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John N. McDonald. (1838-)
Born in Chippawa, Welland Co., Ontario. Owner of Bay City Flouring Mills.

1900 biography. - Added Oct., 2009.

Historical and Biographical, Comprising A Synopsis of
General History of Michigan, 1900


John N. McDonald, manufacturer, of Bay City, was born in Chippawa, Welland County, Ontario, in 1838, his parents being Archibald and Margaret (McNaughton) McDonald, both natives of Argylshire, Scotland, from whence they came to Canada in 1837, and settled in Chippawa, removing in 1842 to Chatham, Ontario, where the former died in 1848, and the latter in Bay City in 1878. Archibald McDonald was a landscape gardener by profession; but during the McKenzie Rebellion of 1837-38 he entered the military service of the Royalists, his organization doing guard duty along the border, on the Niagara River.

John N., in early life, attended the common schools at Chatham, Ontario. Having lived near a flouring mill, and having had for his companions the miller's son, he had had for a long time a desire to engage in that business. This desire finally became so great that in 1867, he sold out his other business and removed to Bay City, Michigan, where he built for himself the Bay City flouring-mill with a capacity of fifty barrels per day. In 1870 he had the misfortune to have his mill burned; but with commendable energy he set about rebuilding, and in 1871 had rebuilt with an increased capacity. The demand for the products of his mill increased so much that, in 1890, it was necessary to again enlarge the plant, which brought its capacity up to two hundred barrels per day, it being known as the Bay City Flouring-mills.

Mr. McDonald was for six years a member of the Board of Education of Bay city, in whose affairs he has always taken considerable interest. In religious faith he is a Presbyterian, and a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Bay City, of which he was trustee for many years. In political faith he has always been a Democrat, although he has never held office nor been an aspirant for such.

June 3, 1862, Mr. McDonald was married to Miss Mary, oldest child of Christopher and Sarah (Warren) McDowell. His wife's mother, Sarah Warren McDowell, was a daughter of Judge Warren, of Putnam County, New York, a representative in the Congress of the United States, and a gentleman noted for the purity of his character. One of the wisest acts of his life was the appointment of his nephew, G. K. Warren, to a cadetship at the United States Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated, and during the Civil War rose to the rank of major-general, becoming prominent as commander of a wing of the Army of the Potomac.

Mr. And Mrs. McDonald have had six children, three of whom were sons. The eldest son, William A., after graduating in the Law Department of the University of Michigan, is interested in, and manager of, a large lumber business at Seattle, Washington. The second son, John A., after two years as a student at the University of Michigan, went into business with is father, under the firm name of John N. McDonald & Son.

Additional Notes.

    1880 Census, Bay City, Mich.:

  • McDonald, John N. - b. 1838, Canada
  • McDonald, Mary, wife
  • Children: Archebald M., Annie, Margaret, Mary, John A. and Warren S.

    1881 State Horticultural Society, Vol. 11:

  • John N. McDonald, of Bay City, listed as member.

    1883 - Directory, Bay City, Mich.:

  • McDonald, John N. - (McDonald & Shearer), res 115 10th.
  • McDonald & Shearer (John N McDonald, George H. Shearer), Props Bay City Flouring Mills, 1222 N. Water.
  • Shearer, George H. (McDonald & Shearer), res 814 N Monroe

    1902 History of Bay Co., Gansser, 1905:

  • Wolverine Knitting Mills purchased property of the McDonald flouring mill, and remodeled it for their use.
Related Pages/Notes

Related Pages:
McDonald, John A.
Shearer, Geo. H.
People Referenced
McDonald, Annie (dau.)
McDonald, Archebald (son)
McDonald, Archibald (father)
McDonald, John A. (son)
McDonald, John N. (subject)
McDonald, Margaret (dau.)
McDonald, Mary (dau.)
McDonald, Warren S. (son)
McDonald, William A. (son)
McDowell, Christopher
McDowell, Mary (wife)
McNaughton, Margaret (mother)
Shearer, George H.
Warren, C.K.
Warren, Judge
Warren, Sarah
Subjects Referenced
Argylshire, Scotland
Bay City, MI
Bay City Flouring Mills
Chatham, Ont., Canada
Chippawa, Wellman Co., Ont.
Civil War
John N. McDonald & Son
McDonald & Shearer
McKenzie Rebellion
Niagara River, Canada
Putnam Co., NY
Seattle, WA
University of Michigan
Wolverine Knitting Mills
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.