Written & contributed by Alice Horner

Carroll County IL Biography

This photo of Felix and Cornelia (Foote) O'Neal was probably taken when they lived in Aurelia, Cherokee County , Iowa .

Felix O’Neal was the son of John and Mary Ann (McGee) O’Neal and born July 5, 1824 in Greene County , New York . In July 1839 he moved with his parents to Carroll County , Illinois settling with them in what was called the “old Swaggart place” southeast of Mount Carroll . Being among the very first pioneers in Carroll County , they knew rough times. From the History of Carroll County, Illinois (published by Kett, 1878), describing Felix O’Neal: "There were no improvements of any kind here then; he has hunted cattle all over where Mt. Carroll now stands; helped to erect the first lime kiln in Carroll Co., and they burned and delivered lime used here in building for many years. They used to haul their grain to Chicago and Galena . The first winter they came here they got out of flour, and they ground their corn in a coffee mill. And when they wore that out, they punched holes in the bottom of a tin pan and grated the corn into meal; when the pan was used up and they could not afford another, they boiled the corn whole. When they took their first grist to mill, it took two weeks before they could get the meal, and then very coarse." Later they built a 2 story brick "Inn" in Section 10 of Mt. Carroll Township and ran the inn for a number of years.

Felix O’Neal married Cornelia N. Foote on October 26, 1853 in Carroll County . She was the daughter of Simeon and Phoebe (Beach) Foote, and was a descendant of Nathanial Foote, who came to America in 1637. Cornelia was born August 24, 1824 in St. Lawrence County, New York. They had the following children:

Mary O’Neal, born February 6, 1855 in Mt. Carroll and died July 1855 in Mt. Carroll .

Robert S. O’Neal, born January 28, 1857 in Mt. Carroll, and died June 28, 1934 in Haakon County, South Dakota. He was married to Martha J. Preadell on Lanark, Carroll County , Illinois on December 31, 1878; she was born in 1858 and died March 21, 1898 in Aurelia, Cherokee County , Iowa .

Clara O’Neal, who was born May 28, 1858 in Mt. Carroll and died January 1862 in Mt. Carroll .

Cora B. O’Neal, who was born May 28, 1858 in Mt. Carroll and married Albert L. Belew on September 16, 1886 in Aurelia, Cherokee County , Iowa . Both died after 1920.

Louis O’Neal, who was born February 2, 1861 in Mt. Carroll and died November 28, 1902 at Top Bar, South Dakota. He had married Barbara Kane on August 1893 in Aurelia , Iowa .

Frederic O’Neal, who was born January 1, 1865 and died September 1865.

Nellie L. O’Neal, who was born March 14, 1867 in Mt. Carroll and died between 1910 – 1925 in Aurelia, Iowa. She probably didn’t marry.

Norman O’Neal, who was born February 22, 1870 in Mt. Carroll and died in August 1870.

Mamie O’Neal, who was born about 1872 in Carroll County .

Felix O’Neal moved with his family to Cherokee County , Iowa about 1884 and established an agricultural implement business. His son Louis was in business with him. Felix O’Neal died September 23, 1904 in Aurelia , Iowa and his wife Cornelia had died January 1, 1897, probably also in Aurelia , Iowa . I have been unable to find where they are buried. Please email Alice Horner if you have this information.

Cora B. O'Neal was born May 28, 1858 in Mt. Carroll, Carroll County, Illinois. Her parents were Felix and Cornelia N. (Foote) O'Neal. She married Albert L. Belew in September 1886 in Aurelia, Cherokee County, Iowa. He was born in 1852 in Virginia, the son of Peter Belew and Elizabeth (Unknown). He was the editor and published of the Aurelia (Iowa) Sentinel newspaper. In 1914 he retired and he and his wife moved to Siox City, Iowa. They had one child, Ada Belew. I believe they may have adopted and raised their niece. They were both alive in 1920 and living in Sioux City. Albert L. Belew's obituary incredibly gives no indication of when he died, including no age at death. Refer to my Rootsweb.com family tree, "The Downing, Bickelhaupt, and Preston Families of Carroll County, Illinois" for more information on this family.

