The History of the Neal family

G. Edward Neal



Home Preface                             Beaver Pond Neals of Virginia



     The Neal family outlined here came from Ireland and settled on Beaver Pond Beach of Deep Creek, which flows east into the Appomattox River. It is just south of Amelia Court House, Amelia County Virginia, and is an artificial reservoir above a dam built for a grist mill. This area was initially Prince George  Co.

    The Beaver Pond drainage basin terrain is slightly rolling and the soil is a grayish red, probably a mixture of clay and sand. At one time, Beaver Pond Beach was used as a canal from the dam to Petersburg for transporting tobacco.

     According to Virginia records, we know our Neals came from Ireland in 1718 and 1730. The Neals were Presbyterians and it seems likely that they were Scots-Irish who initially migrated from Scotland to Ulster Ireland perhaps in the late 1600s. Anyone interested in the history of the Scots-Irish should read "The Scotch-Irish, a Social History" by James G. Leyburn, published in 1962 by the Univ. of N.C. Press.

     Carl B. Neal, the author of the Beaver Pond Neals of Virginia corresponded with Professor Leyburn regarding our Neals as being more Scots than Irish in their character rather than more Irish as he thought Professor Leyburn had described the Scots-Irish. Professor Leyburn replied "your Neal ancestors came to America in 1718; that was pretty early in the century of migration. It may well have been that their own parents had very recently gone to Ulster from Scotland, for there was a considerable migration from Scotland after 1689. This would easily account for their being "more Scotch than Irish". What you quote from John Hatchett's narrative about the qualities of the Neals would also apply to literally hundreds of Scotch-Irish settlers."

     John Hatchett in his narrative, written between 1790 and 1805, describes the Neals as "honest, industrious, money making people, Protestant religion, were great church people, their creed and catechisms were strictly attended to and learned to their children at an early age. My mother's parents lived on a rich plantation." John Hatchett also stated that his Neal ancestors, including several uncles, were from Ireland and settled on Beaver Pond.

     Professor Leyburn also wrote "that they should have gone to the Appomattox River region seems very understandable to me. That district of central Virginia was one of the early centres of Presbyterianism in the colony. Indeed, the first Presbyterian in Virginia was named Hanover, and the Presbyterian religion is still strong in that whole region. My guess would be that the early Neals felt that in Amelia county they would be settling among people of their own sort, even though many of the Presbyterians there were of English stock rather that Scotch-Irish."

     There were other Neals on record in Amelia County that lived, or at least owned property there. There was an Arthur Neill, a Thomas Neal and a William Neal. While it may seem resonable to assume they were related in some way to our Neals, there is absolutely no record or evidence to show any relation. What the available records do show, however, is that they could not have been descendants of Steaven Neall Sr.