O'Neill Family History  - ONeill Genealogy Ulster Ireland  to Ohio
Henry O'Neill & Nancy Lee O'Neill Immigrants from Ulster Ireland


This site is a memorial to Henry O'Neill and his wife Nancy Lee O'Neill,
immigrants from Ulster Ireland.
O'Neill History: Henry & Nancy Lee O'Neill, immigrants from Ulster Ireland to the United States of America.
O'Neill Red Hand - O'Neill family History
This information was furnished by the Librarian in the public Library in Logan, OH.  The county seat of Hocking Co. taken from the history of Hocking County.
In the summer of 1810 Henry O'Neill and two of his sons, James and Thomas, came from Portage County, Ohio, to where Starr post office now is, and erected a small log cabin in the pea- vines on the south bank of the Raccoon. The father returned to Portage County late in the fall, and brought his family to their new home the following spring. Henry O'Neill was born in Ireland, May 26, 1753. He was a highly educated school-teacher, and came to America in .  In 1796 he removed to Portage County, Ohio. In 1808 he was appointed Justice of the Peace in that county by the Governor and, as before stated, he made the first settlement of Starr Township in 1810. He was Justice of the Peace many years in this township, and was the first Postmaster here. He married Nancy Lee, also a native of Ireland, and reared a large family. His wife died in 1831, at the age of eighty years. John Clapp emigrated with his family to Starr Township in 1816. He was a native of Dutchess County, N. Y. He was the father of thirteen children. James Lee came to Starr (now Brown) Township, Vinton County, in 1816.

In 1811 Joseph Starr wrote a personal letter to Henry O'Neill asking him to petition the Legislature to organize town 12, range 16, in Hocking County, and name it Starr. It seems that Mr. O'Neill complied with Mr. Starr's request, but the exact date of his petition it has been impossible to ascertain. However, as early as July, 1812, the township transacted business under its present name.

STARR POST OFFICE
was established as early as 1815, with Henry O'Neill as Post-
master. He was succeeded by John Wright. In 1846 Wright was
succeeded by Isaac Lewis, at whose death Lafayette Eggleston be-
came Postmaster.   The office was discontinued for about two
years during the war, and then re-established with Mr. Eggleston
as Postmaster. It is now kept in the railroad depot. The first
store was established at Starr in 1838, by Bennett & Stockton, of
Nelsonville.  A blacksmith shop was built here in 1848. There
is one church---the property of the Methodists.

HAYDENVILLE
This little village is in Green Township, but the railroad station
and post office are in Starr.

The First Marriage
The first marriage in Starr Township was James O'Neill to Ruth
Donaldson. The first birth was Henry O'Neill, son of John and
Abigail O'Neill.

The First School
The first school was taught by Hannah Clapp, on the O'Neill
homestead, section 25. At present, there are ten school districts
and school-houses in the township.   The school fund for 1882
amounted to $1,768.58.

The first brick house
in Hocking County was erected in 1825 by
Joseph Sudlow on the northwest quarter of section 19.
The old Woodard House was built late in the fall and winter of
1824. It was built for Ichabod Woodard, Sr., and still stands on
the old place, on the east half of section 15.

The First Mill
The first mill was a hand mill on a small stream which flows into
the Raccoon from the south at Starr post office, and was run by
water-power. It has since been known as Mill Run. In 1815
James O'Neill erected a saw-mill and constructed a dam on the
O'Neill farm. In later years it was rebuilt, but on the opposite
bank, and is still standing. In 1838 Christopher Wolf, Sr., built
a dam across Hocking River on section 11, and erected a saw-mill
there the same fall. In 1848 he sold to James O. Austin, who ran
it until his death in 1852. It afterward became the property of
Ohio Patton, who has added a set of corn burrs.

Wolfs Lock Mill was built by George W. Benedict in 1855, at
the lock on the Hocking Canal, known as Wolf's Lock. In 1859
it was purchased by Wilford Stiers, who sold a half interest .to
George Carter in the fall of the same year, and in 1861 Mr. Stiers
sold the rest of his interest. After passing through various hands
it finally went down several years ago.

