Mary R. McDonnell and Alexander Ryle McDonnell

Mary R.2 McDonnell (Bridget1 Blaney, DanielA) was born in the parish of Madawaska, Carleton Co. (now Madawaska), New Brunswick on 20 July 1838, the daughter of Bridget Blaney and the late James McDonald. She was baptized in St-Basile Church on the 31st of July. Her uncle, Hamilton McDonald, and Marie Levêque were the sponsors. [1] Hamilton McDonald was soon to play an even greater role in Mary's life, as he and Bridget Blaney began living together and had several children together. [2]

The family left New Brunswick after 1851 and had settled in Ohio by 1855, when Bridget and Hamilton's last child was born. [3] It is there that Mary presumably met her husband, Alexander McDonald, since the census indicates that he was born there and that their first two children were also born in that state. [4] Alexander Ryle McDonald was born on 27 August 1837 in Frankin Co. Ohio, the son of Joseph McDonald. [5] His father was born in Canada, his mother in Pennsylvania. The two were married c. 1858, probably in Delaware Co. Ohio where they were living in 1860. Alexander was a tenant farmer, and his father Joseph was living with them. [6] Mary and Alexander were probably cousins, as the two families were living next door in 1860, moved together to Austin, Cass Co. MO in 1866, and had common origins in Canada.

The McDonalds moved to Austin, Cass Co. MO in 1866. [7] Alexander purchased his first land there in December 1865, acquiring "twenty acres, more or less." The land record refers to Alexander as a resident of Franklin Co. Ohio, south of Delaware County, where the family was living in 1860. They may have moved there during the war. [8] In Cass County, the family began to consistently call themselves McDonnell, just as in Ohio and New Brunswick they had used the name McDonnell.

Mary and Alexander were afflicted with more than their fair share of sorrows. Of their six known children, only 2 were still alive in 1900. One daughter died in infancy, Wilford was killed in a riding accident, and the death dates of James and Anna Belle are unknown. (They may have lost other children in infancy as well, as there is an astonishing 14 year gap between the birth of Frances in 1866 and the next child in 1881.) Frank went to Montana and in 1919, when his father died, had not been heard from for many years. Nellie was "of feeble mind" and in 1900, at the age of sixteen, could not read or write. Her disability may have been congenital. She was born when when Mary was already 45 years old, and Mary and Alexander were likely first cousins. Nellie's care undoubtedly caused her parents some anxiety, and their burden must have become even greater when Nellie gave birth to a son out of wedlock when she was 22.

Mary is probably the Mary E McDonnell buried in Austin Cemetery who died on 24 July 1911. [9]S he was still alive in 1910, and according to Alexander's 1919 obituary, Mary died about 10 years earlier. [10]

Alexander bid adieu to his many sorrows on 14 March 1919, slitting his throat with a razor in his barn. He had experienced some recent financial worries as a result of his grandson Bennie emptying his bank account. He had also had to take out a mortgage on his farm in order to make good on a note he had co-signed for a friend. [11] His will made provision for his children and grandson. He appointed George Harger as executor and guardian for Nellie and her 12-year old son, and assigned half his estate for Nellie's upkeep, and another quarter for Bennie's. One-quarter was left for Frank McDonnell, expressing his loving hope and expectation that his son was still alive and would someday write or return home. The estate inventory showed that Alexander died possessed of 1 bay mare, 1 roan cow, 5 dogs, 6 chickens, and a variety of farm equipment and feed. [12] Alexander was buried in Austin Cemetery. [13]

Mary R. McDonnell and Alexander R. McDonnell had the following children:
 

i. James McDonnell was born in Ohio c. 1859. [14] He was not enumerated with the family in 1880, and was certainly dead by 1900, when Mary listed only two living children. [15]
+ ii. Anna Bell McDonnell was born in Ohio c. 1861.
iii. Wilford H. McDonnell was born 14 July 1864 in Ohio. He died on 22 August 1893 as a result of a fall from a horse. He is buried in Austin Ceemtery. [16]
iv. Francis McDonnell was born in Missouri in September 1866. In 1900 he was working as a clerk in Cascade, Cascade Co. MT. [17] His subsequent fate is unknow. His father's obituary stated that Frank was "somewhere in the West but has not been heard from for many years." [18]
v. A daughter, born 8 February 1881 and died a week later on 14 February. The stone reads: "We loved thy tender little one, we would have wished her stay, but let our Father's will be done, she shines in endless day." [19]
+ vi. Rosa Nell McDonnell was born in 32 July 1883 in Austin, Cass Co. MO.

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