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Traces the lineage of John Neal who owned land on Twentymile
Creek in Nicholas County as early as 1817.

Submitted 2002 by Glenn Neal

NEALs of Clay and Nicholas County, WV by Glenn R. Neal

The weight of the evidence is that the first Neal ancestor to come to this country was named Jeremiah.According to James Boyd Dorsey[1]he was born in Ireland c. 1730, the son of Murdoch O’Neal, an Irish land-owner[2].Jeremiah came to America sometime during the mid-1700s and was here before the Revolutionary War.His son John was born sometime between 1750 and 1770 in America and a John Neal is on record as living in Greenbrier County, Virginia[3] at least as early as 1786.

Little is known about Murdoch O’Neal or his son Jeremiah other than what is contained in the Dorsey narrative:

Murdoch O’Neal was a land owner in Ireland.About 1730 his son Jeremiah, was born.Because he thought his father whipped him too hard, Jerry stole eleven dollars from his father’s trousers while he was asleep, and somehow made his way to America.He worked in Pennsylvania for a time and then moved into Virginia.Sometime after 1750 his son, John, was born.John had fiery red hair and a temper to match.He was restless and finally moved into the wilderness of Nicholas County (then Virginia, now West Virginia) where he married Ann O’Dell, the daughter of Jeremiah O’Dell.They had a large family . . . [Dorsey lists the children and who some of them married].

I do not have enough information at this time to even begin to trace original documents from which to confirm Murdoch’s existence.[4]I have no reason to question the accuracy of Dorsey’s account of the family’s early history—when he began his research in 1938 Dorsey consulted a number of people who would have been old enough to have heard the oral family history from friends and family members who had had first hand contact with ancestors at least as far back as Jonathan.[5]

My personal belief is that Dorsey’s account is accurate; however, that is of limited value for genealogy purposes since he cites no original documents.It is merely a good starting point to begin looking for original documents.

Much the same can be said of Jeremiah.In addition to Dorsey’s booklet we have J.H. Neal’s account[6] written in 1932.We also have a brief mention of John and his father Jerry Neal in Brown’s History of Nicholas County.[7]But again, there are no cites to specific historical documents.Brown writes that Jerry Neal was a Revolutionary War Soldier.I have not yet been able to sort out whether the Revolutionary War Soldier Jerry Neal that Brown writes about was the immigrant ancestor Jeremiah or the son of immigrant Jeremiah and a brother of John, our proven ancestor.[8]

It is possible of course that both father and son served during the war, although I have no evidence of that.It is also possible that the Jeremiah Neal from Hampshire County is not in our family line at all—Neal was a surprisingly common name in Colonial America.Jeremiah the elder would have been in his mid forties when the Revolutionary War began but that does not rule him out completely.I found two soldiers named Neal who were in their 40s at the time of their War service but their first name was not Jeremiah and they were from the wrong part of the country to be our Jeremiah.I am still working on this.


The first generation that we can document with some degree of certainty is John Neal who settled on Twentymile Creek[9] in Nicholas County.John came to Twentymile in 1819, according to Brown; however, from documents I have examined, I believe John was here at least some 25 years earlier than that;[10] John appears as head of household in the U. S. Census of 1790 for Greenbrier County, Va., he married Ann O’Dell in Kanawha County in 1805 and he was on the tax list for Kanawha County in 1809.

A Warrant for 1000 acres of land granted to William Varner entered in the Land Entry Book on March 27, 1786[11]uses John Neal’s land as a reference point.Therefore, he had to be here before 1786.John later purchased 100 acres of land on Twentymile from Daniel Curry in 1817.[12]A year later he conveyed 20 acres to Jesse James and John McHamilton, apparently as the result of a law suit to collect a debt.[13]On April 10, 1827 John Neal and his wife Ann conveyed 50 acres of land to their son, Jeremiah Neal, for the sum of one thousand dollars.

John’s contemporaries on the frontier, including the pioneer Scotch-Irish, valued the education they had brought with them from Ireland and elsewhere.In the 1850 census 19 out of every 20 adult people surveyed were able to read or write.And they were the epitome of what became the character of Americans as many Scotch-Irish, Germans, English, and a few French and Dutch families quickly forgot their native language and customs to join in the common fight against the Indians and the Wilderness itself.

They became friends and neighbors; although they came here as Presbyterians, Lutherans, German Reformed, Quakers, Mennonites and Dunkards,[14] they quickly converted to became Baptists or Methodists, which were about the only religious denominations supporting missionaries and “circuit riding” preachers west of the Allegany Mountains.

Since they were carving their homes out of a wilderness, I need to say a word about county names:At the time of the Revolution Augusta County, Virginia stretched all the way to the Mississippi River and covered all of what is now West Virginia except for the eastern panhandle.Augusta gave up part of its land to form Montgomery and Botetourt counties, then in 1778 Greenbrier County was formed from parts of Montgomery and Botetourt.As the population increased, new counties were formed to assist in the administration of law and the collection of taxes.Thus, in 1788, ten years after Greenbrier County was formed, Kanawha County was created out of Greenbrier and what was left of that part of Montgomery County that still came this far west.[15]

Keep in mind when you read this: when I write of Twentymile[16] Creek in Nicholas County, Virginia, or Nicholas County, West Virginia or Twentymile in Kanawha or Greenbrier County I’m talking about the same piece of real estate—only the county names change.I believe John Neal may have lived in at least three, and possibly four, different counties without ever leaving the farm.In 1818 Nicholas County was formed from parts of Greenbrier, Kanawha and Randolph counties.Clay would be formed from Nicholas and Braxton in 1858.[17]


One can infer from Brown’s History that John was the first of his clan to come to Nicholas County; therefore, the John [abbreviated “Jno”] in the 1790 census[18] for Greenbrier County is very likely the same person as our ancestor, John Neal, although I have not found a historical document which says that explicitly.The only other Neal [or “Neil”] appearing in any of the early tax or census records for Greenbrier County was Samuel Neil who, Brown writes, was not related to us.

