David McDonald - Rachel Wright Family Group

Parents   Parents
  Brick Wall Brick Wall   Brick Wall Jane Brick Wall
David McDonald Rachel Wright
b. Abt. 1801, Philadelphia , Pennsylvania, USA b. Abt. 1808, Pennsylvania, USA
d. 4 Mar 1867, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA d. 30 Oct 1852, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Relationship Events
Marriage About 1830 David McDonald to Rachel Wright
Catherine Wright McDonald b. abt.1831 in Philadelphia; m. 10 Dec 1867 in Philadelphia Joseph Henderson (b. 25 Mar 1799 in Philadelphia, d. 19 Jul 1873 in Philadelphia); seven children: Mary Ann Hill, Joseph Wright, Kate Gay, James Hill, Samuel Ruggles, Mary Wertz, and Charles Price Henderson; d. 12 Oct 1875 in Philadelphia.
  ┬áSusan Wright McDonald b. abt. 1834 in Philadelphia; m. James Reside White (b. abt. 1854 in Philadelphia, d. 3 Jan 1900); eleven children: Regina "Jennie", Marcus Cyrus, James H., John Reside, Susan, Grant D., John Winters, Catharine Selina, Donald, Minnie, Martha Butcher White); d. 1875 - 1880 perhaps in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.
  Edward W. McDonald b. abt. 1837 in Philadelphia; m. in Philadelphia; abt. 1860 Emma Biddle (b. abt. 1843 in Philadelphia, d. 10 Nov 1895); four children: Reed, Horace, Reed, and Lily McDonald; d. 22 May 1897 in Philadelphia.
  Anna McDonald b. abt. 1838 in Philadelphia; d. 2 Jan 1892 in New York City, New York.
  David L. McDonald b. abt. 1840 in Philadelphia; d. 3 Jun 1862 in Philadelphia.
  Hamilton McDonald b. abt. 1844 in Philadelphia; petitioned Orphans Court in 1875; no other record found.
  Charles Alexander McDonald, b. abt. 1845 in Philadelphia; d. no trace after 1860.
  Francis McDonald b. about 1849 in Philadelphia; no trace after 1868.

What We Know About This Family

An Overview of Their Lives

We have only scant information about the McDonalds. Rachel Wright was born about 1808 according to the 1850 census in Pennsylvania (which means she is not the immigrant ancestor for her line). The 1850 census was the only one that listed household member names before she died in 1852. It's possible she was the daughter of Malcolm and Jane Patterson Wright. We know that her mother's name was Jane Wright because she was buried with them in the McDonalds' Odd Fellows Cemetery plot. The newspaper notice of her death identifies the name of Jane's son-in-law, John T. Savin, in Bristol Township. A search for the 1860 census revealed his wife (and therefore Rachel's sister) to be Susan W. Savin. A short part of Malcolm's probate administration is available on Ancestry, and it is signed by "Jane Wright." A marriage record exists for him and Jane Patterson in 1799, but there is nothing that names his children.

As little as we know about Rachel's parents, we know even less about David's. According to census information, he was a "victualer" born about 1801in Philadelphia. So like his wife, he is not the immigrant ancestor for his line. They had at least eight children. Rachel died at age 44 in 1852 when her daughter Catharine, our direct ancestor who would marry Joseph Henderson in 1857, was 20. David lived for 16 years after she died, but the family fell apart, and he disappeared from all records until the newspaper notice of his death in 1868. He could not be located in the 1860 census, but that census found his sons Edward and David living with their Aunt Susan Savin (Rachel's sister) and her family. David's second daughter, Susanna, had married James Reside White and had her first child by 1855. In 1860, her siblings Anna and Charles, who may have gone by his middle name, Alexander, were living with her growing family. Hamilton and Francis (Frank), who were only eight and three when their mother died, were not with their sister, Catharine, in 1860, nor could I find them anywhere else. Hamilton was 16 in 1860 and Frank 11.

David and Rachel McDonald's son, David L. who was a butcher, died of tuberculosis in 1862 at only 22. In the same year, their son Edward and his wife Emma had their first child, Reed, who died a week after he was born. It's possible he was named for Joseph Henderson's cousin, John Reed, or his family. Edward had a second son named Reed who survived. The 1868 death notice for David McDonald reported his funeral would be held at the home of Edward on Shoemaker Lane. The 1868 Philadelphia Directory lists Edward, Frank, and Hamilton all living at that address. Edward and Hamilton were "polishers" and Frank was a laborer. I could not find Hamilton in any records until he petitioned the Orphan's Court for guardianship of his three nephews, Joseph Wright, James Hill, and Samuel Ruggles Henderson, three weeks after the death of their mother (Hamilton's sister, Catharine). The committee appointed to determine guardianship decided in favor of John Reed as guardian of Joseph, and James Henderson, their paternal uncle, as guardian of James and Samuel.


Proof of Relationship

Jane Wright as mother to Catharine was proven by her death notice naming her son-in-law. The name "Wright" appears as a middle name in the Henderson family as well as the McDonald family. And the petition of Hamilton for guardianship is solid proof along with the other hints tying Catharine to her McDonald family.

About the Children

The lives of the children I could trace were narrated above. Catharine's sister, Susanna McDonald White, had a life filled with tragedies much like Catharine's. At least three of her children died young, and she herself died between 1865 and 1870. Although her husband was alive until 1900, her surviving children were in the custody of others. Donald, 9, was listed on the 1880 census as the "adopted son" of a couple named Harkinson, and his siblings, Grant 15, John 12, Selina 10, Martha 4, were under the roof of their Uncle Edmund McDonald and his wife, who had given shelter to two of Edmund's siblings after their mother died. Anna lived her life and died as a single woman in New York.

What Else We Need to Learn

The goal of this project is to trace every line of ancestry to the arrival of its first immigrant to America. The basic information of each couple is considered complete when we know the dates of birth, marriage, and death for both spouses. their parents' names (or whether they were the immigrant), and the child or children in our ancestry line. We know from census records that both David and Rachel Wright McDonald were born in Pennsylvania, but the identities of both McDonalds and Jane Wright's husband need to be uncovered (along with her maiden name).

The research on this family is therefore incomplete.


Questions, Comments, or New Information -Email lee@leewiegand.com