William Woodburn McDonald (October 7, 1878-April 7, 1951)
(This is based upon information received from a reader as well as independent research by author)
McDonald Real Estate was a fixture in the greater Gig Harbor community for several years after Woodburn (he rarely used his first name William) McDonald moved to Rosedale in 1935. But before we learn about his time in Rosedale and Gig Harbor let’s start a the beginning.
McDonald was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and shortly after his birth the family moved to England. By 1902, he had married Molly R. and was living in Canada where he listed his occupation as advertising. Their first child, Jessie, was born in Canada in 1905. The following year 1906 the family had arrived in West Seattle, Washington, and the family was increased with the birth of a second daughter, Mollie, named after her mother. Unfortunately as stated in the Seattle Daily Times, April 15, 1906, Molly died on April 12, 1906 at age 29 of neuralgia of the heart. Seattle Daily Times (published as The Seattle Times) April 15, 1906, Page 21. Mary McDonald who diedFriday of last week of neuralgia of the heart at the West Seattle home, was buried yesterday. Funeral services being conducted at the cemetery. The deceased is survived by two small children. You will notice it shows the name “Mary”; however her death notice in the Seattle Daily Times (Published as The Seattle Times) April 14, 1906, page 11 reads: DAILY STATISTICS Deaths. Molly R. McDonald, West Seattle, age 29, April 12. Ancestry. com also shows the wife’s name as Molly in the Washington, Death Records, 1883-1960 as well as in the copy of the Register of Deaths in King County, State of Washington.
The next news article again appears in The Seattle Daily Times (Published as The Seattle Times_ April 18, 1906, Page 20: BEREAVED HUSBAND RETURNS. Newspaperman McDonald Takes One Child Along. WEST SEATTLE: Wednesday, April 18 — W. Woodburn McDonald has returned to his duties as advertising manager of The Daily News at New Westminister, B. C., taking with him his 2-year-old daughter. A three-week-old girl has been left in the care of a Mrs. Bowker. The child’s mother was buried last Saturday, having died a week previous after climbing a hill from the ferry to her home, an exertion proving fatal in her delicate condition. The case has aroused much sympathy in this place, where the family was widely known.
This article from The Lethbridge Herald, Thursday, January 21, 1943, p 11 is out of chronological sequence but it supports McDonald previous time in Canada. HIGH LIGHTS OF CLARESHOLM HISTORY IN FIRST NEWSPAPER PRINTED THERE (From Our Own Correspondent) CLARESHOLM, Jan. 21 —Major G. W. Ringrose is in receipt of a copy of the first paper printed in the town, the Claresholm Review, No. 1, Vol. 1, dated Dec. 24, 1904; Editor Woodburn McDonald. The sender of the interesting item is Mrs. Allen Turner, Calif. daughter of J. N. Niblock, Medicine Hat, well-known division superintendent of the C.P.R. in the early days.
In a brief sketch of the town history the paper says that: :On Feb. 15, 1902, O. J. Amundsen, T. J. Shelver, S. O. Brandon and Hans Rustom arrived with a few friends to found a town, such as it stands today.”
O. J. Amundsen returned home by way of Winnipeg, where he bought 23 sections of land, and on May 10, 1902, he returned with 25 of the best families of Ramsay county, N.D. and to these men Mr. Amundsen sold 21 sections on that afternoon.
|The Lethbridge Herald, 1/21/1943, p11|
The editor closes with an optimistic prophecy for the young town as he says: “There is not the slightest doubt that in another two years we shall have a population of 2000 inhabitants.”
The article continues describing some of the businesses being opened, merchandise being stocked and ends explaining “The town received its name from Mrs. Clare Niblock, wife of J. N. Niblock —“Claresholm”.
If you haven’t been confused enough we discover McDonald remarries in Pierce County, WA on July 15, 1907. The marriage certificate #5686 lists the new Mrs. McDonald as Mollie A. Jones. BUT on all the other records including City Directories, US Census reports, ancestry.com various family tree histories, the new wife’s name is Mary Agnes Jones, born in PA in 1886 and she dies October 23, 1951.
Following their marriage, the couple live in Pierce County either in Puyallup or in Tacoma. They have four additional children and all except the only boy are born in Pierce County. The son, Graham Woodburn is born in 1912 in San Diego, CA. because his father had moved the family there while he worked for newspapers as their advertising manager. But by January 1915 the publisher of The Tacoma Times has persuaded McDonald to return to Tacoma and make it his permanent home.
By January 1920, McDonald has decided to leave the newspapers and start his own agency. According to Printers Ink, Volume 110, p. 134 “Woodburn McDonald Establishes Agency. Woodburn McDonald, who has been engaged in newspaper work in Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle and Tacoma, Washington has established an advertising agency at Tacoma.” And in Western Advertising, Volume 2, p. 43 “Carlson Joins Agency. S. M. Carlson, who has been identified with Detroit newspaper work, has joined the staff of Woodburn McDonald Co., Tacoma office in the Fidelity Building.” The Washington Newspaper, A Publication Dedicated to the Study and Improvement of Journalism in WA, Volume 7-8, p 382 January 1, 1921 “Tacoma - The West Coast Trade, monthly - Woodburn McDonald, editor & owner. Advertising Dept: Frank Lawrence, Morgan Emory - Advertising forms close tenth of month, Date of Publication: 15th of month”.
In 1935, age 57, McDonald decides to move to Rosedale, Washington. 1937, Tacoma City Directory lists his occupation as advertising. 1940 US Census McDonald has listed his occupation as real estate salesman. In 1942, he and Mary Agnes move to Gig Harbor, and his WWII Draft Card shows his occupation as real estate as well. Based upon this information we will assume that he opened his real estate business along the waterfront on 10/27/1939. Although some people say it was the first real estate office in Gig Harbor, others in town also sold real estate much earlier such as Teresa Sweeney, Louis Mojean Real Estate and others before McDonald moved to Rosedale/Gig Harbor. Perhaps the difference is that McDonald, due to his advertising background advertised in newspapers throughout the state. I found one advertisement in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin Classified Advertisements, Thursday, August 8, 1946 p13 advertising "Choice Level Waterfront Tracts 100 feet wide on the saltwater close to Gig Haror on the peninsula near Tacoma State Highway at the rear of the property".
According to The Peninsula Gateway, McDonald opens his real estate office 10/27/1939 along the waterfront; 6/29/1951 he moves his office to Rehn’s Corner at the junction of the new highway. Previously he was in the Richardson Building. Edward New and EP Moran move into an office in the space formerly occupied by McDonald where they sold both real estate and insurance. 12/11/1958 McDonald Real Estate has a new office at the Span Deli Drive In; it is remodeled in 1/21/1960 and Jake Bujacich joins the staff as a salesman; finally on 5/26/1966 the firm is sold to Sherm Miller and Jack Creamer.
McDonald’s son, Graham moved his family back to Gig Harbor in 1947 after serving as a State Patrol Officer in Mount Vernon, Washington from 1937 until 1946. He joined the his father’s firm. According to his obituary, Graham was integral in the development of Artondale Golf Course and the development of Raft Island. Graham died March 26, 2002.
|Graham's wife, Blowyn, though because there are eight women in the picture and only seven names given, I don't know which one she is: https://harborhistorymuseum.smugmug.com/HarborHistoryMuseumCollection/Organizations-Clubs-Groups/Sorelle-Club/i-RfkqZfH/A|
- ancestry.com (Family Tree Histories; The Lethbridge Herald)
- Seattle Daily Times (4/15/1906, p 21; 4/14/1906, p 11; 4/18/1906, p20)
- The Lethbridge Herald, 1/21/1943, p11
- Printers Ink, Vol 110, p 134
- Western Advertising, Vol 2, p43
- The WA Newspaper, A Publication Dedicated to Study and Improvement of Journalism in WA, Vol 7-8, p382, 1/21/1921
- The Peninsula Gateway - various dates
- The Tacoma Times, front page, 1/2/1915
- Walla Walla Union-Bulletin Classified Advertisements, Thursday, August 8, 1946 p13
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