The American Spirit
Rema MacDonald was married to Angus MacDonald for fifty-seven years, until his death in 2011. Angus wrote a biography of his life, titled A Straight Line. If you would like to purchase A Straight Line, please send a note and a check for $20.00 to: The St. Croix Review, PO Box 244, Stillwater, MN 55082.
Angus MacDonald, at age 23, was a one-of-a-kind personality. He graduated from the College of the Bible in Melbourne, Australia, in May 1946 — right after World War II.
Because he saw opportunity in the United States, and thought he would fit in better in America, and wanted a higher education, he decided to emigrate to America. There was no intercontinental air travel, and he decided to come by troopship with a three-week crossing. In those days America seemed far, far away. All his family came to the dock to see him off. He didn’t know if he would ever see them again. His three-year-old nephew clung to his legs and cried, “I don’t want you to go, Uncle Angus!” With a little money from his father and a box of favorite books he boarded the ship, as did others. His family waved until the ship was out of sight. It was a heart-wrenching leave taking.
That was the kind of person Angus was. If he wanted to do something, he did it. To him nothing was impossible. As he traveled by train across this country he was surprised by how large the country was. He had a strange feeling as he looked around: he knew no one. His aim was to go to Butler University in Indianapolis. He enrolled and managed to complete the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in one year.
Angus had an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and taking classes in philosophy at Butler helped him form his beliefs. He decided to apply to the graduate department in philosophy at Columbia University in New York. After being accepted he spent several years studying and living in the New York City area, a special time in his life. His parents also visited him at this time from Australia.
He completed all his work for his degree, except making corrections on his lengthy dissertation. He eventually did this and received a Doctorate in Philosophy degree. He could now become a university teacher, but he thought he might tire of teaching the same subject year after year as a professor. He was a natural-born pastor. He loved interacting with people, giving sermons, visiting the sick and the church members, so he decided to continue as a minister.
After coming to a Minnesota church, some years later, he felt he could extend his ministry to a wider “audience” by starting up a journal of opinion. His vision would be called The St. Croix Review, because he lived on the St. Croix (rhymes with “boy”) River. By subscription only, The St. Croix Review would consist of submitted articles with a conservative view — which he thought was lacking in the country. He would write only the editorials himself.
Angus started an incredible task. Angus had one employee, himself. Amazing! Computers were not in common use. He began with five hundred subscriptions and a typewriter. There wasn’t money to have the journal printed so he bought a printing press for the basement, and printed the pages himself. He had no knowledge of printing, he taught himself. The retyping of submitted articles, printing, folding, stapling, collating, labeling, mailing, and all the other publishing chores he did himself for years. Later on he hired a secretary to type for three hours a day. The advent of computers was a great breakthrough, but the journal still was more than a one-man job. He also wrote an editorial for each issue. He had a way with words — his style was clear and concise. “Never use a big word when a small one will do” was his motto. Of the authors he never asked about their sex, race, religion, or background. “If they say something sensible that is simple and constructive, I shall publish them,” he said.
And he did — for forty-four years! This is a remarkable record considering there is no advertising in the journal. Subscriptions and contributions from individuals and several foundations are the journal’s life-blood. A pool of wonderful authors has been built up, but submitted articles are always welcomed for review. Angus’ son, Barry, worked with him for more than twenty years and is carrying on his legacy.
His autobiography, A Straight Line, was written twenty-five years ago. Its title refers to his lifelong quest for the truth. This is the fourth printing. The wording is the same, but we have enhanced this edition with pictures as a fitting memorial to Angus. We believe his ability to carry difficult tasks to completion is a noteworthy achievement and an inspiration to others. He was one-of-kind. *