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The Judge Went Up and Up Until the Fall

One of the most unusual stories about the early days of Cowley County concerns the early-day law partner of W. P. Hackney. (Hackney was written about in Volume I.) This individual was J. Wade McDonald, who became known as “Judge McDonald” when he lived in Wellington, Kansas, where Hackney first met him before moving to Winfield. The Hackney & McDonald law firm started in January 1872 at Wellington.
McDonald was an active Democrat while his law partner for ten years, W. P. Hackney, was a Republican, serving in both the house and senate of Kansas. Before an August 26, 1880, Winfield Courier article appeared, many assumed that McDonald was a Southern sympathizer. The Courier item stated: “J. Wade McDonald was a soldier in the Twentieth Illinois infantry.” It stated that the preserved regimental banner was emblazoned with the names of Fredericktown, Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, and Vicksburg. It further stated that McDonald had killed Democrats and that he was discharged from service on account of wounds received, and still carried rebel lead in his thigh.
[Note: The account given by the Winfield Courier in 1880 does not agree with a later item by that paper on June 1, 1882: “Judge McDonald received a pressing invitation last week to deliver the occasional address at the reunion of his old regiment, the 10th Illinois Infantry, on the 13th of June. Owing to important business before the U. S. Court, which meets at Leavenworth about that time, he was compelled to decline the honor.]
It is unknown where McDonald was born. He moved to Winfield in June 1876 with his wife, Sallie E. (Thompson) McDonald, and their little son. At that time he was about thirty-six years age and she was twenty-nine. On the way over to Winfield by buggy with his family and household effects, Judge McDonald gave the lines to his wife and got out to walk in order to lighten the load when they came to a bad crossing about six miles east of Wellington. Finding the water to be rather deep and muddy, the horses gave a lunge and pitched the vehicle forward, breaking the coupling. The team then ran some twenty-five rods before disengaging from the mangled buggy. Mrs. McDonald and son were thrown out to the ground without serious injuries. The Judge managed to get a ride to Oxford, where he obtained a replacement buggy.
Hackney & McDonald opened their law office in Winfield on June 27, 1876.
In December 1876 Mrs. McDonald’s brother, A. J. Thompson, a resident in Denver, Colorado,  visited for some time with the McDonald family.
In 1877 the law firm moved into a brick building situated on a corner of Main street. In June that year Mrs. McDonald was visited by her sister, Miss Emma Thompson. Mrs. McDonald accompanied  her sister in August 1877 to Denver, Colorado, in order to visit with her brother and parents, Mr. and Mrs. S. W. Thompson.
On January 1, 1878, Hackney & McDonald noted their gross receipts for professional services from June 27, 1876, to that date amounted to $8,075.31.
Judge McDonald was a member of the Democratic Party, Adelphi Lodge No. 110, A. F. and A. M., Winfield Lodge No. 18, A. O. U. W., and the “Evening Star Club.” He joined others in different attempts in Cowley County to get a railroad. McDonald was also engaged in a number of activities that were not as a rule publicly announced. These activities consisted of buying and selling horses, land, etc., for the Hackney & McDonald law firm.

                                                       Geuda Springs Land.
One of the purchases by Judge McDonald involved land containing the beneficial springs later called “Geuda Springs.” The history on this acreage dates back to July 25, 1872, when W. J. Walpole obtained by a patent from the United States of America 156.75 acres (fractional southwest quarter of Section 6 in Township 34 South, Range 3 East). Walpole sold one-half acre of land near the large salt spring to Brainard Goff, Jr., of Cowley County, Kansas. The record of this sale was not completed and litigations were held on this property until 1916. In 1872 Walpole mortgaged the remainder of this land to I. C. Loomis. In 1873 and 1874 attorneys representing Walpole, Loomis, and others were busy making loans and releasing mortgages. On May 11, 1876, W. J. Walpole, by H. O. Meigs, attorney in fact, sold the mortgage to David J. Bright of Cowley County, Kansas, for $516.37. Bright was plagued by Indians who would not stay off the land and soon sold the Geuda Springs land. He again bought it in February 1878 when R. L. Walker, current sheriff of Cowley County, transferred the land to Bright for $585.00. Bright was facing a lawsuit started by Mary H. Buck and transferred the land in March 1878 for $290.00 to Hackney & McDonald, who were handling his suit with Buck. The suit was later dismissed.
