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Salem Pioneer Cemetery ~ George W. Neal ~ part of the Marion County Pioneer Cemeteries of Oregon
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George W. Neal
TITLE: Mr. GENDER: M MILITARY: Corporal, Co., 53rd Tennessee Infantry, CSA
BORN: 7 Jan 1817 DIED: 17 Jan 1897 BURIED: 18 Jan 1897
ETHNICITY:   OCCUPATION:  Gunsmith and Blacksmith
BIRTH PLACE:  Tennessee
DEATH PLACE: Salem, Marion Co., Oregon
IOOF - George Neal, age 80, b. Tennesse, d. N. Salem of old age, and was "an old pioneer".
Family home corner of Mill & 11th st., Salem.
Marion Deeds Vol. 33, pg 336 (June 23, 1884/Dec 26, 1885)

From: Steeves, Sarah Hunt, BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE OF MARION COUNTY, OREGON, PIONEERS 1840 - 1860, Portland, Oregon, The Berncliff Press, 1927, pp. 34-36, (Source: Mrs. W. L. Wade, Salem, Oregon, 1926.)
"In the year 1844 four brothers by the name of Neal came together in the same immigrant train and settled on donation land claims near West Stayton. These brothers were born in Tennessee. Their names were Peter, Alexander, Calvin and George W. 
It is of George W. Neal that we write this sketch. He was married to Millie Stephenson, born in Ohio in 1831. Mr. Neal was born in Tennessee in 1831, he and his wife being of the same age. Mr. Neal was a gunsmith and blacksmith and wherever the family lived he plied his trade. During the long trip over the plains, the Neal families had only the average hardships. Ever present was the fear of Indians but their greatest hardships came in the Oregon country. They came by canoe from The Dalles to Oregon City, as in 1844 there were no roads across the mountains. In those days there was no doctor except in Yamhill county and at Willamette Falls, later called Oregon City. It was to the latter place they had to go for all supplies and even then they could only purchase a limited amount. For instance, one could only buy $1 worth of sugar, 8 yards of calico at $1 per yard and other necessities were limited in like manner. Wheat was boiled for hominy and also parched and ground for coffee. Tea was very scarce. They had to depend upon wild game for their meat, but game was quite plentiful at that time. 
It was from the daughter of this family, Mrs. Melinda Wade, that the author obtained this information. At the age of eighty, her mind was as bright and she was as much interested in life as most folk at half her age. She told me how bare their cabin was-just a few pieces of home-made furniture, and at the time of the writer's interview, she sat in a home-made chair that had been in the Neal family since the early forties. The chair was made by a man named Levi Gertman, a son-in-law of Gabriel Brown, who came west in 1842, and was a most comfortable chair and good to look at. 
The Neal cabin was located between two tribes of Indians. The Indians were' all around them and a strict watch had to be kept at all times. They were very bold when only the women were home alone and would walk right in and take possession. They would demand food or clothing and it took great courage to withstand their insolence. Mrs. Wade said that as their cabin was right on the road, or what passed for a road, in that early day, travelers often stayed over night with them. These were times when the Indians were not too friendly and many were the tales of Indian uprisings and of folk being scalped that were told them by these frontier guests. She said as a little child she was actually nauseated by the fear that these wild tales brought her and by their own dreadful experiences. At one time Mrs. Neal was alone in the cabin, bending over her wash tub, when she heard a scratching noise and as she turned she saw a dirty red-black hand reach between the logs and clutch the wooden pin that held the door, their only means of fastening at that time. She at once grabbed the black wrist with one hand and the tongs with the other, while she rained blows upon the wrist, saying "let go," or "memaloose," meaning to destroy or kill. It took many hard blows before he released his hold. There were about half a dozen savages around the cabin peering between the chinks. Mrs. Neal was terrified, as she did not know if they planned to burn the cabin or take her prisoner, but finally they went away. She firmly believed it was God's care over her that saved her from a dreadful fate. 
At another time, an old Indian chief, Crooked Finger, the mortal dread of all pioneer women of the Willamette country, came to the Neal cabin and demanded "hiyu" blanket, "hiyu, klootchman dress," "hiyu" meaning many blankets or many white woman's dresses, etc. This brave woman answered him with no show of cowardice, "halo" blanket, "halo" klootchman dress, meaning she did not have any for him. When he made his first demand he struck her in the face with a piece of rolled- up buckskin and again he struck her in like manner each time he asked for blankets. All the while Mrs. Neal was backing toward the back door and then stepped out into the yard and in a high, clear voice, called to her husband, who was working about a half mile away. He heard her and came at once, with his gun and ax. In the meanwhile the red-skins kept up a parley among themselves until they saw Mr. Neal coming, when they jumped on their horses and fled. 
At another time there was Indian trouble in another part of the country and the men had to be away to put down the uprising and the women and children would hide in the woods over night and often heard horses' hoof beats on the hard road, not knowing if it were white men or Indians. At all times that dread of the savage marauders was uppermost in their minds. Looking back over that lapse of over eighty years, one wonders at the great price at which this fair Willamette Valley was wrested from the wilderness, to be made a safe home land for future generations. 
The children of the George Neal family were: Eli F., who married Mary Brown. Wm. Hampton, who died in childhood. Sarah E., who married O. F. Dennis. Rhoda, who married Alonzo Gesner. Millie A., George L., and Melinda Jane, who first married a man by the name of Jones and then married William L. Wade of Salem, Oregon."
At his home in North Salem, at 7 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 17, 1897, G. W. Neal, aged about 97 years. Deceased was the brother of C. F., G. L. and Anna Neal, Mrs. W. L. Wade and Mrs. Rhoda Gesner of Salem and Mrs. Sarah Dennis of Portland. 
He was a native of Tennessee and during his boyhood he moved to Missouri with his parents. In 1844 he crossed the plains to Oregon arriving at Oregon City in the fall of that year. The next year he became the husband of Millie A. Stephenson and they lived together most happily until death claimed the Wife on April 26, 1884. 
From 1845 to 1865 Mr. Neal resided on a donation land claim not far distant from Stayton, in this county. In the latter year he removed to Salem and erected the dwelling in which he breathed his last on Sunday. 
After establishing himself comfortably as a resident of the Capital City's northern suburb he took up the trade of blacksmithing which he pursued until 1890 when ill health caused him to relinquish his position at the Anvil. 
Mr. Neal was a member of the Masonic order for many years, being at the time of his death on the roll of Salem lodge No. 4. He was a most respected citizen and had a host of friends and acquaintances who will deeply mourn his death. 
The funeral was conducted at the residence by R. J. W. Bowersox, pastor of the United Evangelical church, at 2:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon, after which the local Masonic fraternity took charge of the remains and interred them in Rural cemetery beside those of his wife. 
Oregon Statesman 19 Jan. 1897 8:3 

