EDWARD THOMAS O’NEIL-Following in the steps of his father and grandfather, Edward Thomas O’Neil, of Williamsburg, Massachusetts, is well known throughout the vicinity as a skillful and prosperous farmer. He has always lived and worked on the old O’Neil homestead, which he manages in an up-to-date manner, specializing in dairying and orcharding. The O’Neil family is of Irish extraction.
(I) Michael O’Neil, the grandfather of Edward Thomas O’Neil, was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, in 18×5, and died in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, June 16, 1872 He came to America about 1840, and for a number of years lived in New York State; and one of his first interesting experiences in this country was working on the Erie Canal during its construction. In the year 1865 he and his son John came to Williamsburg and located on the farm since occupied by his descendants, moving to the farm in April of that year on the day of the assassination of President Lincoln. Here Michael O’Neil lived and labored for the remainder of his life. He married Margaret McDonough, born in Ireland, died in Williamsburg April 16, 1890, and they had three children: John, of further mention; Mary, married to Thomas Brazell, and died December 18, 1880; Lucy, married James Welsh, and died April, 1877.
(II) John O’Neil was born in Utica, New York, April 21, 1843. He came to New York with his parents in 1865 and settled on the farm which he afterwards carried on successfully up to the time of his death. The farm originally consisted of some forty acres, but he added to it gradually until at the time of his death, August 6, 1918. he owned some hundred and forty-five acres. John O’Neil was highly regarded in the community and took a prominent part in local affairs. He served as selectman of the town of Williamsburg for no less than nineteen years, was one of the trustees of the Smith ‘Charities, and active as a member of the American Order of United Workmen.
He married, November 23, 1867, Elizabeth Walpole, born in Kilkenny, Ireland, May 27, 1849, daughter of Thomas and Margaret (Lynch) Walpole. Her parents came to the United States in 1852, when she was but three years of age, and settled here, her father dying in Haydenville, Massachusetts, July 10, 1894; and her mother February 10, 1914. John and Elizabeth (Walpole) O’Neil were the parents of eight children: 1. Michael Edward, of Holyoke, Massachusetts, born March 10, 1870, he married (first) Josephine McCarthy, and (second) Jennie Scanlon, and by his first marriage is the father of John, Edward, Alice and Elizabeth; by his second, of Patricia. 2. John, a farmer in Easthampton, born June 30, 1872, he married Annie Lynch and had a daughter, Elizabeth. 3. Mary, born June 9, 1875, died in 1909. 4. Lucy, born February 21, 1878, died May 8, 1912. 5. Frank, born August 29, 1880, of West Springfield, he married Elizabeth Conner, and is the father of four children: John, Edward, Mary and Claire. 6. Margaret, born July 1, 1884, married Robert McGrath, of Hatfield, Massachusetts, mother of two children, Francis and Mary. 7. Edward T., of further mention. 8. James Andrew, born September 27, 1888, at present in the office of the Ludlow Associates of Ludlow, Massachusetts. He was in service during the World War and was located in Washington. He married, February 12, 1918, Mary Cecilia Flynn, and they have two children, Florence and Marion Lucy.
(III) Edward Thomas O’Neil was born in Williamsburg May 2, 1887, and was educated in the public schools of his home town. From his boyhood up Mr. O’Neil has taken the keenest interest in the home farm. He is the only one of his father’s children left on the old homestead, which is managed by him in a thoroughly modern manner. He has a dairy of eighteen high grade cows, and also does an extensive orcharding business. Mr. O’Neil is well known and liked throughout the entire community in which he lives.