Many business enterprises have felt the stimulus and benefited by the energy and industry of Archibald McDonald, and his activity in business and his successful control of manifold and varied interests well entitles him to be called one of the "captains of industry" upon the Pacific coast. He was born in Ireland and when six months old was brought to America by his parents, P. A. and Jane (Kirkland) McDonald. The father settled in Massachusetts, where he engaged in the manufacture of carpets, and the son pursued his education in the public schools of that state. In 1852 he came to California by way of Cape Horn and located in San Mateo county, where he associated himself with a lumber company. In 1857 he became connected with the Santa Cruz Lumber Company and in 1862 entered into business relations with the Pioneer Woolen Mills of San Francisco.
The year 1872 witnessed the arrival of Mr. McDonald in San Jose. He took charge, as superintendent, of the plant of the San Jose Woolen Mills Company, holding that position until 1887, when he resigned. In 1886 he had been appointed a director of the Agnew State Hospital for the Insane, in which capacity he served until 1891, when he was appointed a director of the State Hospital at Stockton, California, filling the position until 1901. During that period Mr. McDonald became identified with many business enterprises, making investment as he saw favorable opportunity to use his means in the development and operation of a business enterprise that would yield good financial return. He became president of the Vendome Hotel Company, at San Jose, a director of the Garden City Bank, of San Jose, and a director of the San Jose Woolen Mills Company. In 1897 he once more took charge of the business of the Woolen Mills Company, as superintendent and general manager. This mill is known as a six-set mill and furnishes employment to about one hundred operatives. Its output amounts to four hundred thousand yards of flannel of various colors and five thousand pairs of blankets of all kinds and grades annually. The manufactured product includes horse blankets, felts, buggy robes, etc. They annually use about one million pounds of wool as it comes from the grower, purchased at an average cost of twenty cents per pound. San Francisco and New York city are the distributing centers for the output of the mills. In 1869 the San Jose Woolen Mills Company was incorporated with a capital stock of four hundred thousand dollars, and with a paid up capital of two hundred eleven thousand and four hundred dollars.
In 1861 Mr. McDonald was united in marriage to Miss Janet Jamieson, a daughter of Ebenezer Jamieson, of an old Scotch family. They have two children: John A., a mechanic located in San Francisco; and George K., who was born in San Francisco and came to San Jose with his parents when nine years of age. His early education was acquired in the common schools and later he attended the Garden City Commercial College. After completing his studies he entered the employ of the San Jose Woolen Mills Company, in the finishing department, and afterward took charge of those departments. In 1888, however, he resigned and removed to Los Angeles, California, where he was employed in a large abstract office and with an extensive real estate corporation. In 1891 he returned to San Jose, where he accepted the position of general secretary with the San Jose Woolen Mills Company, in which capacity he is now serving. He belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and is a Republican in his political views.
Archibald McDonald is a member of the Masonic fraternity and also the Ancient Order of United Workmen. Coming to California when a young man, a half century ago, he has since led a most busy, active life, and one of notable usefulness in trade and industrial circles of the state. His course has been characterized by firmness of purpose, by laudable ambition and unflagging enterprise, and he stands to-day prominent among the representatives of manufacturing in the Santa Clara valley.
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