Left to right, Ella O’Neal and Nellie O’Neal, who were cousins, and their friend Laura Preston. This photograph was probably taken around 1886 or earlier.

Ella O’Neal and Nellie O’Neal were first cousins. Ella O’Neal was born May 5, 1867, the daughter of Dudley O’Neal and Ann (Lambert) O’Neal. Nellie O’Neal was born March 14, 1867, the daughter of Felix O’Neal and Cornelia N. (Foote) O’Neal. Dudley and Felix were brothers and farmed together in Sections 22 and 23 of Mt. Carroll Township , near Hickory Grove. Both were among the early settlers of Carroll County , Illinois . Ella O’Neal married Charles S. Casselberry on December 12, 1895 in Carroll County . He was born March 21, 1869 and owned a farm in Section 27, Mt. Carroll Township . They had a daughter named Rea Casselberry, who was a country school teacher in 1930. Ella O’Neal Casselberry died January 7, 1937; I don’t have a death date for Charles S. Casselberry.

Nellie O’Neal moved with her parents and several other siblings to Aurelia, Cherokee County , Iowa . I believe they probably moved in the 1890s but I don’t know the exact date. They were there by 1900; Felix O’Neal was an implement dealer in Cherokee County when the 1900 US Federal Census was taken there. I believe Nellie O’Neal died sometime in the 1910-1925 period, and in Aurelia , Iowa . Her obituary, under the name Nellie O’Neal, incredibly has no date of birth or death but was saved by my great-grandmother with other obituaries from the 1910-1925 era.

Laura Preston was the daughter of Samuel and Sarah Ann (Garrett) Preston and was born September 8, 1865 in Preston Prairie, Mt. Carroll Township , Carroll County . She graduated in June 1888 from Mt. Carroll Seminary with a degree in music, and then studied vocal music at the New England Conservatory in Boston , Massachusetts . She taught voice culture in Murfressboro , Tennessee , and Bonham , Texas and elsewhere in the South before marrying Orren Monroe Williams on September 27, 1893. He was the son of James and Maria (Bivens) Williams, and born February 26, 1859 in Harrison Township , Winnebago County , Illinois .

Orren Monroe Williams was a direct descendant of Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island . He received his early education in local schools around Durand, Winnebago County , and his Bachelor of Law degree from the Chicago Union College of Law in Chicago , Illinois . His college roommate was William Jennings Bryan, and they were lifelong friends. He began practicing law in Rockford , Winnebago County , Illinois in 1890. He was elected Winnebago County Judge in 1934, at that time the only Democrat to win in Winnebago County since the Civil War. Laura ( Preston ) Williams and her husband had no children. She died in Rockford , Winnebago County on March 2, 1940. He died December 28, 1942 in Rockford . Both are buried in Oak Hill Cemetery , Mt. Carroll , Illinois .

Three Photos associated with Isabel (O'Neal) Walters


Isabel (O’Neal) Walters with daughters Sarah and Mary, probably around 1880
Isabel (O’Neal) Walters with daughter Mary Walters Hallowell and her son Floyd Hallowell probably around 1902
Jessie Sherwood, daughter of Sarah (Walters) Sherwood

Isabel O’Neal Walters was the daughter of John and Mary (McGee) O’Neal and born May 4, 1834 in New York . She was the sister of Felix O’Neal and Dudley O’Neal (also pictured on Genealogy Trails, Carroll County ). She married Caleb Walters on December 27, 1853 in Carroll County , Illinois . He was born in 1829 in Union County , Pennsylvania and came to Carroll County in 1851. He was a farmer in Section 5, Rock Creek Township , Carroll County , Illinois . The 1870 and 1880 censuses show them living in the town of Lanark which is also in Section 5 of Rock Creek Township, so their farm must have been at or near the edge of Lanark.

