Gooseneck Bill McDonald

Bill "Gooseneck" McDonald

Gooseneck Bill McDonald  was born William Madison McDonald (June22, 1866-July 5, 1950)

Gooseneck Bill McDonald was born on June 22, 1866, at College Mound, Texas in Kauffman County.  His father had been a slave.

Gooseneck Bill McDonald was elected to the State Republican Executive Committee in 1892.  He was chosen to lead Texas Republican Party in 1897 .

He was active in the Republican Party  for 30 years and led  the”Black and Tan” faction.   Gooseneck Bill McDonald was a delegate to many Republican National Conventions.He was given the nickname “Gooseneck Bill” by a Dallas Morning News reporter because of the shape of his neck at the 1896 Republican National Convention.

Gooseneck Bill McDonald moved to Fort Worth in 1906.  He built the Fraternal Bank and Trust Company in 1912.  The bank was located at 401 E. Ninth Street. The bank was successful and survived the Great Depression. The bank provided loans to African American entrepreneurs during the segregated era.

According to a 1984 Fort Worth Star Telegram story, Mc Donald was “Ft. Worth’s first black millionaire”. He lived in a 12 room mansion on Terrell Avenue  His home “rivaled any in Fort Worth at the time.”

Gooseneck Bill McDonald was elected Grand Secretary of state’s black Masonic Lodge  in 1889.  A book about him titled “A Man and His Work” was published in 1929.

McDonald also donated property for the YMCA in 1944. The site was later named in his honor.   From the Metropolitan YMCA website:

In 1903, the first Negro YMCA branch in Fort Worth was organized, and in 1919 the branch became a part of the Fort Worth YMCA. The branch was renamed the McDonald YMCA in 1944 when Bill “Gooseneck” McDonald, a well-respected African-American businessman, donated a building which was used from 1944-1971. The McDonald YMCA moved to its current location in 1971.

In 1920, Gooseneck Bill McDonald built the Jim Hotel at 413 East Fifth Street in Fort Worth.  The hotel was named after his late wife, Jimmie Strickland. According to the Texas State Historical Society,

“ music lovers headed for the Jim after midnight to listen to “real jazz” in the College Inn. They often stayed for early-morning jam sessions with such musicians as Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Billy Eckstine, Ella Fitzgerald, Lowell Fulson, Errol Garner, Woodie Herman, Al Hibbler, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Billie Holiday, the original Inkspots, Louis Jordan, B. B. King, Andy Kirk, George E. Lee, Pigmeat Markham, Bennie Moten, Red Nichols and his Ten Pennies, the Andrews Sisters, King Oliver, Buddy Rich, Art Tatum, Sara Vaughan, Joe Venuti, Fats Waller, Chick Webb, Paul Whiteman, Mary Lou Willliams, Lester Young, and Trummy Young.”

Gooseneck Bill McDonald died in Fort Worth on July 5, 1950. His sole survivor was his fifth wife,  Maypearl Holley McDonald.  His son, William Madison McDonald, Jr., died some thirty years prior. McDonald and his son are buried in Trinity Cemetery in north Fort Worth.

  1. References
    “McDonald, William Madison”. Handbook of Texas. http://207.200.58.4/handbook/online/articles/MM/fmc45_print.html. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  2. “William Madison McDonald”. Forney Historic Preservation League. http://www.historicforney.org/archives/markers.html. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  3. Barr, Alwyn (2004). The African Texans. Texas A&M University Press. p. 32. ISBN 1585443506 . Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  4. Cheryl L. Simon, “JIM HOTEL,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/xdj01), accessed June 19, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association. report an error
  5. Paul D. Casdorph, “MCDONALD, WILLIAM MADISON,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmc45), accessed June 18, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical        Association
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