Born Rothesay, Isle of Bute, 8th May 1824-1889
Deputy Superintendent of the Indus Steam Flotilla
(managed by the Indian Navy)
John McNeil was born in Rothesay on the 8th of May 1773 to local blacksmith Daniel. John followed in his father's footsteps and became a blacksmith also.
On the 20th of February he married the daughter of a local cabinetmaker Archibald Duncan. Her name was Janet and they were to have one son, John who was born on the 28th September 1824 in Rothesay, Isle of Bute.
Both John and Janet died in Bombay where John worked latterly as a master blacksmith with the East India Company although it is not known when they emmigrated to India.
John and Janet's son, John went to sea first as an apprentice aboard the "Champion" in September 1839 and then in November 1843 he was a seaman aboard "Ann Martin." Both of the ships sailed from the Clyde. In May 1844 John found himself in Bombay where he became 2nd mate aboard a ship called "Benares."
Presumably the high salaries paid to officers engaged in the opium trade attracted John because in May 1845 he became 3rd. Mate on a 1200 ton "Castle Huntley," an opium clipper engaged in trade with China. In October 1846. He went aboard "Ardeseer" as 2nd Mate and was quickly promoted to Mate in December 1847.
Whilst still only 23 years old, John was appointed 2nd Master in the Indian Navy on the 23rd of April 1848. Four years later when John was only 27 he became a Master in the Indian Navy. Seven years after that in November 1859, John was made Deputy Superintendent of the Indus Steam Flotilla (managed by the Indian Navy), a post in which he remained until some time in 1868.
Meanwhile John had married a girl from North Bute, the daughter of local merchant Archibald Campbell her name was Maria and they were married on 31st October 1859. She was to give John one son, John Archibald Mc Neil who was born on the 11th August 1866. The joy of his first-born son was short lived when tragically Maria died six days after giving birth on the 17th August 1866.
John now Captain returned to Bute in 1868. He went in to business with Maria's Father as a ship's chandler. John stayed on Bute for 3 years until 1871 when he moved to Glasgow. On the 20th of December John married Jessie Dakers Mackenzie, daughter of James Mackenzie, a linen manufacturer from Brechin in Angus.
Happiness was not to last for John on the 8th 1872 aged only 32 Jessie died six short weeks after giving birth to John's 2nd son, James Dainiel.
John was awarded his board of trade masters certificate and then his extra merit masters certificate, moved to London and went back to sea as Mate aboard the SS "Drummond Castle" 31st of May 1873.
On route to China the "Drummond Castle" was shipwrecked. John was to survive the disaster and later that year he became 2nd Mate on the SS "City of Oxford."
Tragedy was to strike John yet again when on the 28th March 1875 at the age of 8 John's first born son John Archibald died in Guys Hospital in London.
John was to be married a 3rd time; on the 19th of November 1875 he married Hannah Brown.
In 1878 John and Hannah were to have two sons, John took over the "Sailors Return" public house in Grays Essex and they renamed it "The Wharf Hotel." John and Hannah were to have two sons, John George McNeil born on the 30th of May 1877 and William Brown McNeil who was born on the 27th of July 1878.
John was to live out the rest of his days in Essex at the Wharf Hotel with Hannah and his sons. On the 22nd January 1889, Captain John McNeil died at the age of 64.
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