World War I – My McDonald Cousins Serve!

March 15, 2012

Over there, over there!
Send the word, send the word, over there!
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming ev’rywhere!
So prepare, say a prayer, send the word, send the word to beware!
We’ll be over, we’re coming over,
And we won’t come back ’til it’s over Over There!*

Angus and Louisa’s two sons George and Lorne both participated in World War I.  The two brothers served out of Alaska as indicated on their tombstones.  I will talk about the two brothers in this post. 

Alaska Draft WWI

Photo:  The photo was sent to me by an individual years ago.  He recognized one of the soldiers but unfortunately I do not know for sure if George and Lorne are in this photo?  I tried to seek permission from the person to post but they have not responded.  So I will post the picture and give the link here to more information.  The photo is the last one on the right of the website:  http://www.uib.no/People/hhiso/juneau/frontpage.htm

I also tried to find any other website that might have more information about this photograph but did not succeed at this time.  I have not done much digging in Alaska history but I do know they have a great archive. 

The state archive  http://www.archives.state.ak.us/ and their state library:  http://library.state.ak.us/

George W. McDonald

George W. McDonald

George William McDonald born 16 Dec 1892 in Ironwood, Gogebic, Michigan and died in Seattle, Washington on 2 November 1957.  Buried in Calvary Cemetery, Seattle, Washington 6 November 1957.   As far as I know George did not marry or had any children. 

World War I draft card - George McDonald

George’s World War I draft card is in two pieces.   

Page 2 of the WWI draft card - George McDonald

He does state that he was born in Ironwood, Michigan.  It was signed on Nov. 19, 1917.  How much actual service he participated in I do not know.  There is more research to be done on George’s life and maybe someday I will have the opportunity. 

Funeral Record

I have not taken the time to find an obituary notice on George as the above Funeral announcement suggests.  It might be very interesting to seek. 

Apparently George was a patient at Firland:

Firland Sanatorium, Seattle’s municipal tuberculosis hospital, opened on May 2, 1911, to help combat what was at the time Seattle’s leading cause of death. Firland was located on 34 acres in the Richmond Highlands area, 12 miles north of the then-border of Seattle (in 2002 this first Firland site falls on the Shoreline/Seattle border). The hospital served there until its move to a former Naval hospital (at 15th Avenue NE and 150th Street) in 1947, and continued to treat TB patients until its dissolution in 1973. A leading founder of Firland Sanatorium was the railroad magnate Horace C. Henry (1844-1928), whose son Walter had died of TB.”

This link at History.Link gives some very interesting information about Firland and pictures as well. 

http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=3928

Lorne Sanfield McDonald

Lorne S. McDonald's tombstone

Lorne Sanfield McDonald was born 19 January 1894 in Brainerd, Crow Wing Co., Minnesota according to his World War I draft card.  I have been to Brainerd on several occasions to do research on my dad’s mother’s family the Barclay’s.  I refer you to the right side of this blog for the link to Barclay’s of Pine River.

As far as I know Lorne did not marry or have any children. 

Lorne S. McDonald Draft Card

Part two of the draft card:

Page 2 of Lorne's draft card

Lorne’s story is very sad.  He was one of many who died in World War I of the Spanish Flu epidemic.  It hit in several waves and killed more soldiers before they saw combat.  Lorne was one of those soldiers.  Aunt Miriam wrote about him in her notes:

Lauren died of influenza in boot camp during WWI.

When I first tried to research Lorne and the influenza there was nothing on the web at the time.  Now there are many articles and websites that discuss this pandemic.  It was world-wide and it killed 20-40 million people.  This website has some interesting links to survivor stories and more.  http://virus.stanford.edu/uda/  Just Google it and you will get hits by the thousands.  Here is another site:  http://1918.pandemicflu.gov/

We live in a world with treatments for these illnesses like pneumonia, tuberculosis and influenza but back then they did not.  Remember the flu is viral and requires different treatment.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Influenza

George, the brother, apparently was assigned to go and retrieve Lorne’s body from Camp Dodge where he passed.  Rachel the younger sister wrote to my Aunt Miriam in a letter about the events surrounding Lorne’s death:

Jan 2, 1977 – Dear Miriam and Jean: Hope you wont mind if I make one letter both of you. I have tried to make note of dates you wanted but not to proud that I do not have more information. Several years ago Helena was leaving for Japan with her son and family and being born in Canada needed certain information. Well I went to customs as I knew Dad had taken out U.S. papers but because I was born here, I couldn’t get any news. Helena later found the information she needed, but I never knew.

