John O’Neill and his family came to Arkansas in 1834 and settled on Ten Mile Creek, west of present-day Monticello. This was part of a large land grant in what are now Drew and Bradley counties, given to O’Neill for his service in the War of 1812 as aide to General William Henry Harrison. At the start of the Civil War, John O’Neill sold the Drew County land and moved to Texas where he operated O’Neill Station on the Old Chisholm Trail. The family returned to Corinth, Bradley County, after the war. Cora O’Neil Kendall was John O’Neill’s granddaughter, the daughter of Jasper O’Neill. The O’Neill Family Papers contain the personal, business, and legal papers of the O’Neill family of Drew and Bradley counties in Arkansas, as well as excerpts from Cora O’Neill Kendall’s journal, memoirs, and other writings.
These pages are excerpts from the memoirs of Cora O’Neill Kendall, relating remembrances of her childhood, spent growing up in southern Arkansas during the latter half of the 19th century.
I came across this item while putting together the collection’s finding aid. The stories of Cora Kendall’s childhood during and after the Civil War in southern Arkansas were fascinating to me, especially those telling personal anecdotes she wouldn’t tell her parents for fear of getting in trouble. They read like scenes from To Kill a Mockingbird, or from the Little House books, which were favorites of mine when I was growing up. It was only later, when I mentioned some of the stories to my grandfather, that I realized I was somewhat related to Cora O’Neill Kendall, at least tangentially; she was my grandfather’s sister’s first husband’s mother. –Mary Dunn
Cora O’Neill Kendall Journal Extracts, Childhood Remembrances, O’Neill Family Papers, MG00452, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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