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Fayette County, Iowa  

 Biography Directory


Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa

Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of

Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County

Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago

March 1891


~Page 327~

Henry R. O'Neel

Henry O'Neel

Henry R. O’Neel, 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) O’Neel. 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. O’Neel engaged in farming.

Our 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 term’s attendance at a select school and two years spent as a student in Bailey’s 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. O’Neel 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. O’Neel 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 O’Neel eleven hundred and twenty-six votes ahead of his ticket, a very complimentary endorsement. Mr. O’Neel 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 O’Neel 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



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