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.


Archie & Mary McDonell in 1871

May 23, 2011

We back up a little and return to 1871 and the Canadian Census which features the family of Archibald and Mary McDonell, the great grandparents of Keith.  

As you can see John and John Alexander are missing.  These are the first two sons born to Archie and Mary.  We can only assume that they did not survive.  There is a possibility that they are buried in Sheensboro.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheenboro,_Quebec

Source:  1871 Canadian Census, Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec #C10025, page 23 and 24 Dist #91 or FHL#0493443.

Line 16-20 pg. 23 Dwelling 19 Family 19 – McDonell, Archbld, male, age 39, Born Quebec, R. Catholic, Scotch, Farmer, Married, unable to read. McDonald, Mary, female, age 36, born Quebec, R. Catholic, Scotch, married, unable to write. McDonald, Angus, male, age 7, born Quebec, R. Catholic, Scotch, going to school. McDonald, Ronald, Male, age 4, born Quebec, R. Catholic, Scotch. Next page # 24 line 1 and 2: McDonald, John Archy, male, [ ] born Quebec, R. Catholic, Scotch. McDonell, Ellen, female, 3/12, Dec, born Quebec, R. Catholic, Scotch.

Here is an interesting link to a website that gives cemetery information for a wide variety of locations including Quebec.

http://www3.sympatico.ca/bkinnon/cemeteries.htm#on

So the Canadian Census of 1871 supports the theory that John and John Alexander did not survive because they are not listed; however, more research is needed to see if their burials can be found.


Ronald S. McDonald – A Dam is Built!

May 10, 2010

Telegram!

 

Keith’s father Ronald received a telegram on January 24, 1905  from a C.J. Rockwood that indicated that the construction of the dam across the Rainy River could commence.  The telegram was presented in the Koochiching Press on the front page!   

Although I was unable to find information showing that R.S. was involved with plating the town of International Falls at the courthouse, I did find this comment in a manuscript titled:

 “Interesting Village History: Historical Review of This Issue Covers Matters of Importance from the time of original entry of the land.”  Copied from the International Falls Echo, January 5, 1906 and prepared by a Judge Berg for the Holler PTA in 1934.  

This manuscript was found at the Koochiching County Historical Society and it makes the following statement: 

 “During July 1904, R.S. McDonald arrived from Grand Rapids and commenced the work of clearing 240 acres of land that now constitutes the townsite.  Employment was given to many men in the work of clearing and stumping and grading streets.  The sale of business lots had been opened a month before and for a time it seemed that early power development was to make good the shortage financially caused by the slump in the business.  But suddenly came the news that the power promoters and the Canadian government had locked horns, and that everything was to be held up pending the results of the negotiations.  A telegram in January, 1905, to Mr. McDonald brought the glad news that the contract for the construction of the dam had been let to Maguire and Penninman….” 

The book: Koochiching, Pioneering Along the Rainy River Frontier, by Hiram M. Drache, Interstate Printers & Publishers, Inc., 1983 on page 93 makes this statement about R.S. 

 “Albert Enzman came to the area by virtue of being hired at the Duluth employment office in the fall of 1904.  He and about 25 others were brought to International Falls by R.S. McDonald, superintendent of the International Lumber Company. (pg. 93)” 

Google Books currently has a copy online of:  Hearings Before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce of the House of Representatives on H.R. 15444 – Extending the time for constructing a dam across the Rainy River.  

This book covers the testimony of the parties involved and goes on for many pages.  Ronald does not appear  in the pages but it does give background information on the events surrounding the building of the dam across the Rainy River which involved both the U.S. and Canadian governments and many business interests.  

Once again the Era of Backus article at the History of Koochiching County Website has great photographs of the building of the dam before and after, and the lumber companies at that time.  Here is the direct link to this article:  

http://www.co.koochiching.mn.us/history/Hist02.htm 

This information is also found in the book:  History of Koochiching County, published by the Koochiching County Historical Society in 1983, pages 11 to 13. You can find a copy in the Reading Room of the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul.


Ronald S. McDonald or known as just R.S.

May 2, 2010

Miriam, Keith’s sister, writes in her notes that her father Ronald was born in Chapeau, Quebec in 1866.  His parents were Archibald and Mary MacDonell.  Ronald learned about the lumber business growing up on the Upper Ottawa River and came to Minnesota where he started working for the Backus & Brooks Lumber Co. 

Grand Rapids, Minnesota was not very big in the early 1900’s and according to the public librarian, via an email to me,  there was no business school at that time.  It is more likely that R.S. got his business education in either Duluth or Minneapolis. 

Miriam goes on to say that Ronald knew how to cruise, to survey and to build logging roads.  As a superintendent he would have been very involved in setting up lumber camps and getting the lumber out.  

