biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
H. W. McNEILL. The origin of the McNeill family in America was with two brothers who came from Scotland in 1770. Archibald McNeill, one of them, was a physician and settled in Georgia, the other, John McNeill, was a General in the British army, who on leave of absence, settled in Kent County, Ind. He forfeited his commission in 1776 by taking sides with the American colonies in the Revolution. Gen. McNeill had four children, three sons and one daughter. The eldest, John McNeill, Jr., a lawyer by profession removed to Cumberland, Alleghany Co., Md., in 1800, and was for many years Judge of the Orphan's Court of that county. By his marriage with Mary Myers there were born five sons and three daughters. One of these children and the father of the members of the family now living in Oskaloosa, Iowa, was the Rev. Francis Asbury McNeill, M. D., born Jan. 1, 1809. He was married in Frederick City, Md., Feb. 1, 1830, to Mary E. Cronise, who was born in that city March 4, 1812. Dr. McNeill was baptized by Rev. Francis Asbury, the first Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America. He joined this church when very young, and was received into the ministry at twenty years of age; ordained Deacon in 1833 at Baltimore, Md., by Bishop Hedding, and ordained Elder in 1837 at Jacksonville, Ill., by Bishop Soule. He found thne to pursue a Course of medical studies, and graduated at the the University of Maryland, in Baltimore, in the year 1834. Locating at Springfield, Ill., in the spring of 1835, he practiced medicine and at the same time maintained, his ministerial connection for twelve years, after which he was located at various points by the conference. The Doctor took a very active interest in politics, and was an ardent opponent of slavery, which largely influenced him to leave Maryland. He stumped the State of Illinois for Harrison for President in 1840, was a delegate to the convention which nominated Henry Clay for President, also to the Bloomington Convention in 1856, which gave birth to the Republican party, and was a member of the Illinois Legislature when the Civil War broke out. His newspaper in Ogle County, Ill., was among the first, if not the first, to hoist the name of Abraham Lincoln for President. He was a warm personal friend and great admirer of the Martyr President. He was appointed Surgeon of the Thirty-fourth Illinois Infantry by Gov. Yates, resigned by reason of ill-health, was appointed Post Chaplain at Paducah, and afterward at Louisville, Ky., but left the service in 1865, and died Feb. 3, 1872, at Mt. Morris, Ill. Mrs. Mary E. McNeil died at Springfield, Ill., Nov. 4, 1849, and Dr. McNeill was again married, Feb. 2, 1857, to Barbara E. Wagner, at Mt. Morris, Ill. Of the children born by the first marriage there are four living, all residents of Oskaloosa, Iowa. Mrs. Ann Norvella Little, born June 26, 1835, in Maryland, was married at Mt. Morris, Ill., Feb. 1, 1854, to Henry I. Little, who was born Nov. 5, 1826, in Washington County, Md., and died at Oskaloosa, Iowa, March 1, 1886. James Floyd McNeill was born Oct. 15, 1841, at Springfield, Ill.,where he was raised and obtained a finished education. He enlisted Aug. 12, 1862, for three years in Co. G, 114th Ill. Vol. Inf. He was promoted Sergeant Major, serving until the close of the Rebellion, and was honorably discharged Aug. 15, 1865. He afterward officiated as clerk in the Adjutant General's office in Illinois until that office was abolished. He was married, Nov. 18, 1872, to Julia E. Hibbs, of New York City. Two children have been born to them, Walter F. and Mabel. He was for many years connected with the First National Bank, of Springfield, Ill., and is now Assistant Cashier of the Farmer's and Trader's National Bank, of Oskaloosa, Iowa. Wilbur A. McNeill was born June 11, 1843, at Springfield, Ill., receiving his education at the old Sandstone Seminary, Mt. Morris, Ill. He enlisted in the Fourth Illinois Cavalry in 1861, had a horse shot under him at Shiloh, and received such injuries as necessitated his being discharged as unfit for service. He re-enlisted in 1862, and while skirmishing at Grierson's Bridge below Memphis, Tenn., and engaged in a hand-to-hand pistol duel, was severely wounded in the right lung, by reason of which he was again discharged from service. In 1870 he associated himself with his brother, H. W. McNeill, in the coal business, starting in Monroe County as Secretary and Treasurer of the Iowa Central Coal Company. Through all the changes that followed, as given in full in the sketch of his brother's life, W. A. McNeill has had personal charge of the accounting and financial part of the business managing it with signal success and marked ability. Retiring from this business in 1881, he established the Oskaloosa Livery and Transfer Company, on a scale of perfection in all of its appointments and details not surpassed, if equaled, by any similar establishment in any city in Iowa. It is one of the most successful business enterprises in the city of Oskaloosa. Wilbur A. McNeill is now the Manager of the Western Union Fuel Company and the American Coal Company of this city, yet finds time to give personal attention and supervision to the Champlain Breeding Farm, adjoining the city, on the elegant estate formerly owned by John White, banker, now deceased. He is, the sole owner of this farm and the stock. The name is taken from his leading stallion, Champlain, who is a standard bred son of Daniel Lambert, dam Fanny Jackson, by Stonewall, by Etban Allen. Mr. McNeill believes in the superior excellence of the Ethan Allen family of horses, and is fortunate in the ownership of so fine a representative. Of Dr. McNeill's second marriage were born four children, two living. Catherine M. was born at Mt. Morris, Ill., May 20, 1860. After a liberal literary education she devoted herself to the study of vocal music, spending two years in Chicago, and then studied three years with the best masters in London and Paris, completing the course in the spring of 1886. Frank S. McNeill was born Oct. 26, 1862, and is now living at Santa Barbara, Cal. Hobart W. McNeill, one of the leading men of Oskaloosa, was born June 18, 1847, at Peoria, Ill. His mother dying soon afterward, he was reared from infancy by an aunt in Alleghany Co., Md., the home of the family. He was carefully educated, reaching the