Caleb and Isabel (O’Neal) Walters had two daughters, Sarah, born about 1855 in Illinois and Mary, born in December 1857 in Illinois . Sometime between June 1880 and June 1900 (when the censuses from those years were taken), Caleb Walters died. Isabel Walters appears as a widow on the 1900 census for LaGrange, Cook County , Illinois , living with her daughter Mary, who was by then the wife of Peter Hallowell. Mary and Peter Hallowell married about 1884, but I’ve been unable to find an exact date. He was the son of William and Martha (Unknown Surname) Hallowell, who were living in Salem Township , Carroll County in 1870; William Hallowell was a farmer. Peter Hallowell owned a furniture store in or near La Grange , Illinois . He and Mary (Walters) Hallowell had one child, Floyd Walters Hallowell, who was born in February 1898 in Illinois (probably Cook County ).

Sometime between May 1910 and January 1920 (when the censuses for both those years were taken), Peter Hallowell died. I’ve been unable to find the exact date, but Mary (Walters) Hallowell was a widow in January 1920 and the proprietor of a furniture store, with her son Floyd working for her, and living with her. He also lived with her when the 1930 census was taken, but by then Floyd had become an undertaker. Mary was still running a furniture store in 1930 too. Given the number of funeral homes that were co-located with furniture stores, it seems possible their businesses were also co-located, but I couldn’t find any references to their businesses, or even the names of their businesses, to prove that.

Caleb and Isabel (O’Neal) Walters’ other daughter Sarah married Charles B. Sherwood on September 29, 1875 in Carroll County . Their daughter Jessie was born about 1878; they are all on the 1880 US Federal Census for Shannon, Carroll County . Charles was using the name C. B. Sherwood and he was a cashier in a bank. That bank was probably the Sherwood & Cook Bank in Shannon , with his partner being Rufus M. Cook, his brother-in-law. Charles Sherwood’s sister who married Rufus M. Cook was Phebe Sherwood (although the Portrait & Biographical Album of Jo Daviess & Carroll Counties inexplicably calls her Rhoda Sherwood, she is Phebe on the censuses before and after her marriage). Phebe and Charles’ parents were George and Analiza (Unknown Surname) Sherwood and they were from New York . They had come west in 1855, first settling in Ogle County , then in Carroll County . George Sherwood ran a bank in Lanark, Carroll County , as well as owing property in Rock Creek Township . The second floor of the bank building was referred to as the Sherwood Opera House.

From there the trail grows cold. I couldn’t find the Charles B. Sherwood family (or the C. B. Sherwood family) anywhere on subsequent censuses. The writing on the back of the photo of Jessie indicates she died in 1931. The Illinois Statewide Death Index shows a Jessie Belle Sherwood dying January 8, 1931 in La Grange , Cook County , Illinois . Unfortunately this record doesn’t give the age of the deceased. I couldn’t find her parents or anyone I could confirm as her on the 1930 census. If it’s her, and she died in La Grange , it would seem likely that she died at the home of her aunt Mary Hallowell, or under her care. But does that mean her parents had both already died? I could find nothing to confirm that. Or any indication when they’d all left Carroll County . I hope someone sees this who knows and will contact me.

Isabel Walters died March 11, 1927 in La Grange , Cook County , Illinois . I can’t find dates of death for either Mary (Walters) Hallowell or her son Floyd Walter Hallowell. Please email Alice Horner if you have any dates of death for these people, or cemeteries. Refer to my Rootsweb.com family tree, “The Downing, Bickelhaupt, And Preston Families of Carroll County, Illinois” for more information on this family.

Refer to Alice Horner's Rootsweb.com family tree,
"The Downing, Bickelhaupt, And Preston Families of Carroll County, Illinois" for more information.

The O'Neal Inn

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