JOHN McDONALD. - November 25, 1905, witnessed the passing of John McDonald, veteran soldier and farmer in Kansas for a period of forty years or thereabouts. Although six years have elapsed since his death, in the hearts of his family and in the eyes of the members of the community in which he was so greatly respected and loved, he still lives in and through his children and the influence he left behind him.
Born in county Monaghan, Ireland, in 1829, of Irish parentage, Mr. McDonald spent the first sixteen years of his life on the Emerald Isle, where he attended school. At the age of sixteen he severed the ties which bound him to home and country, took passage for the United States, where he landed in 1845. He proceeded at once to Cincinnati, Ohio and later spent some time in St. Louis, and New Orleans, employed in various kinds of work, and through his traveling about in this manner he was able to gain a fair idea, of the trouble which was brewing between the north and the south. When war was actually declared, he was in Kansas City, operating a tannery at the corner of Twelfth street and Grand, with Mr. Warpoll as his partner. During the McDonald served on the Home Militia or Home Guards, and he did not travel far from home, he was nevertheless a witness participant in many hard fought battles. He could relate those adventurous times, stories of bloodshed, pillage and hairbreadth escapes.
In 1866, after the close of hostilities, Mr. McDonald come to Shawnee township, where he bought three hundred acres of wild land. Indians lived on all sides of him, at times making incursion on the white men's territory. He made a small clearing on his timber land and here he built a log cabin, living an the "bottoms" of his farm. Later he built a frame house on the hill - his home for many years. He cut down trees, made a wood yard, and sold lumber and ties road that was then being laid, thus clearing his land and making considerable money at the same time. In the course of years he cleared the entire three hundred acres and brought it under a fine state of cultivation. One hundred acres of this tract is still owned by the McDonald family. When a young man Mr. McDonald married Miss Teresa Chanet of Kansas City, Missouri. Of the five children who were born to this union only two are living, Francis, who lives in Argentine and Ernest who lives on the old homestead. Of the other three we make the following note: - Mary did not survive infancy; John C. died in his fortieth year, was buried in St. Mary's cemetery and his widow, Elizabeth (Foyil) McDonald, is still living; Patrick lived until his thirty-third birthday, when he was summoned to the life eternal; his body lies in Shawnee cemetery. When the father had reached the ripe old age of seventy-six, he breathed his last and passed on to another sphere. He had lived a simple, useful life, with no desire for public honors of any description, no wish to dabble in politics, and contented himself with voting the straight Democratic ticket. He was naturally interested in all matters of local improvement, and was at all times ready to lend his aid to any movement towards the uplift of the state which was his by adoption.
Ernest, the youngest member of the McDonald family, was born July 12, 1880, in the old log house before referred to, was educated in district school No. 16 and brought up as a farmer, an occupation he has always followed. He owns twenty acres of the original tract of land that his father bought in 1866; on this he has built a modern home on the Rock Valley road, his residence today. His farm is highly cultivated and he grows vegetables of all descriptions, for which he finds a ready market in Kansas City. Although Mr. McDonald is a farmer, as was his father, he has departed from the political creed held by his worthy parent, and is a stanch Republican, formerly the holder of public office. He was elected road overseer, in which capacity he made such a good record for himself, that he was later elected township trustee. This election was, however, contested, and when the judge assumed the bench, he issued an injunction against Mr. McDonald, so that he served only one day, a distinct loss to the community.
In 1909, Ernest McDonald married Miss Marie Brus, daughter of Julius and Mary Brus of Shawnee township. October 17, 1909, their little daughter, Marie, was born.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project