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McDonald, Anson S.


Age: 26, credited to Danville, VT
Unit(s): 4th VT INF, USN
Service: enl 9/2/61, m/i 9/21/61, Pvt, Co. H, 4th VT INF, disch m/o 2/18/62 to tr to USN, m/o date?

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 04/15/1835, Peacham, VT
Death: 11/06/1916

Burial: North Walden Cemetery, Walden, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone photographer: Denis & Karen Jaquish
Findagrave Memorial #: 20768402


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Not found
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: None


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North Walden Cemetery, Walden, VT

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.


Abel and Anson McDonald were brothers, sons of Alexander and Betsey (Taylor) Macdonald. Their grandfather, also Alexander, was a native of Scotland who enlisted in the British Army, taken prisoner at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and incarcerated in a prison at Charlestown, MA for three years. When released, he married, and moved to Vermont.
Abel was born in Danville in 1833. By 1850, the family was living in Reading, MA, and when he was 18, he shipped on a whaler for 3 years. By 1860, he was married, to Harriet Neal, daughter of Dr. James Neal, and was living in Boston with his in-laws, employed as a policeman. He enlisted in Portsmouth, NH on 21 October 1862 for one year, as a 2nd Class Fireman, and served on the screw gunboat Ossipee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. After his service, he returned to Boston, serving as a policeman until at least 1879, when they moved to Peacham. By 1889, the family was living in Barnet, and November that year, had closed their house and gone to Boston to spend the winter. In early November 1893, failing in health, Abel was noted returning to Peacham or Barnet from Boston, having been in hospital, and has come home to die. Heart and stomach disease took him on 30 November; interment in Walter Harvey Cemetery, West Barnet.
Anson, born on 15 April 1835 in Peacham. He married Lucinda Gould, daughter of Nathaniel and Sara (Page) Gould, of Walden, on 26 February 1860. He enlisted as a private in Col H, 4th Vermont Infantry, on 2 September 1861. In January 1862, he lost the end of his thumb, which he claimed was caused by the accidental discharge of his gun while on picket duty near Chain Bridge, VA; however, officers in the regiment, including the surgeon, believe it was self-inflicted, because he was disgruntled about having a furlough request denied. On 18 February of that year, he was transferred to the Western Gunboat Flotilla, where he served as a Seaman on the side-wheel ordnance supply ship Judge Torrence, and the side-wheel gunboat General Sterling Price. The latter was involved in the battle of Memphis, TN, and sent to Mound City, IL, for repairs where McDonald transferred to the receiving ship Clara Dolsen, and was briefly hospitalized for chronic diarrhoea and chills. He was discharged from the hospital on 10 September 1862 and given 30 days furlough. There was some confusion about his status for a while, the 4th Vermont carrying him as on detached service until 10 April 1863, then him reclassified him as a deserter. It was not until 1882 that his army record correctly reflected his discharge in February 1862 to join the Navy. He was discharged from the Navy on 31 December 1863.
Lucinda died in 1879, and Anson lived in Peacham for most of the rest of his life, but he submitted a change of address postcard to the pension bureau in early 1916, saying he moved to Winchester, NH, where he died at his daughter's home in on 6 November 1916; interment in North Walden Cemetery.

Sources: 1892 Revised Roster, Naval Rendezvous Reports, Peacham History, obituary, VT Vital Records, +
Contributors: Tom Ledoux, Jutta Scott, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum.


Death of Anson S. McDonald - Went With Commodore Perry to Japanese

Anson McDonald died very suddenly Monday, Nov. 6, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Bert Graham of Winchester, N. H., where he had been just one week. He was taken sick Sunday, Nov. 5, with what the doctor called acute indigestion, but grew wore rapidly and died early the following day. Anson S. McDonald was the son of Alexander and Betsey (Taylor) McDonald and was born in Peacham, April 15, 1835. He married Lucinda Gould of Walden in 1859. Five children were born to them, John T., deceased, Mrs. James Stevenson of Peacham; Abel Harry McDonald of Texas; Mrs. Bert Graham of Winchester, N. H., and Mrs. George Chamberlain of West Danville. Mrs. McDonald died March 10, 1878. Mr. McDonald had always been in excellent health and had lived alone in his little home, going among his children when it pleased him to do so. About two years ago his eyesight failed and in the early part of last winter he suffered from a very bad toe which developed into gangrene and on Feb. 8 he was obliged to have his leg amputated nearly to his knee. At that time he was stopping at the home of his daughter, Mrs. George Chamberlain. He survived the serious operation very nicely and rapidly gained his strength sufficiently to enable him to get an artificial limb and walk very well. His rapid recovery seemed to everyone, at his age, something very remarkable. Six weeks before his death he went to visit his daughter, Mrs. James Stevenson, at East Peacham, where he stayed five weeks and then went to his daughter, Mrs. Bert Graham, at Winchester, N. H., to spend the winter and there his sudden death occurred. He is the last of a family of seven of which he was the youngest. Besides his daughters and sons he leaves 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. In 1861 he enlisted in the army but was soon transferred to the navy where he went into service under Commodore Foote. After being wounded he came home on a furlough and that was discharged from service. He was probably the only survivor of the famous expedition of Commodore Perry to Japan when Japanese ports were opened to the world commerce in 1854. He had been around the world three times in sailing vessels and spent 25 years on the sea, from which events he had a rich and varied history. The funeral was held on Wednesday, Nov 8, at 10:30 at the residence of Mr. And Mrs. James Stevenson and was very largely attended. The sermon was preached by Rev. T. A. Carlson and Peacham male quartet sang "Crossing the Bar÷ and ˘Nearer My God To Thee.÷ The funeral was conducted by W. F. Powers and the bearers were James Stevenson, George Chamberlain, Bert Graham and Wallace Powers. The G. A. R. Was present in a body and conducted their impressive burial service. The casket was draped with a flag. There was a beautiful pillow with the word ˘Grandpa÷ from the grandchildren and roses from his children. The G. A. R. And W. R. C. sent chrysanthemums. Two of the children, Mrs. Bert Graham of Worcester, N. H., and Abel Harry McDonald of Texas were unable to be present. The burial was at Walden beside his wife. Those present from out of town were: Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Cassidy of Walden, Colan Cassidy of Springfield, Mass., Bert Graham of Winchester, N. H., Horace and Elmer Chamberlain of Ryegate, Mr. and Mrs. Ezra Dickinson, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Cooney, Thomas Stevenson of Barnet, Alvin Durgan and Mrs. Carl Durgan of Cabot, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Hatch, Henry Hancock, Fleming Milligan, H. B. Bolton, George Willis and Hiram Hawkins of Danville, the last named being the last one left in Mr. McDonald's regiment.

Source: St. Johnsbury Caledonian, November 15, 1916.
Courtesy of Tom Boudreau.