Alden Neal

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ALDEN NEAL, farmer and general merchant of Cowanshannock township, belongs to a prominent and old settled family of this part of Armstrong county and is himself one of its representative citizens. He has been thrifty and successful in the management of his own affairs, and has several times been chosen to fill township offices, the duties of which he has performed faithfully an satisfactorily. His father, the late Smith Neal, was one of the largest t landowners in the eastern part of the county, and a leading man in public and church matters for many years.

The Neal family is of German decent, and the ancestors of this branch, Henry Neal, was a farmer in the Cumberland valley. He had three brothers who served in the Colonial Army in the Revolution, an were all killed in the battle of Brandywine. He married a Miss. Smith, by whom he had three sons: William, who settled in Armstrong county; john who became a farmer in Butler county, and Smith.

Smith Neal, son of Henry, was born March 5, 1764, in the Cumberland valley, in Cumberland county, and thence removed to Butler county, Pa., where he settled in 1796, among its early pioneers. He enlisted in the Colonial Army during the Revolution, and served one day. He was also a soldier in the was of 1812, and afterward served as a surveyor for the government. The gun that he carried has been preserved in the family, and is now in the possession of his great-grandson, Alden Neal. In 1833 Smith Neal removed to Armstrong county, where he purchased the farm which he cultivated until his death, Aug. 5. 1863, when he was in the one hundredth year of his age. He was a millwright by trade. He was a Whig in Politics and a member and a member of the Seceder Church. He married Sarah Cochran, and they had one son Robert.

Robert Neal, born in Butler county July 5, 1778, was a farmer of Butler county until 1834, when he bought a farm in Armstrong county. He was a member of the Seceder Church until his death, Dec. 24, 1862. In politics he was a Whig and afterwards a Republican, and served as the first inspector of elections in his township. He married Sarah Love, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1797 and died in December, 1857, and they had five children, three sons and two daughters: William H. married Eliza Stuchel, and settled near Marion; Rosetta P. married Thomas H. Marshall, a merchant and farmer of Dayton; Alexander went to California; Smith is mentioned below; Mary J. (deceased) married James Hanagan, and after his death married James Temple, of Iowa.

Smith Neal was born in Butler county, Pa., Jan. 25, 1822, and was reared on his fathers farm. He attended the subscription schools of the neighborhood, and engaged in farming from the time he left school, in Cowanshannock township and elsewhere. Besides his Cowanshannock township farm of two hundred acres he also owned the home farm of five hundred acres. Until his death which occurred June 7, 1899, he was a well-known resident of the township, holding various local offices and taking an influential part in the activities of the United Presbyterian Church at Dayton, to which he and all his family belonged. He served as elder for many years, and represented the Brookville Presbytery in the general assembly of the United Presbyterian Church held at Philadelphia in 1887. Politically he was a Republican.

On May 25, 184-, Mr. Neal married Margaret Sloan, who was born in 1823, a daughter of Samuel and Nancy Sloan, old settlers of Plum Creek township. To Mr. and Mrs. Neal were born five children, one son and four daughters: Nancy Jane, now living in Los Angeles, Cal., Amanda, wife of Johnson Irwin, a carpenter, of Pomona, Cal.; Sarah C., wife of Samuel Burns, formerly a farmer of Cowanshannock township, now in Dayton, Pa.; and Margaret and Alexander who are deceased. Mrs. Neal passed away March 17, 1861, when thirty-nine years of age. On April 10, 1862, Mr. Neal married (second) Caroline Jewert, of Plum Creek township. To this second union were born six children, two sons and four daughters: Loella R., who married John P. Beyer, and after his death became the wife of A. M. Hines, a resident of Harrisburg and a conductor on the main line of the Pennsylvania railroad; L. Adda, wife of John Downey, of New Brighton, the inventor of the "Keystone Driller" and a steam pump; Alden; Robert E.; who lives on the farm adjoining the homestead; and Mattie V., who married William Elder, and Alice L., who married L.M. Lukehart, both now living in Los Angeles, California.

Alden Neal was born June 25, 1876, in Cowanshannock township, where he received his early education in the common schools, later attending Dayton Union Academy. He began life as a farmer, but in 1902 went to work at the carpenter´┐Żs trade, following same until 1907. He then commenced the general merchandise business he has carried on, and has built up a profitable trade, showing a steady increase. he also engages in farming in Cowanshannock township, and is regarded as one of the substantial men of his locality. he has been chosen to various local offices, having served as assistant assessor , auditor and supervisor in his township, in every capacity proving his fitness and ability. He is a member of the U.P. Church at Dayton, belongs to the I.O.O.F., Jr. O.U.A.M. and F.A.M., and is a republican in his political views.

On Oct. 23, 1889, Mr. Neal married Margaret Jane Rankin, daughter of Matthew and Margaret (McCord) Rankin, of Cowanshannock township, and they have had eight children, namely: Smith, John G., Erastus J., Alexander A., Alice M., Sarah C., and Jennie Elizabeth and Charles M. (twins), all at home but Smith and John G., who are in Los Angeles, California.

Source: Pages 897-898, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed November 1998 by Nanci Michalkiewicz for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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