Abstracts of Letters, Submitted by Mrs. C. L. Neill
From Family Findings
Vol. IX, No. 1, January 1978, pp. 15-24
Copyright, Mid-West Tennessee Genealogical Society, 1978
Appears on this web site by permission


Editor's Note: The following abstracts of letters were submitted by Mrs. C. L. Neill whose 1978 address was P.O. Box. 103, Pharr, Texas 78577. The letters as presented below have been rearranged chronologically.


Letters from George Clinton Neal of Bolivar, Tennessee
to James L. Neill, His Brother, in Kentucky

Bolivar, Tenn.

            Times are hard here and money scarce. There is a great deal of sickness here some cases fatal. I have got about well. I don't know when I can come for I have lost everything I ever had since this war began. I lost 7 horses and mules and everything else so I have to go to work. Send me word whether ____________ is married or not and what Bill Harrison is doing and Mack Harrison and Ed Lacy. It is Sunday and I want to go see some women and pass off the time as pleasantly as possible. If you are courting a nice girl I would advise you to marry for I am sorry that I didn't marry in Ky. 8 years ago. I am now 27 year old and not married yet. You must pick me out one and tell her to wait for if she can stand a rebel for I was devoted to the cause. . . .

7th Cavalry Mercer's Brigade
Jackson Division
Forest Corps

            You had better come out here this fall and see us then no danger after you get here. You can ride it in four days if you have a good horse.



October 15, 1865
Bolivar, Tenn.

            We have a great deal of sickness here mostly_______ am well at present I started two photographs in my last letter to William which I hope you will get. I am not married yet and don't know whether I ever will or not I think Ky. is due me a wife so you talk to them women and I recon I would have went home when Forest went to but my wound was not well so I was not on that trip but several of our boys was in Elkton and Hopkinsville. I was compelled to go on my crutches for five months. I would like to come out to see you this fall but don't think I can possibly get off. I think brother William might come. I am afraid that the girls over there would not like me for being a rebel. You must post me before I come so I will no how to behave myself. You no after being in the army for four years what sort of wife I want. My sister sends you her kindest regards.

G.C. Neill

Note: G. C. Neill married Marietta Moore 12/14/1868, Hardeman County, Tenn.


August 10, 1867
Bolivar, Tennessee

            Mr. Brogdon died the 15th of last April. Times are hard here and getting worse. I have a _____________ moving to Arkansas in ________ year. I am not married yet neither do I think that I ever will for it is hard work for me to take care of myself. The negroes have worked badly here this year. I am not going to have but few around me next year. I will try to come to see you Christmas if I can get off. Tell Billy I got his letter. Tell Ellen I wrote her the last letter after I got her picture. Remember me kindly to your wife and Ellen and Eliza in fact all tell them to write to me. Liz has never gotten any letter from you. Mary was well the last time I heard from her. Her Post Office Crainsville Hardeman Co. Tenn.

            __________ if she is married ___________ I think it is time me and both was married if we ever intend to. I don't like to have to raise a family in my old days so no more.



November 14, 1867
Newcastle, Tenn.

I am enjoying good health. Some chills. The Yellow Fever has been very in Memphis for two months but I think it is abated. I don't think that any one will plant much cotton next year. The freedmen are doing so bad that can't stand them. If I have any next year they will have to belong to me from the time I hire them until their time is out. I wish there was not one in the United States. I saw my sister this week she is well. I haven't heard from sister Mary for some time. I would like to come to Kentucky this winter but I don't no whether I can get off or not. I am not married yet. I thought of marrying about Christmas but I can't till now. If I do marry I can't come if I don't I will try to come and stay about a week. There is some talk of Pup Clinton (a cousin?) marrying but I don't no anything about it for I haven't seen them but once this year.



August 24, 1868
Bolivar, Tenn.

            You wanted to know if sister was married. She married last May to a man by the name of ____________ She lives about 15 miles from the old place. I live at the old place and have a good crop. I might come. If I can come I can't stay more than two days.

Note: Was "sister" Elizabeth and did she marry Martin Moore in May of 1868, Hardeman Co.? Another sister, Mary, had married M.W. Wyatt 12/8/1863 in either Hardeman/Henderson Co.



July 25, 1869

            You spoke like going to Kansas. I think it a good move but I prefer Arkansas. I am going to move there as soon as I can get fitted. I don't think I will get off for a year yet. I have five hands working with me this year. In your next letter let me know what good mules is worth.



