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My dad was Alex NEEL. He passed away in 1927 [Feb 1st]. My mothers maiden name was HANEY. She was born in Missouri and she passed away in 1920 [25th of July]. Dad had three brothers, Tom NEEL, Calvin NEEL and Oscor NEEL.
Grandpa NEEL [William Calvin NEEL Sr.] was born in Illinois [Marion County.] he passed away in 1901.
Grandma Neel’s maiden name was SHELTON [Lettie/Letty/Leticia]. She was born in Missouri [not so, she was born in Tennessee]. She passed away in 1918 [June 8th].
I had 7 brothers and sisters 3 boys and 4 girls.
- Charlie Neel married Tilda [Matilda] DEAN.
- Tomie [Thomas Edward] Neel married Eva DEAN.
- Callie [Benjamin Calvin] Neel married Willora BEE.
- I, Walter NEEL, married Velma YARBOROUGH.
- Evie [Eva] NEEL married Leonard BYNUN.
- May [Matilda May] NEEL married Jim LITTLEFIELD
- Fay [Letticia Fay] Neel married Clyde RUDY. [Fay married first Keith McWILLIAMS and they had a daughter Allamay. Fay and May were twins and were delivered by my great grand mother, Julia HILDBRAND BEE, who was a midwife.]
Pearl NEEL married Mack HOUSTON. [Mack Houston was a barber for over 50 years in Thalequah. He was ½ Cherokee and was well known for his knowledge on Oklahoma and the Indian Nation]
Grandpa Haney was an Englishman. I was told that he was born in England. [Census says that he was born in Alabama.] He died from wounds received in the Civil War. [He died from a sickness that he caught in the Civil War according to his wife's pension papers.]
Grandma’s maiden name was LITTRELL [LUTTRELL] they are both buried at Swedeborg, Missouri. They had seven girls and 3 boys.
- Sally [Sarah Ann] Haney married Samuel McDOWELL .
- Linda [Malinda Rachel HANEY] married Dave [William David] DOWLING.
- Jane [Martha Jane Haney] married Will [William] KISSINGER.
- Hulda [Hulda Malissa] married Tom NEEL.
- Mary [Mary Amanda] Haney married Sam [Samuel] JARVIS.
- Menervia [Minerva Caroline HANEY, my mother married Charles Alexander NEEL.
One girl died young. [Frannie Elizabeth Haney died at age 13, cause of death unknown.] The names of the boys are as follows; Ben [Bennett B.] Haney, Bud Bluford L.] Haney and Robert [Robert Benjamin] Haney.
My dad moved a lot so I went to 10 different schools.
- The first was Dobson school
- Flint school
- Gedion school
- Shilo school
- New Home school
- Bethel school
- Shadey Grove school
- Swimmer school
- Liberty school
- And the last was Lucky School
My dad once ran a horse race against Henry Starr the Bank robber. He beat him [Starr] Starr got killed not long after that at Harrison Arkansas robbing a bank. A 14 year old boy killed him. I once owned a saddle that belonged to Henry Starr. It was real fancy saddle with a silver horn. I have bought 5 new saddles and a few used ones. The last saddle I owned I give it to one of my grandsons. He has it now. I would guess it to up towards 100 years old. It looks good.
I have had a few fights in my life of which I am not proud of any of them. It is no way to settle disputes. Last school I went to was at Lucky at Spring Creek there was a boy setting behind me by the name of Arthur ALLEN. He got to sticking pins into me. I tried to get him to quit it and he would not do it. I told him I would whip him at recess. During recess we went down under a little hill where we couldn’t be seen from the school house. We fought all through recess. That was on a Friday afternoon and there was a bunch of kids that followed us and watched the fight and when we went back to school on Monday morning some of them had told the teacher. He called us up and told us that he was a going to whip us. I told him I wouldn’t take a whipping. He said I would or he would expel me and that is what he did. Allen took his whipping and went on to school. That was the worst mistake I ever made. My folks would have give me a good education but I let that little pin stop me. Allen and I were good friends after that. We run around together after we was grown.
