs". There was some granite dust in them, but that was not considered a cause of death.

At that time many granite cutters died of what was then called consumption, which is now described as "silicosis". (See "The Innocents at Cedro", by R.L. Duffus.)

John Duffus had suffered from rheumatism and heart trouble for years. The rheumatism was probably caused by exposure, during long, cold Vermont winters. He developed a bronchial cough.

He was also buried in the Congregational Church Cemetery in the Luther Davis plot in Waterbury, Vermont. Robert felt great sympathy for his father, who, he thought, had rare abilities but a difficult life.

And so forth! Maybe not a distinguished background, but a good foundation. So far, perhaps no geniuses, but no fools. Once a family, like anything else, is started, no one knows what will happen or in what it will end.



The above is a complete reproduction of the letters and "Notes" we received from Ursula. We have made just a few alterations <noted by <>> in an attempt to clarify.

Certain parts of the narrative have a lack of continuity: in general, it holds together pretty well. I still get a little lost among the Davis' and Graves', but what the hell.

As in Who's Who in America, 1964-65 Edition

DUFFUS, Robert Luther, author; b. Waterbury' Vt. July 10, 1888; s. John McGlashan and Helen (Graves) D.; A.B. Stanford, 1910, A.M. 1911; hon. LLD., Middlebury (Vt.)College, 1938; m. Leah Louise Deane, Feb. 23, 1914; children-Nairne Louise, Marjorie Rose. Reporter, San Fransisco Bulletin, 1911-13, editorial writer, 1913-18; editorial writer, San Fransisco Call, 1918-19, New York Globe, 1919-23; member of the editorial staff New York Times, 1937---. Decorated Chevalier Legion of Honor (France). Mem. Phi Beta Kappa Club: Century (N.Y.C.). Author books including: The Innocents at Cedro, 1944; The Valley and Its People, 1944; Non-Scheduled Flight, 1950; Williamstown Branch (Memoirs), 1959; The Waterbury Record (Memoirs), 1960; The Tower of Jewels (Memoirs)1961; Nostalgia, 1963. Home: 20 Beekman Pl. N.Y.C. 22. Office: care New York Times, N.Y.C. +27

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