Assuming a birth date after 1750[19] and no later than 1770[20] John would have been 26 or older, possibly as old as 46, when the tax list was closed in 1786.[It is the tax lists of 1783-1786 that became the basis for the reconstructed census of 1790].

Few people survived on the frontier without some sort of support system—friends, family, somebody. [John did not marry Ann O’Dell until August of 1805.[21]The record is silent as to whether he had been married previously. The Irish traditionally married late, often in their thirties, after they had won their “fortune” and had a home to take a bride to].

John died in Nicholas County sometime between 1840 and 1844.[22]His son Jonathan, who had his own farm on Big Sycamore Creek[23] by that time, and John’s wife Ann were named co-executors when the will was made in 1840.By 1844 when the will was admitted to probate Jonathan was the “surviving co-executor.”It seems apparent, therefore, that Ann was dead by or shortly before the middle of March 1844.In all likelihood, she had died shortly before the will was admitted to probate.John may have died at any time after the will was made but since no property would pass under the will until Ann’s death the family may not have felt the need to probate the will immediately after his death.

In his will John gave to each child, except the two youngest, “what I have already given [him/her]” or some such similar language.Because of the date the will was made, December 29th, I can imagine all the children gathered at the home place for the Christmas holidays and an elderly, perhaps ailing John Neal sitting around parceling out his property to his children, or perhaps he would have allowed each of the children to pick something they had a particular sentimental attachment to. Then, a few days later, the gifts would be reduced to writing in John’s Will. But that too is speculation.

What we know is that he gave a life estate to his wife Ann and upon her death the home and land would pass in equal shares to the two youngest girls, Christiana and Mary Ann.[24]

John Neal’s son, Jonathan,[25] our great-great grandfather, was born on Twentymile Creek in Nicholas County just over the county line from Lizesmores.A first hand account of Jonathan was written in 1932 by J. H. [James Henry] Neal, his grandson.J. H. was born in Clay County, in the new State of West Virginia,[26] October 26, 1864, the son of Anderson Neal[27] and Catharine Darlington.In his short narrative, J. H. writes:

I do not know much beyond my Grandfather [Jonathan] Neal who was born September 5, 1914 [sic][28] in what is now Nicholas County on Twenty Mile Creek three or four miles above Vaughn.His mother, I think was an O’Dell, possibly an aunt of Felix O’Dell of the wilderness district of Nicholas County.He had one brother I know of, Uncle Jerry Neal, who lived on Twenty Mile Creek.His wife was Aunt Peggy.She was a Bachus[29] before her marriage.

My grandfather married Rosa Brown in the 1830’s.To this union were born 10 children: Francis, Irenda & Margaret (twins), Alvina, Angeline, Adaline, Anderson M., Morrison, Simpson and Jonathan Jr.By a second marriage to Elizabeth Kincaid he raised two boys Marshall B. and James A. making a total of 12 children raised to maturity.

Grandfather had six sisters:Mariam who married a Johnson, Susan who mar-ried Dr. John Brown, Rachell who married Ezekiel Holcomb, Nicie who married Ed Johnson, Teena who married Elijah Nichols, and Anna who mar-ried Asa Hughes.

He (grandfather Neal) lived on a farm on Big Sycamore in Clay County all his married life.He cleared out a large farm in that wilderness as it was when he settled there.

He died at home (and is buried on the place) on January 18, 1891.He was 76 years old.His first wife died when Jonathan Jr. was born.His last wife died some years after his death.His daughters married as follows:Francis married James M. Kincaid, Irenda married first a Kincaid (don’t know his name) and then married James Kincaid of Fayette County, Albina married James Kincaid [sic][30] Angeline married Rev. R. W. Moore, Adaline married Henderson Moore.The boys married as follows:Anderson married Catherine J. Darlington, Morrison married Barbara J. Fitzwater, Simpson married Eliza Moore, Jonathan [jr.] married Martha Morton, Marshall married Nona Pritt, James A. married Adda Sizemore, and after her death he married her sister, Lutis Sizemore.

Morrison Neal, another one of Jonathan’s sons [and Anderson Neal’s brother] was born c. 1847 on Twentymile Creek.He married Barbra Jane Fitzwater[31] on October 25, 1866, the Rev. F. G. M. Hughes officiating.The marriage is of record in the Office of the Clerk of the Clay County Commission [formerly County Court], RE-INDEX AND COPY OF MARRIAGES RECORD NO. 1.Morrison appears in the 1850 census, Family # 385[32], as the three year old son of Jonathan Neal; Barbra J. Fitzwater was the daughter of William J. and Christina Fitzwater.[33]

Morrison lived only 7 years after his marriage to Barbra, fathering Henry, Harmon Isaac and Reuben before he died January 15, 1874.His widow, Barbra married Thomas A. Legg and the three Neal boys are listed as stepchildren in the household of Thomas Legg in the 1880 census.[34]

Harmon Isaac Neal was born at Indore, Clay County, on October 8, 1870.He married Ella Prussia Mullins in Clay County on April 18, 1897 and fathered two children, Estelle Neal who married Abner Hamrick, at one time the high sheriff of Clay County, and our father Leonard Maloy Neal.After Grandma Neal died Harmon married a second time to Rosie Maud Neal, his first cousin.

