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The subject of this brief biography is of Scotch pedigree, both parents, John and Ann (McGillis) McDonald, being natives of Scotland. His father was a cattle raiser and dealer in the old country, coming to Canada a few years before the close of the last century, and settling on a farm on the Raisin river, in the township of Cornwall, dying in 1825.
Roderick was educated at the Cornwall grammar school, and at a French college in Montreal, and was graduated in medicine at McGill college, that city, in 1834. Doctor McDonald Practiced at Cornwall nearly forty years, retiring only five or six years ago.
He was elected treasurer of the united counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry in 1846, and still holds that office. Since 1862 he has also been deputy clerk of the crown and pleas, doing his official work very faithfully.
Dr. McDonald has held for many years a commission in the Canadian militia, his present rank being that of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was surgeon of the local forces during the rebellion in 1837-38, and had command of the 1st battalion of Stormont militia during the “Trent affair,” in. 1861.
Dr. McDonald was twice returned to the Canadian Parliament, before the union of all the Provinces, serving in all eight years.
Dr. McDonald belongs to a long lived family, his brothers, especially, reaching a great age. Aeneas, a teacher at the Montreal Catholic Seminary till about sixty, then a priest, died in his 80th year; Donald, a farmer at Lancaster, Glengarry, died at the age of about ninety; Lachlin, who lives at Cornwall, and was in the war of 1812-14, is now about eighty-eight; and John, vicar-general, is about ninety-eight. The last was a parish priest more than twenty years at Perth, Ontario, and then a long time at St. Raphael, Glengarry, now being superannuated.