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Biographies beginning with the letter Mc

Past and Present in Allamakee County, by Ellery M. Hancock.  2 vols. Chicago:
S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1913.

Hugh McCabe

Surnames: McCabe, Gates, Montgomery, Howe, Sullivan

Hugh McCabe has been a resident of Allamakee county since 1848 and has, therefore, witnessed its entire growth and development, for few settlements had been made within its borders at the time of his arrival and al the evidences of frontier life were to be seen, while the hardships and trials incident to pioneer existence were to be met. Mr. McCabe was at that time only a child, but even then he bore his share in the general burden and through many active, honorable and worthy years since that time has worked his way upward to success. His record may well serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement, showing what may be accomplished by energy and determination, intelligently directed, for it has been by his own efforts that he has gained the prominent position which he now occupies as a substantial agriculturist of this county. Hugh McCabe was born in County Armagh, Ireland, in March, 1839, and when he was still a child crossed the Atlantic with his uncle, who was first mate on the ship Abbie Blanchard, sailing between Liverpool and New York. Mr. McCabe spent a few years in the latter city and then came west to Iowa, settling in Allamakee county in 1848. He remained, however, only a few months, later taking a steamer down the Mississippi to St. Louis, where for three months he worked in the employ of Pat McCann. Returning to Allamakee county, he worked upon a farm for three years, earning one hundred dollars per year. He also drove stage for some time but abandoned both occupations at the outbreak of the Civil war, when he enlisted in the Union army, joining Company B, Twelfth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, under Captain Earle. The regiment was sent to St. Louis, where it drilled for a time, and then was transferred to the seat of war, participating in the battles of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson and Shiloh. In the latter engagement Mr. McCabe was taken prisoner and held for six months and eleven days, first in Macon, Georgia, and afterward in the famous Libby prison, from which he was paroled and sent to Benton Barracks at St. Louis. Having secured a thirty day furlough, he returned to Waukon and spent time recuperating and visiting old friends, later returning to Benton Barracks, where his company was reorganized and sent south to Vicksburg. Mr. McCabe there worked on a canal and with his comrades fought his way to Jackson, Mississippi, where he took part in the battle of that city and also in the engagement at Black River Bridge. Under General Sherman his regiment participated in the Vicksburg campaign and siege and was present at the fall of the city. It was later sent down the river to New Orleans and Mobile and thence to Spanish Fort. In 1864 Mr. McCabe took part in the battle of Tupelo, Mississippi, and was there wounded by a piece of shell but not disabled. He served until the close of the war and was mustered out at Memphis, Tennessee, afterward returning north, where he received his honorable discharge at Davenport, Iowa, in January, 1866. In that year he returned to Waukon and, on April 2, married Miss Lydia Alice Gates, a native of Ohio, born in Butler county, near Cincinnati. She is a daughter of Samuel and Mary Ann (Montgomery) Gates, who moved from Ohio to Indiana, where they resided in St. Joseph county. They afterward moved to South Bend and then to Iowa, driving through with two ox teams and settling in Allamakee county in 1857. Mr. and Mrs. McCabe began their domestic life on a forty acre tract of wild land, which Mr. McCabe proceeded to break, fence and improve. He built upon it a cabin, in which they made their home until he traded the farm for a one hundred and twenty acre tract, slightly improved. He fenced this property, added to it more land and now owns two hundred acres, constituting one of the finest farms in this section of the state. At one time he held title to over three hundred acres. Throughout the years he has steadily carried forward the work of development, building a fine residence, a good barn and substantial outbuildings and installing all the machinery and equipment necessary to the conduct of a model agricultural enterprise. His success is the more creditable to him because it has been attained entirely through his own labors, for he came to America a poor boy, penniless and without friends, and he has made each year of his activity since that time a period in his advancement until today he is one of the most substantial and representative citizens of the county, which he has aided in upbuilding. Mr. and Mrs. McCabe became the parents of six children, four of whom are still living. Mary Ellen grew to maturity and married Ed Howe. She passed away leaving three sons. Lizzie lives at home. Alice, who is deceased, was the wife of Cornelius Sullivan. John Emmett is married and makes his home upon his farm. Katherine lives at home. Thomas Henry also resides upon the home farm. The family are members of the Roman Catholic church. Few men in Allamakee county are more widely known than Mr. McCabe, who is numbered among the original settlers in this section of the state. In his youth he helped to build the first log cabin in Waukon for Scott Shattuck, who gave forty acres for the town site. For sixty-five years he has lived in the county and is one of the few who have so long witnessed its growth and development. Throughout a great portion of this period he has made his home on the farm which is yet his place of residence, but he has not confined his attention and efforts to it alone, although he has made it a valuable property. From time to time he has given hearty cooperation to many movements for the public good and has been one of the great forces which have transformed the county from a wilderness and reclaimed the region for purposes of civilization.

