Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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ARCHIBALD, ROBERT, Presbyterian minister, St Andrew's Church, Chatham, 1834-43; b. Tullibody, Alloa parish, Clackmannanshire, Scotland, 1804 (bap. 27 May 1804), s/o Robert Archibald and Janet Henderson (or Marshall); m. 1833, Ann Hutton, of Alloa; d. Glasgow, Scotland, 13 Jun 1884.

Robert Archibald, who was educated at Glasgow, and ordained at Stirling, Scotland, was sent out by the Glasgow Colonial Society in 1834 in reply to a call for a minister for St Andrew's Church, Chatham. He was given a favorable reception. A new manse was built for him and his family, and in keeping with a practice of the time, he was called to be "fixed and permanent pastor" in 1839.

In 1837 Archibald was appointed as a trustee of the County Grammar School, in which he took a lively interest. He was a highly intellectual man and an eloquent public speaker who believed profoundly in the capacity of mankind for improvement and advancement. He delivered an inspiring speech to an assemblage of Miramichi mechanics in 1839 on the need for enlightenment among tradesmen, and the text of one of his lectures which was published in The Gleaner in January 1840 is illustrative of his liberalism.

In the provincial election of 1842-43 Archibald became ensnared in the meanspirited conflict in which voters on the south side of the Miramichi were pitted against those of the north side. Although he was living in Chatham, he was a strong supporter of the candidacy of Alexander Rankin of Douglastown, a fellow-Scot who was a valued patron of St Andrew's Church. Whether he also supported John Ambrose Street, who was directly competitive with John T. Williston, the "people's candidate" on the Chatham side, is not known, but he probably did, since he travelled all the way up to Derby to declare for the candidates of his choice (the secret ballot not having yet been introduced) instead of going to the poll in Chatham. Angered by his action, the Chatham mob which terrorized the town during the election stormed the manse and inflicted considerable property damage. Members of the St Andrew's congregation were sharply divided in their sympathies, and this prompted him to resign and return to Scotland the next summer. He preached his farewell sermon on 27 August 1843.

Archibald served in Kilbarchan parish in Renfrewshire from 1844 to 1846 and was then inducted as minister of New Monkland parish in Airdrie, Scotland. He occupied this charge until he retired from the ministry in 1876. Over the years, his home was open to visitors from the Miramichi, and at the manse at New Monkland, in February 1873, he conducted the ceremony in which his daughter Margaret E. Archibald became the second wife of Jabez B. Snowball of Chatham.

Archibald was predeceased in 1870 by his wife, Ann Hutton, and was living in a retirement home in Glasgow when he died some fourteen years later, at age eighty. There were six daughters in the family, most of whom remained in Scotland, and one son, the Rev. William F. Archibald, who spent most of his life as an army chaplain in India.


[b/m/d] FES [bap] LDS-IGI / Archibald biog. data; Gleaner 15 Jul 1834, 31 Jan 1837, 11 Apr 1837, 23 May 1837, 7 May 1839, 7 Jan 1840, 1 Sep 1843; World 22 Dec 1920; Wright (Mir.)


While the surname of Archibald's mother is given as Henderson in the FES, it shows as Marshall in the IGI.