Published by Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia
HISTORY OF MACOUPIN COUNTY, ILLINOIS
DESCRIPTIVE OF ITS SCENERY,
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF SOME OF ITS PROMINENT MEN AND PIONEERS.
JOHN O'NEIL (Deceased) whose death occurred June 30, 1879, was born in the county Lough, Ireland, in November,
1812, the son of Thomas O'Neil. He was raised in the same part of Ireland, and 1836, when
twenty four years of age, emigrated to America. He landed in New York, and from there went
to Reading, Pennsylvania, where he secured a postion as foreman, and had charge of a gang,
building the Pennsylvania and Reading railroad. He afteward had a similiar situation at Catawissa,
Pa., and from that place went to work on the Schuykill canal, at Pottsville. While at work on the
Catawissa railroad, he was married, in Febuary, 1840 to Ann Klingeman, who was born near
Catawissa, in Columbia county, Pa., December 11, 1820. Her ancestors were Germans. Her
great-grandfather emigrated from Germany, and settled in Berks county, Pa.
In June 1852, Mr.
O'Neil came west. Afer stopping at Peoria, he settled at Carlinville, having secured a position as
foreman on the Chicago & Alton rialroad, then being constructed through the county. The track
was then laid from Alton within two miles of Carlinville, and Mr. O'Neil worked on it till the road
was finished, and afterward till 1860, held the position of section boss. February, 1861, he moved
to section 18, Hilyard township, where he bought 120 acres of unimproved land. This he then to
work to put under cultivation. He had never farmed any before, but won the reputation of being
a good farmer, and owned 260 acres of land when he died. He had nine children, viz: Thomas D.,
who died at the age of fourteen; Mary, wife of Michael Cooney, livng north of Carlinvile; John
O'Neil, of Independence, Pike County; James, living in Shipman township; Annie, wife of Patrick
Dillon, of Shipman; Hugh; Owen, who is managing the farm; Henry, who lives in Shipman; and
Stephen A. Douglas O'Neil, still living at home.
Mr. O'Neil had been a democrat ever since
he came to American, and always did what he could in aid of the democratic ticket. His death
resulted from an accident. While getting in his buggy to drive to the town of Shipam, his horse
started, he was caught in the wheel, and suffered injuries from which he died in a short time. He
had all the warm sympathies and impulseses which belong to the Irish character, and possessed
Index to Biographies
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