The history of the Neal family
  G. Edward Neal



Home The Beaver Pond Neals  

    Thomas Fletcher Neal

     Thomas Fletcher Neal was the son of John Fremont Neal and Eliza Ann Fletcher. He was born in either Nicholas or Bath County Kentucky on September 8, 1839. After his father John died in 1848, he moved with his mother Eliza,  brother James, and two step brothers Armistead and Wellington Neal to Cooper County Missouri sometime after the 1850 census.

     Thomas married Mary Frances Hammond, also spelled Hammons, in Cooper County on October 21, 1858. Mary was born December 19, 1842 possibly in Cooper or Lincoln County Missouri and was the daughter of Edward Hammond and Martha "Patsy"  Barlow. Mary died in Polk County Missouri on July 8, 1908 and is buried in Reed Cemetery in Halfway Missouri. Thomas remarried Margaret Catherine ?Howe?, daughter of Mathew Dunbar and Elizabeth Alderson in 1910. She died in Bolivar on March 18, 1916. Thomas died on August 15, 1922 and is buried in Reed Cemetery in Halfway Missouri.

     In September of 1862, Thomas enlisted in Co. H, 52nd Regt. of the Enrolled Missouri Militia. He served in that regiment until July of 1863 when he enlisted in Capt. Richard Newman's Co. of the 4th Prov. Regt of the Enrolled Missouri Militia. He was honorably discharged at Otterville in  Cooper County in September of 1864. In 1891 and again in 1894, Thomas applied for a Federal pension based on his civil war service outlined above. His applications, however, were rejected on the basis that the Enrolled Missouri Militia was a state organization and not part of the Federal service.

      Soon after his discharge from the Enrolled Missouri Militia in 1864, Thomas and Mary moved to Halfway, Polk County, Missouri where they bought a farm, possibly with the money Thomas inherited from his father John, and grew apples from which he made and sold apple cider. According to my father, some of his customers were Jesse and Frank James , the Younger brothers, et al.

 When Thomas moved to Polk Co. he seems to have broken all ties with his mother, brother and step-brothers who had moved to nearby Pettis Co. and then to Benton Co. Missouri. According to my father and other family sources, Thomas never discussed his family with anyone so there apparently was some kind of serious disagreement between them that was never reconciled. As a point of irony, Thomas also had a son who walked off the farm after an argument with his father and was never heard from again.

     Thomas was primarily a farmer but according to family sources, he may have taught school at some point in his life, as did his step-brothers Stephen, Armistead and Wellington, and was often referred to as the "professor". It seems more likely to me that since he was obviously educated, in a time and place where most were not, he was simply referred to as the "professor" because of his education.  Thomas was also known for his penmanship and artistic ability.


Children of Thomas Fletcher Neal and Mary Frances Hammond 

1. James W. Neal was born in December of 1860 in Cooper County Missouri. He moved with his parents to Polk County Missouri where he spent the remainder of his life working on his father's farm. James never married and died on July 7, 1939. He was buried in Reed Cemetery in Halfway Missouri.



2. Clay Armistead Neal was born circa 1862 probably in Cooper County Missouri. The 1870 census list his birth as being in Iowa but the 1880 census states Missouri. There is nothing further known about him at this time.



3. Thomas Allen Neal was born on December 8, 1863 in Cooper County Missouri. Thomas, or Al as he was called, married Adeline H. Chappell circa 1890. He died on December 15, 1951 in Polk County Missouri and is buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery. Adaline "Addie" was born on September 18, 1871 in Polk County Missouri and was the daughter of Lawfull Chappell and Elizabeth McKinny. She died on April 30, 1913 in Polk County and is buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery.

1. Maude Neal

2. Lola Neal

3. Raymond Chappell Neal

4. Hazel Neal

5. Noble Neal



4. Nellie M. Neal



5. Charles E. Neal was born in March of 1868 in Polk County Missouri. He married Cansada Redd in 1890. She was born on April 27, 1856 in Iowa and was the daughter of Andrew J. Redd and Sovina Barham. Cansada died in Polk County on July 4, 1916 and is buried in Reed Cemetery.


1. Unnamed Infant born in 1891.

2. Jack Andrew Neal

3. Thomas Neal

4. Unnamed Infant



6. Walter S. Neal was born in 1870 in Polk County Missouri. According to my father, Walter got into an argument with his father one day over a horse and walked off the farm never to be heard from again. Whatever happened to him is still unknown but my father told me that Jack Andrew Neal, son of Walter's brother Charles, who became a Los Angeles California police detective, was convinced that Walter Edward Scott, or as he is better known "Death Valley Scotty", was actually Walter S. Neal. Jack Neal confronted Death Valley Scotty with this and he neither confirmed or denied it. I do not know what Jack Neal based his assumptions on but he did state that Death Valley Scotty resembled his uncle Adonnis Neal in both looks and mannerisms. I have a picture of Adonnis Neal and although it is difficult to see his face due to shadows, there is a strong resemblance to Death Valley Scotty.

I doubt that Scotty and Walter Neal are the same but it is true that Scotty, who was actually a con man, and Adonnis Neal, who would have been his brother, were both "horse traders". It would be extremely interesting to know if Walter Neal's middle initial "S" was for "Scott"! Perhaps I will research this further and see where it leads.




7. Nancy A. Neal



8. Edward Lee Neal was born in April 26, 1875 in Polk County Missouri. He married Harriet Samantha Mary Elizabeth Ann Laughlin [also spelled as Lofton] on April 6, 1904 in Laclede Co.,  Missouri. Harriet, or Hattie as she was called, was the daughter of George W. Laughlin and Mary Jenkins, daughter of William R. Jenkins and Harriet Hatcher, and was born in February of 1884. Her mother Mary died in childbirth and her father George later remarried. According to family sources, George's new wife was extremely cruel to the children so William, the oldest child, took his two younger sisters,  Hattie and Stella and ran off to Jenkins and other relatives who then raised the children. Also according to family sources, William was so mad at his father for not protecting the children from his wife that he changed his name from Laughlin to Lofton. Hattie would have little to do with her father when he came to visit her at one point when she was an adult and I am not sure if she ever forgave him. William may have forgiven him, or perhaps simply felt obligated to care for him, because his father George died in his home in Springfield Missouri on March 15, 1939.  Hattie's sister Stella married Edward Neal's brother Zan Adonnis Neal.

Edward and Hattie lived on his father Thomas' farm in Halfway, which is near Bolivar, and sometime in the 1930s Edward became ill with what they then called Gatarrh [sp] or something similar. This was basically either an ear or throat infection but in Edward's case it appears to have been an ear infection that became abscessed. In addition to the vial odor caused by the abscess, making it very difficult to be around him, the abscess probably pressed against his brain which basically incapacitated him. Although this disease is totally curable today and may have been then if properly diagnosed and treated, it was not and the only thing they eventually could do with him was place him in a care facility, which in those days meant a state institution.  Edward was placed in the Missouri State Institution in Nevada Missouri where he died of heart disease four and a half years later on September 15, 1941.

While  living on Thomas' farm, Hattie would sometime get so mad at the "old bushwhacker" she would move her and the kids out of the house and into the corn crib. As Thomas grew older it was difficult for him to see so he would sit around the stove most of the winter. My father George, his brothers Jess and Rome would often tease him, as young boys are apt to do, about pouring coal oil on the stove and he would yell "Hat, these boys are going to burn me up". The boys would then run and start laughing at being able to scare him. My father also told stories about Thomas selling cider to Jesse James and the Younger brothers at one time or another and once one of them stole or cheated him out of a $20 gold piece. Thomas, according to the story, chased them down and got his money back. This may have been just a story told by a grandfather to his grandchildren, with some exaggerations involved in the telling, re-telling and/or in the hearing, but as with most family stories, there is probably some truth involved also. 


