The O'Neall's in the American Revolution

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This page is dedicated to all participants in the War of Revolution, both American and British, who are surnamed O'Neall, O'Neil, Neal, O'Neale or any variation of the name O'Neill.

O'Neall's in the War of Revolution

When Hugh O'Neill/O'Neall came to America from Ireland in 1730, he had no way of knowing that six of his seven sons would one day participate in the War of Revolution, and that brother would be pitted against brother, in the passion of war. That is exactly what occured. Here is the story of the six O'Neall brothers in the American Revolution:

The Revolutionary Patriots

James and George O'Neall had remained in Virginia, when most of the rest of the family had moved to South Carolina. James and George signed on to join the War of Revolution, fighting for the American cause for freedom from British rule. James O'Neall was in command of the unit, from George Washington's neighborhood, and rose to the rank of Captain, serving the duration of the War.

One of the many battles the O'Neall's were involved in is particularly memorable and has been recorded for posterity, and for us to ponder. Washington was leading his colonial army at full retreat following Brandywine, the British attempting to cut off their columns. Captain James O'Neall's unit was called "The Forlorn Hope" a popular unit name, James' unit put up a block at the pass, which forced the Brits to circle round and ford the river, in order to have another go at the colonials. If Captain James O'Neall's unit had failed to reach the pass before the English cavalry did so, all would be lost, the troops in chaos.

They must of tried very hard to reach that pass, their youth and prowress, and Virginia mite served them well, as they reached the high ground and collected themselves into a hollow square, covering the important pass just ahead of site of the British column of cavalry, not a moment too soon.

The commander of the British cavalry saw his had been beaten to the pass, and turned his squad to try to reach Washington's retreating army, by the longer route. The Forlorn Hope was again put to test their metal.

Later in the day, "they rejoined their regiment, commanded by Colonel Steven, aiding further the retreat of Washington and his men. The next day General George Washington called for the "Forlorn Hope" who presented arms and reported, 'All present.' Washington lifted his hat to his valiant troops and with streaming eyes said, 'God Bless you, boys. I never expected to see you again.' " On December 9, 1806 James O'Neall received a land grant for 4000 acres of land for his war service.

George O'Neall is listed as serving in 1775 at Pittsburgh, PA., in the 12th Regiment of Foot, commanded by Col. James Wood. His war record also mentions that he was one of 100 soldiers who showed special heroism at Brandywine in September of 1777. In addition, his unit left Brandywine and made for Philadelphia next, and in October of 1777 "beyond the town of Dorian, to an encampment." Next it was onto Virginia and then Maryland and Pennsylvania where George was discharged at Valley Forge. He then returned to Virginia. George received a land grant in Kentucky, following the war.

British Loyalist's Henry and John O'Neall

Four of Hugh O'Neall's sons had removed to frontier South Carolina in the 1750's, and two of them joined the British Loyalists, many frontier men did the same.

In 1778 Henry was appointed to the Continental Congress from Little River and Laurens District. Henry debated for Loyalty to the Crown, and was a member of the Moderate party, a Tory. Henry knew his Virginian brother James was a member of the opposing force and he was asked what he would do if he should ever meet up with him during battle

Henry said of his brother James' revolutionary aspirations, "Brothers in life; enemies in war." They never met, altho once Henry's duties took him to Virginia, he had become a Major in the British Army, serving for seven years in the 2nd Regiment. After the war, he was killed by an "outlaw" near his home in Florida. John O'Neall had risen to Captain in the British Army and was killed in a fight with Col. Roebuck's army in Union District, S.C. The Tories suffered from a small pox epidemic in the British prison camp at Ninety-Six, and many were banished to Florida or the West Indies after the war.

The Non-Combatant O'Neall's in the American Revolution

Two of the sons of Hugh O'Neall, who had moved to South Carolina, were Hugh Jr. and William O'Neall The Quakers in the family were William and Hugh O'Neall, sons of Hugh O'Neall. They are noted for:

More of this story will follow. Sources: Duncan and Schultz, "A Glance Back Over Our Shoulders; 1720-1984", Family Records and Daughters of the American Revolution.

From the National Historic Battlefields sites we learn that Ninety Six is a National Historic Site, a prisoncamp, located in Greenwood County, South Carolina. William O'Neall, was in attendance and he participated by giving Greene supplies during his escape, and is designated as giving Patriotic Service by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Ninety-Six was an "important colonial backcountry trading village" and "is the scene of Nathanael Greene's siege in 1781." In addition to being a National Historic site there is also earthwork embankments of a 1781 star-shaped, earthen fortification, the remains of two historic villages, a colonial plantation complex, and numerous prehistoric sites, 989 acres in total. Here is the image from the "96" Site:

The following is submitted by J O'Neill

I have the complete set of DAR patriot index revised edition 1995...Will look these names up for you. It is a long list so be patient.

Address for copies of DAR Applications:



1776 D Street N.W.

Washington, DC 20006

Send check in the amount of $5.00 for each request made out to Registrar General NSDAR.

Replies should come in about 5-6 weeks. They are having STATE and NATIONAL CONVENTIONS now thru April, so make take longer.

DAR Patriots extracted from index for:


Peter b c 1755 d a 10-5-1832 PA m Sarah-----PS PA

Timothy: b c 1756 IR d 1819 PA m Mary Highduck Sgt PA

William: b c 1740 MD d 2-13-1812 MD m (1)Sarah Young (2)Sarah (Beall) Adams Pvt MD

William b 11-5-1734 DE d 11-5-1786 SC m Mary Frost PS SC

William b 1746 VA d 5 ---1778 VA m Sarah -----Pvt VA

DAR patriot Index 1994 Index update:


Barnet: b c 1751 d abt 3-6-1779 Va m X PS VA

Barton: b 2-22-1758 MD m 10-10-1830 OH m Mary Dyson PS MD

Constantine: b 1753 IR d 9-16-1834 VA m Catharine Sheperd Pvt PA

George b 4-16-1753 VA d 10-30-1836 KY m Elizabeth Singleton Pvt VA PNSR

Henry: b 1750 NJ d 7-30-1835 PA m Hannah (O'Neil) PVT NJ PNSR

Hugh: b c 1740 d abt 4-4-1788 SC m ----Parkins PS SC

John: b 1719 MD d 4-- -- 1785 MD m Margaret -------PS MD

John: b 1745 d p 1815 MD m Mary Smith Pvt MD

John: b 1755 NJ d 10-3-1826 NY M Margaret Osborne PVt NJ PNSR

John: b 1739 d 1-18-1796 PA m Susannah Johnston Sol PA

John: b 1740 d c 1810 m Mary6 Mansfield Sol PA

John: b c 1745 VA d p 12-15-1819 GA m Mrs. Ursula Mikell McIntosh Cmsry SC

John: b 1744 VA d a 6-14-1832 KY m (1) X (2) Fannie Hall (3) Margaret Mills Pvt VA

John: b 1760 VA d 11-7-1832 IN m Phoebe Scott Pvt VA PNSR

c: circa

PS Patriotic Service

PNSR Soldier Pensioned

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