Revisiting: Alexander John McDonell and Ellen McPherson

April 12, 2012

Alexander John McDonell and Ellen McPherson are my 2nd great grandparents and the parents of Mary McDonald my great-grandmother and Keith, my dad’s, grandparents.

I have tended to be focused on Archibald and Mary McDonell, their siblings and descendants.

My trip to Ontario and Quebec is in full planning stages and that means it is time to focus on great-grandmother Mary’s side of the family, specifically her parents.

In the post dated December 3, 2010 “McDonell and McDonell Marriage!” you will find the marriage record of Archibald and Mary McDonell as written in the records of the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Chapeau.  In that record Alexander John McDonell and Ellen McPherson are given as the parents of Mary.   In this marriage record the Bishop of Bytown Msgr. Guignes gave his approval.  Were Archibald and Mary cousins at some level?  I have seen these records with mention of consanguinity but this marriage record just states in general terms that it is all okay?  I believe approval is sought when the couple are above the level of 3rd cousins?  What kind of documentation is submitted?  Who keeps these types of records and do they survive?

Alexander John McDonell appears in the 1861 census with some of  his children but his wife Ellen is missing.   Let’s review that census:  1861 Canadian Census for Chichester Township, Pontiac Co., Quebec pg. 2.

Line 36 Chichester Twp. Rachel McDonell, born LC, Catholic, age 23, female. Line 37 Alex Jno McDonell, Farmer, born U.C., Catholic, age 66 male; line 38 Mary McDonell born U.C., Catholic, age 25, female; Line 39, Duncan McDonald, Laborer, born L.C., Catholic, age 19, male; Line 40, Finlay McDonell born L.C., Catholic, age 16, male.

If we subtract 66 years from 1861 we get back to 1795 for the birth of Alexander John and the census has U.C. for his birthplace.  Mary, my great-grandmother is 25 years old in this census so that means she was born about 1836.  Her death record from Minnesota states that she was born 13 Mar 1840.  Hmmm…?  This census also states that she was born in U.C.

If you study the census further you see that Rachel is born in LC, Duncan in LC and Finlay in LC.  Does this suggest that Alexander came to the area sometime after Mary’s birth

Unfortunately, I cannot find Alexander John McDonell in the 1851 census for Pontiac nor pin him down in any other location. Of course the 1851 Pontiac census has a lot of missing sections including Allumette and other parts of Canada.

I have studied the cemetery records in Pontiac and cannot find his burial nor Ellen’s burial location.  I can understand why Ellen’s stone might be missing if she died elsewhere or earlier than 1860 but the loss of Alexander Johns to me is a little puzzling?

My great Aunt Nellie was the informant on her mother Mary’s death certificate from Minnesota and she has Alex McDonald and Mary McPherson both born in Scotland as the parents, yet her charts indicate Alexander John and Ellen as the names?  I refer you to the post dated July 21, 2011 “Nellie’s Charts – Her Mother Mary McDonell’s Family!”

I did find a curious marriage record in the Drouin collection for St. Andrew’s West in Stormont. It has an Alexander McDonell marrying a Nellie McPherson in 1822.  My great Aunt Nellie was really Ellen Elizabeth formally.   I still need to do some more work on this find in order to confirm it is the couple I seek.

An Alexander John McDonell appears right under Archibald in the agricultural part of the 1861 census for Pontiac Co., Quebec.  I don’t believe it is online at Ancestry?  This part of the census was at the back of the film at the Family History Library (FHL).

Line 37 Alex. John McDonell

  • Concession or Range: 6
  • Lot or Part of Lot:  40, 41
  • Number of Acres – 150
  • Number of acres under cultivation:  36
  • Number of acres of land under crops in 1860: 36
  • Number of acres of land under wood or wild:  114
  • Column 10:  Cash Value of Farm:  320
  • Column 11:  Cash Value of Furnishings: 38
  • Column 12:  Fall wheat in acres:  2
  • Column 13: Fall wheat – produce in bushels: 40
  • Column 14.  Spring wheat produce in bushels: 3
  • Column 15. Spring Wheat bushels: 30
  • Column 18:  Rye acres 1
  • Column 19:  Rye in produce in bushels 18
  • Column 20: Peas – acre:  6
  • Column 21:  Peas in produce in bushels 100
  • Column 26: Indian corn in acres 3/4
  • Column 27:  Indian corn produce in bushels 110

The above list is done to the best of my ability.  My copy of the agricultural census is very dark and out of focus.