1. Rome Lee Neal was born in 1904 in Polk County Missouri. He married Elsie Stewart in 1924. Rome was killed in an automobile accident in 1938.

1. Avenell Neal

2. Juanita Neal

3. William Edward Neal was born on December 1, 1928 and died December 15, 1928 due to being born prematurely.

4. Dale Neal

5. Archie Neal

6. Donald Neal

7. Merle Dean Neal



2. Jesse Fletcher Neal was born in Polk County Missouri on August 6, 1906. He married Thelma Jewell Sullivan on November 4, 1945 in Bolivar Missouri. Jesse died in 1960 in California and is buried in the Santa Paula California cemetery. Thelma, who had one child prior to her marriage with Jesse, Jewell Kaye Sullivan, died in 1977 in Bolivar.


1. Jesse Ray Neal

2. Gary Wayne Neal

3. Robert Fletcher Neal



3. Alta Florence Neal was born in 1908 in Polk County Missouri. She married Otis Seabaugh and died in Santa Paula California.



4. George Russell Neal was born September 27, 1910 in Polk County Missouri and died on August 27, 1993 in Calaveras County California. He married Viola Mae Durham on September 17, 1932 in Bolivar Missouri. Viola was born on March 6, 1917 in Bolivar and was the daughter of Ulysses J. Durham and Millie Ann Hembree.


1. Carl Gene Neal

2. Shirley Ann Neal

3. Betty Mae Neal

4. George Edward Neal



5. Mary Frances Neal was born on March 19, 1915 in Polk County Missouri. She married James Werley.

1. James Werley

2. Janice Werley

3. Mary Beth Werley

4. Anette Werley



6. Walter Arthur Adonnis Neal was born on October 2, 1917 in Polk County Missouri.



7. Thelma Viola Neal was born on February 19, 1919 in Polk County Missouri. She married Linville Overshiner.

1. Barbara Sue Overshiner

2. Linda Lou Overshiner

3. Joyce Ann Overshiner



8. Lorreta Mae Neal was born on October 4, 1921 in Polk County Missouri. She married Boyce Combs.

1. Patsy Combs

2. Larry Combs



9. Claude Junior Neal was born in 1923 in Polk County Missouri.



9. Cora Neal



10. Zan Adonnis Neal was born in Polk County Missouri on March 28, 1879. He died on April 1, 1944 in Polk County and is buried in the Mt. Olive Cemetery. Zan Adonnis or "Donkey" as he was known,  married Estella Viola Laughlin in 1901. Estella or Stella as she was known, was the daughter of George Laughlin and Mary Jenkins and was born on June 18, 1882 and died in Polk County on November 19, 1947. She was a sister to Harriet Laughlin who married "Donkey's" brother Edward.

According to family sources, "Donkey" or sometimes "Donnis" Neal was what my father described as a "horse trader". He was a farmer, as most were in those days, but he basically traded or bartered farm goods, horses or whatever for everything he needed. Trading for things in those days was a necessity and fairly common but according to my Father, his uncle Donkey made an art of it.


1. Julia Frances Neal


2. Orel Ona Neal


3. Orvel William Neal


4. Ellen Ova Neal


5. Dora A. Neal


6. Joseph Jackson Neal was born on February 21, 1911 in Polk County Missouri. He died on December 19, 1927 at the age of 16 from falling from a horse. He is buried in Mount Olive Cemetery.


7. Charles Calvin Neal


8. Maude Allan Neal was born on May 26, 1909 in Polk County and died at the age of 5 on March 9, 1916 from burns and shock after falling into a fire pit.


9. Donald Neal


10. Nora Neal


11. Mina Neal


12. Adonnis Neal was born on February 6, 1925 in Polk County Missouri and died on April 7, 1926 of pneumonia. He is buried in the Mt. Olive Cemetery.