Colonel Thomas F. O'Neil, deputy county clerk of San Francisco county and colonel of the First Regiment, National Guard of California, has lived in San Francisco nearly all his life, and is worthy of special distinction because of the honorable part he has taken as a civilian, a county officer and as a soldier in the service of his state and nation. He was not born to riches or luxury, so that, like most men, he has had to devote most of his thought and energies to the problem of self-maintenance, but at the same time, as far as in him lay, he has been zealous and public-spirited and has offered freely of his services to the public welfare, so that he fully deserves the esteem rewarding a well spent life.
Colonel O'Neil was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1856. His father, John O'Neil, a descendant of the famous King O'Neil of Ireland, came out to California in 1857, and for a long term of years was in the employ of the Wells Fargo Company's Express, and was known for his sterling integrity and excellent ability.
Thomas F. O'Neil received his education in the public schools of San Francisco, and in early life learned the trade of pressman, and continued his work on the papers of this city until he was chosen to his present position of deputy county clerk, in 1890. August 6, 1875, he joined the Second Artillery Regiment of the National Guard of the state as a private, and as a member of the First Regiment took part in the Kearney riots of 1877-78 and the railroad strike in 1894. On May 25, 1898, he was with this regiment when, as a part of the United States volunteer forces, it embarked for Manila. This was the first regiment of American troops that ever embarked for a foreign war, having left even before the troops landed in Cuba. Mr. O'Neil was then captain of his company, and in the Philippines he saw much actual campaigning and fighting, and bore credit with the other officers of that gallant regiment for the worthy part it took in the war with the Spanish and the Filipinos. He was twice complimented in the field by General Charles King, who was in command of the brigade.
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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