Thomas Allen McNeal was born on a farm, in Marion county, Ohio, Oct. 14, 1853. His paternal grandfather and grandmother were Scotch-Irish, born and reared in County Down, Ireland, from which locality they migrated to the United States in the early part of the Nineteenth century. His maternal grandfather, Thomas Brownlee, was born in Scotland, and his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth (Greathouse) Brownlee, was born in Holland. All of his grandparents, on migrating to this country, settled in Pennsylvania, where his father and mother were born. About the year 1828 or 1829, John McNeal, his grandfather, moved with his family out into the wilderness of Ohio and took up the homestead on which Thomas A. was born, to Allen and Rachel McNeal, on the date above stated. Allen McNeal was a man of positive convictions. He was one of the organizers of the old Liberty party and for several years kept a station on what was known as the "Underground Railroad," frequently risking his own liberty in helping fugitive slaves on their way to freedom.
The boy, Thomas A., spent the first years of his life about as the ordinary farmer boy spends his, working on the farm in the spring, summer, and fall, and attending the the short winter terms at the country school. This elementary and somewhat desultory education was supplemented by about four years at Ohio Central College, Iberia, Ohio, Oberlin College, and Hillsdale College, at Hillsdale, Mich. In the spring of 1879 young McNeal moved to Kansas, locating in the frontier town of Medicine Lodge, where he engaged in the newspaper business for several years, as editor and proprietor of the "Medicine Lodge Cresset." In the year 1887 he was admitted to the bar, sold his newspaper to L. M. Axline, and engaged in the practice of law until the spring of 1894, when he moved to Topeka and established the "Kansas Breeze." In the fall of 1895 the "Breeze" was merged with the "North Topeka Mail," under the name of the "Mail and Breeze," of which publication Mr. Mceal has been the editor ever since. At the time of the merger the "Mail and Breeze" had a bona fide subscription list of about 3,000. It now has considerably more than 100,000 subscribers.
Mr. McNeal served as member of the legislature from Barber county during the legislative sessions of 1885, 1886, and 1887. He was elected as mayor of Medicine Lodge, in 1890, and while holding that office appointed Jerry Simpson city marshal, the first political office, by the way, that Jerry Simpson ever held. In 1905 Mr. McNeal was appointed private secretary to Governor Hoch, serving in that capacity until July 1, 1905, when he resigned to take his office as state printer. He held this office for six years, being elected once by the legislature and twice by the people of the state at the general elections.Pages 340-341 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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