by William Urban

Daniel McNeil, Jr., was the most prominent citizen of early Monmouth. He was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, March 24, 1792, and still there at the census of 1800; in 1805 he emigrated to Phelps, New York, then in 1810 to Louisiana. He returned to New York in 1814, shortly before the British invasion that was stopped by Andrew Jackson in the battle of New Orleans. In 1819 he moved to Wabash County, Indiana, then in 1824 to Fulton County, Illinois. He came to Warren County in 1830, remaining here until 1852.

The Past and Present of Warren County reports:

The proceedings to incorporate Monmouth as a town, as recorded, were commenced at this date. These proceedings were under the general law of the State in force at that time, being the act approved February 12, 1831, entitled "an act to incorporate the inhabitants of such towns as may wish to be incorporated." Ten days prior to November 29th, a notice had been publicly posted up in compliance to law, and in pursuance of this call "the male citizens of the town of Monmouth" met at the school house at this date, and having organized by calling Elijah Davidson to be chair, and Harry Jennings as clerk, "the object of the meeting was fully set forth" and voting for and against the incorporation of the town commenced. Twenty-three votes were cast in favor of the incorporation and none against.

The voters were: Wm. F. Smith, Daniel McNeil, Jr., R. W. McMillen, Mordecai McBride, B. F. Berry, Yost Huffman, J.J.Caldwell, G. W. Vaugan, J. P. Hogue, Samuel Brazelton, Geo. H. Wright, Alex. Hogue, F. Vandyke, James McCallon, S. T. McBride, Thos. Butler, Andrew Robinson, Frank Kendell, Peter I. Dodge, Thos. G. Hogue, Elijah Davidson, Harry Jennings and Alex.Ritchie.

He was the first postmaster of the community, 1830/1-1842/3. It was reported that he would meet the stage coaches, then carry the letters in his hat until he met the people for whom they were intended.

City government was fairly simple in 1836. The first ordinance against gambling was passed Dec. 26, 1836; the first ordinance to license a "grocery or tippling shop" came five days later, with a fee of $12.

The first Methodist Church in town was organized above his store in 1840; he was among the first trustees of the church.

He was put on trial in January 1847 on charges of having altered county records and of negligence in office. (Atlas, Jan 14, 1847). He was acquitted, but admonished to take better care of the records.

In the census of 1850 he was single, living in the home of Robert Allen, the county sheriff. On March 17, 1851, he married Sarah Shoemaker in Galesburg.

 The Past and Present of Warren County says that he migrated to DeWitt, Iowa, in 1852; the Census of 1860 shows him there on June 28, with his wife Sarah, age 51. He was the local newspaper editor. One printer and his small family lived with him; another two printers lived next door. He died February 28, 1869; his widow married James Green on July 22, 1875, in Lourune Rock County, Minnesota, and died September 5, 1891.

He held almost every elective office in Warren county.