Pendleton history dates back to 1863 when Thomas L.Kay travelled to the West Coast and began working in the woolen mills in Oregon. The English Weaver went on to open his own mill in Salem, Oregon. Then in 1909 he and his family moved to Pendleton in northeastern Oregon and took over the defunct Pendleton Woolen Mills and started there business there. They continued the production of Indian blankets introducing many new designs and colours.

By 1929 they were producing men's woollen sport shirts and a full line of woollen sportswear. During World War II they devoted most of their production to blankets, uniforms and clothing for the US military services. In the late 40's in the postwar market they went on produce women's sportswear. 

In the early 1960's emerged a young group called The Pendletons who had adopted their name from the current surf uniform of the time, which were Pendleton shirts worn over tee shirts with khakis. The original lineup of this group included brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. They soon changed their name to The Beach Boys.

Today the company is still privately owned by the family and operates across eight facilities in America. Their original plants in Pendleton, Oregon, and Washougal, Washington, are among the few woolen mills in operation in the United States today, and Pendleton woolen fabrics and blankets are still woven in these Pacific Northwest mills.