Adam McNeilly is a time-honored pioneer resident of San Joaquin county, and is honored and esteemed not alone for the length of his residence but also for the excellence of his citizenship and the worthy part that he has taken in the various activities of the county. It is now more than a half century since, as a young man in the bloom and vigor of twenty-one years, Mr. McNeilly first found lodgment and a home in San Joaquin county, and only such old-timers as he can fully appreciate the transformation that years and the civilizing influences of the white man have wrought in this beautiful and fertile valley. It is to his lasting credit that he has been intimately identified with these changes and development, and in the history of the state he deserves mention as a man of enterprise, eminent public spirit, loyalty to institutions of state and society, and broad usefulness in whatever field of endeavor the fortunes of the world have placed him.

Mr. McNeilly was born in North Ireland over seventy years ago, the exact date being May 17, 1832. He was born to the household circle of Andrew and Elizabeth (Morrow) McNeilly, both of whom were natives of the north of Ireland and were of Scotch extraction and in religion adherents of the old Calvinistic faith. When the son Adam was eight years old he accompanied his parents and the other children on the long voyage of emigration to America. They came on the sailing vessel Isaac Newton, and the passage from Liverpool to New York city consumed six weeks. The family took up their abode in Delaware county, New York, where farming was the occupation that engaged the energies of the male members of the household. The father Andrew lived there until 1883, when he was summoned away by death, being then in his ninetieth year of age.

Mr. Adam McNeilly grew to manhood on the farm in Delaware county, and his schooling was obtained in the public schools of that county. Farm life and all its details became familir to him while he was still a barefoot boy, and most of his subsequent years have been devoted to agricultural pursuits. When he arrived at maturity, in 1853, he took the one great decisive step in his career, when he embarked on a ship at New York and came, via the Nicaragua route, to California. From San Francisco he came to Stockton, and for several years employed his energies in San Joaquin county alternately between farming and placer mining. For some years he was foreman for R. B. Lane in the latter's grist mill, then situated on Weber avenue in the city of Stockton. these were years mainly preparatory to his launching upon an independent career, and in 1869 he was able to begin for himself, in which year he commenced farming in its general phases near Stockton. In 1881 he settled on his present fine ranch of three hundred and sixty acres near Burnham station, and for more than twenty years has caused this beautiful farmstead to bring forth of its fruits in their season and in plenteous abundance, and has become liberally endowed with all the comforts and pleasant surroundings such as are owing to a man who has passed the Psalmist's limit of life and who has employed the passing years in diligence and thrift and well directed purpose.

Mr. McNeilly was affiliated with Stockton Lodge No. 11, I. O. O. F., which he joined in 1859 and of which he was a member in high standing for many years, being a past grand of the lodge. He still retains his active membership in the Cumberland Presbyterian church at Stockton, and throughout life has been an adherent of this faith and an active worker religious affairs. In national politics he is a Republican, and during the past has proved himself a capable coadjutor in public affairs, especially during the pioneer days of San Joaquin county. For eleven consecutive years he served as a trustee of what is now the Collegeville school district.

May 17, 1858, he was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Flynn, and there are six children of this happy marriage still living, as follows: William H., in Colorado; George, in San Joaquin county; Mary L., the wife of Dr. Frederick H. Baird, a well known dentist of San Francisco, is herself a dentist, and she and her husband both practice in San Francisco; Margaret, who is the wife of Robert L. Kitchings, of San Joaquin county; Martha J., the wife of Dr. S. H. Priestly, of Stockton; and Eva, who is at home.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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