Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 2, May, 1998 Page: 63
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The Angus McNeill Family
Back in Colorado County, on July 31, 1849, McNeill was appointed to a
committee to represent the county at the Memphis Railroad Convention to urge construc-
tion of a southern railroad to the Pacific Ocean. Also serving on this committee were
James Steen Montgomery, John F. Miller, Robert Jones Rivers, George Washington
Smith, and Thomas W. Harris.56
The 1850s were a time in which most of his efforts were directed toward
farming, but judging from mortgages and deeds, he was not a financial success. In district
court in Colorado County, he was the plaintiff in one case and the defendant in fourteen
cases. The cases all had to do with land, slaves, and debts57 The 1850s also brought a
number of personal tragedies. The younger son, Angus, Jr., died before reaching 21
years of age, and Rebecca Jane McNeill, his wife so much admired by friends, neighbors,
and business associates, died in 1856 in Colorado County. Where these two family mem-
bers were buried is unknown; probably the burial site was on the plantation. The other
two children, Mary and Henry, were also gone from home. Mary married a man by the
name of Harper about 1854, and it was she who filed suit in the district court of Colorado
County to have her father divide the slaves that had been left to her and her brothers by
Henry C. McNeill.58 The division was made between Mary and her brother Henry. Then
Angus and Rebecca, on July 4, 1854, deeded to Mary Walker Harper 1200 acres of the
James Ross Survey (perhaps as a wedding present).59
The remaining son, Henry Cameron McNeill, had left home to go to
school at Kentucky Military Institute in Franklin County, Kentucky in the fall of 1848,
and then to Western Military Institute. In 1850, he had determined to go to West Point.
He chose Representative Volney Erskine Howard, who had encouraged him to apply to
West Point, to recommend him for the appointment. On December 21, 1852, he wrote'
Representative Howard a long letter from Eagle Lake reminding him of his promise for a
recommendation. He had travelled to San Antonio hoping to meet Howard but had just
missed seeing him by a few days. He assured Howard. that he could supply recommenda-
tions and reminded Howard that as early as 1850, Howard had agreed to support his'
application. One recommendation from Major Thales Swindley, a former professor, was
sent as early as March 26, 1850. William Jefferson Jones of Colorado County, a lawyer,
judge, and one time owner of one half of the Ross Survey (which he bought at a sheriff's
sale), also wrote Howard recommending McNeill. Jones also advised Howard to contact
56 Texas State Gazette, September 15, 1849.
57 District Court Records of Colorado County, Texas, General Index Civil Minutes, Book 1, pp.
58 District Court Records of Colorado County, Texas, Minute Book C, p. 1199.
59 Deed Records of Colorado County, Texas, Book J, p. 161.
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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/m1/15/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed February 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.