Henry O'Neill was a very sociable man and family tradition gives many interesting stories.  While in those days there was little need for Inns, yet the latch string was always out at the O'Neill Cabin.   In Hocking County Indians were often visitors and overnight guests.  His granddaughter often told of Indians slipping into the living room of the cabin sleeping on the floor before the fire and quietly slipping out by morning before the family was about.  Their home was on the trail leading North.  
The Indians were always ready for their share of fire water, but Henry O'Neill would never allow them more than the portion allotted and if they used up their allotment too soon, they were never given more.  
Family tradition also tells of an occasion when the men folks were away for overnight, unfriendly Indians came prowling about and in as much as wooden windows ere closed and the barb doors shut, went up on the roof. When Nancy Lee O'Neill heard the prowlers, probably from a strange tribe, she quickly tore open a pillow and threw the feathers on the fire.  It didn't take long for the marauders to make a quick get a way.
The old iron kettle on legs owned by Henry O'Neill is still existence (1938) and owned by George O'Neill as a member several generations down.  Tradition is that the Indians asked to borrow the kettle for a short time but did not divulge the use they meant to make of it.  When they offered to share their meal of cooked dog meat with the family of Henry O'Neill, it took some tact and considerable persuasion to convince them that the O'Neill's particularly did not relish dog meat.   Needless to say that the kettle was never restored to the original family use.  The present home of George O'Neill (1938) is not far from the site of the original log cabin erected by Henry O'Neill.  Henry O'Neill was a Mason before he came to America and his tombstone in the O'Neill cemetery bears the square and compass of the Masonic Order.
Portage County Records (Page 317) County records of county officers have been kept since 1808.  Ravenna laid out by Benjamin Tappan in 1909 and the plat acknowledged by him April 22, 1808 before Henry O'Neill, Justice of the Peace of Franklin Township , then Trumbull, now Portage County (Page 317).
Page 325 in the election of 1808, the voters included among others:
John Chapman
Deerfield
Nathan Chapman
Rootstown
Beeman Chapman
Rootstown
Ephraim Chapman
Hudson
Joel Gaylord
Rootstown
Many of the pioneer teachers were Irish who fled from English oppression prior to the struggle for Irish independence in 1798.
Portage County Deed records began about 1807.  October 17, 1807 Henry O'Neill purchased from Ephraim Root about 70 acres from Erastus Carter (see vol. 1 P. 97) June 16, 1810 James O'Neill deeded to his father, Henry O'Neill his 70 acres (vol 1 P 184).  June 4 1810 Henry O'Neill deeded to Elijah Wadsworth 170 acres (vol 1 P. 185).
The first purchase of land in Hocking County was made September  1, 1810 recorded in book 2 for 500 acres of land from Elijah and Rhoda Wadsworth in Canfield, Trumbull County Ohio.  The deed states to Henry O'Neill of Rootstown.  From the above records in Portage County and Hocking County it would appear that Henry O'Neill and Elijah Wadsworth must have made a "deal" in land.  
Hocking County records show that Henry O'Neill deeded to several of his children, probably as they married and settled in homes of their own.  See Book 3 in 1818 deeds to John O'Neill 60 acres; to Jane Hathaway 60 acres; to James O'Neill 80 acres; to Charles O'Neill 60 acres; All property being in the 16th range.  
At one time Henry O'Neill was one of the largest land  owners in Southern Ohio.  He owned land in Hocking, Washington and Vinton Counties.
From the Hocking County Valley of Ohio 1883, Volume 2 Chapter 38 Pages1036-1044, copy in D.A.R. Library in Washington also in Akron Public Library.
Among the first to hold religious services was a Reverend Camp of the Methodist Episcopal Denomination; he preached in the homes of Henry O'Neill, John Sudlow and John Clapp.  IN 1833 there were the 10 cemeteries among them the O'Neill homestead sec. 25.  Hannah Clapp was the daughter of John Clapp and became the wife of Joseph Sudlow.  The first mill was a hand mill at Starr and was run by water power, being small stream which flows into the Racoon from the south at Starr.  In 1815 James O'Neill erected a saw mill and built a dam on the O'Neill farm.  Later it was built on the opposite bank.
The first election was held October 9, 1821.  Prior to 1821 the offices were filled by appointment.  
Results:
Justice of the Peace:
Jack Byerly
Trustees
Sylvanus Finney and Peter Kreider
Clerk
Francis Bartlett
Treasurer
Henry O'Neill
Constables
F. Buckinghamand and Z. Hunt
Thomas O'Neill, deceased, late of Starr Township, was born June 10, 1792, in Pennsylvania, just after his parents and family
landed from Ireland.  His father, Henry O'Neill, being the first settler of Starr Township is mentioned at greater length in the general history of this township.  Our subject accompanied his father and elder brothers to this township in 1810, and assisted in clearing land and sowing a crop of wheat preparatory to removing the rest of the family here the following spring. Mr. O'Neill was a hard worker, and had many difficulties to encounter. He had to go to Chauncey to get his blacksmithing done and to get his corn in the ground. He was married in 1817 to Ann Lee, a daughter of James Lee.  They had nine children, only six living---Rosanna, Elizabeth (Lincoln), George, Lafayette, Lovina and Joseph.
The deceased were---Martha, Alvin and Thomas. Rosanna and George are not married, and reside on the old homestead, of which there is 220 acres. George was born June 19, 1822. Rosanna is the oldest of the family, and is a subscriber for this work. Elizabeth married Albert Lincoln, and has seven children---Elizabeth, Martha, Benjamin, Alvin, George, Thomas, and Charles. Lafayette married Patty Eggleston, and has two children---Benjamin and Asahel. Lovina married Lafayette Eggleston, and had four children---Martha (deceased), Lovina, Lafayette and Ettie. Joseph married Mahala Keeton and has one child---Ettie. Alvin (deceased) married Desire Morse and had two children---Lovina and Thomas. Thomas (deceased) married Mary Piney and had two children---George W. and Rosanna. Mr. O'Neill died Oct. 30, 1868, respected by all who knew him.

