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Below is a sample of a family biography included in the History of Benton County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details in a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

B. A Neil, farmer, of Batie Township, and son of John D., and Sallie (Roach) Neil, was born in Bradley County, Tenn., June 20, 1840. The father was born in Marion County, Tenn., December 12, 1810, and there remained until his twenty-third year, when he removed to Bradley County. The country was at that time wild and unsettled, and the few settlers were obliged to band together and erect fortifications to defend themselves from the Indians. The mother was born on the Hiawassa Purchase, in what is now Whitfield County, Ga., and after reaching womanhood moved to Bradley County; was there married to Mr. Neil, and bore him eleven children, nine now living: Benjamin A., Mrs. Elizabeth Knesster, William, Mrs. Sarah Alford, John D., Josephine, Mrs. Martha J. Bair, Mrs. Emily F. Ware and Jennie. James K. and Mary E. are the children deceased. William D. O'Neil emigrated from Ireland to the United States when a boy, and served in both the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. In the former he participated in the battle of Horseshoe Bend, and in the latter in the battle of Buena Vista. After coming to this county he changed his name to "Neil." Sarah (Davis) Neil, the grandmother, was born in Virginia, was thoroughly educated, and was an aunt of Jefferson Davis, the Confederate President. Eliza (Thatch) Roach, the maternal grandmother, was born in Morgan County, Tenn., and was afterward married to David Roach, who was a native of Virginia. R. A. Neil received a common-school education, and when sixteen years of age began work on the E. V. T. & G. Railroad, doing the work of fireman. Afterward he was given an engine, and acted as engineer for four years at which time he enlisted in Company A, First Tennessee Battalion of Artillery under Maj. Hugh McClune. His first service, however, was with the Louisiana Zouaves, and he and four others were the only ones who escaped death. At the first battle of Manassas and during the later engagements he was under Gen. Stonewall Jackson, Longstreet's division, the most important battles being Rapahannock, Richmond, Gettysburg, Seven Pines, Chickamauga, Resaca, Ga., the Wilderness and numerous smaller engagements. In 1865 Mr. Neil married Miss Mary M. Breakbill, daughter of Peter and Lea Breakbill. Nine children were the result of this union: Mrs. Mary E. Smith, Mrs. Martha J. Wammack, Benjamin F., William D., Sarah G., George M., John S., Ida B. and Menta Lee. The mother of these children died July 9, 1888. After moving to Missouri Mr. Neil located on Rock Prairie, Lawrence County, and there remained two years. He then went to Texas, but returned to Lawrence County after two years. Here he remained until 1876, when he moved to Sarcoxie, and from there to Arkansas in 1883, settling in Benton County. One year later he again went to Texas, but only remained there ten months, when he returned to Benton County, Ark., and here has since remained. He has ninety acres of good land, all under cultivation. Politically he is a Democrat, never having voted any other ticket.

This family biography is one of 240 biographies included in the History of Benton County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Benton County Arkansas History, Genealogy and Maps

  View additional Benton County, Arkansas biographies here: Benton County, Arkansas Genealogy

Additional maps of Benton County can be viewed here: Benton County, Arkansas Maps


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