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).
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:
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.