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Thomas, the third son, inherited Asleid and Richmond Hill. He married Miss Catherine Arbuthnot, daughter of Mr Robert Arbuthnot of Mount Pleasant, and left an only daughter, Nicola, married to Mr Thomas Hutchison, who held a situation in the National Debt Office for many years : issue, two sons and two daughters. The daughters of Mr Thomas M'Combie of Easterskene were Barbara, married to Dr Alexander Ewing of Tartowie, a very successful physician and surgeon in Aberdeen, whose only surviving son is Major Alexander Ewing of the Army Pay Department, who married Juliana Peter M' Combie of Lyntur a well-known author. Thomas M'Combie's second daughter was Margaret, married to Mr Simpson Duguid of Cammachmore, whose son, Mr Peter Duguid of Cammachmore, advocate, married Miss Adamson, daughter of Mr Adamson, merchant and shipowner, Aberdeen : issue, two sons and a daughter. Isabella, the third daughter, was married to Mr David Blaikie, of Blaikie Brothers, whose only son John married a daughter of General Tweedie of East India Company's service : issue, one son and two daughters. The daughters were: Margaret, married to Mr Patrick Keith, of the firm of Gladstone, Wylie, & Co. - issue, two sons and four daughters ; Helen, married first to Mr Hislop, Prestonpans, second to Major Wood, 91st Highlanders, third to Mr Williamson.
Peter, sixth son of William M 'Combie, Lynturk, like his brother Thomas, engaged successfully in business in Aberdeen, and early in the present century bought the barony of Lynturk, on which his father had been tenant so long, and where he and his brothers had been born and brought up. He married Miss Murray, daughter of Rev. Mr Murray, minister at Buffle, but left no issue, his nephew Mr William M'Combie of Easterskene succeeding to the property.
Charles, the seventh son, became proprietor of Tillyfour, which, in the hands of his son, was to become a household word in the agricultural world. He married Miss Ann Black, daughter of a Buchan farmer of good position, and had a large family, several of whom died young. He was well known over the north of Scotland as a worthy, upright gentleman, and a successful cattle dealer on a very extensive scale. He was succeeded as proprietor of Tillyfour by his eldest son Charles, who, for the long period of forty- nine years, was minister of Lumphanan. He received the degree of LL.D. from the University of Aberdeen, and few men have ever led a more unblemished life, or approached nearer to the ideal of a perfect Christian gentleman. He died at Lumphanan in 1874. He was married first to Miss Scott, daughter of the Rev. Robert Scott, minister of Glenbucket, by whom he had Charles M'Combie of Tillyfour : His Family. one son, deceased ; second, to Miss Eliza Lamond, daughter of Mr Lamond of Pitmurchie, by whom he had four sons and five daughters, of whom only three survive, - Thomas, in Cape Colony, unmarried ; Isabella, married to the Rev. Mr Young, Ellon; and Rachel, un- married. William M'Combie, the second son, will be noticed further on. Thomas, the third son, who reached maturity, immigrated to Australia, where he had a prosperous and honored career, being elected a member of the Legislative Council of Victoria. He came home to settle in the old country, but did not long survive. He left a widow and two daughters, who are both married. The daughters of Charles of Tillyfour who reached maturity were Marjory, married to the Rev. Mr Laing, Aberdeen ; and Mary, married first to Mr P. C. Auld, the well-known artist - issue, three sons ; second, to the Rev. Mr Forbes, Oban. The daughters of William M'Combie in Lynturk, were Isobel, unmarried; Helen, married Mr Dunn, merchant, Aberdeen, who had no issue ; and Marjory, married to her cousin, William M'Combie in Cairnballoch, whose son William had a very successful career as a journalist and author. It was under his management that the ' Aberdeen Free Press ' was started, which under his care and editing attained a distinguished position amongst the provincial press, which it has fully maintained to the present time under his successors. He was also the author of ' Hours of Thought ' and several other well-known works, which met with a large share of public favor. He was a self-made man, having attained his success in life through his natural talents and perseverance. He left a large family of sons and daughters, who have also shown marked ability.
