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Neel/SNODGRASS Connection
Personal Information Page for

Contributed by Robert T. Warden, Cochranville, Pa.,
taken from the Genealogical and Personal History of Western Pa., Volume III


John and Dorcas Neel came from the north of Ireland to Pa., settling in Lancaster County. They both were members of the Presbyterian Church.

John Neel was a farmer, owning the acres he cultivated with the aid of his sons, most of whom later crossed the mountains in Western Pa. Although both John and Dorcas Neel died in Lancaster County, they left three children:

  1. Adam (Neel) married Molly Snodgrass, they had six children and always remained in Lancaster County.
  2. William (Neel) married Jane Snodgrass and later moved to Western Pa. where he was killed by the Indians. Their children were: Dorcas, Mary, Jane, John, Margaret, and William 3rd.
  3. John (Neel) married Mary Cooper, a sister of James Fenimore Cooper, the noted American novelist, they also moved to Allegheny County where it is believed that John was slain by the Indians. Their children were Colonel John, Archibald, Tabitha, William, Thomas, James, and Samuel.


James Neel, son of John and Dorcas Neel, was born in Lancaster County, Pa., crossed the mountains in wagon drawn by horses. They settled in Versailles Township but later moved to Mifflin where he took up a tract of land on Thompson's Run and there ended his days, a farmer and a strict Presbyterian.

He married Rachel McClure and had children: Dorcas (1775), John F. (1778), Jane (1780), Thomas (1783), James (1785), Grizella (1788), Reuben (1791), Hiram (1799.)

James Harvey Neel, third son and fifth child of James and Rachel (McClure) Neel, was born in Mifflin Township, Allegheny County, Pa., September 30, 1785. He grew up amid the rude surroundings of that pioneer period. Helped to clear and cultivate the 'Thompson's Run' farm owned by his father, and at the latter's death inherited one half of the estate.

He was a very progressive, energetic character, and in addition to his farming and lumbering operations, conducted a tannery on his farm and had an interest in a wholesale grocery business in Pittsburgh. For many years his house was the Government Post Office for the neighbourhood and he the regularly appointed Postmaster. He prospered in all his undertakings and left behind a goodly estate and honored name. He was a devout Presbyterian, the family all being members of the Lebanon Congregation.

He married Elizabeth Brierly, born in Mifflin Township, and there died, daughter of Robert and Belle Brierly, and granddaughter of John and Ann (Jackson) Brierly, both born in the North of Ireland.


Eldest son and second child of James H. and Elizabeth (Brierly) Neel, was born at the home farm at Thompson's Run, Mifflin Township, May 9, 1825, and died August 31, 1914, in his ninetieth year. He was living in good health in Dravosburg, prosperous and influential.

He grew to manhood on the home farm and obtained his education in the district schools near by. He was his father's assistant for years, then he and his brother Hiram worked the farm together. Later they divided the farm but John F. did not long retain his share. He had a well developed capacity for business affairs, and selling his inheritance for cash, he invested his money in different enterprises, with such good results that for many years he lived a retired life. In 1872 he purchased a small farm on the Monongahela River at Dravosburg, which was his home at the time of this death.

Mr. Neel (John Flavel Neel) married (first) Susanna Forsythe, who died December 21, 1857, leaving her son, James Benjamin, born ten days previous to the mother's death. James Benjamin upon reaching manhood married Sarah Risher. Mr. Neel married (second) in 1873, Mary Ann Ramsey, children were; John Flavel 2nd, born 1878, met his death by drowning 1891; Harry Campbell born 1882; Jessie Ramsey born 1884, married George F. Lloyd; Frances Folsom born 1887; Hiram Alexander born 1889 who married Elizabeth VanGundy.

Mary Ann (Ramsey) Neel, mother of the five children, was a daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth (Work) Ramsey. Their children were; Susanna, married Alexander Rhodes; Mary A. married John Flavel Neel; Wilson; Margaret married Frederick Baker; Jessie died aged twenty-five years; Nettie married Joseph Osborne.


John C. Risher, father of Mrs. William J. Snodgrass was of German descent, settled at Six-Mile-Ferry, near the Snodgrass homestead, where he was the owner of a large tract of land, on which Dravosburg is now located. He died at the age of 70, at the time being the owner of more than 1,000 acres of land. He was largely interested in coal production and owned a string of coal boats on the Ohio and Monongahela rivers.

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