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Scots and Scots Descendant in America
Part V - Biographies
Rev. Donald MacDougall


(At the urgent request of many friends, Mr. MacDougall was persuaded to give some of the facts of his life to one who has known him for nearly twenty years and who has written the following sketch.)

DONALD MACDOUGALL, Editor of TRE CALEDONIAN MAGAZINE and Editor-in-Chief of this book, Scots and Scots' Descendants in Amer- ica, and other works, is a descendant of the MacDougalls of Lorne, one of the four oldest families in Scotland. His ancestors for many generations have been tenant farmers of Horisary, North LTist, Inverness-shire. He is the fourth son of nine children of Donald and Mary (MacDonald) MacDougall, and received his early education in the district and governnient schools. At the age of fifteen he taught as a substitute for two terms, and a year later went to Glasgow and received his first business training with his eldest brother. Alexander. At an early age he had manifested a desire to study for the ministry, and after preparation he entered Harley house, the East End Institute. London, and Cliff College, Derbyshire. At the end of three years he was graduated and shortly afterward came to Canada, visiting relatives, and in the fall of 1881 entered Princeton Theological Seminary, and in due time was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of New Brunswick, N. J. The following year he attended Yale Divinity School, where lie received in 1883 the degree of Bachelor of Divinity. During this period Mr. MacDougall. paid for his education from his own earnings from preaching. He was ordained by the Presbytery of Champlain, New York, and began work in the churches of Black Brook and Ausable Forks, where under his ministry a revival took place. Later he took advanced studies in Union Theological Seminary, New York, and in 1885 was sent by the Presbyterian Board to organize churches in New England. In this work he met with marked success, organizing churches in Portland, Maine, Fall River and Taunton, Mass. His pastorate in Taunton covered a period of nearly ten years, where he built a handsome stone church. While Moderator of the Presbytery of Boston, he was in the same year President of the Taunton (Congregational) Association, and as presiding officer received candidates for the ministry in both denominations—a very unusual occurrence. In December, 1886, he married Harriet Daniels Blake, daughter of Rev. Dr. Mortimer Blake, a prominent New England pastor and President of the Board of Trustees of Wheaton Seminary. After leaving Taunton, he was pastor for a short time of the First Presbyterian Church in New Bedford. During his work in this city a man named Daniel Robertson was in prison for the murder of his wife. There was difficulty in bringing the crime home to him, and he persisted in denying his guilt, so that the case went on in court for eighteen months. Mr. MacDougall continued to visit him in his cell and to deal with him about his soul, and at last be became truly penitent, confessed to the murder, and was clearly converted to God, giving a bright testimony to the saving power of Christ before his execution. The Sunday before his death, Mr. MacDougall baptized him and administered the Lord’s Supper.

The continued activity in the organization work in New England began to affect Mr. MacDougall ‘s health, and he was reluctantly compelled by the advice of friends to give up work for a season. With his wife and little daughter Esther, he visited his home in Scotland, and a few months later he started on a prolonged journey around the world, visiting the Far East and Australasia. While in New Zealand, he was busily engaged in evangelistic work, conducting services for months in the leading churches. He became much interested in the native New Zealanders, the Maoris, and later wrote a book, The Conversion of the Maoris of New Zealand, published by the Presbyterian Board, Philadelphia, which has been well-received by all interested in foreign missions.

On his return to the United States by way of San Francisco, visiting Samoa and Honolulu, he again resumed his evangelistic work, preaching in many of the leading churches of Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Brooklyn, where he aroused much interest. When engaged in this work, his wife was suddenly called home, which was a great blow.

While conducting services in Camden, N. J., he came in contact with a noted follower of Robert Ingersoll. This man was a bitter hater of the Gospel, but was prevailed on to come to the services with his Christian wife, and much prayer was made for him. When spoken to, he began to argue and resist the truth, but somehow he could not keep away from the meetings. God laid hold of him, and he yielded himself to Jesus, giving a wonderful public testimony, and has for years been an earnest Sabbath School worker.

Mr. MacDougall, being a Gaelic scholar, occasionally conducted Gaelic services.• In order to reach the Scottish people in general, in April, 1901, he began the publication of THE CALEDONIAN, a monthly magazine devoted to the interests of Scots in America. The magazine has been a saccess from the beginning, many eminent writers contributing to its pages. One of its features has been the presentation of biographical sketches of the leading Scots resident in North America, and from this feature has grown the present monumental work, the first of its kind, and in this arduous task it is pleasing to state that he has received the valuable assistance of many of the leading men of Scottish blood on the American Continent.

Mr. MacDougall has shown an enthusiastic interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the Scottish Societies in America. While he has been repeatedly urged to accept office in the numerous societies to which he is attached, he has preferred to confine himself to his chosen field of work, in which he has met with success. THE CALEDONIAN occupies a unique place, and has combined the qualities of a high class literary periodical of high moral tone with that of disseminating news of a national character among the Scots and their descendants. Its constantly increasing popularity is the best proof of its intrinsic worth. It may be said to be a reflex of the intellectual activities of the Scots at home and abroad, and is a monument of the industry of the accomplished and worthy Editor.

As we already stated, Mr. MacDougall, whose ministry is spread throughout the country, is a native of the western isles of Scotland, and in his own mental and physical attributes is a fine type of that hardy, persevering race.

Mr. MacDougall is a member of the Presbytery of New York, the St. Andrew’s Society of the State of New York, the Scots’ Charitable Society of Boston, a life member and director of the Caledonian Hospital, and a member of the 0. S. C., etc. As a preacher and lecturer he is in demand. He has written The Conversion of the Maoris of New Zealand, A Short History of Scotland, and compiles an Annual Directory of the Scottish Societies of the United States, Great Britain, and the Dominions; has contributed to periodicals; has been Editor and Business Manager of THE CALEDONIAN for the past seventeen years; and is Editor-in-Chief of Scots and Scots’ Descendants in America, which he considers his greatest literary work.

Mr. MacDougall was a member of the Hudson Tercentenary Joint Committee and of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration Commission (1909), and also a member of the Dedications Committee.

Mr. MacDougall married in June, 1903, Ruth Gage, daughter of Abner D. and Anna (Claffin) Strong, of Ashtabula, Ohio, a graduate of Wellesley College, who is a great help to him in his literary work. Their daughter, Esther Blake MacDougall, is a young woman of promise, a real MacDougall.


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