W. D. McDonald was born in Ross county, Ohio, August 6, 1826. His parents, William and Mary McDonald, were both natives of Virginia. His mother was a daughter of Nathaniel Wilson who was the first State printer of Ohio, and a sister of the late Nathaniel Wilson, who with his father started the Scioto Gazette in 1800, in Scioto county, one of the first papers of Ohio. Mr. Wilson died a few years ago at the age of ninety-two years-the oldest editor then in America. Our subject was five years old when his father died and he was reared by Ex-Governor McArthur, of Ohio, and educated in the select schools of Chillicothe, Ohio. After he quit school he dealt in cattle, driving them to the eastern markets, and continued that business for about seven years. He then engaged at farming which has been his avocation since. In 1854 he settled in Peoria county, Illinois, and in 1856 came to this county. In July, 1862, he enlisted in the Thirty-third Enrolled State Militia and at the organization was appointed adjutant, and soon after was appointed by the governor commissary of exemption, which place he filled for one year, was then appointed acting adjutant general for Colonel Williams, commanding this district, with headquarters at St. Joseph, and held that position under the following officers as they came in command of the district: Brigadier-General Fisk, Brigadier-General Ceig, and Brigadier-General Pennick. During Price’s raid of 1864, Mr. McDonald was put in command of the Thirty-third Regiment and others, and after that resumed duty as acting adjutant general until April, 1865, when he was discharged.
Mr. McDonald was married, March 24, 1853, to Miss Sarah Moss, who died September 19, 1855. They became the parents of two children : Mary, born February 6, 1854; and Eliza-died in infancy. Mr. McDonald was married, October 12, 1858, to Mrs. Sarah Darnal, daughter of Dr. John Cravens. She was born August 29, 1831. They have had seven children: Cravens, born August 24, 1859; Effie, born April 7, 1861-is dead; William D., born December 16, 1862; Amanda, born January 1,1865; Rhuama, born October 6, 1866; Elizabeth, born February 26, 1868; and Julia, born March 7, 1871.
Mr. McDonald lives in a house built by Lyman Wight, one of the Mormon leaders, formerly of this county, on the site where once stood the town of Di-Amon, and near the spot where they claimed Adam was buried.