December 13, 1869

          My wife has been sick for four months. My baby is two months old. He was born the 7th of October. Marietta has been at her fathers for six weeks. I go to see her once a week. I have one of the finest boys you ever saw. We call him William Archie after my father and the doctor. I don't no whether my wife will ever get well or not. Crops are poor in this portion of the state owing to the lazying of the freedmen. They wont work unless you are after them all the time with a sharp stick. I expect to be in Logan Co. (KY.) about the first of February. I will not but a few days. As to my interest in the land I will take one hundred dollars for it. I am going to have pay for the rent from the time my father died. As for my sisters I don't no what they will do with theirs.



March the 14th, 1875
Bolivar, Hardeman Co., Tenn.

            You wanted to no something about ________________ Neill (too dim to read clearly looks like John A. or John F. Neill possibly). I heard from him about 3 months ago. He was well then he is living in McNairy County near Montezuma he is married and farming as to how he is getting along I can't say for I don't no I haven't seen him in over 2 years. He married a __________ Coburn of that county. I never saw her but I think she is of a good family. Mary is living in the same neighborhood but I haven't seen her in 7 years. (Note: Mary was his sister) You can guess whether I visit my kin or not. I have been living in Hardeman County 17 years and I never saw such times. The negroes are so bad. They want let us raise any hogs. Some of them are constantly in the woods with their guns Sunday and all other times. [Mrs. C. L. Neill's Note: "Next sentence deleted as I feel sure that you would not want to print it!"] Tell me where you live. I thought you was still in Logan County. Tell me what neighborhood you live in and your nearest depot you said somethin about one of the Harrison girls going to marry. Is it one of the Bill Harrison girls or Mack. I have only one child a boy 5 years old. I call him William. Tell me who is living on the old place also let me no if Teran and Powhatan [his step brothers] have had any schooling. You spoke of being afraid of bringing your wife. I don't think there would be any danger until another crop is made for there is nothing to eat.


Letters Concerning Neill Genealogy

Houston, Texas
April 28, 1899

1013 Crawford St.
Mrs. H.H. Neill
San Antonio, Texas

My dear cousin,

            Your favor came to hand this morning. I am sorry that I know so little about my Mother's family. Like Hal I know they moved from Carolina to Tenn., but that is all. I have heard Hal's father say, also my stepmother, that the family came from Ireland and were originally named O'Neill, but dropped the O after coming to America. The O'Neills once were aristocratic people in Ireland, some of them belonged to the Royal race - My grandfather was named after a Capt. G. Falls of N. Carolina, who saved his father's life in some battle with the Indians - I think he was wounded and Capt. Falls took him on his horse and rode off the field with him. Perhaps you can get some information from one of my cousins living at Oxford, Miss. Mr. Wm. Neill - We also have an Aunt in Texas, who knows something of the family, but I do not know where she lives - I will write myself in a few days and try to help you all I can - I would like to know myself - I felt so disappointed after writing to Hal while I was in San Marcos that he did not answer - Judge Brown told me that he had expressed a wish to see me - I wrote and invited him to come and see me. I would have enjoyed seeing him so much. I have been in San Antonio several times since then, but was sick and could not get about much. I have some good friends there. If either you, or Hal ever visit this city, come and see me. I would be so glad to see you both. She is my second cousin, Mr. Ben Campbell is a member of the bar - May God bless you both.

Yours truly,
Julia Smichter (???)
Smither (??)
Smithern (??)



Oxford, Mississippi
January 15, 1900

Mrs. Dora Neill
San Antonio, Texas

Dear Friend,

            A happy new year to you. You will accept my sincere thanks for "The Story of Ireland" - whether we were originally Niels or not I can't say, the name it seems has had changes I know, how many I can't say. My father had an Uncle "Samie Nail" who lived near him in Madison Co., Tenn., these people were a direct line of Neills and moved West when Grandpa Neil died. We were amoung the persecuted of Ireland and are no doubt banished from Ireland. Had it not have been for the burning of the records in Burke Co., N.C. by the Northern Vandals we could have traced our name back to its origin. I have no sympathy whatever for the so called brave federal soldiers who fought us more than a generation past, with odds against us at Shiloh we drove them into the waters of Tennessee and had it not been for Buell with all our loss we would have captured their whole army - We whipped them at Murfreesboro (Stone's River) and they outnurrbered us about two to one, their losses being mainly 25% greater than ours. I would like to try them again altho I'm 62. England's oppresion of the Bores is in keeping with her past history. I hope that Germany & Russia will interfere before England crushes the life out of the Bore Army. The U.S. will not interfere since she stands "hand in glove" with England. I have never been able to place the Col. Neill that was wounded at Shiloh that Mr. Hal Neill wrote me about. I know of no Col. Neill there except his father.

I am very respectfully your friend.
Wm. C. Neill



Oxford, Miss.

