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Scots and Scots Descendant in America
Part V - Biographies
James McLean

MANY strong and resourceful men have descended from the fighting clan of the ancient castle of Duart, perched like an eagle on the high cliffs of Mull; men strong in the arts of war and peace and resourceful to take advantage of every occasion. When the Florencia, pride of the Spanish Armada, driven by storm and harried by the British, sought refuge in the bay of Tobermory, and when MacLean of Duart had provisioned her and she threatened to escape without payment, and also to kidnap his kinsmen, the latter fired her magazines and she still remains a relic of his pluck.

The subject of this sketch has shown the same devotion, courage and foresight in commercial adventure and business administration. James McLean was born in New York City, December 18, 1846, the only son of Edward W. and Margaret (MacFarland) McLean. His father was a native of Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and came to America when he was about seventeen years old. His mother was born in Bovina, Delaware County, N. Y. Of his three sisters one survives, Mrs. Walter Brinkerhoff, Herkimer, N. Y. At the age of twelve, his family moved to the farm at South Kortright, Delaware County, N. Y., now Mr. McLean’s country home. He worked on this farm until he was nineteen years old, when he accepted a position at Beaufort, S. C. Following the war this was an active business center. The firm was engaged in operating saw-mills and in shipping lumber and cotton to the northern states, the return cargoes being general merchandise. Three years spent here gave him a wide mercantile experience. Returning to New York, he entered the employ of White & Haskell, where he soon became a partner. This was the principal metal brokerage house in New York, and did a large business with Phelps, Dodge & Co. In 1871, he opened a branch house for the latter firm in Chicago. In 1876, he became a member of the firm, Phelps, Dodge & Co., with whom he has maintained an unbroken connection since that time. When the old company was reorganized and incorporated, Dec. 14, 1908, he became a director and Vice-President. The present firm of Phelps, Dodge & Co. is engaged in the production and sale of copper. gold, silver, coal and coke, and is one of the largest and most successful in America. In 1913, they produced about 155,000,000 pounds of copper, and about 1,300,000 tons of coal. The El Paso & Southwestern R. R. Co. is now an entirely separate company, which owns and operates over 1,000 miles of railroad, running from Tucumeari, N. M., to Tucson, Ariz., and also to copper mines at Nacozari, in Old Mexico. Mr. McLean has played an important part in the development and management of these vast industries, all of which are controlled from 99 John Street, New York. He is also a director and officer of the Alamagardo & Sacramento Mountain Ry. Co.; Alamagardo Lumber Co.; Almagre Mining Co.; Burro Mountain Copper Co. (also Vice-President); Burro Mountain Railroad Co.; Commercial Mining Co. (also Vice-President) ; Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Co.; Dawson, El Paso & Southwestern Ry. Co.; Dawson Fuel Co.; Dawson Ry. Co.; Detroit Copper Mining Company of Arizona; El Paso & Northeastern Co.; El Paso & Northeastern Ry. Co.; El Paso & Southwestern Co.; El Paso & Southwestern Railroad Co.; Moctezuma Copper Co.; Morenci Southern Ry. Co.; Nacozari Railroad Co.; New Mexico Fuel Co.; Phelps, Dodge Mercantile Co. (also President) ; Stag Canon Fuel Co.; United Globe Mines; American Can Co.; Caiianea Copper Co. and Old Dominion Co.

Mr. McLean is a life member of the St. Andrew ‘s Society of the State of New York, and a member of the New York Chamber of Commerce, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Zoological Society and New York Botanical Garden, and of the Metropolitan, Riding, Recess, Sleepy Hollow, Piping Rock, Church and Engineers’ Clubs. He married, June 12, 1872, Sara Throckmorton. He is a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church and a vestryman of the Church of the Incarnation, Madison Avenue and 35th Street, and a trustee of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City.

Mr. McLean is a modest and unassuming man, highly respected by his business associates and a large circle of friends. From boyhood he has had an extremely active career, but is still rugged, youthful and energetic. Aside from his unusual ability and personality, he owes his splendid business success to good health, perseverance, integrity, and constant application to business. His city residence is 907 Fifth Avenue, his office 99 John Street, New York.

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