Friday, September 13, 2013
Chapter Three: John and Anne O’Neill
[Pages 40-42 of my book.]
John, oldest son of Hugh and Deborah O’Neill, was born at Newtown, Ireland, October 6, 1797.
Newtown is a village in southern Carlow in the Parish of Kiltennell. His father Hugh was probably teaching there at the time.
He was the third child of the family, the first and second being girls. No record is left of any special educational advantages, but being the son of a schoolmaster, he had, probably, received a limited education, at least.
He left the ancestral home in Ireland when but nine years old… This dating tends to confirm again that Hugh and family left Ireland in 1806.
…and with his parents spent a few years in Central New York and a few additional years in Pittsburgh, Pa. If we have our figures correct, he must have been about eighteen years old when the move was made into eastern Ohio. This equates to 1815. Other sources say 1817, so we have a short range.
This John was united in marriage with Anne Horton the third day of February 1825, being then in his twenty-eighth year. The bride was the oldest daughter of Moses and Dorinda Horton. Anne was born on April 13, 1804.
There is an excellent genealogy of Anne’s family, titled “Our Horton Heritage,” by Betty Bailey Horton. It is available in several Ohio collections.
I have not been able to find any archived Methodist records from the Summerfield congregation to confirm this marriage, but the Watkins “History of Noble County” says it was 1824. First child William was born in November of 1825, so either date is plausible. John and his family first appear independently on the 1830 census of Union Township of Monroe County, page 12. [Photo below is the old Methodist Church, since burned.]
John and Anne O’Neill settled near Whigville, probably at that time called “Freedom.” This was on Irish Ridge, some miles west of the village of Summerfield.
Some years later, we have not the date, they moved to a farm on Glady Run, a tributary of Wills Creek. This place was about two miles from the village.
John bought these parcels from the U.S. Government in 1834 and 1837 and paid them off in 1849. Son Thomas O’Neill lived on this property later and this land and house remained in family hands until Frank and Estey O’Neill Shackle sold it in the 1960’s. The property was in Seneca Township of Monroe County at the time, later Marion Township of Noble County. On the 1860 Census, the last one prior to John’s death, this farm was valued at $3,000, and his personal estate at $1,600. This was significant for 1860. John and his family were first listed by name on the 1850 census of Monroe County, page 260. Daughter Dorinda had died by then.
This John made a trip into Lawrence County, the southernmost division of the state, and purchased a farm. This was about 1848. This farm…comes into the possession of William, the oldest of the sons of this John.
By the 1860 census sons William, Hugh, and Moses had already left home and set up their own households.
Sidelight: According to the Watkins history, John served on a grand jury in November of 1851 at Sarahsville.
Grandfather John, at the time of his death, owned 300 acres of splendid farming land in the state of Iowa, which, afterward, was disposed of and adequately apportioned among his legal heirs.
This land was in Blackhawk County, Iowa, and consisted of four parcels in Section 5, Township 88, Range 14. Anne was still paying taxes on these parcels in 1868, several years after John’s death.
There were born to John and Anne O’Neill the following children—
These were all born in Monroe County, but since 1852, is a part of Noble County.
The John of this sketch didn’t live out the full measures of days that most of his ancestors had reached. He died at the age of sixty-eight years. His death occurred at his home near Summerfield, February 1865. His body lies in the old cemetery near the M. E. Church, and near the graves of Great-Grandfather Horton and his companion, and loved ones who, from time to time, had passed away.
The death date on the stone is 1 February 1865. The church burned down in the 1990’s and only the cemetery remains on the site. John’s estate inventory mentions the family Bible that still exists today.
John’s estate inventory tells a lot about his life: 1. He had a book, titled “History of the Great Rebellion.” If this was about the Irish Rebellion of 1798, it might hint that John’s family left Ireland due to the effects of that conflict. 2. He had 63 sheep, 19# of yarn, and 4# of flax thread, showing what type of farming he did. He also had a molasses barrel, a tub of pickles, 5 beehives, and 100 sticks of tobacco. He also had several hogs, three horses, and a lot of farm equipment and household goods. His estate was valued at $5,200. John was an affluent farmer.
In 1867 Anne and her children completed an elaborate series of financial transactions involving land transfers and monetary amounts, undoubtedly to clear up the various inheritances. See the Noble County Deed Book 15 for the details of these.
Anne Horton O’Neill maintained a separate household for some time. The 1870 census of Noble County, page 149, shows her with sons Thomas, Alexander, and Richard.
Grandmother Anne died at the home of her son Richard in January 1887. This place lay off to the East of the old homestead in the Glady Valley and, by the winding path up the hillside, it was not more than a quarter of a mile. She had reached the age of eighty-three years and had been a widow for about twenty-two years. Her body was laid away in the new burial grounds off to the east of the village, the “East Cemetery.”
Anne was living with Richard and Florence O’Neill as early as the 1880 census, Noble Co. ED 193, pg. 12. Her obituary was printed in the Noble County “Republican” on 21 Jan 1886, so G. W. was a year off.
John and Anne started out their married life as adherents to the Methodist faith. Their first child was christened by their pastor. Soon after, they renounced their allegiance to Methodism and accepted the Universalist Dogma, which was being promulgated in that community at that time.