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Warren County Maps 1867 Wall Map of Warren County 1875 Combination Atlas 1903 Centennial Atlas  
The Centennial Atlas of Warren County, Ohio
Containing Complete Maps of the County and each of its Townships and Villages, carefully Platted from Official Records and Recent Surveys; together with
A General History of the County from the Time of the Earliest Explorations of White Men to the Present, showing the Progress and achievements of its first century
Compiled and Written by
Will S. McKay, Editor of the Western STar
Also Half-tone Illustrations of Public Buildings, Residences and Business Houses, Portraits and Biographies of well-known People, Names of living U. S. Soldiers of all Wars, List of Members of Lodges and Fraternal Orders, Etc., Etc.
Photos by C. M. Huffman and J. J. G. Steddom
E. S. Rhodes Solicitor
Lebanon, Ohio
The Centennial Atlas Association, Publishers

[Click on the thumbnails (if available) for larger images]
Return to the 1903 Centennial Atlas page

Page 77


Joseph William O'Neall was born in Wayne Township, Warren County, O., April 6, 1846. He is the son of James Smith and Martha A. Sa Lee O'Neall, the former a native of Warren County, Ohio, and the latter of Woodford, Kentucky. He received a limited education and remained on the farm until fifteen years of age, when he enlisted in Company H, 54th O. V. I. With his regiment he took part in the battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, where he was slightly wounded, and was shortly afterward discharged on account of his youth. On August 12, 1862, he re-enlisted in Captain (Mayor) Joseph L. Budd's Company A, 35th O. V. I. and joined his regiment at Decard, Tennessee. He was with his regiment and participated in the skirmishes and battles of Shepardsville, Perryville and Danville, Ky., Harrodsburg, Newmarket, Horver's Gap and Tallahana, Tenn., and Chickamauga, Ga., in the latter of which he was three times wounded. He was left on the battlefield unconscious and captured by the Rebels. While in the Rebel prison at Richmond, Va., he was one of the four prisoners detected in the act of tunnelling out, for which he was deprived of all rations for forty-eight hours, and compelled to stand erect for many hours; from thence he was taken to Danville, Va., where he was confined for six months. While here a general escape was planned, but the night before its consummation, the details were betrayed and the leaders, Mr. O'Neall being one, determined to make another and more desperate effort to escape. Accordingly, he and six others concealed themselves in the vault and made their way down the drain as far as possible, and then tunnelled out. After three days wandering through the woods he was re-captured, but again escaped from the guards and had almost reached the Union line when he was re-captured by the use of blood hounds and taken back to Danville. to prevent his further escape, he was deprived of all of his clothes, and for six months he remained in an almost nude condition, only having a part of an old shirt, given him by a fellow-prisoner, Joseph B. Woodward, the present Postmaster at Franklin. He was afterward taken to Greensburg, N. C., and from thence to the State Penitentiary, at Raleigh, N. C., where, with twelve others, he was fastened to a "Bull Ring," his right leg being securely fastened by a clamp and chain, in which condition he remained for eighteen days. He was then removed to the penitentiary at Columbia, S. C., and confined, with four others, for ten days, in a cell intended for one man only. He was then taken to Macon, Ga., and from there to Andersonville, Ga., where he was confined for four months. He was then taken to Charleston, S. C., where he was for fourteen days, under the occasional fire of the Union batteries. From here he was removed to Florence, S. C., where he was confined until December 15, 1864, when he again escaped, reaching the Union line, on the sea coast, whence he was sent on a Government transport to Annapolis, Md., where he obtained a furlough and returned home, much to the astonishment and joy of his people, who had long since supposed him dead. When captured he weighed one hundred and fifty-five pounds and on reaching his home he weighed but 84 pounds. While a prisoner he assisted in digging eight tunnels, and at one time, while at Florence, S. C., he, with the other prisoners, went nine days without rations. On the 19th day of May, 1865, he received a Lieutenant's commission, but by reason of the termination of the war, and his diseased condition, was never mustered. After the close of the war he taught school for five years, then went west where he was for three years engaged in business at St. Joseph, Mo. After which he returned to Ohio and again taught school for one year. He studied law with Mr. John E. Smith and was admitted to the bar on April 13, 1877. In 1878 he was nominated and elected Probate Judge, of Warren County, taking his seat on February 9, 1879, to which office he was re-nominated and re-elected in 1881, and again in 1884. Having on June 16, 1886, been nominated for the office of Common Pleas Judge, he resigned the Probate Judgeship, to serve out the unexpired term of Judge James M. Smith, who had resigned on being elected to the office of Circuit Judge. He was again nominated for Common Pleas Judge in April, 1887, and was elected the November following, serving until October 12, 1891, when he resigned to accept the office of Special United States Attorney, for the District of Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia, which position he held until March 4, 1893, when Mr. Cleveland became President. In all his official positions he discharged the duties to the eminent satisfaction of the people of the county and district. He is now engaged in the practice of law at LEbanon. He was married November 25, 1869, to Miss Laura A. Van Horn, daughter of Andrew and Sarah Dilatush Van Horn Of this union eight children have been born, viz : Mary Stella, James Andrew William, (deceased,) George Arthur, Eva Belle, (deceased,) Joseph Walter, Martha Elizabeth, Frank Van and Donald Boynton. Mr. O'Neall is a Republican in politics. He is a member of the Masonic bodies, having served as Master of Lebanon Lodge, No. 26, F. & A. M., High Priest of Lebanon Chapter, Nov. 5, R. A. M., and as Eminent Commander of Miami Commandery No. 22, K. T. He is also very active in Grand Army circles, having served as Department Commander of Ohio, the the years 1888-89, and is now serving his third term as Post Commander of Granville Thurston Post, No. 213, stationed at Lebanon. Under his administration  as Department Commander, Ohio became the "banner" department of the Grand Army of the United States, a distinction that can be claimed by no other Department Commander of Ohio. He is also a member of the Lebanon M. E. Church, and for several years served as one of its Trustees.

Arne H Trelvik
12 September 2010

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This page created 12 September 2010 & last updated 12 September, 2010
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