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Charles McNeill
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Birth: 1795
Cumberland County
North Carolina, USA
Death: 1869
Suwannee County
Florida, USA


Charles McNeill was the son of Malcolm and Mary McNeill of "The Bridge" Rockfish Community, Cumberland Co., NC. Their issue:

1. Barbara McNeill, born ca. 1778. Still alive on 16 June 1829. Married Alexander Johnson, before Jan 1805.

2. Archibald McNeill, born ca.1780. Died before May 1827 in Wilcox Co., Alabama.

3. James McNeill, born 1 Sept 1782, died 5 July 1842 at Pine Level, Montgomery Co., Alabama. Married 21 Feb 1804, to Jane Smylie, born 26 Jun 1787, dau. of Jacob and Sarah (Raiford) Smilie. Charles McNeill lived next to older brother James McNeill in Montgomery Co., AL. James McNeill was killed by a falling tree in 1842. (See tombstone photo.)

4. Daniel McNeill, born 8 May 1784, died 22 Sept 1845. Married Margaret Black, 2 Feb 1809; lived at "The Bridge" on Rockfish, later called "Ardlussa".

5. Elizabeth McNeill, born ca. 1786. Still alive 1 Jan 1851. Married to Duncan Brown, Jan 1805-Jan 1806; Duncan Brown died before 1851, son of "Tory Neill" Brown and Sarah McPhaul.

6. Hector McNeill, svc War of 1812. Born ca. 1788 and mar. Eliz. Harlee 1815 in Cumberland Co., NC. Living at Black Bluff on the Alabama River in 1823 and Wilcox Co., Alabama in 1824. Died 20 Aug 1866, Wilcox Co., Ala.

7. John McNeill, born ca.1790, died 1874 in Cumberland Co., NC; married 1st to Mary UNK, 2nd to Levaney Brown.

8. Margaret McNeill, born ca.1792. Died 1821 in Cumberland Co., NC. DSP.

9. Sarah McNeill, "Sallie", born 19 Aug 1793, died 1863 in
Talbot Co., GA. Married Duncan Colquhoun (Calhoun), 1818, in Cumberland Co., NC; on 1825 tax list with 938 acres between Puppy Ck. and Juniper Cr., Cumberland Co.; Duncan was alive May 1826 in Sampson Co. Duncan and Sallie moved to Talbot Co., GA. and are buried there. See letter from 1860, below.

10. Charles McNeill, born ca. 1795, svc War of 1812 from Cumberland Co., NC. Married to Nancy Butler on 2 May 1818, Cumberland Co., NC, bondsman was her brother, John Butler. On 1825 Cumberland Co. tax list with 100 acres on Lumberton Road. Shows 1830 Cumberland Co., NC census with wife, 3 boys and 2 girls. Moved to Pike Co., Al about 1833. Moved to Suwannee Co., Fla. with two of his sons, Samuel Butler McNeill and James McNeill. Died 1869 in Suwannee Co., Fla. Buried in unmarked grave in Suwannee Co., Fla. Son John A. McNeill, who stayed behind in Alabama with his family died the same year, 1869, as his father.

11. Malcolm McNeill, born ca. 1796-98, died ca. 1836. Married Mary A. McMillan, 1823; was in GA by 1828; had son named Hector McNeill, Jr.

The James McNeill Letter

The North Carolina Archives has the original letter, dated Aug. 28th, 1822, of James McNeill (No. 3, above) of Pike Co., Alabama to his brother Archibald McNeill (No. 2, above) enquiring about the status of his father's estate. The father, Malcolm McNeill, died in 1803, and the estate was still being settled as of the year of the letter. James McNeill was anxious for the estate to be settled and for his share to be sent to him in Alabama to reinvest in cheap land there.

The letter is short, a little more than one page. There is no indication of a postmark but the letter is sent from "Alusta", which is probably the Olustee Creek, which joins Patsalinga Creek, adjacent to James McNeill's property in Pike County, Alabama:

"To Arch'd McNeill
North Carolina
Cumberland County
Line Creek

Alusta, August 28th, 1822

Dear brother,

I take this opportunity of wrighting you in part informing you that we are all in good health at present & hoping these fine times may find you & all friends well, I have wrote often but can not get an answer. I, by moving onto a new place am very much straitened for that money, which I can not see the reason why it is so long detained. I have wrote to Uncle Hector [and am] very much express [distressed] since I have never got one letter from him since I left that country. And, I got one letter from you only & if there is no hope of my getting it, let me know as quick as possible. I have got a home tract on a fine parcel of land where I expect to remain during this life. Tell Duncan Calhoun from me that I have been disappointed by him. Right where he is wanting the lands, [they] are good at the price of one dollar & a quarter per acre. All that can get away, start. I shall expect in a few weeks to wright you more information. But, wish a letter from you first.

