On Thursday, November 13, death claimed one of the oldest and most esteemed citizens of the village of Clayton, in the person of Mr. Charles McNeil, aged 87 years. He was the eldest son of George and Jane McNeil of Arbroath, Scotland, and was born in the year 1813. He came to Canada with his parents when he was a lad of 12 years of age. They settled in Quebec for some years, later moving to Renfrew where Mr. McNeil received his education. During his early manhood years he went to Kingston where he learned the trade of a tanner and currier. At the age of 21, he with his parents came to Clayton and purchased the property on which he resided during the remainder of his life, from the Jno. Sutherland, of Union Hall. –Almonte Gazette, 1930
From Rosemary’s book-Almonte Gazette Fake News- Rosemary Sarsfield Sets it Straight
George McNeil bought the Tannery property on 2879 Tatlock Road from John Sutherland Sr on June 4, 1866 and was a widower. In the 1871 census it states he was born in Scotland as was his son Charles , age 27. Charles was also a tanner and this was a long established business by the McNeil famil in Clayton. By 1882 only Charles is listed as George is now an elder in his 70s. Charles advertised The Tannery for sale in 1882 which included 2 acres of land. For some reason the Tannery was never sold and the McNeil family lived on the property until the 1950s.
Charles’s wife’s name was Anne and they had 10 children: George, Archibald, William, Thomas, Charley, Mary, Ann, James, Agnes,and Robertson. By the time Charles died 6 of his children had predeased him. Charles was also heavily involved with the Presbyterian Church involved with the selling of the old one and building of the new one. He was a strong man of temperance and when Union Chirch came he joined it without question. He was secretary treasurer of the Guthrie Unied Church for 27 years and served as the janitor for 52 years. He worked on providing sidewalks along with others for the village of Clayton and was instrumental in securing telephones for the hamlet.