Junior year at the University of Virginia, when it was closed by the rebels. He took the Senior year in 1865 at Rock River Seminary, Ogle County, Ill. After a course in reading he attended lectures in the law department of the University of Michigan, in 1867; was admitted to the bar in Springfield, Ill., in 1868, and, locating in Eldora, Hardin Co., Iowa, in 1869, formed a law partnership with ex-Gov. Enoch W. Eastman. Entering the service of the Iowa Central Railroad Company in 1870. he became their general agent in 1871. As special agent of the Iowa Valley Construction Company which built the Central Railroad, he settled their affairs, which in two years had involved an expenditure of $4,000,000 and were very much complicated. His report made in New York City was printed by the company, and accepted as a final and complete settlement of its business. In 1872 the territorial charter of the St. Louis & St. Paul Railway from Minneapolis south to the Iowa line at Northwood (since built upon by the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway Company) was assigned to Mr. McNeill as the secret representative of the Central Iowa and other corporations. As President of the St. Louis & St. Paul Company he secured township bonds in aid of the enterprise to the extent of $4,000 per mile. The road was bonded for $20,000 per mile, and these bonds were guaranteed by the Central Iowa, the Lake Superior & Mississippi, and the Northern Pacific Railway Companies, Jay Cooke agreeing to take them at ninety-five cents. Mr. Cooke's failure in 1873 carried in its downfall not only this project, but sixty-eight established railroads, the Central of Iowa, included. In 1873, in connection with his brother, W. A. McNeill, who has since that time been associated with him in his various enterprises, our subject undertook the development of the coal-fields of Mahaska County, organizing the Iowa Central Coal Company, which had a capital stock of $100,000, and of which company he was President. Muchachinock was the base of operations and was founded by this company. The stock of the company soon became worth a large premium, the lowest sales being 50 and the highest 126 per cent above par. This corporation was merged into the Consolidation Coal Company, capitalized at $500,000. This latter company absorbed the Iowa Central Coal Company capital $100,000, the Southern Iowa Coal Company, capital $50,000, the Black Diamond Coal Company, capital $100,000, and the Mahaska County Coal Company, capital $50,000, thus putting all the mines on the Central Railway under one management. The stock of this company was sold in 1881 to the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company for $500,000 cash, thus bringing its value to par. The record of these operations is that no man ever put a dollar into any of them who did not draw it out again with a profit added, some more and some less, in proportion to their judgment and courage, but there were no losses. The result of these coal operations to the county has been, directly, that over 4,000 acres of farm lands have been sold by their owners for over $400,000, and the coal taken out of the ground where it was worthless has brought back into the county over $2,000,000. In May, 1881, Mr. McNeill accepted an offer from the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company as assistant to the General Manager, S. S. Merrill, and while with this company, among other things organized the coal department of this road, selecting the property and projecting its mining operations, and the very high efficiency of this department is due to the efforts of able officers selected by him. He resigned his connection with this company, November 1 following, to accept the Presidency of the Dubuque Internal Improvement Company, organized to build the A. & N. W. R. R. under a charter from the State of Texas for 500 miles, with a land grant of 10,000 acres per mile. After the construction of sixty miles of that road a special session of the Legislature was convened by Gov. Roberts, who, not regarding the honor of the State, compelled a suspension of the work. Mr. McNeill formulated the financial plan which built the Masonic Open House in Oskaloosa. He organized and is President of the Oskaloosa Power and Land Company, capital, $50,000; the Oskaloosa Tanning Company, capital $25,000; the Oskaloosa Edison Light Company, capital $25,000. Is Vice President of the Western Union Fuel Company, capital $200,000; Vice President of the American Coal Company, capital $200,000; Vice President and Manager of the Iowa Iron Works Company, of Dubuque, capital $150,000; Vice President and Manager of the Dubuque Steam Heating Company, capital $35,000; Vice President and Manager of the Rasmusen Western Cable Railway Company, of Chicago, Ill., capital $2,000,000; is a Director of the Farmer's and Trader's National Bank, of Oskaloosa, and of the Oskaloosa Oatmill Company; he also owns the Western Fuel Supply Company, with headquarters at Mason City, Iowa, which furnishes coal for settlers' use on 1200 miles of road owned by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company. Around him and in full charge of each corporation, and in every department of these several corporations, is gathered a staff of able, clear-headed business men, thoroughly trained for their several duties. At the general office in Oskaloosa, each thirty days shows a complete abstract of the business done by each company for the month. Iowa has few, if any, larger operators than H. W. McNeill, and none are more daring in their ventures, more systematic in their work, or more successful in attaining the best results. From those who are not, envious of the success of his various enterprises and the great prosperity that has attended him from the beginning he receives the full meed of well-deserved praise for what he has done to develop the city and county of his adoption. H. W. McNeill was married, May 15, 1869, to Miss Lizzie Phillips, at Eldora, Iowa, to which place she had but lately removed from Alleghany County, Md. She was a childhood friend and playmate of her husband, was educated at Dr. Brooks' College, Baltimore, Md., and presides over her elegant home in this city with the ease and grace that mark the refined and cultured lady. One child, Anna, is living, who was born Saturday, July 12, 1873.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy