Pioneer Eliza Lillian Taylor (1878 – 1967) immigrated from England at the age of 28 to settle in Mojave. Her aunt, Sarah Faulkner, was the owner of the Los Angeles Rooming House in Mojave and invited Eliza to come and stay with her. When Eliza arrived in Mojave, however, she received the tragic news that her aunt passed away. Willed the property by her aunt, Eliza became the new owner of the Los Angeles Rooming House.
Soon after settling in Mojave, Eliza met Daniel McDonald (1870 – 1923). Daniel was previously a Boston shipyard worker who had come to Mojave to seek employment in the local mines. He was working at the Exposed Treasure and Queen Esther Mines when they married in 1907.
Together they worked as a team, with Eliza managing their hotel and restaurant and Daniel managing their saloon. As increasing development came to the area, they expanded the hotel to accommodate the large crews that came in to work on the local railroad, mines, and aqueduct. Daniel operated his saloon until it was shut down by Prohibition in 1919, with him being the last saloonkeeper in Mojave to close his doors.
Eliza was considered to be kind but tough, a hard-working woman that always had something to get done. She became known locally as “Ma” McDonald, with a widespread appreciation for her persimmon cookies. She operated her rooming house for over 60 years.
This photo shows Daniel McDonald with his and Eliza's two sons, Joseph (left) and Donald, along with their family dog.