Carroll County IL Biography

John O'Neal was the son of John and Mary Ann (McCann) O'Neal and born in New York City in 1799. According to Florence L. Downing Horner (my mother), John O'Neal was said to have been born on Ellis Island, then the port entry for New York, while his parents were being processed for immigration. They were among other Irish immigrants who were brought by John O'Neal's grandfather, George McCann, to settle on the Livingston estates north of New York City. In 1822 he married Mary Ann McGee in Green County, New York. With her and their children he moved to Carroll County, Illinois in 1839 and after being driven from a claim in Salem Township (Carroll County) he settled on the "old Swaggert place" in what became Section 10, Mt. Carroll Township, Carroll County, Illinois. He ran the O'Neal Inn or tavern in a large brick house he built about a half mile west of the pond (on what is now Highway 52 west of Mt. Carroll, Illinois). He was one of Carroll County's earliest settlers.

Louis O'Neal, born June 21, 1831 in New York, was the son of John and Mary Ann (McGee) O'Neal. He died June 8, 1853 in Preston Prairie, Mt. Carroll Township, Carroll County, Illinois from the cholera epidemic. He'd acquired the cholera from a traveler who'd traveled up the Mississippi River to Savanna, Illinois and then stayed at the O'Neal Inn in Preston Praire, run by Louis' father John. His grave was originally in a family graveyard behind the O'Neal Inn (and family home). The traveler also was buried there, among other people. The family graveyard was closed sometime after 1876 and the bodies moved. At least the O'Neal family's appears to have been moved to Hickory Grove Cemetery. Louis O'Neal never married. He appears as a farmer on the 1850 US Federal Census for Carroll Township (what it was called then), and living with his parents and other family members (including his maternal grandparents). Refer to my family tree "The Downing, Bickelhaupt, And Preston Families of Carroll County, Illinois" for more information on this family.

Buried at Hickory Grove Cemetery

Photos and information by Alice Horner

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