My interest in this letter is that I believe it holds the key to the identity of the children of John O’Neale (b. 1749). I think that the six unnamed children by the second marriage of John O’Neale are Margaret, Jane, Mary, Joseph, Ezra, and Colbert.

Edmunton, Barren County, Kentucky, 09 May 1859

Dear nephew I received your letter of March the 3 it give me much pleasure to hear from you once more and to learn where you are living for its bin a good many years since I heard from any of the relations I am still living in Edmunton Barren Co Ky my family consists of myself and one daughter about 48 years of age she has bin sickly a grate many years and neve would marry I must let you know about 5 years past my house got burnt down and nealy evory thing I had I have bought an old house weather boarded it and sealed it which makes it quite comfortable we are both tolerable well at present we both are afflicted with what is called asthma I have had of it of and on about 12 years I am better at this time than I have bin in this 12 years There have been a grate deal of sickoneys last fall and winter and many deaths I made 22 coffins beside what other made corn dried muffins are remarkable scarse Corn sells at 3 dollars per barrel wheat from 75 to 1 dollar per bushel flour 5 dollars per barrel money is verry scarse I feel thankful under all my tryals and difficulties I have plenty to live on I owe about 30 dollars toward my house yet when I git that paid I shall feal like a free man. You wanted to know something about our family I will give you the best information I can My father’s name was John he was born in St. Marys County Maryland the 9th day of Oct 1749 his father’s name was John and I think from Ireland my father came from Maryland to Culpepper County Virginia where he lived and died he had three brothers Barton Peter & Joseph Barton and Peter moved from Maryland to Bedford County Pensylvania Joseph moved to what was call green brier county in new Virginia

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my father had six sisters I have seen two of them but can’t tell any thing about them and from history you may see this same name they were once some of the leading men of Ireland this is as far as I can give my Mother’s name was Rachil Wood her foreparents was from Wales, England So you may see we are mixed up of Irish and Welch my Mother was born in St Marys County Maryland the 14th day of February 1752 and married to my Father 16th day of February 1781 my Mother died when I was a boy my father died before I was grown, my father married the second time had three sons & three daughters they all moved to the Ohio state the last account I had from them which is about 12 years past three of them were dead I will now come to my own Brothers and Sisters my oldest Brother’s name was Jonithan Born the 28th day of Sept 1782 then comes my self Born the 20th day of February 1784 nex comes my Brother Daniel Born the 6th day of March 1785, Then comes your Father John Born the 6th day of October 1786 then comes my dear Sister Susannah Born the 6th day of January 1788 my eldest Brother Youngest Brother & Sister are dead my Brother Daniel a few months past was still living in Virginia So you see from these dates how old we all are this is as good history as I can give and I believe to be corect. if you want to know of any particulars write to me, my parents were protestans in belief. if any of my fore parents were Catholic I don’t know it I am what is caled a Cumberland Presbyterian I belong to that Denomination. religion is rather cold here at this times we have a good deal of good preaching by Several Different Denominations but for several years speculation and politics run so high that religion the one thing so important has bin neglected to the ruing of many pore souls I fear. I have a shop and work some at the Cabinate busyness. I can make plenty to live on as yet

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we have a Steem Saw mill and two pares of Burs Stones to grind Wheat & Corn joining our little village we have 2 stores 2 blacksmith shops one saddle shop one dogery & two Doctors one good Meating house where we have regular preaching we have had abundance of rain this winter and spring farmers is rather backward in planting corn a grate many people are getting the Texis fever and are making preperations to move in the fall some of my relations I expect will go. I will (Illegible)let you know when Harvey lives, he lives in Bath Mason County, Ill on the Illinois River he is a doctor of medistion & a manager of a rail road runing through his county it seems he is rather a noted man So you may know now where to send a letter to him. when you get this letter I want you to answer it and let us try to keep up a correspondence with each other you must excuse my bad writing my middle finger has broke and is a little stiff to guide a pen or move.

Give my respects to your family with respect I remain yours till death

Bennet ONeale

Descendancy taken from the letter

1 John O'Neal  Ireland
  + Unknown wife
    2 John O'Neal
      + Rachel Wood (1st wife of John)
        3 Johnathan
        3 Bennet
        3 Daniel
        3 John
          + Unknown wife
            4 Unknown son (Recipient of letter)
        3 Sussanah
      + Unknown wife (2nd wife of John)
        3 Unknown son
        3 Unknown son
        3 Unknown son
        3 Unknown daughter
        3 Unknown daughter
        3 Unknown daughter
    2 Barton 
    2 Peter
    2 Joseph
    2 Unknown daughter
    2 Unknown daughter
    2 Unknown daughter
    2 Unknown daughter
    2 Unknown daughter
    2 Unknown daughter


Other information found in the letter

At the time of the letter
BennetLiving in Barren Co., KY
DanielLiving in Culpeper Co., VA
Birth Dates
Name Date Place of Birth
John O’Neal 09 Oct 1749 St. Mary’s Co., MD
Rachel Wood 14 Feb 1752 St. Mary’s Co., MD
Johnathan O’Neal 28 Sept 1782 St. Mary’s Co., MD
Bennet O’Neal 20 Feb 1784 St. Mary’s Co., MD
Daniel O’Neal 06 Mar 1785 St. Mary’s Co., MD
John O’Neal 06 Oct 1786 St. Mary’s Co., MD
Susannah O’Neal 06 Jan 1788 St. Mary’s Co., MD
John 1749St. Mary’s Co., MDCulpeper Co., VA
BartonSt. Mary’s Co., MDBedford Co., PA
PeterSt. Mary’s Co., MDBedford Co., PA
JosephSt. Mary’s Co., MDGreenbriar Co., VA
Six childrenCulpeper Co., VAOhio
John 1749 & Rachel16 Feb 1781
John 1749 & 2nd wifeAft. 1788

Bennet said his mother died when he was a boy. Bennet was born in 1784 and the last child of John and Rachel, Sussanah, was born in 1788. Bennet didn’t say when he was a teenager, he said when he was a boy, so I’m going to assume he could have been as old as 12 years old. That means that Rachel probably died sometime between 1788 and 1796.

Bennet said his father died before he was grown. What age is grown? I’d say grown is 21 years of age. So if his mother died first, then his father had to die sometime between 1788 and 1805. It appears that Betsey may have been the last of the six chilren. She was born in 1808, so maybe John could have died as late as 1807.

I suspect that Judith Suttle could have been John’s second wife. Judith was probably born about 1775. She would have been ready to marry about 1796. The first known child born to John and Judith would have been born in 1800 to 1805, depending on whether Joseph was born in 1800 or 1808. Colbert was born in 1805. But, let me throw a wrinkle in at this point, there was a Mary O’Neale living in Belpre, Washington County, Ohio, who (or is it whom) I believe may be a sibling of Joseph Colbert, and Betsey. Estimating from the date of her marriage she may have been born in the late 1790’s. So Joseph, Colbert, Betsey, and Mary (maybe) could have been born to Judith.

At this point, this is all pure speculation. I mention it only to show what I’m thinking and where I’m headed.

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