Harmon Isaac serves as a reminder to me of missed opportunities and he might have been of great help to me in gathering information about the family to include in this family history. Of course I didn’t know at the time that I would be writing this family history.

Dad took us to visit Grandpa Neal only once that I recall, although we went to visit Grandpa Jeffers at least once and often more than once every year.Until I was in high school we usually went to the Jeffers “homecoming” and sometimes we’d just go to visit relatives in Bickmore and Fola at times of the year other than the homecoming.

Grandpa Neal lived just outside of Meadow Bridge on a farm in Fayette County and on that one-time-only visit I can’t really remember whether Grandpa was even there that day.The thing I do remember about being there is I was keenly aware that step-Grandma Maud seemed less than enthusiastic about having us—I could not shake the feeling that we were not welcome.

I was still pretty young and the adults still tried to protect me from information that I was “too young to hear.”Nonetheless, I remember overhearing bits and pieces of stories and over time I formed the impression that when Dad was about the age of puberty, he had some kind of fracas with Maud and tried to kill her.

Recently my brother Skip filled in some of the missing parts of the story; he told me that dad was washing dishes and Maud came up behind him and started hitting him on the back of the legs with a switch.According to family legend, he allegedly whirled around with a knife in his hands and tried to cut her guts out. When he swung the knife she jumped back out of reflex and he managed to cut only her dress from side to side clear across the front exposing her naked abdomen underneath.He left home before Grandpa Neal came in from the field where he was working.He reportedly figured his dad would kill him if he stayed there.

Rosie Maud Neal was born in April 1891 in Nicholas County, West Virginia.Her father, Jonathan N. Neal, was the youngest son of Jonathan Neal and a brother of Morrison Neal so she and Harmon were first cousins.Dad was born in 1899; there would have been only about eight years difference in their ages.It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see the tension between a young man approaching puberty with a step mother only eight years older than he was.

According to family reports, Dad went to live with his Uncle Reuben and lived there until he was old enough to go out on his own

Sometime after our one visit to Grandpa Neal’s farm, Grandpa came to live with us for a short time.This was after we moved off the hill and down into the lane at Clear Creek. Grandpa was born in October 1870 and died in 1957 at the age of 86 so he must have been in his late 70s or early 80s at the time.[35]I remember he got to sleep in my bed and I was relegated to the couch.He had apparently given up his home to Maud and her children. The impression I got was that he was living first with Estelle, then with us and then with any of the other relatives who would have him.

He came for an indeterminate visit and being the impatient, immature teenager that I was, I had visions of his staying at our house for the rest of his life and I would have to sleep on the couch until I was old enough to leave home.He was pretty inconsiderate as I recall and he kept my mom hopping trying to keep up with his incessant demands.He woke me a half dozen or more times each night getting up to go to the bathroom.All in all it was a rather unpleasant experience for me and I was glad when he finally moved on to the next relative.

I had little regard for him and gave little thought to his circumstances and feelings; I had no clue as to how it might feel to be old and helpless and have to depend on the charity of others just to stay alive. I just knew he was a grouchy old man who ordered my mother around and treated her as if she were a hired servant; he was more than a mere inconvenience to me.While I was always courteous and polite to him—how dare I not be;after all, he was my dad’s dad and to be rude to him was to risk death—I don’t remember ever having a real conversation with him.

John Neal and hisDescendants

Generation No. 1 - X

This is the first generation for which we have accurate, verifiable information.The previous generations, Jeremiah Neil and Murdoch O’Neal are known from published family histories and W.G. Brown’s Families of Nicholas County, West Virginia but have not been verified from original sources.

JOHN NEAL (JEREMIAH, MURDOCH) was born in Virginia before 1770[36].Dorsey just says that John was born “after 1750.” John may have had a brother Jeremiah born c. 1763 [See: FN 22, p. 8].John moved west with the frontier and settled in that part of Virginia that later became West Virginia.John married ANN O”DELL August 24, 1805 in Kanawha County, [W.] VA, she was the daughter of JEREMIAH O’DELL and RACHEL WALTERS.[37]Ann was born in Shenandoah Co., Va., and died before March, 1844.[38]John died sometime between December 29, 1840 and March, 1844.[39]

Notes for JOHN NEAL:

* The census data was reconstructed from the tax lists of 1783-1786.
* John Neal appears in the publication Virginians in 1800[40] @ p. 108. John Neal was in the 1790 census for Greenbrier County, Virginia. This is a private compilation, the original census having been lost. Information is taken from the 1800 tax lists. John is listed as living in Hanna District of Greenbrier County and there are two tithable [taxable] adults living in the home. He lists zero slaves and four horses as taxable property.

* John appears on the Kanawha County tax list for 1809, [spelling: John NEALE].