To Mrs. Dora M. Neill
San Antonio, Texas

Dear Madam,

            The will I have is marked Copy and I suppose that Grandpa Gilbraith Neill had a copy made when he left N.C. and made from the original. This will was recorded in Burk Co., N.C. after receiving your first letter I wrote to the sheriff of Burk Co. to look up all old records and write me about them, his answer was that the federals burned up all the records and that he could give me no information. The information you are seeking will be hard to obtain unless you get up correspondence with some old citizen of Burk Co. who is the Neill you refer to in your letter who gives information as to our family, is he related to us? I have a brother somewhere that I have not seen since 1866 and would like to hear from him. My brother Jack Neill belonged to General Forest's command and had three horses shot forn under him, was with Forrest when he went into Memphis, flanking federal Gen. Smith, who burned Oxford.

          I was a member of Co. B 6th Tenn. Infantry, mustered into service 51861, was in the battles of Belmont, Shiloh, Perryville and Murphreysboro and then detailed on special duty. My other brother was a member of same regiment that I was and badly wounded in battle of Shiloh, so serious was his wound that he could not do duty in infantry, after his recovery he joined Forrest's forces and was with him when the war closed.

W.C. Neill




June 20, 1907

Mrs. Dora M. Neill
San Antonio

Dear Madam:

            Yours of June 11th. received and I will answer as best I can. Near Beech Bluff, Tenn. there is an old graveyard known as the "Neill Graveyard" and in this all of our old family heads are buried and grave stones stand at the head of each of our relatives there. I would advise you to write to Wm. Gilbreath Neill, my fathers brothers son, and get him to give you inscriptions on these old graves which I think will aid you very much. Grandpa Neill's name was Gilbreath Falls Neill, these names belong to the Neill family. Grandpa Neill died on the place that he settled when he first moved to Madison Co., Tenn. C. in my name is for Constantine. Grandpa Neill must have settled in Madison, Tenn. about 1830 or maybe earlier. I am satisfied that you will get more information from the old graveyard than any other place. Write M. Gilbreath Neill, Beech Bluff, Madison Co., Tenn. and get him to give you the dates on all of the old grave stones. The above named is now living and owns the old Neill place that Grandpa settled when he first moved to Madison.Co. Wishing you success I am,

Yours truly,
W.C. Neill

NOTE: This letter was typewritten in 1907 and in the margins he has handwritten the following; Gilbreath Falls Neill buried Neills graveyard marked by stone and that he was born June 25, 1770, died March 1842 in Tenn. and again Gilbreath Falls Neill born June 25, 1770, died March 1842, Beech Bluff, Madison Co., Tenn., and William Neill, born in Burk Co., N.C., Feb. 14, 1806.



Hillsboro, Texas
July 22, 1907

Mrs. H.H. Neill
San Antonio, Texas

Dear Friend,

            Received your letter several days since requesting information concerning the Neill family. Grandpa Neill didn't die in N.C., but died in Madison Co., Tenn. He moved from N.C. when my father William M. Neill was a boy, to Middle Tenn. and then moved to Madison Co., West Tenn. and bought a large farm and lived there until he died. I have forgotten the year of his birth and the year he died, but think I can find out - the farm that my cousin Billie Neill lived on is the farm grandpa (Gilbraith Falls Neill) settled when he first came to West Tenn. and he and all of his family are buried on that farm as he had a family cemetery and I have a boy buried there that is the fourth generation of the Neill family that is buried there. Grandpa married Annie McConnell and they had eleven children born to them, eight daughters and three sons. I don't know when they were born or when they died except my father and Uncle Jack (as we called him). My father was born in N.C., Feb. 14, 1806 and died at Beech Bluff, Oct. 15, 1876. Uncle Jack was born in N.C. in 1815 and died at Beech Bluff, Jan. 26, 1877. Grandpa's other children were Aunts Margaret, Eveline, Mary, Almira, Cesistha (?), Rachel, Sarah and Elizabeth and Uncle Sammie they died young. Grandpa Neill had several brothers, but I don't know their names except two - William and Samuel. Now please tell me what branch of the Neill family you belong to for I am certainly interested in anyone that is related to the Neills. My oldest brother was named Gilbraith Falls and Grandpa had a nephew that lived at Carrollton, Miss, named Gilbraith Falls Neill, but he has been dead for years. He had two sons Hal and Falls (I suppose his name was Gilbraith Falls) and they may be living there now. Please answer this right away and tell me how you are related to me. I will try to find out more about the family and let you know. Uncle Jack's middle name was Grandma Neill's maiden name, she was Annie McConnel of Scotch descent and the Neills were of Irish descent.

Very truly yours,
Mrs. Jennie Pope
108 Abbot St.
Hillsboro, Texas

As far as I know the "Neill Graveyard" has not been recorded and/or published and the info from same was never received when these letters were written and I so not at this date have the info from it.

Signed Mrs. C. L. Neill
Box 103
Pharr, Texas 78577