I remain yours, affectionately,

James McNeill

[P.S.] Compliments to my Dear Ole Mother and all friends. Jane's respects also. She sends Mother news that she is very fat again."

James was referring to his wife, Jane Smilie McNeill, being pregnant with the "very fat again" reference.

Malcolm McNeill's estate was considerable. When he died in 1803, he was possessed of 1,310 acres lying between the Robeson County line and Big Rockfish Creek, with another 510 acres on Little Rockfish Creek. James McNeill's share would have been considerable, and he was, no doubt, anxious to receive the money in order to invest in more Alabama land at $1.25 an acre.

Younger brother, Charles McNeill moved to Pike County, Alabama about 1833, when the estate settled. He might have brought James McNeill's share along with him. Charles and Nancy (Butler) McNeill named the son born that year after older brother, James McNeill. This is the James McNeill who was wounded at Antietam, Maryland during his CSA service, and died at a US Hospital in Frederick, MD. He is buried in the Confederate section of the cemetery there.

The elder James McNeill was killed by a falling tree on his Olustee land while harvesting timber with his sons. He is buried in the McNeill-Townsend Cemetery about a quarter of a mile off Route 37 between China Grove and Orion, Alabama. As of 1998, there was a foot path leading to the cemetery.

Letter from Sarah "Sallie" McNeill Calhoun, sister of Charles McNeill, to her niece:

Talbot County, Georgia
3rd July 1860

Mrs Annie McMillan:

My Dearest Niece, your pleasant favor of 18th June was received I need not say the pleasure it afforded me. Our health is good. Crops look well, though we now begin to need rain very much. I have all my children to see me.

Archie's widow is here from Ala, to which state she removed from Ga last winter. She has five children all here. They look well. She is engaged in teaching school it is now vacation with her. My own health has been poor, but is now better.

I am truly glad to hear that John Brown is doing so well and sincerely trust that his poor old mother's last days may be her best and happiest! Dr. Sinclair has deceived those who entrusted him and acted differently from what his appearance would indicate. But the human heart is verily deceitful above all things.

I am proud to learn that Ann McNeill has acquitted herself so creditably. I will send Sister Betsey a little money. Collection of money last winter was a very difficult matter consequently I have less funds on hand than usual.

I have been anxiously expecting Cousin Mary Black's ambrotype since you wrote me last but have never received it. I am exceedingly anxious to receive it. I wrote to you and Sister Betsey both since I rec'd a letter from you before I rec'd the one before me. I presume you did not receive them.

I rec'd a letter from Brother Charles. He stated that he and family are well and doing well .

Tell Sister Betsey that I enclose her five dollars say to her that it is my desire that she appropriate it to her own use to secure any little comforts she may desire and not to pay Dr. Sinclair with it. Say to her to cheer up and if possible bury the remembrance of past troubles and trials beneath the shroud which envelopes the past.

Half our unhappiness originates from hugging the phantom of past grief and sorrow instead of burying it in oblivion. Embrace life cheerfully that the evening of her existence may be enlivened by the sunshine of content And not marred by the recollection of past misfortune.

I would be happy to see you all again. I do feel that another visit to the scenes of my childhood would be the crowning desire of my almost spent life. [I cherish] the emotions by which my mind was crowded with when you despoiled me of half the unalloyed happiness which would otherwise have been mine. Do, dear Annie, all you can to cheer the life of my unfortunate old Sister. Your native sprightliness of disposition can do much to dispel the gloom of age and decrepitude.

Give my love to all - present my affectionate regard to them separately - as you may have occasion for yourself receive the loving assurance of that affection which you know I have always entertained for you & do write soon,

To your loving Aunt,

Sarah Calhoun

Note: Sarah McNeill Calhoun refers to a letter she received from her brother Charles McNeill, reporting that all was well with his family in Suwannee Co., Florida.

Sarah died three years after this letter was written from injuries sustained when she was thrown from her horse while crossing a rocky creek, according to family history and recounted in "A Rockaway in Talbot". She and Duncan Calhoun are buried in the Colquhoun-Patterson Cemetery in Talbot Co., Ga.

