Obituary - McDonald, Donald (1900)


DEATH:   LATE DONALD McDONALD, EX-M.P.P.  - One of the oldest landmarks of King’s county passed away on Wednesday last, in the person of Donald McDonald, of Hay River, Lot 44, at the ripe age of eighty-seven years. In the stirring times of the land question in King’s county Mr. McDonald was one of the most prominent figures. Associated with such apostles of escheat as Cooper, McIntosh, and LeLacheur, Mr. McDonald began his political career. Born Aug. 13th, 1813, at Hay River, his father being John McDonald, one of the earliest of the native Scottish escheaters, and probably the ablest among that noble band of men who gave the best years of their lives to free the lands from the schackels of the absentee proprietors.

Donald McDonald first taught school, being the first of the native teachers of his time. In 1838 he was first elected to the House of Assembly for King’s county as colleague with the late John McIntosh, then in his twenty-fifth year. Being a fine scholar and able writer, his services to the escheat agitators Cooper, LeLacheur and McIntosh were incalculable. Almost all of the important resolutions, petitions and addresses indispensable to the agitation were drawn up by Mr. McDonald. During that historical event, the McGuire or Haney riot of 1843, when a regiment of soldiers were sent up to Lot 45 by the proprietors in Charlottetown and the tenantry hounded to the woods for days and days like wild animals at bay, by these soldiers; and when several score of these people were summoned to the Supreme Court in Georgetown, when no lawyer could be retained on the Island to plead the cause of the tenantry, it was Donald McDonald who went to Halifax and procured the services of the great Lawrence O’Connor Doyle as the people’s advocate on that memorable case. He it was, too, who brought conciliating influence to bear on McGuire, the wood ranger, with such telling effect that, the evictor of Haney almost completely exonerated the Lot 45 tenantry. After some fifteen years as the representative of the people of Eastern King’s County in the House of Assembly, he went to Nova Scotia when he taught school in Halifax Co. for several years. Later he returned to the Island to take a position in the Charlottetown Customs House. Here he occupied the position of Customs Banker for many years until old age incapacitated him from work. In late years he has lived at the old homestead at Hay River with his brother Clement McDonald. He was a wonderfully jovial and pleasant companion, full of anecdote and fun, of pleasing manners and gentlemanly bearing. He was a welcome guest at any home wherever he visited. He had a splendid constitution and retained his wonted health and vigor almost to the last. His faculties remained, even to the last moment, as keen and subtle as they were in youth, and his memory was almost extraordinary. His funeral took place to St. Margaret’s cemetery on Thursday evening, followed by a line of carriages fully a mile in length. Here he was laid to rest to await the final summons.