genealogy trails

Christian County Illinois

Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.

Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.

Portrait and biographical record of Christian County, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and   representative citizens, together with biographies of all the Governors of the state, and of the Presidents of the United States.  Chicago, Ill. : Lake City Pub. Co., 1893.  Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

SAMUEL M. NEEL is one of the early settlers of Stonington Township, and has resided on section 15 for a quarter of a century. At the time of his arrival in the township the place was a swamp and in a nearly wild condition. During the lapse of time this has been changed, until to-day it is one of the best agricultural districts in the county.

The birth of our subject occurred April 1, 1831, in Lancaster County, Pa. His parents were Hugh and Mary (Neeper) Neel. The father was also a native of Lancaster County, his birth occurring in the same house in which occurred the birth of our subject. In the Keystone State he was engaged in farming, and there made his home until forty-seven years of age.

He removed to Baltimore County, Md., at that time and purchased a farm, which he cultivated until his death, when in his sixty-eighth year. He is buried in the Reisterstown Cemetery, in Baltimore County, Md.

In politics, he was an Old-line Whig. His father served in the War of 1812, and was also a native of Pennsylvania, but was of Scotch parentage.

The mother of our subject was born and grew to womanhood in Lancaster County, where her marriage was celebrated. Her father was a native of Pennsylvania, and participated in the War of 1812. She passed from this life in Baltimore County, at the age of eighty-five years, and lies buried by the side of her husband.

By her marriage she became the mother of six children, four sons and two daughters. Thomas died when thirty years of age; Samuel M. is next in order of birth; Martha Jane became the wife of Washington Gore, who is a farmer of Baltimore County, Md.; Beckie, John and Jo are unmarried and living on the old homestead in Maryland.

The boyhood of our subject was passed on his father's farm, and his education was that of the common schools of the neighborhood. He continued to make his home with his parents until about thirty years of age, when, in October, 1861, he chose for his life companion Miss Sarah Ann Streveg, who has been the mother of three children: Thomas, who died at the age of eight years; Mary, wife of Henry Bloom, a farmer of this county, who has one son, Samuel Neel; and one child who died in infancy. After his marriage Mr. Neel continued to work for his father for some seven years, receiving for his services $100 per year. He was careful and saving of his means, for it was his intention to invest his money in Western land. Accordingly, in 1868, he came to Illinois and after looking about for a suitable place of settlement came to the conclusion that it would be well to settle in Christian County. He invested his little capital in one hundred and sixty acres of wild prairie land. His prospects were rather discouraging, for the country was little better than a swamp and bore little promise of the great future which was in store for it. He was not daunted by the hardships and hard work he saw before him, but went to work with energy and fortitude to overcome the obstacles in his pathway. He has risen to a position of comparative independence and now takes rank with the prosperous farmers of the county. His farm, which yields abundant crops, covers two hundred and forty acres and has had many improvements placed upon it.

A true patriot and loyal citizen, Mr. Neel discharges his duties as such, but has never been prevailed upon to accept official honors. In his political faith he is a firm Republican. His first ballot was cast for Fremont. Religiously, he has been for many years a member of the Methodist Church, and is a man who is respected by all who have the pleasure of his acquaintance as one of true worth and sterling manhood.



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