Pages 496-497, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




CORNELIUS W. McNIEL, manager of the extensive interests of the Northrup Lumber Company, of Iola, has resided in Allen county for twenty-one years. He came to it in 1879 and purchased a farm near that of Daniel Horville, northwest of Iola, which he cultivated until 1883 when he sold it and moved into town. He took the foremanship of the, then, small lumber yard of L. L. Northrup and has remained with the business through all the years which have intervened and has watched its growth from the chief lumber yard of a small town to the leading one of the metropolis of the gas belt.

Mr. McNiel was born in Butler county, Ohio, November 10th, 1834. Lazarus McNiel, his father, was one of the pioneers to that county where he opened out a farm in the heavy timber and cultivated it with success during his active life. He went into Ohio from near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He was born in this latter state, was a soldier in the war of 1812 and died just three days before his wife. He was one of the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democrats and when our subject changed the course of


family politics by casting his ballot for Fremont in 1856 it was almost at the expense of his father's friendship.

Jane Hall, our subject's mother, was a daughter of Cornelius Hall, who represented his district, as a Whig, in the Ohio Legislature in an early day. He was likewise from Pennsylvania and was a farmer. Of six children born to Lazarus McNiel only two survive: Martha, wife of Thomas Mitchell, of Albany, Oregon, and Cornelius W. McNiel. Nancy, the oldest, married Dr. Alanson Smith and is deceased; Sarah J. died single; Maria H. married B. F. Fessenden and was killed, together with her husband, by a railroad train near Cincinnati; Rebecca C., died in Anderson, Indiana, in 1900, was the wife of L. H. Vinedge.

Mr. McNiel spent his youth and early married life in the country. He attended the country school, Hanover College and Miami University, at Oxford, Ohio. He took up the study of medicine soon after coming of age, with Dr. Newton, of Cincinnati, but was thought to be consumptive and was advised by the doctor to abandon his professional notions and go home to die. From thence forward his life was an out-of-door one and it was not till the close of the Civil war that he ventured away from his native state. In 1865 he moved to Pettis county, Missouri, and spent two years in farming. He started the town of Lamont, by building the first house in it, and was engaged in the lumber and grain business there till 1879, when he came to Kansas.

December 3, 1854, Mr. McNiel was married to Maria H. Gaston, a daughter of David Gaston, one of the early settlers of Hamilton county, Ohio. Mrs. McNiel died in 1883, being the mother of Harry L., of the firm of Brigham & McNiel, of Iola; Edward H., who died in 1894; Jennie McNiel; Walter S. and Bert L. McNiel, leading jewelers, of Iola.

C. W. McNiel has been one of the active citizens of Iola. He has not only gone about the transaction of his personal business with prudence and wisdom but in the conduct of public business he has exercised the same discretion and business judgment. For five years he was a member of Iola's common council and was two years its Mayor and his accession to those positions are ample testimony to the efficiency with which he cared for a public trust. In politics he permits no man to outdo him as a Republican. As heretofore mentioned, he started with the party and his claim to a place of honor in the great and patriotic organization can not be disputed or disproved.

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