A Narrative History of The People of Iowa with
SPECIAL  TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN 
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR,  INDUSTRY, BUSINESS, ETC.
by EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A.  M.
Curator of the Historical, Memorial and Art Department of  Iowa
Volume IV
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New  York
1931
 
EARL D. MCCLEAN, M. D.  In the difficult field of general surgery Dr.  Earl 
D. McClean, of Des Moines, has won a recognized position among his  associates. 
For a time orthopedic surgery claimed his attention to the  exclusion of 
other branches of his profession, but eventually he entered the  broader field 
which has given him wider scope for the exhibition of his special  abilities.

Doctor McClean was born at Union, Hardin County, Iowa, June 18, 1884,  and is 
a son of Charles and Carmellia (Caster) McClean.  The  great-grandfather of 
Doctor McClean, John McClean, served a a drummer boy in the  American forces 
during the War of 1812.  Neil McClean, the grandfather of  Earl D., was born in 
New York State, where he enlisted in a volunteer infantry  regiment in the 
Union army, and served all through the war between the states.  He then returned 
to New York, but in 1868 came to Iowa, where he spent the  remainder of his 
life in agricultural pursuits.

Charles McClean was born in New York State and was still a youth when  he 
accompanied the family to Iowa in 1868.  Here he was reared to  agricultural 
pursuits in Hardin County, where he spent the active years of his  life in the 
cultivation of the soil.  He developed a well cultivated and  valuable property 
near Union, from which he and Mrs. McClean moved to Union in  1928 and are now 
residing in comfortable retirement.  They are attendants  of the 
Congregational Church, and Mr. McClean is a Republican in politics and a  member of the 
Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  They were the parents of  the following 
children:  Prof. Clarence G., who took his theological course  at Cleveland, 
graduated from Penn College and won the oratorical contest during  his freshman year, 
then held a pastorate while he was still a student, and  following his 
graduation and a post-graduate course spent fifteen years in  missionary work in teh 
Philippines and Cuba and is now a professor at Whittier  College, whittier, 
California; C. R., who died in 1921; Mrs. Pearl Glenney, who  is residing on 
the old home farm near Union; and Dr. Earl D., of this review.  The maternal 
grandfather of Earl D. McClean was John Caster, a native of  Illinois, who came 
to Iowa at an early date and engaged in farming, but died  when still a young 
man.

Earl D. McClean attended the public schools of Union, and after his  
graduation from high school entered the medical department of the University of  Iowa, 
from which he was graduated in 1908, following which he took post-graduate  
work at Harvard.  In 1909 he commenced the practice of his profession at  
Oskaloosa, Iowa, where he remained until the United Stares became involved in  the 
great World war.  As soon as he could arrange his affairs he enlisted  in the 
Medical corps, July 14, 1917, and was sent to the Medical Officers  Training 
Camp at Fort Riley, Kansas, where he spent six weeks.  Following  this he was 
transferred to Camp Pike, Arkansas, where he remained until the  latter part of 
July, 1918, when he went overseas, being identified with Base  Hospitals Nos. 
88 and 69, in the surgical service.  He won promotion from  lieutenant to 
captain, and received his honorable discharge September 28, 1919.  During his 
military service he was able to do post-graduate work at the  Royal Army Medical 
College, England.

Following his relief from military duties Doctor McClean settled at Des  
Moines, where for a time he was engaged in orthopedic and general surgery, but  
now has no specialty, his practice, which is a large and representative one,  
covering the whole surgical field.  Doctor McClean occupies offices in the  Iowa 
Building and has a high standing in his profession.  He is on the  staffs of 
the Mercy and Methodist Hospitals, and belongs to the Polk County  Medical 
Society, the Iowa State Medical Society, the Missouri Valley Medical  Society and 
the American Medical Association.  He likewise holds membership  in the 
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Woodmen of the World and the  Pi 
Epsilon Rho fraternity.  Politically he is a Republican, but not an  office seeker. 
 He is likewise a charter member of the American  Legion.

