Pages 410-411, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




JOHN M. McDONALD—On the county roster of Allen county appears the name of John M. McDonald who has just closed a service of six years as a member of the board of county commissioners. The public trust thus reposed in him is well merited for he is a citizen of patriotic spirit and faithful to his duties at all times. He was born in Lexington, McLean county, Illinois, February 22, 1843. His father, James McDonald, came from Kentucky, taking up his abode in McLean county in 1833, his home being on a farm near Lexington. His birth had occurred in the former State in 1816. He was married at Spencer, Owen county, Indiana, to Miss Sally I. McNaught, daughter of Robert McNaught, one of the pioneers of that county. Three children were born of this union: Mrs. Harriet Todd, wife of J. W. Todd, of Tulare county, California; Emily, deceased wife of Dennis McCarty, who also resides in Tulare county; and John M., of this review. The father continued his residence in Illinois until 1857, when he came to Kansas, bringing with him his family. He located upon the farm now occupied by his son and there resided until 1874. The journey to this State consumed a month for they traveled in the primitive manner of the times, crossing the Mississippi river at Louisiana, Missouri.

John M. McDonald spent the first fourteen years of his life in the county of his birth and then accompanied his parents on their emigration to the Sunflower State, arriving in Allen county in the month of October. He well remembers many incidents of the trip and can also relate many stories of pioneer life in this section of the country. He obtained his education in the country schools, acquiring a good knowledge of those branches of learning which fit one for life's practical duties. At the time of the Civil war the spirit of patriotism was aroused within him and, in October, 1861, he joined the boys in blue of Company E, Ninth Kansas Cavalry, under Colonel Lynde, Henry Flesher being in command of the company. He was mustered in at Iola and with his regiment was sent to Leavenworth in February, 1862. In May of the same year the troops were ordered back through Iola to Grand River, in the Indian Territory, and participated in the battle of Prairie Grove and several minor engagements. Subsequently they returned to Fort Scott where the regiment was detailed to guard the Missouri and Kansas line, being stationed there for one year. Later it was sent to Fort Smith, Arkansas, and to Harrisonville, Missouri, spending the winter of 1863-4 in the latter place, and while there Mr. McDonald and others re-enlisted. After a furlough of thirty days, during which time he visited his home, he rejoined his regiment as a veteran. In the meantime


the Ninth Kansas Cavalry had been sent to Fort Smith and thence proceeded to Little Rock. In July of that year they participated in several engagements with the bushwhackers under Rayburn, and from the Arkansas capital they were sent to Brownsville of that State, on White river, where the winter of 1864-5 was passed. During that winter and the following spring and summer they again met the bushwhackers in several engagements. After four years of faithful service, in which he loyally defended the starry banner of the Union, Mr. McDonald was honorably discharged in August, 1865, at Brownsville.

Returning to Iola he has continuously resided in Allen county. He was married at the county-seat in August, 1866, to Miss Levina Anderson, who came to Allen county from Cuyahoga county, Ohio. She has two brothers living, T. T. Anderson, of Iola, and George Anderson, a resident of Baxter Springs, Kansas. Unto Mr. and Mrs. McDonald have been born four children, Anna, Cora, Lura and Frank, who are all with their parents.

As a means of livelihood Mr. McDonald has followed farm and stockraising, and during his connection with those pursuits he has, through energetic effort, guided by sound judgment, won a comfortable competence. In politics he has ever been a stalwart Republican. He was twice elected township trustee. In the fall of 1894 he was elected to the office of county commissioner, was re-elected in 1897 and in 1898 he became chairman of the board. During his incumbency many improvements were made in the county buildings and the work of substantial progress has been carried forward in a marked degree, thus winning the commendation of all public-spirited and enterprising citizens. His career, both public and private, has been marked by the strictest integrity and faithfulness to every trust reposed in him. The record of his life is unclouded by a shadow of wrong or a suspicion of evil, and he is today as true to his duties of citizenship as when he followed the starry banner upon the battlefields of the South.

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