Hillsboro Oregon’s Historic Donelson House

This lot was owned by William H. Connell when the one and one-half story bungalow was built in 1908. Subsequently, the residence was purchased by William O. Donelson in 1909 for $4,000. The entry features beveled and leaded glass windows and the capitals on the porch posts reflect the decorative milled brackets supporting the bell-cast hipped roof.

W. O. Donelson was born in Missouri in 1861. In addition to careers as a farmer and a furniture dealer, he had been the town undertaker since the 1880s. The funeral parlor was located on the next lot to the north where it operated for decades as the Donelson, Sewell & Mathews Mortuary.   The furniture store was located across the street from this house, in the Donelson Building, and was managed by William’s brother Amos. The Donelson family owned several lots in town and also tracts of land outside Hillsboro.

William Donelson’s daughter, Jessie, married Fred Sewell in 1909 and this couple bought the house in 1932. Fred was an assistant cashier at the Hillsboro Commercial Bank before his brother-in-law, Earl Donelson, brought him into the family undertaking business. Fred and Jessie were active members of the community. Fred served as City Treasurer in 1911-12 and Jessie was known for her talent as a musician and was often asked to perform at local society events.