Born in Murroes, the son of a farmer, Patrick Arklay was a successful linen merchant. His firm, 'Wyman & Arklay' operated from Dundee and Boston. At the height of their trading ventures, a further branch was established in New York.
Subscription value in 1863:
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Personal details and history
Married: 09-04-1849 in Boston, Massachusetts
Age at death:
Place of death:
Date of death:
Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers
Presumed Established Church - based on location of 5 Arklay family stones within Murroes kirkyard
Clubs / societies
- Subscriber 98 – James Horsburgh – also based at 2 Royal Exchange Place
- Subscriber 148 – Malcolm, Ogilvie & Co – also based at 2 Royal Exchange Place
- Subscriber 163 – R A Mudie – Seabourne House possessed by Patrick Arklay was sold by private bargain to Mr Mudie
- Subscriber 165 – George H Newall – Seabourne House was purchased by Patrick Arklay from Mr Newall
Career and worklife
Partner (Wyman & Arklay, Boston, US)
Career to date:
Little is known of Patrick Arklay's earliest forays in business activities. What is certain is that Patrick left these shores, bound for America, aged almost 21 years, when he landed at New York in 1840. The first indication of Patrick's involvement in business occurred between the years 1842-47. Boston City Business Directories list him under the firm of 'Bond (George William), Wyman (Edward) & Arklay (Patrick), Commission Merchants. The date of the establishment of 'Wyman & Arklay' is unclear, although it would appear to have taken place by 1848. George W Bond is later listed separately as a broker of merchandise. Patrick's naturalisation papers list Edward Wyman as having known him for at least 5 years (from 1848). The firm of 'Wyman & Arklay' operated a successful company trading in the export from this country of Irish and Scotch linens and also jute fabrics on an extensive scale. Eventually, the firm of 'Wyman & Arklay' enjoyed a very respectable position and made major transactions within the linen trade.
Peter Arklay  / known as Patrick Arklay was the son of George Arklay and Janet Smith. His father was a tenant farmer at Murroes. When his father died in 1833, Patrick was merely a lad of 14 years. He also had younger siblings. His father, in his will, had appointed a number of ‘tutors (guardians) and curators’ (to ensure the wellbeing of his younger offspring), including David Arklay at Pitkerro, Peter Arklay of Dunninald (near Montrose) and David Arklay Esq. of Clepington (the latter two being connected with the naming of ‘Arklay Street,’ now subsumed within Dundee).
Which influences inspired Patrick Arklay to leave the rural lands of his youth for a life in America is to be wondered at.
Having arrived in America in 1840, Patrick Arklay was resident in both Boston and Dundee over the following 20 years. This is borne out by various events – Patrick made an initial application for naturalisation in 1845: his marriage took place in Boston in 1849: he is listed in the 1850 census within the household of his father in law at Cohasset, Norfolk, Massachusetts: Patrick became a naturalised American citizen in 1853: the death of his son Walter at Murroes in 1854: the birth of his daughter Evelyn at Craigie House in 1855 (‘father Patrick Arklay Esq., of Boston’): Patrick Arklay’s name appears in the Dundee Postal Directory of 1856-57 listed as a merchant with a home at Craigie House: His following home – Ferry House ‘as presently possessed by Patrick Arklay’ was let furnished in 1862.
The lives of his siblings were of a completely different and unconnected nature eg. – his oldest brother George became a minister of the Gospel at Inverkeilor: his older brother Alexander a tenant farmer like his father: his sister Betsy married a minister while another sister Catherine married a farmer.
Only younger brother David was persuaded into a mercantile life. He too was incorporated in the firm of ‘Wyman & Arklay’ as a partner.
David Arklay, merchant, formerly of the city of Boston, Massachusetts and afterwards of the town of Dundee in Scotland died at Broughty Ferry in 1866, a mere two years after his marriage to Agnes Collier of Balmossie. His marriage to Agnes had provided links with others in the linen trade – his sister in law Robina married the son of William Warden Renny. The marriage also linked him to William Collier and to various members of the Baxter family through his father in law Robert Collier.
Subsequently, the firm of ‘Wyman & Arklay’ as it then stood, was dissolved by David Arklay’s death. The surviving partners (Edward Wyman, Patrick Arklay and Joel Smith) continued the business, under the same title, from that date until 1868.
1868 was a landmark year for older brother Patrick when he departed Dundee once more. One of the reasons for his departure would appear to have been the demise of the firm of ‘Wyman & Arklay.’
