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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