Judge McDonald became interested in Geuda Springs due to an eruption on his face, head, and neck. He visited the springs on July 28, 1878, drinking and taking baths in the water. In less than three hours, the scabs came off his face and his appearance improved.
In 1878 Judge McDonald put on an addition to his frame residence located on the corner of Sixth and Manning streets in Winfield that cost approximately $300. Mrs. S. W. Thompson, mother of Mrs. Sallie E. McDonald, visited her daughter and family in December before returning to her home in Denver, Colorado. Judge and Mrs. McDonald were elated at the birth of a daughter in February 1879.
Hackney and McDonald were unable to effect many improvements to Geuda Springs due to their busy law practice. They sold the land obtained from Bright for $290 in March 1878 for $4,000 in August 1879 to C. R. Mitchell and Albert A. Newman of Arkansas City.
                                       Emma Thompson Marries A. D. Speed.
The McDonald family was paid a lengthy visit by Emma Thompson, Mrs. McDonald’s sister, who arrived in December 1879 and assisted at a New Year’s reception. Miss Emma Thompson married A. D. Speed at the McDonald residence on January 20, 1880. Rev. J. E. Platter officiated at the ceremony. Only a few friends of the family were present.
In January 1880 Hackney & McDonald purchased Col. Alexander’s office property on the north side of Ninth avenue, between Main and Millington streets, and established an office on the upper story of the building. They also purchased property from Dan Miller on South Main street.
The Thompson family had close ties. In August 1880 Mrs. Sallie McDonald and her sister, Mrs. Emma Speed, visited their parents, Mr. and Mrs. S. W. Thompson, in Denver, Colorado. Their brother, Aaron C. Thompson,  had held a position in the United States Civil Service and resided in Alabama for over fifteen years before becoming ill with consumption.  It was deemed best for him to move west and he settled at Winfield in 1880 and stayed for about a year, working for the Hackney & McDonald law firm. His condition grew worse. He joined his parents in Denver sometime in 1881.

                Ranch Owned by Hackney & McDonald in Spring Creek Township.
In 1880 Hackney & McDonald purchased 3,140 acres of the Cherokee Strip lands at a Government sale for $1.00 per acre. In May 1881 they sold the land to Mr. Alex Fuller, who was acting as the agent for Illinois parties, for $2.50 per acre, spot cash. This gave Hackney & McDonald a profit of $4,710 for holding onto the land for a year. Mr. and Mrs. John Allison from Illinois conveyed the Cherokee Strip lands to D. W. Fuller of Ohio and Henry V. Louie, H. L. Bennion, and Alexander Fuller of Grundy County, Illinois, for $8,460. The purchasers indicated that they planned to fence in the tract for stock-raising purposes. The ranch was again sold in January 1884 to Messrs. Taylor, Wilkie, Martin, and others, of Cambridge, Ohio, for $21,000.
The same gentlemen got Messrs. Libby and Moody to “set a price” on their farm of 800 acres, which was “set” at $10,00, and purchased that also. H. S. Libby was an early cattleman who settled south of Maple City in Spring Creek Township around 1874. Moody, a relative of his, left Maine in 1878 and became Libby’s partner in handling their cattle herd.
Libby’s farm was on “Skull Creek.” Alexander Tolles, the first settler in this area in 1870, observed a skull while traveling across the creek and assumed it was that of an Indian. The creek became known as “Skull Creek.” On September 20, 1876, the Arkansas City Traveler noted that “nearly every horse thief that passes through this county stops at Mr. Libby’s house, near Maple City, to get something to eat, as that is the last house on the line. It would be well enough to send direct to him for information when a horse is stolen.”
