Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois,Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States.
(Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p. 195.
Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.

WILLIAM DONALDSON, a retired farmer residing in Mason, claims Ohio as the State of his nativity. He was born in Georgetown, the county seat of Brown County, August 9, 1821, and is of Irish, Scotch and German descent. Andrew Donaldson, the grandfather of our subject, was of Irish descent but married a Scotch lady, and they had a large family of children. He probably served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and lived to the age of ninety years, while his wife's death occurred at the age of eighty-seven years. Their son, Andrew Donaldson, was the father of our subject. He was born in Georgetown, Ohio, and in early life became a surveyor. He afterward followed farming, and later engaged in coopering. He spent seven years as a surveyor in Indiana and Ohio in early days, when the Indians still lived in those localities. In Brown County of the latter State he married Catherine Baxter, a native of Charleston, W. Va., and a daughter of Allen Baxter, a farmer who resided about three miles east of Charleston, in that State. He was a prominent Methodist and took quite an active part in church work. Both he and his wife lived to an advanced age.

After the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Donaldson they located in Ohio, but subsequently returned to Virginia, where they spent about four years. They then became residents of Boone County, Ky., where they lived until 1853. In that year they removed to Perry County, Ill., and Mr. Donaldson purchased a farm near Pigeonville, where he and his wife and a little niece died within three days of each other of typhus fever. He was sixty-three years of age and his wife was sixty at the time of their deaths. She was a member of the Methodist Church. Mr. Donaldson had served as a recruiting officer in the War of 1812. This worthy couple had a family of ten children, five sons and five daughters, of whom three sons and three daughters are yet living: William; Allen; Jane, wife of Emory Hobbs; Joseph; Caroline, wife of Andrew Hobbs; and Mrs. Minerva Williams, of Gallatin County, Ky.

William Donaldson, whose name heads this record, was reared in Petersburgh, Boone County, Ky., acquired his education in the common schools, and at the age of fourteen years began learning the cooper's trade. After attaining to man's estate he was married, on the 2d of July, 1846, to Miss Sarah Ann, daughter of William and Sarah (Chase) Wingate, natives of Maryland. Nine children were born to our subject and his wife, but three are now deceased, namely: Anna Vista, the eldest; William A., the fifth child, and Henry W., the seventh child. With one exception the other children are all married. Josephine became the wife of David Thistlewood, who died in the fall of 1886, and she resides in Cairo, Ill. She had four children, but Cora is the only one now living. Catherine is the wife of Dr. Condon, of Perry, Iowa, and they have a son, Charles. Lue married John C. Lee, of Mason, and they have two children, David G. and Hall. Charles married Elizabeth, daughter of David Drury, and resides upon a farm in Mason Township with his wife and their son Percy. Cora is the wife of Roy Wright, who follows farming in Mason Township just south of the village. Thomas is the youngest member of this family.

On the 14th of April, 1860, Mr. Donaldson came to Illinois from Carrollton, Ky., and located in the village of Mason. In 1858 he purchased what was known as the Hamilton Farm, comprising one hundred and sixty acres of land a mile from the village. After a year's residence in Mason he removed to the farm, and its boundaries he subsequently extended by the purchase of another one hundred and sixty acres of prairie land and one hundred and twenty acres of timberland, making in all four hundred and forty acres. He has since sold eighty acres of the timber tract. The farm at the time of his removal hither had all been fenced, but more than half of it was unplowed, and deer used to run over the land close to his house. He improved the place with numerous buildings, including a substantial and pleasant eight-room residence. He also built good barns and outbuildings, and divided his land into fields of convenient size, which he placed under a high state of cultivation. He was recognized as a successful and enterprising agriculturist.   

Mr. Donaldson and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he holds the office of Steward. Socially, he is connected with Mason Lodge No. 217, A. F. & A. M. He was also for many years a prominent Odd Fellow, and helped to organize three different lodges, of which he was a charter member. In his political affiliations he is a Prohibitionist. The cause of temperance finds in him a warm friend, the church an earnest advocate, and all worthy interests calculated to prove of public benefit a stanch and hearty supporter.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p. 314. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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