We must now go back again to the time of William M'Combie, Lynturk, and briefly notice the other two sons of Robert M'Combie, Findlatrie, Donald and Alexander. Donald became farmer in Boghead, Tough, and left an only daughter, married to Mr Moses Copland. Alexander was a litstar at Bandley. His daughter, Grizel M'Combie, was married to Mr Alexander Garden, in Bandley, among their family being Mr George Garden, also in Bandley, and Colonel William Garden of the East India Company's service. Mr George Garden, Bandley, had a son, the well-known Dr William Garden, in Balfluig, Alford, who had a son, Mr Farquharson Taylor Garden. The daughter of Robert M'Combie in Findlatrie, was married to Mr Reid, Cromore, Craigmyle ; issue, one son, Robert ; issue, a daughter.
The second son of Charles M'Combie of Tillyfour, was born in 1805. As it was his father's wish that he, with his elder brother, should enter one of the learned professions, he was sent to Aberdeen University ; but the result of two sessions at Marischal College was so un- satisfactory that his father took him home and set him to work a pair of horses. In after-life, William M'Combie of Tilly four. 107 he often regretted his neglect of education in early life ; and the higher the position he attained, the more he felt the disadvantages of that neglect. The only good result that came of this neglect was the benefit acquired by practical experience of a ploughman's work. This he held to be in- valuable for every one who intended to follow agriculture in its widest sense as a profession. His ideal of the training necessary for a farmer's life was, first, a good education, especially in all that was likely to be of practical use afterwards, laying particular stress on English grammar and composition; second, a practical training in all kinds of farm-work - not a turn now and then as a pastime, but filling the place of a regular work- man for a stipulated time. After that preliminary training, a man was fit to enter on the superintendence of work, and ready to acquire experience in buying and selling stock, and to exercise his judgment generally on everything pertaining to practical farming. After two years' probation as a ploughman, the future "Grazier King" began some dealing on his own account, some details of which are given in his ' Cattle and Cattle- Breeders.' Previous to his father's death, he became tenant of the home farm of Tillyfour, including Tillyreach and Nether- hill - a tenancy continued during the lifetime of his brother, who had been settled as minister of Lumphanan some time before his father's death. Some years afterwards he became tenant of Bridg- end, on the estate of Lynturk - a tenancy only broken by his own death. Still later he became tenant of Dorsell in Alford, which he held until he purchased Tillyfour. From about 1830 he was free to follow his own bent in regard to cattle, yet there was no systematic attempt at cattle - breeding until some fourteen or fifteen years afterwards. Until this later period, he was rather of a sporting turn, and was a good shot and a capital horseman. His shooting he continued occasionally up to about 1856. As a rider he performed many astonishing feats, being always well mounted, and covering extra- ordinary distances to and from markets on one horse in one day. To the last he liked to see a good fast horse, and had many horses in his time well known for their high powers of speed and endurance. He also engaged in coursing at one time, and once won and once divided the all-aged stakes at Turriff with Amy, whose por- trait held a conspicuous place in the diningroom at Tillyfour. During this period, 1830-45, with the exception of an odd beast now and then sent to Alford shows, his breeding stock was composed of ordinary country cows kept for dairy purposes, the lean cattle trade being still his main dependence; and not until 1844 or x ^45 did ne enter on the main work of his life - the breeding and improvement of the polled Aberdeen-Angus breed of cattle. From that time onwards he devoted the best energies of his life to that object. With good abilities and good opportunities, a man who determines to follow out a certain aim in life is sure of success if granted time ; and William M 'Combie had rare abilities, good opportunities, and had over thirty years of uninterrupted application of his abilities and opportunities. The result was a success without parallel. When he commenced the breeding of Aberdeen-Angus polled cattle, the breed had not long been shown as a distinct class at shows. At that time there were at least three breeds of cattle - shorthorns in England and Scotland, and Herefords and Devons in Eng- land - whose supporters would have derided the idea of serious rivalry from the Scottish black polls of Aberdeen and Angus, while several other breeds were at least on an equality with them. Yet in little over twenty years from starting in earnest to improve the breed, William M'Combie both bred and fed a pure polled Aberdeen- Angus ox that put completely into the shade the best shorthorns, Herefords, and Devons that Great Britain could produce ; and twelve years later, in a competition open to the world, he