                                                          Mining Ventures.
W. P. Hackney was president of the Enterprise Gold and Silver Mining and Smelting Company at Sherman, Colorado, in 1880 and 1881.
J. Wade McDonald worked a mining claim at Boulder in September 1881 and then visited with his family before returning in November 1881 to Colorado to work his claim.
Both Hackney and McDonald lost money on their mining ventures.
On December 15, 1881, Lovell H. Webb, a lawyer, took a position with the firm of Hackney & McDonald and became quite active. The Hackney & McDonald law firm celebrated its tenth year in January 1882. During that month Henry Asp moved his law office into the first floor of the Hackney and McDonald building.
Judge McDonald returned from his mining endeavors in Colorado in February 1882 and stated that he would hereafter make Winfield his headquarters for mining and legal matters.
Senator W. P. Hackney was occupied much of the time in Topeka. It was mutually decided by Judge McDonald and Senator Hackney to dissolve their law firm on May 16, 1882. Lovell H. Webb became a partner of Judge McDonald on May 15, 1884. The junior member of the firm of McDonald & Webb married Miss Florence A. Beeney in June 1884.
                                        Mrs. J. Wade McDonald Becomes Ill.
In July 1882 Mrs. Sallie E. McDonald was taken very ill. In August that year Judge McDonald took his wife to Colorado Springs, leaving her there for a season of rest and recreation. He returned to take care of his busy law practice. In September 1882 the editor of the Winfield Courier, D. A. Millington, reported that he had visited with Mrs. McDonald and her son in Colorado Springs, and stated that there were strong hopes that she would recover from her illness.

During September 1882 while Judge McDonald was in Colorado defending a murderer, W. P. Hackney purchased the lot adjacent to his old office with McDonald and had the blacksmith shop torn down preparatory to erecting his new office.
Judge McDonald brought his wife back from Colorado in late September. On November 8, 1882, Mrs. McDonald was accompanied by her sister, Mrs. A. D. Speed, to Denver, Colorado, where Mrs. McDonald expected to spend the balance of the winter. Judge McDonald spent Christmas with his family at the home of Mr. and Mrs. S. W. Thompson.
Aaron C. Thompson, brother of Mrs. J. Wade McDonald and Mrs. A. S. Speed, aged thirty-eight years, died at Denver on January 14, 1883.
In August 1883 Mrs. J. Wade McDonald, fully recovered after a long illness, became a director of the Ladies’ Library Association in Winfield.
                                                     Winfield Water Works.
D. A. Millington, editor of the Winfield Courier, suspected the petition presented to him in December 1882 by Frank Barclay for his signature that asked the city council to pass an ordinance granting Barclay, a local plumber, and his associates the right of way to lay water mains in the streets and alleys of Winfield, with a view of establishing a system of water-works. Millington discovered that Barclay was to be given a $3,000 a year bonus for twenty-one years and that the city would authorize an exclusive ninety-nine year franchise to the company, renting forty hydrants at $3,000 a year, and an additional and practically unlimited number of hydrants at $75 a year, each for a term of twenty-one years, with no provision for the city to buy the works and terminate the rentals until the end of twenty-five years.
When the city council met, the ordinance was not to be found. It was traced into the hands of Judge McDonald. Soon the false rumor was spread that it had been in the office of the Winfield Courier. Millington was furious. He and Ed Greer of the Courier came up with a counter proposal. When the city council did pass a revised ordinance, Millington was insistent that unfair methods had been used by McDonald and others to make one of the city council members change his vote. Ordinance No. 167 granted to Frank Barclay, J. L. Horning, J. Wade McDonald, W. C. Robinson, J. B. Lynn, W. P. Hackney, and M. L. Robinson of Winfield, their successors and assigns, for the term of ninety-nine years the right of way along the streets and alleys, and the privilege to construct, operate, and maintain a system of Water Works.
