top of page

                                     E. G. & D MACDONALD   ST JOHNS AND CHAMBLY


This article started with the purchase of a stoneware piece marked E. G. & D. MacDonald St Johns and Chambly .

We recognized it as a merchant marked piece and believed the letters stood for the merchants  Edward Charles and Duncan MacDonald. 
Upon research that quickly changed. 
It is not Edward Charles and Duncan it is however Edward, George and Duncan so the "G" is not a misprint letter  (of Edward's second name Charles )  but actually the name of the third partner.

We found it very difficult to find any family history on these MacDonalds even though they went on to become merchants,mortgage holders, bankers and eventually owners of  the St Johns Stone Chinaware Company.

Overtime this is what we discovered.

This MacDonald family begins in Canada with William MacDonald.
William MacDonald was a native of Inverness Scotland. 
He was a captain there in the 42nd Highlanders also referred to as the "Black Watch" .
He came to Canada by 1804 as his second son James was born in New Brunswick.
He was attached to the 104th Regiment which was under the command of Colonel Drummond during the war of 1812.

The 1839 Montreal Almanac lists W. MacDonald as the Barrack Master in St Johns.
In the St Jean church record for his death , he is described as the St Johns Barack Master and half pay officer of the on foot 104th Regiment. 
He died in St Johns on August 11, 1857. His age is eighty something and we believe the next digit is a six.

William MacDonald's known documented sons are James, Edward and Duncan. 
Edward Charles (born 1810-11 in Canada and died unmarried on January 29, 1889 at St Johns )
He seems to have been the third son as James ( born1804 - 5 ) is definitely the second son according to the

"A Cyclopedia of Canadian Biography being chiefly men of the times - 1888 " .
Duncan was the youngest known brother born in Kingston Upper Canada on June 24, 1815. 
This leaves George who is quite certainly the eldest son of William.
He is first mentioned along with Edward as being one of the witnesses on the baptism record of James Macdonald's son Lawrence George in 1832. ( Laprairie church record )

In the Dictionary of Canadian Biography ( 1881 -1890 ) Vol. XI on Edward Charles MacDonald
" In the mid 1830s he  opened a general store and drug store in partnership with his younger brother Duncan."  

Although Edward MacDonald did begin a Merchant business and General store in St Johns (Now called St Jean sur le Richelieu)  in the early 1830's, his first partnership was with George MacDonald .
They worked under the firm name of " Edward & George MacDonald. " 
In the "A Cyclopedia of Canadian Biography being chiefly men of the times-1888" it  says Duncan  joined with Edward in 1837.
It will be shown he joined both Edward and George in partnership under the firm name of "E.G.& D.MacDonald".

" The 1830s were a propitious time for Macdonald to go into business, for the village of Saint-Jean was about to enter into new economic prospects. A port of entry, advantageously situated on the Richelieu River at the foot of the navigable waters of Lake Champlain, it was connected in 1836 to Laprairie, Lower Canada, by the Champlain and St Lawrence Railroad, the first to open in Canada. The Chambly Canal, under construction in the 1830s, placed it in further direct communication with inland ports. It was not long before the Macdonalds were among the largest shippers of grain in the province. "

(Dictionary of Canadian Biography ( 1881 -1890 ) Vol. XI by Elizabeth Collard)

On September 9,1833  -  Alexander McQueen of Montreal who was acting as an agent for Edward MacDonald and George MacDonald bought  two lots of land in Dorchester ( St Johns) at a sheriff sale.
They are described as  being on Front street. (L # 1047 - 1048 )

On July 7, 1834 - Edward MacDonald and George Macdonald are mentioned as both from the Town of Dorchester commonly called the village of St Johns in the District of Montreal.
They are Merchants carrying on trade together under the name style and form of " Edward & George MacDonald "
On this day Alexander McQueen is transferring over the deed for the properties which he had purchased for them.(L# 1049)

It is approximately in the year 1837 their brother Duncan MacDonald joined in their partnership.
This date as mentioned above was taken from his biography written in 1888.
It could be correct as Duncan would have been 22 years of age.
The biography also mentions he had been educated in Montreal and Lapraire " taking a commercial course " .
He then worked in the drug business in Montreal for seven years before he came to St Johns.
However the biography being written about 50 years after the fact it may have been 1838-39 a bit later then stated.
If the 1837 date is correct he would have begun working in the drug business at the age of 15  and would have to have taken the commercial course previous to that at the age of 13. 

