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George Macdonell

Macdonell, George, Cornwall, was born in 1824, in Inverness-shire, Scotland, and is a son of Angus Macdonell and Ann Stewart, both natives of the above county. There were twelve sons born to this worthy couple, and George was the youngest. The family came to Canada in 1827, George then being about three years of age, and settled in the township of Kenyon, in the County of Glengarry, where Angus Macdonell took up lands. Here he erected a homestead, which he occupied until his death, which took place in 1847. George Macdonell attended the township school, and afterwards that at the village of Alexandria, in Glengarry. About the date of his leaving school (1843),. the Beauharnois Canal was being constructed, and he received the appointment of timekeeper, and afterwards that of foreman on these works. After the completion of this canal Mr. Macdonell managed a store at Athol for A. F. Macdonald, where he continued for three years, acquiring in that period a considerable knowledge of mercantile life He subsequently purchased the business, and carried it on for himself, and in addition went into the manufacture of pearl ash, saw-milling, lumber dealing and farming. These various branches he successfully operated until 1866, when he sold out, and then moved to the Glen farm, in Williamstown. Here he resided until 1868, when he removed to Cornwall. Here he commenced business as a general merchant, and be soon built up a large and prosperous establishment, which he still conducts. Mr. Macdonell always took a deep interest in municipal matters where ever he resided. He was elected reeve of the township of Roxborough, which office he held for twelve successive years; and he was appointed warden of the united counties of Dundas, Stormont and Glemgarry, by acclamation, in 1860. When he retired from that position, he still continued a member of the county council, up to the close of 1869. In his earlier career, he was a supporter of the Hon. John Sandfield Macdonald, but he subsequently allied himself more particularly with the Conservative party. In the troubles of 1837 and 1838, Mr. Macdonell served in the Kenyon battalion of militia, and has a vivid recollection of those stirring times. He has always continued his interest in military matters, having been successively lieutenant, captain and major; and he succeeded in the lieutenant-colonelcy to the late J. Sandfield Macdonald, of the Cornwall militia, which rank he now holds. He is also associated with the Rifle Association of Cornwall, of which he is now president. Mr. Macdonell has been married twice; first on April 8th, 1861, to Ellen, daughter of Colonel James Macdonald, of Williamstown, Glengarry, by whom he had two sons and one daughter. After the death of his first wife, he married Mrs C. M. Mulhern, who is still living. The eldest son is engaged with his father in mercantile pursuits, and the younger is attending school. While in business at Athol in 1862, Mr. Macdonell was appointed postmaster of that place, and held the office until 1866, when he resigned on relinquishing his other business there. In December, 1870, he was appointed postmaster at Cornwall, and still holds that responsible position. Mr. Macdonell is a Roman catholic, and as usual with members of that communion, has not changed his views much on religious subjects. He is president of the St. Andrew's Society of Cornwall, and is held in the highest esteem by his fellow citizens. He was, during the the lifetime of the late J. Sandfield Macdonald, the latter's intimate friend and trusted confidant. Endowed with a good physique, he is still a splendid specimen of the Scotch Canadian, and bids fair to have many years of usefulness still before him.

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