On January 1, 1909, Doctor McClean was united in marriage with Miss  Mary 
Burns, who was born and reared at Chicago, Illinois, and they have one  child; 
Ruth Mary, born October 26, 1920.  Mrs. McClean is a member of  the Catholic 
Church.  She is an accomplished vocalist, and is well known  through her frequent 
appearance in musical recitals in Chicago and throughout  Iowa.
A Narrative History of The People of Iowa with
SPECIAL  TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN 
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR,  INDUSTRY, BUSINESS, ETC.
by EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A.  M.
Curator of the Historical, Memorial and Art Department of  Iowa
Volume IV
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New  York
1931
 
JOSEPH MCCORMICK.  Beginning his career as a poor boy without  educational 
advantages, but with much ambition and great industry, Joseph  McCormick, of 
Cedar Rapids, has fought his way laboriously but consistently to a  place of 
prominence among his fellow-citizens, and for the past eleven years has  been 
state secretary of the Iowa Knights of Columbus.  A large part of his  life has 
been devoted to newspaper work, in which he has become nationally  known, and he 
has been also identified with many movements which have  contributed to the 
betterment and progress of his native state.

Mr. McCormick was born at Dewitt, Iowa, March 10, 1878, and is a son of  
Joseph and Jane (Boyle) McCormick, the latter a native of Boston, Massachusetts.  
His father, who was born in Ireland, came to this country in young manhood  
and soon found employment at his trade of baker.  At the outbreak of the  war 
between the state he enlisted in the Union army, and throughout the struggle  
acted in the capacity of camp cook.  Following his release from military  duties 
he came to Iowa and settled at Dewitt, where he conducted a bakery until  
1882, in that year removing to Manchester, this state, where he was the  
proprietor of a similar establishment until his death.

Joseph McCormick, the younger, had only the advantages of a grade  school 
education, and while attending school managed to learn the printer's  trade.  
Having saved up a few dollars, in January, 1893, he started what  was known as 
the world's smallest newspaper, the Manchester Herald.  This  was located in a 
part of his mother's kitchen and the first issues were compiled  and struck off 
with the rudest of printing implements, such as the youth could  secure from 
printing establishments who had no further use for them.  The  idea at first 
seemed ridiculous, but Mr. McCormick's mother, sensing the lad's  earnestness, 
encouraged him, and to everyone's surprise the little sheet not  only began to 
attract attention but to secure a bona fide subscription list that  made the 
publishers of older and much larger newspapers wonder.  The Herald  was 
unique, interesting and original and what it lacked in size it fully made up  in 
quality.  Every cent that the youthful editor and publisher could  acquire he put 
into equipment and new machinery, and finally it was moved from  its kitchen 
birthplace to a good-sized printing plant, which Mr. McCormick sold  after 
fifteen years of successful publications.

In 1907 Mr. McCormick moved to Sioux City, Iowa, where he was city  editor of 
the Sioux City Journal until 1910, then locating at Cedar Rapids as  city 
editor of the Cedar Rapids Gazette.  In 1914 he retired from this  position for 
other activities, although he has continued his connection with  newspaper work 
as a feature writer and correspondent for metropolitan  publications.  In 
July, 1918, he became state secretary of the Iowa Knights  of Columbus, and in 
addition to his regular duties in this connection has edited  The Caravel, the 
official organ of the fraternity.  He is a past grand  knight (1914-1915) of 
Cedar Rapids Council No. 909, Knights of Columbus, and has  attained to the 
fourth degree.  During the World war he was in charge of  publicity of the United 
War Work campaign in Iowa, and of the Red Cross drives  at Cedar Rapids, and 
has been active also in publicity campaigns of the Cedar  Rapids Chamber of 
Commerce and various other civic movements.  He is a  member of the Immaculate 
Conception Roman Catholic Church, and was one of the  hardest workers during the 
building fund campaign.  Mr. McCormick is a  popular member of the Country 
Club and as recreations is greatly fond of hinting  and fishing, being also 
quite an expert golfer.  His entire life has been  an example of what can be 
accomplished by industry and perseverance.