G.W. Neal Expired Sunday, A Salem Octogenarion Who Crossed the Plains in 1844 
At 7 o’clock Sunday morning, G. W. Neal died at his home, corner of Mill and Eleventh streets, North Salem, at the advanced age of over 80 years. Mr. Neal’s exact age cannot be ascertained owing to the fact that the family Bible that contained a great valuable family history was either lost or unintentionally destroyed, many years ago. Hence the early life of Mr. Neal is somewhat obscure. 
He was a native of Tennessee but when a boy, removed with his parents to Missouri. Early in 1844 he joined a party of emigrants for Oregon, and was subjected to the many unpleasant experiences attendant on such an expedition in those early days. The company arrived in the Willamette Valley October 15, of the same year. Mr. Neal settling at Oregon City, where in 1845 he married Miss Millie A. Stephenson with whom he lived happily until her death at Salem on April 28, 1884. 
Shortly after his marriage Mr. Neal settled on a donation land claim a few miles from Salem, a part of which is now occupied by the townsite of Ale. 
In 1865 Mr. Neal removed to Salem where he has since resided, working constantly at his trade that of blacksmith until 1890, when owing to ill health he was obliged to refrain from such vigorous exercise although he has at times, worked at his trade until quite recently. 
Mr. Neal’s death was caused by old age, the immediate cause being heart failure. He leaves two sons and four daughters; viz; E. F. and G. L. Neal, both of Salem; Mrs. Sarah Dennis, of Portland; Mrs. W. L. Wade, Mrs. Rhoda Gesner, and Miss Anna Neal, of Salem. Among those crossing the plains with Mr. Neal who are still living are: Dr. L. L. Rowland and Centenarian John Durbin, of Howell Prairie. 
Mr. Neal in 1840, while in Missouri, became a Mason and in 1844 became a charter member of the first Masonic lodge organized in Oregon. At the time of his death Mr. Neal was a member of Salem Lodge No. 4. A.F. and A.M. He was the oldest Mason on the Pacific coast. Funeral services were held from the late residence at 2:30 o’clock this afternoon. Rev. J. Bowersox, of the United Evangelical church, delivered a short address, after which the local Masons took charge of the remains. Interment was had in the IOOF cemetery and the remains were deposited besides those of his wife, who preceded him in 1884. 
Daily Capital Journal 18 January 1897 2:3
Geo. W. Neal 
Born in Tennessee 
Jan. 7, 1817 
Jan. 17, 1897
(east face of monument shared with Millie)

IOOF Register of Burials 
DAR pg 73 
Steeves, BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE, pp 34-36 
OS 19 January 1897 8:3 
WCJ 18 January 1897 2:3

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