Letter written by G. W. McNeil, Sr. 28 May 1898
28 May 1898 , Maple Springs, Wilkes, North Carolina
From" George Michael Eller and Descendants of His in America," by James W. Hook, 1957, New Haven, CN, pg. 400-404. [This book is on-line in Ancestry.com's Card Catalogue. and in many libraries]
The following important letter written in 1898 by George W. McNiel Sr.3, son of Thomas McNiel2 and grandson of Rev. George McNiel1 was published in the memorial booklet above referred to. It helps to name and identify descendants of Rev. McNiel. Maple Springs, Wilkes Co., N. C., May 28, 1898. ' Mr. W. H. Eller,' Dear Cousin and Friend: - With respect to you I will answer your kind letter of June 25, 1896, hoping that you will excuse my neglect of not answering sooner. 'I will gladly give you all the information concerning the McNeils in Wilkes that I am able. My grandfather, George McNeil, came from Scotland and his two brothers, John and Thomas, also came from Scotland. They left their native land, looking back with love as long as they could see a green leaf, on account of their religious freedom. George McNeil, my grandfather, came into the State of Virginia and married a Miss Coats, and as the country settled up, being a Baptist minister by profession, was called for to constitute Baptist churches and to attend as pastor of Baptist churches. He came into Grayson County, Va., after which he came into Wilkes County, N. C., and constituted and attended churches here. He attended more or less churches down the Yadkin River. He was pastor of a church near the head of the Yadkin River. He lived in Wilkes County in about two and one-half miles of New Hope church on the north fork of Lewis' Fork Creek. He was afterwards registrar of deeds of Wilkes County (this was about the date of 1802). His son, William McNeil, volunteered in the war of Revolution, and his son, Joseph McNeil, said he would volunteer and go with William, but he was not old enough. George McNeil and wife lived near the farm of Esq. Henry Lenderman, late deceased; from this union six sons and two daughters were raised, viz.; John, who married a Cleveland and who lived near Greenville, S. C., where Col. Benj. Cleveland, the hero of King's Mountain, lived; my uncle, William McNeil, moved to the State of Tennessee, Clayborn Co.; my uncle, James McNeil, settled in Ashe County, but moved to Redie's River in Wilkes and married a Miss Shepherd - they raised six sons and three daughters; uncle Joseph McNeil lived on the homestead of his father and married a Miss Wilson and they raised three sons and three daughters. The Rev. James McNeil, his second son, was well known by his friends as a Baptist minister, living near Moravian Falls, N. C., at the time of his death, and was a faithful and respected preacher of great ability. The eldest son of Jos. McNeil, being named Larkin, married a Ferguson and raised three sons named respectively, Franklin, John and Milton; Franklin being a soldier of 1861. The Rev. Milton McNeil, and family are well known in the county of Wilkes. My uncle, Benj. McNeil living on South Lewis Fork, three miles from old Lewis Fork Baptist Church, married a Miss Lips and raised seven sons and one daughter, all moving west but Enoch McNeil, who died near Moravian Falls in the year of 1865 or 1866. 'My father, Thos. McNeil, married a Miss Parsons, being a daughter of Rev. James Parsons, of Surry County, living on New River, near the Old Fields in Ashe County, and was a soldier in the war of 1812. He labored as a Baptist minister in Ashe and Wilkes Counties. 'You stated that you wanted me to give information about any ministers living at that time. I will give the names of Rev. Thomas Proffit and Rev. Smith Ferguson, who won many friends. 'My father, Thos. McNeil, and my mother raised three sons and three daughters. The oldest being named James and being near fifty years of age, who died near Salisbury in the service of the Southern States on Feb. 16, 1855. The second son, Jesse McNeil, died from typhoid fever at his father's home on North Lewis Fork on the date of June 8, 1830, being near twenty years of age. I, the youngest. My father, Thos. McNeil, lived to the great age of eighty-three years. He died September 8, 1865, He had two sisters not yet mentioned in this article. Their names were: Elizabeth and Polly respectively. Elizabeth married Robt. Bingham, of the State of Virginia, being a Revolutionary soldier and living once near Hall's Store, Stony Hill. They raised three sons named respectively William, Joel and George; Esq. George Bingham, of Watauga County, raised five sons, one of whom, Maj. Harvey Bingham, well known by many friends, went to the Senate of North Carolina in 1876. Mr. Thos. Bingham, having many friends, represented Watauga County three times in Legislature of North Carolina. Esq. John Bingham and Dr. Philmore Bingham are known by many friends. My aunt, Polly McNeil, married, Mr. Henry Miller, a son of Uncle William Miller, who was a soldier of the Revolutionary war, and lived on the farm where Mr. F. D. Hall now lives on the south fork of Lewis Fork Creek. They raised two daughters, one married a Parks, the other a Lankford. Mr. Harry Miller lived on a farm in Caldwell County on the Yadkin River, moving from there to the State of Illinois; Uncle Henry Miller's grandaughter wrote to me giving her name as Mrs. Clarisa Rebecca Parks. My uncle, James McNeil, raised his family on Redie's River, having six sons and three daughters, the oldest named Larkin; others were John, George, William, Oliver and Eli. Fanny, married Capt. Simeon Eller, Rebecca, married the Rev. John Vannoy, a Baptist minister well known in Wilkes and Ashe; the younger sister being Nancy and married Edward J. Dancy, who lived in the town of Wilkesboro about the date of 1840. 'I further state that I was acquainted with Esq. John McNeil, Jr. He lived in Overton County, Tenn. He visited North Carolina about the date of 1840. His grandfather was uncle James McNeil, Sr. His widowed mother was a Miss Vannoy. He has or had four brothers, viz; John, Jesse, Neil and James. The Rev. John Vannoy, a Baptist minister who married Miss Rebecca McNeil, lived in Ashe County on Beaver Creek. He was pastor of the old Baptist church at Beaver Creek many years. They had many friends as far as they were known, and raised quite a large family of children, four sons and four daughters, viz.: Jesse, William, James and Wiley, Mary, Louisa, Tilda. Mr. James Eller, of Wilkes County, married Louisa and Henry Hardin married Miss Tilda. The latter named moved to Colorado. Mr. Jesse Vannoy was in the late war of the '60's and died there. So I will not write any more. I have given the most important history according to my knowledge of the McNeils in Wilkes. 'With my best wishes I will now close. Your friend and cousin, G. W. McNeil, Sr.'