Biography of William H. McDonald

WM. H. McDONALD – Mr. McDonald, long known as purser on the old Oregon Steam navigation Company’s steamers, and now cashier of the La Grande National Bank, is one of the Oregon educated men who are a credit to the state. He is the son of Mr. H. McDonald, the well-known architect and pioneer, and was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1848, coming around Cape Horn on the clipper Hurricane in 1851. His education was gained at the Portland Academy at the Pacific University of Forest Grove, and the Willamette University of Salem.

While still young, he entered the service of the old Oregon Steam Navigation Company, and, soon gaining a reputation for ability and fidelity, was rapidly promoted, attaining at length the position of general shipping agent of the Upper Columbia and Snake rivers, – one of high responsibility. He was in the employ of that company thirteen years, followed by two years’ service in the general office of Wells, Fargo & Company’s express in San Francisco, four years as chief clerk of the construction department of the railway branch of the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company, and two years as cashier of the First National Bank of Island City, Oregon.

In 1887 he located at La Grande, and, in company with several of the leading citizens of that place, organized the La Grande National Bank. Prominent capitalists of Portland, – Henry Failing, H.W. Corbett, James Steel and J. Lowenberg, – were also largely identified with Mr. McDonald in the enterprise, which, through the efficient management of Mr. McDonald, already enjoys a high-credit rating in banking circles, and is considered on of the most sound and active banks in the state. During the entire period of five years of Mr. McDonald’s experience as a bank cashier, it is a matter of record, that he never has been obliged to charge off a cent to profit and loss, nor to place a note in the hands of an attorney for collection, – a record of which Mr. McDonald is justly proud.

Mr. McDonald enjoys the implicit confidence of the community in which he resides, and is esteemed by his acquaintances there and elsewhere throughout the state as a high-minded, upright gentleman, honorable and conscientious in his dealings, and one who is proud of being a pioneer.



History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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