At Manchester, Iowa, May 1, 1909, Mr. McCormick was united in marriage  with 
Miss May Roney, who prior to her marriage was a teacher of music in schools  
conducted by the Dominican Sisters at Milwaukee and Appleton, Wisconsin, and  
Jackson, Nebraska.  Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs.  McCormick:  
Joseph, a student at St. Mary College, Kansas, Mary Catharine  and Margaret 
Jane.
A Narrative History of The People of Iowa with
SPECIAL  TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN 
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR,  INDUSTRY, BUSINESS, ETC.
by EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A.  M.
Curator of the Historical, Memorial and Art Department of  Iowa
Volume IV
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New  York
1931
 
HAROLD J. MCCOY, M. D.  The broad field of medical and surgical  science 
offers so many activities and opportunities in its different branches  that a 
large number of the fraternity have applied their studies and energies to  some 
special line, although naturally a broad knowledge of general medicine and  
surgery is essential to the man who seeks success in any branch.  Among the  
modern specialists of Des Moines, one who has won prosperity and position  through 
natural talent, close application and constant study is Dr. Harold J.  McCoy, 
who has specialized in the diseases of the eye, ear, nose and throat in  this 
city since 1920.

Doctor McCoy was born on a ranch in Chase County, Nebraska, December  17, 
1891, and is a son of Sherman E. and Susan (Werts) McCoy.  His paternal  
grandfather was Maj. A. M. McCoy, an officer in the Union army during the war  between 
the states and for many years a resident of Iowa, where he was engaged  in 
agricultural pursuits, mainly in Lucas County.  The maternal grandfather  of 
Doctor McCoy was John Werts, a native of Ohio, who settled in Lucas County,  
iowa, in young manhood and passed the rest of his life in farming.

Sherman E. McCoy was born in Lucus County, Iowa, where he was reared  and 
educated, but as a young man moved to Chase County, Nebraska, took up land  and 
developed a large ranch in the vicinity of the City of Imperial.  He  and his 
wife are now living in retirement, but Mr. McCoy still operates a large  amount 
of land in the same community, of which he is the owner, and the  supervisor 
of which is constantly under his attention.  He is a man of high  character 
and public spirit, of good business judgment and integrity, and has  the 
confidence and esteem of the people of his community. To Mr. and Mrs. McCoy  have 
been born five children, Harold J. being the eldest child and only boy.  In 
politics he is a Democrat, as is his father.
The public schools of  Nebraska supplied Harold J. McCoy with his early 
education, and after he had  attended and graduated from the Congregational 
Academy, of Franklin, that state,  he taught in a rural school for one year.  He then 
entered Drake  University, where he spent three years, following which he 
became a student in  the University of Chicago, graduating therefrom with the 
degree of Bachelor of  Science in 1916.  His medical studies were then prosecuted 
at the  University of Illinois, he being graduated as a member of the class 
of 1919,  degree of Doctor of Medicine, and spent one year as an interne at 
Mercy  Hospital, Chicago.  Having specialized in eye, ear, nose and throat at  
Chicago, he became assistant to Dr. C. M. Werts, with whom he was associated in  
practice for three and one-half years.  Since then he has practiced alone  at 
Des Moines, with offices in the Bankers Trust Building, and has built up a  
large and representative patronage, attracted by his reliability, professional  
talent and attractive personality.  He is a member of the Polk County  
Medical Society, the Iowa State medical Society, the American Medical  Association, 
the Des Moines Academy of Medicine.  The Medical Study Club of  Des Moines and 
the Oto-Laryngological.  He also holds membership in the  Gold and Country 
Club, the American Legion, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity,  the Phi Beta Phi 
medical fraternity,  the Masons and the Benevolent and  Protective Order of 
Elks.  He and Mrs. McCoy both belong to the First  Methodist Episcopal Church, 
in the work of which they have taken a keen interest  and active part both in 
the church and Sunday School.  During the World war  Doctor McCoy enlisted in 
the army, and at present is a member of the Naval  Reserves.

In 1922 Doctor McCoy was united in marriage with Miss Dorcas Baker,  whose 
parents died when she was a child.  She was reared in the home of an  aunt and 
completed her education at the East Des Moines High School.  They  are the 
parents of one son:  Robert Sherman, born November 17, 1925.
 
MALEY McDONALD 

Maley McDONALD, one of the most prominent and influential of the early 
settlers of Blooming township [Decatur County], was at one time the owner of 
one thousand acres of fine land. His birth occurred in Madison county, Ohio, 
on the 16th of May, 1823, and he was a son of James C. McDONALD, who was in 
turn a son of Thomas McDONALD. The last named was born in Scotland and on 
emigrating to the United States, settled in Botetourt County, Virginia, where 
his son James C. was born. The latter was married in Tennessee to Miss Mary 
Ann MELVIN, also a native of the Old Dominion, and they took up their 
residence in Kentucky, whence, about 1806, they removed to Ross county, Ohio. 
Three or four years later they settled in Madison county of that state, where 
they lived for many years. They had a large family, of whom seven grew to 
maturity: Mary, born in 1801; George, born in 1803; Phebe, born in 1805; 
Elizabeth, born in 1808; Charity, born in 1811; John, born in 1814; and Malay, 
the subject of this sketch. 

