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 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.


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