On Tuesday 8 December 1868 Patrick Arklay (while in Dundee) received a telegram from Boston announcing the stoppage of the firm ‘Wyman & Arklay’ there. According to local press coverage ‘the report caused great excitement among our manufacturers and merchants, many of them being creditors and some of them to a very large extent.’ On the following day it was said that the ‘sad event has been the engrossing theme of conversation in the Cowgate (the heart of Dundee’s mercantile trade) and deep regret is expressed at the calamity.’ The failure of ‘Wyman & Arklay’ was declared to have been ‘perhaps the largest which had ever occurred in connection with the staple trade of the district and came at a time when the trade was unprofitable both to spinner and manufacturer.’
In January of the following year, the first meeting of creditors was held. It was reported in February that the firm had carried on a large business both in Dundee (conducted by Patrick Arklay) and in Boston (conducted by Edward Wyman and Joel Smith). The liabilities of the firm were stated to be around 1,000,000 dollars. When the case was called on 5-02-1869 in Dundee Sheriff Court, Patrick Arklay failed to appear. A warrant was issued for his apprehension. He had already moved to Boston. In May of that year Edward Wyman appeared before Sheriff Smith and ‘took the statutory declaration and the bankrupts were discharged of the following compositions: 26 cents on the dollar due in United States, 6 pence per pound on Patrick Arklay’s individual debts.’
By the year 1870, Patrick Arklay appeared in the 1870 census for Boston, Massachusetts. He continued at that point to be listed as a linen merchant. The Dundee Postal Directories continued to list ‘Wyman & Arklay,’ merchants, as operating from 2 Royal Exchange Place, Dundee, between the years 1867-72. Who was in charge of the Dundee operation if it wasn’t Patrick himself?
‘Wyman & Arklay’ continued to trade in Boston between the years 1868 and 1872 with Patrick Arklay and Edward Wyman as partners. In 1872 the firm was dissolved. The company re-emerged as a co-partnership, with named partners Edward Wyman, Patrick Arklay, Charles Turnbull and Henry F Ames, who intended to continue the business of the late firm. It is unclear as to the duration of that later incarnation of the company.
During the decade from 1876 until his death in 1886, Patrick Arklay continued to appear in the Boston Business Directories as a merchant in ‘Linens, Dundee Goods etc.’
Although he had left Dundee under a cloud (and a warrant for his apprehension) in 1868, Patrick’s links with his homeland continued throughout his adult life, carving a lucrative existence, over more than 40 years, dealing in Dundee’s staples of linen and jute.
- Old Parish Registers. Murroes. Baptisms. 05 June 1819. 313/ 10 157. ScotlandsPeople website
- National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Index to New England Naturalization Petitions, 1791-1906 (M1299); Microfilm Serial: M1299; Microfilm Roll: 48, Ancestry website
- Census Returns. 1861. Monifieth. 310/ 4/ 6. ScotlandsPeople website
- Dundee Courier. 09 May 1849. p.2. Findmypast website
- The New England Historical & Genealogical Register. 1847-2011. Findmypast website
- Memorial Inscription. Gravestone in Murroes Kirkyard
- Year: 1870; Census Place: Boston Ward 6, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: M593_643; Page: 32A; Family History Library Film: 552142, Ancestry website
- Dundee Postal Directory, 1864-65. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies
- Dundee Postal Directory, 1867-68. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies
- Dundee Advertiser. 18 December 1863. p.1. Findmypast website
- Montrose, Arbroath and Brechin Review. 24 May 1861. Findmypast website
- Dundee Courier. 05 August 1867. Findmypast website
- Dundee Courier. 20 May 1869. p.2. Findmypast website
- Dundee Postal Directory, 1861-62. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies
- Dundee Postal Directory, 1856-57. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies
- Boston City Business Directories, 1842-1847. Ancestry website
- The Hampshire Advertiser. 12 December 1868. p.3. Findmypast website
- Legal Records, Wills and Testaments. Dundee Sheriff Court. 1835. SC45/ 31/ 2. ScotlandsPeople website
- Legal Record, Wills and Testaments. 1867. SC45/ 31/ 20. ScotlandsPeople website
- Boston Post. 20 October 1866. Findmypast website
- Dundee Advertiser. 30 October 1866. p.1. Findmypast website
- The Dundee Courier and Argus. 09 December 1868. Findmypast website
- Dundee Courier. 26 January 1869. Findmypast website
- Northern Warder & General Advertiser for the Counties of Fife, Perth & Forfar. 09 February 1869. Findmypast website
- The Scotsman. 30 January 1869. Findmypast website
- Northen Warder & General Advertiser for the Counties of Fife, Perth & Forfar. 07 May 1869. p.2. Findmypast website
- People's Journal for Dundee. 24 February 1872. p.1. Findmypast website
The information above about Patrick Arklay has been collated from a range of digital and hard copy sources. To the best of our knowledge it is correct but if you are relying on any information from our website for the purpose of your own research we would advise you to follow up the sources to your own satisfaction. If you are aware of an inaccuracy in our text please do not hesitate to notify us through our Contact page.