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From "Portrait and Biographical Album of Henry County, Iowa" Chicago: Acme
Publishing Company, 1888, Pages 281-282:
OLIVER McDONALD is a farmer of Baltimore Township, Henry Co., Iowa. One of
the early settlers of this State was the father of our subject, who located in
Pleasant Grove Township, Des Moines County, in 1837, on land adjoining that
upon which his son Oliver now resides. Originally, the McDonalds were of Scotch
and Irish ancestry, and we trace their history back to Maryland, where John,
father of Oliver McDonald, was born. He went to Kentucky a single man, and
later wedded Mary Mahan, near Lexington, in that State. Most of their children
were born in Adair County, Ky. They were: Elizabeth T., wife of Isaac
Cornelius, and both now deceased; Alexander, who died single; John E., wedded to Mary
L. Parrot; W. Wallace, who died in childhood; Archibald C., who died
unmarried, and Oliver, of whom we write, completes the list. He is the only living
representative of the family. In the spring of 1836 the family went to
McDonough County, Ill., and not finding a good title to the land there open for entry,
Mr. McDonald pushed on to Iowa and took the claim mentioned above, leaving
his family in Illinois until the next spring. The lands are on what is known as
the Black Hawk purchase, and that celebrated chief, with his band, was at
Burlington when the emigrants landed in Iowa. Oliver, who was born June 3, 1828,
was a lad, but being so near their village for nearly a year, he formed a
personal acquaintance with many of the tribe, as well as with the chief Black
Hawk. This village was a mile and a half above Burlington, at the mouth of Flint
Creek, now in the city limits, and Oliver remembers well when the tribe took
their final departure. Even after they had gone and came back on annual
visits to Burlington to receive their annuity, boys with whom he played remembered
him, as they stopped often at his father's cabin.
Familiar in every detail with pioneer life, our subject, who has lived for
half a century upon the same land, has witnessed its entire development, from
the first cabin to the fine farm house and substantial home which take the place
of the old cabins and pole sheds of fifty years ago. The death of his mother
occurred when Oliver was only six months old, and his father, who loved her
with all the fervor that a fond husband can love, remained true to her memory.
His daughter Elizabeth was her father's housekeeper until her marriage, and
then his sister, Maria McDonald, remained with him during his lifetime. He
died in 1854 in his seventy-first year, and his remains were interred at Pleasant
Grove Cemetery in Baltimore Township.
Oliver McDonald, the same year, was married to Miss Ann R. Algeo, of Des
Moines County. She is the daughter of John and Ann (Stewart) Algeo, and the
paternal ancestors were of Irish origin. They came from Wellsburg, Va., where she
was born, and the family removed to this State about 1847. John Algeo went to
California in 1850, and died in a mining camp. After her daughter, Eugenie
Archer, and her husband, decided to go to California, Mrs. Algeo resolved to
accompany them, and in that State her death occurred later. She was the mother
of six children: Thomas, John, Ann R., Eugenie, William and Ridgeley. Four of
these are now living: John wedded Louisa Harlan; Eugenie married John Archer;
Ridgeley was married in California and lives there, and Ann is the wife of
our subject, and was born Dec. 29, 1837.
After the death of his father and the other heirs, Mr. McDonald and his
brother, John E., purchased the old homestead, and our subject now owns the
original site where stood the pioneer cabin. The domestic life of the young couple
was begun on the same tract, and the same residence to-day is the one in which,
for almost thirty-five years, they have lived the happiest of lives. Four
children have blessed their union: John E. and William Edgar, who are single;
Anna B., wife of Seneca Kelley, a farmer of New London Township, and Milton, the
husband of Ivenette Williams, residing in Danville Township, Des Moines
The family circle remains intact, and in a cosy home, with all that makes
life worth living, and with children of whom they have every reason to feel
proud, the historian leaves the subject of this sketch, who has been an industrious
and fortunate man, and has accumulated since he began life for himself, 280
acres of very desirable land. Neither he nor his father have ever desired or
ever held public office, but as citizens, gentlemen, and kindly neighbors, few
men have greater credit. Mr. and Mrs. McDonald are members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church at Pleasant Grove, of which he has been Steward and
Class-Leader, and is now a Trustee. Socially he is a member of Charity Lodge No. 56,
I.O.O.F., of New London, and in politics has been a life-long Democrat.
Welcome! This is the former Rootsweb list, IAHENRY. We'll be discussing the history and genealogy of Henry County, Iowa including the surrounding region of southeastern Iowa.
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