Routt County Biography Abstracts




The following is biographical information abstracted from
Progressive Men of Western Colorado



born near Darlington, Fayette County, Wisconsin on January 24, 1857.
father: John Mc Farland, a native of Kentucky
mother: Sarah A. (McKee) Mc Farland, a native of Kentucky
Edwin McFarland first moved to Colorado in 1880 and lived near Breckinridge in Summit County. He moved to his ranch ten miles south of Yampa in 1883.
married: Mrs. Alice Wilson, a native of Oak County, Missouri, on October 28, 1902.



born: in the early 1870's in Tennessee.
Robert Norvell came to Colorado in 1889, He and his brother Jim Norvell operated the Norvell Mercantile in Hayden.
Robert Norvell was the first mayor of Hayden.
married: Jean Ralston
children: James Rankin Norvell and Mrs. J.F. Denton.



born: in Georgia
educated: Hayesville Academy in North Carolina
Samuel Walker arrived in Routt County in 1881. He first lived in the Hahn's Peak area, where he worked as a miner. Then he went into ranching near the town of Hayden. In 1904 he moved to the town of Yampa and worked at the H.J. Hernage Mercantile Company.
married: Laura Elizabeth Green, on October 15, 1884, at Rawlins, Wyoming.
children: Edna Reba, Wilma Arva, and Charles Lawrence



born: April 5, 1833, near Marion, Burke County, North Carolina
father: Daniel Walker, born in North Carolina, died January 16, 1898.
mother: Anna Walker, died in June 1878.
siblings: Jonathan Clarke, Absalom, and James W.
William Walker purchased a plantation in Georgia in 1849 and sold it in 1874. At that time he moved back to North Carolina. He moved to Routt County, Colorado, near the town of Hayden, in 1881.
He homesteaded 160 acres near Hayden.
William Walker served as a county commissioner for Routt County in 1882, 1883, and 1884.
married: (1) Nancy Reid, born in North Carolina, died in 1862.
(2) Angeline Birch, a native of Georgia children: Children of first marriage: James D., Martin P., Clara C. (married to James Kitchens), and Samuel J. (whose biography appears on this page)
Child of second marriage: Mattie L. Walker



The following bio is Extracted from:

Author: Wilbur Fiske Stone

Contributed by Joy Fisher


John McNeil 1853-?

