Rev. Alexander Donaldson, Founder of Elder's Ridge Academy
Rev. Alexander Donaldson was a Presbyterian minister and graduate
of the Canonsburg Academy in Washington County, Pennsylvania, and of the Western
Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh. He was fluent in four languages and was
the author of several books. A biographical sketch of him written at the time
also indicates that "...his moral character, his bearing and kindly disposition,
caused his students to revere him as 'Pater Donaldson'." As the founder
of the Elder's Ridge Academy, his school won a state-wide reputation as a first-class
college preparatory institution. Among its graduates were lawyers, ministers,
doctors, judges, and political officials. The school was named after John Elder,
who was one of the first settlers in the area. Like Donaldson, and many of the
early settlers, Elder was of Scotch-Irish descent.
The Academy was rescued from financial ruin by the Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company in 1910. However, in 1914 it ceased and became the Elder's Ridge Vocational School and enjoyed fame throughout Pennsylvania. A third transition for this institution occurred in 1937 when it became a high school.
Photo: courtesy Clarence Stephenson, Indiana County 175th Anniversary History, vols.1, 4
(Indiana, Pennsylvania: Halldin Publishing Company, 1978, 1983), 483, 102.