Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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O'NEALL, John Belton, jurist, born in Bush river, South Carolina, 10 April, 1793; died near Newberry, South Carolina, 27 September, 1863. His grandparents on both sides were natives of Ireland, and his parents were Quakers. He was graduated at South Carolina college in 1812. prepared himself for the profession of the taw, and was admitted to the bar in 1814. He was elected in 1816 to the lower house of the South Carolina legislature, and was subsequently three times re-elected to the same body. During his last two terms, in 1824 and 1826, he was the speaker of the house. In December 1828, he was chosen an associate judge, and in 1830 a judge of the court of appeals. He henceforth remained upon the bench through various changes of the judiciary system until finally he was made chief justice of South Carolina. Not content with the reputation of an able and incorruptible judge, he was active in promoting the agricultural interests and railway enterprises of the state. He was especially devoted to the cause of temperance, of which he was an eloquent and untiring advocate. In this relation his reputation was wide. In the Baptist denomination, of which he was a member, he was recognized and honored as a leader. He was president of the southern Baptist convention from 1858 till 1863. Judge O'Neall was also active in the militia, in which he rose to the rank of major-general, he contributed largely to the press on education, temperance, religion, and agriculture, and delivered numerous addresses, several of which were published. He was also the author of a " Digest of the Negro Law" (1848); " Annals of Newberry" (1858): and "Bench and Bar of South Carolina" (2 vols., Charleston, 1859).
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