Friday, November 6, 2009

The Siblings of Hector McNeill

In my last post, I wrote about my 4th great-grandfather, Hector McNeill. After extensive examination of the 1850 to 1880 Yancey County, North Carolina censuses, I have been able to determine the siblings of Hector McNeill. I have hopes this analysis will help me work towards determining Hector's parents.


1850 - Hector, age 33, is living in Yancey Co. with his children and John age 45. Next door is Nancy Cox age 32 married to David with several children in the home as well as a Margaret McNeal age 30. All indicate they were born in North Carolina.

1860 - Hector, age 45, is living in Yancey Co. with his children John, Sarah J., and James, as well as John age 60. Another son and my ancestor, Arch McNeal is living next door with wife Jane and son Robert N. Next door to Arch is a widowed Nancy Cox with nine children, seven of which were listed in the 1850 census, Margaret McNeal age 35 and Elizabeth McNeal age 11. This Elizabeth McNeal appears to be the youngest child of Hector and the late wife Betty. Again, it appears all of these individuals were born in North Carolina.

1870 - Hector, age 55, is living in Crabtree Township, Yancey Co. with his second wife Martha Gouge and his daughter Jane, which I think may be Sarah Jane. He is again living next door to Nancy Cox age 55, Margaret age 52, eight children of Nancy's, and Elizabeth McNeill age 21. Part of the problem in this census year is that all members of the Nancy Cox household are listed under the surname Cox. However, it appears evident based upon the ages of Margaret and Elizabeth that they are both the same people as found in 1850 and 1860. Again in this census year all are indicated to have been born in North Carolina.

1880 - This census year focuses on four households with the head of household as follows: Harmon Cox, John Cox, Hector McNeal, and Edmond Cox. It should also be noted that John McNeill does not appear in any of these households and I was unable to locate him in the 1880 census.

First, Harmon Cox is listed in 1850 as a child of David and Nancy McNeill Cox and in Nancy's household in 1860. In 1870, he is married and living adjacent to Hector McNeill. In 1880, Harmon is married with four children. His birthplace is listed as North Carolina, his father born in North Carolina and his mother (the late Nancy McNeill Cox) born in what I think says South Carolina.

Second, John Cox is listed as a child in the household of David and Nancy McNeill Cox in 1850, and in Nancy's household in 1860 and 1870. In 1880, John is age 36 and the head of household. Listed in his household is Margaret McNeal age 66 listed as his aunt. Five of his siblings are listed as such and are the same individuals listed in prior census years living with their mother Nancy. Eliza McNeal, age 26, is listed as a cousin to the head of household, John. John is also listed as born in North Carolina. He contradicts his brother Harmon and says that his mother Nancy was born in North Carolina. Margaret McNeal is listed as born in North Carolina, as well as both her parents. However, because she is just one of the many listed in the household I don't hold much credence to this being completely accurate. The census taker may have just been filling in the ditto marks down the column.

Third, Hector McNeal is listed as age 72 with his second wife Martha, age 50. Hector lists his birth place as North Carolina, his father birth place as Scotland and there is a big smudge over the mother's birth place, but it appears the beginning letters may be Sc which would indicate Scotland. Also, Martha is listed below Hector and rather than ditto marks for her mother's birth place, NC has been written in. That to me indicates that something other than NC was listed as Hector's mother's birth place.

Lastly, Edmond Cox is listed as age 45 with a wife Martha. In 1850, Edmond was listed as a child in the David and Nancy Cox household. He is listed as a child in the 1860 and 1870 households of Nancy Cox. Edmond lists his birth place as North Carolina as well as for his parents, which again contradicts his brother Harmon's listing of South Carolina.

The final piece of evidence for 1880 is the Mortality Schedule from the U.S. Census for Crabtree, Yancey Co, North Carolina. Nancy Cox, age 68, is listed as having died in July 1879 of dropsy. She is listed as born in North Carolina, her father in Scotland, and her mother in North Carolina.

Based upon the above analysis, I have determined the following McNeill siblings and their children:

John McNeill born 1799-1805 in North Carolina. Either moved away or died by 1870. While I have found no concrete evidence listing him as a sibling to Hector, his living in Hector's household for both the 1850 and 1860 census years leads me to believe they are brothers.

Nancy McNeill born 1815-1818 in North Carolina or possibly in South Carolina, married to David Cox. It is possible that Nancy's father was born in Scotland.

Nancy and David had the following children:
Edmond born abt 1835
Mary born abt 1837
Harmon or Harmond born abt 1839
Sarah A born abt 1841
John born abt 1843
Margaret born abt 1844
Olive or Ollie born abt 1847
Hannah born abt 1850
Isaac born abt 1853

Hector McNeill born between 1808-1817 likely in North Carolina. He died some time after 1880. Both his parents may have been born in Scotland. See this post for information on Hector's children.

Margaret McNeill born between 1814-1825 likely in North Carolina.

Because Margaret is listed as an aunt to Nancy's son John Cox in the 1880 census, I reasonably believe Margaret and Nancy are siblings. Additionally because Elizabeth McNeill is listed as a cousin to John Cox in the 1880 census and she is a known child of Hector, I feel comfortable linking Nancy, Margaret and Hector as siblings.

If you have any connections or further information on the McNeill or Cox families, I would love to hear from you. Please use the contact button on the left side of the blog.

Sources are available upon request.


  1. Hi Tracy!
    This blog has proved really helpful in following my own family line. I am descended from Archibald's second wife, Sarah Ann Sparks. :) So in a weird way, we're related!

  2. Hannah,
    Please email me at tracysroots at gmail dot com. I couldn't find a way to contact you through your profile. I would love to share information - we are most definitely related!

    Thanks, Tracy

  3. Hi Tracy:
    I, too, am a descendant of Sarah Ann Sparks and have found a long-lost relative in you! Your information about Archie McNeill is just absolutely fascinating and fills in many gaps that I had. You can contact me through my private email at Great to learn of another relative!
    Richard Sullins