Biography of William R. Neal
Tulare County, CA Biographies





WILLIAM R. NEAL.
The record of William R. Neal is that of a man who by his own unaided efforts worked his way from a modest beginning to a position of independence and influence in his community, and the history of Tulare would be incomplete wtihout specific mention of him. William R. Neal, leading merchant and postmaster of Springville for the past twelve years, was born on the 18th day of March, 1851, and is the son of W. R. and Elizabeth (Burnett) Neal, both representatives of old Southern families and of Scotch-English descent. The Neals usually followed farming, though among them were Methodist preachers and merchants. Grover Cleveland's mother was a Neal and a first cousin of W. R. Neal. During the latter's boyhood he had considerable correspondence with Grover Cleveland and these letters are cherished highly by the members of the family now in Tennessee.

William R. Neal secured his elemental education in the public schools and then entered Burrett College, in Van Buren county, Tennessee, from which he was graduated with the class of 1872. During the following thirty two years he engaged in pedagogical work, teaching school in Comanche, Texas, Golden Dale, Washington, and Arlington, Oregon. While at Golden Dale he was elected county superintendent of schools, holding that position four years, and also served one term in the lower house of the state legislature and one term as state senator. After locating in Arlington, Oregon, he was also elected county superintendent of schools. His record as an educator was a most enviable one and still further honors doubtless awaited him had he elected to continue in that profession. However, he retired from the school room and went to Monmouth, Oregon, where he was in the mercantile business two years. In 1907 he came to Springville, Tulare county, and bought a small stock of groceries. In this enterprise he was successful and as he was prospered he enlarged his stock and his scope of goods until eventually he became the owner of a general mercantile business, which he is still operating. He carries a large and carefully selected line of goods, pays particular attention to the needs of his trade, and by his courteous and prompt service he has built up a large and profitable trade. On March 4, 1913, he was appointed postmaster of Springville and is still the incumbent of that office.

Mr. Neal was married on August 30, 1875, to Miss Sarah Jane Murphy, a native of Iowa, though their marriage occurred in Texas. They have five children living and three dead: W. A., now a merchant of Bakersfield, was associated for a time with his father in business; Minerva is the wife of Rev. W. M. Holderby, a Presbyterian clergyman of Chicago, who has done much lecturing on the Chautauqua platforms during the summer seasons; Jennie is the wife of W. J. Taylor, a rancher near Springville; Lilly, the wife of K. D. Dutton of Los Angeles; Gwendolyn is now Mrs. Harold Baker of Visalia; James, the second child in order of birth was accidentally killed by a gunshot wound at the age of twenty one years; John C. died in infancy; and Rockey also died in infancy. Mr. Neal is a democrat and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Neal has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows ever since attaining his majority. He was president of the Springville Chamber of Commerce when one was in existence here some years ago.

From:
History of Tulare County, California
By: Kathleen Edwards Small
and
Kings County, California
By: J. Larry Smith
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1926


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