of Ohio & Iowa
With thanks to Scott Messinger
The portrait below is based on census and cemetery data as well as a number of biographies kindly transcribed by Scott Messinger which can be seen in full on the McDonald biographies page. Further information was provided by court papers and newspaper obituaries transcribed by Nancee (McMurtrey) Seifert; the obituaries are reproduced in full on the McDonald Obituaries page.
Born in Madison County, Ohio on 16 May 1823 Malay McDonald was the youngest of seven surviving children born to James C. McDonald (born 1776) and Mary Ann Melvin. Malay was schooled locally and raised in the farming tradition of the family. Aged nineteen, he married eighteen year old Mary Ferguson on 9 Mar 1843. She was born in Franklin County, Ohio on 13 Nov 1824, daughter of Thomas Ferguson and Mary Biggert.
Malay and Mary McDonald had four children:
- Margaret Ann McDonald - born 4 Feb 1844, married 12 Oct 1865 to George R. Bathe (20 Mar 1842 - 30 Nov 1916) and raised a family in Tuskeega, Iowa. Had six surviving children: daughters Nora, Rena and Carrie; sons Irvin, Avon and Charley. Margaret Anne died 3 Sep 1890 of "paralysis of the throat" (see obituary of Mrs. M.A. Bathe) and was buried in the Bathe family plot in Lillie Cemetery
- George McDonald - born c. 28 Nov 1845, Civil War soldier with the Iowa Cavalry, Co. G: died of wounds 23 Sep 1865 age 19 years 9 months 25 days, buried in Lillie Cemetery.
- Emmet Winfield McDonald - born c. 1849, lived in Tuskeega with his wife Sarah until he had her declared insane and left her in Decatur County Poorhouse (see courthouse documents). Sarah died a pauper at the age of 61 at the County Home on 23 Sep 1909 and was buried at the County Home Cemetery of Decatur County, Iowa, in Eden Township.
- unnamed infant daughter - died 13 Sep 1861, buried in Lillie Cemetery.
In 1850 Malay moved with his wife and three children to Iowa, together with his cousin William McDonald. Malay and family spent the Winter of 1850/51 in Muscatine, Iowa before settling for four years on a farm five miles west of the city. On 22 May 1855 Malay and family arrived in Bloomington township, Decatur County, Iowa to make their living on a new piece of land purchased from Matthew McClain. Starting from this plot with a simple log cabin of 16 x 16 feet, Malay dealt and raised stock until he eventually owned more than 1,000 acres and a fine new house built in 1866.
Page 366 of the 1856 State Census of Iowa has Malay as a farmer, naturalised voter, military, land owner. He appears with his wife Mary in Bloomington Township, Decatur County, with all three children:
- M. McDonald, male, age 33, married, born OH, 5 years in IA.
- M. McDonald, female, age 31, married, born OH, 5 years in IA.
- M.A. McDonald, female, age 12, born OH, 5 years in IA.
- George McDonald, male, age 10, born OH, 5 years in IA.
- E.W. McDonald, male, age 7, born OH, 5 years in IA.
The 1860 Federal Census for Bloomington Township, IA (page 61) also shows the family. Malay had $11,200 worth of real estate and a further $1,400 of personal estate.
- Malay McDonald, male, age 37, Farmer, born OH.
- Mary McDonald, female, age 35, (no occupation), born OH.
- Margaret H. McDonald, female, age 16, (no occupation), born OH, attending school.
- George McDonald, male, age 14, (no occupation), born OH, attending school.
- Emmet W. McDonald, male, age 11, (no occupation), born OH, attending school.
On the death of their unnamed infant daughter in 1861, Malay and Mary decided to bury the child on the land of one of their neighbours, R.P. Lillie, as he had recently buried a child of his own there (in 1857). Four years later Malay and Mary's eldest son George died on 23 Sep 1865 of his wounds from the Civil War. They buried their 19 year old son with their little girl in the Lillie Cemetery, Bloomington Township, Decatur County, Iowa. The cemetery lies on land previously owned by Malay and Mary McDonald.
By 1880, the Federal Census of Bloomington, Decatur County, Iowa shows Malay's son, Emmet, living as head of his own household with a wife, one son, and live-in servants (see page 290D).
- E.W. McDonald, self, married, male, white, age 31, born OH, farmer, father born OH, mother born OH.
- Sarah McDonald, wife, married, female, white, age 30, born IN, keeps house, father born IN, mother born IN.
- Carence McDonald, son, single, male, white, age 7, born IA, at home, father born OH, mother born IN.
- Monore Steward, other, married, male, white, age 36, born IN, farmer, father born OH, mother born IN.
