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A. C. McDonald Biography


This biography appears on pages 854-857 in "History of Dakota Territory" by George W. Kingsbury, Vol. IV (1915) 

A valuable farm situated on section 35, Spirit Mound township, Clay county, bears witness through its splendid condition to the energy and efficiency of its owner, A. C. McDonald, who was born in Grey county, Ontario, Canada, on the 29th of August, 1859, a son of Andrew and Mary McDonald. The parents were born in the vicinity of Edinburgh. Scotland, and were there married. They resided in their native land for a number of years thereafter, but the accounts of unusual opportunities offered in America finally induced them to emigrate to the new world. They brought with them their six children who were born in Scotland and the subject of this review was born to them in Canada, where they first settled, remaining there for sixteen years. In January, 1875, they removed to Clay county, South Dakota, and the father purchased land upon which he farmed until his death in 1893. He survived his wife for eighteen years, as she passed away September 5, 1875. Four children survived the parents: George, now deceased; Andrew, of Clay county; Daniel, who has passed away; and A. C., of this review. 

The last named received his education partly in Canada and partly in South Dakota and remained with his father until the latter's death. He then took charge of the homestead, which he has continuously operated since. He also deals in live stock and finds both branches of his activity profitable. He now owns four hundred acres of land in Spirit Mound township, which is well improved and all under cultivation, but this does not constitute his sole property, however, as he is a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator Company of Vermillion and also of the Farmers Telephone Company. His prosperity is well deserved, as he has labored energetically and given much thought to the planning of his work, realizing that wisely directed industry will achieve results. 

In 1882 Mr. McDonald was married to Miss Carrie Olson, who was born in Kendall county, Illinois, a daughter of Stephen and Isabel Olson, natives of Norway, who emigrated to America after their marriage and settled in Illinois. In 1867 they came to South Dakota, locating in Spirit Mound township, Clay county, where the father entered a homestead and lived upon his land until his demise, which occurred on the 22d of February, 1905. His wife preceded him in death five years, passing away in 1900. Eight of their nine children survive, namely: Ole S., Mrs. H. E. Vaughn, David, Mrs. McDonald, Michael, Mrs. Lakewall, Mrs. Lee Alben and Samuel. Carrie is deceased. To Mr. and Mrs. McDonald were born fifteen children, of whom eleven survive: Mrs. Mary Yusten, the wife of a butcher residing in Vermillion; A. Virgil, at home; George, who is farming a part of his father's farm; Mrs. Grace Christopherson, of Clay county; Ernest, of Clay county; Harold and Mildred, at home; Hazel, a high-school student; and Raymond, Horace E. and Cordon, also in school. Wallace, John, Carrie and Lucile have passed away. The family are members of the Lutheran church and do much to aid in the furtherance of its work. 

Mr. McDonald is a republican and was a delegate from Spirit Mound township at the convention which nominated the first state officers in 1889. For eight years he served as chairman of the township board and is now in his fifth year as township treasurer. He has also held other local offices. Fraternally he belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America and the Homesteaders. From 1877 to 1879 inclusive he was in the Black Hills and discovered the first and most valuable mica mine of the section. The greater part of his life has been devoted to agricultural pursuits and he has become one of the successful and highly efficient farmers of Clay county, where he is held in high esteem by all who know him.