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Madera Biographies: O'NEAL
Charles O誰eal, a Fresno County Rancher, located on willow Creek, is a native of Illionis, born in Vermilion County, in 1832. His father, William O誰eal, a Kentuckian, emigrated to Illinois in early life and remained there, engaged in farming and blacksmithing until 1845, when by move his family to Texas. The year following their removal South, Charles enlisted at San Antonio, in the Texas Cavalry, called "The Rangers" under Colonel Bell. They were assigned to the frontier of Texas, but their only fighting was with the Indians. After about thirteen months of service he was mustered out at San Antonio.
Mr. O誰eal then returned to Vavarro County, Texas, and remained in that locality until 1856, when he started across the plains for California, in company with Captain Burns and his party. They followed Cook痴 trail by Fort Belknap and El Paso. The company numbered about 200 souls. On the Great Desert the water supply gave out and both man and beast suffered extreme thirst. Mr. O誰eal and some others of the party made long trips at night to get water for the sufferers. At Santa Cruz, Sonora, he left the train and went into Mexico. Young and eager for adventure, he joined the forces of Governor Gondarez and participated in the revolution. Eight months later he went to Arizona, and thence to California, arriving in this State in 1857. Until 1859 his tame was spent in traveling from one mining district to another and all through the San Joaquin valley. In that year he was engaged as superintendent of the Santa Rita stock ranch by Messrs. Hildrith & Dumphrey, and remained with them about three years. Then he was employed by Miller & Lux on their stock ranch until 1864, when he went to Watsonville and opened a saloon and billiard hall, and remained thus engaged until 1876. In 1878 he moved to his present ranch on Willow Creek, which he purchased of Mrs. Captain Mace, now of Madera. He first bought 160 acres, and by more recent purchases has added to it until he is now the owner of 1,500 acres, 1,000 acres of which is tillable. This property is situated in the foothills, at an elevation of 1,350 feet, and is considered fine orange and fruit land. Mr. O誰eal keeps 150 head of stock and about sixty hogs. His home being located on the old Yo Semite road, he keeps a small hotel and accommodates travelers. A post office has been established at this place, called O誰eals, and the subject of our sketch is Postmaster. He also has a store and blacksmith shop, which he rents.
Mr. O誰eal was married in Watsonville, in 1870, to Miss Betty Douglass, daughter of G. N. Douglass, Assemblyman from El Dorado County in 1859. They are the parents of five children, three daughters and two sons, all living at home.
In addition to the property already referred to, Mr. O誰eal also owns several mines, and is connected with mining speculations. He joined the Masonic order in 1861, at San Juan, and is now a member of Fresno Lodge, No. 247, F. & A.M.; also holds a membership in the I.O.R.M. of Watsonville.
Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of
Fresno, Tulare, and Kern, California, (Chicago: Lewis, 1892), pages
Last update: January 5, 2000
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