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MCDONALD, JOHN MATTHEW (1827–1883). John Matthew McDonald, farmer, Confederate officer, state representative, and jurist, was born in Moore County, North Carolina, in 1827, the son of Scottish immigrants. McDonald came to Texas in 1845, settling in Athens, Henderson County. He worked as a lawyer and school teacher. In 1858 McDonald married Mary Ann Elizabeth Prinson; they had ten children. In July 1861 following the outbreak of the Civil War, McDonald volunteered for Confederate service, joining the Henderson County Reserve Company, Thirteenth Brigade of state militia as a third lieutenant. Other sources say he served in Hood's Texas Brigade. Following the war McDonald assumed a prominent role in the community affairs of Henderson County. He served as mayor of Athens, one term as county judge, and four terms as justice of the peace. In 1872 he won election as representative for District Four—comprised of Anderson, Henderson, and Van Zandt counties—to the Thirteenth Texas Legislature. John McDonald died in Henderson County in 1883 and was buried there at Athens City Cemetery. McDonald was a Mason, having served as Master of Athens Lodge No. 165 in 1870.


Crenshaw-McDonald (, accessed July 16, 2007. Descendants of William K. Payne (, accessed July 16, 2007. History of Athens Masonic Lodge (, accessed July 16, 2007. Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas from 1846 to 1939 (Austin: Texas Legislature, 1939). Ruth R. Peavey, Cemetery Records of Henderson County, Texas, Volume II (Athens, Texas: Henderson County Historical Commission, 1977).

Aragorn Storm Miller


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Aragorn Storm Miller, "MCDONALD, JOHN MATTHEW," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 27, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.