NEILL FAMILY HISTORY

PHILLIPS AND CALLAHAN FAMILY LINES IN ARKANSAS, TEXAS & OKLAHOMA

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NEILL FAMILY

 

JAMES CLINTON NEILL

James Clinton Neill was my 3rd great grandfather. He was born in North Carolina around 1790. He married Margaret Harriett Ferguson around 1814, probably in Tennessee. They had three children.

This sketch of him is from my imagination. There is no portrait or photograph of Col. Neill in existence, as far as I know.

 

 

The following was taken from an article titled "J. C. Neill: The Forgotten Alamo Commander" written by Stephen L. Hardin.

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NEILL, JAMES CLINTON (1790-1845). J. C. Neill, soldier and diplomat, was born in North Carolina in 1790. He was a participant of the Creek War and was wounded at the battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. In 1831 he moved his wife and three children from Alabama to Texas and settled in what is now Milam County. Neill represented the District of Viesca in the Convention of 1833. He had apparently acquired some knowledge of cannons, for in September 1835, when conflict with Antonio López de Santa Anna's Centralist troops seemed inevitable, Neill entered the Texas militia as a captain of artillery. When fighting began, Neill was at the center of the action. On October 2, 1835, he was a participant of the skirmish at Gonzales. John Holland Jenkins recorded that Neill actually "fired the first gun for Texas at the beginning of the revolution"-the famous Gonzales "Come and Take It" cannon. The rebellious Texans valued Neill's skill with ordnance, and one described him as "the first in our camp whose experience was sufficient to mount and point a cannon at the enemies of Texas." From December 5 to 10 Neill, in command of a single gun and a small contingent, provided a successful diversion to cover the assault on San Antonio de Béxar. On December 8 he commanded the battery that repulsed a Mexican attack on the Texan base camp. Had Neill's defense failed, the insurgents inside the town-cut off from their logistical support-would have been forced to abandon their assault. After the battle Gen. Edward Burleson praised Neill for performing his duties to his "entire satisfaction." 

The fall of Bexar brought recognition for Neill and a windfall of enemy artillery. On December 7 the General Council commissioned Neill lieutenant colonel of artillery in the regular army, in charge of more than thirty captured field pieces. In late December 1835 Francis W. Johnson and James Grant stripped the Bexar garrison of provisions to supply the quixotic Matamoros expedition of 1835-36, leaving Neill to hold the town with fewer than 100 men. Neill wrote bitter letters to the council condemning these "arbitrary measures." While constantly calling for reinforcements and supplies, he buttressed the defenses of the mission fort of the Alamo. On January 17 James Bowie arrived with orders to remove the artillery and blow up the fort, but instead became committed to its defense. Bowie, impressed with Neill's leadership, wrote, "No other man in the army could have kept men at this post, under the neglect they have experienced." In mid-February, Neill left the Alamo to care for his family, all of whom had been stricken with a serious illness. He left William B. Travis in temporary command, assuring the garrison that he would return within twenty days. He was riding back when the fort fell. On March 6 -the day of the battle of the Alamo -Neill had reached Gonzales, where he spent ninety dollars of his own money buying medicines for the Alamo garrison. 

On March 13 he joined the withdrawal of Sam Houston's army to Groce's Retreat on the Brazos River. Unable to transport the cannons, Houston ordered them dumped into the Guadalupe River before abandoning Gonzales, and Neill found himself a cannoneer without weapons. That changed on April 11, when the "Twin Sisters" -two matched six-pounders-reached the Texan camp. Since Neill was the ranking artillery officer, Houston named him to command the revived artillery corps. On April 20 Neill commanded the Twin Sisters during the skirmish that preceded the battle of San Jacinto. During this fight his artillery corps repulsed an enemy probe of the woods in which the main Texas army was concealed. Neill was seriously wounded when a fragment of grapeshot caught him in the hip. 

After independence Neill continued to serve Texas. In 1838 the republic granted him a league of land in Harrisburg County for his service during the revolution. The next year he ran for the position of major general of militia but lost to Felix Huston. In 1842 he led an expedition against Indians along the upper Trinity River. In 1844 he was appointed an Indian agent, in which capacity he traveled extensively. In 1845 he was granted a pension by Congress of $200 a year for life as compensation for the injuries he received at San Jacinto. Neill died at his home on Spring Creek in Navarro County in 1845 and was buried in Seguin. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832-1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813-1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938-43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970). 

Stephen L. Hardin 
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SAMUEL CLINTON NEILL

Samuel Clinton Neill was my 2nd great grandfather. He was born about 1814, probably in Tennessee. He married Lourahama Berry on June 2, 1847 in Gonzales County, Texas. She was aslo known as "Ruy". He died in about 1855.

