Donald Tulloch Sutherland (1834-1898)

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Chairman (1883-1886) - West Lothian Oil Co. Ltd.
Chairman (1883-1885 ) - Westfield Oil Co. Ltd.
Managing Director (c.1890) - Caledonian Mineral Oil Co. Ltd.




Mr Donald Tulloch Sutherland, one of the leading merchants and an ex-Provost of Bathgate, died his residence, Fernbank. at 11.30 last night. The deceased, who was about 64 years of age, had been for over 30 years a member of the Police Commission, and for 12 years Provost. During his term as Provost he was largely instrumental in introducing the present water supply of the town, and latterly of introducing an important drainage scheme. He was member of the School Board for several terms He was one of the most active and zealous supporters of the Liberal cause in the country, and the time of his death was president of the local association.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 10th January 1898



ON Wednesday, amidst tokens of sympathy and regret, the tolling bells and temporary cessation from business, the remains of Ex-Provost Sutherland were conveyed to their last resting-place in the new cemetery; the members of the Masonic Lodge "Auld Thirteen," joining the numerous body of mourners in the mournful cortege. Born in Thurso in 1835, he came to Bathgate 38 years ago, succeeding to a drapery business in the Corn Exchange building, which he successfully carried on there, until his removal to Hopetoun Street about two years ago. He took a keen interest in public affairs, having served for a term in our County Council many years in the Parochial Board or Parish Council, and School Board, and 28 years as a Commissioner, 12 of which he was Provost. An excellent business man, clear headed and sagacious, it is to him chiefly, as the moving spirit in carrying out our water and drainage schemes, all honour is due, and the thanks of a grateful community in thus adding to the health and prosperity of the town.

In June '78, under the genial sway of Provost Johnston, out present water supply was introduced amidst great rejoicing: at the banquet in the evening the following lines from verses made for the occasion, may be here quoted as showing the views, shared in common with the inhabitants, regarding ex-Provost Sutherland's services in the good work then completed:-

Let's render unto Caesar that which really Caesar's is,

Giving honour only unto him when such is justly his;

If Beaconsfield in his grand way did Britain's interests guard,

Our Sutherland in many ways for Bathgate's welfare cared.

'Mid wintry winds and summer's suns it was his ardent wish,

That Bathgate folks some day should have a muckle water dish;

On Petershill there stands the proof amid its lime ribb'd wa's,

How much he has accomplished in a good and noble cause.

All honour to the men who have their duty nobly done,

The grateful homage of our hearts they doubly thus have won;

When forty years have come and gone, and our frail bodies bent,

A new race yet unborn will bless this water monument.

Thoroughly conversant with the various Acts of Parliament under which our public affairs are managed, as well as with the points of order and procedure in conducting the business of deliberate bodies and public meetings, he thus made an excellent chairman, in seeing that both sides of a question or subject, should be fairly heard. Respecting all men's opinions, yet, when convinced in his own mind of what ought to be done, and what was best for the public weal, he held tenaciously to his convictions: through his tenacity of purpose, he earned the dislike of many who, nevertheless, could not but admire his unwearied perseverance in the accomplishment of his end. He may be said to have been the Father of our Mechanics' Institutes. When there seemed little prospect of any material return for the investment he advanced the funds for the erection of the one storey building in Mid Street. Slow and dreary was the prospect of this means of recreation for our daily workers; he watched over its fortunes, never losing faith in its ultimate success, and when the additional storey was added to its walls, and by strenuous exertions a bazaar was got under way to pay off the debt, his scheme for the elevation and amusement of the townspeople has proved that his faith in its success was not misplaced. A life-long abstainer, yet, was he disinclined to create by legislation a monopoly in the sale of alcoholic beverages, although none deplored the effects of their abuse more than he. In politics, a staunch uncompromismg Liberal, who did yeoman service in the ranks, when the battles for progress in West Lothian were fought; here his loss will be well nigh irreparable; he worked for the cause long and unceasingly, while his keen and accurate judgment of men, and their devious ways, enabled him to foretell pretty correctly how the contest would end. When death came he was President of our local Liberal Association. On the platform, especially when local affairs occupied public attention, he was a dangerous opponent; with a tenacious memory for everything connected with Burgh and School Board, he would confound an opponent by quoting from his former speech, giving day and date, copies of which he carefully preserved. As Trustee of our Academy, he did his duty to the best of his ability and to the approbation of his brother Commissioners. He was one of the original seven, who, 24 years ago, met to form the literary society of ''Under the Beeches"; there his loss will be deeply felt, and his memory held in grateful and affectionate remembrance. An ardent Freemason, he held, on various occasions, the office of R.W.M. of Torphichen Kilwinning Lodge, No. 13. His enthusiasm for all that concerned the Craft, urged him to erect a Chapter of Royal Arch Masonary in connection with his Mother Lodge, "No. 13." The elder brethren of "Auld Thirteen" may be able to recall the geniality of Bro. Sutherland on high Masonic festivals, as from the chair he kept the lodge in high glee that seemed to draw the bonds of brotherhood closer and firmer. He had many of the fine traits of the true Highlander, and gloried in their traditions. To the cause he espoused, and the friends he had made, he was true as steel: no idle rumour, no passing whim or caprice, ever made him falter in his loyalty to those who had gained his confidence and esteem: in all his actions, the man and the gentleman shone out: his word was as good as his bond.

Vale, old friend! for thee the battle and the mummeries of life are over. When the roll of the names of Bathgate's benefactors shall be called, not the least of these may be found to be that of Donald Tulloch Sutherland.

West Lothian Courier, 15th January 1898