took first place with the same breed, beating every other breed of note either at home or abroad. From the time he entered on this work, it be- came the main business of his life. He was never at rest long from Tillyfour. When necessarily absent on business, he always set out for home immediately it was finished. Every day of his life, if at home and well, he made his rounds of his byres or his fields, and saw every beast ; and no eye was quicker in detecting any- thing amiss with any of them. Such unremitting ardour soon brought success, show-yard honours came thick and fast, and what is more, continued. The agricultural world began to realize that this was no common man, making lucky hits now and again, but a man with a genius for what he had taken in hand - a man making history in his own particular walk of life. In recognition, therefore, of the work he was accomplishing, he was entertained to dinner at Aberdeen in 1862 by about four hundred of the leading noblemen and gentlemen in the north of Scotland connected with agriculture, under the presidency of the late Marquis of Huntly. On that occasion he, in a few words, put before the public what had been his aim in life, and to what extent he had attained it. "I was led," said he, "by a father whose memory I revere, to believe that our polled cattle are peculiarly suited to our soil and climate, and that if their properties were rightly brought out, they would equal, if not surpass, any other breed as to weight, symmetry, and quality of flesh. I resolved that I would endeavor to improve our native breed. I ex- erted all my energies to accomplish this purpose. For many years I was an unsuccessful exhibitor at the Smithfield' Club. I went to Baker Street. I minutely examined the prizewinners. I directed my attention especially to the points in which the English were superior to the Scottish cattle. I came to the conclusion that I had been beaten, not because our Scottish breed was inferior to the English breeds, - I saw that I had been beaten because I was imperfectly acquainted with the points of the animals most appreciated in Baker Street. I doubled, I tripled, I quadrupled the cake allowed to my feeding stock. I attained the object of my ambition. English agriculturists always maintained that a Scot would never take a first place in a competition with a shorthorn, a Hereford, or a Devon. I have given them reason for changing their opinion." William M'Combie of Tilly four. 1 13 Not long after this he was entertained to dinner by the farm-servants and tradesmen of the vale of Alford, an honor which he always looked back upon with especial pride. In 1865, when the rinderpest was paralysing stock-breeders by its ravages, the farmers of Aberdeenshire, under the leadership of William M'Combie, showed the agricultural world how to grapple successfully with this evil, by the stamping-out process they adopted. In 1866 he succeeded Mr George Hope, Fentonbarns, as second president of the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture. In December of the following year his fortunes as a combined feeder and breeder of the polled Aberdeen-Angus cattle reached a climax, when Black Prince, a pure Aberdeen-Angus ox bred and fed by himself, was, Eclipse-like, " first, and the rest nowhere," both at Birmingham and London. So conspic- uous was he by his superiority over all the most noted English breeds, that her Majesty the Queen expressed a wish to see so notable an animal. He was • accordingly sent by Windsor on his way H ii4 The Family of M'Combie. from Birmingham to London. Her Majesty was greatly struck with the magnificent black, and Mr M'Combie was so proud of the honour done to himself through his champion, that, after Smithfield, he offered the Black Prince as a gift to his sovereign. Her Majesty of course declined so large a present, but graciously accepted the baron of beef for her Christmas dinner. The after-result of this was, that Mr M'Combie had the high honor of receiving her Majesty at Tillyfour in 1868. On this occasion some 400 polled cattle were spread over the fields surrounding the mansion - house of Tillyfour, in which her Majesty took tea before setting out on her return to Balmoral. In 1867 'Cattle and Cattle-Breeders,' by William M'Combie, Tillyfour, was published. Few men seemed more unlikely at one time to have turned author than he was. ' Cattle and Cattle- Breeders ' was, however, a success, going through three editions in a few years. It contained much valuable matter on the breeding, feeding, and care of cattle, and some racy reminiscences of William M'Combie of Tilly four. The style is plain and unaffected, being just such as a man adopts who, without any pretensions to literary culture, has something to say, and says it in a simple, straightforward manner. For its raison ditre the book supplied a good deal of information, not before published, on matters of moment to an important part of the community, which is more than can be said of most books. Although now over sixty years of age, and held in honor by all classes, from sovereign to peasant, William M'Combie was yet looking forward, in 1867, to still further honors in a new field.
