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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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McNeill, Archibald

by Harry L. Watson, 1991; Revised by Jared Dease, Government and Heritage Library, December 2022

ca. 1796–1849

Archibald McNeill, congressman and militia colonel, was born in Moore County. He represented Moore in the House of Commons in 1808 and 1809 and in the senate in 1811 and 1815. In 1821 he ran for Congress as a Republican against the incumbent, John Culpepper, a Federalist. McNeill was elected and served in the Seventeenth Congress (1821–23), where he made one speech against the tariff. Culpepper opposed McNeill for reelection in 1823. During that campaign, both candidates refused to declare a preference on the upcoming presidential election of 1824, but McNeill rejected the principle of a caucus nomination. McNeill also accused his opponent of insufficient support for the War of 1812 while a member of the General Assembly, but Culpepper won the election. Running against Culpepper again in 1825, McNeill was elected and served in the Nineteenth Congress (1825–27).

The 1830 census for North Carolina records Archibald McNeill as a resident of Robeson County. He is recorded as living alone in his household (presumably, therefore, unmarried) and as the enslaver of a woman who was both deaf and physically disabled, and between the ages of forty and fifty.

McNeill moved to Texas in 1836. In 1849 he organized and led a group of about a hundred men on an expedition to the newly discovered gold fields of California. A sandstorm struck the party while it was crossing the Arizona desert. McNeill and most of the others perished, and his body was never found.


Annals of Congress (1823).

Biog. Dir. Am. Cong. (1961).

Carolina Observer, 24 July, 7 Aug. 1823.

Additional Resources:

"McNeill, Archibald, (Birth date unknown - 1849)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed July 11, 2013).

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