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ARCHIBALD McDONALD: BIOGRAPHY AND
"It is asserted in the Highlands of old Scotland that the Mc-
Donald's are coeval with the family of Old Noah, etc.; that they had
a boat of their own on Loch Lomond, independent of the ark, by
which the chief of the clan saved as many as the boat could safely
hold, of course the finest and fairest of both sexes. Hence the superi-
ority of that race over all others ever since. Be that as it may, they
have not, at any rate, fallen off, either in peace or war, from any of
the race of Adam." 1
The limits of this article will not permit much detail as to the
history of Clan Donald from the days of Noah. Suffice to say the
race of which Clan Donald is the principal house was known in early
times as "Clan Cholla," on account of claiming descent from Colla
Uathais, or Uais, who flourished A. D. 125, and was the sixth in
descent from Constantine Centimachus; he was also known as "Conn-
cued-chathach" or Conn of the hundred battles. The Clan Donald
is referred to in ancient history as "Siol Guinn."
Clan Donald claims immediate descent from Somerled of the
Isles, in the twelfth century. Somerled's own name was Norse,
"Sumarlidhi" (summer-glider, that is mariner) ; he was, however,
the son of "Gille-brighde," son of "Gille-adaman." These latter
names are thoroughly Gaelic, so that on the whole Somerled may be
regarded as a Gael ruling independently over the mixed Norse and
Gael of Argyllshire. Somerled died in 1164 leaving three sons, Dugall,
Reginald and Angus, among whom the Southern Isles and a portion
of Oirthirghae (Argall) was divided.
It is from Donald, son of Reginald, that Clan Donald takes its
name, and it has ever been regarded as the premier clan. About
Donald's time, or shortly after it, fixed patronymics same into existence
in the Highlands, while in the Lowlands the surnames adopted were
generally territorial. The collateral branches of the house of Somer-
led, after Donald, were apparently more or less independent of one
another, and in order to avoid confusion such patronymics as Mac-
Ruairi, MacDougal, MacAlister and others became fixed. After the
* Archibald McDonald, Esq., J.P., was a Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company and,
as appears on the tombstone at Saint Andrews, "one of the pioneers of civilization in Oregon."
1 See autobiographical notes of John McDonald of Garth, in L. M. Masson, Let Bourgeoi*
de la Compagnie, du Nord-Oueet, etc., ii, pp. 3 and 4.
94 William S. Lewis
middle of the fourteenth century there is no record of a new patro-
nymic springing up from the house of Somerled. 2
The principal branch of Clan Donald is that of the MacDonalds
of Clanranald. Archibald McDonald, the subject of this sketch was
presumably a great grandson of "John of Clanranald," who served in
the wars of Montrose in 1644 and who died, in old age, at Uist in
1670. He was succeeded by his eldest son John, who had served with
him under Montrose, and who died in 1686. John was probably an
elder brother of Allan Dhu, the grandfather of the subject of this
As to his immediate ancestry we have the following from Archi-
bald McDonald's own hand:
"Alan Dhu, my grandfather, at the age of 20, was in the field
with Montrose in 1645 at Inverlachy, Auldram, Alford, Kitrigth. His
son John was born 35 years after — 1680 — and with difficulty escaped
with his mother and brother Donald from the slaughter committed
by William's troops at Inveriggan on the tragical night of February,
1692. My father, Angus, was born in 1730, and though but a strip-
ping showen himself out in '45. He was 60, when Mary Rankin
his only wife through life, gave birth to the last of IS children, the
writer of this.
"He was Tacksman of Inveriggan and died on the site of the iden-
tical camp of Captain Campbell in 1814 — at the advanced age of
84 — and my mother in 1829, at the still more advanced age of 88,
leaving behind her four sons, and five daughters — all the latter with
tremendous families to the third and fourth generations.