The Duncan Calhoun family moved first to Henry Co., Ga. (before the 1830 census), but followed his father to Talbot Co, GA in 1835. The 1840 census of Talbot Co. includes the family, and confirms the family was spelling the name as 'Calhoun' by this time, although in Duncan Calhoun's Will in Talbot Co., Ga., the name is spelled Colquhoun.

Duncan and Sarah McNeill Calhoun had at least 12 children. Between 1819 and 1823, records of Bluff Presbyterian Church, Cumberland Co., NC, include baptismal records of only the first three children of the couple. The family bible confirms additional details of the other nine children.


Clan McNeill

The family of McNeill, McNeil, MacNeil, McNeal, and other variations, take their name from Niall, the Clan Chieftain, who lived in the thirteenth century. They descend from Prince Anrothan, son of Aodh O'Neill (1030 - 1093) of Northern Ireland and Scotland, whose ancestry is accepted by scholars as far back as the Fourth Century, A.D., when leaders of the family were the Kings of Tara (the planatation in Gone With the Wind was named for Tara.)

In the Middle Ages, the land of Gigha, off the coast south of Knapdale, was held by the McNeill Chieftains, who also held Taynish, on the mainland. During the 14th Century, they gained a group of islands in the Outer Hebrides named the Barra Isles.

Isolation and the open seas were conditions that lent themselves to the seafaring trades, to which the McNeills of Barra applied themselves with diligence. Some of the Clan resorted to piracy, looting other ships that dared sail in the Clan's waters. By 1579, this portion of the McNeill Clan, led by Ruari og Macneill of Barra, was described as "a Scot what finally maketh his summer's course to steal what he can from the sea." His son continued the family trade.

By the 17th century, most of these rogues had died or were purged from the family. The Wars of the Jacobites seemed to direct the Clan's attention inland. Following the Battle of Culloden Moor, the Jacobite Scots, including the Barra McNeills, began immigrating from the Highlands of Scotland and the Outer Hebrides Isles en masse.

A large group came to the Propriety of Carolina under the leadership of Neil and Duncan McNeill. Most of these families settled along the Cape Fear River and surrounding areas. Upon arriving in the New World, many of the Clan converted to Protestantism, and, in particular, Presbyterian, and later, Methodist and Baptist.

The Malcolm McNeill family was Presbyterian in Cumberland Co., NC. He was buried at Old Bluff Presbyterian Church. The sons who moved to Alabama became Methodist and carried that faith to Suwannee Co., Florida. The Charles McNeill family is buried alongside his wife Nancy Butler, in Suwannee Co., Florida.

During the American Revolution, many of the McNeill Clan were Tories, loyal to the British Crown. This did not sit well with the neighbors. The McNeills were made to take the "Highlander's Oath":

"I do swear, and as I shall answer to God at the great day of Judgment, I have not nor shall I have in my possession any gun, pistol or arm whatsoever, and never use tartan plaid or any other part of the Highland garb; and if I do so may I be cursed in all my undertakings, family and property; may I never see my wife and children, father, mother or relation; may I be killed in battle as a coward and lie without Christian burial, in a strange land, far from the graves of my forefathers and kindred. May all this come across me if I break my oath."

Malcolm McNeill led the Clans in converting their loyalties to the Revolutionist's side and rose to the rank of General in the North Carolina Militia, according to the biography of Rev. Hamilcar Hannibal McNeill of Pine Level, Montgomery Co., Alabama, a grandson of James and Jane (Smilie) McNeill.

The Clan motto is "Vincere Vel Mori." The McNeill tartan is predominantly green with interwoven blue and yellow stripes.

"Western Site Steeped in History"

by Steve Thompson

The Fayetteville Observer-Times, x20 Jan 1974.

The U.S. 301 tract on which one of the nation's largest publishing companies will build a $10 million distribution center was once owned by one of North Carolina's smallest publishing concerns.

Mary McKinnon Vaughn, who was the last resident owner of the "Ardlussa" site, was editor and publisher of the weekly newspaper "The Peoples Advocate" that was distributed in Cumberland and several surrounding counties through the 1940's. She died in 1947.

The Ardlussa site, named for the McNeill clan's homeplace in Scotland, will soon be occupied by the Western Publishing Co. of Racine, Wisc., which bought the 125-acres tract for $243,620.

Western, which manufactures juvenile books and games, school books, textbooks, and hobby and craft sets, plans to build a distribution and assembly plant on the site.

