Washington County "Little Washington" Pennsylvania
Genealogy and Family History 




Introduction to newspapers of McDONALD, PA
and Surrounding areas

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               First National Bank, McDonald, PA

First National Bank Building, McDonald, PA

To the left is South McDonald St., and straight ahead is West Lincoln Ave.

See First National Bank Building, McDonald, PA in different years [LARGE PHOTO]

Article about First National Bank of McDonald PA and Photos of Employees


Ever wonder WHO founded, wrote, edited, and published the newspapers, like the ones on this site from McDonald PA?  Read about Fulton PHILLIPS, a vigorous newspaper entrepreneur, writer, and editor!


A History of McDonald PA written in 1917


June 18, 1892

Unknown McDonald newspaper

A successful beginning

The First National Bank of McDonald opened for business at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. About $10,000 was deposited the first day. The safe has been placed in a fireproof vault built of bricks laid in cement. The officers of the institution are: President, Edward MCDONALD; directors, J. D. SAUTERS, W. B. MOORHEAD, J. R. GLADDEN, Samuel STURGEON, J. A. HUNTER, David CAMPBELL, Sam’l. SHANE, P. HOEY, and Edward MCDONALD. Mr. KELSO, of the Burgettstown National Bank is assisting the management for a few days.


Born March 28, 1915 in McDonald, Pennsylvania, Jay Livingston's perennial hit of 1948, "Silver Bells, " might easily capture an early street scene of his birthplace, amid the hustle and bustle of a growing town....

"City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style 
In the air there’s a feeling like Christmas 
Children laughing, people passing 
Meeting smile after smile 
And on every street corner you hear 

Silver bells, silver bells 
It’s Christmas time in the city 
Ring-a-ling, hear them ring 
Soon it will be Christmas day 

Strings of street lights 
Even stop lights 
Blink a bright red and green 
As the shoppers rush home with their treasures 
Hear the snow crunch 
See the kids bunch 
This is Santa’s big scene 
And above all the bustle you hear 

Silver bells, silver bells 
It’s Christmas time in the city 
Ring-a-ling, hear them ring 
Soon it will be Christmas day."

(Songwriter duo Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.  Livingston was a composer and lyricist who, with Ray Evans, scored more than 80 films and won three Best Song Oscars for “Que Sera Sera,” “Buttons and Bows,” and “Mona Lisa.” .)

~ ~ ~

            "City sidewalks, busy sidewalks...."  The sound on those McDonald streets and in businesses was new money!  Yes, indeed, McDonald was a very fortunate place to live and work in the late 1800s when oil was discovered.  Oil wells brought jobs, jobs brought an influx of immigrant workers many of whom were very skilled in their trades.   Coal miners were present in high numbers along with oil men.  Life was measured in tons and barrels along with the clack of railroad cars on the tracks, hauling coal away from the mines.  Newspapers contained regular updates on not only the oil produced by wells and tons of coal mined, but the diameter of wells and the depths made to the access the oil and coal.  Progress was in how many feet a new well was sunk in the fewest days possible, and the number of barrels produced.

            McDonald was the talk of Oil City, once "the" oil capitol of western Pennsylvania, where they referred to McDonald as the "wonderfield."  Competition was very evident and boasting rights was the norm, as seen in the following write-up of the Oil City Derrick  and republished in the McDonald PA Outlook on July 9, 1892:

"The Oil Field
        McDonald through June maintained the lead she has so persistently held since coming into prominence as an oil district. Her daily production as revealed by the gauges and pipe lines runs has continued at very nearly constant figures, and it is still one of the most remarkable features of the times. In the month just closed there were 58 productive wells and five dry holes completed at McDonald. The new production was 4,966 barrels, or an average of 85 1/2 barrels to the well. The figures for May were almost identical, there having been 58 wells, 6 dusters, with a new production of 4,958 barrels and has no appreciable effect in the averages. The 64 new wells in April averaged a little more than 65 barrels each, while those of march were good for 118 barrels and those of February for 101 barrels apiece.

        McDonald contributed about 56 per cent of the entire amount of new production for June, her 58 wells being credited with 4,966 of the 9,587 barrels of crude supplied by the new wells. The production of this wonderfield was over 63 percent, for May and April, and for March 82 percent.

        In new work McDonald supplies 12 rigs and 81 wells drilling, a decrease of 18 from the figures at the close of May. There were in this field on the last day April 94 drilling wells and 23 rigs. On March 31, the field contained 29 rigs and 112 drilling wells, and on February 29, 32 rigs and 116 wells drilling. On May 31 the record showed 16 rigs and 95 drilling wells. After McDonald Sistersville ranks second in importance. It has developed several surprised during the past month and materially enlarged it prospective area. The wells are huge producers of salt water, but there is likewise a plentiful supply of the oleaginous fluid, and already a large number of oil men have been attracted to the region. Twenty-one wells were added to the producing list at Sistersville during the month just closed; the total yield of the new wells was 3,270 barrels, or an average of 156 barrels to the well. The may wells were 10 in number and the production 745 barrels. For the last day of June, Sistersville records 19 rigs and 33 drilling wells as compared with 10 rigs and 18 wells drilling on the last day of May. - From the Oil City Derrick"

Posted to the PaWashin Mailing List in Nov. 2005.


