McNeel, John Greenville (1802–1876)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 4, 2018

John Greenville McNeel, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, Brazoria County planter, and soldier, a son of John McNeel, was born in Kentuckyon October 23, 1802, and moved to Texas with his family in 1822. He was a brother of Sterling and Pleasant D. McNeel and a partner of George W. McNeel. Each partner received title to one-half sitio of land in what is now Brazoria County on August 10, 1824. John G. McNeel took part in the battle of Velasco in June 1832. In 1833 he sold cloth, buttons, and silks to William B. Travis, evidently mixing planting with merchandising at Bell's Landing. In June 1835 he wrote to James F. Perry deploring the war activities of speculators and political aspirants. McNeel received forty votes in the February 1836 election at Brazoria to choose delegates to the Convention of 1836. In September 1839 he was appointed to a Brazoria committee to memorialize Congress to pass a law quieting Mexican land titles. In 1842 he took part in the campaign against Rafael Vásquez. He was a state senator in the First Legislature (1846–47) from the Twelfth District. He was a delegate to the Convention of 1845. At Brazoria in October 1846 he signed a letter to Timothy Pillsbury asking him to state his position on slavery. In 1852 he produced 408 hogsheads of sugar and was one of the top ten sugar planters in the county. Between 1852 and 1858 he harvested five sugar crops and in 1859 some 4,000 pounds of tobacco. By 1860 McNeel had real property valued at $100,150, personal property valued at $216,400, and 136 slaves. Hardship followed the Civil War, however, and in 1870 he listed no property of value. In 1833 McNeel married Ann Augusta Westall, with whom he had three sons. After her death he married Alma Amelia Blydenburg in 1854 at Brooklyn, New York. Alma also died, and in 1870 McNeel married Laura V. Roane. He was living at Brazoria in 1874 and died on August 17, 1876.He was buried in the McNeel Cemetery near Jones Creek. His plantation, Ellerslie, was one of the showplaces of early Texas. It burned in the 1880s after it had been sold by McNeel's heirs.

DeWitt Clinton Baker, comp, A Texas Scrap-Book (New York: Barnes, 1875; rpt. 1887; facsimile rpt., Austin: Steck, 1935). Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). James A. Creighton, A Narrative History of Brazoria County (Angleton, Texas: Brazoria County Historical Commission, 1975). John S. Ford, Memoirs (MS, John Salmon Ford Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin). Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence (Salado, Texas: Anson Jones, 1944; rpt. 1959). Louis Wiltz Kemp Papers, Texas State Archives, Austin. Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin. James Harper Starr Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Abner J. Strobel, The Old Plantations and Their Owners of Brazoria County (Houston, 1926; rev. ed., Houston: Bowman and Ross, 1930; rpt., Austin: Shelby, 1980). Telegraph and Texas Register, November 6, 1839, October 21, 1846. William Barret Travis, Diary, ed. Robert E. Davis (Waco: Texian, 1966). Ralph A. Wooster, "Wealthy Texans, 1870," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 74 (July 1970). Ralph A. Wooster, "Wealthy Texans, 1860," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 71 (October 1967).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “McNeel, John Greenville,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 19, 2022,

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January 4, 2018