Jack and Sarah (Burns) McDonald Settle in Minnesota

August 16, 2012

Archie, Mary, Jack (John), Sarah and Nellie all settled in Bemidji, Beltrami Co., Minnesota first and lived there till about 1905. 

This is one of my favorite photos of Jack.  I do not know where it is taken but I think he looks very dapper.

Jack McDonald (John Archibald)

According to the Minnesota State Census for 1905, Jack and Sarah had relocated to International Falls, Minnesota.

Source:  Minnesota State Census, 1905, Village of International Falls, Twp. of Koochiching, Itasca Co., Minnesota, enumerated by Harvy Gale on June 30, 1905, Line 74, Sht#2, Image 269, Ancestry.com.

Line 74, McDonald, John A., male, age 36, born in Canada, both parents born in Canada, 4 yrs. in Minnesota, 8 months in International Falls, laborer. Line 75, McDonald, Sarah, female, age 31, born in Canada, both parents born in Ireland, 4 yrs in Minnesota, no occupation.

1905 Minnesota State Census for Jack & Sarah

Note:  Please note that Koochiching is not a county yet and it is part of Itasca County for about another year.  This means that if you are looking for records you need to consult Itasca County for the early years.

Meanwhile Archibald (Archie) and Mary McDonald, the parents, were still residing in Bemidji and their daughter Nellie was with them. 

Source:  Archibald McDonald Family, 1905 Minnesota State Census, Bemidji, Beltrami Co., Minnesota, ED#14, enumerated June 1, 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.

In my post dated March 3, 2011 I wrote about John (Jack’s) birth – Archie & Mary’s Children:  John Archibald McDonald.  

I also wrote more about Jack and Sarah in the posted dated August 17, 2010 “Jack McDonald and Sarah Maria Burns!”  In this post I described the children of Jack and Sarah McDonald that I am aware of.  We suspect that there were more babies that did not make it or perhaps miscarriages. 

Sarah with a baby?

I also wrote about Bemidji in the post dated February 2, 2012 “Life in Bemidji.” In this post I featured the Bemidji city directory that I found at the Beltrami County Historical Society.  The page featured Archie and John for 1904.  The picture above was provided by Elaine Burns Brown. 

In the last post dated July 20, 2012, I talked about Jack and Sarah’s marriage.  I was unable to find any news about this event in the local newspapers, therefore, I speculate that sometime after August 1901 and probably before the winter set in they went to Glengarry County first.  This was so Archie could revisit his childhood home.  After this visit they made that final move to Minnesota.  They first settled in Bemidji living there for about 4 years or slightly less and then heading for International Falls.  Jack apparently went ahead by 8 months and may have been in International Falls by 1904.

I wonder how they traveled from Chichester? Did they take the train from Waltham down to Ottawa and the go by coach to Glengarry County.  It is fun to speculate.

This was a big move. 

As far as I can determine by the census, Archibald, Mary, Ronald and Grace, Jack and Sarah, Alexander and Nellie were all living in International Falls by 1905 or after.  Angus disappears after 1897 after he came back to Chichester for the birth of his daughter Helen Mary in August of that year.  He reappears in the Seattle 1910 U.S. Federal Census.  What he did between 1897 to 1910 I have yet to figure out.   

My family left behind many friends, memories and more in Canada, and I am afraid the ties slowly began to disappear as they continued to live in the United States.  Later on Robert R. McDonald, a son of Duncan McDonald, Mary’s brother’s family migrated to Bovey, Minnesota. 

If you are familiar with International Falls it is right on the northern border of Minnesota and it takes just a few minutes to cross the bridge to Fort Francis and you are back in Canada.  So they really didn’t wander that far from their Canadian roots.

Wikipedia has an article about the town of Fort Francis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Frances

Here is information about the border crossing and a great picture of the bridge that crosses the Rainy River between International Falls and Fort Francis.  My hubby and I drove across that bridge when I visited there in 2000 meeting for the first time with Mary McDonald Louseau, Jack’s and Sarah’s daughter.  She was 87 years old at the time. 

http://www.ezbordercrossing.com/list-of-border-crossings/minnesota/international-falls-fort-frances/

Here is a picture that I took on our walk along the Rainy River.  I wanted to see what my Dad’s (Keith)  childhood might have been like and wondered if he played along this river.  There house was very close by.  He would have been very young, being born in March 1910.  Ronald left International Falls in 1915 and headed back to Canada ending up in Grand Prairie.  I have posted about these events in past posts.  My Dad might have played along this river being 4-5 years old at the time.  It is more likely that the older children like Gordon, Vivian, Miriam, Eddie and Jean had adventures along its shores.  I can see Gordon carefully holding his little brother’s hand as they walked along.  Yes, I am getting a little romantic in my musings!

Looking across the Rainy River to Canada


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. 

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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.


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. 

McDonald’s Settle in International Falls!

March 27, 2010

By 1905, Keith’s family had migrated to International Falls and settled down.  The whole McDonald family made the move from Bemidji, in Beltrami Co., Minnesota to International Falls, Itasca County, Minnesota by 1905 or shortly thereafter.   

The 1905 Minnesota State Census shows Ronald age 37 and Grace age 24, Keith’s parents, along with two of their older children:  Vivian age 3 and Gordon age 1. They are living in the Village of International Falls, township of Koochiching, sheet 7, enumerated on 1, June, 1905 by Harvey Gale.  Ronald’s occupation is lumberman. 

R.S. McDonald Family 1905 Minnesota

Ronald’s parents, Archie and Mary were still residing in the Village of Bemidji according to the Minnesota State Census of 1905.  Their daughter Nellie (Ellen Elizabeth) is with them.  Their ages are listed as 70 for Archie and 68 for Mary, Sheet No. 39. Nellie is 30 years old and a housekeeper.  All of them give 3 years 9 months in residence in Bemidji this means they came from Canada about 1901. Do these ages work?  They are close but this means Archie was born in 1835 and Mary was 1837.  They are a little older than other information I have gathered.  Nellie is actually younger by 5 years than her baptismal record.  

Archie, Mary and Nellie, Bemidji 1905

Ronald’s brother Jack (John ) age 36 and his wife Sarah Burns McDonald age 31 were listed in the Village of International Falls by 1905 in the Minnesota State Census.  They are on Sheet #2.  Sarah is Irish in descent.  

John and Sarah, International Falls 1905

 Alexander their other brother was probably there as well but the census is a little confusing for 1905 for Alexander.  There is a listing for an A. T. McDonald age 30 working as a laborer living alone in International Falls.  His name is Alexander Thomas, so the initials work.  Also he states he has been in Minnesota 8 years which is about right for his coming to the area.  

1905 Minnesota Census Alex

The Minnesota State Census can be found online at Ancestry.com (or through your library version).  The Family History Library (FHL) also has it on microfilm they have 1836 -1905. It was taken in the middle of the decade so it is a nice addition to the U.S. Federal Census which is taken at the beginning of the decade. The 1905 is restricted and obtained at the Access window at the FHL so bring an id with you.


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