Joseph E. McDonald

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Joseph E. McDonald
United States Senator
from Indiana
In office
March 4, 1875 – March 3, 1881
Preceded byDaniel D. Pratt
Succeeded byBenjamin Harrison
Attorney General of Indiana
In office
GovernorJoseph A. Wright
Ashbel P. Willard
Preceded byJames Morrison
Succeeded byJames G. Jones
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 8th district
In office
March 4, 1849 – March 3, 1851
Preceded byJohn Pettit
Succeeded byDaniel Mace
Personal details
Joseph Ewing McDonald

August 29, 1819
Butler County, Ohio
DiedJune 21, 1891(1891-06-21) (aged 71)
Indianapolis, Indiana
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materWabash College, Asbury University
ProfessionPolitician, Lawyer, Saddler

Joseph Ewing McDonald (August 29, 1819 – June 21, 1891) was an American politician who served as a United States representative and Senator from Indiana. He also served as Indiana's 2nd Attorney General and unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for President in 1884.

Life and career

McDonald was born in Butler County, Ohio, the son of Eleanor (Piatt) and John McDonald. He moved with his mother to Montgomery County, Indiana, in 1826 and apprenticed to the saddler's trade when twelve years of age in Lafayette, Indiana. He attended Wabash College (Crawfordsville) and graduated from Indiana Asbury University (Greencastle, Indiana; now DePauw University) in 1840. Also in 1840, he worked on the Wabash and Erie Canal. He studied law in Lafayette and was admitted to the bar in 1843, after which he practiced. He was prosecuting attorney from 1843 to 1847 and in the latter year moved to Crawfordsville where he practiced law until 1859.[1]

McDonald was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-first Congress, serving from March 4, 1849, to March 3, 1851. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1850, and was elected Indiana Attorney General in 1856 and was reelected in 1858. In 1859, He moved to Indianapolis in 1859, where he formed a law partnership with former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Addison Roache. He was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor of Indiana in 1864, and was elected to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1875, to March 3, 1881. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection. While in the Senate he was chairman of the Committee on Public Lands (Forty-sixth Congress). McDonald sought his party's nomination for U.S. President at the 1884 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, but was defeated by New York Governor Grover Cleveland.[1]

McDonald died in Indianapolis in 1891; interment was in Crown Hill Cemetery.


  1. ^ a b Monks, Leander John (1916). Courts and lawyers of Indiana. Indianapolis: Federal Publishing Company.
Political offices
Preceded by Indiana Attorney General
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Indiana
Succeeded by
Thomas A. Hendricks
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 8th congressional district

March 4, 1849 – March 3, 1851
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 1) from Indiana
Served alongside: Oliver P. Morton, Daniel W. Voorhees
Succeeded by