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Biography of Alexander McNeill

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Alexander McNeill, farmer, was a son of Alexander and Nancy (Montgomery) Mc-Neill, and was born in Ireland March 10, 1808. The first twenty-six years of his life he spent in his native land. In 1834 he emigrated to America, landing in Philadelphia. Thence, two months later, went to Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky, where, upon letters of introduction from his uncles in the old country, he obtained a situation as clerk in a cotton establishment. After a year he accepted a position as clerk in a dry goods store at Owensville, Bath County, Kentucky, where he remained six years, then sold goods on his own account in the same town, having been saving and diligent during his seven years’ clerkship, which enabled him to engage in business for himself. Owing to ill health, after about four years in mercantile pursuits, he bought a large farm in Bath County, Kentucky, and began farming, which has been his principal pursuit since.

It is proper to here note the causes which induced his removal from Kentucky to Illinois. Soon after coming to America he became a Whig, then a Republican and the breaking out of the Civil war found him a Union man: Bath County, his home, was the constant scene of guerrilla war-fare, and men like Mr. McNeill lived in a state of constant jeopardy. In 1863 his home was invaded by a party of fifteen men, whose enmity Mr. McNeill had incurred by his out-spoken, patriotic sentiments. The inmates were overpowered, Mr. McNeill shot three times in different parts of the body and left for dead. His wife was shot once through the feet, and the child in the nurse’s arms had a bullet sent through its clothing. In ,consequence of this and the intoleration of free speech, in 1864 he sold his farm of five hundred and sixty-six acres and came to Douglas County and located on the large farm where he afterward resided, then little developed, but later finely improved, with large two-story residence and surrounding adornments. January 30, 1844, he married Miss Minerva Iles, of Bath County, Kentucky, an intelligent Christian lady, to whose encouragement and frugality Mr. McNeill largely attributed his success. Mr. and Mrs. McNeill were members of the Methodist Church, and had the, confidence and esteem of all who knew them.


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