American Colonies – Mcneill and Beyond

This is part of Mcneill and Beyond - a Memoir


  • Note: This is incomplete but the names and dates of patrilineal descent are here which is important

Virginia Colony

One Plantation to Another

Our journey so far has taken us from Africa, to Central Asia, to Europe. Next stop: America, or rather the American Colonies. In 1722/1725 our emigrant ancestor set sail for the New World which would take another fifty years to become an independent nation.

New Family in a New Land

John married in 1744 (yes, at age 64) in a Presbyterian church in Philadelphia, and later migrated to Northern Virginia (dying at 85 after raising three boys). If he was Presbyterian when he emigrated, then he may be an Ulster Scot.

Genealogy of The McNeill

Here is the male line for the past ten generations. Besides those still alive, all were born and died in the new world, with the exception of the latest generation who are dual national Thai-American, born in Thailand.

  • Daniel, b. 1630, d. 1684 - fathered at 50, died at 54
    • Born and died in Northern Ireland
  • John, b. 1680, d. 1775 - fathered at 65, died at 85
    • Born in Northern Ireland, died in the Colony of Virginia
  • Daniel, b. 1745, d. 1806 - fathered at 23, died at 61
    • John Strother, b. 1745, d. 1809
  • Daniel Jr., b. 1768, d. 1844 - fathered at 50, died at 76
  • Benjamin O. Seymour, b. 1808, d. 1890 - fathered at 43, died at 82
  • John William, b. 1851, d. 1940 - fathered at 37, died at 89
    • (some records have spelling of Wilkison/Wilkinson for William)
  • Raymond Lee, b. 1888, d. 1968 - fathered at 25, died at 80
  • John Hanson, b. 1913, d. 1964 (Jan 09, 1965?) - fathered at 28, died at 51
  • Robert Bradley, b. 1941 - fathered at 25
  • Jeffrey Robert, b. 1966 - fathered at 49
    • Benjamin, b. 2015 (born in Thailand)
    • Jonathan, b. 2017 (born in Thailand)

Fatherhood (of direct descendants): 50, 65, 23, 50, 43, 37, 25, 28, 25, 49 = 395, Avg. 39.5, Median 40.

Lifespan: 54, 85, 61, 76, 82, 89, 80, 51 = 557, Avg. 72, Median 78.

Note that our generations (at least for the male offspring for our male line) are an average of 39.5 years which is much more than 25 or 30 used to compute mutation-to-year estimates. Which means our mutations could be older on average than what they are estimating. (However, there is now a way through next generation sequencing to estimate mutation rates directly, which obsoletes generation counting.)

The Lands of Hampshire and Hardy Counties, West Virginia

West Virginia was the only state formed during the Civil War and was largely accomplished based on the low percentage of slaves relative to the population. Originally conceived as a state named Kanawha, the boundaries were smaller, and did not include the eastern-most counties of the present day State of West Virginia. The name Kanawha is based on the name of a river that runs through West Virginia, itself named for a Native American tribe which had left the region in the late 18th century.

Hardy County is one of the counties that make up West Virginia, but was not included in the original proposal, due to a slave population of 11.2% based on 1,073 slave population as compared with 8,521 white population. Along with the original 39 counties, Hampshire and Hardy county voted on October 24, 1861 to secede from the commonwealth of Virginia.

It is no surprise, from a geographical perspective, that our immigrant ancestor and many descendents were slave holders, some of whom also fought on the side of the Confederacy to maintain that practice.

Note - add three images here for Kanawha, also a link to the pdf will (with an image preview)

The History and Creation of West Virginia

Fairfax Northern Neck Land Grants

A young George Washington surveyed some of the land grants set up by Lord Fairfax between 1745 and 1797. These were generally leased for 21 years or more, for 25 shillings per hundred acres. The South Branch Manor had acreage leased by Daniel McNeal (320a), and John McNeal (437a), as well as John Renick (215a and 122a), Felix and James Seymour (400a), and John Pancake (52a), all future relations by marriage. While this list is undated, internal evidence suggests it is prior to 1763, with initial leases starting as early as 1748.

For further information:

The best description of the South Branch Valley manor lands, their somewhat complicated history, geography, tenure agreements, and the names of the earliest settlers associated with these manors (ca. late 1740s-1750s) appears in two excellent articles by Charles Morrison entitled "Early Fairfax Land Grants and Leases Along the South Branch of the Potomac1," in West Virginia History, V37 (Oct 1976), pp. 1-22 and "Early Land Grants and Settlers Along Patterson Creek," in West Virginia History, V40 (Winter 1979), pp. 164-199. Morrison indicates that the rental lists for the South Branch Manor found in the Library of the WV Dept of Archives and History are incomplete, not completely accurate, and undated (though internal evidence shows them to be prior to 1763). But they do include many of names of the lessees or those associated with him, perhaps as witness or bondsman.

The Trough and McNeill, West Virginia

The Trough is a part of the South Branch Potomac River (SBPR) that begins at McNeill, West Virginia and ends six miles later.

Battle of the Trough was a skirmish in 1756 during the French and Indian War.

Agriculture and Pastoral

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The McNeill and America

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Depopulation of the Homestead

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A Time of Migration

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Additional Genealogical Resources


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  1. This is a difficult to find article, but one is located in the Charleston, WV archives -- Collection #: Ms79-158, Location: In box with Ms79-133 through Ms79-163 -- though it might take a bit of work to get a copy of it. I found a copy in a special collection library in Washington State, USA, and for a small sum was emailed a scanned pdf.