* 1820 Nicholas Co., Va. Census, p. 12,[41] [spelling: John NEALE].
* 1830 Nicholas Co., Va. Census, p. 23. [name spelled NEIL].
* John purchased 100 acres of land from Daniel Curry c. 1817.[42] The following year, on November 18, 1818, he conveyed 20 acres to Jesse James and John McHamilton apparently as the result of a law suit to collect a debt.[43]

* On April 10, 1827, Jeremiah O’Dell conveyed 100 acres on Twentymile Creek to John Neil [sic].[44] On the same day John Neil and his wife Ann conveyed 50 acres of land to Jeremiah Neal for the sum of $1,000.00.[45]

* John made a will on December 29, 1840. The will was admitted to probate on March 13, 1844.[46] In the will, John’s wife Ann and his son Jonathan were named as co-executors. The Will Book does not indicate when John died; the only property to pass under the will was the home place to Ann for life and upon her death in equal ½ shares to the two youngest daughters, Christina and Mary Ann.[47] The rest of this paragraph is speculation: but I can imagine, from the timing of the will [December 29th], the children all gathered at home for the holidays and an ageing (and possibly ill) John parceling out his worldly belongings or perhaps allowing each of the children to pick some heirloom that they wanted to keep. These gifts would then be reduced to writing in John’s will.

In all probability, family members would not have disputed Ann’s life estate and no property would pass until her death, so the family may not have felt the need to probate the will until after Ann died.The only thing certain about John’s date of death is that he was alive on December 29, 1840 and he was dead on or before March 13, 1844.

John’s father, Jeremiah [also called “Jerry” in many genealogical documents] may have been a soldier in the American Revolutionary War. One historian wrote “John Neil, a son of Revolutionary War soldier, Jerry Neal , who never came to this county, settled on Twenty Mile in 1819 [sic].[48]His son Jerry Neil married Peggy Brown, daughter of Alexander Brown.His sons William and John spent their lives on Twenty Mile and raised large families none of whom now live in the county.”[49]

There is another family of Neils, descended from Samuel Neil who came to Nicholas County at approximately the same time as our ancestor John.Samuel “was prominent in the affairs of the county,” but was not related to our Neal family.[50]

Children of JOHN NEAL and ANN O’DELL are:

ARABEL, m. Neil Rogers

DENISA, m. David Johnson

JANE LILLY, m. William Nichols


JEREMIAH, b. c. 1807, NicCo.;d. January 18, 1891, NicCo, WV

RACHEL, b. 1810; m. Ezekial Holcomb

RUTH, b. 1813; m. Sylvanus O’Dell

JONATHAN, b. Sept 5, 1814, NicCo., d. January 18, 1891, NicCo.

SUSANNAH, b.1817, NicCo., VA; m. John Brown

MIRIUM, b. 1822; m. Robert Williams

CHRISTINA, b. December 1825, NicCo. VA.

MARY ANN, b. 1830

Greenbrier County Circuit Court Records

There is no direct evidence linking our ancestor, John Neal, with any of these court records; however, given the fact that only one person named John Neal was listed in the 1790 U.S. Census for Greenbrier County, Virginia, it is probable that at least one of these records [dated 22 November 1786] could relate to our John Neal.All subsequent records are for a time period after the formation of Kanawha County in 1788.John should not be called to jury duty in Nicholas if he was living in the new county of Kanawha, unless he was still on the Greenbrier County Tax rolls.


John P. Neal [and a number of other people] were indicted by the Grand Jury on the 22nd day of November, 1786 for failure to report taxable property.Greenbrier County Court Orders 1780-1850 @ p. 46.

John Neal was called to jury duty in the trial of John Cabell vs. Robert Crawford, in covenant [i.e., contract, usually relating to real estate] on the 29th of May, 1799.Id., @ p. 237.

Entry dated the 24th of May, 1809:“John Neal who stands accused by the oath of Nancy Nichols of being the father of Nancy’s male bastard child, Neal be bound to support the said child for four years from this day.Neal’s securities in this matter are William Handley and Jas. Salmons.”Id., @ p. 243.

John Neal was called to jury duty on the 29th day of August 1810 in the trial of a criminal matter Commonwealth vs. Benham Nelson.Id., @ p. 250.

John Neal was called to jury duty the following day, the 30th of August, 1810 in the trial Armstrong Admnrs. vs. Rogers in case [obsolete. the word “case” used in this sense was “a general term for any action, cause or suit, or controversy, at law or in equity.” It could be an action in divorce, orders of support for relatives, establishment of highways, etc.Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th ed.]

John Neal was called to jury duty on the 26th day of March, 1819* in the civil trial of David Anderson vs. Wm. McClung.Greenbrier County Court Orders 1780-1850 @ p. 288.

Note: *By 1819 Twentymile, where John Neal lived, was in the new county of Nicholas, now twice removed from Greenbrier County since it had been in Kanawha County for a while.There may have been another John Neal (not our ancestor) who lived in Greenbrier.This needs further research.[/b]

Generation 1 - C

ANN O’DELL (JEREMIAH O’DELL, ELIJAH O’DELL, SAMUEL OLDALE,[51] LEMULE OLDALE, SAMUEL OLDALE) was born c. 1874 in Shenandoah County, Virginia.She was the daughter of Jeremiah O’Dell and Rachel Walters.Ann married John Neal August 24, 1805 in Kanawha County, Virginia.She died, probably around March 1844 or shortly before.[52]


* The researcher who did the Pritt family genealogy and the LDS Library in Salt Lake City each have Ann’s parents listed as Elijah and An O’Dell. Neva Jane Stout Bryant believes the Ann, who was the daughter of Jeremiah O’Dell, was born c. 1783.[53] Elijah and An O’Dell also had a daughter Ann, born in 1764 who would have been Jeremiah’s sister, [and the aunt of the Ann O’Dell who married John Neal]. Some elementary math will show that Elijah’s daughter Ann would have been about 66 years old, well beyond childbearing age [absent a Biblical Miracle], when John Neal’s youngest daughter Mary Ann was born in 1830. Therefore, Elijah and An O’Dell were Ann O’Dell Neal’s grandparents.[54]

