This item is extracted from a book Portrait and Biographical Record of Denver and Vicinity, Colorado, published in 1898, from the section on Larimer County. John's grandfather, David McNay, farmed at Balhasie, near Creetown. John's father John was born there in 1801, married and moved to Sheffield for a short time where John Jr. was born. Shortly afterwards the family returned to Kirkmabreck. The 1851 census shows the family, not long moved from Kirkmabreck, living in Back Fleet Street, Gatehouse of Fleet, (under the name McNain). John Sr. is a cattle dealer, and John Jr. has already left home. This is the story of John McNey Jr.

JOHN McNEY, of Livermore, Larimer County, Colorado (and Kirkmabreck)

JOHN McNEY, of Livermore, Larimer County, Colorado, has lived a life of excitement and adventure that has been equalled by few men. For many years he engaged in hauling freight for the government to western posts, during which time he took part in many encounters with the Indians, and it was his privilege at one time to save a mother and three children from becoming their victims. He was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, and is the son of John and Isabelle (Muir) McNey, and a grandson of David McNey, who died in Scotland, where he had been engaged in agriculture. His father was born in Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland, but moved to Sheffield, England, where he was a dry-goods merchant for a time, but finally returned to his old home and took up the occupation of a farmer and stockman, continuing in this business until his death, which occurred in his forty-seventh year. He married Miss Isabelle Muir, who was born at the same place, and whose father, James Muir, was a farmer. She died when sixty-five years old. Of her thirteen children four are now in America. Those living are: James, in New Zealand; Mary, in Ontario, Canada; William, who lives in the same place; Margaret, in New York City; Jessie Dudley, in England; and John, our subject.

John McNey was educated in the national schools of Scotland, and when about sixteen years of age went to Wallsall, England, where he was apprenticed in the dry-goods business for two or three years. About 1856, during the Crimean war, he came to America in a sailing vessel, the "Benjamin Adams." He located in South Carolina and accepted a clerkship, later returned to New York and secured a position in the upholstery department of the dry-goods store of A. T. Stewart. Afterwards he clerked in James Gray Company's lace house. During the war he volunteered in the Seventy-ninth Regiment, but they were disbanded, owing to some disagreement. He went to Orange County, N. Y., and then to New York City, where he occupied his old place nearly all through the war. For some time he worked in a grocery store in Galesburg, Ill., and then went to Fort Leavenworth, Kan. In 1867 he joined a government train, engaging to drive a six-mule team through to its destination.

This was the time of Custer's first expedition, and they had a fight with the Indians at Stormy Hollow, on the Smoky Hill route, in which three men were killed, and the seven leading wagons, with twenty mules, were carried off by the red men. It was here he was given the opportunity to rescue the woman and her three children from the blood-thirsty wretches. The Indians and their captives, who were a soldier's wife and children, were running near a gulch, and Mr. NcNey undertook the task of rescuing them unaided. He crawled down the gulch and shot, wounding one of the Indians, who returned his fire, without hitting him, and then ran off, leaving their captives behind. On different occasions he buried the dead after skirmishes. He continued to haul goods from Ellsworth to Forts Hayes, Zerah and Wallace. He was thus employed during the summer and fall, and after the treaty with the Indians hauled supplies to Medicine Lodge, Kan. He then returned to Leavenworth and received his discharge. In 1868 he drove an ox-train to Colorado. Fifty wagons were ordered from Ellsworth to Cheyenne, and there loaded for Port Bridger and Camp Douglass. This trip took all summer, but no serious trouble with the Indians occurred. The following year he left Fort Bridger and hauled government supplies for Colonel Bracket to Fort Ellis, at the head of the Missouri River. The Indians were troublesome at this place also. He then returned to Fort Bridger and sold the outfit to a contractor near Salt Lake, while he remained at the fort in charge of the cattle. He finally sold out to the government and returned to Leavenworth. In 1875 he crossed the plains with cattle and teams, his wife driving a team, intending to cross the "Divide" to Snake River. When they reached Livermore Park they were caught in the snow and had to turn their cattle out and winter there. They then decided to locate there, and he secured employment with N. C. Alford for a couple of years. He then pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres near the post-office, which he sold a year later, and settled on his present farm, one hundred and sixty acres, at the head of Livermore Park. He proved his claim, improved and added to it, until he now has two hundred and forty acres, fenced and in a good state of cultivation. The fine springs on the ground make it an especially desirable place, and here he raises cattle and horses, making it a profitable business.

Mr. McNey married Miss Frances Stewart in Leavenworth in 1875. She was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and was a daughter of John W. Stewart, of Indianapolis. Her grandfather, Charles Stewart, was born in Kentucky, but moved first to Indiana, and later to Des Moines, Iowa, where he settled his four sons on a quarter-section of land. One of these sons was her father, who afterward moved to Leavenworth, Kan. Her great-grandfather, Charles Stewart, was of Scotch parentage, while on her mother's side she was of Irish origin. Her mother, Mary Boyle, was born in Indianapolis, where her grandfather Boyle conducted a shoemaking shop. The mother died in Leavenworth, leaving five children, four of whom are living, as follows; Frances, now Mrs. McNey; Josephine, Parrott and Elmer, all of Leavenworth. Mr. and Mrs. McNey have three children: Stewart, Walter and John, Jr. Mr. McNey organized school district No. 28, and was first treasurer of the board, while his wife was secretary for ten years. He built the first school house, and has given valuable aid to the cause of education in this section. He also did much toward making the roads, and was overseer of the same for more than sixteen years. In politics he is a Republican. Both he and his estimable wife have many friends.

External Links