History of McDonald, Pa.
From: A History of Washington County, Pennsylvania
By: Earle R. Forrest
Published By The S. J. Clark Publishing Company, Chicago 1926

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This town stands on the land settled by John McDonald in 1775, and is the site of a fort and Indian trading post built by him in pioneer times. McDonald was Indian agent and one of the judges of the Youghiogheny County courts. When the Panhandle railroad was completed through this section in 1865. a station was established at McEwen's grist mill, blacksmith shop and dwelling, and called McDonald. but the postoffice was called Havelock until about 1870. From 1865 until the completion of the Chartiers Valley railroad, stage coaches were run from Washington to Havelock by Ed. Sexton, of Washington. and this was the first means by which the people of Washington could reach Pittsburgh by rail. This continued until the Chartiers Valley construction reached a point near enough to connect with the Washington stages. The McDonald Hotel. the first hotel, was one of the first buildings erected in the new town. It was built and conducted for several years by William Johnston. When the borough of McDonald was incorporated November 11. 1889, S. S. Johns. the railroad agent, was first burgess.

Edward McDonald, at present president of the First National Bank, is a son of John S. McDonald, one of the first settlers at the new town. Other early settlers, all of whom were prominent men in the county, were David L. Williams, Samuel Moorehead, W. B. Moorehead. S. S. Johns, J. D. Sauters, Cyrus Ferguson and William S. Lockhart. The latter was twice clerk of courts of Washington County and is at present a member of the State Legislature.

McDonald experienced its first big boom when oil was discovered in 1889-90, and the real development of the town began. It is now the center of a large coal mining section.

McDonald has a high and grade schools, of which William L. Moore is the principal. There are twelve teachers in the high school and twenty in the grade. The assessed valuation is $1,329,600. There are 1,167 pupils in the schools.

Robinson Run United Presbyterian congregation was organized in the fall of 1790 at Noblestown, where meetings were held until 1791, when a church was erected on the hill above Sturgeon. This was replaced by another in 1835, and in 1867 the third was built on the same site to take the place of the former building which was destroyed in a cyclone. This stood until 1904, when it was again blown down, after which the congregation moved to McDonald, where the present church was erected. The old graveyard still surrounds the site of the original church. The pastors are: Rev. John Riddell, August 15, 1793, to September 4, 1829; Rev. James Grier. April 16, 1839, to March 26, 1878; Rev. J. W. English, September 30, 1879, to August 30, 1909; Rev. J. B. Cavitt, June 28, 1910, to February 10, 1918; Rev. Guy S. Brooks, August, 1918, to June, 1921; Rev. R. B. Johnson, June, 1922, to June, 1923; Rev. J. I. Krohn, October, 1923, to present time.

The First Presbyterian congregation was organized in 1885. The first church was destroyed by fire in 1896 and the present structure was erected immediately at a cost of $18,000. Rev. B. F. Heany is the present pastor, and the membership is 665.

The First United Presbyterian congregation was organized February 26. 1876. It built a frame church which was used until 1896, when the present edifice was erected at a cost of $23,000 and the old building sold to the Colored Baptist congregation. Rev. W. D. Irons is the present pastor.

The Methodist Episcopal church was organized in 1897. The present pastor is Rev. H. E. Moose.

The United Presbyterians organized a French mission in 1901. and meetings were held in the United Presbyterian Church until 1905, when the present edifice was erected.

The German Lutheran congregation was organized in 1871, when Rev. Schweiger began holding meetings in MeCarrell’s school house.

St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic congregation was organized in 1888 and the first church erected soon afterwards. It was burned down and the present brick building erected in 1900 at a cost of $30,000. The present rector is Rev. Joseph Burgoon.

The Colored Baptists organized a congregation about thirty years ago, and purchased the old United Presbyterian church building.

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