The above portrait is of Hosea McNeill (1785-1859) and Isabella Graves McNeill (1788-1861). The photograph is by Jim Muse, who retains all rights.
Born in Caswell County the part that later became Person County in 1785, Hosea McNeill was son of John McNeill merchant of Leasburg and Annis Lea McNeill. His grandfathers were Thomas McNeill and Capt. William Lea of South Hyco, both living in the area that became Person County. John McNeill died before March 1792 when Hosea was only 7 years old. His mother remarried James Cochran on January 14, 1793 and Cochran served as guardian to the 6 children of his wife namely Hosea, William, John Hubbard, George, Frances, and Sarah McNeill.
Hosea found his bride in Caswell County for on March 16, 1807 he married Isabella Graves the daughter of the Rev. Barzillai Graves, Baptist minister of Country Line Church and founder of the Bush Arbor congregation. Hosea and Isabella made their home in southern Caswell County between the area of Kerr's Chapel Road and Cherry Grove. They attended the Trinity Baptist Church. However they and their children became charter members of the Sycamore Church of the Missionary faith and Hosea was one of the organizing trustees. The Sycamore church name was changed to Kerr's Chapel in 1845.
A pious and religious person, their daughter wrote in 1829 from Tennessee she often thought of her father reading his Bible and singing hymns. Hosea often served on county commissions to evaluate and inventory estates, allot dowers, and a neighbor even wrote into her will she wished Hosea McNeill to take her son and make an honorable man of him.
The will of Hosea probated 1857 names seven daughters. His one son probably named Josiah died before adulthood. The daughters were: Ursula Graves McNeill married James S. Norfleet on February 11, 1826 and by 1829 they were in Henry County, Tennessee and after his death she remarried a Mr. McCall; Frances A. McNeill married September 29, 1835 James Kerr and 2nd marriage was to James L. Graves on Nov. 7, 1849; Margaret McNeill married Leonidas Moore on 21 October 1844; Mary McNeill married William J. Moore on December 21, 1840; Susan (or Emma) married Stephen E. Williams on 26 February 1850; Melissa V. McNeill married on September 25, 1851 to Marcus Aurelius Turner; and Julia A. McNeill was the second wife of Capt. James Poteat and they married November 17, 1855.
Hosea and Isabella McNeill are buried at Kerr's Chapel Church cemetery, a lovely location facing Stony Creek Mountain. Hosea died August 8, 1859 and she died December 25, 1861.
Sources: Tombstone records; marriage bonds of Caswell Co.; abstracts of Caswell Co. Minutes by Kendall; probate records of Person Co. and Person County Compilations by Kendall.
The foregoing is from The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 380 (Article #485, "Hosea McNeill" by Mary Frances Kerr Donaldson).
Will of Hosea McNeill
October Term 1857
I, Hosea McNeill of the County of Caswell & State of North Carolina, being of sound disposing mind and memory do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner & form following to wit:
In the first place I direct that all my just debts be paid and I do hereby authorize and empower my Executrix hereinafter to be appointed to sell such portion of my estate real or personal as she may deem proper to enable her to do so.
Item 2nd. I give and bequeath to my daughter Ursula G. McCall the property heretofore advanced to her of the value of Sixteen Hundred Dollars, with all the increase thereof.
Item 3rd. I give and bequeath to my daughter Frances A. Graves the property heretofore advanced to her of the value of Sixteen Hundred and fifty Dollars, with all the increase thereof.
Item 4th. I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary E. Moore the property heretofore advanced to her of the value of Thirteen Hundred and fifty Dollars, with all the increase thereof free and independent of the control of her husband, no right or title to said property to vest in him and I do hereby constitute and appoint William G. Moore, Trustee in special trust and confidence nevertheless to keep and manage said property for the sole use and benefit of the said Mary E. Moore and her heirs.
Item 5th. I give and bequeath to my daughter Margaret I. Moore the property heretofore advanced to her of the value of Two Thousand Dollars, with all the increase thereof free and independent of the control of her husband, no right or title to vest in him of said property and I do hereby constitute and appoint Leonidas B. Moore, Trustee in special trust & confidence nevertheless to keep & manage said property for the sole use and benefit of the said Margaret I. Moore and her heirs.
