Henry R. O'Neel
Henry R. ONeel, who since January 1, 1888, has served as Sheriff
of Fayette County, is accounted one of the leading citizens of West Union,
was born in Ripley county, Ind., on the 20th of February, 1854, and is a
son of Ruel and Mary A. (Rairden) ONeel. His father was born in
Kentucky and the mother was a native of Ohio born near Cleveland. Their
marriage was celebrated in Indiana, where they resided until the early
part of 1856 when they came to Iowa, locating in Fairbank Township,
Buchanan County, where Mr. ONeel engaged in farming.
subject was reared in the usual manner of farmer lads, spending his time
in play and work, and in the district schools of the neighborhood acquired
his education, which was supplemented by one terms attendance at a
select school and two years spent as a student in Baileys College at
Keokuk. He carried on the home farm after attaining his majority until
1876 when laying aside agricultural pursuits he embarked upon a commercial
career. He engaged in merchandising in Hazelton, Buchanan County, for one
year, and on selling out devoted his energies to the stock business. In
that county he was married on the 15th of August 1880; the lady of his
choice being Miss Mary E Jarrett, a daughter of Jared Jarrett, and a
native of Warsaw, Ind.
Mr. ONeel resided for many years on the
border of Fayette County, his home farm lying partly in Buchanan and
partly in this county but it was not until 1884 that he crossed the line.
In that year he removed to Oelwein, in Fayette County, where he was
engaged in the stock business for some time. In politics Mr. ONeel
is an earnest Democrat and was elected by that party to the
office of Sheriff of Fayette County in the fall of 1887, with
a majority of one hundred and seventy-five, being the only man
on the Democratic ticket elected, while the opposition
majority on the head of the ticket was four hundred.
It certainly indicated his popularity. In the fall of 1889 he was
re-nominated and elected by the flattering majority of nine hundred and
sixty-three, while the Republican majority on the head of the ticket was
one hundred and sixty-three. This showing placed Sheriff ONeel
eleven hundred and twenty-six votes ahead of his ticket, a very
complimentary endorsement. Mr. ONeel is a Knight Templar Mason, a
member of Hebron Lodge, No. 294 A. F. & A. M.; of the Clermont
Chapter, No. 62, R. A. M., and of Langridge Commandery No. 4, K. T., all
of West Union. He also holds membership in Oelwein Lodge, No. 274, I. O.
O. F., of Oelwein and in West Union, Lodge, No. 124, K. of P. of West
Union. Sheriff ONeel has made his home in West Union since January,
1888, when he came here to enter upon the duties of his office. He has
made a competent and faithful officer and has won hosts of friends by his
genial, kindly ways and his impartial and prompt discharge of every duty
devolving upon him.
~transcribed and contributed to Fayette Co. by Carol Williams