[Transcriber's note: Maley McDONALD's name has been spelled interchangably as 
"Maley" or "Malay," sometimes both ways in the same biographical sketch. His 
gravestone spells his name as "Maley."] 

Malay McDONALD, who was the youngest child, was educated in the subscription 
schools in Madison county and early in life became familiar with agricultural 
pursuits. He continued to reside in his native county until 1850, when, with 
his family [wife and three children],he removed to Iowa. The first winter was 
spent at Muscatine, but in the following spring the family removed to a farm, 
where they resided for four years. On the 22d of May, 1855, they arrived in 
Bloomington township, Decatur county, and the father purchased several hundred 
acres of land from Matthew McCLAIN [paying $200 for the pre-emption and built 
a simple log cabin of 16 x 16 feet with a sod chimney]. At the time there were 
only about seven families [Mr. McCLAIN, John MERCER, Aaron MYERS, F. M. SCOTT, 
Widow SCOTT's family, W[illiam]. M. McDONALD [Maley's cousin], John WION and 
J. K. TAPSCOT] in that township and the greater part of the land was yet 
unbroken. Mr. McDONALD [built a home in 1866 which was sided with black 
walnut] and acquired more land and accumulated althogether about one thousand 
acres, upon which he engaged in stock-raising and feeding on an extensive 
scale. He owned a fine farm [of 158 acres of improved land] adjoining 
Kellerton and at length he took up his abode in that town. He passed away 
September 8, 1895, and his demise was sincerely regetted by all who knew him. 

Mr. McDONALD was married on the 9th of March, 1843, to Miss Mary FERGUSON, 
whose birth occurred in Franklin county, Ohio, on the 13th of November, 1824, 
and who is a daughter of Thomas and Mary (BIGGERT) FERGUSON. To this union 
were born the following children: Margaret Ann [born circa 1844]; George, who 
was a soldier in the Civil war and who died while at home on furlough from the 
effects of a wound received in battle; E[mmet]. W. [born circa 1849]; and one 
[daughter] who died in infancy [on September 13, 1861]. Mr. McDONALD was an 
independent republican and served for one term as county supervisor and for 
three terms as township trustee and assessor. He belonged to the Independent 
Order of Odd Fellows at Decatur City. He was a man of much force of character 
and engery and also possessed excellent business ability, and it was but 
natural that he should be one of the foremost citizens of Decatur county. 
After removing to Kellerton he was recognized as one of the leaders in 
Ringgold county and his death was the occasion of much sincere grief. [He 
started life without means, but by industry and good management acquired a 
fine property. Among the enterprising and successful pioneers of Decatur 
County, none is better known or more highly esteemed than is Mr. McDONALD, and 
he is classed among the leading citizens of Ringgold County.] 

NOTE: Maley McDONALD died at the age of 71 years, 3 months, and 23 days on 
September 8, 1894. He was interred at Maple Row Cemetery, Kellerton, Ringgold 
County, Iowa. Mary (FERGUSON) McDonald died at the age of 64 years and 26 days 
on December 9, 1888, with interment at Maple Row Cemetery. 

George McDONALD enlisted from Leon, Iowa, as a Private on August 21, 1863, at 
the age of eighteen. He served with Company B of the 4th Iowa Cavalry. 
According to the American Civil War soldier database, George was mustered out 
of service at Atlanta, Georgia, on August 8, 1865. McDONALD family records 
note that George died of wounds received in battle on September 23, 1865, at 
the age of 19 years, 9 months and 25 days. George was interred next to his 
sister, who died in infancy, at Lillie Cemetery, Bloomington Township near 
Lamoni, Decatur County, Iowa. The Lillie Cemetery is located on land 
previously owned by Maley and Mary McDONALD. 

Margaret Ann McDONALD married on October 13, 1865 to George R. BATHE (1842, 
Moultrie Co. IL - ?), son of James and Melinda (POWELL) BATHE, natives of 
Illinois. Margaret and George BATHE were the parents of six children: Mrs. 
Nora MORRIS of Denver, Colorado; Mrs. Charles T. RHODES; Irvin L., Avon who 
married and lives in Lenapah, Oklahoma; Carrie, the wife of Ernest SHEPHERD, 
of Pueblo, Colorado; and Charles W., of Coffeyville, Kansas. 

