William C. McDonald (governor)

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William C. McDonald
William C. McDonald (1912).jpg
1st Governor of New Mexico
In office
January 14, 1912 – January 1, 1917
Preceded by William J. Mills
as Territorial Governor
Succeeded by Ezequiel Cabeza De Baca
Personal details
Born (1858-07-25)July 25, 1858
Jordanville, New York
Died April 11, 1918(1918-04-11) (aged 59)
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Francis McCourt
Residence White Oaks

William Calhoun McDonald (July 25, 1858 – April 11, 1918) was an American politician, and the first Governor of the State of New Mexico.


McDonald was born in Jordanville, New York and was raised in New York. He attended Cazenovia Seminary. In New York, he studied law and taught primary school.[1]


In 1878, McDonald moved to Fort Scott, Kansas where he served as an apprentice at the law offices of Joseph S. Lorrence. He was admitted to the bar in 1880. McDonald then moved to the White Oaks, New Mexico Territory in 1880 and settled in Lincoln County. Staking out mining claims and working as a mineral surveyor, he managed and later purchased the Carrizozo Cattle Ranch Company. He became a United States deputy mineral surveyor for New Mexico in 1881. He became active in Democratic politics.

McDonald was Lincoln County Assessor from 1885 to 1887. In 1891, he was a member of the New Mexico Territorial House of Representatives. He married Francis J. McCourt on August 31, 1891.[2] The couple had five children. He chaired the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners from 1895 to 1897. A member of the New Mexico Cattle Sanitary Board from 1905 to 1911, he also chaired the 1910 Democratic Territorial Central Committee.

Securing the Democratic nomination, McDonald was elected the first Governor of the state of New Mexico on November 7, 1911.[3] During his tenure, the state's government was structured while raids by Mexican bandits were dealt with.

After his governorship, McDonald was appointed and served as New Mexico Fuel Administrator, an office he held until his death.


McDonald died on April 11, 1918 and is interred at Cedarvale Cemetery in White Oaks.[4]


  1. "McDonald, William Calhoun". New Mexico State Record Center and Archives. Retrieved 2012-07-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "William C. McDonald". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 9 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "William C. McDonald". National Governors Association. Retrieved 9 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "William C. McDonald". Find A Grave. Retrieved 9 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
William J. Mills
Territorial Governor
Governor of New Mexico
Succeeded by
Ezequiel Cabeza De Baca