Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 2, May, 1998 Page: 54
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
but William Fairfax Gray, while visiting in Louisiana, reported: "Angus McNiel was the
former partner of J. J. Chewning, 'Wilkinson, McNiel & Co.,' that failed about
ago. the concern is now nearly wound up, and will come out whole, and something to
spare.""5 Another influential person in Angus' life was his cousin Henry Cameron McNeill.
A land speculator and adventurer, Henry C. McNeill travelled widely, including into
Texas. According to William Fairfax Gray, the traveller and diarist, the McNeills prob-
ably knew more than anyone else about Texas in the early 1830s.16
The year 1835 saw Angus McNeill deeply involved in land speculation.
The Caddo Indians in a treaty with the government had reserved 640 acres of land for
their friend and interpreter Larkin Edwards. Edwards, in January of 1835, sold his claim
to Angus McNeill for $5000, and McNeill located his claim at Bennett's Bluff, now the
present site of Shreveport. By July 1835 the claim, designated as "Section 37, Township
18 West of Range 14, Northwestern District of Louisiana, containing 634 acres and a
fraction of an acre," had been ratified; and a formal conveyance, signed by Edwards and
McNeill, was made. It was not until May 27, 1836, however, that the organization known
as the Shreve Town Company was incorporated. Captain Henry M. Shreve, who had
cleared the Great Raft in the river, along with James B. Pickett, Thomas T. Williamson,
Sturgis Sprague, Bushrod Jenkins, and the commercial firm of Cane & Bennett, joined
Angus McNeill in ownership of the land, each to have a seventh part on a "share and
share alike" basis for $4166.66. Each was to select a site and build thereon "a comfort-
able dwelling house and other suitable buildings for a residence" in the new town. The
partners also were expected to contribute to "a suitable house for public entertainment, a
steam saw mill and such other improvements as may be deemed necessary to advance the
prosperity of the town."" Angus McNeill was elected president of the company, and the
town was quickly laid out around the main street of Texas with other streets named for
Texas heroes Travis, Crockett, and Fannin. One of the main streets bordering on what
became the courthouse square was named for McNeill.'8 On February 17, 1837, the
Shreve Town Company gave full power and authority to McNeill to convey and transfer
to all persons desiring to purchase any of the subdivision of their land. The town began to
grow. However, trouble soon developed among the partners. Sprague and C. A. Sewall
filed a protest, witnessed by George Nichols and Henry C. McNeill, complaining that
Angus had sold too many lots to John O. Sewall. Angus, for his part, complained that the
partners had not fulfilled the agreement to construct the improvements for the town. He
15 Gray, From Virginia to Texas, p. 93.
16 Gray, From Virginia to Texas, p. 93.
17 Deed Records of Caddo Parish, Louisiana, Book A, p. 402.
18 Lilla McLure and J. Ed Howe, History of Shreveport and Shreveport Builders (Shreveport,
Louisiana: 1937), p. 22.
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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/m1/6/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.