Clan Carruthers, Genealogy

Clan Carruthers: Irving Carruthers, in Samoa

IMG_20190325_113840.jpgAfter a trip to Samoa last year, a friend contacted us about seeing a depiction of the Chiefly Arms of Carruthers. The crest was portrayed with a cherub crest and with chevrons, being wrongly depicted, rather than engrailed chevrons. The cherub has also been depicted wrongly as a seraphim by some heraldic artists and was used by the head of some branches of Carruthers on their own arms in the past.

IMG_20190325_114542 (2).jpgThese arms appeared in a shop, which had been founded by Mr Irving Hetherington Carruthers, the son of Richard Irving (Hetherington) Carruthers, a solicitor, who in the past had worked as a lawyer with the writer Robert Louis Stevenson. Stevenson lived out his latter years in Samoa and died there in 1894. Richard himself was born in Singleton, New South Wales from Scottish parents, both born in Dumfriesshire, who had emigrated to Australia.  He moved from Melbourne, Australia to the islands, where he continued to practice law. Richard Irving Carruthers died in Apia Samoa in 1909, leaving six children.

Over Denbie.jpg
House of Carruthers of Denbie

Richard,  his son Irving and therefore their family, can trace their ancestry back to the 1600’s through the maternal line and that of William Carruthers 1st of Denbie in 1669. William was the second son of John Carruthers, 8th of Holmains and brother to John the 9th of Holmains. Over Denbie originally belonged to Carruthers of Holmains, who gained the lands in 1510, but it was owned for a period by George Carruthers of Over Denbie and his family. It was attained again by Holmains in 1669. George was the 2nd son to of John 7th of Holmains and brother to John Carruthers, 8th of Holmains.

Interestingly, Colonel John Carruthers 5th of Denbie served in the Honourable East India Company, along with many other Carruthers to include members of the Chiefly House of Holmains. The Colonel’s only son, Lieutenant John Carruthers, died in India in 1797. This death passed the estate of Over Denbie through the female line to his sister Louisa, who on the 9th September 1804 married Richard Hetherington of Footmans Bridge.

Their son Irving Hetherington died in Melbourne, Australia in 1875.  Irving’s son Richard Hetherington succeeded his uncle, Dr John Hetherington-Carruthers and inherited the Denbie Estate on proviso that he continued the Carruthers surname.  Richard Hetherington-Carruthers sold the Estates to Murray of Murraythwaite, an estate bordering on to Dormont and gave up the ‘of Over Denbie’ designation. Showing the inter-relationship between Border families, this branch of Carruthers is also closely related to the close neighbours of Carruthers in Annadale, the Irvings of Bonshaw, whose current Clan Chief is Captain R A S Irving (Rtd).

UnknownIrving Hetherington Carruthers (27 October 1888 – 5 July 1974) was a Western Samoan businessman and politician.

Irving was born in Samoa itself as one of 5 children and attended a Catholic school run by the Marist Brothers in Apia, which was then the capital of German Samoa. Apia is now the capital of the Independent State of Samoa, sitting on the central north coast of Upolu, Samoa’s second largest island. After leaving School, Irving went into the cocoa business, leasing a cocoa plantation in Malaedono and becoming a member of the Committee of the Chamber of Commerce and the Planters Association.

Irving Carruthers married Anne Jennings from Swains Island, an atoll in the Tokelau chain, which was previously known as the Union Islands. They had five children. but Anne sadly died in the early 1900s and Carruthers later married Vaopunimatagi Seumanautafa, a Samoan, in 1919. After his second wife died, he married Moe in 1934, with whom he had three children. In 1929 he established I.H. Carruthers, a cocoa and copra (the dried meat or kernel of the Coconut) merchant company. The Samoan translation of the company’s founder “Irving” took hold and he became known as Evani Carruthers (Elei pronounced eh – lay is a traditional form of hand block printing in Samoa, which also lent itself to the future name of the company).

During his political career, Carruthers contested the 1932 elections to the Legislative Assembly of Samoa, the Samoan Parliament, with the support of the Chamber of Commerce and the Planters’ Association. He was elected alongside his brother-in-law Alan Cobcroft and re-elected in 1935, but did not stand in the 1938 elections.

The Company


Over the years I.H.Carruthers has adopted “Eveni Carruthers” as its main store brand. It has become one of the leading retailers of fabrics, uniforms, sporting goods and Polynesian-inspired apparel. The blending of Polynesian and Samoan motifs is inspired by the expanded family history of the Carruthers family in Samoa.

Eveni Carruthers, the trading name of I.H.Carruthers Ltd, trading for at least 90 years in Samoa, stood the test of time as a family company. The current management team is led by the fourth generation of the founder, Irving ” Eveni” Carruthers of Vailima. The I.H.Carruthers trading empire was set up by integrating a network of trading stations throughout Samoa which were serviced by inter-island schooners.