 From the HISTORY OF PORTAGE COUNTY -
Ravenna was laid out by Benjamin Tappan early in 1808, and the plat acknowledged by him April 22 of that year before Henry O'Neill, a Justice of the Peace of Franklin Township, Trumbull Co. (now in Portage), Ohio, which township then embraced a large scope of territory in Portage County, subsequently divided into several townships. The State Commissioners previously mentioned soon afterward selected Ravenna as the seat of justice for Portage County, and reported the result of their labors to the Court of Common Pleas of said county at its first session the following August. The original town plat contained 192 lots, four of which were donated by Judge Tappan for public uses, viz.: Nos. 22 and 78 for school sites, and Nos. 52 and 108 for churches. He also gave a piece of ground at the southwest corner of the town plat for a grave-yard, for which purpose it was used several years. On the 25th of April, 1809, the Commissioners of Portage County purchased of Judge Benjamin Tappan, as the agent of his father, Benjamin Tappan, of Northampton, Mass., Lots Nos. 55, 56 and 57. whereon the Court House and Jail now stand, for the sum of $300, the acknowledgment of the deed for said lots being made by Judge Tappan on the same date before Joseph Harris, a Justice of the Peace of Portage County. The next things necessary were a Court House and Jail.

On page 545 of Portage County History Rootstown, Township is as follows.  In 1802 Henry O'Neill and Samuel McCoy settled on Lot 3.  Both were natives of Ireland and had lived in PA for a while.  Henry O'Neill had a wife and several children, mostly grown, McCoy had only a wife.  McCoy later built himself a cabin and moved to lot 28.
Henry O'Neill was well educated and in 1806 was elected Justice of the Peace in Franklin Township which at the time was the whole south half of the county. O'Neill erected the first distillery a small affair but enough to supply his and his neighbors wants.  
He remained a justice 4 or 5 years but his magisterial career was cut short just before he left in 1811.  He had offended some person by one of his decisions when that person asked the Irishman to see his naturalization papers, being unable to do so, he was informed "he was liable for prosecution for illegally exercising the duties of a magistrate without being a citizen and if he did not immediately "git up and dust" he would be arrested.  He left and the Township lost one of its best residents.  
The location of their first home is near what is known as McCoy Spring just west of Rootstown Center No owned by Dundon (1937)

 O'Neill Cemetery now a township cemetery in Starr Township in July 1969 Hocking County

To arrive at this cemetery from Logan OH, follow Routes 33, south east about 1/2 mile turn right on Rt. 328 there will be an arrow pointing to Starr Follow 328 to Rt. 56 turn right on 56 about 200 ft. there is an old church on the right hand side of the road, opposite a road turning left up a steep hill to the cemetery (on the original O'Neill farm in possession of the family since 1810)