John McDannald Jessee-McDannald Home

John Thomas McDannald II

Feb 21, 1817 (Nicholas Co, Ky) - Jan 15, 1890 (Milton, Or.)

  Lydia Lorena------ |       | John McDannald I
     1876-1923 |   | John McDannald II ----------------|    1785-1848
  Rita Beryl------- |   |    1817-1890 | Margaret McMickell
     1878-1966 | David W McDannald ------------|   |    1788-1857
  John S.----------- |    1851-1926 |   | John Henry Cull
     1880-1966 | | | Margaret Cull ----------------|    1794-1821
  Eugene------------ | |      1817-1887 | Mary Ann McDannald
     1884-? |-------- -------------|          1783-1834
  Mary Malinda------ | |     | Thomas C Reeves
     1887-1985 | | | Samuel Reeves ----------------|    1808-c.1880
  Rex R.------------ | | |    1827-1899 | Mary Ann McDannald
     1890-1953 | Lucetta Reeves ------------|        1783-1834
  Gladys Lucetta |    1859-1931 |   | John Cleminson
     1892-1967 |   | Lydia Cleminson ----------------|    1799-1879
  Lynn-------------- |        1836-1925 | Lydia Lightner
     1893-1986 |            1800-1873

John Thomas McDannald II was born February 17, 1817. His father was John McDannald Sr and his mother was Margaret McMickell. John was the fifth child in the family. He was probably born in Nicolas County, Kentucky, as the family is in that county in the 1820 census.

Sometime around 1830 the John McDannald Sr. family moved from Kentucky to Brown County, Illinois. According to several family trees, John Sr's 11th child Nealy McDannald was born 1829 in Kentucky, and their next child, James Monroe McDannald, was born in 1831 in Brown County, Illinois.

On October 11, 1839, John McDannald, 22 years old and Margaret Cull, 22, received a marriage license, and were married on October 13.1 They were first cousins. John and Margaret would have eight children, all born in Brown County.

In 1860, John would be 43, with six children still living; there is no record that he, or his oldest son, George, 20, served in the Civil War.

The family lived in Brown County until 1865. After the Civil War ended in April, the family traveled six months across the plains to Oregon where they could get free government land using the Homestead Act. They farmed in Oregon from October 1865 to 1890 when John II passed away at the age of 73. When they had left Illinois by wagon train in 1865, they thought they would never see their family and friends again, but the railroad changed that. Margaret passed in 1887. In 1889, the widower John took the train back to Illinois to see family and friends. He returned to Oregon late in the year and passed away in January, 1890.

An old studio portrait made in Walla Walla, Washington, shortly before his death in Milton, Oregon, January 15, 1890. This is his last known picture.

In 1936, John's grandson, John McDannald III, wrote of his grandfather:
"John McDannald was a scholar and was always interested in the community welfare in which he lived. In addition to being a school trustee, he was also the school clerk and since he was a carpenter and cabinet maker, he made many of the school desks and the blackboards. He was clerk of School Dist #2 located in Buckhorn Township, Brown Co., ILL from Dec 3rd 1850 until March 21st 1862. And was the town clerk for the town of Buckhorn from Jan 5th 1849, until Jan 21, 1860. And I now have an old ledger giving the records and transactions as clerk during this time.

John McDannald together with his wife Margaret and six of the children crossed the plains by ox team in 1865. And he was appointed by the United States Government as captain of his train while crossing the plains. I have a diary of this trip kept by my father, David Willis McDannald. He took up a homestead in Umatilla Co, Oregon on the banks of Mud Creek where he built a log house, where I was born, and this log house is still standing. John has one daughter still living. She is Emma Caroline who will be 81 years old on Nov 2, 1936."

(The U.S. Army was having considerable trouble with Indians attacking wagon trains in 1865 and would not let any of them leave Ft. Kearny along the Oregon trail until they had formed at least 50 wagons and appointed someone captain of the train, and had it organized along military rules. It was at Fort Kearny that John McDannald II was appointed captain of the train.)

In 1941, another of John's grandsons, Ed Hodgen, wrote of his grandfather:

"Grandfather John McDannald was from Kentucky and was a great hand to hunt. That was the way he kept most of the wagon train in fresh meat. He had an old horse by the name of Selm, and I had ridden on his back a good many times. After a kill, my grandfather would load Selm and they would carry it to the road where the men of the train would pick it up. At camp he would divide it, and anyone who got a hind quarter one time, had to take a front quarter the next time. I still have the three old cap and ball rifles that were brought across the plains.

These are John and Margaret's eight children:

Mary Sophia McDannald
Their first child was born in 1840. In the 1850 census, while George and Malinda are in school, their older sister Mary is at home. The census documents her as "insane". She died in 1852 when she was 12 years old.

George Washington McDannald
born 1841; died 1908, in Brown County at age 67.

Malinda Jane McDannald
born 1843; died 1915, in Oregon at age 72.

Nehemiah McDannald
born 1949; his parents were 32; died 1928 in Oregon at age 79.

David Willis McDannald
born 1851; his parents were 34; died 1926 in California at age 75.

John Harder McDannald
born 1853 and passed away before 1 year old.

Emma Caroline McDannald
born 1855; parents were 38; died 1939 in Oregon at age 84.

Alice Louisa McDannald
born 1857, parents were 40; died 1927 in Oregon at age 70.

John's wife Margaret passed away in 1887 at the age of 70. Two years later, John took the railroad back to Illinois to visit family and friends. A few weeks after he returned to Oregon, he passed away, January 15, 1890, at the age of 72.

Obituary in the January 17, 1890 "Milton Eagle":

Death of John McDannald

At his residence on Mud Creek, on Wednesday night, Jan. 15th, John McDannald closed his eyes on this world for the last time, in the 72nd year of his age. Heart disease was the cause of his demise. Mr. McDannald came to this region in 1865, and engaged in farming, which pursuit he followed up to the time of his death. He leaves six children, three of whom are boys. He was interred at the Ford burying ground on Friday.

Census Records

The McDannald's Oregon cabin built in 1866

Pictures of items carried on 1865 McDannald wagon train

Letter by John McDannald written in 1889

Cemetery Records

John McDannald's Parents

John McDannald's wife, Margaret


(1). Brown County Clerks Office list of marriages