Posted by Jean Crowl 7 May, 2009
From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)|
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.
HUGH MCDONALD, one of the practical and progressive agriculturists of Henderson County, now living on section 9, Rozetta Township, claims Kentucky as the State of his nativity, for he was born in Hardin County on the 26th of November, 1808. He is one of a family of ten children, five sons and five daughters, whose parents were John and Mary (Larue) McDonald. Upon their farm his childhood days were passed, and in the subscription schools of the neighborhood his education was acquired. He had to walk four miles to a log schoolhouse, where the exercises were conducted in a primitive manner, but nevertheless he mastered the common English branches, and by business experience and observation has become a well-informed man.
Mr. McDonald remained at home until eighteen years of age, and then began working in his own interest at the shoemaker's trade, which he had learned of his father. He followed that pursuit at various intervals in Kentucky until 1832, which year witnessed his arrival in Illinois. The trip westward was made by team, and on reaching Warren County he made a location near Monmouth, where he purchased eighty acres of unimproved prairie land. There he began the development of a farm, using the primitive agricultural implements which were then employed. The unimproved condition of the county is shown by the fact that he mowed grass with a scythe where the court house in Monmouth now stands. His time and attention were given to the cultivation of his farm until 1856, when he came to Henderson County, and purchased ninety acres on section 9, Rozetta Township. Here he has since made his home. Indians still visited the neighborhood at that time, and the work of progress and civilization seemed hardly begun.
Mr. McDonald was married on the 2d of October, 1830, the lady of his choice being Miss Eliza Shehi, who was born on the 1st of April, 1811. They became the parents of twelve children: John, who is now engaged in farming in Kansas; Nancy, wife of Hiram Yandever, who is living in Mapleton, Iowa; Mary, deceased; Jacob, who died in 1888; Hugh, who is living in Burlington; James, a grain-dealer of Kansas; Melvina, wife of Van Buren Shields, a resident of the Sunflower State; Festus, who operates the homestead farm; Margaret, at home; and four children who died in infancy.
On attaining his majority, Mr. McDonald proudly cast his first vote for Henry Clay. Since 1856 he has given his support to the men and measures of the Republican party, for he is a warm advocate of its principles. He started out in life for himself a poor boy, with nothing to depend upon save his own exertions, but, possessed of an enterprising and progressive spirit, he determined to succeed, and has through life usually carried forward to successful completion whatever he has undertaken. This resolute spirit, combined with judicious management, has made his career a prosperous one.