Civil War Blog

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Obituary of James Neal of Rausch Creek – Served as James W. O’Neal

Posted By on April 28, 2017

The obituary of James Neal appeared in a local newspaper at the time of his death, which occurred at Rauch Creek, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, 4 November 1885:


On Wednesday afternoon James Neal of Lower Rausch Creek, one of the most respected citizens of the West End, died very suddenly after an illness of several years.  Mr. Neal was in his 46th year at the time of his death, and the father of eight children, the youngest of whom is not two years old.  He served honorably during a portion of the late war, and was at one time a leading member of Williams Post – G.A.R., of this place.  For many years he was engaged about the mines and quit that work on account of failing health.  Yesterday morning Dr. Dundor, assisted by Dr. Schropp, held a post-mortem examination of the body, which revealed an enlargement of the heart to double its natural size, and a slight degeneration of the same organ.  The lungs had hardly a spot that was of natural color, having become black from coal dust.  The gall-bladder contained more than a dozen gall-stones, about the size of a large pea, and the liver was also seriously affected.

The funeral will occur on Sunday, leaving the house at one o’clock and reaching the upper end of town about two o’clock.  Donaldson Lodge I.O.O.F., of which the deceased was a member, will turn out.  All honorably discharged soldiers and sailors are requested to meet at Odd Fellows Hall at one o’clock, and join the members of Williams Post, who will attend the funeral in a body.  Interment in the Methodist-Episcopal Cemetery.

The Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card, at the top of this post, is from the Pennsylvania Archives.  Through other documents, it can be shown that the James W. O’Neal mentioned on the card is the same person as the James Neal who died at Rausch Creek in 1885.

On 11 August 1862, James W. O’Neal was mustered into service in the 135th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company C, at Lancaster County, as a Private.  He served until 24 May 1863, when he was honorably discharged.  At the time of his enrollment, he was 22 years old, was working as a farmer, and resided in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

At the end of the war, James Neal married Roseanna Fessler, and before 1880, the family had moved to the area around Tremont, Schuylkill County, where James worked in the mines.

In the 1890 Census, Roseann was a widow living in Tremont, and reported the Civil War service of James to the census.

And on July 23 1890, Roseann applied for a widow’s pension, which she received and collected until her death which occurred in Tremont on 11 September 1911.

A Findagrave Memorial has been created for James W. Neal, but there is no mention there of his Civil War service.

Any additional information on this Civil War veteran or his family would be very welcome.




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