Events did not go well for R.S. McDonald since he left International Falls, Minnesota. He lost his general store in Grand Prairie, Alberta. The family lore says that his partner gambled it away. It looks like he might have headed to Albany, Oregon for a while according to his daughter Eddie. He was indicted in a court case involving land fraud in Koochiching County, Minnesota.
Somehow he found his way to Cheney, Spokane County, Washington by 1919 according to his traveling card from the Knights of Columbus.
Cheney is located southwest of the city of Spokane. Highway I90 takes you right by the town. You can take 904 into Cheney. Here is an article on Cheney, Washington from Wikipedia with a map attached.
Photo: LtoR: Back row – Jean, Gordon, Eddie. Middle Row: R.S. (Ronald), Miriam, Vivian and Nellie (sister to Ronald). Front and center my dad, Keith Barclay John MacDonald.
The 1920 U.S. Federal Census lists them all:
Seventh, 314, 30, 32, McDonald, Ronald, S. Head, R, M, W, 54, Widow, 85, nA 93 or 98, yes, yes, Canada, English, father born in Canada, mother born in Canada, English, yes, Lumberman is crossed out and none is written in. McDonald, Nellie E., Sister, F, W, 49, S 1900 Al, yes, yes, Canada, English, father born in Canada, mother born in Canada, English, none. McDonald Vivian L., daughter, F, W, 17, S, yes, yes, yes, Minnesota. McDonald Gordon R G, son, M, W, 15, S, yes, yes, yes, Minnesota. McDonald Miriam A, daughter, F, W, 13, S, yes, yes, yes, Minnesota. McDonald Edna L, daughter, F, W, 12, S, yes, yes, yes, Minnesota, McDonald Jean L E, daughter, F, W, 11, S, yes, yes, yes, Minnesota, McDonald Keith B.J., son, M, W, 9, S, yes, yes, yes, Minnesota.
Source: Ronald S. McDonald Family, 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Cheney, Spokane Co., Washington, SD#5, ED#117, Sht No. 2A (8251), West Cheney Twp., Cheney, a city of the third class, Enumerated on 6 January 1920, by G.H. Host.
Why did R.S. head for Cheney? Well I think it was because his children were growing up. Vivian was getting ready to graduate from high school for she was turning 18 in May of 1920. Gordon was getting close, he had two more years to go. Miriam was soon to follow, then Eddie and Jean. Keith was still in grammar school and wouldn’t graduate till about 1925. There might have been an economic issue in that R.S. was looking for work in the lumber industry in the Spokane area.
Cheney had the normal school which we know today as the Eastern Washington University. Vivian, Miriam and Jean would take the career path and become teachers. Gordon and Eddie would take a few years in Normal school but their paths would go in a different direction. Gordon would teach for a short time and end up at Boeing in Seattle. Eddie would eventually go into nursing. Keith he was headed for a mechanics career that would take him to becoming an airplane mechanic.
All of the children attended Cheney High School except Keith. He would go to Gonzaga in Spokane which was both a high school and a college all in one at that time. Wikipedia has another article that can shed light on this bit of confusion of two types of curriculum in one location. Gonzaga Preparatory School was in the basement of the Gonzaga University as the article explains. When I was researching my father, I had to go to the Special Collections at the Gonzaga University to get the history of this prep school and find out more about my dad’s involvement. This particular genealogical research trip took place in 2002.