From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

McDonald, Earl

(born: 1885  -  died: 1949) 

Earl McDonald, born October 2, 1885 in Louisville, KY, was a musician and founder of the Original Louisville Jug Band in 1902. The group was named the Ballard Chefs from 1929 to 1932. Clifford Hayes was a member of the group before forming his own jug band in 1919. During World War II, McDonald worked on road construction under the WPA while also playing music.

Earl McDonald was the husband of Mary McDonald, according to the 1910 U.S. Census; the couple married in 1909. He was the son of Mattie McDonald and the grandson of Agnes Reid (or Reed) [sources: Kentucky Death Certificate File No. 9769, Registrar's No. 2034; and 1910 and 1920 U.S. Census].

Mattie McDonald and her mother Agnes Reid lived together in 1910 and 1920. Mattie was born in Virginia around 1865, her mother Agnes in Kentucky around 1840. After her mother's death, Mattie lived with Earl and a boarder, Mary Holland, according to the 1930 U.S. Census. Mattie was not employed, Mary worked as a maid, and Earl was a musician.

After Earl McDonald's death, Henry Miles continued his band. Earl McDonald died April 28, 1949; he is buried in the Louisville Cemetery.

For more see the Earl McDonald entry by B. Bogert in The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. Kleber; "The Ballard Chefs WHAS Louisville" at the website (includes photographs); and Earl McDonald's World War II Draft Registration Card (Ancestry).

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Hayes, Clifford
NKAA Entry: Miles, Henry
NKAA Source: Encyclopedia of Louisville
NKAA Source: Ancestry (online)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: Smith, Carl Lee "Cal"

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“McDonald, Earl,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 22, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-06-24 18:22:50