Ic Alan Dhu
Fort Langley — N. W. Coast of America— 15th. Dec. 1830. 3
Archibald McDonald was born at Leechkentium, on the south
shore of Loch Leven, Glenco Appin, Northern Argyl-shire, Scotland,
on February 3, 1790. He studied the rudiments of medicine in Scot-
* A Clan Donald Society exists with headquarters at Glasgow, Scotland. Those desiring
a more detailed history of Clan Donald should write to the secretary of the society for sources
of Clan Donald history, or secure access to Clan Donald. Vol. I, the standard authority on the
s The original is In possession of Mrs. A. M. Murray, a granddaughter of Archibald Mc-
Donald. The Gaelic summary reads: Gillespie (Archibald), Moach Aonish (son of Angus), 'Ic
Iain (of John), 'ic Alan Dhu (of Allan Dhu). Endorsed on the back of the paper In Archi-
bald McDonald's handwriting are the names of his brothers and sisters.
Archibald McDonald 95
land, presumably at the University of Edinburgh. In the winter
of 1812 he was appointed Clerk and Agent by Lord Selkirk. He was
appointed a Councillor * of Assiniboia, and soon assumed an important
share in the management of the Colony's affairs ; and, in the hostilities
which grew out of the hostility of the North-West Company in 1815,
he occupied a prominent position in the Council, and in the affairs
of the Hudson's Bay Company. 5
In the lists of employees of the Hudson's Bay Company in
America for the years 1821, 1822 and 1828 his name appears as
numbers 303, 230 and 147. Under the Deed Poll of 1821 he was
named as a Clerk, and in 1824 was one of the clerks in charge of
posts in the Thompson's River District. 9 . He succeeded John Mc-
Leod, Chief Trader, at Eamloops in the Thompson's River District,
He appears to have remained at Kamloops until 1828, when he
was promoted to Chief Trader. 8 In July, 1828, he accompanied
Governor George Simpson of the Hudson's Bay Company on a canoe
voyage from York Factory, Hudson's Bay, to • Fort Langley, New
Caledonia, where he succeeded James McMillan on October 11, 1828. 9
He remained at Fort Langley until the spring of 1833. 10 While
stationed there he inaugurated the business of salting and curing
salmon for market. 11 In a letter to John McLeod under date of
January 15, 1831, Archibald McDonald wrote: "Our salmon, for
all the contempt entertained for everything outside of the routine of
beaver at York Factory, is close up to 300 barrels." 12
In 1833 he introduced to the notice of the Company the idea of
raising flocks and herds on the Pacific Coast. The first site proposed
was on the Sacramento River, California. This was the origin of the
Puget Sound Agricultural Company. 13
In March, 1833, Archibald McDonald left Fort Langley for
Fort Vancouver, and on May 30, 1833, arrived from Fort Vancouver
to select the site and lay the foundations of Nisqually House. 14 On
June 21 he left for Vancouver, and in July accompanied William
Connolly up the Columbia with supplies for the interior, for the pur-
' Dominion Archives, Selkirk Papers, 1, 285.
' The Canadian Northwest, 1, 53-54.
• McLeod's Peace River, p. 101.
''Ibid., p. 114. See, also, the "Journal of John Work," In the Washington Historical
Quarterly, 111, 284, October, 1912. See, also, Journal Kept ly David Douglas, 1823-1827
(London, 1914), pp. 244-46.
• The Canadian Northwest, 1, 624.
8 See Archibald McDonald's Journal ; McLeod's Peace River, p. 39.
» The Canadian Northwest, 1, 651 ; "Old Letters from Hudson's Bay Company Officials and
Employes from 1829 to 1840," in the Washington Historical Quarterly, 1, 258, 264,, ii, 161,
October, 1907, January, 1908.
11 McLeod's Peace River, p. 108.
12 Washington Historical Quarterly, i, 266, July, 1907.
JS The Canadian Northwest, i, 64.
14 See Washington Historical Quarterly, 11, 161-162, January, 1908, vi, 179-188.
96 William S. Lewis
pose of proceeding overland to enjoy a furlough granted for the
years 1 834-35."
