Memorable Manitobans: Archibald “Archie” McDonald (1836-1915)
Born at Invergarry, Inverness-shire, Scotland on 16 February 1836, he came to Canada in 1854 aboard the Hudson’s Bay Company sailing vessel The Prince of Wales. He served as an apprentice clerk at Shoal River, Fort Pelly and Fort Qu’Appelle, before being appointed Clerk in 1861 and being posted at Little Touchwood Hills (1861-1862, 1864-1866), Manitoba House (1862-1864), and Fort Qu’Appelle (1866-1873). In 1863, he married Ellen Inkster, with whom he subsequently had four sons and two daughters.
McDonald was appointed Chief Trader at Fort Qu’Appelle, in 1869. He became District Factor based at Fort Ellice from 1873 to 1879, and was the officer in charge of the Swan River District, succeeding Robert Campbell. He returned to Fort Qu’Appelle in autumn 1882, remaining there to his retirement in June 1911. He formed an agricultural society in the area, and chaired the local school board. He participated with Alexander Morris and David Laird in negotiations that led to aboriginal treaties in the region. He remained at Fort Qu’Appelle in retirement, dying there on 6 January 1915.
He is commemorated by the Rural Municipality of Archie in Manitoba. A collection of his artifacts is held at the museum at Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan.
“Arch. M’Donald dead after long career in west,” Winnipeg Telegram, 8 January 1915 [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B6]
“Reminiscences of H.B.C. Pioneers. 2. Archibald McDonald,” The Beaver, November 1923, page 40.
This page is based, in part, on information contained in the HBCA Biographical Sheets. We thank John W. McDonald for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 10 August 2020