Peter Archibald McDougald, mayor of Oakville for the last six years, was born at Port Glasgow, township of Alboro’, county of Elgin, January 4, 1823. His father, John McDougald, a native of Scotland, came to Canada in 1817, and was a farmer in that county, and also held the office of postmaster a long time, dying in 1858. The mother of Peter was Sarah Campbell, who was born and reared within eighty rods of the seat of the Duke of Argyle, Inveraray, she coming to Canada in 1817, and dying in 1864. She was the mother of eight children, our subject being the third child.
He received his primary instruction from his father; a little later he attended the public school, “such as it was,” and finished his education, in private, under the Rev. Mr. Ross, Presbyterian minister, obtaining a good knowledge of the most important English branches. He also studied very carefully the Gaelic language, and speaks, and talks, and writes it fluently.
At fourteen years of age young McDougald commenced serving his time with James Blockwood, in a dry goods store at St. Thomas, in his native county; in 1844 he came to Oakville, and for four years had charge of the business of Alexander Proudfoot; in 1848 he started a mercantile business for himself, at Georgetown, in company with Francis Barclay, but shortly afterwards, at the solicitation of Dunn and Co., of Quebec, commenced purchasing timber and staves for them, his field of operations being on lake Erie and the river Thames.
In 1854 Mr. McDougald formed a partnership with William F. Romain, of Oakville, in general merchandise, grain and produce, continuing to thus operate until 1857, when the firm was dissolved, and our subject has continued the same business up to the present time, doing, on an average, about $30,000 a year, irrespective of grain.
He is a first class business man, and success has, as a general rule, crowned his varied business ventures.
During the rebellion of 1837-38, Mr. McDougald was a volunteer in the 3rd company, 1st battalion Middlesex militia, stationed at Elliott’s Point, at the mouth of the Detroit river. In 1861, at the time of the Trent affair, a company was raised in Oakville, and while our subject was absent he was appointed captain, and held that position until the excitement had passed away.
In 1857, when, by special Act, Oakville became an incorporated town, the subject of this notice was elected to the town council, and has been there ever since, serving as reeve eight years of this period, warden in 1871 and 1872, and mayor since January, 1874.
He is a reformer in his political creed, but not in full accord with the party, but very popular with all parties, being elected chief magistrate of the town every time by acclamation. He gives unqualified satisfaction, guarding well, as he does, the interests of the town; but it is against his wishes that he has thus long been kept in that office. His fellow citizens seem determined to keep him in that position, and both papers in town speak in high terms of praise of his administration. When he had been re-elected the fifth or sixth time, the Standard thus spoke of him.
“The nominations for municipal honors resulted in the election, by acclamation, of P. A. McDougald, Esq., for another term of office, as mayor of Oakville. This has resulted from a numerously signed requisition in this gentleman’s favor, which has fully exemplified the confidence the citizens of this neighborhood have in that gentleman and his supervision of the affairs of the corporation during his past terms of office. Mr. McDougald has several times expressed a desire to retire from the position as head of municipal affairs here; but the rate payers, believing that their interests have been so well guarded and cared for under his administrations in the past, deemed it their duty to urge him to accept nomination for another year. It is a healthy sign when a community have such confidence in any man, and in his public acts, as to place him in a position of trust and representation for several successive term§, and, although the duties at times may be onerous and somewhat irksome to a business man, yet we feel sure that Mr. McDougald has accepted office again, and has acceded to the wishes of his townsmen in the same spirit in which their confidence has been offered to him.”
The Express, the other local paper, has uniformly spoken in equally as laudatory terms of the public services of Mr. McDougald. The public fully appreciates his work as a citizen.
He is an official member of the Presbyterian church; an active man in religious matters, and highly esteemed for his excellent moral qualities.
On the 21st of May, 1857, Miss Mary Jane Chisholm, daughter of Colonel William Chisholm, founder of Oakville, was joined in marriage with Mr. McDougald and they have two daughters and one son. The latter is a student in the university of Toronto; the former are at home.