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Donaldson south of Sheffield a long-standing family name

If Google couldn’t tell us where Donaldson was located, no one would have any idea.

But Google can.

The site of what was once known as Donaldson shows up on Google maps as on Pa. 948 south of Sheffield. Schenck’s 1880s History of Warren County describes Donaldson as living in Barnes.

It’s named for Andrew Donaldson, who came to Warren County in the mid-1840s from Kittanning Armstrong County.

When he first came here, he owned a large farm in the area — Schenck calls it a “tract in the southern part of the township.”

As with many in those years, he farmed but also entered the lumber trade.

He and his wife Christianna had at least seven children, including their oldest, James, who served with Captain William Alexander in the 111th Pennsylvania Infantry during the Civil War where he was discharged for wounds received at the Battle of Dallas in the 1864 Atlanta Campaign.

By the time Schenck wrote his history in the 1880s, Andrew had passed away (he died in 1867 and is buried at Barnes Cemetery) and James and his mother were living on the site.

The family had obviously done well to hold onto the farm for 40 years but it was the 1880s that would elevate their wealth to a new level – the discovery of oil.

The first producing well was drilled in 1881 and that grew to a total of 11 in the ensuing years.

Schenck called that development “a handsome revenue for the family.”

By the 1960s, several “crude oil collection tanks owned by the Valvoline Oil Company Division of the Ashland Oil & Refining Company” was what remained.

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