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Rev. Alex. Douglas McDonald


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.


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