JEREMIAH O’DELL, was born November 1, 1761 in Powell’s Fort, Frederick County, VA;He married Rachel Walters on August 6, 1782, the Rev. James Ireland officiating.[55]Jeremiah served in the Revolutionary War.He applied to obtain the benefits of an act of Congress passed on June 7, 1821 and on October 9, 1832 he filed an affidavit setting out his service to the Continental Army.He entered service under a Capt. Denton in June or July of 1779; after three months service he returned home only to be drafted again in the spring of 1780 for another three month term.When that term ended he was drafted for a third three month term beginning in August or Early September 1780.[56]

The original immigrant ancestor was Samuel Oldale who was born in England around 1640.He arrived in America aboard the ship “Martha” in 1677.He died in Bucks County, PA about 1705.Intervening generations between Samuel Oldale and Jeremiah were Lemuel Oldale and Samuel Oldale,[57] (no doubt named for his grandfather, the immigrant ancestor).

Generation No. 2 - X

JONATHAN NEAL (JOHN, JEREMIAH, MURDOCH) was born September 5, 1814 in Nicholas County, Virginia and died January 18, 1891.He is buried on the home place on Big Sycamore Creek, in present day Clay County, West Virginia.He married ROSANNA BROWN November 22, 1835 in Nicholas Co., Virginia.She was born c. 1815 in Virginia.She died c. 1852.He married ELIZABETH JANE KINCAID March 23, 1854 in Nicholas Co.She was born c. 1829 in Nicholas Co.


* The 1820 Census for Nicholas County shows John Neale [Neal] as head of household and with a male child of the right age to be Jonathan Neal.

* In the 1830 census Jonathan was listed in the wrong age category: the census was taken by Samuel Price and, according to Bobbitt,[58] “it seems to be an accurate and careful job. The census is complete and consistent with the counts that Mr. Price totals for the region.”[59] John Neal is listed as having a son in the age category 5 to 10. In fact, Jonathan would have been about 16 years old. We know from other sources that John Neal had only two sons and one of them, Jeremiah Neal, is listed in the 1830 census as having his own household. So the boy at home had to be Jonathan. While it is possible that Jonathan was living somewhere else temporarily and some other male child was living with John Neal, that possibility is so remote that under the KISS[60] principle I dismiss it out of hand and assume the census taker made a mistake.

* Jonathan has his own family and is listed as head of household in the 1840 census. He would be about 26 years old. He has five female children under 5 years old, born between 1835 and 1840. [Carol Shrader lists only three of them: Francina, b. c. 1836; Albina, b. c. 1838 and Amanda, b. c. 1840. See: FN 37 ante.

* 1850 Nicholas County, Va. Census #385. Jonathan is now 36 years old. He lists nine children between the age of 11 months and 14 years

* 1860 Clay Co. WV Census @ p. 22: House and family numbers 147-147; Jonathan is 45, his wife Elizabeth J. is 31, and children Francina, 24; Adaline, 17; Anderson 16; Angeline, 15; Morrison, 13; Margaret, 12; Sempson [sic], 10: Jonathan, 7; and Marshall, 1 year old. Also living in the home is 70 year old William Kincaid, most likely Elizabeth’s father. Jonathan listed his occupation as “farmer” and he owned real estate valued at $2,500.00 and personal property worth $1,000.00.

From the family numbers and the fact that the three families were counted on the same day, July 6th it appears that Jonathan’s neighbors were 60 year old Jane Kincaid living alone [family #146] on the one side and George W. Brown, 21 years old and his wife Sarah A., age 18, [family #148] living on the other.The Brown family lists no real estate owned and only $50.00 worth of personal property.[Speculation:were they newlyweds living on

a corner of a larger property owned by the Brown family (Rosanna’s relatives)?]

The reason for including this information is that family groups usually flocked together on the frontier and often one’s relatives can be determined by his seeing who his neighbors were.This obviously needs further research before drawing any conclusions.However, one of the possibilities is Jonathan, after the death of his wife, Rosanna, may have married his neighbor Elizabeth Kincaid.The William Kincaid in Jonathan’s home may have been Elizabeth’s father and may have moved in with his daughter as he got older and was unable to care for himself.If that is the case, his (maybe) wife Jane stayed behind in their home next door.(Jane was 60 years old and William was 70.There is no direct evidence that they were husband and wife.The author inferring their relationship to each other and to Elizabeth, (Jonathan’s wife) based on the close physical proximity of their homes and the historical pattern of relatives clustering together.

* 1870 Clay Co. WV Census #684-50-50; lists Jonathan and his second wife Elizabeth, Simpson, a son by his deceased wife Rosanna, is still at home at age 21, and Jonathan’s children by Elizabeth, Marshal and James. MARY A. O’BRINE [sic], a 30 year old domestic servant is also listed as living in the home.

* “Our Family History” by J. H. Neal, Sr. dated December 7, 1932:

* J. H. [James Henry] Neal was the son of Anderson Neal and the grandson of Jonathan Neal. In an eleven page manuscript the author sets out his own recollection of the family’s history (beginning on p. 5 ante). In it he says that his grandfather [Jonathan] Neal “was born on September 5, 1914 (sic) in what is now Nicholas County on Twenty Mile Creek three or four miles above Vaughn….He died at home (and is buried on the place) on January 18, 1891. He was 76 years old.”

* Jonathon owned 233 Acres of land on Sycamore Creek in 1840. Deed Book 2, p. 44.

