Mary and Richard McDonald were married the year the Civil War broke out in 1861. They were freed slaves from the time of the Civil War. In 1863, when Richard was about 30 and Mary was about 22, they traveled westward with other families and their 3-month old son, Robert. Later on in the journey Robert died. It is not known how, but he died and they buried him by the dirt road they were traveling on. In 1864 the McDonald’s arrived in Bozeman, the year the town was founded.
Mary and Richard constructed the house at 308 South Tracy in 1872. According to one of the reports, one of the possessions that Mary brought with her to Montana was a picture of her mother. She had been taken from her mother as a child and the picture was all she had left for remembrance. Mary and Robert’s children and grandchildren lived in the house for more than 120 years.
Pioneer Museum – McDonald Family file
Bozeman Daily Chronicle: February 13, 2011 (Schontzler, Gail)
Jenks, Jim: A Guide to Historic Bozeman
Smith, Phyllis: Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley, a History