E. J. W. Donahue

E. J. W. Donahue. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

Duluth and Saint Louis county enjoy a high reputation because of the high order of their citizenship, and none of their citizens occupies a more enviable position in the esteem of his fellows than the gentleman whose name appears at the head of this sketch. A residence in this locality of many years has given his fellows a full opportunity to observe him in the various lines of activity in which he has engaged, and his present high standing is due solely to the honorable and upright course he has pursued. As a leading citizen of his community he is eminently entitled to representation in a work of this character.

E. J. W. Donahue was born in Bismarck, North Dakota, on January 27, 1875, and is the only child born to his parents. His father, Edward Donahue, was a native of Illinois, who moved to North Dakota, where he made his home for a number of years. In 1910 he came to Duluth, but a short time later returned to Bismarck, where he spent the remainder of his life, his death occurring in 1918. E. J. W. Donahue was educated in the public schools of Saint Cloud, Minnesota, and at the age of eighteen years became a stenographer in the offices of the Northern Pacific Railroad, where he remained about three years. He afterward was employed as chief clerk to the general manager and superintendent of the Montana Railroad, but about a year later resigned that position and became bookkeeper for a wholesale grocery house, where he was employed several years.

In 1909 Mr. Donahue, in association with others, began exploring in the Cuyuna Range, their investigations resulting in the opening of the Cuyuna, Mille Lacs Mine, the Cuyuna Duluth Ironton Mine, the Duluth Brainerd Mine, the Sultana Mine and others. Mr. Donahue served as president of the three first named corporations. On July 1, 1914, the Cuyuna Mille Lacs and Cuyuna Duluth Companies were consolidated with the Dunbar Furnace at Dunbar, Pennsylvania, under the name of the American Manganese Manufacturing Company, of which Mr. Donahue was secretary and manager of the western end until he resigned in May, 1915, in order to enter into other business on his own account. In 1916 he became associated with Alexander McKenzie and A. B. Cook in the purchase of the east half of the southeast quarter of section 28, township 47, of range 29, Crow Wing county, Minnesota, which was later improved as the Gloria Mining Company and the property opened for shipment. In addition to his ore interests Mr. Donahue has also devoted considerable attention to the oil business, operating properties in the shallow fields of Kentucky with success. He maintains offices in the Alworth Building, Duluth. A man of keen discernment and mature judgment, he has been an important factor in the development of the country contiguous to the Head of the Lakes, and because of his energy and perseverance he has gained a satisfactory measure of success.

On September 25, 1902, Mr. Donahue was married to Mary E. Burns, and to them was born two sons, James and Emmet, but the former died at the age of seven and one-half years. Emmet Donahue was born December 5, 1906, and is now a student of the Cathedral High School.

Politically Mr. Donahue gives his support to the Republican party, while his religious faith is that of the Roman Catholic Church. Fraternally he is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Knights of Columbus, the Royal Arcanum and of other organizations and clubs. He is also a member of the American Mining Congress and the Mining Institute. Although modest and unassuming, Mr. Donahue possesses a strong and vigorous personality, and in the best sense of the term is fitted as a leader of men and well fitted to manage important enterprises.


  • Van Brunt, Walter, ed. Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota Vols. 1 – 3. The American Historical Society. Chicago: 1922.
  • Menu