Jack and Sarah (Burns) McDonald Settle in Minnesota

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. 


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

About BJ MacDonald

Interested in travel, really into genealogy and researching my family history, classic novels and movies, fantasy and science fiction, photography, history and more... Here is a tip. Make sure you are commenting on the blog you were visiting and the post you were interested in. My blogs are listed by hovering over my pictures and clicking. Clicking one of them will take you back to the correct blog. You can try me here: bjmcdonell@gmail.com
This entry was posted in ARCHIE & MARY MCDONELL's FAMILY, Beltrami County, Bemidji, Glengarry, International Falls, Itasca County, John (Jack) A. McDonald, Minnesota, Sarah Maria Burns McDonald and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Jack and Sarah (Burns) McDonald Settle in Minnesota

  1. carol gottberg says:

    I am wondering if your Archibald and Mary McDonald are my John and Mary McDonald. Who inherited house from Samuel McDonald and Margaret Scott McDonald. Lot 4 on Daniel St. in Arnprior They purchased it from Daniel Mcglauglin around 1854. It was then left to Duncan and James ( Samuel and Margarets son’s).

    Samuel had a brother named Duncan who married Christina Stewart. I sent you a message about a Burns marrying into Duncan’s line to one of his sons.

    I know they are connected to the McDonells. I am trying to figure out how. Duncan McDonald who married Julia Keyes ( Samuel and Margaret’s son) godparents were Penelope McDonell and John Ronald McDonald. These McDonalds married into Mcgillivrays for a few generations. They have relatives in St. P0lycarpe. Margarets daughter Ann married Ronald McDonald from ST. Polycarpe. He was the son of Mary and Ronald McDonald of Brockville area. Ann and Ronald were married at the stone Catholic Church in Brockville,

    Margaret’s first husband was Alexander MacDonald. He died about 1848 in Scotland. His father was a John MacDonald I don’t know who he married. He died by 1850.. She remarried Samuel McDonald. They came from Invernesshire. I found a cencus in Sandaig. Samuel was a blacksmith. She had families with both Mc/MacDonalds. 6 children with Alexander (Ann, Isabella, Angus, John1st, JOhn 2nd, Francis, Alexander)John married a Christina Mckinnon the otherJohns married Isabella McGillivray , Francis married Johanna Dunn, Alexander married Mary Hickey, Ann married Ronald McDonald of St. Polycarpe. I don’t know if Isabella married or not. Margaret had 3 children with Samuel ( Duncan married JUlia Keyes, James, John.

    Samuels parents were from Alexandria area. His dad was a Donald and his mother was a Mary.

    I am wondering if Samuel and Ronald Sr. were brothers? If donald was a mistake? Ronald and Mary came from down east.



    • bonmac says:

      Carol: It is nice to hear from you. I know my great Uncle Jack is formally John Archibald McDonald and that name appears in several places in the Renfrew and Pontiac Area. Jack’s father is definitely an Archibald and not a John. I tried to show on this blog in various posts the documents I have collected about him. They lived up in the Chichester area before they headed to Minnesota. At this point I have just gotten started with deeds in Pontiac. So far there aren’t any that refer to a house in Arnprior or land in that area. I know that you have sent me a lot of information and I have not really had time to process it all. I have tried but I got bogged down and if you had some kind of descendancy chart prepared or a chart that showed the relationships of these people, I might get a better feel but at the moment you know this more than I do and I get confused. Sorry.

      I was hit with a health crisis and it has made me want to focus on getting my research organized. There are many McDonells, MacDonalds and McDonalds in that area as you know and it is very confusing in trying to sort them out. It is also important to note who is Roman Catholic and who is Presbyterian, that is more significant than you might think. I wish I could give you encouragement in this but I can only state that you need to keep my McDonall’s in mind. So far none of your names fit my family. If I do figure anything out I will of course contact you. Bonnie


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s