Item 6th. I give and bequeath to my daughter Susan E. Williams the property heretofore advanced to her of the value of Five Thousand Dollars, with all the increase thereof free and independent of the control of her husband, no right or title to vest in him of said property and I do hereby constitute and appoint Stephen E. Williams, Trustee in special trust and confidence nevertheless to keep and manage said property for the sole use and benefit of the said Susan E. Williams and her heirs.
Item 7th. I give and bequeath to my daughter Malissa V. Turner the property heretofore advanced to her of the value of Fifteen hundred & twenty five dollars, with all the increase thereof free and independent of the control of her husband no right or title to said property to vest in him and I do hereby constitute and appoint Marcus A. Turner Trustee in special trust and confidence nevertheless to keep and manage said property for the sole use and benefit of the said Melissa V. Turner and her heirs.
Item 8th. I give and bequeath to my daughter Julia A. McNeill the property heretofore advanced to her of the value of Fourteen Hundred & Eighty Dollars, with all the increase thereof as follows, one negro man Zilman, one negro girl, Elizer, one piano forte, one bed & furniture.
Item 9th. I devise and bequeath to my beloved wife Ibby all the balance of my estate real or personal for and during her natural life subject to the restriction and limitations hereinafter set forth and I desire that my wife shall keep said property together and manage it for the use and benefit support and maintenance of herself and such of my children as may then be remaining with her and she is to be permitted to use and consume such of the perishable property as in her judgment is necessary and proper to enable herself to live in the style that we have been accustomed to through life and she is not to be accountable therefore.
Item 10th. After the death of my wife, I desire and direct that all my estate then remaining be equally divided among all my children (both real & personal estate) and in said final division of my estate reference is she had to the value of the advancement heretofore made, and my said children are to account for the property heretofore advanced according to its value herein set forth and are not to be charged with increase thereof.
Item 11th. I desire and direct that at said final distribution of my estate that my grand children of the body of my daughter Ursula G. McCall stand in the place of their mother, and take such portion of my estate as their mother would have been entitled to, their mother taking only the portion heretofore advanced to her.
Item 12th. I desire and direct that at said final distribution of my estate that my daughter, Frances A. Graves, take only a life time interest in the portion she will then be entitled to and at her death it then be equally divided between such child or children as she may then have living.
Item 13th. . I desire and direct that in said final distribution of my estate that the portions my daughters, Mary E. Moore, Margaret I. Moore, Susan E. Williams and Malissa V. Turner may them be entitled to, shall be under the same restriction as the property heretofore advanced to them and shall to into the hands of the aforementioned Trustee for the separate use and benefit of them and their heirs.
Item 14th. . I desire and direct that at said final distribution of my estate should any of my children be dead leaving a child or children, that such child or children represent their deceased parent and take such portion as said parent would have taken had she been living.
Item 15th. . I desire and direct that at said final distribution of my estate that my faithful servants Carolina and his wife Mary be allowed to choose their owner, said person so selected to take them at their valuation.
Lastly: I appoint my beloved wife Ibby McNeill, Executrix of this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all others heretofore made.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name, this the third day of September A. D. 1855.
Signed, published and declared by the said Hosea McNeil as his last Will and Testament in the presence of us, who have subscribed our names in the presence of each other.
J. G. Pennis Jurat
North Carolina Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions 1857
A paper writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Hosea McNeill deceased was offered for probate and duly proved in common and ordered to be recorded. Whereupon on motion Ibby McNeill the Executrix therein nominated was allowed to qualify & take the oath presented by law and letters Testamentary issued to her according to law.
John S. Graves cc
Source: Hosea McNeill Will
Caswell County, North Carolina
Deed Book W
Joseph Pennix and his wife Elizabeth to Hosea McNeill all of Caswell County, for $138, 69 acres on Tom's Creek, being lot #3 of lands of John Kerr deceased. 8 October 1825. Witness: John Chandler. Elizabeth Pennix acknowledged sale of land.
Source: Caswell County North Carolina Deed Books 1817-1840 Abstracts, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1992) at 107.