McDonald, William (March 1, 1820—September 11, 1901) was the son of Joseph McDonald and Mary Wilson, born in Belmont, Waldo County, Maine. He was a preacher, writer, composer and editor. He became a preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1839. McDonald served churches in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York and Massachusetts, as well as Appleton, Wisconsin. He was admitted to the Maine Conference in 1843. In 1855 he transferred to Wisconsin and pastored at Appleton. He was well remembered there; someone writing 50 years later described McDonald as "...the most eloquent preacher that ever filled an Appleton pastorate." He joined the New England Conference in 1859. He was an active member of the National Holiness Association, serving as both Vice-President (1868—1884) and President (1884—1893). He was also editor of the Advocate of Bible Holiness from 1870 to 1894. Within this movement he "urged Holiness adherents to remain faithful to Methodism" and "vigorously opposed the growing movement to organize independent Holiness churches." McDonald was editor of several songbooks, including the Wesleyan Minstrel, the Wesleyan Sacred Harp, the American Hymn & Tune Book, and Tribute of Praise. The latter book, co-compiled with L. F. Snow, became the basis for the 1882 official hymnal of the Methodist Protestant Church. McDonald married Frances Jordan. They are buried at the Forest Hills Cemetery at Jamaica Plain in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. In The Melodeon by J. W. Dadmun (see Steel, p. 102) the song Rest for the Weary (p. 18) is attributed to "Revs. W. McD. and J. W. D." John Julian credits the original poetry to Samuel Young Harmer, stating is was "slightly altered, and set to music by the Rev. W. McDonald of Boston, Massachusetts." If correct, taken with Dadmun's attribution, this may suggest that McDonald was the original composer and that Dadmun arranged it.
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