In 1834 and 1835 he was on a visit to Scotland. 16 Returning in
the spring of 1835, he appears to have taken charge of Fort Colville
Archibald McDonald continued stationed at Fort Colville from 1836
to 1843. In 1842 he was promoted to Chief Factor. 18
While in the Columbia River district, Archibald had charge of
and was eminently successful in placing the land in cultivation, and
acquiring and raising horses, cattle, sheep, etc. In a letter to John
McLeod under date of January 25, 1837, Archibald McDonald states,
"Your three calves are up to 55 and your 3 grunters would have
swarmed the country if we did not make it a point to keep them
down to 150." 19
Writing in September, 1837, Reverend Elkanah Walker thus de-
scribes Archibald McDonald's farming operations at Fort Colville:
"It was truly pleasing after being nearly half a year without seeing
anything that will bear to be compared with good farming, to see
fenced fields, houses and barns grouped together, with large and
numerous stacks and grain, with cattle and swine feeding on the plain
in large number. There is more the appearance of civilized life at
Fort Colville than any place I have seen since I left the States, and
more than you see in some of the new places in the States Mr.
M. [cDonald] raises great crops. He estimates his wheat this year
at 1500 bushels and his potatoes at 7000 bushels. Corn is in small
quantity in comparison with his other grains."
While at Fort Colville, in the early forties, Archibald McDonald
is said to have had many hundred acres under partial cultivation. His
son, Benjamin MacDonald, still living, states that his father had
nearly five thousand acres of land under cultivation at one time in the
vicinity of old Fort Colville. Mr. Jacob A. Meyers places the maxi-
mum of land in agricultural use by the Hudson's Bay Company in the
vicinity of Fort Colville at 2000 acres, including in this estimate hay
lands some twelve miles distant in the neighborhood of the present
'•Minutes of the Council, 1833, Canadian Northwest, ii, 689.
" See Journal and Letters of David Douglas, Oregon Historical Quarterly, vi, 308-09,
" Washington Historical Quarterly, II, 254, April, 1908 ; also see mention in John Mc-
Lean, Notes of a Twenty-five Years' Service in the Hudson's Bay Territory (London, 1849),
11, 14. The Reverend Samuel Parker arriving at Fort Colville on May 28, 1836, wrote : "I
was much disappointed in not finding Mr. McDonald, the Superintendent of the fort, at home.
He had left a few days before with a brigade for Fort Vancouver, but the kindest attention
was paid me by those who had charge of the fort. Journal of an Eploring Tour," etc. Rev.
Samuel Parker, p. 292.
11 Minutes of the Council, 1842, Canadian Northwest, 11, 837 ; also ibid., 625.
" Washington Historical Quarterly, 11, 255, April, 1908.
Archibald McDonald, 97
town of Colville. The company also held six townships of pasture
lands obtained from the Indians by treaty. 20
At Fort Colville, Archibald McDonald superintended the recon-
struction of the old sawmill, said to have been originally built in
1826-9, and the first sawmill on the Pacific Coast, north of California.
The original roof boards of the old fort buildings, of mill sawen
lumber, and lumber for company boats, bateaux and other purposes
came from this mill. Archibald McDonald also superintended the
rebuilding of the gristmill on "Mill Creek" (now Meyers Falls of the
Colville River) ; this mill was thereafter known as the "Goudie Mill"
from the Fort Colville blacksmith of that name in immediate charge
of the work.
During Archibald McDonald's many years in the Northwest he
made no less than 15 trips across the continent between 1812 and
1845. He also kept very accurate journals, describing the country
as regards to topography, soil, timber, rivers, climate, etc., through
plains and over mountains, from Hudson's Bay and the Great Lakes
to the Pacific. A Mr. Duncan MacDonald (no relative) one of the
locating engineers of the Canadian Pacific Railway and a friend
of the family, knowing of these journals, acquired possession of them
from Mr. Malcolm McLeod, administrator of Archibald McDonald's
estate. The information contained in these journals is said to have
proved of great value to the engineers and officers in deciding on the
location of the projected Canadian Pacific Railway.