The legacy built by Irving saw, during the 1950s and up to the early 1970s, a trading station in almost every village in Upolu, Manono and Savaii. During this time, the company was one of the main merchants trading in cocoa and copra for export. Since the 1950’s, the company has always maintained a close connection with the village communities and fully supported their social and cultural activities.

The company has diversified in its success and is represented by:

unnamed.jpg* EveniPacific – the brand for their largest range of Elei Apparel for Men, Ladies and Kids.
Eveni Kids

* KokoPacific –  the Island Lifestyle brand was developed for traditionally-inspired resort-wear for guests and holiday makers who want to dress like the locals

*EveniSport – carries a full range of branded apparel, footwear, equipment and supplements. Exclusive and Authorized distributors for the 4 major brands – Nike, Puma, Adidas and Under Armour.  EveniSport are stockists of many sports and health care brands

* Garlands Pacific: Garlands Pacific was inspired by Malcolm Carruthers who built up a relatively high-profile soft furnishing outlet at Remuera in Auckland, New Zealand during the 1970s to the early 1990s. The soft furnishing adaptation to the Polynesian and Samoan fashions and motifs include elei designed sheets sets, lounge pillows and duvet sets

EveniMetro – opened in 2013 to cater for busy people on the go and holiday makers who want to grab an ice-cold refreshing drink or snack. EveniMetro also sells phone credit for Digicel and Bluesky, Tattslotto and the Samoa National Lotto.

The Ghost Story 

Title page, Review of Reviews

In an article to the editor Willam Thomas Stead, published in the Reviews of Reviews, London Vol 35, Issue 207 (Mar 1907) pg. 289-290, the following correspondence appeared.

It was written by Mr Thomas Trood, Acting British Consul at Apia, Samoa, dated December 4th 1906 and related a situation involving Irving and his father Richard.

An Authentic Ghost Story

‘Dear Sir- I think it proper to bring to notice, as you take much interest in psychological matters, and events of this class, which happened near Apia on the night of Friday, 26th October last, at about twenty minutes to eight.

‘At the time Mr R H Carruthers, barrister and solicitor, who has lived in Samoa for many years, was coming down to town in a carriage, a double seated vehicle, from his house in the country, accompanied by his son, a young man (on his way to Pago, a cacao plantation owned by the Samoa Estates Company, Birmingham, about 20 miles from Apia), both sitting behind the driver, a Samoan native. The carriage was provided with a lamp showing a strong light.

‘At the hour and moment Mis———-, a young lady eighteen years old, greatly liked by all who knew her, died after five days of illness.

‘Just before the vehicle had reached and was passing the house where the lady died, and at the time of or directly after, the moment of death. Mr Carruthers tells me that he, his son and the driver all saw her coming towards them, with bare feet, walking briskly on the main road which goes up towards R L Stevenson’s old residence, where his father was at the hour stated, he not having feared the sudden and fatal relapse of her illness.

245199-675x450-spooky-ghost.jpgAs the girl came towards him she bowed to him and the carriage passed her.

‘As it did so Mr Carruthers said to his son, without any thought that the appearance was supernatural, “this is very singular. I thought Miss——– was too ill to be able to walk out so far from her house”, (quite two hundred yards distant from the place where they saw her). His son replied that it was.

‘Mr Carruthers and the driver left Apia for Pago that night and did not return for four days, when both were greatly surprised to hear from his son that the girl had died on that very night, and at that very hour at which all three had seen her on the main road, coming towards and actually passing them and as the movement of her head showed, recognising them.

‘Mr Carruthers as well as his companions, particularly and positively state that it was Miss———, and no other person that they saw, the height and long flaxen hair hanging far down below her shoulders, thoroughly identifying her.

‘It is said, but of that I have at present equal to the foregoing, that one of the Chinese servants at Vilma, where as said her father then was, also saw her there that night. If so the girl, doubtless for some reason of strong affection, wished not only to see her father once more before taking the long flight into worlds unknown, but let us know also that she had actually done so.’

Very, strange indeed…

Interestingly, our Australian Genealogist has stated that his Grandmother referenced the Hetherington Carruthers, who were good friends of his ancestor Christopher during the late 1800s. Richard lived around the corner from them in Balmain, Sydney and later up around Maitland near Newcastle. This link set him on his path in researching his family tree. Gary Hetherington Carruthers, is a member of the Clan Carruthers Society – Australasia and Oceania, as our Director of the South Pacific.

Clan Carruthers Society WP footnote grey

1 thought on “Clan Carruthers: Irving Carruthers, in Samoa”

  1. Thanks for writing this article. I have Hetherington ancestors that settled in Canada and I have a number of genetic matches to Samoan Carruthers descendants. I couldn’t figure out why the name changed to Irving and Carruthers. Thanks for sharing this history!

    Chris Jorgensen
    Vancouver , Canada

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