SOURCES: 
HOWELL, J. M. & CONOMAN, Heman. History of Decatur County, Iowa, and Its 
People Vol. II. Pp. 216-17, 255-56. S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. Chicago. 1915. 

Biographical and Historical Record of Ringgold and Decatur Counties, Iowa, 
1887. 

Kellerton, Iowa, A history to 1881 1887 
American Civil War Soldiers, ancestry.com 
WPA Graves Survey 

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2009 
 

H. C. McNEIL

Henry Clay McNeil, one of the best known and best liked citizens of Sioux City, where he was actively identified with business interests for more than a half century, was at the time of his death the senior member of the firm of H. C. McNeil & Son, dealers in building supplies at Nos. 308 and 310 Jackson street.  He was in the eighty-seventh year of his age when called to his final rest on the 26th of March, 1924, his birth having occurred October 30, 1837, at Homer, Cortland county, New York, the scene of the novel, "David Harum." In the novel Homer is referred to as Homerville. The parents of Henry C. McNeil, James and Hannah (Billings) McNeil, were natives of Connecticut and of New York, respectively. The family comes of Scotch lineage, the emigrant ancestor arriving from Scotland about 1640 and settling in Connecticut. James McNeil saw service in the War of 1812 and his death occurred in 1866, when he was eighty-seven years of age. Henry Clay McNeil attended the public schools of Homer, New York, but at the age of twelve years went alone to Sandusky, Ohio, where his brother Albert was in business. He remained there for a few months and then paid a visit to his brother, Orin S., in Crawfordsville, Indiana, spending two years in that place, during which time he attended school. He then returned to Sandusky, where he spent the succeeding year, after which he went with his brother Orin S. from Sandusky to Rock Island, Illinois. Not long afterward, in 1852 when a youth of fifteen years, he made his way to Davenport, Iowa, where he secured a clerkship in a grocery store and also learned the tinner's trade, remaining in that city for two years. He next went to Muscatine, Iowa, where he completed his trade, which he followed at that point for two and one-half years. Returning to Davenport, he established a retail furniture business, which he conducted until he enlisted for service in the Union army during the Civil war. The smoke from Fort Sumter's guns had scarcely cleared away when Mr. McNeil offered his services to the government. In fact, he had the distinction of being the first man in Iowa to enlist, joining the army on the 15th of April, 1861, at the first call for troops. He was assigned to duty as a private of Company C, Second Regiment of Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered into the service of the state on the 24th of April as a sergeant. On the 28th of May the regiment was mustered into the United States service and on the 7th of October, 1862, Mr. McNeil was commissioned second lieutenant of his company, with which he remained until May, 1864, when he was mustered out at Pulaski, Tennessee, after more than three years of active service. He commanded his company for over a year and participated in the battles of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Iuka, Corinth and many minor engagements. He was wounded in the arm at Fort Donelson and was also wounded at Shiloh and Corinth. His military record was indeed a most creditable and honorable one, and he proudly wore the little bronze button of the Grand Army of the Republic. Upon his return from the south mr. McNeil joined his brother in business in Davenport, Iowa, the relation continuing for about five years. In 1869 he came to Sioux City, where he entered the fire insurance business, with which he was connected throughout the remainder of his life, representing a number of the substantial old companies. In 1887 he began dealing in building materials, along which line he developed a business of constantly growing importance. the Sioux City Journal of January 23, 1921, contained the following interesting article concerning the pioneer experiences of Mr. McNeil in this state: "Sixty-eight years ago there was not a foot of railroad track in Iowa or west of the Mississippi river. Today in Iowa there is not a spot that is more than twelve miles from the railroad. That is what H. C. NcNeil, Sioux City pioneer and head of the building material company of H. C. McNeil & Son, thinks of every time he looks at the big map of Iowa in his office. And he pictures himself as a boy about fifteen years old hopping on the tender of the first locomotive that ever covered a foot of track in this state or west of the Mississippi and riding along on the little woodburner enjoying the sensation of being carried by the steam engine that was as truly a curiosity in those days as a purple cow would be to the present generation. Mr. McNeil counts himself fortunate to have lived in a period of such great achievement, and though he modestly believes that he is not the sole possessor of interesting information in regard to the early history of the state and Sioux City, he consented to relate a few of his experiences. When a boy Mr. McNeil came west, and it was while he was in Davenport, Iowa, that he saw the beginning of the railroad transportation in the state. Mr. McNeil came to Davenport in 1852, and it was in 1853 or 1854 that