Florida woman born, raised in historic Bealsville community celebrates 105th birthday

Leola McDonald was born on Jan. 17, 1918.

PLANT CITY, Fla. — One native Hillsborough County woman celebrated her 105th birthday last week in Plant City.

Leola McDonald was born on Jan. 17, 1918, and was raised in Hillsborough County’s historic Bealsville community. The community was settled in late 1865 by former slaves from nearby plantations.

“Ms. McDonald is a direct descendant of one of the founders of the Bealsville community,” a spokesperson from Hillsborough County Adult Day Services said.

The Hillsborough native stayed in Florida for her education. She attended Bethune Cookman College, graduated with a cosmetology degree and later attended Florida A&M University, where she earned an elementary education degree.

“She taught a total of 25 years in the Hillsborough County School District, and she taught 13 years in the Polk County School District,” the spokesperson explained.

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