McDonald, Rev. Alex.
Douglas, Seaforth, Province of Ontario, was born on Nov. 9th, 1832, in the
citadel, Quebec. His parents were John and Isabella (Douglas) McDonald,
and they died before our subject attained his eighth year. His father had
been a bandmaster in the 79th Highland regiment, and was present at the
battles of Corunna and Waterloo. The regiment was ordered home, and
bandmaster McDonald remained in Canada. In 1837, he joined the Queen's Own
Rifles, under Col. Kigsmill, to aid in the suppression of McKenzie's
rebellion. For his service in the army he received a pension of two
shillings a day, and a grant of land, consisting of 200 acres, in the
township of Clarke, County of Durham. Shortly after the rebellion was
over, this worthy man died. Our subject had a brother seven years older
than himself, and he died many years ago. After his father's death, A.D.
McDonald went in the country and lived with a farmer, where he worked for
his board till he was eighteen years of age. He then commenced his
studies, in the face of almost every difficulty. He attended a school at
Toronto, known as the Toronto Academy, under the charge of the late
Professor Gale, Knox College. For some years after he had commenced his
studies, he worked on the farm during the winter. He taught school on the
fourth concession of Blenheim, during the summers of 1853 and 1854; and
during the summer of 1855 he was employed as a missionary, and preached at
Westport and Newburgh. In 1856 and 1857 he was a missionary at Collingwood
and Bradford. After graduating from Knox College in the spring of 1858, he
was employed as an assistant of the late Dr. Bayne, of Knox church, Galt.
During the summer he was licensed by the Hamilton presbytery, and in
October of that year he went to preach at Clinton, Huron county. In April,
1859, he was ordained minister of Willis Church, Clinton, and remained
there until April, 1869. During eight years of that time he was clerk of
the Huron presbytery, and superintendent of common schools in the village
of Clinton and township of Tuckersmith. In August, 1869, the Rev. Mr.
McDonald was settled as pastor of Knox church, Elora, and acted for some
years as chairman of the High School Board there. In April, 1879, he was
called to, and was inducted as pastor of, the First Presbyterian church,
Seaforth, and in this position he remains still. During the year 1883 he
filled the position of moderator of the Synod of Hamilton and London; and
he has acted at Seaforth for two years as chairman of the High School
Board. In 1880 his congregation sent him on a trip to Great Britain, and
while there he visited the best known cities of England, Ireland and
Scotland. In 1882 he travelled through Manitoba and the North-West, going
as far as Moose Jaw. He has been all his life a Presbyterian. Mr. McDonald
was married at Paris on the 23rd of June, 1859, to Agnes Cavan, third
daughter of James Cavan, Paris. The fruit of the marriage is ten children,
four of whom are dead. The eldest son is employed as book-keeper in the
wholesale establishment of Turner, MacKeand & Co., Winnipeg. His second
son is book-keeper with John Mather, merchant, Winnipeg, and three other
boys, and the youngest, a girl, are still at home. The life of Rev. Mr.
McDonald clearly shows what can be done through perseverance under adverse
circumstances, and is a good example that might be followed with advantage
by many of the young men now studying for the ministry.