 1850 US Census, Sandies Creek, Gonzales County, Texas, p. 334b (also stamped "668"), dwelling 176, family 176

SARAH ELIZABETH NEILL

 
Sarah Elizabeth Neill Callahan - photograph taken about 1890

Sarah Elizabeth Neill was my great grandmother. She was born January 23, 1848 in Caldwell County, Texas. She married James Sanford Callahan on January 24, 1866 in Caldwell County, Texas. She died February 15, 1900 in the town of Bromide, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory - present day Bromide, Johnston County, Oklahoma. She was commonly called "Sallie". From the stories passed down, she was a small lady who was always going out of her way to help others. She would ride on horseback for many miles to help someone that needed nursing care. She worked as a laundress at the Rock Academy in the village of Wapanucka. It was an Indian School. She apparently did not like Indians and was not proud of her own Indian heritage. She made the statement, "If I knew which of my veins carry the Indian blood, I would rip them out." She told others that her husband's father had been scalped and murdered by Indians.   

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NEILL FAMILY REGISTRY NOTES

Send me an e-mail to be added to the registry.

Leon Neal  eleonneal@aol.com
I notice your connections to the Nail/Neal family. My great grandfather was Thomas P. Nail/Neal probably born in TN and lived most of his life in and around Florence,AL. If you have info on him I would greatly appreciate it. I have hit a brick wall going on past him in my searching.
Marcy Porter  marcyptx@sbcglobal.net
I am a descendant of John A. Neill and Hester R. Humphreys, who came to Texas from Tennessee in 1831, and settled on Plum Creek, about 27 miles NW of Gonzales, or 4 miles downstream from the present location of Lockhart, Texas.

I am a descendant of John A. Neill, son of Robert A. Neill, son of William Neill and Mary Clinton (m 1750, New Castle County DE).  John A. Neill came to Texas in 1831.  He was a cousin to Col. James C. Neill.  The father of James Clinton Neill was a brother to Robert A. Neill - I'm writing from memory here, and can't remember if  his father was Anderw or Alexander.  The point here is that our two families are both descendants of William Neill and Mary Clinton.  (Just to make things interesting - Robert A. Neill had a son named William Clinton Neill, who married a Mary Clinton in KY - but the older couple is the focus here.)

Another brother of Robert A. Neill was named John.  He married Cynthia Forgy in Logan Co KY.  At some point, Cynthia Forgey Neill applied for a pension, based on her deceased husband's serviice in the American Revolution.  In her app, she spells her name just as all of this family did - NEILL.  But she also stated that the name was sometimes pronounced NAIL in NC.  I've seen transcripts of other depositions in which this distinction was made.

Depending on who the recorder was, the name is spelled variously Neal, Neil, and Neill in official documents.  On one census, I've even seen it spelled Niell.  Without fail, though, when one of these people signed his own name, he spelled it NEILL.  The only exception is a signature I have seen from about 1750 in PA - the spelling appears to be NAEIL.  This may be the origin of the "Nail" pronunciation, or the pronunciation could have just been the accent of the locality where our family was in NC.

Until I discovered the information about Cynthia Forgey Neill, I was not aware of any other pronunciation of the name other than the one my mother's family uses, "NEEL."  However, it is apparent that the pronunciation my family uses may be a later form, started perhaps around 1800.

MARCY PORTER'S HOME PAGE: http://marcyptx.home.comcast.net/~marcyptx/

Rev. Stephen E. Newton  fpc@quik.com

Dear Friends,

I found your web site searching for information on James Clinton Neill and came across your family page.  I have been told all my life that I am a direct descendent of Lt. Col. Neill, but have hit some confusion.  My confusion began after reading a newly released book titled: "James Clinton Neill: The Shadow Commander of the Alamo," by C. Richard King. 

Here is my problem: I am the son of Doris Stidham  (maiden name). Her mother (my grandmother) was Alice Owen (maiden name). Alice Owen's mother (my great-grandmother) was Alif Simms Neill (maiden name).

Alif Simms Neill was born in Comel County, Texas on August 1, 1860 and I understand she was the daughter of George Jefferson Neill and Mary Elizabeth Highsmith.  Neither your web page nor C. Richard King's book mention Alif as a daughter of George Jefferson Neill.  Could it be that if Alif was born in 1860 she may have been the youngest daughter of George Jefferson and Mary Elizabeth, and thus her name was not found on whatever document that has been used to identify their children?

My mother remembers her grand-mother Alif Simms Neill and has first hand memory of Alif saying she was the daughter of George Jefferson Neill.  Also, my grandmother lived until 1982 and she also told me she was the granddaughter of George Jefferson Neill.  Could they have been wrong?  If they were then I will be greatly disappointed finding out I am not a direct descendent of James Clinton Neill who was the father of George Jefferson Neill.

Rev. Stephen E. Newton

First Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 1114, Mount Pleasant, TX  75456

Ann (Tomerlin) Mercer  actomerlin@sbcglobal.net
My name is Ann Mercer. I came across your website and noticed the connection of Miranda Neill and Bennett Tomerlin. I am a direct descendant and would be most interested in sharing information if you are agreeable.