At the end of the notes she writes:  “He surveyed and platted International Falls.”

All of the previous comments are true.  However, the statement about the plating is still be to be proven.  In order to determine the truth of this family story I made a visit to the Koochiching County Courthouse in 2001.  A study of the plat maps for the city did not reveal any evidence that Ronald was involved.  His name was not on the maps. 

A time line of events for the history of International Falls is needed:

“Although the International Falls area was well-known to explorers, missionaries and voyagers as early as the 1600s, it was not until April 1895 the community was platted by a teacher and preacher L. A. Ogaard for the Koochiching Company and named the community Koochiching. The word “Koochiching” comes from either Ojibwe word Gojijiing or Cree Kocicīhk, both meaning “at the place of inlets,” referring to the neighboring Rainy Lake and River. The European inhabitants gave the names Rainy Lake and Rainy River to the nearby bodies of water because of the mist-like rain present at the falls where the lake flowed into the river.

On August 10, 1901, the village was incorporated and two years later its name was changed to International Falls in recognition of the river’s role as a border between the United States and Canada. It was incorporated as a city in 1909.”

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia online April 3, 2010.  

More detail is provided by the book:  History of Koochiching County, published by the Koochiching County Historical Society in 1983, pg. 35.

So did Ronald or R.S., take part in plating a city?  It is not clear that he did but there is a possibility that he was greatly involved in many affairs of the city of International Falls as we shall see in future posts.


Keith and Gordon – Two Brothers

April 24, 2010

Gordon and Keith

Keith had a great relationship with his older brother Gordon.  In this photo Gordon is standing proud and holding firmly to his little brother’s hand.  Keith is next to him on the elephant with a happy face.  This photo of the McDonald brothers was probably taken about 1911 in International Falls.  Gordon was born 1904 and Keith was born in 1910 to Ronald and Grace McDonald.  There was 6 years difference in their ages.


Miriam’s Birth and Baptism

April 17, 2010

Miriam, sister to Keith, wrote the family history notes which have been of great help in researching the family.  It is only fitting to celebrate her life.  Miriam was born January 15, 1906 and was probably baptized shortly after at the catholic church in International Falls. 

Vivian, Gordon and baby Miriam

This photograph shows three of the McDonald children.  Vivian (Leola Vivian)  is the little girl holding her baby sister Miriam (Miriam Audrey) in her arms.  The little boy to her right is Gordon (Ronald Gordon). 

Grace their mother was pregnant with Miriam when another event took place in her life.  Grace’s Uncle Alexander Barclay, brother to her father George Angus Barclay, died on December 7, 1905 at the Rochester Hospital in Olmsted Co., Minnesota.  Grace started the probate process for his estate.  She could not attend the court sessions because she was “indisposed” and she could not travel after the birth.  Alexander’s estate file has contributed a great deal of information on the Barclay family which I am currently blogging about in The Barclays of Pine River http://barclayspineriver.wordpress.com/.


Ronald and Grace: Family Life!

April 11, 2010

Life was good for Ronald and Grace McDonald’s family during the first 10 years they spent in International Falls.   

1910 U.S. Federal Census

 

 The 1910 U.S. Federal Census for International Falls, Koochiching Co., Minnesota shows Keith’s complete family.  It lists his parents Ronald age 46 and Grace age 28, married 12 years. This places their marriage in 1898.  Grace had 7 children of which 6 are living.  It lists all his siblings:  Vivian age 8, Gordon age 6, Miriam spelled Marian age 4, Edna age 3, Laura age 2 and last Keith who is just a baby at 1/12 years old.  All are born in Minnesota except Ronald who was born in Canada.  

McDonald Children circa late 1910

 

This photo was probably taken in late 1910 or early 1911.  There isn’t any snow on the ground but the McDonald children are dressed in fancy outfits and in heavy coats.   The children are left to right:  Jean (Laurie Jean) , Eddie, Miriam, Gordon and Vivian.  Keith is the one on the ground in front of Gordon.   

Keith, Jean, Eddie

 

Another photo of Keith shows him on the left.  His sister Jean seems to be holding him carefully while he is intently looking at the camera.  Jean is so cute in this photo.  Eddie is on the right in a fancy dress with a hat and coat. It is hard to see her face. I love how her hands are clasped.  I wonder if this was regular clothing or dress up that Eddie is wearing?  The hat is very fancy.  This photo was probably taken in 1911.   

These photos are those postcard photos that were popular back then.  You can flip them over an address them and write notes on them.  Unfortunately nothing was written on the backs of these two photos.   

I think the handwriting of their names was done by their mother Grace.


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