On his retirement from the Hudson's Bay Company in 1844 he
moved overland with his family to Montreal, Canada, where he re-
sided for two years. He then moved to St. Andrews on the Ottawa
River, where he purchased a large tract of land and established a
permanent home. Being a descendant of the MacDonalds of Glencoe,
he called his residence "Glencoe Cottage." Here he was frequently
visited by his friends and former associates, such men as Sir George
Simpson, Duncan Finlayson, Archibald McKinley, and others. Here
he continued to live until his death on January 15, 1853, at the age
of 62 years. He was twice married: in 1823, at Astoria, to Princess
Raven, a daughter of the Chinook Chief, Com-Comly, who died in
1824, shortly after giving birth to a son, Ranald McDonald; and in
1825, at Fort Garry, to Jane Klyne, a daughter of Michael Klyne,
Postmaster, of Jasper's House, who survived him.
Jane Klyne McDonald was born August 23, 1810, in Switzer-
land, and died at St. Andrews, Quebec, December 15, 1879.
M Lieutenant Johnson gives the cultivated land in the immediate vicinity of the fort
(1841) as but 130 acres. V. B. Exploring Exp., It, 443.
98 William S. Lewis
He wrote a Narrative respecting the destruction of the Earl of
Selkirk's settlement upon the Red River in 1815. 21 Vol. V of the
Selkirk Papers also contains journals kept by him at Churchill Creek
and Red River. 22
In the business of the Hudson's Bay Company he displayed great
initiative and energy, and, possessing also considerable executive and
business ability, he was unquestionably one of the most capable chief
traders in the Columbia River District.
Archibald McDonald was a likeable character. He was naturally
of a kindly nature, and a most agreeable companion. During his
many years in the Northwest he maintained an extensive correspond-
ence with his contemporaries in the Hudson's Bay Company's ser-
vice. To visitors at his post he was a most courteous host. John
McLean, writing in April, 1887, says, "We met with a most friendly
reception from a warm hearted Gael, Mr. McDonald." 2S Reverend
Elkanah Walker, in his Journal, under date of September 17, 1838,
writes of his arrival at Fort Colville, "Received a cordial welcome
from Mr. McDonald and lady." Subsequent pages of the Journal
record many courtesies and kindnesses of the Hudson's Bay Chief
His family relations were ideal, and he at all times displayed
a patient and earnest regard for the spiritual and temporal welfare
of his children, to all of whom he gave such educational advantages
as his means and the times permitted. "It is high time," he writes,
"for me to see and get my little boys to school — God bless them — I
have no less than five of them all in a promising way." 25
A highlander born and bred, Archibald McDonald was in the
best sense of the term "a gentleman of the old school," a man utterly
fearless, and of greatest personal integrity and honor. McLeod in
his Peace River (pp. 117, 91) describes him as "a gentleman of ut-
most suavity of spirit as well as form."
Ranald McDonald, Archibald McDonald's eldest son, was born
at Fort George (Astoria), February 3, 1824, and died a bachelor on
August 5, 1894, near Toroda, Ferry County, Washington. He was
the hero of Mrs. Dye's "McDonald of Old Oregon."
To Archibald McDonald and his second wife, Jane Klyne, were
M Selkirk Papers, LXI, 16488, Dominion Archives.
a The Canadian Northwest, i, 54.
a John McLean, Notes of a Twenty-five Tears' Service in the Hudtm't Bay Territory,
"Reports of the V. S. (Wilkes Expedition (1841), It, 443, 4S4, state: "Mr. McDonald
afforded every facility in his power, besides supplying all their wants." Governor Simpson,
entertained the same year, after describing the repast of roast turkey, suckling pig, fresh
butter, bread, eggs, ale, etc., says: "No wonder our party ate more than was good for
them." Narrative of a journey Around the World/' Simpson, 1, 148.
" Washington Historical Quarterly, li, 163, January, 1908.
Archibald McDonald. 99
born thirteen children — twelve sons and one daughter. Several of
these children died in infancy. 26
1. The eldest child of this second marriage was Angus Mac-
Donald, who was born on the 1st day of August, 1826, at Okanogan,
and died on the 14th day of April, 1843, at Fort Colville, Washington.
