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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Joseph Malcolm

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[This information is from pp. 25-27 of Biographical Review Volume XXXIII: Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1899). It is in the collection of the Grems-Doolittle Library of the Schenectady County Historical Society at 920 BIO.]

Portrait of Joseph Malcolm

Portrait: Joseph Malcolm

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Joseph Malcolm, of Catskill, N. Y., head of the firm of Malcolm & Co., and one of the oldest woollen manufacturers in the State, was born in Middlebury, Vt., on August 24, 1838, son of Joseph and Harriet (Brundage) Malcolm. His paternal grandfather, James Malcolm, was a silk weaver, who lived and died in Paisley, Scotland.

Joseph Malcolm was born in Scotland, and lived there until sixteen years of age, when he came to America and found employment as a mill operative in Middlebury, Vt., where in time he worked his way to the superintendency of a large mill. Later he had a mill of his own in Matteawan, N. Y., and subsequently one in Pittsfield, Mass. He retired from business in Pittsfield, and died there at fifty-two years of age. In religious faith he and his wife were Presbyterians. Mrs. Harriet B. Malcolm was born in Cornwall, Orange County, this State. She died at the age of seventy, having been the mother of eight children. Of these, two died in infancy. William and Abraham are now deceased, and James, Joseph, Samuel, and George are living. Samuel Malcolm resides in New York City, and James and George are in Pittsfield.

Joseph Malcolm began his working life at twelve years of age, going into a woollen-mill at Pittsfield, Mass., as a wool sorter. He had worked his way up to being in charge of the card and spinning room, when he enlisted, in 1857, in Company D of the Eighth United States Infantry, which during his connection with it was on duty at Castle Williams and at Fort Columbus, New York Harbor. Discharged in 1859, Mr. Malcolm returned to his position in the Pittsfield mill, and he subsequently remained there until some time after the breaking out of the Civil War. For one hundred days in the early part of the struggle for the Union, he was in the Allen Guard, stationed at Worcester and in Boston. On September 18, 1862, he enlisted in Company A, Forty-ninth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, which left the State in November under command of Colonel William F. Bartlett, sailed for New Orleans in January, 1863, and a few months later took part in the memorable siege of Port Hudson, where occurred some of the most desperate fighting of the war. Private Malcolm, always showing his sturdy Scotch determination when duty was most perilous, was the first man to volunteer for the storming party. He doubtless inherited martial ardor, as his mother's father was a soldier in the War of 1812, and her grandfather in the Revolution. His five brothers also enlisted, and were in service from two to four years. One lost his life in the war, and one was wounded.

After being mustered out at Pittsfield, Mass., September 1, 1863, Mr. Malcolm went to Little Falls, N.Y., and was there for two years as superintendent of the Mohawk Woollen Mills. Following that he was successively superintendent in the knitting-mill at Amsterdam, N.Y., in Troy, again at Amsterdam, then in Cooperstown, N.Y., where he was both superintendent and a partner in Groat Van Brocklin's Mill. Going back once more to Amsterdam, he started a woollen industry in company with one of his present partners, Mr. Pettingill. In 1896 he came to Catskill, where he has since been most successful in the management of his woollen-mill. In this plant one hundred and seventy hands are employed, and all kinds of men's, women's, and children's underwear are manufactured. The mill is the second largest in this section.

Mr. Malcolm's first wife was before her marriage Julia Marsh. She died leaving one daughter, Hattie L., now the wife of Hamilton Jones, a plumber of Catskill, of the firm of H. T. Jones & Sons. Mr. and Mrs. Jones have one child, Dorothy. Mr. Malcolm's second wife, whose maiden name was Jennie Lewis, is the mother of one child, James L.

In politics Mr. Malcolm is a Republican. He has been a member of the Catskill Board of Education, and he takes a lively interest in all matters pertaining to the general welfare. He is a director in the Catskill National bank, and was formerly a director in the Young Men's Christian Association. He is a Mason, having membership in the Blue Lodge of North Hoosick and in the Royal Arch Chapter of Catskill. Of the last-named body he is a charter member, and he has served it as scribe. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias of this town; of J. W. Watson Post, G. A. R.; of the A. O. U. W.; and of the Rip Van Winkle Club. He has been delegate from the post to the State commandery, but in general has refused offices in the various fraternal organizations to which he belongs, as the demands of his business leave him little leisure. Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm are members of the Reformed church.

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