    John McNeil has figured prominently in connection with the development of
the fuel and mining interests of Colorado and is now extensively engaged in the
operation of coal property in Routt county under the name of the McNeil Coal
Company and also near Grand Junction, Colorado, as president of the Grand
Junction Mining & Fuel Company. He was born in Coatdyke, Lanarkshire, Scotland,
March 2, 1853. At the tender age of ten years he began his career in coal
mining, toiling for over ten hours each day in a coal pit and devoting his
evenings to study in a night school. In this manner, being a diligent student,
he acquired a very fair knowledge of the essential English branches. Later he
attended mining classes and obtained a technical knowledge of ventilation and
coal mine gases and became an underground foreman of a colliery at Slamannan,
Stirlingshire, at the age of twenty-one years.
    On the 31st of December, 1872, at Slamannan, Mr. McNeil was married to Miss
Janet Allan Page and in August, 1876, with his wife and two baby boys, John,
Jr., and David Page, emigrated to America. He went to Ohio and a few weeks later
removed to Collinsville, Illinois, where he worked as a miner and contractor in
shaft sinking in the Collinsville coal field. In the fall of 1878, with a baby
girl added to his family, he came to Colorado and entered the employ of the
Colorado Coal & Iron Company in the coal mines at Coal Creek, Fremont county. In
1880 he was engaged by the Canon City Coal Company, then owned by the Atchison,
Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company, as superintendent in sinking and timbering
Nos. 3 and 4 shafts. In 1882-3, in order to finish his education, he attended
the Collegiate Institute at Canon City and in the class of 1884 was graduated as
a mining engineer. Prior to his graduation, however, the legislature had created
the office of state inspector of coal mines and Mr. McNeil was appointed to that
position by Governor James B. Grant. As a test of fitness for the place, he with
six other candidates passed a competitive examination before a state board of
examiners appointed for that purpose, and having received the highest grade in
this contest, captured the prize. He entered upon the duties of his office July
1, 1883. With the consent of Governor Grant and by constant study during his
leisure hours, Mr. McNeil was enabled and permitted to keep up with his class,
and returning to the Collegiate Institute during the period of final
examinations, he was graduated with honors on commencement day at the head of
his class. Mr. McNeil was the first state inspector of coal mines in Colorado
and held the office continuously from its inception until August, 1893, during
the administrations of Governors Grant, Eaton, Adams, Cooper and Routt and also
for six months under Governor Waite, the populist governor. He then resigned his
position with eighteen months of his last appointment to run. By virtue of his
office and the duties involved, Mr. McNeil was practically the general
superintendent ex-officio of all the coal mines within the state for more than
ten years. His annual reports exhibited both the wisdom and the importance of
his supervision. They were thoroughly well prepared, terse and comprehensive,
setting forth in detail, so that anyone who reads may readily understand the
exact status of the coal mines of the state during that period.
    Immediately after resigning the position of state inspector of mines Mr.
McNeil, desiring to be a "free lance" in his profession, opened an office as a
consulting mining engineer and from that date to the present his record has been
exceptionally good. From the start he has been retained by the Union Pacific
Coal Company and other large coal mining interests, and for many years he has
enjoyed the distinction of being consulting engineer for the Phelps-Dodge
Corporation of 99 John street, New York, of their coal properties, now producing
approximately five thousand tons of coal and eight hundred tons of coke per day
at Dawson, New Mexico.
    To furnish employment for his four sons, John, Jr., David Page, Alexander
McGregor and George Washington, in a business in which he was so very competent
to guide them, Mr. McNeil purchased, from time to time, tracts of coal land, now
comprising more than twelve hundred acres, at Cameo (in the vicinity of Grand
Junction), Mesa county, during the past fifteen years, and opened thereon a coal
mine with modern equipment, which produced during 1917 one hundred and forty
thousand tons of bituminous coal. Three years ago Mr. McNeil and his sons formed
The McNeil Coal Company and purchased valuable coal lands in Routt county and
thereon opened a modern coal mine, from which was shipped over the Moffat Road
during the past year (1917) seventy-two thousand tons of bituminous coal. The
mine is located on the Bear river at MacGregor, ten miles west of Steamboat
Springs. Mr. McNeil and his four sons are equally interested in the holdings of
their respective coal companies.
    Mr. McNeil is married for the third time. The wife of his youth died in
November, 1888. A year later he married Miss. Elizabeth C. Buchanan, a daughter
of the late J. M. Buchanan, who, prior to his death, ten years ago, was in
business with Mr. McNeil. Mrs. Elizabeth McNeil died June 21, 1910, and on the
22d of November, 1916, he married Miss Nellie T. Buchanan, a sister of his
former wife. Mr. McNeil has seven children. His son, George W., has the
distinction of having been appointed to war work by President Wilson on the
board of appeals of exemption boards for the forty southern counties of
Colorado, with headquarters at Pueblo. This is the final court of appeals in
draft matters. John, Jr., is general superintendent of the mining interests of
the family. Alexander M. is secretary-treasurer and is in charge of the general
office in Denver, while David P., a machinist by trade, has charge of the
machinery at the mines and George W. has charge of the mercantile company stores
at the mines.
    Mr. McNeil, though now in his sixty-sixth year, still enjoys excellent
health with the vigor of younger years. He has been a resident of Denver since
July, 1883, or for thirty-five years. In coal mining matters Mr. McNeil has
examined more coal properties and purchased greater areas of coal lands probably
than any other man in America. Not only has he acted for himself in this matter
but also for many others and especially for the Union Pacific Railroad under the
Harriman administration, who alone expended millions of dollars on coal lands
through Mr. McNeil. He reported on coal properties from the Gulf of Mexico to
the extreme northwestern coast and from California to Alabama and also on
extensive coal fields in British Columbia, Canada. There is no feature of coal
mining with which he is not thoroughly familiar and by reason of his prominence
in the mining circles of the state he has contributed largely to the furtherance
of its material interests and its development. At the meeting of The Rocky
Mountain Coal Mining Institute of Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado, held
in the Broadmoor Hotel at Colorado Springs, Colorado, September 3-6, 1918, Mr.
McNeil was unanimously elected president of the Institute. Colorado numbers him
among her most representative and honored citizens.



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