Thomas Neal, stock dealer, farmer and lumberman, was born in 1839, in Wilson County, Tenn., the third of ten children of Ashley and Elizabeth (Waters) Neal, both of English lineage, born about 1804 in Wilson County, Tenn. They were married here, where he was farmer and stock dealer until their deaths, the mother dying in 1866, and the father in 1886. Educated in the public schools, our subject came to Illinois when twenty-two and after teaching one term in Clay County, settled in Franklin County as clerk for R. Richeson until 1867, when he became a partner. In 1868 he married Matilda, daughter of Elder E. T. and Nancy (Clark) Webb, born in 1847 on Webb's Prairie. Their children are Fanny (deceased), Elsie, Jennie, Daisy, Frank A. and Rubie. In 1870 he sold out and settled on his present farm in Ewing; built the first dwelling and store-building in the village; engaged in merchandising, stock-trading and farming, and in 1884 also started and has since managed his saw mill. He has succeeded so well in all that he has undertaken that he now owns 280 acres clear of all debt, a two story business block, a saw mill, several town lots, and is also contractor for the mail route with R. Link. He is treasurer of Ewing College, of which he was trustee, when it was chartered as a high school, and has been treasurer of the milling company in which he is interested since its organization, and is considered a leading and prosperous business man not only of Ewing,
but of Franklin County. He is a strong Prohibitionist, and first voted for Lincoln in 1864. His wife is a member of the Primitive Baptist Church.