Western purchased the property from Dr. William McKinnon Massie, a Lynchburg, Va. general practitioner, who is a grandson of the newspaper publisher. The sale was handled by Fayetteville Realtor Robert E. McNeill, whose grandfather lived at Ardlussa as a child.

The Ardlussa story started in 1746 when Archibald McNeill left Scotland to seek freedom in the new world.

He landed in Wilmington and traveled up the Cape Fear River on a flat boat. He eventuallly settled at a site above Fayetteville.

Nine years later, in 1754, McNeill bought land on Rockfish Creek about five miles south of Fayetteville, the site that became Ardlussa. It is not established whether he ever lived on the land, but a son, Malcolm, later came into possession of the property.

He and his wife, Mary, lived on the property and raised 11 children. At his death in 1803, Malcolm left 1,310 acres between the Robeson County line and Big Rockfish Creek and 510 acres on Little Rockfish Creek. His two eldest sons were administrators of the estate. Mary McNeill died in 1826.

Daniel McNeill, the third son of Malcolm and Mary McNeill, built a new home on the property in 1832 and lived there for some 20-odd years.

Daniel's son-in-law, Hector, was sheriff during the Civil War. A part of Sherman's Army camped near Ardlussa and Hector was put under temporary arrest for refusing to give certain information to the enemy. He died in 1900.

Ardlussa was destroyed by fire in 1904 but soon replaced by Dr. James McNeill, a son of Hector and Mary McNeill. He lived there until it was sold to Mary McKinnon Vaughn, the newspaper publisher. She and her husband lived there until her death in 1947. Dr. Massie inherited Ardlussa in 1948.

The house built by Dr. McNeill suffered heavy vandalism in 1972 and was eventually destroyed by volunteer fire departments in a training exercise.

Western was so taken by the background of Ardlussa that it plans to publicize a history of the site in its company magazine.

Said Western President Gerald Slade: "It (Ardlussa) is a good site with two of the finest live oak trees I have ever seen. We will save them."

Daniel McNeill, mentioned in this article, is the same man to whom the 1825 letter, a copy of which is seen in the photo section of this memorial, is addressed. Daniel McNeill, the older brother of Charles McNeill, the subject of this memorial, inherited "Ardlussa", the McNeill family home on Rockfish Creek. The writer of the letter, whose full name is unknown, due to the bottom of the letter being torn, is clearly a McNeill, as that name can be made out in the signature block. The referenced "Big Sugar Loaf" was a landing on the Cape Fear River so the writer was likely a brother or cousin who was still in North Carolina in 1825, possibly Charles McNeill. Angus McDonald was a near neighbor of Malcolm McNeill, the father of Daniel and Charles McNeill, in the 1790 Cumberland Co., NC census of the Rockfish Creek district. The letter, addressed to "Daniel McNeill, Rockfish Bridge", reads:

"September 7th 1825

Daniel McNeill:

Sir, I now have to acquaint you that I have run through the narrows by sickness & for the time never experienced any thing to compare with the violence of fevour that followed me the last week. But, thank God I am now lighter though weaker than I have been for some years I never swallowed one quarter of a pound of provisions from the next day I wrote you last until last Sunday but puking & violent fevour & three fits of the ague. Thank God I have got clear of both. I feel well if I could get my appetite & that is coming fast. I am blest with neighbors coming to see me & sending (torn) to carry me to their houses for recreation. With the help of God, I will be strong in days. I am now lying at the Big Sugar Loaf & work down at [torn] Send me how Mother & the family are and the rest of the neighbors are, particularly Angus McDonald.

I am yours,

(Charles?) McNeill"
Family links: 
  Nancy Butler McNeill (1800 - 1872)*
  John A. McNeill (1821 - 1869)*
  Archibald McNeill (1826 - 1903)*
  Samuel Butler McNeill (1831 - 1862)*
  James McNeill (1833 - 1862)*
*Calculated relationship
Non-Cemetery Burial
Specifically: Buried on Samuel McNeill's land
Created by: Epictetus
Record added: Jul 14, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 113820149
Charles McNeill
Added by: Epictetus
Charles McNeill
Added by: Epictetus
Charles McNeill
Added by: Epictetus
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War of 1812. Cumberland Co., NC
- Epictetus
 Added: Jul. 14, 2013
2 Sons KIA. Deo Vindice.
- Epictetus
 Added: Jul. 14, 2013

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