Biography of William Stephen McDonald

William Stephen McDonald. The distinctive fact in Doctor McDonald’s record as a physician and surgeon at Fort Scott is not the twenty-five years he has practiced there, nor even the exceptional attainments and the skill he has gained in the profession, but more than all these the spirit of service which has animated him in all his work. Such a man never measures his success by fees, but by the satisfaction of doing all he can to alleviate human suffering and by the conscientious performance of his duties to the world and humanity.

Doctor McDonald is of old New England stock. He was born at Prince Edward’s Island March 21, 1853, son of Archibald and Mary A. (Bowyer) McDonald. His father, who was of Scotch parentage, was a farmer and also a contractor and builder, and died in Eastern Maine at the age of sixty-eight. The mother, who was of French Huguenot ancestors, died at Portland, Maine.

Fifth in a family of eight children, Doctor McDonald gained a liberal education. He first attended the Wesleyan Boarding School at Redfield, Maine, and then entered the Wesleyan University at Middletown, where he was graduated A. B. in 1882. He received the degree Master of Arts from his alma mater in 1885. After his graduation he took the chair of Natural Science in the East Maine Conference Seminary at Bucksport, and taught there for three years. Having definitely decided upon a medical career, he then entered the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, where he remained until graduating M. D. in 1889. For two years he was an interns in the Jefferson Hospital and thus when he came to Kansas in 1891 he was fortified and prepared for practice by an unusual range of experience and opportunities. Locating at Fort Scott, he has now followed his profession in that city for a quarter of a century.

While in college Doctor McDonald was noted as an expert oarsman and all around athlete. His strong physique was an important aid to him in his early practice. It was especially valuable when it came to attending his patients in the country districts. Doctor McDonald in those early years was never known to refuse to respond to a call regardless of the weather, regardless of whether it was day or night, and regardless of the distance or other difficulties involved in attending his patients. It should be remembered that twenty or twenty-five years ago Bourbon County had few modern highways, few telephones, and the automobile had not yet been introduced to lighten some of the burdens of country practice. In the many years he has spent here, Doctor McDonald has traveled over every country highway and by-path in the county, and there is probably not a farmhouse in the entire county with which he is not familiar. Along with his successful practice he has maintained the character of a warm-hearted and generous gentleman, and has accomplished a great deal of good.

He is a member of all the medical associations, including the American Medical Association, and for several years served as treasurer of the Bourbon County Medical Society. He is local surgeon for the Frisco Railroad, and in 1914-15 was president of the Order of Frisco Railroad Surgeons. His hobby aside from his profession is farming, and in a modest way he looks after a farm near Fort Scott. He is a Scottish Rite Mason and belongs to the Mystic Shrine, and for the past ten years has been chairman of the board of trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

On September 25, 1892, at Fort Scott, Doctor McDonald married Miss Flora Rice, daughter of John Holt and Nancy (Russell) Rice, a prominent Fort Scott family elsewhere referred to. Mrs. McDonald is a member of the Methodist Church and of the Ladies’ Aid Society.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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