Benjamin T. Neal

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 9, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 459-460

BENJAMIN T. NEAL, JR. The ancestor of the Neal family
was Capt. James Neal, who changed his name from O’Neal
during the Revolutionary war because one of his brothers
was a colonel in the British Army. Capt. James Neal
was born about 1737, and raised a company to join Wash-
ington’s Army at Valley Forge and subsequently was offered
a commission as major in the army of General Greene.
After the war he returned to his home in Greene County
Pennsylvania. He keenly felt the poverty of the frontier,
and is said to have sold a land grant of four thousand
acres in Ohio for three hundred dollars. In the spring of
1783, as a deputy surveyor, he surveyed the preemption
right and settlement claim of Alexander Parker of Pitts-
burgh, the land upon which the city of Parkersburg has
since been built. In the fall of 1786 he again left Penn-
sylvania, with a party of men bound for the Kentucky
country, but he and some of his companions stopped at the
mouth of Little Kanawha and decided to make permanent
settlement. Here they erected the block house afterward
known as Neal’s Station, the first structure of the kind in
what is now Wood County. In the spring of 1787 Captain
Neal returned with his family to Neal’s Station. During
succeeding years, until the victory of General Wayne in
1795, this settlement was exposed to recurring raids of
Indians, during one of which a son of Captain Neal was
killed. He was not only the first settler but always first
in the affairs of his neighborhood until his death, which
occurred at Neal’s Station in February, 1822. He was a
captain of Frontier Rangers, and held the office of justice
of the peace and commissioner for the examination of sur-
veyors. His first wife, Hannah Hardin, who died in 1784
was a sister of Col. John Hardin, a distinguished char-
acter of the Revolution and founder of the Hardin family
of Kentucky. She was the mother of all but one of Capt
James Neal’s children. His two sons who continued his
posterity under the family name were John and James

Of these John Neal was born in Greene County Penn-
sylvania, May 10, 1776, and died October 14, 1823. He
was prominent in the affairs of Wood County, was a mem-
ber of the County Court from May 12, 1800, until his
death, served as high sheriff from 1807 to 1809, and in
1809 was elected a member of the House of Burgesses of
Virginia, serving two terms. In 1796 he married Ephlis
Hook, who was born about 1780 and died June 27, 1852.
She was the mother of thirteen children, fourth among
whom was Cincinnatus James Neal.

Cincinnatus James Neal, representing the third genera-
tion of the family in Wood County, was born January 1
1803, and died August 25, 1869. On February 24, 1836,
he married Mary Ann Collins. Their children were: Vir-
ginia M., Benjamin Tomlinson, Mary L., John Collins
Narcissa P., Guy A., Libbie B., Eliza K. and Deric P.
Cincinnatus Neal during a number of years was a mer-
chant in Parkersburg, and subsequently at Cleveland, Ohio.
His son, Benjamin Tomlinson Neal, Sr., was born at Park-
ersburg in February, 1838, and in 1867 was appointed the
first agent at Parkersburg for the Adams Express Com-
pany. With this corporation he remained a faithful and
responsible employe and official for more than forty years.
In 1884 he was transferred to Columbus, Ohio, where he
remained until he retired in 1910, but he died at Parkers-
burg. His wife, Sallie Burns Shrewsbury, was born June
24, 1840, and died December 18, 1881. She was the
mother of four children: Fannie S., wife of Frank P.
Moats; Benjamin Tomlinson, Jr.; Edward Burns, court
official; and Wellington V.

Benjamin T. Neal, Jr., who therefore represents the
fifth generation of the family in Wood County, was born
December 2, 1873. He acquired a public school educa-
tion, and since the age of sixteen has been connected with
the banking business at Parkersburg. For fifteen years
he was an employe of the Second National Bank, but since
1903 has been with the Union Trust & Deposit Company,
of which he is treasurer. He is a member of the Benevolent
and Protective Order of Elks. The church of the family
is the Episcopal and nearly all those descended from Cin-
cinnatus Neal have been republicans in polities.

Benjamin T. Neal, Jr., married Mabelle Armstrong,
daughter of William and Emily (Shannon) Armstrong.
Their two children are Clifford B. and Emily A., and Clif-
ford is now the only descendant in the fourth generation
of the family of Cincinnatus Neal.