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McNeill, Amelia, 1890-1973



  • Existence: 1890 - 1973


William and Nancy Harrison Hubbard, the parents of Amelia Hubbard, were from prominent families among the early settlers of Mills County in western Iowa. William Hubbard's father James was a circuit minister for the United Brethren Church, while the Harrisons were active abolitionists. The Harrison and Hubbard families moved to Monona County after the Civil War, purchasing large tracts of land in Monona County. William Hubbard and Nancy Harrison married and toward the end of the century moved to Nebraska to homestead. Amelia Hubbard was born in Nebraska in July 1890, but the family returned to Monona County two years later. Three years after their return, William Hubbard died. Nancy Harrison Hubbard continued to farm with her young sons; she worked in the fields with her sons, while Amelia, still a young child, accompanied them in the corn wagon. Hubbard also supported her family by selling Grand Union spices and providing weekly dinner for the local grocer who delivered goods to farm families. When the oldest Hubbard son married, he bought the farm. Nancy and Amelia Hubbard moved to Whiting, Iowa, where Amelia Hubbard graduated from high school in 1908. Amelia Hubbard then worked at the Cassidy-Whiting General Store and was active in church activities.

In 1911, Amelia Hubbard married high school classmate Earl O'Neill. After marriage, they lived with his parents, Louisa and Edwin McNeill, for three years until they bought their own farm. Both Amelia and Earl McNeill were active in the formation of the Farm Bureau in Monona County. Amelia McNeill served first as the secretary of the Ashton township Farm Bureau women's club and later as the chair of the Farm Bureau women's committee. As chair, she helped organize Farm Bureau women's clubs in almost all of the townships of Monona County. Beginning in 1929, she became active in and was later elected an officer of the Association of Interstate Farm Women, a coalition of farm women in eastern Nebraska, western Iowa, and South Dakota. This organization continued until the Second World War, when gasoline rationing made long-distance travel difficult. During these years, McNeill promoted education for farm women by attending training classes at Iowa State University herself and presenting lessons on homemaking and nuitrition to township women's clubs in Monona County.

Amelia McNeill also served on the Monona County board of social welfare. She traveled with the county public health nurse to rural schools, promoted hot lunches at county schools, and actively supported other nutrition programs.

Earl McNeill had helped organize the Rural Electrification Association (REA) of Monona County and was a member of its board. When he died unexpectedly in 1938, the board appointed Amelia McNeill to fill out his term. When that term expired, she ran for the board position in her own right and became the first woman officer of the REA. She was elected secretary in 1949 and served as the only woman on the Monona County board of the REA until she retired in 1971. She died January 4, 1973.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Amelia McNeill papers

Identifier: IWA0647

Farm woman who served as secretary of Monona Co. Rural Electrification Association for more than 20 years.

Dates: 1929-1971