I move ahead to the 1871 Canadian Census and find no Alexander John McDonell living but I do find a A. H. W Donell on Allumette Island age 74 (born in 1797) in Ontario, widowed and living with descendants of my Alexander John McDonell specifically Jennette Catherine McDonald whose first husband was Angus John McDonald?  I featured her family in the post dated:   October 20, 2011 “Jennette Catherine McDonell & Her Two Marriages!”

My dad, Keith’s, great grandparents are definitely a puzzle yet to be unravelled.  Let’s hope I am successful in figuring this all out on my trip that is coming up soon!


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.


Life in Bemidji!

February 2, 2012

Archie’s sons decided that their parents were getting too old and brought them down from Chichester to Bemidji after 1901.  Why they went to Bemidji instead of going to International Falls may have had something to do with access.  It was not easy to get to International Falls back then.  Taking the train was a rather circuitous route to International Falls and it was probably not big enough yet in terms of population.  Koochiching County would not break off from Itasca till 1906.  So International Falls was lagging behind Bemidji by about 5-10 years in development.  It also might have had something to do with E.W. Backus, the lumber baron, establishing himself in International Falls. 

Bemidji was growing and logging was big by 1900, according to online histories.  Bemidji is in Beltrami County, Minnesota in the northwestern part of the state.  It is spread out around two large lakes:  Lake Bemidji and Lake Irving. If you are coming from International Falls you enter the city on Hwy 71 and make your way to the center of town.  I have visited Bemidji twice and did a little more exploring each time.

A main street in Bemidji a very charming town!

The Beltrami County Genweb has a nice listing for sites and places to research.  They haven’t finished some of their projects like  a cemetery listing so check back periodically. 

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mnbeltra/

There were some interesting articles on the history of Bemidji around 1900 at this website, click on News Clips:

http://www.bemidjihistory.com/index.php

I visited Bemidji in 2000 and then I visited the Beltrami County Historical Society in 2000 and 2001:  http://www.beltramihistory.org/  They are located in the train depot that has been restored.   Very nice facility.  Always check hours before you visit.   They are at 130 Minnesota Ave. SW in Bemidji.  I found a very old city directory that featured my family. 

1904 Bemidji City Directory

 
It reads:
McDonald, Archie 1101 L.B.
McDonald Elmer E, res. 1287 Lake Boulevard, attorney Bailey & McDonald
McDonald, John 1215 Bemidji, employment office
McDonald, J.R. cruiser, bds Merchants hotel
 
Archie is of course, Keith’s grandfather and my great-grandfather.  John is probably “Jack” the son of Archie and Mary McDonell? I am guessing about that?  Elmer and J.R. are not known.  I checked the 1900 U.S. Census and the 1905 Minnesota State Census but I didn’t get any hits for Elmer.  I was curious to see if any information might come up.  It is interesting that John is listed as working at an “employment office.”  Apparently there were those men who would hire the men for the lumber camps so employment offices were frequent. There is no mention of Alexander, Nellie or R.S. McDonald in this city directory. 
 
On June 1, 1901 a lien was recorded in the courthouse in Beltrami regarding J.O. McDonald and R.O. McDonald.  I think this is R.S. and J.A. McDonald my grandfather and uncle “Jack?”  Remember I talked about a deed in which R.S. and Grace McDonald purchased a house near Lake Bemidji in the a lated post dated January 5, 2012?  Well this is the same lot, block and location!

Al [Granby], Plaintiff against J.O. McDonald and R. O. McDonald, defendants. Lein of $6.70 against the Lot 6, Block 1 Lake Park addition in Bemidji, Beltrami Co., Minnesota. [    ] 

Archie, Mary and Nellie were still in Bemidji according to the Minnesota State census for 1905, Ancestry.com.

#49 McDonald Archie, Lake Blvd, #1101, M., 70 years, white, born in Canada, lines thru parents birth with no data entered, location, resident 3 yrs., 9 mos.; same for district, occupation: retired.

#50 McDonald, Mary, Lake Blvd, #1101, Female, age 68, white, born in Canada, parents born in Scotland both, resident 3 yrs. 9 mos, same for district, retired.

