The History of the Neal family

G. Edward Neal



Home Introduction                              Beaver Pond Neals of Virginia



   Carl B. Neal  published the Beaver Pond Neals of Virginia in 1965 after several years of extensive research. This book is well documented and can be found in most major libraries and Carl's records were  microfilmed and placed in the LDS Library in Utah. The film was also donated to the Seattle City Public Library.

     Carl put his heart and soul, and money, into researching and publishing the BP book and I for one owe him a great deal of gratitude and thanks. I never met or talked to Carl before he passed away but I did correspond with his widow, Mildred Sinnott Neal and she gave me written permission to use the BP material in my research and in any subsequent publications. 

     Although this volume relies heavily on the original BP book it does not by design contain every item. The purpose of this volume is to integrate additional data that has been found since the BP book was published. Also, while the BP book makes an excellent reference book, it does in my opinion, contain too much data that is presented in a manner that makes it difficult for the average reader to follow. Hopefully, this work will allow one to follow the generations easier and those needing additional data and/or documentation can consult the BP book.

     As with all genealogy projects there are inevitably missing people and sometimes whole lines that are not accounted for. The BP book is no exception and that is one of the reasons I decided to write Volume II. I also wanted it to be an extension of the BP book rather than a separate book to honor Carl and to simply expand and continue his research.

    When I began my research in the mid 1970s, I quickly ran into the proverbial brick wall as most, if not all genealogist do at one time or another. I knew who my g-grandfather Neal was, where he was born, and his mother's first name but that was it.

     My g-grandfather, Thomas Fletcher Neal, apparently had some kind of rift with his mother and/or with his brothers Wellington and Armistead Neal and moved away from the family into another county. My father remembered Thomas very well and he said Thomas never talked about his family. Ironically, after an argument over a horse, Thomas also had a son that walked off the farm one day and never returned or heard from again. 

     I worked for the Federal Government at the time I started my research and was able to do most of my early research at the DAR Library in Washington D.C. as well as the National Archives.

     On one visit to the DAR Library I came across the BP book and immediately felt a connection. It's weird but I just knew these were my ancestors! Unfortunately, disappointment soon set in as I could not find my connection. I did find someone that could be my g-grandfather but things just didn't seem right. On subsequent visits to the library I was drawn to the BP book like a magnet, hoping each time I would find something that I might have missed before. 

     On one occasion I was reading about a Judge Stephen Neal that seemed to be a very interesting person and might therefore of had a biography published somewhere. He also happened to belong to the branch that I thought my g-grandfather might belong to. As luck would have it, I found a biography of Judge Stephen Neal and lo and behold, all my prayers and questions were answered. 

     When I saw my g-grandfather and gg-grandmother's names in Judge Neal's Biography, my first impulse was to jump up on the table and shout "I found you!!!!!". Being in the DAR library, however, I decided that probably would not go over very well so I just shouted it in my head. After all, I certainly did not want to be barred from this library.

     So, my strong feelings of a connection to my ancestors, who were living through the work of Carl B. Neal, were true and correct. My g-grandfather was pretty much where he belonged in the BP book but what Carl didn't know, and what made finding my connection difficult was that my g-grandfather was from a second marriage. It seems that after his first wife died, John Neal who was about 65 years old at the time, remarried a young lady, Eliza Fletcher, and became the father of two additional sons: Thomas Fletcher Neal, my g-grandfather, and James W. Neal.