HISTORY TIMELINE:Jonathan was born in 1814, the same year the British burned Washington, D. C.


FRANCINA, c. 1836

ALBINA, c. 1838

AMANDA, c. December 1840

ADALINE, c, 1842-3

ANDERSON, b.February 3, 1844 in Virginia; d. February 19, 1899

ANGELINE, c. 1845-6

MORRISON, c. 1846-47 in Virginia; d. January 15, 1874 in Clay Co., West Virginia

MARARET, c. 1848

SIMPSON, b. June 10, 1849; d. September 17, 1928

JONATHAN N. NEAL, b. March 1852 in Nicholas Co., VA;d. December 18, 1932.


MARSHALL, b. February 28, 1858

JAMES ALLEN, b. April, 1868

ENOS, b. 1869

ISABELLA, b. February 12, 1875; d. January 20, 1876

Generation 2 - C

ROSANNA BROWN (Parents undetermined as of this writing) was born c. 1815 in Nicholas County, Virginia; she married Jonathan Neal in Nicholas County on November 22, 1835.She died c.1852[61].


* Jonathan Neal is listed in the 1840 census as being between 20 and 30 years old. One female [no name given in the census other than the head of household but from other sources we know Jonathan’s wife was Rosanna] is also listed as between 20 and 30 years old. At the 1840 census the couple had 5 girls all under 5 years old.

* There are two possibilities for Rosanna’s father: (1) Alexander Brown had two daughters who were in the right age group; and (2) Joseph Brown had three.[62]

* According to Uncle Willis “Buck” Brown Rosanna was not related to him but probably was the daughter of “Dr. Brown.”[63]

[See:additional notes in the entry re: Jonathan Neal.
Generation No. 3 X

MORRISON NEAL (JONATHAN, JOHN, JEREMIAH, MURDOCH) was born in 1847 on Twentymile Creek in Nicholas County, [West] Virginia, just across the county line from Lizemores, Clay County.Morrison married BARBRA JANE FITZWATER on October 25, 1866.Barbra was born about 1850; she was the daughter of William J. and Christina Fitzwater.MORRISON died January 15, 1874 and his widow, BARBRA[64] married Thomas A. Legg.[65]


* Listed in 1850 census; Family # 385 [son of Jonathan]

* The marriage of MORRISON NEAL and BARBRA FITZWATER was performed by F. G. M. Hughes and is recorded in the RE-INDEX AND COPY OF MARRIAGES RECORD NO. 1 in the Office of the Clerk of the Nicholas County Commission (formerly Nicholas County Clerk). .


HENRY, b. 7-28-69

HARMON ISAAC, b. 10-8-70

REUBEN, 10-8-72

Generation No. 3 (continued)

JONATHAN N. NEAL (JONATHAN, JOHN, JEREMIAH, MURDOCH) WAS BORN March 1852 in Nicholas Co., Virginia; he died on December 18, 1932 in St. Albans, WV.He married MARTHA FRANCIS MORTON February 13, 1875 in Clay Co., WV.MARTHA FRANCIS was the daughter of JOHN MORTON and VIRGINIA BOGGS.She was born May 13, 1855 in Clay Co.She died May 16, 1907 in Lizesmores, Clay Co., WV.


* 1880 Nicholas Co., WV Census, Vol. 9, ED 105, Sheet 16, Line 30

* 1900 Nicholas Co., WV Census, Vol. 23, ED104, Sheet 7


* Buried in the cemetery behind Lizesmores Methodist Church


HOWARD, B. May 23, 1877 in Clay Co.; d. January 19, 1962 in Putnam Co.

EDWARD RAY, b. April 1, 1882 in Lizemores; d. 1962 in Tennessee

HOMER ACE, b. March 1884, Lizemores; d. may 18, 1933 in Nallen, WV

ROSIE MAUDE, b. January 1891, Nicholas Co., WV; m.HARMON NEAL, the son of her uncle MORRISON NEAL.

ETHEL ADELINE, b. January 1894, Nicholas Co., m.FRANK NESTER

AIRIE, b. After 1900; m. WILLIAM BAKER

Generation No. 4 X

HARMON ISAAC NEAL (MORRISON, JONATHAN, JOHN, JEREMIAH, MURDOCH) was born at Indore, Clay County, West Virginia on October 8, 1870.He died in 1957 at the age of 86.He married(1) ELLA PRUSSIA MULLINS in Clay County, April 18, 1897, the Reverend T. Given officiating.[66]She was the daughter of WILLIAM MULLEN and ASENATH HAMRICK.[67](2) ROSIE MAUD NEAL, b. April 1891 the daughter of Jonathan N. Neal.


* On the marriage license to HARMON ISSAC, PRUSSIA listed her age as 24. In fact, according to the birth records for Clay County she was 26.[68]

* HARMON ISAAC married a second time to his first cousin, ROSIE MAUD NEAL on June 23, 1907. She was 16, he was 37.[69] Our dad, Leonard Maloy, would have been about 8 years old at the time. MAUD was the daughter of JONATHAN N. NEAL, Harmon’s uncle.

* On July 28, 1888 Moses C. Cline and Virginia Cline, his wife, conveyed land to H. I. [Henry] Neal and his brothers Harman I and Rhuben [sic] Neal.[70] Cline had purchased the property, which joined the Jonathan Neal farm, from John Hill on June 8, 1872.[71]


ESTELLE, b. c. 1898, m. ABNER HAMRICK, b. _____________; At one time Uncle Abner was the Sheriff of Clay County.

