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Brig. Gen. Christopher T. O'Neill    

BRIGADIER GENERAL CHRISTOPHER T. O’NEILL, commander of the Third Brigade, N. G. P., is one of Allentown’s truly representative citizens. He is a man who not only stands high in military and business circles of the State, but to an even far greater extent in the esteem of his fellow citizens. General O’Neill, in all respects, is a typical self-made man. As a soldier he began his career as a private, and as a business man he started as an ordinary clerk and telegraph operator. Today he is one of the highest ranking officers of the National Guard, and holds a responsible position as special representative in the sales department of the Lehigh Portland Cement Company. His first employment was with the Allentown Rolling Mills as telegraph operator and clerk. Prior to this he received an education in the Allentown public schools and the Allentown Business College. In 1884 he took charge of the Hancock Chemical Company, in New York City, remaining there two years. He then resumed his former position with the Allentown Rolling Mills until 1890, when Governor Robert E. Pattison appointed him superintendent of the State Arsenal, at Harrisburg. Following the expiration of his commission, he became connected with the Hanover Silk Company, opening a sales office in New York City. He was engaged in this business until the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. Upon his return to Allentown at the close of the war he was appointed city highway commissioner, and later entered the service of the Lehigh Portland Cement Company, where he continues at the present time.

General O’Neill’s military career has been a most active one. On August 16, 1879, he enlisted as a private in Company D, Fourth Infantry. He became corporal, sergeant, sergeant major, and on August 3, 1887, was appointed adjutant to succeed A. G. Dewalt. On July 1, 1890, he was elected major of his company, and lieutenant colonel, on December 11th of the same year. He was reelected to this office on July 8, 1896.

When the National Guard was being reorganized for the Spanish-American War he was lieutenant colonel of the Fourth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. On November 18, 1899, he was elected colonel of the Fourth Regiment, succeeding Colonel David B. Case, and was unanimously re-elected in 1904, 1909 and 1914. On April 9, 1916, he was appointed brigadier general.

As commander of his regiment, General O’Neill has participated in all of the annual state encampments and saw service in the coal strikes of 1900 and 1902. During the Mexican crisis, in response to the call of the President, General O’Neill on June 22, 1916, left for Mt. Gretna to take command of the brigade consisting of the Fourth, Sixth and Eighth Regiments. The command left for the border on July 9, 1916, arriving at El Paso, July 13th. The Third Brigade of the National Guard having been absorbed by reorganization, with the formation of artillery and cavalry companies, General O’Neill’s command became the Third Brigade in the service of the United States. General O’Neill and his staff left for home on February 12, 1917, arriving in Allentown, February 19th. He was given a royal welcome by his fellow citizens.

General O’Neill was among the, founders of the Military Order of Spanish-American War Veterans, and in January, 1900, was appointed to the post of provisional commander of the Department of Pennsylvania.

General O’Neill is also a member of other leading military societies—the Military Order of Foreign Wars, the United States Service Institution, Naval and Military Order, the National Guard Association of Pennsylvania, and an associate member of Post 13, G. A. R. He is also connected with various fraternal and social bodies—Knights of Columbus; Friendly Sons of St. Patrick; Manufacturers’ Club, of Philadelphia; Livingston Club, of Allentown, and the I. O. R. M. In addition to the public positions which he has filled, as heretofore noted, he was clerk of the common council of Allentown for two terms.

Men of Allentown, Allentown, Pa. by Fred L. Shankweiler, 1917, page 126. View the image of this page on line, Free Trial  More Lehigh County History Books   Search Hundreds of 1880s-1890s Pennsylvania County History Books for biographies and historical information on your ancestors.  View the book page images on line and print them out for your genealogy file!  Free Access to the old history books - plus birth & death records, census images and ALL other records at ancestry.com.

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