Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Stanfield Pinkard McNeill (1827-1902)

Portrait courtesy of www.legis.iowa.gov.

     First, there was Summerfield, then Peterfield, then Mansfield, and earlier this month, Wakefield. Those unusual "-field" based names are joined today by one Stanfield Pinkard McNeill, a native of Kentucky who, after relocating to Iowa during his youth, experienced marked success in public life, serving two terms in the Iowa General Assembly as a state representative.
    Born in Mason County, Kentucky on Valentine's Day 1827, Stanfield Pinkard McNeill was the son of Dominie and Nancy Pinkard McNeill. His unusual first and middle name look to have been bestowed upon him in honor of Stanfield Corbin Pinckard (1798-1846), a native Kentuckian who represented Mason County in the Kentucky legislature in 1828. Afforded limited educational advantages as a youth, young Stanfield worked at farming until reaching age sixteen, whereafter he learned the trade of carpentry, being engaged in that work for six years time. Having relocated to Burlington, Iowa at age sixteen, he joined in the ongoing war effort, enlisting for service in the Mexican-American War in 1849. McNeill served amongst "Capt. Morgan's company of mounted dragoons", after which he returned to civilian life and worked as a clerk in a cotton warehouse.
   Stanfield McNeill relocated to Wayne County, Iowa in 1857. He remained here for three years, during which time he purchased a farm and married on February 16, 1859 to Nancy Long Arnold (1837-1887). The couple would have a total of nine children:  Grace (1859-1929), Kate, Guy A. (1863-1891), Edward, Anna, Stanfield (1871-1875), Mary, Norah (born 1876) and Ruth. 
   In 1861 McNeill and his family removed to the neighboring county of Decatur. During his residency here (which extended until his death in 1902), McNeill operated a farm and was the owner of nearly 800 acres of land. He would serve as a justice of the peace for a time and was a member of the county board of Supervisors during the Civil War. In November 1873 he won election to the Iowa General Assembly as a representative from Decatur County. Taking his seat at the start of the 1874-76 term, he would serve on the house committees on Schools, Penitentiaries, and the Agricultural College during this session, and in November 1875 won a second term in the state house.
    McNeill's second term saw him serve on the committees on Enrolled Bills, Appropriations, and the Agricultural College. Following the conclusion of his term in January 1878 he returned to farming, and resided in Garden City, Iowa until his death on February 20, 1902, six days after his 75th birthday. Shortly after his passing McNeill was memorialized in a lengthy Iowa legislative resolution, which noted that:
"The radiance of his life will leave its light to illuminate the pathway of time as the shooting meteors illuminate the heavens. That lamp of light which grows brighter as it nears the shores of eternity and when lost to earthly view beyond the shore of that silent river, will shine with radiant splendor as one of the brightest gems in that New Jerusalem where the melody of heavenly music shall fill the earthly weary soul with eternal bliss."
   One should take note that the above legislative resolution misspells McNeill's first name as "Sanford" (one can only wonder what his fellow legislators thought of that!) Widowed in 1887, both Stanfield and his wife were interred at the Garden Grove Cemetery, also the resting place of their son Stanfield, who died in 1875 at age four.

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