the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad Company laid its tracks from Davenport to Iowa City and planned to construct a line across the state. The Mississippi and Missouri company was afterwards taken over by the Rock Island company, which still owns the line. The first engine to run on the track laid in Davenport was brought in pieces across the ice on the Mississippi and put together on a temporary track laid along the river. There was no bridge there then. When young McNeil and a few other boys of his age heard that the phenomenon was actually going to move, they ran down the track and, hopping on the tender of the little engine that was but a toy compared to the powerful locomotives of today that speed across Iowa's length and breadth, were carried along over the first track ever covered by a steam engine west of the Mississippi river. Mr. McNeil came to Sioux City in 1869 and has been in business for himself continuously since that time. He is past eighty-three years of age and takes pleasure in walking to work and in being in his office daily. He was in the insurance business when he first came here and keeps up that interest in the Peters, Guiney, McNeil and Powell Company. The only railroad in Sioux City at the time he came was the Sioux City and Pacific, which ran one train a day each way and was a combination freight and passenger train. There were no business houses in Fourth street and only a few in Pearl street and along the river front. Sioux City developed to a greater extent for its size between 1869 and 1872, Mr. McNeil believes, than it has in any other period. At that time, he pointed out on a map of Old Sioux City, it spread north about as far as Ninth and Tenth streets. The past century, Mr. McNeil stated, he believes to be the most remarkable century in history. In one line of accomplishment alone, it has seen transportation by railroad develop upon the plains of Iowa a network of railroad lines, all of which have been laid in less than one man's lifetime." The following article appeared in the local press in 1923: "Can you remember away back when Pierce street was known as Honeymoon Glen? If you can, then you can remember when Henry C. McNeil, of the firm of H. C. McNeil and Son, built the residence that is still standing at 901 Pierce street. That was fifty years ago, and Mr. McNeil is still occupying the house. But the business center of Sioux City has grown until now it practically surrounds the McNeil home, so Mr. McNeil and his wife have decided to move. They have purchased the residence at 1427 Douglas street, which was the property of the late R. C. A. Flournoy. When Mr. McNeil built the house which he lives in now, the region in the vicinity of Tenth and Pierce streets was still country. The open prairie extended beyond his dooryard, stretching away northward towards the level sweeps of northwest Iowa and southern Minnesota. There was only one other house in the block at that time, for Sioux City had not yet exerted her commercial charms upon the people who were flowing through toward the vacant west, where land could be had for a 'song.' But shortly after Mr. McNeil and his wife had settled in their new home other young people who had lately contracted matrimonial bonds, began to move into the section and it wasn't long until the first comers were living 'right down town.' It was because so many newly married couples built their homes on the north edge of the city, that Pierce street was known by the sobriquet of 'Honeymoon Glen.' The Home Insurance Company, of New York city, recently presented Mr. McNeil with a gold medal, in commemoration of fifty years of service with that company. He was the recipient of a silver medal from the same firm twenty-five years ago when he completed that number of years of faithful service. As above stated, when Mr. McNeil came to Sioux City in 1869 he took up the insurance business. From 1878 until 1898 he was in the building material business with C. T. Hopper, under the firm style of Hopper & McNeil, after which the firm of H. C. McNeil & Son was organized. For about thirty years he was a director of the Security National Bank, so continuing to the time of his death. On the 8th of June, 1871, at Davenport, Iowa, Mr. McNeil was united in marriage to Miss Marie B. Wilber, a daughter of Lorenzo D. Wilber, and to them were born two children: Carrie, who is the wife of Jerome P. Schnabele of Sioux City; and Wilbur C., who with his wife, Mrs. Virginia (Hearne) McNeil, was killed in an automobile accident near Hull, Iowa, September 6, 1914. Both were graduates of Leland Stanford University. They left two children: Joseph Herne, born February 8, 1904, who was graduated from Yale University with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1926, and who is now attending Oxford University; and Eleanor Marie, who is a student at sweet Briar College at Sweet Briar, Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. McNeil attended the Unitarian church. In politics he was a progressive republican. He never sought nor desired political office and the only public position he filled was that of secretary of the school board of Sioux City for twenty years. He was honored with various official preferments in fraternal circles, however, being identified with the Masonic order for about six decades. He joined the Masonic order at Davenport, Iowa, and later when he came to