Miranda Neill and Bennett Tomerlin (both died and are buried in New Mexico, I received a pictures of Bennett from a cousin)
----Martin Cunningham Tomerlin m-Helen Leona Victoria (Daniels) Hardcastle
--------Martin Jesse Tomerlin m-Erie Lucy Butts
------------Henry Martin Tomerlin m-Mary Boyce Mathes
-----------------Ann (Tomerlin) Mercer
Richard Cartwright  Alamo76802@aol.com
RICHARD BURT CARTWRIGHT. 2600 C.R.347,EARLY.TX.76802.

MY FATHER WAS WILLIAM ERNEST CARTWRIGHT B;JAN.25 1899 IN UTOPIA,TX. HIS FATHER WAS WILLIAM OSBORN CARTWRIGHT B;OCT.09,1872 IN TROY ALA. HE MARRIED EDNA IONE KENNEDY B;MARCH 29,1877 IN UTOPIA,TX. HER FATHER WAS HOUSTON TAYLOR KENNEDY B;OCT.07,1846. HE MARRIED KATHERINE DEBRAH NEILL B;APRIL 18 1856. HER FATHER WAS GEORGE JEFFERSON NEILL B;SEPT.03,1808 - MARRIED MARY A. HIGHSMITH B;MAY 07,1825.HIS DAD WAS JAMES CLINTON NEILLB;1790. MARY HIGHSMITH WAS SISTER TO BEN F,HIGHSMITH.

THANK YOU, RICHARD CARTWRIGHT

MY GREAT,GREAT,GREAT GRANDFATHER WAS GEORGE JEFFERSON NEILL.
HIS DAUGHTER KATHERINE DEBRAH NEILL MARRIED HOUSTON TAYLOR KENNEDY. THEIR DAUGHTER EDNA IONE KENNEDY MARRIED MY GRANDFATHER WILLIAM OSBORN CARTWRIGHT. THIER SON WILLIAM ERNEST CARTWRIGHT IS MY DAD. IM RICHARD BURT CARTWRIGHT.I LIVE IN EARLY TX.
IM A RETIRED FEDERAL FIRE FIGHTER AND NOW WORK AS A TEACHERS AIDE IN COMANCHE ,TX.M COUSIN ANN CARR TOMERLIN CAME FROM SAMUEL C. NEILL.MY E-MAIL IS; alamo76802@aol.com.BEN HIGHSMITH I GUESS IS MY4TH GREAT COUSIN? ID BEEN TOLD ALL MY LIFE I HAD KIN AT THE ALAMO. I FINALLY REALIZED THEY WERE COURIERS OR DEAD. I GOT THIS CONFIRMED LAST CHRISTMAS ! A GREAT PRESENT. WILL SHARE ANY INFO YOU WOULD LIKE. ALSO DOES ANYONE HAVE A PICTURE OF J.C. NEILL OR GEO.J. NEILL ,OR SAMUEL NEILL?  I HAVE PICTURES OF HOUSTON T. KENNEDY AND KATE. THEY ARE BURIED I THINK IN JONES CEM. IN VANDERPOOL,TX. ACROSS FROM EACH OTHER.

ALL INFO APPREACIATED,
RICHARD B. CARTWRIGHT

Denise Liedtka  dliedtka@satx.rr.com
I have a copy of our family history a great-aunt (?) researched years  ago that showed in the 1880 Comal County census that Sally Nail (Neill), age 13, white, sister-in-law lived with Mary Elizabeth Neill Posey, wife of Francis D' Gress Posey. Her father George Neill fought with his father, Col. James Clinton Neill in the Battle of San Jacinto. It shows both spellings of Nail with Neill in parentheses. I thought this was interesting and may help you out a wee bit. My family descends from Mary Elizabeth. I am very new to this - if you have any helpful hints or further information, I'd love to hear from you.
Nancy Neill Hughes  nfo@greenparkrx.com
I am from the Neill family that is related to James Clinton Neill his brother George Clayton Neill is my family line. Their parents were James and Hannah Clayton Neill. If you are interested in the rest of this line I would be glad to share it with you. 
Charles E. Tomerlin  gtcinc@ktc.com
Charles E. Tomerlin, father Homer C. Tomerlin, grandfather Ben Tomerlin.
Russell Conkling  rconkling@satx.rr.com
I am in Col. Neill's line and I am trying to gather information about his family tree.  What I have is somewhat sketchy and comes from my cousin in Colorado.  Can you help with any information you have or can you point me to such?  If I have it right, my great grandmother Molly McVey was Col. Neill's grand or great-grand daughter.
Lynn Neill  lneill@centurytel.net   (10/16/2009)
Great-grandfather Bernard Neill, born Belfast, Ireland & immigrated to Cumberland England. His son Robert Neill & inlaws Moore and Hope immigrated to Arizona for mining. Researching Neill and related families in Arizona and California.
Karen Neill  karenbeth3@gmail.com
My name is Karen Neill and I would like to be added to the registry. I can only trace my line to my grandfather, Isom Adolph Neill, who I'm told was "very" Cherokee and from Texas. I'm told that the Indian comes from his mothers side. My father was David Neill, born in 1952 in Kingsville, TX. I'm trying to learn more about my family. Any help or information I could gather would be appreciated. Thank you,

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