- Emma Steward, other, married, female, white, age 25, born IN, domestic servant, father born ENG, mother born IN.
- Mary Lorah Steward, other, single, female, white, age 3, born IN, at home, father born IN, mother born IN.
The 1885 State Census of Iowa has "Maley" McDonald and wife Mary still in Bloomington Township, Decatur County, Iowa (see page 2, line 16). All are shown as having American-born parents.
- Maley McDonald, male, age 61, married, born OH, entitled to vote.
- Mary McDonald, female, age 60, married, born OH.
- Evalena McDonald, female, age 13, single, born Decatur County IA.
- Lorenzo D. Lillie, male, age 35, widowed, born OH, entitled to vote.
The 1885 State Census of Iowa also has Malay's son "Emmit" living in his own household in Bloomington (page 19).
- Emmit McDonald, male, age 29, married, born Ohio, Grain Dealer.
- Maley E. McDonald, male, age 13, single, born Decatur.
- Clarance McDonald, male, age 11, born Decatur.
- Emily Alley, female, age 65, widow, born Ohio, Keeping House.
On October 29 1885 [year to be confirmed] Malay and his wife moved to a smaller property of some 158 acres adjoining the town plat of Kellerton in Ringgold County, Iowa. He died there and lies buried alongside his wife Mary in Maple Row Cemetery, Kellerton. The headstone gives:
- Maley McDonald, died 8 Sep 1894 age 71 years, 3 months, 23 days
- Mary F[erguson] McDonald, died 9 Dec 1888 age 64 years 26 days
- Maria H. [Boyd] McDonald, died 12 Dec 1893 age 85 years, 9 months, 20 days
Malay McDonald's obituary says that he was born in Madison County, Ohio, on 16 May l823 and died in Kellerton on 8 Sep 1894. He was survived by only one son [Emmet McDonald], and eight grandchildren.
Mary Ferguson McDonald's obituary says she was born Mary Ferguson on 13 Nov l824 in Franklin County, Ohio, died in Kellerton, Ringgold County, Iowa on 9 Dec 1888. She married Mahlon McDonald in 1843 (Malay was presumably his nickname). She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mary's obituary also details their migration: from Ohio to Iowa in 1850, settling in Decatur County, Iowa in 1855, moving on to Kellerton in 1885. They had four children, two of whom survived Mary. [Margaret Ann and Emmet W. McDonald].
Malay McDonald has several biographies in books about Decatur County and Ringgold County, Iowa: see the McDonald biographies page for the full texts.
Margaret Ann McDonald, 4 Feb 1844 - 3 Sep 1890
Margaret Ann McDonald was the eldest child of Malay and Mary McDonald. Born in Ohio on 4 Feb 1844, she travelled to Iowa with her parents and two younger brothers as a young child. She married George R. Bathe (20 Mar 1842 - 30 Nov 1916) on 12 Oct 1865 and raised a large family in Tuskeega, Iowa:
- Nora - b. c. 1867
- Lorena "Rena" - b. c. 1868
- Eldon - b. 21 Oct 1870, died 1 Feb 1876 aged 5 years, 3months, 11 days, buried in Lillie Cemetery
- Mary - b. 14 Dec 1873, died 23 Aug 1876 aged 2 years, 8 months, 9 days, buried in Lillie Cemetery
- Irvin L. - b. 1876, died 1933, buried in Lillie Cemetery
- Avon - b. c. 1879
- Carrie - b.c. 1881
- Charley - b. c. 1883
The family are listed in the 1885 Iowa State Census of Bloomington Township, page 18:
Name Age Bday
Occupation Place of Birth Bathe, George R. 42 M M Stock Raiser Illinois Bathe, Margaret Ann 41 F M Keep Hse Ohio Bathe, Nora 17 F S Teaching School Decatur Co., IA Bathe, Lorena 16 F S --- Decatur Co., IA Bathe, Irven 7 M S --- Decatur Co., IA Bathe, Avon 5 M S --- Decatur Co., IA Bathe, Carry 3 F S --- Decatur Co., IA Bathe, Charley 1 M S --- Decatur Co., IA
Other Family Pages
- Main McDonald page
- Thomas McDonald, born 1774
- James McDonald, born 1776
- McDonald Biographies: citations from county history books
- McDonald Obituaries: from old newspapers
- Annemarie's Dutch family: the Bruinsma, De Vet and De Leeuw families of Friesland, The Netherlands.
email to Annemarie Bruinsma Hanlon / Copyright © 2005 - 2009 / Last updated 17 Feb 2009
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