Sioux City he was instrumental in founding Sioux City Lodge, No. 103, which became known as Landmark Lodge. He also was a member of Chapter No. 26 of the Royal Arch Masons, of Columbian Commandery and of Abu-Bekr Temple of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. During the many years of formation and growth, Mr. McNeil assumed a position of activity and responsibility in lodge work. From an undernourished child laboring for breath, he saw and helped Sioux City Masonry develop into a potential power of beauty and strength. He attended scores of meetings and conventions, state, district and local, and was persistent worker through thick and thin for the higher achievements. During his career, Mr. McNeil was worshipful master of Landmark Lodge; high priest of the Royal Arch chapter; eminent commander of Columbian Commandery; and grand high priest of the grand chapter of Iowa. He was appointed grand high priest in 1888, and he was a past grand warden of the grand lodge of Masons in Iowa. He belonged to the Hawkeye Club and the Sioux City Boat Club and in all these different organizations had many warm friends and admirers. His life was an active and useful one, characterized by loyalty in every relation as well as during the days when he served his country as a soldier upon southern battlefields. He became a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion and was chosen commander for Iowa. He likewise belonged to Hancock Post, G. A. R., of Sioux City, and was one of the organizers and a charter member of August Wentz Post of Davenport, which was the third Grand Army post organized in the United States and the first in the state. The following newspaper paragraph appeared under date of March 29, 1924: "Old comrades of the Civil war, their heads bowed in sorrow, were among the many Sioux Citians who paid their last respect Saturday afternoon to H. C. McNeil, the first Iowa man to enlist in federal forces when the call came to save the Union. Lodge brothers, business associates and friends made in the long years in Sioux City, when, as a pioneer city builder and business man, the late Mr. McNeil was prominent, gathered for the funeral ritual in the Masonic temple to hear the eulogy of Rev. Charles E. Snyder of First Unitarian church. A short service and prayers preceded the eulogy. "The unbroken prairies have yielded to the husbandman's plow. The haunts of the buffalo no longer resound to their mighty tread. The builders came. They came with the working tools, the plumb, the level and the square, and they made the foundation and erected houses and temples and they smoothed the rough ashlers. A city grew with homes for the wives, who also endured the pioneer life, and for the children whose laughter rang o'er the hillsides,' said Rev. Mr. Snyder. "Today we have gathered in a lodge of sorrow for one of those builders, who out of his vision and strength contributed to the growth of city and its institutions. He remained active, interested, quick of mind, firm of judgment and finally lay down as one who wraps the draperies of his couch about him to pleasant dreams. We are gathered this sorrowful consistory to speak our tribute of farewell, but I cannot say, I shall not say, that he is dead. The grand master has called him into the lodge room beyond whose doors we cannot see. But I think, if we might see him just now, it would be with a wave of his hand and a smile of good cheer to say to us that the order he heard was, Let there be light, and there was light." The following is an editorial tribute which appeared in the Sioux City Journal under date of March 28, 1924: "In the death of Henry C. McNeil, Sioux City has lost one of its best known citizens, one who had been a part of the community's progress for more than half a century. Also Sioux City has lost one if its best liked men. Mr. McNeil's friendships were many. It is doubted that anyone here had a wider acquaintance. Many interesting things are connected with the life of Mr. McNeil in Sioux City. An outstanding feature of it was the fact that he was in business constantly for some fifty-two years, during which time he built up a reputation for integrity, public spirit and business activity all of which reflected the character of the man. At eighty-six this pioneer of the long ago had not retired, as he might have done and as many business men much younger have preferred to do. His friends knew his attitude toward life to be that of one who wanted to go on, active and energetic to the end. Such an outlook may be recommended to anyone approaching the natural end of a career. He saw the paving of the streets, the extension of the city limits to take in many square miles, the coming the street car, the automobile, the telephone and electric lighting. He saw, in a word, the growth of a village to a modern city. And he was a part of it all, a part of its business life constantly expanding, a part of its fraternalism, of its social activities, aiding, meanwhile, in unchanging confidence the community's advancement. Henry C. McNeil was one of Sioux City's foremost citizens throughout his long residence here. Dependable, trustworthy and energetic, he was, like many others of his time, responsible in a large degree for Sioux City's progress. His familiar figure will be missed by the hundreds who knew him.

 

Source:  NORTHWESTERN IOWA - ITS HISTORY AND TRADITION, VOLUME II, 1804-1926