2. The next child was Archibald MacDonald who was born on
the 3rd day of February, 1828, at Thompson's River, and was frozen
to death in a storm on the 10th day of February, 1868, at St. Andrews,
Province of Quebec, Canada. Archibald MacDonald, married.Catherine
Antrobus, at Three Rivers, Province of Quebec, Canada, October 10,
1858, having one child as the fruits of their said marriage, whose name
was Archibald Alexander MacDonald and who died at about the age
of five years.
3. The next child was Alexander MacDonald who was born on
the 28th day of October, 1830, at Fort Langley, British Columbia,
Canada, and died on the 7th day of July, 1875, at Moose Factory,
Hudson Bay, Canada. His brother Benjamin, then living at Mont-
real, on hearing of the serious illness of his brother Alexander through
Sir. Donald A. Smith (Lord Strathcona), made the long trip of over
two thousand miles, learning on his arrival at Moose Factory that his
brother had been dead two weeks.
4. The next child was Allen MacDonald who was born on the
19th day of May, 1882, at Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada,
and died on the 28th day of November, 1891, at Winnipeg, Manitoba,
Canada. Allen MacDonald married Harriet Robertson at St. Andrews,
Province of Quebec, Canada, on the 29th day of December, 1869, and
as the fruits of the said marriage had four children, one son and three
daughters: Mary Klyne MacDonald, born on the 8th day of Novem-
ber, 1870; Archibald Stafford MacDonald, born on the 18th day of
September, 1873. He married, and shortly after his marriage was
purser on one of the Hudson's Bay Company's boats on the Kootenay
Lake. He died on August 26, 1906, leaving a widow and one daugh-
ter; Jean Osborne MacDonald, born in 1876, married Sydney Marget-
son, and has a son and a daughter; Beatrice MacDonald, born in 1879.
The widow of Allen MacDonald is living and her address is Van-
couver, British Columbia, Canada.
5. The next child was Maryanne MacDonald (given on the back
of her photoghaph as Marrian), the only daughter, born on the 3rd
day of February, 1834, at Rocky Mountain House; she died on the
** The genealogy was furnished by Mr. Benjamin MacDonald, and his niece, Mrs,
A. A. Mnrray, the data being all taken from the family Bibles. In all signatures of Archi-
bald McDonald examined his name is written McDonald; his children and their descendants,
without exception, now all use the Scotch spelling and write the name MacDonald.
100 William S. Lewis
16th day of March, 1860, at St. Andrews, Province of Quebec, Canada.
Maryanne MacDonald married Dr. James Barneston, about 1857,
in St. Andrews, Province of Quebec, Canada, and there was born of
this marriage one child, Helena, who died in infancy. Maryanne, her
husband and infant child all died within a period of eighteen months
after their marriage.
6. The next child was John MacDonald, who was born on the
19th day of April, 1886, at Fort Colville, Washington, and died on
the 26th day of April, 1886, at Fort Colville, Washington.
7. The next child was also named John MacDonald and was
born on the 3d day of May, 1887, at Fort Colville, Washington, and
died on the 20th day of December, 1864, at Fort Shephard, B. C,
and was buried at Fort Colville, Washington, his brother Benjamin
going to Fort Shephard, brought the body down the Columbia River
in a boat for burial, at the old burial ground south of the old Fort.
8 and 9. The next children were Donald and James MacDonald,
twins, born on the 28d day of July, 1889, at Fort Colville, Washing-
ton, Donald MacDonald died on the 13th day of May, 1845, at Fort
Edmonton, Alberta, British Columbia, Canada, and James MacDonald
died on the 18th day of May, 1845, at Fort Edmonton, Alberta, British
Columbia, Canada, of scarlet fever.