My Dad was a restless man, never stayed in one place long, that is how we went to Juneau, Alaska. He had several good jobs finally was back in Seattle. My brothers went in the army – the 14th Infantry – went to Fort Seward, Haines, Alaska, then shipped out to Camp Dodge, Iowa, where Loren died of the flu in 1918. George was assigned to bring Loren home and buried in Calvary Cemetery. That was our first hard blow to all of us.

I think a gentlemen called at house to trace Dad’s “tree” so Dad told ___ – The man was so elated to trace back to some King – Dad just smoked his pipe and said – I don’t think the Kings credit would be worth a dam at our grocery story. So you see there was not much history to look up. If I have not given the info – you would need – let me know.

I have not seen Helena for several years – guess she & Jim thought Gerry and I were a couple of Hillbillies for settling here but we are happy here and we think this mountain town is beautiful. Today we had a little snow and we hope for more. I know this letter is a “jumble” but chalk it up to old age. I am just over the effects of a Swine Flue shot, and believe me I would rather have the flu. Three weeks of pain and misery. Must ring off and hope you girls will have a very good 1977….

Love Rachel.

I was very excited to find this letter among the papers of my Aunt Miriam.  Rachel tells me so much I already had determined about Angus’s personality and more about her brother Lorne.  She was living in Darrington, Washington at the time she wrote this letter.  I actually went up to Darrington to see if I could find out more about them.  I walked the cemetery there but didn’t find their graves till later.   There is more in this letter that verifies for me the family history but because of living descendants I will hold off.   The city website of Darrington has some wonderful pictures:  http://town.darrington.wa.us/

Camp Dodge was in  Iowa http://www.iowanationalguard.com/Museum/IA_History/BuildingCampDodge.htm

Another challenge with Lorne was the spelling of his first name.  I now go with what was written on his tombstone and draft card.  On his draft card he wrote that his name is “Lorne Sanfield McDonald.”  Again we have the reference to the name “Sanfield.”  Ronald his cousin and Keith’s father was “Ronald Sanfield McDonald.”  Miriam wrote they were named after the Premier of Ontario.  I am still keeping an open mind on that topic.

There is much more I could do on George and Lorne but as always time, money and focus can take you away.  I do know that they rest peacefully next to their parents in Calvary Cemetery in Seattle.

*World War I Music and Songs:  http://www.ww1photos.com/WW1MusicIndex.html


The Legend of Uncle Angus McDonald!

March 2, 2012

As a young girl I fancied that Angus was off in the woods somewhere. No one ever talked about him. Of course, my family never talked.

My Aunt Miriam called us “dour” Scotsman.

I know that Angus and his son George were longshoremen in West Seattle.  Angus was supposed to be involved in the organization of the longshoremen and things got a little rough so he had to leave town? 

My Aunt Miriam seemed to think he was involved in the assassination of the governor of Idaho back in the early 1900’s.  She told this tale to a family member as well as the one above about the organization of the longshoremen.  I share them with you now. Unfortunately, these two stories have not been proven.

Book Cover

The book: Big Trouble, by J. Anthony Lukas, Simon & Schuster, 1997, is about the assassination of Governor Steunenberg and the trial that followed. 

On page 538 it lists the jurors that were chosen for the trial: Thomas B. Gess, Finley McBean, Samuel D. Gilman, Daniel Clark, George Powell, F. Messecar, Lee Schrivener, J.A. Robertson, Levi Smith, A.P. Burns and Samuel F. Russell. No Angus McDonald is mentioned on this jury or in the book.

Another book: The Introductory Chapter to the History of the Trials of Moyer, Haywood, Pettibone and Harry Orchard, by Fremont Wood, Trial Judge NW-R 979.63 W85, Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1931, Spokane Public Library Northwest Room.

The above book stated that the labor unrest started in 1892 and went on till Haywood died in Russia in the 1920’s. Martial law was declared for all of Shoshone County, Idaho at one time. There were 10-12 miners sentenced to the jail in Ada County. Trials were held in the U.S. District Court at Coeur D’Alene in Kootenai County in August 23, 1897 and 1892.  It was a violent and difficult time.

Here are some very interesting links about this event and it is all quite fascinating: 

Idaho Public Television’s website has:  Assassination: Idaho’s Trial of the Century

http://idahoptv.org/productions/specials/trial/thetrial/steunenberg.cfm

This website is interesting:  “Famous American Trials – Bill Haywood Trial 1907:” 

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/haywood/HAYWOOD.HTM

This person is a great great grandson of Gov. F. Steunenberg and he has a very interesting blog:

http://steunenberg.blogspot.com/2009_06_01_archive.html

Is my Aunt Miriam right or wrong about Angus?  His grandson never knew anything of this story. So at this point I cannot answer the question of whether Angus was involved or not in the assassination of the governor of Idaho.  I would have to go to the Idaho State archives in Boise to see if I could find anything.

