Biography of Major William A. Neil
Madison County, Ohio Biographies





MAJ. WILLIAM ALLEN NEIL, stock dealer and farmer, residence London, was born at Columbus, Ohio, January 28, 1836. His father, Robert Neil, is a native of Clark County, Ky., and in early life was proprietor and manager of a line of stage running between Washington, D. C., and Lexington, Ky. In 1811, he removed to Ohio, locating at Urbana, Champaign County, and there resided during the war of 1812. He subsequently went back to his native State, and afterward came to Ohio again, this time locating at Franklinton, now Columbus, the capital of the Buckeye State. He now resides there, and is probably the oldest living pioneer resident. He was one of the early Presidents of the Little Miami Railroad, and its principal executive officer for many years. He married Mary M. Hoge, daughter of Rev. James Hoge, one of the first settlers in Franklinton, Ohio, and by profession a minister of the Presbyterian denomination. He preached one of the first sermons of that body in the new village, and was pastor of the Presbyterian Church there for over fifty years. Eight children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Neil, seven of whom yet survive, and two are residents of Madison County. William A. Neil was reared on the old homestead farm (now within the limits of the city of Columbus, and cut in parts by three railroads), and educated in the high school of the town. In early life, he was employed as clerk in a dry goods house, and also learned the jewelry trade. Indoor life proving disastrous to his health, he resolved to try farming, and to further that purpose, on April 14, 1856, he came to Madison County, locating a farm of 1,030 acres on the Midway pike in Union Township. At this time, there were but two pikes in Madison County, and the Major, seeing the necessity for good roads for travel during the rainy seasons, was largely instrumental in bettering the condition of the roads, and in building the "Midway pike," considered one of the best in the county. He greatly improved his farm by drainage, etc., and subsequently sold 230 acres, until at present it embraces 800 acres of the best farming land in the county. Maj. Neil also took an active interest in the breeding, rearing and handling of fine stock, and deserves great credit for his efforts in behalf of the farmers and stockmen in the county. In 1870, he removed to the city of London, taking up his residence in the fine mansion on South Main street, erected by Jesse Watson, late President of the Madison National Bank. Maj. Neil is a member of the Lodge, Chapter and Council (Masonic) of London, and of Mount Vernon Commandery No.1, Knights Templar, of Columbus, Ohio. He is also a member of Lyons Post, G. A. R., of London. He is Republican in politics, a Councilman. and Chairman of the Committee on Streets. On May 4, 1864, Mr. Neil enlisted in Company B, One Hundred Fifty fourth Regiment Ohio National Guards, and accompanied them to Camp Dennison, and was mustered into duty on the 9th of the month as First Lieutenant. * Through the kindness of the Governor, he obtained a furlough, came home, and on the 12th was married to Sarah E. Chrisman, daughter of Jacob Crisman, a native of Virginia, and a large land owner in Madison County. Leaving his bride at home, he rejoined his company in West Virginia. While here, he was brevetted a Lieutenant Colonel, and soon after returned to his home, having served about four months. Maj. Neil and wite have three children Louise, Robert Allan and Grace. His wife is a member of the M. E. Church.

*He was subsequently elected Captain and Major whiled at Camp Dennison.

From:
History of Madison County, Ohio
Published by: W. H. Beers and Company
Chicago, Illinois
1883


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