My Contribution: I ran a successful auto garage in Harrisburg and later became a master mechanic for automobiles and airplanes. My mechanical school, located at 44 N. Cameron Street, attracted students from across the country. I taught men how to be chauffeurs and to fix automobiles in the decades that saw the revolution in transportation from horse to automobile.
My Legacy: I was a successful entrepreneur in the auto, flying, and entertainment industries. I had a patent issued for my design of a rug and carpet cleaning machine (Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, Volume 434). A poster dedicated to my contributions and legacy is installed at the State Museum of Pennsylvania, and I am celebrated in several published books about African American entrepreneurs and African Americans in the auto industry.
About Me: “the mechanical wizard of the city…” Pittsburgh Courier, October 27, 1923.
Full Name: William McDonald Felton. Nickname: Mack Felton.
Birth Date: December 26, 1874
Death Date: November 18, 1930
Place of Birth: Georgia
Race: Black (1905 and 1915 Manhattan Censuses) and “Mulatto” (1920 Federal Census)
Places of Residence: Georgia; Manhattan, New York City, New York (1905); 655 Briggs Street (1915), 25 N. 11th Street (1920), and 25 N. Cameron Street (1921-1930) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Resided near the Eighth Ward on Cameron Street.
Family Members: Brothers: Alonza Felton and Eliga Felton. Wife: Josephine Felton. Son: William M. Felton Jr.
Education: Could read and write according to census records.
Occupations: Long Shoreman. Repairman. Chauffeur. Auto Garage manager. Founder of Automobile and Aeroplane Mechanical School.
Church Membership: Second Baptist Church
Connections: W. Justin Carter.