From July 23, 1892 McDonald PA Outlook 
Oil Boom Recedes 

        "McDonald has never before shown such signs of permanent prosperity as she does this summer. Confidence has been restored among the people. No longer is it predicted, as with reason it was, that the town will be destroyed by fire. Men are now willing to put their money into new buildings, and we have many fine residences going up in all parts of town. No longer is the pedestrian on our streets obliged to hear at every step the profanity and obscenity of the creatures that came here from every quarter in the wake of legitimate oil operators; nor are we compelled to hear the ravings of people, theretofore sane, about the fortunes to be made in oil, and about the leasing of little lots, about putting half a dozen derricks on an acre. No more do we see men on every side deserting the lines of business to which fortune had assigned them and for which nature and educated had fitted them and rushing headlong with their last dollar and their last energies into the utter darkness of oil prospecting and oil speculation. Every man almost has regained his senses, and to our population has been added many a good man and good family from among those who came among us to work intelligently at the oil business which has now ceased to bury every other business and has taken its proper place in the minds of the people along with the coal, the mercantile, agricultural and other interests that are rapidly making McDonald one of the most important places in the state. Thanks to Providence that we are all once more upon our feet never again to be bedeviled by any kind of a "boom". We may now with confidence invite the stranger to enter within our gates and dwell here. Here he may with safety invest his capital and here he may bring his family and make his home. One year of Hades we've had; we may hope for a thousand of peace and prosperity now."  -Posted to the PaWashin Mailing List in Aug. 2005.


The area was described in the Feb. 16, 1912 issue of the McDonald PA Record as 

"The Thriving Town of McDonald 

The Secretary of Internal Affairs of the State of Pennsylvania, in the thirty-eighth annual report of the Bureau of Industrial Statistics just issued refers to McDonald as follows:

"McDonald is a thriving borough of 2,543 inhabitants, situated in the northern end of the county, along the line of the P. C. C. & S. L. R. R., better known as the Panhandle Road. It has excellent advantages of location, being eighteen miles west of Pittsburgh, which may be reached in thirty minutes by frequent train service. Pittsburgh district freight rates prevail. The best producing oil field in the county is in the vicinity of McDonald. The yield is about 8,000 barrels a day and employment is given to 150 men. 

The town has two financial institutions, one of which stands second in the county in the matter of stock valuation, and both are thrift and progressive. A capital of $175,000.00 is represented; surplus and undivided profits, $252, 398.00; deposits, $1,307, 564.00; resources, $1,752,441.00.

The mines of this important section employ 2,500 men and provide active trade for McDonald. Special Saturday and payday trains are maintained to bring customers here. The year 1910 was exceptionally steady in the local mines. Building operations of all kinds are progressing and various industrial plants, such as glass works and machine shops, are maintained. 

The living conditions of this section are excellent. The streets of the town are well paved and electrically lighted, two plants supplying service of that nature to the borough and to private consumers. Both coal and gas supply unlimited fuel at low cost, and there is an abundance of good fresh foods, pure air, and water of excellent quality. Public schools of high grade and churches of all denominations are maintained. The population is industrious and thrifty, many having their own homes. Nearly all of the buildings are comparatively new and many are very beautiful." 


           Documenting McDonald's growth as a town and through the lives of its residents and workers were "two major papers, The Record and The Outlook until about 1932 when they combined to become The Record-Outlook.  Along the way there appears to have been some limited edition papers such as the Robinson's Valley News, and I believe that The Argus  predated both the Record and the Outlook, but I don't know of any issues of that in existence." - from Victoria Hospodar Valentine, researcher and transcriber.  The Argus was still in circulation in the 1880s [see March 30, 1934 McDonald PA Record-Outlook, "Out of the Long Ago Forty-five Years Ago, March 30, 1889" which mentions a writer for the Argus].


            The newspaper articles presented here give glimpses into the lives of men, women, and families during lifetimes spent in the areas in and near McDonald, PA.  We hope you find useful items that add to your family tree.



This is a color copy of a $50.00 "note" from The First National Bank of McDonald, Pennsylvania, 1929.  I was informed it is a "Type 1, under Charter # 4752, Low Serial # 11.  There are only 6 in the Kelly Book, Only $50's and $100's made in the small note size.  Signed by Edward McDonald, Washington County."   [No other information.]

Access the Site Maps at top of any page to get to Articles about McDonald PA.

Persons, Businesses, and Businessmen of McDonald, PA and from surrounding areas.


Pitt Hotel 1800s and today



McDonald PA SECTION #1

Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 1 Misc. Persons & Places
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 2 Misc. Persons and Places  
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 3 Misc. Persons & Places  
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 4 World War 1 Military Photos
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 5 Misc. Persons & Places 

Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 6 Misc. Persons & places
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 7 Churches & Church Baseball 
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 8 McDonald PA High School Band 
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 9 Sports and Baseball
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 10 McDonald Elementary School 1895

Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 11 Fashions

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McDonald PA SECTION #2

Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 1 Misc. Places
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 2 Fashion 1920s
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 3 Misc. People
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 4 Old Shoe-Shine Stand & People
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 5 Sports

Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 6 Sports
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 7 People
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 8 Fashion
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 9 Sports
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 10 Schools
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 11 War
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 12 College Students
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 13 McDonald HS & Grads
Index to Photos / Photographs Folder 14 Advertisements


McDonald PA SECTION #3

Collection of 3,000 marriage licenses / wedding notices

** Please see the Town-Talk section for a more information on the history of McDonald Pa. 



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Life in Washington, PA

Uptown Landmarks-1

Uptown Landmarks-2

Brethren and other Families of "Washpa"

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All newspaper items posted with permission of the Observer-Reporter Oct. 13, 2005.

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(c) Judith Ann Florian
Copyright Notice - Data / info. for individuals and surnames may be reproduced for personal family histories only, but not for any commercial use or sale. Please give credit to Judith Florian and Catherine L. Caldwell for locating newspaper items and original documents. You may use J. Florian's research conclusions if credit is given. No other data or images may be reproduced without permission. © August 2005-present, Judith Florian, Copyright All rights reserved.

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