Biographical History of Pottawattmie Co., IA - William McDONALD
Biographical History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa

WILLIAM McDONALD was born in Addison Township, Steuben County, New York, March 10, 1822, the son of Elihu McDonald, a native of Scotland, and Margaret (Helmer) McDonald, who was born in New York State. Early in life he was left an orphan, his father having, died when he was a babe and his mother when he was only three years old. He was reared by a man named Rollin Saunders, to whom he was given by his relatives. Mr. Saunders owned a farm and kept a hotel and bar. When not employed at work on the rocky and stumpy land, young McDonald sold whisky at the bar for three cents a drink. At those times almost every one took his dram, and it was not infrequent that ministers of the Gospel came to the bar, drank their whisky and there discussed questions of church doctrine and affairs of State. Brought up with these surroundings, Mr. McDonald received but a limited education. He, however, made up for its lack by the knowledge gained in the school of experience.

At the age of twenty-three years our subject was united in marriage with Savilla Rising. She was born in Oswego County, New York, daughter of Henry and Clarissa (Noble) Rising. By this marriage seven children were born, namely: Eveline Mosely; Emma, a resident of Wright Township, Pottawattamie County, Iowa; Martha Sherburn; Mary, wife of O. O. Hotchkiss, of Wright Township; John, also of Wright Township; Hattie Middaugh and Willie, of Washington. The mother of these children died in Steuben County, New York, December 14, 1855. Two years later, December 31, 1857, Mr. McDonald wedded Miss Mary E. Aldrich, also a native of Steuben County, New York. Her parents, Warner M. and Fidelia (Eddy) Aldrich, were natives of Rhode Island. They trace their ancestry back to the Aldriches who came to America in the far-famed Mayflower.

Mr. McDonald remained in New York until 1866, when he moved to Bureau County, Illinois. From there, in 1877, he came to Pottawattamie County, Iowa, and settled in Wright Township. In 1883 he bought his present eighty-acre farm in section 13, same township. This land at the time of purchase was wild and unimproved. As the result of his well directed efforts it now assumes a different appearance. On a natural building, site he erected a good frame house, 24 x 26 feet, a story and a half, from which an excellent view of the farm and surrounding country is obtained. His other farm buildings and improvements all attest the thrift and enterprise of the owner.

By his present wife Mr. McDonald has had five children, four of whom are living: Beers L., at home; Charles W., who is in railroad employ in Mississippi; Carl E., a resident of Wright Township; and Julia Elma, wife of E. R. Pierson. Their son, Jay, died at the age of eighteen months. Mr. McDonald is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Politically he is a Republican. He is nearly seventy years old, weighs 275 pounds, is cordial and jovial in his disposition, and seems to make the most of this life. He is honored and esteemed by all who know him.

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