Upon his joining,  the firm changed name from " Edward & George MacDonald" to " E. G. & D. MacDonald ".
This of course stood for Edward, George and Duncan MacDonald.

The duration of this partnership seems to be contained in the fact that it is only found when both Chambly and St Johns are mentioned together as  joint ventures. 

On December 28, 1838 Edward MacDonald signs a contract with Etienne Bertrand a Farmer in the paroisse of St Mathais. Bertrand is to deliver oats to E. MacDonald at his residence in the Canton of Chambly.
Edward MacDonald is mentioned to be a merchant resident of the paroisse of St Joseph de Chambly recently having lived in the town of Dorchester ( St Johns). ( N # 1302 )
This is the first document we found of the MacDonald's in Chambly.

Although it is only Edward MacDonald mentioned a later document  states Edward , George and Duncan MacDonald are Merchants in St Johns ( E.G.& D MacDonald ) and in Chambly under the name of " Edward MacDonald "(L# 1050)

This next document is a notary record of a lease starting December 1, 1839 and for a five year term ending in 1844.
Edward MacDonald is leasing  a part of a lot of land in the Canton of Chamby from Benjamin Draper, a Blacksmith.
On it is " one house used as a store , one stable and one shed and other improvements erected and made thereon".
The rent fee is fifty pounds per year. The shed and stable have been erected by E. MacDonald and he will be reimbursed at the expiration of the lease. The store improvements will also be determined and repaid.

Edward MacDonald bought more property in Chambly on July 9, and November 29, 1841. (L# 1984-5 and N # 2229 )
He also bought more property there on August 22, 1842. ( L # 1118 )

More property was also bought in St Johns by Edward , George and Duncan MacDonald.
On April 19, 1841 they bought lot # 15 on Front street in St Johns from a Sheriff sale ( L # 1052 )

Also on October 1, 1841 E. G. & D MacDonald form a partnership with William Gorman a Government Contractor.
It is George MacDonald who is present at the notary office. 
The partnership shall be for three years and  the business will be carried on under the name MacDonald & Gorman.
They will supply firewood to the St Johns troops in a contract starting on October 4, 1841 until October 1844. (N # 1309)

In the Montreal Directory for 1842 both Chambly and St Johns Business's are listed.

The top clip is Chambly and below it is from  St Johns.

2 - ed chambly.jpg
3- egd st johns.jpg

By the end of 1844 the partnership of Edward , George and Duncan comes to an end.

The following outlines their last year together.

On January 10, 1844 is a court case #520 - Edward , George & Duncan MacDonald are referred to as co partners.

On April 6, 1844 William Gorman's mother sells to E. & D. MacDonald lot # 74 for her son who is now deceased.
William Gorman and George MacDonald had each bought a lot ( # 74 and  # 75 ) of land in St Johns on the west side of

Mc Cumming street on April 4, 1842. George MacDonald retains lot # 75. 
Having bought Gorman's lot # 74 this is the first mention of " E. & D. MacDonald " as partners and traders of St Johns without George  . However, George still owned half of the barn on lot # 74. (L# 1050 )

In mid- 1844 Edward MacDonald starts selling the property he purchased in Chambly and by July 1845 owned no more property there. 
On June 25, 1844 he exchanges a property in Chambly for a lot in St Johns.  ( L # 1051 )

The contract with William Gorman to supply firewood ends in October 1844 and the store lease in Chambly ends

on December 1, 1844.

We did not find another lease to continue the store and business in Chambly.

George MacDonald is no longer mentioned in the partnership by March 4, 1845. 
This document is a lease by Edward and Duncan MacDonald listed as co partners and traders in St Johns under the name style and firm of E. & D. MacDonald. ( N # 186 )
They continued together as merchants in St Johns until about the 1860's.
However,  their partnership lasted until May 5, 1878. ( L # 10708 )

 The following pictures are of E. G. & D MacDonald St Johns & Chambly marked stoneware.

