By Jessie McDonald Wagstaff

Published in "Descendants and Ancestors of
William McDonald and Christina Wallace" (1968)

William McDonald is among the exceptionally interesting characters of our Holladay history. His entire life is a panorama of energy, determination and ambition to achieve success. Never for a moment did he strive for social recognition or worldly acclaim, but found in the every day pursuits of life, the things worthwhile.

He worked the soil for his living and knew the hard way, the aching back and dripping brow which mother nature requires in turn to give for her productiveness. He also knew the satisfaction, the independence and manly strength that comes to him who lives close to mother nature. He worked as a farm laborer doing all kinds of farm work. He also took care of sheep herds out in the hills

for land owners. While he lived in Scotland, he never owned a farm or home but always worked for other people.

A William McDonald's parents were John McDonald and Helen Gamley. Helen Gamley was an obstetrician. She took care of the women and newly born children for miles around in that vicinity and did all her travelling by horseback.

William McDonald married Christina Wallace on the 26th day of May 1844. Their family was composed of one daughter and four sons, namely, Mary, John, David, Francis and William. They attended good schools in the locality where they lived. The law schools in Dundee were not far away. After finishing school, the family was encouraged to prepare themselves for making a living by taking training in some trade or profession.

The following incident was told by Grandfather William to Thomas McDonald. Grandfather was out in the hills tending a herd of sheep when a terrible snow storm came up. He was buried alive under the snow and could not move. Several men were trying to find him. He could hear them talking but they could not hear him. After digging around they decided to leave as they had given up trying to find him. As they were leaving, one man struck his shovel down in the snow and it hit grandfather on his leg. They then proceeded to dig him out. With care he was restored to life. This was a very narrow escape from being frozen to death.

Another incident in his life was told to James McDonald and is as follows. Grandfather was on top of a high cliff by a waterfall of a hundred feet in height where a large water wheel was being run for power. A terrible storm came on suddenly and he was caught by the wind and fell into the meshes of the water wheel and lifted high upwards. Every minute he thought would be his last. He t)rayed very fervently that his life would be spared. When he was about half way up, the wheel stopped momentarily and he walked out on dry land. He wondered for what great purpose his life was spared.

He came by rail to Utah and settled in Big Cottonwood. He bought land from William Wayman and Mrs. Swanner which was located close to the foot of the Wasatch mountains. The land was grown over with sage and oak brush and was supposed to be of little value. He lived in a dugout at the foot of the mountain close to a spring. Grandfather worked hard for many years removing the rocks and cleaning his land of brush. He was up at early day break and worked until dusk. After many years an orchard of peach and apple trees were planted whichbore delicious fruit along with luscious grapes and strawberries. Also, he raised fields of grain and alfalfa which grew in abundance. "The peaches, strawberries and other fruit that grew on the farm were never wasted. Grandfather provided a bounteous garden and helped dry the fruit that fell to the ground or was not sold. 11 (Told by Emily)

According to the law at that time, every farmer was ordered to fence his farm to keep out stray animals. He fenced his place with good posts and barbed wire. One day a herd of breachy cattle broke through the fence and got in his grain field. While driving them from his field, he prodded the bull with his pitchfork and it broke. The vicious bull charged and threw him to the ground and trampled him. He screamed for help. His neighbor, William Wayman, heard his scream and came to his rescue. He drove the cows away and saved his life, but his leg was badly broken vhich caused him to be a cripple for the rest of his life.

Besides taking care of his farm, he worked wherever he could get a job. He spent several winters in husking corn for Charles Bagley at 25 cents per day. He said, "That is good pay for the likes of me. 11 He lived at our home (David McDonalds) so he wouldn't have to walk so far to his work. I (Jessie) prepared his breakfast at 5 o'clock in the morning so he could get there at 6 o'clock. Grandfather was given a heifer for his work and he gave it to father (David). It was called Roan.

Grandfather had always smoked a pipe. He went around to the back of the house to smoke. He never smoked in the house. Years after, when Howard went up to see him he laid his pipe on the shelf and said, "I am going to quit smoking as I know it isn't good for me and is a bad example for the boys." He never touched it afterward.

Grandfather was always a friend to birds and snakes. There were many rattle snakes on Grandfather's farm and one came in and settled down in the corner of his house. When the neighbors were going to kill it, he said, "Don't do that, snakes will not hurt you if you do not hurt them. The snake is my friend as it kills all the mice in the house. "

In occupation, Grandfather was a farm laborer. He worked at North Glenisla and Middleton. In a letter from his son, John, he said: "There has been many changes here. A great mansion has been built upon Knockshanock west of Belaty. There is nothing left of the Genshow to be seen only a single tree which some of us planted while young. 11 The Middleton farm where father worked was presumably owned by George Annund.

Grandfather was a man of average height and build and stood very straight before his accident. He lived a long and useful life and passed on when he was 88 years of age on the 27th day of December 1910. He was an honor to his posterity and helped to make Holladay a better place to live.


by Jessie McDonald Wagstaff

Published in "Descendants and Ancestors of
William McDonald and Christina Wallace" (1968)

The Mormon missionaries were proselyting in Scotland in the early days and Christina Wallace was converted. She walked many miles over the hills to a river and was baptized. She had not told Grandfather where she was going as she was afraid he would object. She knelt down and prayed that he would not be angry. When she returned, he asked her where she had been. She told him and he didn't say a word. She felt that her prayers had been answered. She was the first one of the family to be baptized which was about 1855. Years later Mary, David and Francis emigrated to America having been baptized and converted to the Mormon church. Grandfather and Grandmother were very anxious to join their family in Utah and as soon as they were able,William and Christina, with James, grandson, sailed from Liverpool to New York on the ship Wyoming on 4 September 1874.

They came by rail to Utah and settled in Big Cottonwood. They bought land from William Wayman and Mrs. Swanner close to the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. The land was grown over with sage and oak brush and was supposed to be of little value. They lived in a dugout at the foot of the mountain close to a spring. Grandmother was greatly disappointed as she said she had always lived in a comfortable home in Scotland.

Grandmother was tall and stately and of a cheerful disposition. When Mother was sick, she did the washing for us, using a wash board. Father brought her to our home in a cart and paid her for her work. After finishing the washing she would take me on her lap and rock me (Jessie) to sleep.

One day Charles Wright was extracting honey at their farm at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. Grandmother was eating some honey comb when a honey bee stung her on her tongue. She became dangerously ill but with good nursing she finally survived.

During her last sickness, she came to our home and Mother and Ann Andrus and other neighbors waited on her. Father got Dr. Hollinger to come see her. After being in bed for two weeks, she passed away on the 8th day of August 1879 at age 53, and was buried in the Holladay Cemetery. She lived only five years in this country. She had made many friends and was loved and respected by all who knew her.