                     Judge McDonald’s Ranch on Silver Creek, Liberty Township.
Judge McDonald quietly purchased a ranch on Silver Creek in Liberty Township. In April 1883 he made his first stock purchases: over 100 head of grade short-horn heifers, a registered three year old short-horn bull, and a two year old Galloway bull.
In March 1884 he purchased a twenty months old stallion colt, the son of the famous trotter, Gov. Sprague. In the same week he purchased a pure blood Durham bull, whose grandmother took first premium at the Centennial. This was followed by the purchase of more fine trotting horses in the next few months. In May it was reported that one of his trotters got frightened, kicked his trainer off the sulky, and then took off and tearing the sulky to pieces.
The Fair Association allowed Judge McDonald the privilege of pasturing his fine colts on the Bluegrass inside the ring on the Fairgrounds in August 1884.

In October 1884 reports came in about the Fair recently held at Winfield. A half brother of Judge McDonald’s stallion colt roped in first money for all speed ring events. The noted sorrel, “Caroline,” who won first money in the 2:40 pacing race, making the mile in 2:39½, and who also took first premium in sweepstakes for best mare of any age or breed, was purchased soon after her victories by Judge J. Wade McDonald, for $1,000.
In March 1885 Judge McDonald offered for sale on the Fair grounds at Winfield twenty head of fine cross-bred yearling Galloway bulls and two of his trotting-bred stallions.
In April 1885 Judge McDonald seeded about twelve acres of prairie in the bottom on his Liberty township cattle ranch in Kentucky with blue grass in the winter of 1883 and fed his large herd on this ground during that winter with mostly corn fodder. That summer but a few spears of the blue grass appeared and the prairie grass had mostly been tramped out. During the winter of 1884 he again fed his stock on this land, removing his cattle in February 1885.  The Judge was astonished when he visited the ranch in early April 1885 to find twelve acres of beautiful, luxuriant, and nicely-matted blue grass.
The Cowley County Driving Park Association appointed Judge J. Wade McDonald and James Vance as delegates to arrange and conduct the meeting held May 21 through May 23, 1885, at Winfield by the Southern Kansas Trotting Circuit, recently joined by the Winfield Association. Other cities embraced by the Circuit were Parsons, Harper, and Wichita. Each city participating awarded $1,500 in purses; as a result, a large field of horses participated.
In May 1885 Judge McDonald put a telephone in the Secretary’s office at the Winfield Fair Grounds in order to keep in touch with the handlers of his stock.
By July 1885 Judge McDonald had spent about $8,000 on horse flesh. Maintaining his trotters was expensive. He sold his Polled Angus cattle that month.
McDonald’s trotters began to win. At the Caldwell Fair in late August 1885, Rebecca won first money in three straight heats in the three minute trot; Caroline got second money in the free for all pace or trot; and Mastiff got second money in the “green” trot—for horses that had never before appeared in a ring.
The Winfield Courier reported the following on September 30, 1885: “The closest speed ring contest was in the 2:40 trot, 1½ mile best three in five. Judge McDonald’s ‘Rebecca,’ A. E. Gibson’s ‘Brown Bird,’ Emeline and Frank N. Strong’s ‘Nellie Mac.’ In the roadster stallion class for three-year-olds, Judge McDonald’s ‘Malcomb Spray’ took first.”
The paper also reported on the speed ring events that took place during the September fair in Winfield.
“The first race was the free for all pace, mile heats, best three in five, three entries: Budweiser, by E. J. Wood, Coffeyville; Caroline, by Judge McDonald, Winfield; Harry Phelps, by W. J. Kinchler, Equity. Caroline made the first half-mile heat in 1:14—a 2.28 gait—the best time ever made on our track. She won the three straight heats, followed by Budweiser. Harry Phelps was withdrawn after the first heat. Time, 2:23¼, 2:35¾, and 2:42. Purse $37.50 to first and $22.50 to second.”