When it became certain that the county of Aberdeen was to have an additional member of Parliament as soon as the Reform Bill of 1867 became law, he diligently canvassed West Aber- deenshire, and at the general election in 1868 he was returned unopposed, being the first tenant- farmer returned for a Scottish constituency, and the second returned to the House of Commons. As a member of Parliament, he had the ear of J 1 6 The Family of M'Combie. the House of Commons whenever he spoke on agricultural questions, and the unwavering confidence of his constituents. At the general election in 1874 he was opposed by Mr Edward Ross, more celebrated as a rifle-shot than as a politician. The result was the most decisive victory obtained by any member returned at that election, the figures being - M'Combie, 2401; Ross, 326. There can be no doubt, however, but that his parliamentary duties, coupled with his large farm- ing operations, and the management of his famous breeding - herd, put too great a strain on his powers. When, therefore, after his brother's death, he, in 1875, purchased Tillyfour, it was not to be wondered at that he gave up Dorsell, the most outlying of his farms from Tillyfour, in that year, and resigned his parliamentary duties in 1876. On the occasion of his retirement, a large sum of money was subscribed for, and in- vested so as to provide the ".M'Combie Prize" annually at Aberdeen for the best specimen of the breed with which his name was so indissoluble connected. Thus honored, and lightened of part of his work, he settled down more closely to his home affairs, and projected many improvements on the home farm and estate of Tillyfour, several of which he saw effected. But he was failing fast in bodily strength. Those long reckless rides, at all times and in all weathers, when in the heyday of his youth and strength, were having their effect now. But before the end he was to have one crowning honor and glory for the breed he had done so much for. In 1878, at the great Exhibition at Paris, he won the two great prizes of the show against all the most famous breeds from every country of Europe, his group of polled Aberdeen- Angus cattle being first both for breeding and feeding qualities. It was a fitting close to a glorious career. Practically there was no further honor possible of acquirement for the Tillyfour herd. After this he was not long spared, and died, full of years and honors, at Tillyfour on February 1, 1880. In this brief summary of the chief events of the life of William M'Combie of Tillyfour, but little idea can be formed of the man as he lived and moved at home and abroad. He was con- siderably above the average height, his personal appearance being more indicative of strength and vigour than of elegance or refinement. His head was massive, with a commanding forehead ; the rest of his features plain. The disposition, which led him to neglect his education when young, also led him to be less refined in speech and manners than most people would have expected from the high position he attained latterly in social life. But his strength of intellect and force of will gave a natural dignity to him, which did much to over- shadow these defects, and no one could see him without recognizing a man born with power to overcome obstacles, and to make a name for him- self. His neglect of education had also much to do with his defects as an orator ; yet here, again, his force of character commanded attention, and through the halting sentences his meaning would come out clear and forcible in a few terse, homely words. Some of his unprepared speeches, had they been printed verbatim, would have seemed William M'Combie of Tilly four. 1 19 not much clearer than Cromwell's, yet, like him, ideas pregnant with meaning could be seen struggling through the seeming confusion and repetition. As an agriculturist in the strict meaning of the word, he stood high. He reclaimed much on Tillyfour from heather and bog, pointing out with satisfaction fields great part of which he had himself ploughed for the first time. He dealt liberally in manure, employed only the best seeds, and took many prizes both for grain and root crops. He was very particular as to having good workmen, and it may safely be said that better ploughed and drilled fields, or better - built stacks, were not to be seen any- where than on Tillyfour, Bridgend, and Dorsell. He was an excellent judge of men, and generally had a good idea of the worth of a man before he was long in his service. He had also a penchant for strong men, and was very proud of any of his servants who had won prizes at athletic sports, never failing to point them out to visitors, with a short history of their exploits.
For a long period his three farms were training-schools for young men who wanted to push themselves on in the agricultural world, and he was ever willing to forward merit by generous recommendation. In the latter part of his life he paid strict attention to the duties of religion, holding family worship nightly with his immediate household, and on Sunday the whole of the servants at Tillyfour were assembled for this purpose. He was by no means ascetic, however, had a keen relish for humor, and enjoyed a hearty laugh. His outward de- meaner was somewhat brusque and seemingly harsh at times, but those who knew him intimately, knew that there was much depth of kindly feeling beneath it. His success in life was entirely due to his own conspicuous abilities, and untiring persistence in the course he had entered on. He was a "powerful, pushing, and prosperous M'Combie," a veritable M'Comie Mor in his own line, a benefactor of his time whose name and fame will long survive.