John A. MacDonald
John A. MacDonald was born in Blooming Point, P.E.I. to John Charles and Elizabeth MacDonald whose people had come from Scotland in 1772 on the Alexander. He came to Cardigan in 1893 at the request of James E. MacDonald who was looking for assistance in his store. John A. worked at all aspects of the business and when James E. died in 1903 he continued under the name of John A. Macdonald & Co. Several years later, he purchased J.F. Norton’s store on the south side of the river and continued business there until he died in 1948. He married Marie Macdonald, daughter of Capt. Joe Macdonald of Cardigan in 1905; Their children were Barbara, Anna, Margaret, Charles, John A., Mary, George Albert, Gertrude and David.
John A’s involvement in politics began in 1908 when he was first elected to the Provincial Legislature. He was reelected in 1912, defeated in 1915 and 1919, reelected in 1923. He was Minister without portfolio in the Mathieson Government from 1911 to 1915. In 1916, he was appointed Director of National Services and was Food and Fuel Control Administrator for P.E.I. during World War I. In 1923 he became Minister of Public Works and Highways in the Stewart government and in 1925 he resigned to run in the Federal Election. He was successful and represented 3rd Kings as Member of Parliament until 1935 when he was appointed Senator. He was Minister without portfolio in the short lived Meighen Government and in the R.B. Bennett government.
John A. was very active in the affairs of Cardigan and of the Province. He was either president, secretary or director of a number of organizations. Some of these were, Cardigan Silver Black Fox Co., Cardigan Electric Co., John A. Macdonald & Co., Associated Shippers Inc., Island Foods, the Cardigan Shipbuilding Co., the Lewis Granite & Marble Works, the Knights of Columbus,
C.M.B.A. (Catholic Mutual Benefits Assoc.).
John A. was also very interested in shipping and shipbuilding having been responsible for part of this aspect of James E’s business. He often went on board the schooners to be on hand when they reached port to sell the cargo at the dock and go around to the merchants to collect payment before returning to Cardigan. After World War I. with so much tonnage lost during the war, there was a feeling that sailing vessels might make a come back. John A, Charles Lyons and George Thompson formed a company to build the Victory Chimes in 1918. In 1919, John A, on his own built the Barbara MacDonald and in 1920, he built the Anna Macdonald. These vessels represented the end of the era of building this type of ship.
All of the information on this page was given to us courtesy of the
Cardigan River Heritage Center which is Located at
4537 Wharf Road