Biography of Col. Archibald Hector McLean
FROM: History of Livingston County, New York
By James H. Smith
Assisted by Hume H. Cole
Published By D. Mason & Co. 1881


Col. Archibald Hector McLean is the only son of Hector McLean, and was born in Caledonia, July 20, 1820. He was brought up on a farm, and received his education at the district schools, with the exception of two terms-in 1839 and '40-spent at the "Wesleyan Genesee" academy at Lima.

In 1843 he engaged in wool trading, at the same time carrying on business on his father's farm in Caledonia. About 1853 he purchased a farm of two hundred and eighty acres adjoining that of his father's, comprising with the first about six hundred acres, which he continued to manage, in connection with his wool business, till the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion, when he experienced a reverse of fortune, having on hand at the time a large quantity of wool, which suddenly declined in value and had to be disposed of at a sacrifice.

Having previously invested in real estate in Detroit, he removed there in 1861 and became a real estate agent. Desiring a larger field of operation he removed to Chicago, immediately after the large fire there, and opened a real estate office, in which he continued till the great crash or panic of 1873. All movement in real estate being then blocked, he commenced operating in grain, still attending to whatever business was offered in the office. He remained in Chicago till 1877, when he was called to Caledonia to assist his sister, Mrs. Grant, in the settlement of her deceased husband's estate.

Colonel McLean has ever taken a great interest in military affairs. When only fifteen years of age, he accepted a position on Col. Gordon's staff; and passed through the different gradations, from Lieutenant to Colonel, in the 77th Regiment of the N. Y. State militia, of which he had command for six years.

On the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion, Jas. S. Wadsworth offered him any position on his staff he might choose, but the Colonel's financial matters were such as to require his personal attention, and he could not accept.

In 1848 Colonel McLean was elected to the New York State Assembly of 1848 and '49, and being reelected served in the sessions of 1849 and '50. In the latter year he had charge of the bill for the establishment of the Genesee college in connection with the seminary at Lima. which is conducted under the patronage of the Methodists. The Colonel who, ten years previously was a student at the old seminary, took a deep interest in its success, and it was doubtless mainly due to his influence, that the bill was passed.

In 1852 the Colonel assisted in organizing and constructing the Canandaigua & Niagara Fails Rail Road and was for six years an active director in that company.

In politics Colonel McLean is a Republican, and has always taken an active part in the interests of that party. .

In religious sentiment he is a United Presbyterian, and is a genial and social gentleman.

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