Malcom McNeill

Date of Birth

Feb. 18, 1796

Date of Death

Feb. 21, 1875

Letters Authored


Letters Received


Malcom McNeill was born 227 years ago.
148 years ago, Malcom McNeill passed away at the age of 79.


Malcom McNeill was a wealthy plantation owner, investing in land in Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Illinois. With little research, one can find bills of sale of slaves bought and sold by Malcom. The obvious significance of this letter is that is part of our slave heritage, but few lines are as illuminating into the slaveowner-slave relationship as when Malcom writes, “I see from the papers among the deaths that have taken place in Jackson of yellow fever, a boy, or negro man of Mrs. Boddie named — poor woman.” The letter also allows provides a window into the fear that epidemics like smallpox, cholera, and yellow fever brought to populations before modern medicine.

The following biographical information was taken from “Meacham’s History of Christian County Kentucky,” by Charles M. Meacham, 1930.

“The first of the McNeil family, in America, was Henry McNeil, born in Argyllshire, Scotland, March 29, 1755; came to Virginia in 1771; moved to North Carolina, and in 1814 came to Christian County, and died near Hopkinsville November 3, 1820. He married, in Petersburg, Va., Dorothy Pryor, born in Virginia, March 23, 1775; died in Christian County, March 17, 1824, daughter of John Pryor.

Henry Mc Neil was a son of Capt. Angus and Catherine (Cameron) McNeil, who was a brother of Donald McNeil, tenth Laird of the McNeils, of Colonsay, Scotland….He resided in Person County, N. C., until 1817, when he drove in a buggy (said to be the first one owned by any one in North Carolina, to Christian County. His ten children were all born in Person County, North Carolina. They were: Alexander, Angus, Margaret, m. Burke; Henrietta, m. Joshua Grant; John Pryor, Catherine, Hector, Pryor, Eliza and Malcolm…Malcolm McNeil came to Christian County with his father in 1817, and began accumulating property at an early age. He invested largely in lands in Kentucky and Mississippi, and in 1842 bought property in Chicago. He was a Whig before the war, sympathized with the South, and later became a Democrat.”

Most of the following was taken from copies of the family history written into the McNeill Bible, or from a publication out of print, “Bodie and Allied Families,” or a transcription of a letter Malcom writes to his Father for permission to marry a Mary Branch, kindly placed on Ancestry by a member (thank you), or the source is otherwise noted.

Malcom McNeill marriages:

Mary Branch leaving no children. (date unknown)

Anna Branch upon the death of her sister Mary: marriage 29 Jul 1817.
John Pryor Branch: b. 1817; died 13 Aug 1819.

Martha Rivers: b. 18 Feb 1800; m. 12 Oct 1820; d. 5 Aug 1827
Thomas Henry McNeill; born 1 Aug 1821; married Rebecca Tuck 26 Oct 1842; died 29 Nov 1866.
Elizabeth Rivers Mc Neill; born 7 Oct 1825; married John P. Caruthers July 21 Jul 1846; died 1 Apr 1849.
Martha Rivers McNeill; born 12 Jan 1827; married William (Willie) Perry Bodie 11 Dec 1848; 29 Jul 1887.

Elizabeth D. Lynch*: b. 16 Aug 1804; m. 26 November 1829; d. 18 Dec 1837
Malcom McNeil: b. 20 January 1833

Catherine Bell Boddie: b. 2 Aug 1805; m. 4 May 1846; d. 8 Sept 1876

*Madison County, Tennessee: Historical Sketches of the County and its People; Secrist, M.

The miniature picture in a frame of a woman below is that of Malcom's third wife, Martha Rivers McNeill.