Among the representative men of LaSalle county, Illinois, is the vicepresident, superintendent and manager of the J. C. Ames Lumber Company, whose name appears at the head of this biography. He was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, in May, 1844, and is a son of James and Eliza (Ash) McFeely. James McFeely was born in Ireland and there educated and grew to young manhood. In his nineteenth year he came to the United States and settled in Massachusetts, where he married Eliza Ash, daughter of Captain Samuel Ash, who served in the attack on the East Indies. The marriage was celebrated in Boston, and there James McFeely worked at his trade of carpenter and bricklayer, erecting many of the stores and dwellings of that city. His father was Patrick McFeely.
Samuel McFeely spent his younger days in Woburn, attending the public school and later the high school. In 1862 he enlisted in Company K, Thirty-ninth Massachusetts Infantry, under Colonel P. S. Davis, and served the following three years. During that time he took part in a number of important engagements, was in the battle of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania. Cold Harbor, Petersburg and several minor battles. He was discharged in June, 1865. After remaining a short time in Woburn he went to Kansas and worked at his trade, carpentering and contracting, in Topeka, Abilene, Emporia and Eldorado, for six years. He then went back to Massachusetts and from there to Canada, where he spent a year. His next move was to Illinois and he worked at his trade in Dwight until 1872, when he moved to Streator. He continued to work at his trade until 1877, erecting many dwellings and business blocks, among them the Methodist Episcopal church. In 1880 he entered the employ of the J. C. Ames Lumber Company, of which he was made vice-president in 1891, and is also superintendent and general manager.
Mr. McFeely was married in 1870 to Miss Mary Close, daughter of James and Elizabeth Close, of Livingston county, Illinois. He is a stalwart Republican, was a member of the school board for four years, and two years was in the city council. He is a member of Streator Lodge, No. 607, A. F. & A. M.; Streator Chapter, No. 168, R. A. M.; Ottawa Commandery, No. 10, K. T.; and Streator Post, No. 68, G. A. R., in which last he is past junior vice commander of the Department of Illinois.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 56-57.