LEONARD MALOY, b. 1899, Clay County, West Virginia.The records at the Clay County Court House confirm the live birth of a male child to HARMON ISAAC and PRUSSIA NEAL in 1899.[The court house record is damaged and a day and month could not be determined, nor could the child’s name.m.GOLDIE MARIE JEFFERS, daughter of NORMAN McGINNIS JEFFERS and ARIE JANE KEITH.

Generation No. 5 X



* [This entry, and this entire family history, is a work in progress: Watch this space for new information to be added].







GLENN RAY NEAL, b. 2/18/37, Clear Creek, Raleigh County, WV


Author’s NOTE: [i]This narrative was prepared for presentation at the NEAL FAMILY REUNION, July 7, 2002.Therefore, it contains many gaps and areas which obviously need further research.I wanted to share with the family what I had learned up to this point.Permission is freely given to reproduce any of the material herein for your own personal, non-commercial use PROVIDED credit is given to the author(s).If you are a serious researcher the author recommends that you use this narrative as a kind of “road map” to lead you to the original materials which should be cited.THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS AND SUBJECT TO REVISION WHEN NEW FACTS COME TO THE AUTHOR’S ATTENTION.

[1] Dorsey, James Boyd, Neals, Dorseys, Surratts, Mortons and Holcombs (1963), p. 7.[This is a 50 page typewritten manuscript compiled by James Dorsey and published and distributed by Rev. Paul Dorsey, 362 Wyoming, Dayton, OH or Route 1, Winchester, OH.
[2] One researcher thought Murdoch O’Neal came to America and his son Jeremiah was born here; however, there is a great deal of evidence to the contrary so I am discounting that information.
[3] Greenbrier was formed out of Montgomery and Botetourt counties, and later would be subdivided to contribute land to the formation of Kanawha and Nicholas counties, Virginia, [later West Virginia].
[4] See: Appendix A.
[5] See: Appendix B
[6] J. H. Neal, Sr. (1864-1944) was the son of Anderson Neal, brother of our great-grandfather Morrison Neal.J. H. composed a family history wherein he writes that he knew his grandfather Jonathan [who died in 1891] and almost certainly would have heard from his grandfather’s own lips the tales of Jonathan’s father, John, coming to Western Virginia and grandfather Jeremiah , coming to America and carving a home out of the wilderness.He most likely would also have heard stories about Jeremiah’s father [Jonathan’s great-grandfather] Murdoch back in Ireland.
[7] Brown, William Griffie, The News Leader, Richwood, WV (1981) at p. 362.Brown was a teacher and a highly regarded local historian.
[8] There was a Jeremiah Neal, b. c. 1763, who served in a Revolutionary War unit from Hampshire County, proven by historical documents.If the information about Jeremiah O’Neal being born in Ireland in 1730 is correct then obviously this Jeremiah is not our ancestor.He may have been immigrant Jeremiah’s son, which would make him John Neal’s brother, or he may not have been related to ourfamily at all.
[9] Twentymile takes its name from some of General Lewis’s scouts who, on the march to Point Pleasant, said “they had gone twenty miles up stream to recover straying horses.” Brown @ p. 13.
[10] It is possible the Brown is right—John may have lived somewhere else in Greenbrier County and came to Twentymile in 1819.Until I have more definitive evidence I consider that unlikely.
[11] A warrant was not always recorded as soon as it was issued.It is possible the Warrant carries an earlier date than 1786 but we know with certainty that a John Neal, almost surely our ancestor, was in Greenbrier County at least by 1786.
[12] Deed Book 1, p. 12.Of record in the Office of the Clerk of the Nicholas County Commission [formerly County Clerk].
[13] Deed Book 1, p. 37.
[14] Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia.
[15] See: Map at p. ___.
[16] In some old documents and in Brown’s History it is sometimes written “Twenty Mile.”
[17] All county data is from the West Virginia Bluebook, published annually by the Clerk of the West Virginia Senate.NOTE:although the map shows Greenbrier County with the date 1777, the actual formation date was 1778.
[18] The original census records were destroyed when the British burned the United States Capitol during the War of 1812.The census records to which I refer are reconstructed records made up from state census records and tax lists.Approximately half (39counties) of Virginia has had their census data for 1790 reconstructed in this way.Much of the information for Greenbrier County comes from tax lists for the time period 1783-1786.
[19] Dorsey,@ p.7.
[20] Calculated from the 1830 census which lists John’s age as “over 60 . . . born before 1770.”
[21] The Index for Kanawha County Marriages has two listings, apparently for the same couple:John Neale to Ann Odle on August 24, 1805 and John Neal to Ann O’Dell on August 24, 1805.The first entry has Edward Hughes as the minister conducting the ceremony; the second list Edw. R. Hughes as the minister.
[22] John made a will on December 29, 1840 and the will was admitted to probate in Nicholas County in March 1844.See: Photocopy of will at Appendix D.
[23] Big Sycamore Creek in present day Clay County is just across the ridge from Twentymile Creek in Nicholas County so the Jonathan Neal farm and John’s home place were quite close to each other.
[24] See: Appendix D.
[25] This is fairly well documented through wills, land records, census records, etc.[See the more formal genealogy which follows].
[26] West Virginia officially became a State on June 20, 1963.
[27] Anderson Neal was the brother of our great grandfather, Morrison Neal.
[28] This should be 1814.
