Nellie or rather Ellen Elizabeth McDonald migrated with her parents from Chichester in 1900/1901 and lived with them in Bemidji till they moved to International Falls in 1905. She was living with her parents and brother Alexander in 1910 per the U.S. Federal census.
At the end of December 1911 Grace, the mother of Keith and his siblings, died of pneumonia and the effects of childbirth see the post dated July 18, 2010 “An Unexpected Tragedy! http://macdonellfamily.wordpress.com/?s=Tragedy. Nellie became their caretaker.
Just exactly when Nellie joined her brother Ronald in bringing up his six children is unclear. I have not been able to track her clearly from 1910 to 1920. I cannot tell if she was with him in Grand Prairie, Alberta. I think Nellie did not became the caretaker of the children till just before 1920 but I might be incorrect. Until I find more information that can pinpoint when Nellie was with them I will have to speculate. Her niece Miriam implied that she took over right after their mother Grace died, but so far the facts are not agreeing.
Miriam writes that they all moved to the Riverside Drive house after Grace’s death which implies Nellie was involved from 1912 onward? ( Just click on the photo and it will open up for you, remember to hit your back button or close a tab to return to this blog.)
Miriam’s Notes about Nellie!
The parents of Nellie and R.S. where Archie (1912) and Mary (1913) who were living in 1911 when Grace passed, so Nellie would probably not leave them because they were aging. According to the above paragraph they moved into the Riverside Drive house and that would make sense.
I did find Gordon and R.S. in the Edmonton, Alberta 1916 census. I did a thorough search of the Canadian 1916 census to try to find Nellie with the rest of the children but I was unable to locate her or them.
An Ellen McDonald appears in the International Falls city directory of 1917-1918. This person was a civil servant on 421 1st St., pg. 19. I ponder if that is her?
I do know for sure that by January 1920, Nellie had joined the family and from 1920 to her death in May of 1947 in Yakima, Washington, she lived with her brother Ronald (R.S.) and followed him wherever he went from that point on.
Her niece, Miriam, held Nellie in high esteem and wrote that she deserved a place in heaven for taking on the momentous task of raising six children that were not her own. Miriam was apparently Nellie’s favorite.
As far as I can recall none of my aunts, my uncle, nor my father talked about Nellie much. There could be reasons for that. It may have made them sad, or it was a long time ago.
NOTE: Please don’t be like me and not ask questions, I wish I had regarding Nellie and the family.