Country Joe's Place

Old McDonald's Farm


Farm house of my grandfather, Rev. James Angus McDonald, in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, circa 1923.

Grace McDonald in The History of Sequoyah County, 1828-1975, published by the Sequoyah County Historical association in 1976:

James Angus McDonald, D. D., soil conservationist and minister, settled in Sequoyah County along with his brothers William Henry, Clayton McGready, and Alfred Green in the early years of the 20th century. The McDonald brothers brought a measure of civilization to Indian Territory.

James Angus decided early in his teens to study for the ministry -- preached his first sermon at eighteen with one conversion. He went to Cooper's Institute, a school in Mississippi. He took a four year course in three years. He went to Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee, to finish his training. For 56 years he served the Church in several southern states. He held churches in Union City, Tennessee, Bowling Green, Kentucky, Austin, Texas, Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Sallisaw, Oklahoma. During his last years he was Pastor evangelist for the Presbyterian Church and was said to have established more new churches in Oklahoma than any other minister.

William Henry McDonald, banker and merchant, was well known for his forth- right honesty and courage. He was said to have successfully challenged a famous outlaw who had threatened to kill him. He was a generous man, gave liberally to the church and helped his brothers, James Angus and Alfred Green financially.

Clayton McGready was a merchant in Sallisaw long remembered as one of the kindest of men with a great sense of humor. He was never too busy to visit with his nephews, Angus and Worden, sons of James Angus and regale them with humorous stories.

Alfred Green was a farmer and like his brothers, a lifelong Democrat. He is especially remembered by his nephews, Angus and Worden, who visited in his home near Prices Chapel often.

James Angus McDonald was not only a minister but a farmer whose modern day conservationists say was 50 years ahead of his time. In 1942 his son, Angus, wrote a book about him which Time magazine said was a sugar coated version of the program of the Soil Conservation Service.

When he was about ready to retire from the ministry he bought a farm about which the book was written. This farm was located north of Sallisaw on what is known as McDonald Hill. To him the land was Holy Ground and when he saw how the land had been neglected he set to work to redeem it. God had given us the good earth and it was man's duty to care for it. By rotation of crops he attempted to redeem it.

Rev. McDonald was survived by his wife Emma Moore and three children, Angus Henry, Worden Calhoun and Beatrice. Emma, loved by all who knew her, lived to the age of 93. She was a great letter writer corresponding with hundreds of people.

Son, Angus was a consultant for Mid-West Electric Consumers Association lives in Washington, D.C. During his 22 years with the National Farmers Union he appeared many times before Congressional Committees on monopoly, natural resource and rural electric problems and wrote many articles for the National Union Farmer and other publications. He is author of Old Mcdonald Had A Farm, a Literary Guild best seller, One Hundred Sixty Acres Of Water and The San Luis Reclamation Bill--1962. He conducted a farm column for New Republic magazine 1946-48. His latest book, The Troublesome Mcdonalds, is just off the press.

Rev. McDonald died July 11, 1925 and was buried in Fort Smith, Arkansas, near the church where he had once been the pastor. Angus said in his book: "The minister told what a good man he was and how many souls he had saved. He didn't mention the soil he had saved."

"He that ruleth his spirit is greater than he that taketh a city." -- Rev. McDonald


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