McDonald Lorance, farmer, Confederate soldier, county official, and state representative, was born in Smith County, Tennessee, on February 22, 1823, the son of Hiram and Martha T. (Abernathy) Lorance. Lorance immigrated to Texas with his father in 1844, settling in Smith County and engaging as a farmer. When Tyler was established in Smith County in 1846, Lorance became the first mayor of the city. On February 24, 1853, Lorance married Mary E. Raspberry in this county; they had one son and two daughters. On the eve of the Civil War Lorance opposed secession, but once hostilities commenced he enlisted in the Confederate Army. Following the war Lorance returned to Smith County.
With the onset of Reconstruction in 1867, he assumed a leading role in the moderate Republican faction of the community. Lorance won election in 1870 as representative for Smith County to the Twelfth Texas Legislature and in October of that year won a second term as mayor for Tyler. He was elected county treasurer in both 1878 and 1882. During this time he was relatively prosperous, expanding his estate to include $3,160 in personal and real estate property. Lorance died in Smith County on September 19, 1884, and was buried there at Oakwood Cemetery.