10. The next child was Samuel MacDonald who was born on
the 28th day of September, 1841, at Fort Colville, Washington, and
died on the 3d day of April, 1891, at Montreal, Canada, and was
buried at St. Andrews, Province of Quebec, Canada. Samuel Mac-
Donald married Emily Elizabeth Roberts at Frederickton, Province
of Nova Scotia, Canada, October 25, 1871, and there were born to this
marriage four children, Samuel Archibald Roberts, Emily Alexandra
Antrobus, George Ranald Edward and Mary Klyne. All four of these
children are now living and married. Samuel Archibald Roberts mar-
ried Jane Elizabeth Gastuycke Roberts, and had three children, Cuth-
bert Goodridge, Archibald Gastuycke and one daughter, Emma Hilery,
who died in infancy. The family now live in Ottawa, Canada, Archi-
bald, himself, is in the Third Field Ambulance with the Canadian Con-
tingent in France, in the Commissary Division, Druggist Department,
he being a druggist by profession.
Emily Alexandra Antrobus after the death of her father and
mother was cared for by her uncle, Benjamin MacDonald. She mar-
ried the Reverend Alexander Bloomfield Murray, and is now residing
at Schuylerville, New York. They have seven children, one of whom,
Alexander Archibald, was in France in the trenches for a whole year,
was wounded twice, and is now a stenographer in the Canadian War
Archibald McDonald, 101
Records Office in London. Will not be fit for service in the trenches
again but is still doing his bit. Married Gwendolyne Rivers of Lon-
don. He is 21 years old. Ian MacDonald, age 20, with the 5th Royal
Highlanders, 42nd Battalion, Black Watch, in the trenches in France;
Hugh St. George, age 1 8, in training in England with Royal Canadian
Artillery; Helen Alexandra and Hilda Elizabeth, twins; and Angus
George Ranald Edward MacDonald married Lilla Clefton Tabor,
about 1903 at Fredericton, Nova Scotia, Canada. They have two
children, Lilla Klyne and Charles Ranald. He is Dean of the Pro-
Cathedral at Fresno, California.
Mary Klyne MacDonald married Hugh Gordon Morrison about
1907 at St. Andrews, Canada. They live in Freeport, Texas. They
have one child, Ranald David, an infant. Mary Klyne had made her
home with Mr. and Mrs. Lamb of St. Andrews, Province of Quebec,
Canada, after the death of her father and mother.
11. The next child was Joseph MacDonald, who was born on
the 14th day of March, 1843, at Fort Colville, Washington, and died
on the 20th day of May, 1845, at Fort Edmonton, Alberta, British
Columbia, Canada, also of scarlet fever.
12. The next child was Benjamin MacDonald of Los Angeles,
California, who was born on the 23d day of November, 1844, at Fort
Colville, Washington, and who is still living, being the only surviving
child of Archibald MacDonald. Benjamin MacDonald married Eliza-
beth, daughter of the Reverend James Pyke, on the 14th day of August,
1872, at Hudson Heights, Province of Quebec, Canada, and there
have been born as the fruits of the said marriage four children:
Elizabeth Klyne, born at St. Andrews, Province of Quebec, Can-
ada, on the 28th day of June, 1873; married to Frederick Cumberland
Salter of Denver, Colorado, on the 24th day of April, 1895. Elizabeth
MacDonald Salter resides in London, England, and has two sons,
the one named Frederick T. Salter Jr., seventeen years old, the other
MacDonald C. Salter, seven years of age, both at present living with
their parents in London, England.
James Alexander MacDonald, born in St. Andrews, Province of
Quebec, Canada, on the 1st day of September, 1874, died in Denver,
Colorado, on the 11th day of November, 1887.
John Angus MacDonald, born in Montreal, Canada, on the 1st
day of October, 1876, married Alpha Jennings at Bridger, Montana,
on the 18th of June, 1903. No children have been born. He is now
living in Lewiston, Montana.
Arthur Trimain MacDonald, born on August 6th, 1883, in Den-
102 WUliam S. Lewis
vet, Colorado, married Emma Buol, on the 16th of June, 1909, in
Butte, Montana. No children have been born. He is now living in
Great Falls, Montana.
18. The last child was Angus Michel MacDonald, who was born
on the 27th day of November, 1846, at Montreal, Canada, and died
on the 27th day of August, 1867, at St. Andrews, Province of Quebec,
William S. Lewis.