Notes for BENNET O'NEAL: Copy of a letter from Bennet O'Neal to nephew
Edmunton, Barren County, KentuckyMay 9, 1859
I received your letter of March the 3 it gives 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; Kentucky. my family consists of myself and one daughter about 18 years of age, she has bin sickly many years and never would marry. I must let you know about my last 5 years my house burnt down and nearly every thing I had, I have bought an old house weather boarded it and sealed it which makesit quite comfortable, we are both tolerable well at the present we both are afflicted with what is called asthma. I have had of it off and on about 12 years I am better at this time than I have bin in this 12 years. There have been a great deal of sickeneys last fall and winter and many deaths. I made 22 coffins beside what other made corn dried muffins are remarkable scarce. Corn sells at 3 dollars per barrel wheat from 75 to 1 dollar per bushel flour 5 dollars per barrel money is verry scarce. 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 get paid I shall feal like a free man. You wanted to know some things 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 Pennsylvania Joseph moved to what was call green brier Virginia.
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 the 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 Rachael Wood her foreparents is from Wales, England. so you may see we are mixed up of Irish and Welch, and 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 and 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, next 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 oldest Brother Youngest Brother & Sister are dead my Btother Daniel a few months past was still living in Virginia. So you see from these dates how old we are this is as good history as I can give you and I believe to be correct if you want to know of any particulars write to me. My parents were protestans in belief if any of my foreparents were Catholic I don't know it. I am what is called Cumberland Presbyterian I belong to that Denomination. religion is rather cold here at this time.......good deal of 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 ruining of many poor souls.
I have a shop and work some at the Cabinate busynys. I can make plenty to live on as yet we have a Steam Saw mill and two pares of Burs Stones to grind Wheat and Corn joining our little village we have 2 stores 2 blacksmith shops one saddle shop one daughery & 2 Doctors, one good Meating house where we have gathered to preaching and we have had abundent 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 let you know when. Harvey 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 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 bin 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