Donaldson is an old Scottish surname, meaning simply son of Donald, and Donald is an even more ancient Scottish personal name. The family was seated at an early date in Aberdeenshire, Edinburghshire and Lanarkshire, Scotland.
We find the name of Thomas Donaldson among the prominent persons suffering religious persecution in 1669-70. About a hundred had letters of intercommuning issued against them, death being the penatly to any person who should offer them food, comfort or succor. A branchof the family settled in the province of Ulster early in the seventeenth century after King James had granted the north of Ireland to Scottish Protestants. In 1653 an order to remove all "the popular Scots" from Down and Antrim counties to Munster included the names of John Donaldson of the West Quarters of Carrickfergus and a Mr. Donaldson of Glenarm Barony.
The family is numberous at the present time  in the counties of Antrim and Armagh, province of Ulster, north of Ireland, and of the thirty-three children born in Ireland in Donaldson families in 1890 all but two were in these counties, and of old Scottish Presbyterian stock. The family is also found in England. In the records of emigrants sailing from the port of London we find Peter Donaldson, aged thirty-three, a mason by trade, coming from Edinburgh in the ship "Greyhound" bound for Dominica.
(I) Thomas Donaldson, immigrant ancestor, was born in 1786 in county Armagh, Ireland, and received his schooling there. He came to this country in 1812. During most of his active life in this country he was employed on the staff of the New York Observer.
He married, in 1812, Elizabeth Waugh, at Paterson, New Jersey.
John Joseph, mentioned below.
(II) John Joseph, son of Thomas Donaldson, was born in Broome street, New York City, Oct. 18, 1828. He attended the public scholls of that city until fifteen years old. He then became office boy for Penniman, Bird & Smith, William street, receiving as wages but fifty dollars for the first year's work. A year later he entered the employ of H. B. Claflin in the bookkeeping department of his wholesale dry goods business. He was promoted from time to time and finally admitted to partnership in the firm. For a number of years he held the responsible position of credit man for the great business.
In the early seventies he left the Chaflin business to become president of the Bank of North America. At the urgent request of the Claflins he returned for a year or more, but retired again in 1877. At that time he and Mr. John Clfalin made a long and interesting trip through the unexplored regions of South America. On his return he lived quietly for several years at his home in Stockbridge, Mass., and traveled much abroad. In 1890 he made his home at Milbrook, Dutchess county, New York, where he remained for fifteen years. He established the Bank of Millbrook and became its president, but while there devoted most of his time to reading and gardening, of which he was especially fond. He left Milbrook a year before his death and came to New York City, where he died Oct. 13, 1907. He was buried in Woodlawn cemetery.
He was a member of the Second Company, Seventh Regiment, and was for a time on the staff of General Slater. He was on duty during the Astor place riots in New York. He was interested in municipal politics and ws on the famous committee of seventy that helped to overthrow the Tweed ring. He was a Republican, but always declined to hold public office of any kind. He was an active and prominent member of Dr. Hasting's old church on Forty-second street (Presbyterian), and keenly interested in mission work and in the Sunday school. He was an elder of this church.
A self-made man, successful to an unusual degree in business, shrewd, farsighted and enterprising, he was also something of a scholar, a life-long student, and he collected a splendid library.
He married at Orange, New Jersey, March 24, 1856, Louisa Goddard, born at Montreal, Canada, May 14, 1835, daughter of James Frothingham McGowan, who was born in Ireland in 1800. Her father was engaged in the saddlery and hardware business. In 1810 he located in Canada, but on account of political difficulties he left that city in 1837 and made his home in New York City. He married Louisa Stewart Anderson, born in New York City in 1816.
1. Henry Herbert, born May 12, 1857; graduate of Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass., and of Yale College in 1879; was instructor at the Winter Institute of Anatomy, Philadelphia; was head of the biological department of the University of Chicago, and now at Clark University, Worcester, Mass.
Married (first) Julia, daughter of Calvert Vaux, a landscape architect who laid out Central Park, New York city; married (second) Emma, daughter of Charles Brace, a well-known philanthropist, founder of the Children's Aid Society.
Children of first wife:
John Calvert and Norman Vaux. Alfred Lee, mentioned below.
(III) Alfred Lee, son of John Joseph Donaldson, was born Jan. 9, 1866, in New York City. He lived abroad, principally in France and Italy, between the ages of six and eleven years, and during this time had a goveness. He returned to New York and entered Miss DuVernet's school for boys, Thirtieth street. Later he studied with a private tutor at Darien, Connecticut, with the intention of entereing Yale College.
On account of his health, however, he went abroad instead, and while there studied the voilin in Germany and France for several years.
At the age of twenty-three, in the year 1889, he returned to New York, and began his business career as treasurer of Dr. Janger's Sanitary Woolen System Company. Later, wishing to learn the banking business, he went into the National Bank of North America, beginning at the foot and working upward through all the departments.
In 1899 his health failed again and he came to Saranac Lake, New York, to live. In 1890 he helped to organize the Adirondack National Bank there and was its vice-president until 1909, when he retired on account of ill health. He was president of the original local telephone company until it was sold out to the Bell interests, the Hudson River Telephone Company. He was also treasurer of the local Savings and Loan Association.
He has retired from all active business and is devoting his time to the writing of novels and magazine articles. Mr. Donaldson is independent in politics. He was president of the incorporated village of Saranac Lake for two years, and was a village trustee for a period of three years. He has published a book of poems entitled "Songs of My Violin," and a novel, "The Paddington Case."
In religion he is a Presbyterian. He is a member of White Face Mountain Lodge, No. 789, Free and Accepted Masons and of Wanetta Chapter, No. 291, Royal Arch Masons, and of the Century Association, New York.
He married, Oct. 25, 1902, at Fletcher's Farm, near Saranac Lake, Elizabeth Sherwood, born at Kirkwood, near Binghamton, N.Y., Feb. 23, 1868, daughter of John Hunter and Susan (Turner) Hollingsworth. John Hunter Hollingsworth was born in Ireland, June 6, 1836, died in New York, Oct. 17, 1897. He was a son of Rev. John Hollingsworth, born at Manchester, England, a Methodist preacher, having a pastorate in Ireland at the time of the son's birth, and afterward having various pastorates in the United States, whither he came when his son was a young child. John Hunter Hollingsworth was first with the firm of James N. Beck & Company and later became the head of the silk and lace department of A. T. Stewart & Company. In 1861 he embarked in business on his own account as a manufacturer of suits and lace goods and continued with notable success as long as he lived. During the last twenty years of his life he did business under the firm name J. H. Hollingsworth & Company at 552 Broadway, New York. For many years he was an active and prominent member of St. James Methodist Episcopal Church, Madison avenue and One Hundred and Twenty-sixth street, New York.
Mr.and Mrs. Donaldson have no children.
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