[29] This is the only reference to Aunt Peggy being a Baccus before her marriage to Jerry Neal; most accounts say Jerry married Peggy Brown, the daughter of Alexander Brown.
[30] Two possibilities: (1) J. H. may have confused Irinda and Albina and have both married to the same man OR, (2) more likely there were two James Kincaids.If number 2 is correct, given the small number of families on the western frontier at the time, it is likely the two James Kincaids were cousins.
[31] Capt. George Fitzwater [ethnically Norman-French, according to Brown] was one of the earliest settlers of Nicholas County.He was joined by two relatives, twin brothers Thomas and John Fitzwater.Barbra almost surely traces her ancestry from one of these but I have not yet begun researching spouses of the Neal men named herein.I have listed only the spouses who readily appear in the same documents as the men.
[32] Bobbitt, John W., Author and Publisher: Families in 1850 of Clay, Nicholas, and Webster Counties West Virginia. (1980)
[33] Id., Family # 289
[34] PO15, 1889 census of WV, Vol. 4, compiled by William A. Marsh.
[35] I graduated from High School in 1953 so it was at least a couple of years before that.
[36] The U. S. Census for Nicholas County 1830 lists John’s age with “*males over 60 [born] before 1770.”For my own convenience, the census data I am using is a compilation of census data in Families of Nicholas County, West Virginia, Bobbitt, John W., 2502 Eye Street, N.W. © 1979.I am satisfied that the information is accurate but if you wanted to use this data to establish eligibility for membership in a patriotic organization (such as the D.A.R.) you would need to do further research and get cites from the original census records.
[37] This information comes from the Web site Histories.htmmaintained by Carol Shrader.This well researched and, I believe, authoritative site [she is an official Registrar for the D.A.R.] contains a wealth of information on all of the known children of each generation.I have concentrated on our direct line. (But see: FN 38 which follows).
[38] The LDS library shows John Neal married Ann O’Dell, daughter of Elijah O’Dell,in Kanawha County, Virginia on 25 December 1805.The researcher who submitted that information accurately lists 8 of the 12 children: Jeremiah, Rachel, Ruth, Jonathan, Susan, Denica, Miriam and Christina.This information also appears in the Nichols/Pritt family history.The most likely source for the misinformation is Ruth O’Dell’s book, Over the Misty Hills. However, I believe the info listed on Carol Shrader’s website is accurate,i.e. that Ann’s parents were Jeremiah and Rachel O’Dell.Elijah O’Dell was Ann’s grandfather.[See: Some Known Descendants of Jeremiah and Rachel Walters Odell by Neva Jane Stout Bryant, published for the author by Jamont Communications 339 Luck Ave, P. O. Box 331 Roanoke, VA 24003-0331(1999)].
[39] When John’s will was made in December, 1840 he named his wife Ann and son Jonathan as co-executors.When the will was admitted to probate in March, 1844 Jonathan was listed as the surviving executor.
[40] By Steven A. Bridges © 1987 [found in the reference section of the Jackson County Public Library, Ripley, WV].
[41] Bobbitt, John W., Families of Nicholas County, West Virginia.© 1980.Published by John W. Bobbitt, 2502 Eye Street, N. W. Washington, DC 20037.
[42] That transaction is of record in Nicholas County Deed Book 1, p. 12.
[43] Id., at p. 37.
[44] Id., at, p. 544
[45] Id.
[46] Will Book 2, p. 199, of record in the Office of the Clerk of the Nicholas County Commission (formerly Nicholas County Clerk).
[47] Most of the bequests to the children are in the form “to my son Jeremiah Neil all that he has gotten from me” or some similar language.
[48] John NEAL is listed on the Kanawha County, [W.] list for 1809.Id. p. 3.Therefore he lived on Twentymile before 1819 and, from information contained in other sources, probably earlier than 1790.
[49] Brown, at p. 362
[50] Id., at p. 361
[51] Also spelled “Odale” “O’Dale” and “Odell” in various deeds and other documents.
[52] Her date of death is inferred from the Will of her late husband, John Neal.John’s will, naming his wife Ann and son Jonathan as co-executors, was made December 29, 1840.John’s date of death is not known but his will was admitted to probate March 13, 1844 and Jonathan was named the surviving executor.
[53] The 1820 Census sows John’s wife in the category 26-45 [born between 1775-1794]; the 1830 census has her age 50 to 60 [born between 1770 and 1780].
[54] Bryant., Neva Jane Stout, Some Known Descendants of Jeremiah and Rachel WALTERS NEAL, Published for the author by Jamont Communications, Roanoke, VA.1999.
[55] Notarized statement of William Smith Arthur, Deputy Clerk, Shenandoah Co. dated August 30, 1857 in support of an application by Jeremiah’s children for a military war pension based on Jeremiah’s service in the Revolution.
[56] Stout Bryant,
[57] Id.
[58] BOBBITT, John W.Families of Nicholas County West Virginia @ p. 27.
[59] Id.
[60] Keep It Simple, Stupid.
[61] Perhaps in childbirth given the age of the youngest child, Jonathan N. b. March 1852.
[62] Bobbitt, Families of Nicholas County, West Virginia @ p.8 and p. 15.
[63] I question this because Dr. Brown was the son of Alexander and on first look the age of Alexander’s children would not seem to permit an intervening generation before Rosa was born.
[64] Family #289 1850 census, Nicholas Co.
[65] PO15, 1880 census of WV, Vol. 4, compiled by William A. Marsh
[66] Clay County Marriage Book 2, p. 234.
[67] Family #367, Census of 1850
[68] Register of Births and Deaths 1858-1890.
[69] See!I’m not the only one who likes younger women.
[70] Deed Book 4, p. 610.
[71] Deed Book 2, p. 495

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