George Neal, the Revolutionary Soldier
In The Annals of Newberry, John Belton O'Neall writes the following about George O'Neall and his brother James.
The family, with the exception of James and George, removed about 1766 to South Carolina. ... James and George belonged to the American army; the former was a Major in the Virginia line, the latter a common soldier. Both served the entire war, and at its close, ignorantly supposing that the O' in their names was some aristocratic distinction, instead of meaning, as it really does, the "son of," struck it off and wrote their names Neall. James settled at, or near, Wheeling, Virginia; George in Jessamine county, near Nicholasville, Kentucky; they both have been dead many years; each left families surviving them. I should be proud if their descendants would resume the O', which rightfully belongs to their name.But, as is the case with his account of George's Tory brother, Henry, Judge O'Neall's telling of the history of George is a bit laconic and remote, lacking detail.
According to most sources, including the judge, George was a "posthumous" baby, meaning that he was born after the death of his father, Hugh O'Neall. The exact date of his birth is the subject of some discussion, as it could imply that certain documents concerning his father actually concern someone else.
In any case, we can be certain that George had quite an impressive military career. One can get a first-hand account of George's participation in the Revolution and his subsequent life by reading a transcription of his pension application, made before the court of Jessamine County, Kentucky, and kindly contributed by Anne Burroughs O'Neal, the wife of one of George's direct descendants.
After the war, George moved to the fort at Bryan Station, Kentucky. Here he met Colonel Manoah Singleton, with whose daughter, Elizabeth, he fell in love. Elizabeth, however, was only twelve and her father was quite opposed to the idea of her marrying George. Shortly after Elizabeth's 18th birthday, she and George were married anyway, for which deed Betsy's father promptly disinherited her.
At first, the young couple lived in poverty and it was some time after
the marriage, which took place on 15 February 1785, before George was able
to build a new cabin for his family. Amazingly, the cabin has survived
over two centuries and, until recently, was still visible on its original
site near Nealton, Kentucky. Since then, it has been taken apart
and removed to another site, where it is now rented as a " Bed and Breakfast".
The following pictures show how it looked on the original site.
Here is the cabin from the back ...
|... and here from the front and side.|
George Neal's grave is still to be seen near the original site of the cabin.
The tombstone reads: "George O'Neal, Pvt., 12 Regt. Va. Line, October 30, 1836, Scout, Sharpshooter". This is the last resting place of the Revolutionary soldier and American pioneer, George O'Neal, and his wife, Elizabeth, certainly his equal as a pioneer. More beautiful pictures taken in color on the cabin's new site are shown on then next page.
George and Betsy have left behind a long line of O'Neals (however they may spell their name). The accompanying Family Tree gives all the information we have (and can publish) on them. There are also an index and a bibliography of sources.
For the information on George and his family, I wish to offer special thanks to Anne Burroughs O'Neal, Mary Hamilton O'Neal and John E. Thrasher III. They are also due thanks for the tenacity and dedication with which they have aided in looking for typographic errors, misunderstandings and booboos on my part. Thank you, folks!