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Name: TWEEDIE, Arthur John

Birth Date: 28 Jan 1864 Greenock

Death Date: 21 Sep 1952 Barnstaple

First Date: 1925

Profession: Suam Sawmill

Area: Kitale

Married: 1. In Suez 1887 Kate Marion Besly b. 1867 Brentford, d. 19 July 1939 Braunton; 2. Eleanor Constance Harris b. 13 Apr 1881 Romania, d. 19 Jan 1956 Barnstaple)

Children: Doris Kathleen (O'Brien, Wilson) (18 Aug 1891 Barnstaple-1975 Barnstaple); Douglas Royle (1888 Hertford-1970); John Norman (1898-1984)

Book Reference: Trans Nzoia Scrap Book

General Information:

Web - Arthur John Tweedie, born Greenock 1864; MD of Port Said and Suez Coal Co. Married 1st 1887 at Suez Kate Marion Besly who died in 1939, 2nd Constance Harris 1940
Trans Nzoia Scrap Book - A.J. Tweedie bought Suam Sawmill in 1925/6 with Will Hoey, Petter Axelsson and Aschen. Norman Tweedie joined it in 1928, taking over the office side, while Axelsson managed the mill. ….. In 1936 Suam Sawmills Ltd., held an AGM in Kitale and declared a dividend - an almost unheard of event in those post-slump years. Celebrators adjourned to the bar of the Hotel and centred round Eddie D'Olier and [John] Norman [Tweedie]. Colonel Kirkwood, owner of the Hotel, tried to restrain them and had ice shoved down his neck; the Superintendent of Police got locked in one of his own cells. Eventually the ringleaders repaired to the Station, where an empty train was standing. Toilet paper from this was festooned around the station, and finally some of the revellers slept it off in the carriages. Outside the station stood the new steam engine ready for transit to the Mill. When it arrived there they removed the tarpaulin and under it was found a painted iron sign reading: "KITALE 6,240' SUNLIGHT SOAP". This sign was still nailed up in the labour lines at the Mill when we [E.M. Tweedie] left our house in that area in 1964.
[Douglas] Roy[le] Tweedie, a director, had been at this famous meeting, but returned to his farm before the fun started, and knew nothing about it till on his next visit to Kitale he found everyone looking for his blood. In 1939 Axelsson left and Norman became the Manager. He joined up when war started and for a short time Roy managed the Mill. But the demand for sawn timber became so great that Norman was demobilised and returned to the Mill. A period of prosperity ensued, rising to a climax in the post war boom. However in 1949 the Mill was burnt down. This accelerated the move to the present site, five miles nearer the trees. The steam engine was blamed for the fire, so there was a change over to diesel. Will Hoey had ceased to be a shareholder in 1939, and in 1949 Aschan got out of it during a financial crisis started by the fire.

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