Judge McDonald’s Caroline took first money in the big pacing race at the Hutchinson Fair in October 1885, making the mile in 2:28, the fastest time made in the Circuit.
In November 1885 Judge McDonald bought a fine Jersey bull and two Jersey cows, paying over $1,000 for the animals.

                                                    McDonald, Jarvis & Co.
On September 27, 1883, J. Wade McDonald, Attorney and General Manager, inserted the following notice in the Winfield Courier. “CHEAP MONEY. McDonald, Jarvis & Co., have $1,000,000 of Eastern money to loan on improved farms in Cowley, Butler, Sedgwick, and Sumner counties at SIX PERCENT, per annum. Loans will be made at my office in Winfield, and the interest can be paid to me as it matures, and the borrower will receive the coupons at the time he makes his payments, and thus all mistakes and trouble be avoided. All loans will be made on five years time with the privilege  to the borrower to pay it off at any time after one year. We mean business and can and will loan money cheaper than any other person or firm in Kansas. Come and see us before borrowing elsewhere.”
On October 25, 1883, the Winfield Courier had the following item: “The firm of McDonald, Jarvis & Co., on last Saturday filed in the office of the Register of Deeds the first six percent mortgages ever placed in this county. The firm is doing a rushing business. With money at six percent, most anyone can afford to borrow.” J. Wade McDonald was named as the senior member of the firm.
On May 1, 1884, the Winfield Courier had the following item: “Mr. S. M. Jarvis visited the city Sunday and Monday in company with Messrs. Macknet, Howell, and Divine, of the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company of New Jersey, who came out to look over their investments made in this county by Jarvis, Conklin & Co., and McDonald, Jarvis & Co. They control about forty million dollars capital and are one of the largest insurance companies in the country. They are better pleased with their investments in this county than with those of any county they have visited.”
On October 2, 1884, the Winfield Courier printed two items concerning Judge J. Wade McDonald. The first one was a dissolution notice of the McDonald, Jarvis & Co. firm.
“Dissolution Notice. Winfield, Kansas, September 30th, 1884. The firm of McDonald, Jarvis & Co., is this day dissolved by mutual consent. Jarvis, Conklin & Co., of Kansas City, Missouri, will assume all business obligations of the old firm, and continue the business at Winfield. J. WADE McDONALD, J. E. JARVIS, McDONALD, JARVIS & CO.”
The second item was the following: “The firm of McDonald, Jarvis & Co. was dissolved Monday, Judge McDonald retiring. His increasing law practice together with his stock interests made this necessary. The firm will hereafter be Jarvis, Conklin & Co.”
The Courier noted in its October 2, 1884, issue that Mrs. S. M. Jarvis has been in the city for the past week, a guest of Mr. Ed. Jarvis and family, accompanied by her sister, Mrs. Henry Jarvis, of Illinois. It further stated that Sam Jarvis came to Winfield and then returned to Kansas City with the ladies on the evening train.
One cannot help but wonder if the firm of McDonald, Jarvis & Co. was dissolved due to Judge McDonald’s affiliation with the Boomer movement.
                                    Judge J. Wade McDonald, Boomer Lawyer.
In mid-September 1884 Judge J. Wade McDonald addressed a meeting held by Capt. D. L. Payne, the notorious Oklahoma boomer, in Wichita, saying it was an honor to address such a meeting. He was retained by Payne to appear for him and others of the Boomer movement at a hearing to be held November 11, 1884, in the U. S. district court at Topeka.

On September 12, 1884, Judge McDonald, attorney for the boomers, followed Capt. Payne as a speaker when a large meeting of Boomers was held at the skating rink in Arkansas City. McDonald was retained by Capt. Couch, Boomer leader after Payne died.
The Arkansas City Traveler commented on March 11, 1885: “It is in the memory of man that Caldwell was the most red-hot anti-Oklahoma boomer town on the border. They had the soldiers, Arkansas City had the boomers. Cases alter circumstances. Arkansas City has the soldiers and the boomers too. Now Caldwell holds an Oklahoma meeting three times a week, and invites Couch, McDonald, and others to exhort ’em. Verily, the way of the transgressor is hard and repentance comes high, but they must have it.”
In April 1885 Judge McDonald met Capt. Couch on a train to consult with him regarding his upcoming visit to confront President Cleveland at the White House.
On Thursday, July 23, 1885, the Winfield Courier had two items relative to Judge McDonald and some of the boomers. The first item stated that Couch had arrived on July 17th to join Colonel Crocker in consultation with Judge McDonald, attorney of the Colony. The second item was more startling.

“Deputy U. S. Marshal O. S. Rarick brought in Col. Samuel Crocker this morning and lodged him in our bastille. Capt. Rarick arrested the Colonel at Caldwell, where the War-Chief is published, last Friday, on indictments by the Topeka U. S. Grand Jury, in May. The indictment, dated May 10th, is for ‘Inciting Insurrection and Rebellion against the U. S. government.’ The Captain was put in possession of 136 warrants for the arrest of boomers under these same grand jury indictments. He ran in about twenty of them at Caldwell. They at first held a caucus and decided to all go to jail. But, in consultation with the attorney for the colony, Judge J. Wade McDonald, of our city, the twenty gave bond. Colonel Crocker declared that the prosecution was false and malicious, and refused to give bond—preferred to stick it out behind the iron bars, a martyr to the cause. Our reporter had an interview with the Colonel at the jail this morning. We found him writing the particulars of the arrest and charge to General Ben Butler, who is now in Kansas City on legal business, and whom the colonel has secured as counsel. The trial is set for Oct. 12th, before the U. S. court at Leavenworth. Col. Crocker was for years editor of The Columbus Junction, Iowa, Herald, a warm Democratic sheet, but of latter years fell into the labor and anti-monopoly party and stumped Iowa for Ben Butler. He is president of the Butler National Lecture Bureau. He also supported Gen. Weaver during his presidential campaign. He was chairman of the committee of boomers who, at Arkansas City in April, passed resolutions to abide by President Cleveland’s Oklahoma proclamation and aid the administration, since when no attempt has been made to enter the Territory. But he has zealously advocated through his paper the Oklahoma cause, and says that if the Democratic government allows this malicious prosecution of the boomers, he means to turn loose on them with a withering pen. He will edit his paper from his cell here unless the government shuts him off, in which event he will employ an able editor. He will probably try a habeas corpus as a means of release, which will have to go before a U. S. Judge and will take some time. He is a fine looking, rotund gentleman of thirty-five or forty years of age, and converses very fluently. He knows the Oklahoma business from top to bottom. He says that the 3,000,000 acres of Oklahoma land has been treated for, paid for, and surveyed by the United States government, and is as lawfully open for settlement as any land Uncle Sam ever had, and he proposes to see it settled by honest, worthy people if it takes his wool off. He says it is now occupied by cattle men who lease, in direct violation of the law, from the Indians, who commit a penitentiary offense by leasing lands they have no ownership of whatever.”
Judge McDonald left Winfield on July 19th for Washington, D. C., on business before the Presidential Executive relating to the recent arrest of Oklahoma boomers and the Oklahoma question generally. Numerous trips followed. In October 1885 he was admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, being recommended by Attorney General Garland.
On November 21, 1885, the Arkansas City Republican had the following item.
“Secretary Lamar has sent the following letter to J. Wade McDonald, counsel for the Oklahoma boomers, at Winfield, Kansas.