To try to get Angus in Idaho at the time of the assassination in 1905, I tried the U.S. Federal Census for 1900 and the Canadian for 1891. I cannot find Angus or his family members. Idaho does not have a state census. 

Remember Angus disappears after the 1881 Canadian Census where he is with his parents and siblings in Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec.  He resurfaces when his daughter Helena Mary is born in Chichester in 1897 per the records of the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Chapeau.  After her birth he  disappears again till I find him and his family in Seattle, Washington in 1910.    

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census:

Line 30, 534, 217, 230 McDonald, Angus L., head, Male, White, age 44, Married 1st, age 19 at marriage, born Canadian Scotch, parents Canadian Scotch, Engineer; McDonald, Louisa J., wife, Female, White, age 42 married 1, age 19, , born Wisconsin, father Norwegian, mother Swedish ; McDonald, George W. son, Male, white, age 18, born in Michigan, clerk grocery store; McDonald, Lorne S., son, male, white, age 16, singled, born in Minnesota, apprentice; McDonald, Helen M., daughter, female, white age 12, single, Canadian English, no occupation; McDonald, Rachel, daughter, female, white, age 10, single, born in Wisconsin, no occupation.

Source:  1910 U.S. Federal Census, Seattle, King Co., Washington, SD 1, ED 151, Sheet #11A, Ancestry.com.

1920 U.S. Federal Census

Line 53, 2nd Ave Street West, 401/84/290, McDonald, Angus (S?), Head 1, Renting, Male, White, 56 yrs., married, immigrated to US 1888, naturalized 1894, able to read and write, born in Canada, English, father and mother both born in Canada, parents speak English, able to speak English, Engineer, Steamer, working. McDonald, Louisa L., wife, female, white, age 54, married, able to read and write, born in Wisconsin, father born in Norway, Norwegian, mother born in Sweden, Swedish, can speak English, no occupation.. McDonald, George Wm., son, male, white age 28, single, able to read and write, born in Michigan, (see parents), can speak English, Electrician, Lineman, working. McDonald, Hellena M., daughter, female, white, age 22, single, able to read and write, unclear about birth maybe born in Canada, Furrier, Dept. Store. McDonald, Rachel, daughter, female, white, age 20, single, has not attended school since 9/1919, able to read and write, born in Wisconsin, stenographer, Real estate. Hanson, Albert H., brother-in-law, male, white, age 67?, single, naturalized 1858/1853, able to read and write, born in Norway, Norwegian, parents same as Louisa, able to speak English, Engineer, Locomotive, working. Hanson, Frank G., brother-in-law, male, white, age 52, single, able to read and write, born in Wisconsin, Norwegian, able to speak English, Carpenter, house, working.

Source:  1920 U.S. Federal Census, Seattle ,  King County, Washington, SD#1, ED 168, Sheet 9B, precinct 97, enumerated January 8 and 9th, 1920, by Edward P. [    ], Ancestry.com. 

1930 U.S. Federal Census 

Line 4, 3265, 349, 349, McDonald, Angus L., Head, 0, $3500, R, M, W, 64, m, 36, no, yes, Canada English, Scotland, Scotland, English, 60/43, V 1890 NA, yes, longshoremen, at the docks, 8880, w, yes, no. McDonald, Louisa J. Wife – H, F, W, 62, m, 24, no, yes, Wisconsin, Norway, Sweden, 63, 05, O, yes, none. Penglase, Helena, daughter, F, w, 31, Div. no, yes, Canada English, Canada English, Wisconsin, English 60/43, V, 1899, NA, yes, Milliner, Hat factory, 8864, w, yes. Penglase, George R., grandson, M, w, 8, S, yes, Washington, Michigan, Canada English, 96/43, 2, none

Source:  1930 U.S. Federal Census, Seattle, King County, Washington, Block 7506, ED 414, Sht. 27A, #155, T626-251, pg. 27A, Image 842. Ancestry.com.

The 1930 census is the first time Angus is listed as a longshoremen.  The ILWU website has a short history of the organization of the longshoremen on the Pacific Coast. 

 http://www.ilwu19.com/history/the_ilwu_story/origins.htm

The 1910 census lists him as an engineer and the 1920 lists him again as an engineer on a “steamer.”  My Aunt Miriam wrote in her notes that Angus could fix anything (click on the picture below and it will open, click back to return):  

Angus could fix anything!

According to the 1920 and 1930 census Angus came to the U.S. in 1886.  There is some disagreement on his dates of naturalization so that will make it more challenging to try to locate that information.   

Unfortunately my great-uncle died the following year after the 1930 census of pneumonia. 

Angus Lawrence McDonald died on 2 May 1931 in Seattle, King Co., Washington.  He lived in one of Seattle’s neighborhoods called West Seattle.  Angus was buried 5 May 1931 in the Calvary Cemetery in north Seattle. He shares the site with his wife and two sons. 

The area is one that has been a very big part of my life.  The Calvary Cemetery is near the University Village where I have shopped many times.  The University of Washington dominates the whole area and my life is tangled up with that school. 

I didn’t know Angus was so close till 2001.

FindAGrave has some of the burials for the Calvary Cemetery but not all. 

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&GSfn=Angus&GSiman=1&GScid=76728&GRid=73126272&CRid=76728&

The Calvary Cemetery in Seattle was very helpful when I visited and viewed the graves.  They are part of a group of Catholic cemeteries in the area:

   http://www.acc-seattle.com/cemeteries/calvary.html  

Angus L. McDonald of 3268 38th Ave. SW, died at Providence Hospital. He had been in the US 25 years. He had been married to Louisa Jane McDonald. He was Born August 5, 1865. He was 65 years 8 mos. and 26 days old at death. He was a longshoremen. He last worked in April 1931. He worked at this occupation 10 yrs. He was born in Canada. His father was Archie McDonald, birthplace was Scotland. Mother’s information unknown. George McDonald was the informant, from San Francisco, CA. Burial in Calvary Cemetery. Arrangement by Bonney-Watson. He had been sick from April 13 to May 2, 1931. He died at 6:45 pm of Lobar Pneumonia (Double). Signed by C.A. Anderson of 4704 California Ave.

Source:  Certificate of Death for Angus L. McDonald, May 2, 1931, Rec. No. #1577, Reg. No. 1641, Seattle, King Co., Washington Bureau of Vital Statistics, Washington State Board of Health.  The Family History Library has these death certificates on film. 

Angus and Louisa McDonald

There are two items on my wish list for Angus.  To find out if he was involved with the organization of the longshoremen.  The other is, was he really involved with the events around the Governor of Idaho?  Until then all will remain a mystery!


The Family of Angus McDonell, Eldest Son!

February 16, 2012

Angus Lawrence McDonell was the oldest living son of Archibald and Mary McDonell.  According to his brother Jack, who stated in a direct and simple manner:  “Angus left home!” 

From what I can figure from the Canadian Census he left home after 1881 and headed probably to Wisconsin.  This is where his wife Louisa was born.  

Angus was born in Chichester on 6 August, 1864 and was baptized 13 August 1864 at the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Chapeau.  The priest wrote his name as Agnes in the records.  I believe it to be him because the date matches the date I have for his birth on his death certificate and from my Aunt Miriam’s notes.  I refer you to my past post dated January 29, 2011 “Archie & Mary’s children: Angus McDonell.”

Angus was one of my first attempts at genealogical research and it was so much fun that I got hooked.  Of course, one question answered lead to another and Angus was not easy and I still have big gaps in his research.

Keith, my dad, never mentioned or talked about Angus.  Angus was sort of  a legend to me as a child.  I always had this idea that Angus was in the woods somewhere sort of like “Paul Bunyan.”  I am not being mean, just a fancy of a child. 

Angus married Louisa Jane Hanson about 1891.  She was born 12 September 1866 in Scandinavia, Waupaca, Wisconsin.  I obtained this information from her death certificate and her obituary.  Her parents were Ole Hanson born in Norway and Lena who was born in Sweden.  She had at least two siblings:  Albert H. Hanson born about 1853 and Frank G. Hanson born about 1858.  This information is taken from U.S. Federal census. 

A Man and Woman - Angus & Louisa - Could this be them?

The photograph is a very big guess on my part.  I found it in my Aunt Vivian’s (older sister to Miriam and Keith) photo album.  I know that she visited her uncle in Seattle and that is where she met her husband Hilary McKanna.  I think it is Angus and that might be Louisa but she seems a bit older and that causes me to hesitate?  I tried to find the house but was not successful.  If I found the house I might be able to trace back to who owned it?  There was nothing written on the back or anything to indicate who these people are other than the context of the photographs and their position in the album. 

Here is the Collage showing the series of photographs!

Angus was not in the family portrait that was taken in Bemidji in 1904-1905. I have featured that photograph on this blog in the posted dated March 20, 2010 “Archibald and Mary McDonald’s Children.”

Angus and Louisa had at least 4 children:

1.  George William McDonald, born 16 December 1892 in Ironwood, Gogebic, Michigan.  He died  2 November 1857 in Seattle, King Co., Washington.  George served in WWI.  He died of tuberculosis in a home in Seattle.  The story is Keith, my father, visited him on occasion.  As far as I know George didn’t marry or have children.  

2.  Lorne Sandfield McDonald was born 19 January 1894 in Brainerd, Crow Wing Co., Minnesota.  He died of the influzena in WWI on 15 October 1918, at Camp Dodge, Polk Co., Iowa.  He never married. 

My Aunt Miriam talked about this family in her notes and spelled his name “Lauren.”  It is interesting that he had the middle name of Sandfield, like my grandfather Ronald.  Miriam said they were named after the first premier of Ontario:  John Sandfield MacDonald.  So far I have yet to find any family connection? I am keeping an open mind on this topic!

3.  Helena Mary McDonald, was born 19 August 1897 in Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec.  She died on 31 August 1979 in Silverton, Marion Co., Oregon.  She was married 3 times.  First to Claude Penglase probably before 1920, Jack, and then a Grant Standford Capps who may have died on 24 December 1985 in Tacoma, Pierce Co., Washington but this has yet to be verified.   This means that Angus did go back to his birth home and visit the family. 

Helena Mary name seems to get changed around a lot.  She was called either Helena or Mary depending on the record.  She was never buried in a cemetery instead her ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean near Portland according to the funeral home listed on her death record.

Helena Mary had at least one son by the name of George Robert Penglase born 8 November 1921 in Seattle, King Co., Washington and died 31 January 1958.  He was buried on 19 February 1969 in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon at the Williamette National Cemetery there.  He served in WWII and Korea and apparently his body was moved at some point.  This is why there is a different burial date.  George married a Lucy June Moen about 1940 in King County, Washington and that ended in divorce.  They had 3 children, 2 girls and 1 son who served in the military and past in 2005. There are living descendants of this family. 

4. Rachel McDonald was born in Brule, Douglas, Wisconsin 16 October 1899.  She died 3 March 1988 in Lynnwood, Snohomish Co., Washington.  Rachel married first to Otto Frances Berg born 17 January 1894 in Minnesota and died 21 February 1973 in Seattle, King Co., Washington.  They had one son Donald Frances Berg born 11 March 1924 in Astoria, Clatsop County, Oregon.  I had the honor to meet Donald and his family. He had suffered a terrible stroke and could only answer my questions with a nod of his head.  He did marry and have 4 children.  He died in 2005 and the funeral was a full military service with the gun salute.  I occasionally hear the sounds of guns and wondered what it meant.  Now I know! There are living descendants of this family in the area. 

Rachel remarried to a Gerald P. Jameson born 18 August 1899 and died 26 January 1986.  They were married about 1956. 

Donald, Rachel and Gerald are buried in the Holyrood Catholic cemetery in north Seattle, Washington just 5 minutes from my home.  

So you see when I did this research on Angus’ family I was total amazed that they were so close. I have a vague memory of my Dad and Mom talking about someone and I think it was George and maybe we did visit him? I was about 10 years old and kids hear things or events happen but it doesn’t always make sense?  

Why my family didn’t share all this or talk about this, well I have my theories? Aunt Miriam did give me notes but they were brief.  They did point the way. 

My advice is to encourage you to ask and ask now!  Be gentle and probe carefully but most of all be patient and maybe the family will open up.


Archie and Mary McDonell say goodbye to Chichester and head for Bemidji!

January 5, 2012

Archie was about 63 years old in 1901 and Mary, his wife, was about 61.   The story in my father Keith’s family, as told by his sister Miriam, is the sons of Archie and Mary decided it was time for their parents to retire from the farm.  As I have discussed in a past post Archie’s position as lock master had ended in the middle 1890’s.  Remember Ronald and Alex had already made the move to Minnesota and their older brother Angus he was gone, although I believe he came back and his daughter Helena Mary was born there 19 August 1897?  John (Jack) was quoted in later years as saying to his daughter Mary:  ” We (Sarah and Jack) didn’t like all of the king and queen stuff still going on in Canada.”   So the decision to immigrate to Minnesota was made for whatever reason or reasons. 

When did the move take place?

In the 1901 Canadian census for Chichester, Pontiac County, Quebec we find Mary and Archie still living in the area along with their son John (Jack).  

McDonald, Archie, farmer, 63 years old. Birth date is October [5,] 1837. Place of birth is Canada, which is written over with Quebec. Racial origin is given as Scottish, nationality is Canadian. Religion is Catholic. He can read, write and speaks English. His mother tongue is English. McDonald, Mary, birth date is March 13 , 1840, 60 years old. McDonald, John birth date is June 16, 1872, he is 28 years old. 

Source:  1901 Canadian Census, Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec CC Film #T6538, 1800 Pontiac, pg. 116. 

Note:  The birth year of John is questionable in this census.  His baptismal record has 3 June 1869 as indicated in the St. Alphonsus Church Records. 

The other interesting fact is that Ellen (Nellie) their daughter is not in this census?  We see that Alexander is also missing along with Ronald and Angus.  I cannot find Ellen, Ronald nor Angus in either the Canadian or U.S. Census in 1901 or 1900.  I have looked everywhere and have given it several tries based on what I know of their lives at the time. 

John (Jack stayed) was highly motivated to stay a little longer because he was about to get married to Sarah Maria Burns.  The 1901 Canadian census was supposed to be enumerated on March 31, 1901 and completed within a month.  Their marriage took place in August of 1901.  I wonder if this event is in the newspaper there?

pg. 356 #6916 McDonald, John Archibald (Archibald McDonald & Mary McDonald) 8/20/1901 to Sarah Burns (Geo.Burns & Cath. McMahon).

Source:  Marriage Due Comte De Pontiac 1836 -1973, pg. 356 #6916, Pub. No. 26, Editions Bergerson & Fils Engr., Montreal, P.Q. FHL#971.4215.K29.  Other versions are on CD-Rom

Or the Drouin Collection at Ancestry.com

Source:  Ancestry.com, Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection) 1621-1967 database, Chapeau, Parish, St. Alphonse, Pontiac County, Quebec.  Registres Photographies  Aug Greffe De Campbell’s Bay, No. 17,  20 August 1901.

What this means is the family didn’t leave Chichester, Pontiac County, Quebec until after this marriage took place.  Again, I refer you to Keith’s sister Miriam’s notes about Archibald and Mary and the family which I have shared before in a past post on Archibald.  (Click on the image to make it bigger and remember to hit the back button to return to this post. 

Miriam's Notes on Archie and Mary

 
Archibald, as the notes reads, went to Glengarry, Ontario where he grew up to visit after 40 years and had forgotten his Gaelic.  He was the youngest of seven children – five boys and two girls.  Miriam goes onto to say that the sons made the decision to move their parents. 
 
In preparation for the arrival of Archibald and Mary in Bemidji, their son Ronald (R.S.) and Grace, his wife, (Keith’s parents and my grandparents) bought a house right next to Lake Bemidji.  I had the good fortune to view and tour the house that my family lived in when I visited Bemidji in 2001.  The owner at that time, a very nice lady kindly gave me a tour.  They were renovating the home at the time.  The house is north of the Lake Watch Bed and Breakfast (may not be there anymore) where I stayed in 2000 when we passed through the first time.  The address is 1101 Lakeside Blvd., Bemidji, Beltrami Co., Minnesota.   I do have a photo of the house and remember the inside well.  It was several stories with an enclosed porch and had these old steep stairs to the upper floor. 
 
Ronald and Grace purchased the house from a Wm. Dibble on 29 January 1901.  I found this deed at the Beltrami County Courthouse in Bemidji.  They would not let me see the originals, so I looked at the film using the machine they had in the Registrar of Deeds office.  I will go into further detail on this deed in another post.   Since I cannot find my grandparents in the 1900 U.S. census, this deed is significant in that is places my grandparents, Ronald and Grace in Bemidji in the early part of the 1900’s.

Beltrami Courthouse in Bemidji


The Migration to Minnesota Begins for the McDonell’s!

December 23, 2011

Ronald S. McDonald, Keith’s father and my grandfather, appears in the Minnesota State Census for the year 1895.  He is living in Hennepin County, Minnesota.  He has been living in Minnesota for 4 years.  This may mean he might have left home right before the Canadian census for 1891 was enumerated?  He would have been 25 years old by that time and probably wanting to strike out on his own.  

McDonald, Ronald, age 29, male, white, born in Canada, 4 yrs in state, 4 years in dist, Lumberman, 12 mos. employed, parents of foreign birth – yes, yes, was not enumerated before – no. Source:  Minnesota State Census 1895, Minneapolis, Hennepin County, pg. 7.  Ancestry.com.

Note:  The counties around the area of the twin cities in Minnesota are Ramsey (St. Paul) and Hennepin (Minneapolis) so you do have to pay attention when doing research or check the documents for both counties.

Apparently, Ronald or better known as R.S. decided to become naturalized.  Naturalization is not easy to find in the early years before about 1906 when they changed the laws.  It is usually in the court where the person applied.  I made an educated guess and wrote to the court in Hennepin county and was very lucky. 

1. A.R. McPherson swears that he knows Ronald S. McDonald and that he has resided in the country for over 5 years and one year past and is of good moral character. Followed by Ronald S. McDonald swearing allegiance to the United States and the State of Minnesota and renounces his allegiance to the King of Great Britain. Ronald S. McDonald is granted citizenship and it is Signed by David T Simpson, Judge District Court, Dec. 16, 1901.

2. Second document stating that Ronald S. McDonald had appeared on the 15th Day of October in 1894 and made his declaration of intention at that time to become a citizen of the United States. Signed by the Clerk of the Court (unreadable) and the Deputy of the Court on Dec. 16, 1901.

Source: State of Minnesota Fourth Judicial District, Hennepin County, Minnesota #341-6, December 16, 1901, Witnessed by A. R. McPherson and signed by the Clerk of the court (unreadable).

One of the Naturalization papers for Ronald McDonald

This helps to place Keith’s father in the United States and Minnesota in and before October 1894 or earlier. 

My Aunt Miriam wrote the following about her father: 

Ronald McDonald Mini Bio

 
R.S. did know and worked for E. W. Backus the “last of the lumber barons.”  In the papers of the Minnesota Historical Society I was unable to find any actual employment records for my grandfather in E. W.’s files.  E. W. Backus can be Googled and you will find information about him.  I found many manuscripts and articles at the Koochiching County Historical Society. 
 
An email to the librarian at Grand Rapids, Minnesota inquiring about schools of the type mentioned in my Aunt Miriam’s notes informed me that the town was too small to support a school of this type.  So this means R.S. probably attended in one of several locations like Duluth, Minneapolis, or St. Paul which would make more sense for the time period. 
 
Brother Alexander was shortly to follow and from documentation it looks like he came into Minnesota about 1897 and was living probably in Duluth.   Single individuals are hard to pin down in the census and in city directories. 

Alexander John McDonell & Ellen McPherson’s Family

August 5, 2011

Alexander John McDonell and Ellen McPherson are the great great grandparents of Keith.  They are his grandmother Mary’s father and mother.

Alexander John has been discussed in past posts.  He appears in the 1861 Canadian Census for Pontiac County, Quebec with several of his children: Mary, Rachel, Duncan and Finley.  In this census it states that he was born in Upper Canada (Ontario) and that he was 66 years old which means he was born about 1795.  This census also implies that Ellen, his wife, died before 1861 for she is not listed with the family?

The burial location of Alexander John McDonell and his wife Ellen McPherson is not known at this time.  They do not seem to appear in the St. Alphonsus church records.

Based on Nellie’s and Miriam’s charts featured in past post, they had the following children:

1.  Alexander McDonell was a hotel keeper and was born before 1825.  He married Margaret (Maggie) MacDonald and they had three children:  John, Winnifred and Duncan.  He does not seem to appear in the St. Alphonsus Church Records and the Canadian census for1851 and 1861 does not list him or Maggie for the Pontiac County area??

2.  Ronald McDonell was born about 1825 and died 15 Sep 1862 in the St. Alphonsus Church Cemetery and is buried in the church cemetery.  He married 28 June 1852 (St. Alphonsus Church records) Janet who was born about 1833 in Upper Canada.  They had 6 children.  In a future post this couple will be further discussed.

3.  John McDonell born about 1825 and died 22 January 1860 and is buried in the St. Alphonsus Church cemetery. He married Christiana on 7 October 1848 in Chapeau.   John and Christiana (Christy) didn’t have any children recorded in the St. Alphonsus Church records even though they were married 12 years before his death.  Marriage Source:  Quebec Baptisms, Marriages and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church Records, #M10, FHL#1029797 and also at Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection.  A search of the 1851 and 1861 census does not reveal a John or Christiana in the Pontiac area?

4.  Hugh McDonell was born about 1834 in Upper Canada but his death is unknown.  He married 24 May 1858 (St. Alphonsus Church Records) to Ellen.  Ellen was born about 1835 in Lower Canada and died 20 June 1920 and is buried in the St. Alponsus Church Cemetery.  They had 5 children.  This couple will be featured in a later post.

5.  Catherine (Kitty) McDonell  was born about 1835.  She married a John Fraser 7 October 1855 (St. Alphonsus Church Records)  and they had three children:  William, Ella and Lincoln.  Ella married a Fred Fielder.  Again Canadian census information does not give much information on this family.  John’s parents were John Frazer and Mary Kennedy.  Marriage Source:  Quebec Baptisms, Marriages and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church Records, #M7, FHL#1029797 and also at Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection.

6.  Jennette (Jennie) Catherine McDonell was born about 1836 and died 2 September 1916 buried on the 4th of September in the St. Alphonsus Church Cemetery.  Jennette’s story is very interesting.  She first married Angus John McDonald (Big Angus) and after his death she remarried to Thomas Payne.  Jennette will be discussed further in a future post.

7.  Rachel McDonell was born about 1838 in Lower Canada and died 8 January 1881.  She is buried in the St. Alphonsus Church Cemetery.  Rachel was listed in the 1861 census with her sister Mary and father Alexander.  Apparently Rachel did not marry.  Burial Source:  Quebec Baptisms, Marriages and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church Records, #1328, FHL#1029797 and also at Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection.

8.  Mary Elizabeth McDonell, Keith’s grandmother.  Mary and Archibald are featured in many posts of this blog.

9.  Duncan McDonell was born about 1842 in Lower Canada (Quebec) and died 6 May 1910 and is buried in the St. Alphonsus Church Cemetery.  He married Elizabeth Sauve the 27th of February 1865 according to the St. Alphonsus Church records.  They had maybe 15 children?  Duncan and his family will be further discussed in a future post.

10.  Finlay McDonell was born about 1845 in Lower Canada (Quebec).  Nothing more is know about him.  It is possible he migrated further south into Ontario.  Note:  If the census was dated 1861 and he was born 1845 that means that the mother Ellen may have died between these dates?

The Canadian 1861 Census for Rachel states that she was born in Lower Canada.  Duncan and Finlay are indicated as being born in Lower Canada.  Mary McDonell (Keith’s grandmother) gives Upper Canada as her birthplace.  The information I have places her year of birth at 1840.  Her sister Rachel’s birth year is suspect?  Still this implies that the family moved or migrated about 1840 to the Chapeau, Chichester area?

In summary the sources are

More research needs to be done and more sources checked for each of these families such as a land, probate, newspapers, histories and more.  Maybe a trip to Canada is in the future!!!

Clarification:  I refer to Wikipedia’s articles on Upper Canada and Lower Canada to explain these political divisions and the time they were in existence in Canada. So there might be some confusion about birth location such as Duncan and Finlay because it then becomes Canada West and Canada East.  (See link to Upper Canada) Also understand the settlement pattern was very different then and not as expanded and developed as today.  “Upper Canada existed from 26 December 1791 to 10 February 1841 and generally comprised present-day Southern Ontario.”


Nellie’s Charts – Her Mother Mary McDonell’s Family!

July 21, 2011

Ronald’s sister Nellie prepared the family genealogy in 1932 almost 20 years after the death of her parents Archibald and Mary McDonell.  Nellie (Ellen Elizabeth) had not been to Canada since 1901 when she immigrated with her parents and brother John (Jack) to Minnesota.  So when you see these charts you will be amazed for her grand-niece thinks she did a wonderful job and the family is truly indebted to her for her efforts.

Nellie prepared a long piece of paper with the family descendants for both Archie’s family on the left and Mary’s on the right.  This piece of paper was too big to store without creasing it so it was scanned into the computer in 3 sections and gently separated into two. 

Some time after Nellie had prepared this chart her niece Miriam rewrote it creating two charts one for Archie’s side and one for Mary’s side of the family.  There are minor differences between the charts. 

So we started with Keith’s grandfather Archie’s side of the family presenting the chart by featuring it in the post dated June 17, 2011 and titled Nellie’s Charts: Her Father Archie McDonell’s Family.   In the following posts dated June 30, 2011 A Mystery – Roy Macdonnell and July 8, 2011 Glengarry in Ontario etc. there was a discussion about Archibald’s origins and family.

Now we will feature Keith’s grandmother Mary McDonell’s side of the family. 

Click on the chart below and it should open up larger for you to read.  Remember to hit the back arow to return to this post. 

If you are a descendant of Alexander John McDonald and Ellen McPherson please copy and enjoy but remember credit goes to Nellie McDonell (first chart) and Miriam her niece (second chart). 

Alex. Ban McDonell Family Chart

Miriam's Version of Alex Ban Chart

The research on the McDonell family has been based on these charts and so far on Mary’s side of the family the names listed and families can be traced in the Canadian census well into the 1900’s and probably beyond.   The challenge is the spelling of the name McDonell/McDonald which can vary greatly.

The focus of the research has been on tracing Keith’s grandparents Archibald and Mary and their life journey.  In future posts the siblings of Mary will be discussed as best we can.

Archie and Mary left the area of Chichester and Chapeau in 1901 and migrated to Bemidji, Beltrami Co., Minnesota, to be with their children.  The family story is that the children of Archie and Mary felt they were getting to old and convinced them to migrate to the United States.

The St. Alphonsus Church has many of these families listed in their records of marriages, deaths and baptisms.  There are films at the Family History Library for this church and the registers are on Ancestry.com.   See the post dated March 23, 2010 Records of the St. Alphonsus Church for more information.

The book compiled by Elaine Brown on the St. Alphonsus cemetery located at this church also lists many of these individuals.  http://www.personainternet.com/etbrown/alphonse.htm

If you are descended from any one of these families by all means say at least “hello” by leaving a comment or contacting me through the compiler page listed at the top of this blog.


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