THOMAS W. NEAL, of Allin Township, is occupied in farming pursuits on section 5, where he owns 410 acres of
land, which he has brought to a fine state of cultivation. Mr. Neal is a native of Indiana, born in 1835, and the
son of Thomas and Nancy (Wilson) Neal, natives respectively of Kentucky and Tennessee. The mother was born near
Nashville in about 1798, and Thomas Neal in about 1800. They were married in 1826, and located in Indiana on a
tract of timber land consisting of 240 acres, which Mr. Neal cleared and brought to a state of cultivation, and
where he established a homestead, which he occupied until 1851. He then sold out and came into Allin Township,
this county, where he purchased a half section of land, which constituted a part of the homestead upon which he
spent the remainder of his days. He subsequently added to his first purchase and before his death was the owner
of 400 acres. His wife, the mother of our subject, departed this life in 1883, and Thomas Neal, in 1884. Their
nine children were as follows: Mary J., John A., Sarah A., Elizabeth, Malinda, Martha and Susan (twins); Thomas,
and the youngest child died unnamed. The parents were connected with the Presbyterian Church and worthy members
of the community.
Mr. Neal of our sketch attended school during his youth and boyhood and remained with his parents until his marriage, which occurred after he had reached his majority, the lady of his choice being Miss Cynthia A. Brown. After marriage the young people removed to their farm of 160 acres, which constitutes a part of their present homestead. To this Mr. Neal subsequently added until he is now the possessor of 420 acres, all under a good state of cultivation.
The farm residence is a commodious and substantial building, and the barns and outhouses fulfill the requirements of a first-class modern agriculturist. Mr. Neal is giving much attention to the raising of fine stock, which includes Durham cattle and Poland-China hogs.
Mr. Neal has been prominent in the affairs of his township since coming here, holding the offices of Trustee for about nine years, and has also been Path Master and School Director. He is Democratic in politics, and his wife is a worthy member of the Presbyterian Church. Their children, twelve in number, are Emily, who married William Ayers; Margaret, deceased; an infant boy who died unnamed; Oscar; Ida Belle, who married David Holmes; George, Bertie, Anna May, Marj H., deceased, another infant unnamed, Frank and Ada.
Mrs. Neal is the daughter of Joel and Margaret (Ayers) Brown. Her father, who was born in Tennessee, died in Tazewell County, Ill., in 1855, and the mother, a native of Ohio, died of cholera in 1854. They were the parents of four children, three sons and one daughter, the latter, Mrs. Neal, being eleven years of age when she was made an orphan. Her brothers were Richard, Edward and James. The parents were worthy and consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and carried out in their daily lives the principles which they professed.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 558. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.