The first picture is of an ovoid jug made in the first few months of Moses Farrar's pottery in St Johns when he was first established in the fall of 1840.

This piece belongs to a fellow collector.

edward macdonld st johns
edward macdonald st johns
edward macdonald st johns

The picture of the handle shows it to be the same as other designed handles used by Moses Farrar on some of his large jugs.



The second half gallon  crock was made at the same pottery but a few years later in 1841- 1843.

It would be highly unlikely that they would have ordered any  Chambly marked crocks in 1844 knowing that their store in Chambly would close at the end of their lease on December 1, 1844 and by June 1844 they were disposing of Chambly property.

edward macdonald st johns
edward macdonald st johns


                                                                                   MACDONALD & CHARLTON

When researching the family genealogy for Edward and Duncan MacDonald  we came across other members of this family in St Johns ( now called St Jean sur le Richelieu , Quebec )

Another member of that family was a merchant and also operated a general store on Front street ( later called Richelieu street ).
His name was William Edward MacDonald.

This article will give a timeline for his business in St Johns along with information on his partner in trade.
It will also provide some more genealogical information and his relation to Edward, George and Duncan MacDonald.

William Edward MacDonald was born on Oct 11, 1828 and dies on November 15, 1871 at the age of 43 in St Johns.
He marries Anne Gray in about 1855.
He is the son of James MacDonald and Eliza Holland. He was baptized  in 1829 in Montreal at Christ Church.
His father James ( born 1804-5 ) is listed as a merchant in Chateauguay at this time.
James is the second son of William ( see information above article ) and  brother of Edward , George and Duncan.  
James MacDonald also lived in the village of Laprairie ( census 1861 ) before moving to St Johns by April 1864 (L# 2891) after his wife passed away. He lived with his son Lawrence George who was a lawyer in St Johns.

William Edward MacDonald - aged 24 - is found in the 1851 census for the town of St Johns listed as a merchant.
George Ridley Charlton - aged 30 - is also listed in this 1851 census as a merchant.

On March 15, 1851
William E. MacDonald and George R. Charlton form the co partnership of " MacDonald & Charlton ".
It is for the purpose of carrying on the business of Merchants and Traders in the town of St Johns. ( L # 2746 )

They were too late to be registered in the 1851 Canada Directory but were added to the 1853 Supplement Directory.

macdonald & charlton

On October 3, 1853 George Charlton married Anne Mehitable Mott.   W. E. MacDonald is one of the witnesses. 

This co partnership under the name of MacDonald & Charlton ends on February 1, 1855.
George R. Charlton is to take over possession of all credits and debts.
All stock as well as the shop and fixtures will become his.
William E. MacDonald is given one hundred thirty pounds and fifteen shillings. ( L # 2746 )

It is announced in  the Montreal Herald and Daily Commercial Gazette newspaper. ( May 18, 1855 )

macdonald & charton

This following picture is of a MacDonald & Charlton  marked stoneware jug. ( CE stands for Canada East )
It would have been made for them and date sometime between March 15, 1851 to February 1, 1855.
It would have been made by one of the St Johns potteries of the time. 

These pictures came from an online source and can not remember where.

macdonald & charlton
macdonald & charlton
macdonald & charlton

This thou was not the end of their partnership. 

Although we could not find a new co partnership agreement sometime between February 1, 1855 and 1857
they reformed their co partnership but this time under the firm name of "Charlton & MacDonald ". 
We do not know of any " Charlton & MacDonald " marked stone ware 

1857 Canada Directory - Under St Johns - Notice the spelling is incorrect in the listing

macdonald & charlton
macdonald & charlton

On August 24, 1860 they are still together and listed in Le Franco - Canadien french newspaper of St Johns.
In this article the merchants of St Johns are closing their stores for the visit and celebration of the Prince des Galles in Canada.

macdonald & charlton

This  co partnership under " Charlton & MacDonald continued until March 11, 1865. 

In the Canada Gazette is the disassociation of their co partnership.

macdonald & charlon
Macdonald & charlton


bottom of page