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Elbert Monroe McDonald

It sometimes falls to the lot of the chronicler of the news happenings a duty that he fain would leave for another to perform. Such are the feelings of the writer as he attempts to record the death of his good friend, E. M. McDonald, which occurred at his home at an early hour on Monday morning, following a few days' illness as a result of a broken leg sustained in a fall, notice of which was given in The Graphic two weeks ago.

Mr. McDonald was born and reared at Birmingham, Alabama, the date of his birth having been September 20, 1840. He served with distinction as a soldier in the Confederate Army, ranking as lieutenant. He came to Texas in 1869, locating first in Hunt County. In 1872, he was married to Jo Frances Slater and eleven children were born to them, six of whom survive him, two dying in infancy, two sons dying in 1887, and a daughter dying in 1911. The wife and mother died in 1897. In 1898, he was married to Mrs. Sallie E. Roberts and to them three children were born, all of whom together with their mother survive. Mr. McDonald became a Christian and joined the Baptist Church at the age of fourteen, and was a splendid type of Christian gentleman. He had been a Mason for fifty-seven years and had been a member of the local organization, Grove Hill Lodge, for nearly fifty years. He was also a member of the Royal Arch rank of the order. Burial was under the auspices of the local Masonic Lodge.

Besides his wife, deceased is survived by the following children: Mrs. F. V. Roach, Celeste; T. R. McDonald, Cooper; W. E. McDonald, Muskogee, Oklahoma; E. E. McDonald, Sulphur, Oklahoma; R. R. McDonald Greenville; Wallace McDonald, Leonard; Virgil McDonald, Mitchell McDonald, and Miss Edna McDonald, Leonard. The following stepchildren survive: J. E. Roberts, Dallas; W. E. Roberts, and Mrs. Wallace McDonald, Leonard, and D. A. Roberts whose address is unknown.

The funeral services were held at the First Baptist Church in Leonard on Tuesday afternoon, the sermon having been preached by the Rev. H. T. Money of Bonham, a former pastor, and was assisted by the Rev. R. E. Cornelius, the pastor. Many friends of this community, as well as many from Hunt County, some of whom had known him for half a century or more, came to pay homage at his bier and offer words of condolence to the bereaved family.

Several years ago, the late Dr. D. H. Dodson wrote some interesting biographical sketches of people of this community, among those being one on the life and character of Mr. McDonald. Part of Dr. Dodson's sketch is here reproduced:

Mr. McDonald was born in 1840 and joined the Confederate Army in 1861, under General Joseph E. Johnson. He was in the infantry service. His first engagement was at Fort Gibson below Vicksburg. He admits that he was quite a good deal excited that day. Grant had crossed the Mississippi below Vicksburg and was marching against Jackson. The Confederates were trying to head him off, but they were not strong enough to check Grant's advance. They had an all day's engagement with him at Baker's Creek. Mr. McDonald was acting as sharpshooter from behind a Negro's cain (sic, cabin{?}), but it seems that there were a few of his kind on the other side for one of them sent a bullet through McDonald's jeans pants.

Pemberton tried hard to resist Grant's march upon Vicksburg, but was constantly flanked by the Federals and had to fall back to the ditches around the city. During this retreat, Mr. McDonald's company was almost continuously on skirmish duty. The opinion of Grant held by the soldiers of this company was that Grant was a good General and humane man. He would never fight unless he saw that he had the advantage and then he fought like a bull dog. He found Vicksburg so thoroughly entrenched that he knew the only way to take it was to storm the trenches or starve them out. He stormed the trenches and took them, but the Federal Cemetery shows by with the remains of 17,000 soldiers at what cost it was taken. Mr. McDonald was struck in the arm by a spent ball during the siege.

The Confederates held on to the trenches until they were nearly starved to death. There was plenty of sugar in the city and at first a good deal of rice, but near the close of the siege they were glad to get a steak from any old horse or mule.

After the capture of the city, Mr. McDonald was paroled for a month and then exchanged. This made it allowable for him to return to his ranks. He was in the famous Battle of Lookout Mountain and gave the writer a very vivid description of that battle, which we wish we had the power to describe. Only one company of Federal troops marched through his home place while he was in the Army. These took whatever they wanted, but did no serious damage to the country.


To the many friends and neighbors who so lovingly ministered to our dear husband and father in his recent illness and death; to those who so thoughtfully lightened our burdens in the cares of the household and to those who sent the many beautiful floral offerings, we wish to express our deepest appreciation. We are deeply grateful to the members of the Masonic fraternity for their constant care and watchfulness over him during the days of his confinement and for the honors paid him when he was laid to rest. We are indeed grateful to all his friends who in any way gave him comfort and cheer and made his declining years more pleasant. In this respect, we wish to thank especially the following: Mr. Gill Sudderth and Mr. Wade Chapman for making it possible for him to attend the last Confederate Reunion at Dallas and for the courtesies shown him while there; Mr. Billy Chapman for the daily words of cheer during his later years, the helpfulness during his illness, the care and thoughtfulness exercised by him; and Mr. J. R. Wilson when he was laid to rest; Mr. E. D. Mitchell for the constant devotion that has cemented their friendship throughout these years; Dr. Scott Pendergrass, who has been the family physician and friend for many years, for the care and thoughtfulness exercised when in attendance upon him and for the many comforting visits paid him at other times. May God's richest blessings attend all those who in any way aided us in our recent bereavement, is the prayer of

The McDonald Family

(From The Leonard Graphic, Friday, August 28, 1925 issue; courtesy of Lea Ann Thomas, Leonard)

note: *Mrs. F. V. Roach, Celeste, was the former Ella May McDonald who married Felix Vincent Roach. Their daughter was Vonda May Roach Walker. Her son was Frank Walker. Vonda was a CHS graduate and school teacher. Frank lived in Celeste with his parents until they moved to Dallas. Their home was on the northeast corner of North Fourth Street and Granberry.

Submitted by Sarah Swindell

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