TheBennet O'Neal Letter
1859, Edmunton, Barren County, Kentucky

The Bennet O'Neale letter not only provides a glimpse into the life of Bennet O'Neale, it also shows some od the daily rigors to which our ancestors were exposed living in the 1850's. Since the 3rd, 4th and 5th generations of our genealogical past are based primarily on this letter, we felt it important to gain a copy of same and post it for all to see. Below is a transcript of the letter and the photographic images of the actual letter itself. This was given to us by Clifford O'Neal at the 2002 Annual Peter O'Neal Reunion held at The Old Frame Church, near Everett, Pennsylvania.


From left to right above are pages 1, 2 and 3 of the Bennet Letter.
Click on the image to see a full sized view of each page.
They were scanned at high resolution and are quite large, so will take some time to load.



Below is a transcription of the letter.

Edmunton, Barren County, Kentucky       May 9, 1859

Dear nephew   I received your letter of March the 3 it give
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 Ky   my family consists of myself and one daughter about 48
years of age   she has bin sickly a grate many years and neve would marry
I must let you know about 5 years past my house got burnt down
and nealy evory thing I had   I have bought an old house weather boarded
it and sealed it which makes it quite comfortable   we are both tolerable
well at present   we both are afflicted with what is called asthma
I have had of it of and on about 12 years   I am better at this time than I have
bin in this 12 years   There have been a grate deal of sickoneys last fall
and winter and many deaths   I made 22 coffins beside what other made
corn dried muffins are remarkable scarse   Corn sells at 3 dollars per
barrel  wheat from 75 to 1 dollar per bushel  flour 5 dollars per barrel
money is verry scarse   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 git that paid I shall feal like a free man. You wanted to know
something 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 Pensylvania
Joseph moved to what was call green brier county in new Virginia

Page 2

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 this 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 Rachil Wood her foreparents was from Wales, England
So you may see we are mixed up of Irish and Welch   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 &
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  nex 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 eldest Brother Youngest Brother & Sister are dead my Brother
Daniel a few months past was still living in Virginia  So you see
from these dates how old we all are  this is as good history as I can give
and I believe to be corect.  if you want to know of any  particulars
write to me,  my parents were protestans in belief. if any of my fore
parents were Catholic I don't know it  I am what is caled
a Cumberland Presbyterian I belong to that Denomination.
religion is rather cold here at this times we have a good deal of
good 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 ruing of many pore souls
I fear.   I have a shop and work some at the Cabinate
busyness. I can make plenty to live on as yet

Page 3

we have a Steem Saw mill and two pares of Burs Stones  to
grind Wheat & Corn joining our little village we have 2 stores
2 blacksmith shops one saddle shop one dogery & two Doctors
one good Meating house where we have regular preaching
we have had abundance 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 (Illegible)let you know when
Harvey lives, he 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 now 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
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

Bennet ONeale



For more information on Bennet click HERE to go to his Biography Page