O'Neill, John, Neillsville, Clark Co., Wisconsin

Bio: O'Neill, John (1845 - 1862) aka John Paxton
Contact: Stan

----Source: Clark Co., WI History Buff Researchers, Military Records, Local News, Wisconsin State Historical Society

Surnames: Dickerson , Douglas, O'Neill, Paxton


John O'Neill

Neillsville, Clark Co., Wisconsin


John O'Neill was the adopted son of James O'Neill (founder of Neillsville, Wisconsin).  His father had built the first building in the village which became Neillsville when he was about 34 yrs. old .  John's sister, Isabella was born in 1849 and was the first white child  to take a first breath in that wilderness.  They made their home in a rough log cabin which stood where the Neillsville flour mills were later erected.  James O'Neill married Jane Douglas, a sister of the Hon. Mark Douglas (b. 19 Sep 1829), a Capitalist in Melrose, Jackson County, and of Mrs. Isabella Mason, of Black River Falls 6 Mar. 1846.  Since John was born 31 Mar. 1845 in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, James O'Neill was not his biological father and we don't know for certain if Jane Douglas was his birth mother.  He did come to America with her and other family members.  It is likely that he was named for his uncle, Jane's older brother, John, who had died just a week after his birth, 17 Oct 1808.  He was listed on the 1860 Federal Census, Wisconsin Clark Pine Valley with the James and Jane O'Neill  family as John Paxton.


At the age of sixteen, John felt man enough to join the Union Army in Neillsville, Clark Co., Wisconsin.  When 14th Wisconsin Infantry was organized at Camp Wood in Fond Du Lac, he was mustered in with the other volunteers, January 30, 1862, as a private with Company "I".  They left Wisconsin March 8, by way of Chicago and arrived at St. Louis on the 10th of March, and went into quarters at Benton Barracks.  They  then traveled to Savannah, Tennessee, March 23-28 and moved through Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana.


The 14th Wisconsin Infantry fought at Shiloh.

The Battle of Shiloh was one of the bloodiest in U.S. history. Out of 62,000 soldiers engaged, nearly 20,000 were killed or wounded.

During spring 1862, Union forces had moved far up the Tennessee River in an attempt to invade the South. On April 6, as they camped on the west bank at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, Confederate forces launched a surprise attack. Fierce fighting continued throughout the day. By nightfall, Confederates held the advantage. Union reinforcements arrived overnight, and on the second day, they drove the Confederates from the field. Both sides claimed victory, but the Confederates retreated all the way to Corinth, Mississippi, 22 miles south. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant wrote afterward that the main part of the battlefield was "so covered with dead that it would have been possible to walk across the clearing, in any direction, stepping on dead bodies, without a foot touching the ground."


Our Soldier died of disease, Apr. 15, 1862 in Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky, just two weeks after his seventeenth birthday.  He had given all he could to the war effort in his adopted country.  His body was returned to Wisconsin and buried in the Neillsville City Cemetery where it can be raised in glory at the return of the Savior of all mankind and wars will no longer be fought.


Wisconsin Casualties

Unfortunately, many of the Wisconsin men who fought against the South did not return. More than 12,000 died: 3,802 were killed in action or died of wounds and 8,499 died from disease, exposure, and other causes. Wisconsin soldiers also spent time in many of the more infamous Southern military prisons, including Libby in Richmond, Virginia, and Andersonville in Sumter County, Georgia. Wisconsin State Historical Society




Ship Manafest--National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1820 - 1902; National Archives Microfilm Publication: M259; Roll #: 25.

Thomas Douglas 1 Jun 1846 New Orleans, Louisiana 59 abt 1787 Male Liverpool, England Raritan
Jame Douglas 1 Jun 1846 New Orleans, Louisiana 33 abt 1813 Female Liverpool, England Raritan
Isabella Douglas 1 Jun 1846 New Orleans, Louisiana 25 abt 1821 Female Liverpool, England Raritan
David Douglas 1 Jun 1846 New Orleans, Louisiana 20 abt 1826 Male Liverpool, England Raritan
Mark Douglas 1 Jun 1846 New Orleans, Louisiana 17 abt 1829 Male Liverpool, England Raritan
John 1 Jun 1846 New Orleans, Louisiana Male Liverpool, England Raritan


***Over 10 million immigrants came from northern Europe, the British Isles, and Scandinavia between 1820 and 1880. There was a large increase in the number of immigrants from Germany and Ireland beginning in the 1840s and 1850s. Some settled in large eastern and Midwestern cities, but most migrated to the Midwest and West.





Dumfries, Scotland

Dumfries is a market town and former royal burgh within the Dumfries and Galloway council area of Scotland, United Kingdom. It is located near the mouth of the River Nith into the Solway Firth. Dumfries is the traditional county town of the historic county of Dumfriesshire. Dumfries is nicknamed Queen of the South. People from Dumfries are known colloquially as Doonhamers.







Scotland Births and Baptisms

Name Jane Douglas
Gender Female
Birth Date 16 Apr 1815
Father's Name James Douglas
Mother's Name Anne Douglas


1850 Federal Census, Crawford, Black River, Wisconsin

James O'Neil 1850 Male 40 White 1810 New York
Jane O'Neil 1850 Female 35 White 1815 Scotland
John O'Neil 1850 Male 5 White 1845 Scotland
Isabella O'Neil 1850 Female 1 White 1849 Wisconsin



1860 Federal Census, Wisconsin Clark Pine Valley

James O Neill Male 50 White 1810 New York 1
Jane O Neill Female 46 White 1814 Scotland 1
Isabella J O Neill Female 11 White 1849 Wisconsin 1
Thomas O Neill Male 9 White 1851 Wisconsin 1
Maria O Neill Female 6 White 1854 Wisconsin 1
Saml M Dickerson Male 25 White 1835 Pennsylvania 1
John Paxton Male 15 White 1845 Scotland 1
D C Mc Donald Male 25 White 1835 Canada 1



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