#51 McDonald, Nellie, Lake Blvd, #1101, Female, age 30, white, born in Canada, both parents born in Canada, resident 3 yrs 9 mos., same for district, occupation: housekeeper.

By 1905, John (Jack), Alexander (Alex) and R.S. McDonald are living in Koochiching Twp., Itasca County, Minnesota which  International Falls is a part.  It would not be long before Archie, Mary and Nellie followed them.  See the post dated March 27, 2010 “McDonald’s Settle in International Falls,” for a comparison of the 1905 Minnesota State Census for the various members of this family. 

So for about 3 years and 9 months Archie and Mary McDonell were taking up residence in Bemidji and their daughter Nellie was with them?

During that time Archie and Mary became grandparents with the birth of their granddaughter Leola Vivian on May 12, 1902 in Grand Rapids, Itasca County, Minnesota.  She was a child of R.S. and Grace (Barclay) McDonald.  See the post dated June 5, 2010 “Darling Vivian,” for more information about this birth. 

They receive great news again on 3 May 1904 when Ronald Gordon McDonald another child of R.S. and Grace (Barclay) McDonald was born.   See the posted dated July 9, 2010 “Brother Gordy.”  

The family group portrait which I feature in the post dated March 20, 2010 “Archibald and Mary McDonell’s Children,” was taken in Bemidji about 1905.  It features Nellie, Mary, Jack, Archie, R.S. and Alexander but not Angus the oldest son.

The move from Canada to the United States was completed by around 1901-1902.  Archie and Mary would live the rest of their lives in Minnesota.  John (Jack), Nellie (Ellen) and Alexander (Alex) would remain in the United States.  R.S. ventured back to Canada for a short time from about 1915 to 1919 but eventually end up in the United States till his death.  The move from Bemidji to International Falls took place around 1905 to 1906.  Having lived in Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec they all had knowledge of the logging industry and so they followed the lumber which would bring prosperity and other types of employment.

In summary so far:

In past posts the life of R.S. (Ronald Sandfield) and Grace (Barclay) McDonald has been featured.  R.S. being a son of Archie and Mary McDonell.  I talked about their marriage in 1898, their children and their lives in International Falls.  R.S. was employed with the International Lumber Co. and also was a commissioner in the area.  The death of Grace and the death of his parents Archie and Mary were also featured.  I stopped with R.S.’s decision to leave for Grand Prairie, Alberta in 1915.  At that time I stepped back in time and described the life of his parents, Archie and Mary,  in Chichester, Pontiac County, Quebec.  Sharing what I knew of the family and its origins.  Then I showed how they migrated to the United States by first going to Bemidji and then to International Falls.  Archie and Mary had siblings and family in the Pontiac County, Quebec and I described what I knew of their families based on Aunt Nellie and Aunt Miriam’s charts. 

My goal now is to talk about the other children of Archibald and Mary McDonell in more detail.  I have mentioned Angus McDonald, the oldest son, and that he left the family after 1881 and may have returned around 1898 only to leave again.  What happened to him?   John or rather Jack and his wife Sarah Burns whom he married just before leaving Canada in 1901.  What happened to them?  Jack was a very interesting man.  Nellie, she devoted her life to raising R.S.’s children after the death of Grace in 1911.  So she followed him wherever he went.  Alexander he remained in International Falls.  From there I will resume the story of R.S. McDonald  from 1915 to his death in 1947.  R.S. and Grace had eight children of which six survived to live out their lives to very advanced ages in some cases, all as United States citizens.

The spelling of McDonell changed to McDonald after the move to Minnesota. 

++++++++++++++++++++

Note:  If you get a x where a picture was try clicking it and it will open into another window and show up.  Remember to hit the back around to return to the post.


Archie visits Glengarry County?

January 19, 2012

Aunt Miriam’s notes suggested that Archie went to Glengarry County to visit before he headed to Minnesota. (See the post before this.)  Unfortunately, it is not known where Keith’s grandfather was born or even if he was born in Glengarry County.  There are many McDonald, Macdonell, MacDonald families who lived in that area and it is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Miriam’s notes read “he grew up.”  Does that mean he was born there in Glengarry County or does it mean he only lived there as a boy?  Why did he leave and head up to Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec?  Did he go with family or did he strike out on his own? 

