Archbald, Mary Ann Wodrow, 1762-1841

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Immigrant; Farmer; Homemaker; Pioneer. Mary Ann Wodrow Archbald, daughter of Rev. Robert Wodrow and Anne Ruthven, was born in 1762 and raised on Little Cumbrae, an island off the coast of Ayrshire, Scotland. She married James Archbald in 1789. They had a successful farm in Little Cumbrae and she produced textiles, knitted products and wove thread for professional weavers and tailors. In 1807 they emigrated to Mohawk Valley near present day Auriesville, New York. Mary Ann was an avid reader and writer, and wrote letters to public figures to further private charities and for assistance in personal matters. After James' death in 1824, Mary Ann remained on their farm with daughter, Margaret, until Margaret's death in 1829, after which she lived with her daughter Helen Louisa and Helen's husband, Jacob Snyder. Mary Ann died January 3, 1841.

From the description of Mary Ann Wodrow Archbald Papers 1784-2004 (bulk 1784-1840). (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 45605277

Mary Ann Wodrow Archbald lived on the island of Little Cumbray off the coast of Ayrshire, Scotland, before her marriage to James Archbald III and her emigration to the Mohawk Valley in 1807.

From the description of Papers, 1781-1840 (inclusive) [Microform]. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 232007648

Mary Ann Woodrow Archbald, self portrait, n.d.

Mary Ann Wodrow Archbald was an immigrant, farmer, homemaker, and pioneer. She was born in 1762, the youngest daughter of Rev. Robert Wodrow and his second wife Anne Ruthven Wodrow, and raised on Little Cumbrae Island off the coast of Ayrshire, Scotland. She married James Archbald in August 1789. Their first child, Robert Wodrow, died shortly after birth in July 1790. They also lost two sets of male twins in July 1791 and February 1799 and a son in September 1799. James IV (Jamie) was born in 1793, Margaret Ann in 1796, Patrick Peter in 1802, and Helen Louisa in 1805. James Archbald was a successful farmer. He grew vegetables and hay; kept sheep, marketing lambs and wool; sold fur and meat from local rabbits; fished; and sold seaweed for fertilizer. In addition to her domestic chores, Mary Ann was an independent producer of textiles and knitted products and wove thread for professional weavers and tailors. In 1807 James and Mary Ann emigrated to the United States, arriving in New York on April 17th after a twenty-five day passage. They were both forty-four years old and were accompanied by their four children. The decision to immigrate was not easy, but Mary Ann's hope was for a better life for her children in America. A friend purchased a farm for the family located along the Auries Creek, probably near present day Auriesville, New York, which Mary Ann called Creekvale. Sometime between 1810 and 1811 the Archbalds sold or leased the farm and moved to a larger one in Auriesville on the Mohawk River, which Mary Ann called Riverbank. Although she became somewhat disenchanted with America, especially after the War of 1812 (James, as head of the household, had to register as an enemy alien), Mary Ann never wavered in her idea that being in America was for the good of her children. However, James was never happy with his new life. With the help of his sons and eventually his sons-in law he raised wheat and sheep while Mary Ann and her two daughters spun and made cloth for home and for sale. The prosperity of the family varied over the years depending on economic trends and available markets. After James' death in 1824, Mary Ann remained on the farm with her eldest daughter, Margaret, until Margaret's death in 1829, after which she lived with her daughter Helen Louisa and her husband, Jacob Snyder. Mary Ann died January 3, 1841.

Mary Ann Wodrow Archbald was an avid reader and writer, and in her later years produced watercolors, especially of flowers. She wrote letters to public figures to further private charities and for assistance in personal matters. After her husband's death she petitioned Governor DeWitt Clinton after learning that New York State forbade aliens from conveying real estate. As a result, a law was passed in 1825 enabling resident aliens to take and hold real estate.

For more detailed biographical information see Alison Scott's dissertation "These Notions I Imbibed from Writers: "The Reading Life of Mary Ann Wodrow Archbald (1762-1841) in the Sophia Smith Collection and Robert's Archbald's "Archbald Family in Auriesville, NY" in SERIES I of the papers.

From the guide to the Mary Ann Wodrow Archbald Papers MS 6., 1784-2004, 1784-1840, (Sophia Smith Collection)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Archbald, Mary Ann Wodrow, 1762-1841. Letters, 1781-1825. [microform]. San Diego State University Library, SDSU Library and Information Access
creatorOf Archbald, Mary Ann Wodrow, 1762-1841. Papers, 1781-1840 (inclusive) [Microform]. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Archbald, Mary Ann Wodrow, 1762-1841. Mary Ann Wodrow Archbald Papers 1784-2004 (bulk 1784-1840). Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Archbald, Mary Ann Wodrow, 1762-1840. Letters, 1781-1825. [Microform] San Diego State University Library, SDSU Library and Information Access
creatorOf Archbald, Mary Ann Wodrow, 1762-1841. Journals, 1785-1840. [Microform] San Diego State University Library, SDSU Library and Information Access
creatorOf Archbald, Mary Ann Wodrow, 1762-1841. Commonplace books, 1821- [microform]. San Diego State University Library, SDSU Library and Information Access
creatorOf Mary Ann Wodrow Archbald Papers MS 6., 1784-2004, 1784-1840 Sophia Smith Collection
creatorOf Archbald, Mary Ann Wodrow, 1762-1841. Journals, 1785-1840. [microform]. San Diego State University Library, SDSU Library and Information Access
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)
New York (State)
Scotland
United States
United States
Scotland
Subject
Immigrants--New York (State)--Biography--Sources
Country life
Scots--United States--Biography--Sources
Farm life
Scots--Biography--Sources
Immigrants--Biography--Sources
Women intellectuals--United States--Biography--Sources
Women intellectuals--Biography--Sources
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1762

Death 1841

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