Grandfather McDonald (Emory)

It is a good idea to ask family questions before the older siblings memories fade. Grandfather McDonald (Emory) died when I was very young. He was in a care facility for years. I believe it was Parkinson’s. Mom described the symptoms. At that time they called it by other names. During the Depression he had to leave home in search of work. He followed the crops state to state. He sent the little amount of money home. Grandmother Mc. did any work she could to provide for the five children. They were poor but so were their neighbors. All the brutal work destroyed our Grandfather’s health.

He had been married before. His first wife died. He had a daughter. She was our Aunt Leota. Mom was the only one in her family to attend college. I think that Mom and the owner of the Unionville bank were the only ones in that town to go to college. Mom had to drop out after  the first two years due to serious illness. It wasn’t until many years later that she discovered that she had had tuberculosis.

Grandmother McDonald described her husband Mac as the blackest man she had ever seen. Black hair, dark brown eyes and a dark farmer’s tan. He was a handsome Black Scot I hope that answers your questions. 

I never knew any of this, so thank you so much for sharing. I’m sure I will run out of questions long before your memory fades, Your description of our grandfather made me think of a young Sean Connery. It is good to know about the possibility of Parkinson’s because it might be in our genes. His story was quite typical in the depression-era Midwest. I’m blessed to have been raised by a mother who learned lessons living through the great depression. I still turn lights off when leaving a room.

The genealogy trail seems to end with our great-grandparents, James William McDonald and Mary Elisabeth McDonald, because their birthdates are unknown. Interesting that both our maternal great-grandmothers were named Mary Elisabeth. I wonder if Bitsy knows that.

There is a Lake Leota just down the street from our Woodinville home. I sometimes think of Mom when I go by it.

“Leota is from the Cherokee Language meaning a beautiful blue flower. Leota was a very popular name among American Indian tribes from the Plains Region. It was an honored name given to babies who were thought to be exceptionally beautiful.”

I recall Mom telling us Leota had Indian blood. Granny Mac was just twelve years older than Leota. There was no cure for TB back then. She might have been sent to Arizona if diagnosed. I count my blessings and appreciate how easy life has been compared to our Mother.

I will update this article as I find more information. Here is a photo of Grandfather McDonald taken in 1944:

Emory McDonald 1944

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