The family lore is that Grace was not strong, but I don’t agree. She was her father’s daughter and also a little of her mother. You can see what I mean as you read the following account of the events of the marriage.
Mrs. Grace Barclay recalled says:
I was married the 8th of September in Hudson, Wis., I was at home immediately prior to the marriage. Came back Oct. 1. I stayed in Minneapolis from the four to the fourteenth of October. From there I went to Grand Rapids, Minn. I stayed there a while and went out to a camp for a week, but kept rooms at the hotel all the time. My husband is superintendent for Backus in the Willow River country. We were near Cloquet when we heard of the murder of my Father. Mr. McDonald told me. I left Mr. McDonald at Cloquet. He went to the woods and I came home. He said he would drive across country and will be here tonight,…
My grandmother Grace was 16 years old when she married my grandfather Ronald. Grandfather Ronald was 32 years old at the time. I pondered this 16 year difference in their age when I saw the birth records at the Koochiching County Courthouse in International Falls, Minnesota. I was looking for my Dad’s birth record and his siblings. I remember saying out loud incredulously: “Grandpa what were you thinking?”
Grace and Ronald did marry on September 8, 1898 in Hudson, St. Croix County, Wisconsin. Hudson is just across the state line between Minnesota and Wisconsin and not that far from Minneapolis/St. Paul. The distance is 29 miles by our freeway standards. The marriage record is quite odd and very plain. It has no identifying publication marks stating it is from Wisconsin. It almost looks like a scrap of paper. I do have the Wisconsin Vital records application and the envelope this Marriage record was returned to me in. You will have to take my word that the marriage was performed in Wisconsin.
In reviewing their marriage record we find the following information:
Ronald S. McDonald is the husband, his father is Archibald, his mother is Mary. Ronald’s occupation is lumberman and his residence is given as Duluth. He was born in Canada. Grace’s name is written “Gray A. Barclay.” Her parents are George A. Barclay and Amarilla Spracklen. She was born in Pine River, MN. They married on Sept. 8, 1898 in Hudson, St. Croix Co. (I wrote in the state). They are white. The ceremony was Presbyterian. The witnesses were Mike Dorgan and Grace & Charles Burnley. The witnesses were from Hudson, St. Croix Co. The marriage was registered September 26, 1898 and the parties were sworn.
What do I think about this information? Well there are a few pieces of information that are very interesting. The first is that Ronald’s place of residence is Duluth. I have suspected that he did live there. The other piece of information is the marriage ceremony was Presbyterian. Ronald was Catholic. Grace her religion was unknown. He basically married outside his faith. The witnesses are also intriguing because their names are unfamiliar to me. Their residence is given as Hudson?
My Aunt Miriam, didn’t know when and where her parent’s marriage took place, it has been solved. The lesson learned is that if you can’t find it in the state they are residing in then try the neighboring states.
I mentioned that the marriages was in secret. This is true. Grace’s father George Angus Barclay was not happy about it and threatened to disinherit her. He said an unkind comment about grandfather Ronald which I will not repeat here. Apparently, father and daughter made up in time.
For more information about this marriage see the blog: The Man Who Lived Airplanes. Go to the right side of this blog and you will find it listed under BJ’s Family History Blogs. This other blog goes into detail about the Mac/McDonald side of the family. The marriage of my grandparents, Grace A. Barclay and Ronald S. McDonald united these two families. Their youngest son Keith would be my father.