McDonald, Abel B.
Age: 29, credited to Danville, VTVITALS
Birth: abt 1833, Danville, VTADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Walter Harvey Cemetery, Barnet, VT
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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, VTVital Records, +
Contributors: Tom Ledoux, Jutta Scott, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum.