AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF HECTOR MCNEILL - KNOX COUNTY, TEXAS
Contributed by Steve Edgerton
Posted March 25, 2003 by Myrtle Bridges.
The following is an autobiographical account of Mr. Hector McNeill of __era, Knox County, Texas who was
born in Cumberland County, NC, and was the son of Malcom McNeill and Mary A. McMillan McNeill. At the
bottom is written what appears to be "Aug 11" but the year is plainly readable as 1913. I found a photocopy
of the original article in my late brother's genealogical notes. Neither the name of the newspaper nor the
exact date on which the issue was printed was written on the original. The title of the article is Pioneers
and Veterans. Steve.
PIONEERS AND VETERANS
In Col. J. Bates Infantry
I will write a sketch of my life. I was born in North Carolina, Cumberland County, in 1830. My father was
Malcom McNeill and married Mary A. McMillan. My father died when I was but 6 years old, leaving mother with
six children. The oldest was just 12 years; the youngest about 2. We had hard times in those days. My mother
had to spin and weave our clothes. When I was 8 years old we moved to Sumter County, Alabama; lived there
four years. Moved to Rankin County, Mississippi, near Brandon, and lived there six years. In 1847 I left
there for Texas with my mother. We arrived in Texas in Henderson territory in November. It was a wild frontier
country in that day. Neighbors were scarce, the nearest was fifteen miles. We stopped at a place called
Jubberville; it was a store. They hauled their goods from Shreveport on ox wagons. In 1848 they made two
new counties Van Zandt and Kaufman. We were cut off in Kaufman County, I being one of the chain carriers.
The surveyor's name was Enoch Tennon. In the spring of 1849 we moved over on the west side of the Trinity
River, then miles east of where Ennis now stands. We stopped near a camp of Caddo Indians; did not know they
were there until we had stopped. The people (what few there were) had to fight them back; had a fort at where
Waxahachie now is, and it became a town that year. It was located for the county seat of Ellis County.
I visited Dallas in that same year, 1849. It just had two stores and one hotel. The proprietor was Tom
Crutchfield. I went on to Fort Worth and found nothing there but the United States solders' station;
detailed to fight the Indians back so the country could settle up. It is now a fine city, a big change
since that day. I lived in Ellis County seven years. I left there and went to Johnson County in 1855,
where I thought I would better myself. My mother settled on Nolan River. I cut my road for four miles
through the cross timber to get to the western prairies. The county seat was located in that same year
on the west side of Nolan River; it was called Wardville, and then it was moved from that place on the
east side of Nolan River on the prairie and was called Buchanan, and remained there until after the Civil War.
In 1861 the war broke out. I volunteered at Madisonville, Tex. In May, 1862, I joined Col. J. Bates'
Thirteenth Texas Infantry; was stationed at the mouth of the Brazos River at Port Velasco. I joined
H. C. Moss, Company E. I was not in any battles. I did not have as hard a time as some soldiers did.
I had one brother wounded at Altanta, Ga., in the three days' battle, and he died, but the other two
brothers and I returned home when the war closed. I had a very good time. We had plenty to eat, but
some would complain for something better. My company was made up mostly around Corsicana, in Navarro County.
I don't know of any of my company now living except Ben Green, near Dublin, Tex., and M. L. McCall, near
Rural Shades, in Navarro County. If any are still living I would like to hear from them.
I came home from the war to my mother in Johnson County in June. I had nothing much left. We boys had a
thousand head of cattle when the war began, but when it closed we did not have enough to give us milk.
The county seat was moved again to where it now is in 1867, now called Cleburne. I have seen it grow from
birth to what it is now. In 1866 I was married to Miss Retha McAnear, daughter of Alec McAnear. Of our union
was born eight children, four girls and four boys, all living but one girl, who died in infancy. My wife is
still living. She will be 71 in October and I will be 83 in July. I am the last one of my family living. I
have been living in Anderson County for fifteen years, near Palestine. We are too old to keep house. We are
at my daughter's, Mrs. Albright in Knox County, Texas, and if any one sees this write to me at Cleburne,
No. 304 Robin Street. I am getting very feeble, not able to do anything. Hector McNeill
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