Donald Sutherland was born on April 8th 1863 to Robert and Elizabeth (nee Hutchison) Sutherland of West Zorra Township. He would eventually settle on Lot 7, Con 1 in the Township of North Oxford where he was prominent in the farming community for many years. In 1896 he married Minnie Pearl Hossack, with whom he had five sons (Bruce, Evan, Donald, Burleigh, and John) and two daughters (Jean and Helen).
He began his political career serving as a member of the North Oxford Township Council in 1896. In 1901 and 1902 he served as county councilor for Ingersoll, North and West Oxford. In 1902 he was elected as a representative for the South Riding of Oxford in the Ontario Legislature, gaining the seat for the Conservative party, which had historically always been held by the Liberal party. He was re-elected in the general election of January 25, 1905, though defeated in the general election of 1908. During his time in provincial politics he introduced a Bill into the legislature to regulate the speed and operation of motor vehicles on Ontario Highways.
On March 10th 1909, Donald Sutherland was appointed Director of Colonization and Immigration for Ontario by the James P. Whitney government, where he helped to promote the settlement of Northern Ontario. Two years later he resigned as Director so that he could run in the Federal election of 1911. On September 26th, 1911 he was elected to the House of Commons, being the first Conservative elected to the House of Commons for the constituency of South Oxford. He moved the address in reply to the speech from the throne during the special war session of August 9th, 1914 and a year later would present a speech to the House of Commons concerning the War Budget. He was re-elected at the general elections in 1917, 1921, and 1925 and was made a member of the Privy Council and appointed a Minister without Portfolio in the Meighen Cabinet on July 19th 1926. Defeated in the general election in 1926, he resigned from the Meighen Cabinet. In the ensuing years he would be defeated in the general election for the House of Commons in 1930 and the By-election for South Oxford in 1934 following the death of Hon. T.M. Cayley.
In 1932, Donald Sutherland was asked to head an inquiry for the Combines Investigation Bureau into the alleged price fixing by the various Tobacco Companies following a complaint by tobacco farmers in Ontario. In 1935 he was appointed to the Senate of Canada and was a member until his death on January 1st 1949.
On January 4th, 1949 the Woodstock Sentinel Review published an editorial which eloquently summed up the life and career of Donald Sutherland: "He was a doughty campaigner, and not one to be easily discouraged. As a public servant and as a farmer he left his mark on his township, his province and his country. No man could have a better epitaph then that." (Series 4B, #9.22)