“Sir: I have read your letter of the 4th inst., stating that none of the persons against whom indictments were pending in the United States court in Kansas, have gone again into the Indian Territory or in any way broken faith in respect to the agreement in pursuance of which the dismissal of protection was ordered, also that Capt. Couch had, at your request, gone quietly into the Territory with a view of ascertaining the number of prisoners there, etc. The persons against whom the criminal proceedings were pending were the representatives of a class of persons bonded and associated together for the purpose of unlawful invasion of the Indian Territory and upon a settlement and promises made by yourself and others to this department and the department of justice that the Oklahoma boomers, Couch’s cavalry colony, or any of the persons associated therewith, would make no further attempt at unlawful settlement in the Territory, and that they had disbanded their organization, etc.; criminal proceedings were stopped, and it is with great disappointment that the department learns of the renewal of the attempts of unlawful invasion of the Territory by these same persons, whatever may be the name or title under which they are banded or organized. This will make the government more cautious in any further dealings with them. Mr. Couch should not go into the Indian Territory for any purpose and if he does go without a permit, he would be guilty of an open violation of the law.”
                         Attorney for the Denver, Memphis and Atlantic Railway.
As attorney for the Denver, Memphis and Atlantic Railway, J. Wade McDonald presented to the Board of County Commissioners of Cowley County on May 5, 1885, the petition of J. M. Barrick and seventy-eight other resident taxpayers of Fairview township calling for a special election on June 10, 1885, of the voters of that township to subscribe $10,000 to the Denver, Memphis and Atlantic railway in order to have a standard gauge track laid through Fairview township that would connect with one of three railroads: the Missouri Pacific, the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf, or the St. Louis, Fort Scott & Wichita Railroad.
The railroad was built.
                                  Sweet Real Estate Deal by Judge McDonald.
While in Chicago, Illinois, in December 1885 Judge McDonald called on the Sweet family, extensive property holders in Arkansas City at one time, who allowed their property to be sold for taxes. Judge McDonald offered them $1,100 for their right to all property in Arkansas City. They accepted, and made a deed to that effect. As a result, McDonald became the owner of twenty-seven lots in blocks 87, 19, 16, and 86 in Arkansas City.
Judge McDonald acquire some more Arkansas City property through this method.

                                     Mrs. J. Wade McDonald Goes to Denver.
Judge McDonald was ill for some days in early February 1886. He then became engaged in a preliminary hearing over an upcoming murder case. His wife and daughter journeyed alone to Denver on February 9, 1886, when the news came that her father was dangerously ill. They arrived five days before the death of her father, S. W. Thompson, which occurred on February 23, 1886, at his home.
An announcement appeared in the March 11, 1886, issue of the Winfield Courier: “Miss Anna Hunt is writing in the law office of McDonald & Webb, where she will remain permanently.” It was unusual for such an item to appear in the paper, but Miss Hunt was considered a leader in Winfield society. She was the daughter of Capt. J. S. Hunt, who had served two terms as the Cowley County Clerk. Miss Hunt attended the high school in Winfield, graduating in 1882. She taught school and at one time was assistant principal of the school in Arkansas City. In May 1884 she became manager of the money order department in the Winfield post office, retiring in April 1885 to assist her father in the County Clerk’s office.
Judge McDonald left about the time Anna Hunt was employed to join his wife and planned to return with her in about ten days. Judge McDonald returned on Tuesday, March 16, 1886, without his wife, announcing that she would remain there some time yet.
                                        An Unusual Case for Judge McDonald.
Judge J. Wade McDonald handled all types of litigation, which was typical of early-day attorneys. The April 1, 1886, issue of the Winfield Courier covered a case that was quite  different.
