I visited with my cousin Mary in 2000 and 2001 and she shared several stories of her father.
She told me that he was Mayor of International Falls for a period of approximately 2 years (1922-1924). He was talked into it by several of the town “big shots.” Prior to his service as major, he served on the city council. He was very active in the politics of the city.
Jack and Sarah’s home was located on 6th street on the southwest corner and was a familiar place in town. People would come by to visit with Jack and “Ms. McDonald” as they called Sarah, Mary’s mother. Sarah set a good table. John Archibald McDonald was best known as “Jack” to his family and friends.
Mary described her dad with a great deal of affection. He was a kind man and always knew the right thing to say and do. She couldn’t wait to get home from school to see and talk to her dad.
Photo: Jack is on the left and here he is visiting with two of his siblings. Nellie is in the middle and Ronald (R.S.) is on the right.
Photo: This is another version of the photo above and this time we include Jack’s niece Miriam on the left, Jack, Vivian another of Jack’s nieces, Nellie and Ronald (R.S.) He is the father of Miriam and Vivian. The date is 1938.
The 1938 date means that the family was still in Spokane because Vivian is there and she lived east in Opportunity with her husband Hilary. It also could have been taken in Yakima were Ronald and Nellie moved to be with Miriam who was teaching school in Yakima. These are my father Keith’s family: his sisters, uncle, aunt and father.
Jack was often fond of joking that he was “only the janitor of the school.” Jack actually helped to build the Alexander Baker school and then he took on the task of caring for the boiler there. He would get up and go to work in the early morning to turn the boiler on to heat the school for the little children who attended.
International Falls is considered one of the coldest cities in the U.S., so Jack’s service was probably very much appreciated.
Earlier in his residence in International Falls, he ran a dray service sharing the work with his brother Alex. In a small town like International Falls the inhabitants frequently had several jobs to support the family.
Page 64 features McDonald Dray & Transfer, Alex McDonald propr. 1107 6th st. Tel 51. McDonald, Alex, propr McDonald Dray & Transfer, 1107 6th st. Tel 51.
McDonald John A. janitor Alexander Baker School, 903 6th st, Te. 286. On pg. 19 it reads, McDonald Ellen, civil servant, 421 1st st., McDonald John, lab, 221 Nelson St.
Source: First Annual Directory, International Falls and Additions Rainier, Minnesota and Fort Francis, Ontario. Landgraf & York Publishers, International Falls, MN, 1917-18, pg. 64 and pg. 19. Koochiching County Library.
NOTE: What is a Dray line. It has not been easy to get a good description or explanation of this type of occupation. Dray refers to a wagon draw by either horses or oxen and here is the best that I could do. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagon
Here is page 9 of the International Falls City Directory:
Notes about page 9: There are several McDonalds listed. Ellen McDonald is in civil service. Is this Nellie? It this is her then this means that she may not have gone with her brother R.S. till much later? I have not been able to get enough information on Nellie’s activities and when she actually took up the task of caring for R.S.’s children.
John is listed as a laborer. There is also an Arthur and Malcolm McDonald who are unknown to me? R.S. is not listed which would be correct. He left about 1915 for Grand Prairie, Alberta. There is no Alex which is odd.
Here we see Jack and Sarah living in International Falls in the 1910 census:
22/24 McDonald, John, head, 46 yrs. old, married 8 years. Born in Canada (L), parents the same. 8 years a citizen, Speaks English. Teamster of a dray line, employed. Sarah, wife, 46, married 8 years. Born in Canada (L), parents born in Canada (L). In the US 8 years, speaks English no profession.
Source: John A. McDonald Family, 1910 U.S. Federal Census, International Falls, Koochiching Co., Minnesota, SD#8, ED 92, Sht# 2-A, April 15 or 16, 1910, by [ ].
Jack, Sarah and their daughter appear in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. Apparently they did apply and became naturalized in 1909. Acording to Ancestry.com they are on a list of naturalizations held at the Iron Range Research Center. I will have to put this on the To Do List.
Line 48, 903/463/457, McDonald, John, Head, home owned, mortgage, male, white, age 50, married, immigrated to US 1902, naturalized in 1909, not at school in 1919, able to read and write, born in Canada, parents born in Canada, mother tongue English, janitor, school, working. McDonald, Sarah, wife, female, white, 45 yrs old, married, immigrated 1902 naturalized in 1909, born in Canada, not in school in 1919, able to read and write, parents both born in Ireland, native tongue English, able to speak English, no occupation. McDonald, daughter, female, white, 7 years old, single, able to read and write, born in Minnesota, able to speak English, no occupation.
Source: John McDonald Family, 1920 U.S. Federal Census, International Falls, Koochiching Co., Minnesota, SD&ED 53, Ward 3, Sht. #23A, enumerated January 28, 1920.
Jack served with the International Falls fire department.
The original newspaper article was cut off but it is probably the International Falls Daily Journal, 4/8/1949 – North Country Album – Early Day Photos of Your Centennial Year Scrap Book.
Jack is the J.A. McDonald they list. (Click on the photo and it will appear in a bigger size, then hit your back button to come back to this blog.)