At this time, his great-granddaughter does not have enough information to determine the answers to these questions regarding Archie.  Hopefully a trip to Ontario this Spring 2012 will open that door.  (See trip page at the top of this blog). 

A review of the Canadian Census and more for Archibald reveal the following:

1861 – born U.C. age 27 which means his birth year would be about 1834. 

1871 – born Quebec, age 39 this means his birth year would be 1832. 

1881 – born Ontario, age 45 this means his birth year would be 1836.

1891 – born Ontario, age 60 this means his birth year would be 1831

1901 has his birth date as October [5] 1837 in Canada written over with Quebec.

On his death certificate for Minnesota his birth date is listed as 1829 and that Archie was born in Quebec, by his youngest son Alex.

So we have a mess.  Then we throw in the spelling of McDonald, McDonell, Macdonell and it is means checking all forms of the name in research.  With all the border changes in Canada that also adds a challenge as well as Glengarry County’s changes. 

Glengarry - Archives Ontario

According to the St. Alphonse church records his parents were John and Sara McDonell.  His daughter’s charts have the name “Roy” as his father?  There was no mention in the record that they were deceased.  See the posts dated June 30, 2011 “A Mystery – Roy Macdonnell?” and June 17, 2011 “Nellie’s Charts – Her Father Archie McDonell’s Family. “

His siblings’ names were:  Ronald, John, Kitty, Angus, Duncan, and Sarah.  He was the youngest.  That side of the family has not been as easy to find as his wife, Mary’s which I discussed in past posts.  Keith’s sister Eddie said that “Kitty was a weaver.”

He spoke Gaelic at one time but had forgotten it by the time he visited.  All the above suggest he was born in Canada.  There is no indication that he spoke French even though he lived in Chichester, Pontiac County, Quebec. 

The visit to Glengarry took place about 1901 or 1902 and then Archie and Mary headed for Bemidji in Minnesota.  It is not known if Mary went with him? 

So many questions about the origins of Archibald McDonell who might have been Patrick Archibald McDonell. 

 


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


Ronald S. and his brother Angus Strike out on their Own!

December 16, 2011

It is time to turn back to Archibald and Mary McDonell’s family, Keith, my father’s grandparents and my greats.  The past posts have described what is known about their respective siblings and parents at this time. More research will be done and a trip to Ontario and Quebec is in the near future see the new page added at the top of this blog. 

Meanwhile let’s return to Archie and Mary’s family in Chichester in 1881.  In the post dated June 1, 2011 “McDonell Family in 1881,” the census for that year was discussed and described. The family was all together including Alexander the youngest.  It was not too last long.  The son’s were growing up and about to leave the “nest.”

It is not clear when Ronald or his older brother Angus left home and headed out on their own.  Jack (John), their brother told his daughter that “Angus, left.”  A typical response for my McDonald’s are people of few words. 

In 1881 Ronald was 14 years old and Angus was 16 years old.  So if we use the age of 18 or 20 as a clue to figure out their movements we could probably guess they left home about 1885 or 1886? 

In any event, neither Ronald nor Angus appear in the Canadian 1891 census with the family in Chichester, Pontiac County, Quebec, 7th April, 1891, pg. 4, Ancestry.com

Line 13, [ ] 16, McDonald, Archy, M,  60 years old, M, born Ont. and the place of birth of his father and mother are Ont., Lockmaster, can read and write.  McDonald, Mary, F, age 57, M, Wife, born Ont. , father born Ont, mother born Scotland, can read and write.  McDonell, John, M, age 22, S, born Quebec, Labourer.  McDonell, Ellen, F, age 20, D. M  age 18, S.  Children born Quebec.

No sign of Ronald, Keith’s father, nor his uncle Angus.  Since the 1890 U.S. Federal Census suffered destruction in a fire, we cannot determine if they headed to the United States by that time.  Ronald’s trail is picked up in the 1895 Minnesota State census.   As for Angus he doesn’t appear until much later in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census for Seattle, King County, Washington!! There are some interesting stories about Angus that I will share in a later posts.  I have reason to believe that Angus moved back and forth across the Canadian border on several occasions as we will see. 

It is about now that we see the spelling of the last name change from “McDonell” to “McDonald.”

 


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