“With the court room crowded with anxious spectators, Judge Snow called, yesterday afternoon, the case of the Great State of Kansas vs. C. C. Sullivan and George McCurry, charging them with stealing one chicken of the value of 25 cents, from the henery of Joseph Bucher, in Rock township. The jury men were: W. B. Little, W. E. Augerman, G. D. Headrick, Bennett Pugh, S. Allison, H. C. Buford, Jno. Bobbitt, Wm. Hudson, C. McClung, Jno. Gill, Jas. Williams, and T. J. Harris. County Attorneys, Webb & Swarts, were there for the prosecution, and Judge McDonald and O. Seward for the defense. Judge McDonald, with becoming dignity, demurred to the charge; it was not specific enough—it didn’t state whether the chicken was a rooster, a hen, or a maiden pullet. His objection was overruled and Mr. Bucher took the stand and swore positively that he saw McCurry make a fowl attack on his hen roost under the bright rays of the beautiful moon, that he saw him walk off with a chicken, age, color, or sex unknown, under his left arm, and said chicken did squawk and make diverse other noises, and that the said C. C. Sullivan kept watch while the thievery was going on. Then the court took a rest to this morning, when the case went on. A dozen or two witnesses were examined on both sides, among them three or four women.
“Just before noon today the case went to the jury, which discharged the prisoners, on the ground that there was no evidence proving that the chicken was carried off the place; nobody saw this part of the thievery. The main object of the whole suit was to stop numerous petit thieving that has been going on in that neighborhood and laid pretty surely at the door of these boys, who live in a dugout on the banks of the Walnut. This case will make a memorable record.”

                                                The Fall of Judge McDonald.
The fall of Judge J. Wade McDonald was told by the newspapers.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, July 31, 1886. From Thursday’s Daily.
Judge McDonald was in the city from Winfield yesterday. The Judge is prominently mentioned as Democratic candidate for governor. He intends to leave Winfield. We are not qualified to state where he will locate, but believe with a slight effort on the part of our citizens, he could be induced to remove to Arkansas City.
Arkansas City Republican, August 27, 1886.
Winfield has another sensation. Mrs. Lou Mooso died last evening and the Courier estimates that her death was caused by producing abortion and says it will give all the facts in next day’s issue. It is mighty nice to belong to the clique in Winfield because no matter what crime you commit, the papers say nothing of it. We presume McDonald belongs to the clique, for according to the Oswego Republican, he enticed one of Winfield’s fairest belles from the path of virtue, and the Courier never condemned the villainous deed. Strange is the newspaper world in Winfield.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, August 27, 1886.
The Oswego Republican says: As the story is told in Winfield, and believed by most of the denizens there, J. Wade, by his smooth talk and bewitching one-eyed smiles so won the confidence of one of Winfield’s fairest belles who accepted a position to do writing in his office that he succeeded in teaching her to think too much of him, so much in fact that his attention to her and constant attendance to business attracted the suspicions of his wife, who recently sued him for divorce and set out some very strong charges against him. Since this proceeding, the McDonald family has been slightly jostled asunder and J. Wade walks the streets looking for some small hole into which he can crawl and hide himself from public gaze. All efforts on the part of friends to conciliate matters seem to have failed and the great, red-headed, squint-eyed Democratic smart Aleck of Southern Kansas enjoys the unpleasant distinction of passing over the white stone pavements of the proud religious city listening to such interesting suggestions from the boot blacks and news boys as “That’s the old duffer!” “Ain’t he a daisy?” “Gosh, don’t he look tough?” And so forth. There are rumors in Winfield that the young lady contemplates bringing an action against McDonald for seduction and bastardy; but of course, this may be an idle rumor. As a brilliant statesman, J. Wade McDonald has doubtless run his string out in Kansas.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, September 11, 1886. From Thursday’s Daily.
At a night session of the District Court last evening, a decree of divorce was granted forever severing the marriage relations existing between Judge J. Wade McDonald and wife. A cash alimony of $2,500 was allowed Mrs. McDonald by the court and a stipulation as to support of children filed. Winfield Visitor.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, February 12, 1887. From Thursday’s Daily.
Last evening J. Wade McDonald and Miss Anna Hunt, of Winfield, were united in marriage. They will make a tour through the eastern states.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum