Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 2, May, 1998 Page: 62
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
Almost from the beginning of his association with Colorado County, Angus
McNeill was in debt. He mortgaged his crops and often put his land up as security to get
out of financial difficulty. The year 1845 was one that saw much activity with the Ross
Survey. On June 7, 1845, Trowbridge Ward of Matagorda paid $5,000 for the Ross
Survey. At the same time Ward deeded back to Rebecca J. McNeill one half of the league
(the lower section) as a consequence of the "regard and esteem" he had for her.52 Later
that year, George Washington Thatcher was put in charge of the land to see that it was
used solely for the welfare of Rebecca Jane McNeill. On December 3, 1845, Thatcher,
for $600, bought in trust for Rebecca McNeill, all interest that Caleb Claiborne Herbert
had in the land he had purchased at the sheriff s sale, which was the lower half of the Ross
Survey, as well as 34 slaves. The deed added the following instructions: "The property is
in no wise responsible of Angus McNeill, Husband of Rebecca. If Thatcher declines, he
may appoint in writing some trustworthy individual to perform the duties. He can dispose
of said property only for the benefit of Rebecca J. McNeill and with her concurrence and
approbation.""53 Angus McNeill's slaves, usually numbering in the thirties, were often
used to secure notes, mortgages, and other obligations, whether he was in Mississippi,
Louisiana, or Texas. Usually, he specified that the slaves were only to be used as collat-
The 1840s saw Angus McNeill become involved in the military. He of-
fered his services in the fall of 1842 when the Mexican general Adrian Woll invaded
Texas. He joined a group that equipped itself and set off to join General Alexander
Somervall, whom he had known through the Mavericks, in Matagorda County. However,
his group, which also included Andrew J. Bonds and John B. Botard of Colorado County,
had gotten only as far as Gonzales when they learned that the Mexicans had retreated and
a number of the volunteers were returning after the Battle of Salado Creek. They too
returned to their homes.54 McNeill again joined the military on May 18, 1846, during the
Mexican War, enlisting in Captain Caleb Claiborne Herbert's Company E of the First
Regiment of the Texas Mounted Rifles under John Coffee Hays. This company was to
serve for six months. He did make it to Mexico, but was discharged at Camargo, Mexico,
before the rest of the company was discharged at Monterrey, Mexico, on October 2,
52 Deed Records of Colorado County, Texas, Book E, pp. 318-320.
53 Deed Records of Colorado County, Texas, Book E., p. 491.
54 Angus McNeill, Comptroller's Record Group 304, Republic of Texas Claims Files, Public Debt
Series, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin.
In 1853, McNeill sent in a claim to the state for payment for his services. In 1854, he received fifteen dollars
from the state as a settlement of this debt against the "late Republic of Texas."
55 Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Mexican War in Orga-
nizations from the State of Texas, National Archives Microfilm Publication No. 278, Roll 1.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 2, May, 1998, periodical, May 1998; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151403/m1/14/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.