History

O'neills: keepers of lighthouses

June 17, 2007

Capt. John E. O'Neill of Havre de Grace was captured during the battle of Winchester, Va., which was waged June 16-18, 1863.

After enlisting in Company D, Fifth Maryland Infantry, in September 1861, O'Neill suffered five wounds at the battle of Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862. But he recovered in time to fight in Winchester. He was imprisoned, along with two-thirds of his unit, in a tobacco warehouse in Richmond for two months.

Discharged from the Army in June 1865, O'Neill worked in Baltimore until 1878, when he became the keeper of Concord Point lighthouse in Havre de Grace. This position was previously held by his father, mother and grandfather, Lt. John O'Neill, who was captured while defending Havre de Grace from the British in 1813.

[Source: Biographical Record of Harford and Cecil Counties. Research by Harford County Public Library.]

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