Here’s some little-known trivia about Isabella’s family, beginning with Isabella’s mother, Myra Spafford.
Myra was close to her sister Julia; they were born only a year apart in Canaan, near Johnstown, New York.
Myra and Julia’s father (Isabella’s grandfather) was Horatio Spafford. Horatio was a teacher, inventor, author, and—for a few years—a newspaper publisher.
When she was still a teenager, younger sister Julia married Duncan Macdonald, who also grew up in Johnstown, not far from the Spaffords.
Like his new father-in-law, Duncan was a newspaperman. He was famous for his work as a journalist; and his newspaper, The Schoharie Free Press, was well-known throughout the state of New York.
A few years after Julia’s marriage to Duncan Macdonald, Myra married Duncan’s brother, Isaac.
Myra and Isaac went on to have seven children—the sixth of which was Isabella Macdonald Alden.
Myra and Isaac, Julia and Duncan, lived very near each other and raised their children together in Johnstown, New York.
And just as they lived their lives together, they also went to their final rest together. Myra and Isaac are buried near Julia and Duncan in the Johnstown Cemetery.
A generation later, Isabella’s family welcomed another pair of siblings to the family. Isabella’s eldest sister Elizabeth married Hiram Titus in 1843. They set up house in Gloversville, not far from Isaac Macdonald’s box-making factory, and had eleven children.
Then, not long after, Isabella’s older brother James married Hiram’s sister Sarah, and they had five children.
In her memoirs, Isabella often mentioned how much her family meant to her, and how close they remained over the course of their lives. Her niece, Grace Livingston Hill, also wrote about their bond, and how they all spent time together as one family.
The days were one long dream. Hard work? Yes, but good fellowship. Everybody working together with a common aim, and joy in the work and the fellowship!
You can read more about Isabella’s family and her life in the Johnstown/Gloversville area in these posts:
5 thoughts on “Brothers and Sisters, Husbands and Wives”
Just when I think I’m caught up with the ins-and-outs of Isabella’s fascinating family, I learn new stuff! LOVE this. Where is Isabella’s grave, Jenny? Thanks for sharing this! As this is all near my western NY stomping grounds, I am totally entranced by these peeks into early NYS history by way of the Macdonald clan!
Isabella’s grave is in Palo Alto California, where she and Ross moved after he retired from the ministry. They are buried in a family plot with their son, Raymond, Raymond’s wife Barbara, and Isabella’s sisters Mary and Julia. —Jenny
Thank you for that info, Jenny…I probably won’t make a pilgrimage there, but I love knowing that she went to her rest with family.
Was Isabella related to Scottish author George MacDonald? It doesn’t seem like it from my brief search. They are somewhat contemporary, but like Pansy, MacDonald’s novels have villains that are redeemed at the end.
You’re right, Stuart; Isabella’s novels were similar to George MacDonald’s, but in tracing her family tree, I haven’t found a connection between Isabella’s family and George’s. —Jenny