One time I was at a Pie supper at Bethel school house. There was a young man there by the name of Homer SMITH. He was going with a girl by the name of Bertha HALPAIN. Homer was jealous of me and I didn’t know it. Bertha was like kin folks to me. She was a cousin of some my cousins. She called my dad and mother uncle and aunt. Me and a man by the name of Raleigh NEWTON was a standing by the door when Homer and Bertha started out the door. Just as Homer started to take Bertha by the arm Newton caught him by coat tail and held him. He tried to get loose and Bertha walked on and left him. Finally Newton turned him loose and Homer turned around and hit me and I hit back. We went to fighting. Bertha had a uncle that was there, her mother’s brother, Jess HART, he run in and started to hit me. I had a uncle there my dads brother, uncle Cal, [William Calvin Jr.] NEEL. His wife was a sister to HART. He seen what Hart was a going to do and he came over before Hart hit me and Hart started to run and they run out of the building and around it. Some people separated Homer and me. I run out of the school house and tried to head Hart off but he took to the woods and I never did see him any more.
Me and Homer were good friends after that. The fight never was mentioned again. Another time I was a planting corn and a neighbor had some hogs running loose in my field. They were feeding close to where I was planting corn. That morning I had to go to Peggs that day at noon for something and I had to go by Mr. GORE’S house on the way to and from town. He was the man who owned the hogs. I told my wife I was going to stop and tell him he was going to have to get his hogs out of my field. As I come back from Peggs Mr. Gore was out in the horse lot. I stopped and talked a few minutes and I told him I would like him to do something with his hogs. He pointed his finger at me and told me he would not pen up his hogs. I pointed my finger at him and told him his hogs were not going to eat my corn up. He said I will come outside and whip you. I said all right if that is the way you feel. He had three gates to come through. I got off of my horse, pulled my coat off, hung it on the saddle horn, led my horse across the road and tied him to my fence. Then walked back down the road until I got in front of the house. Mr. GORE was a big man and he weighed over 200 pounds. I weighed 135 pounds. I was dreading to fight him some for he was so much bigger than me. He had a son my size. I did not know that he was home that day. As Mr. Gore come through the yard I heard Ray, his son, holler from inside the house Dad I will take care of him. Mr. Gore had a Model T Ford Car setting on the outside of the fence. He came over and sat down on the running board and gave Ray his encouragement. As soon as Ray got to me he hit me and we went to fighting. We had not been fighting long when Mrs. Gore come out of the house. She was a good Christian woman. She told us to quit fighting. I said that I had not started this and that I would quit if she would get Ray to quit. So Ray quit hitting me. In the mean time the hogs had come up to the barn. I helped Mrs. Gore get the hogs penned up. In a few days I passed Mr. Gore’s house and he was out in the yard. I spoke and he spoke back to me. We was good friends after that and the fight never was mentioned again. [Ray Gore was one of my mother's boy friends when she was a teenager and his sister Jaunita Gore was the first wife of my Uncle Bert Neel. He was my mother's brother. My Mother's name was Jewell Neel]
I finished this book on April 26, 1985.
Walter Neel, Tahlequah, Oklahoma 74464
Davis Nursing Home
Hope the one that gets this book will not throw it away. It is true. I have been about 2 weeks writing it. If I had my life to live over I believe I would live it differently. I would not Marry but once. I had a chance to do a lot of things. I turned them down. If it was to do over I would do it different. I moved to much. The more you move the more you want to move. I would advise young people starting out to buy them a home and set still. If you buy it on time so if you will set still you will pay it off in time. I owned several different places and would not keep any of them very long but that is all behind me now.
The next home will be forever. I won’t have to move again. Our Savior bled and died. They pierced him in his side. They nailed him to the cross. He done it all for us. There are not to many friends that would lay down their lives for us. Jesus is the best friend any one can have. He will take us all to heaven if we will only obey but there are so many people that are going the other way. They better get on their knees and pray.
This is not like my home but it is not to bad. The nurses are nice. They do the best they can. They have to wash and clean a lot of old dirty men. They have a dirty job but I never hear them complain. They are making a living in a nasty way. The people that owns this Nursing home are nice to me. They are friendly and nice and always have something nice to say. I wish them health and prosperity.
This old body I live in is full of aches and pains. Some day I will give it back to God from where it came. Dust thou are and dust thou will return to. We won’t have to take pills and have aches and pains. Everything will be nice and pleasant when we reach that heavenly place. The Lord has blessed me for 89 years but I know he soon will be calling me to come on home. I love my friends here below but I have a lot of friends in Heaven. I know I have a loving daughter who I love very much and the Lord has given me some grand children I love and cherish. Some day we will all meet up in Heaven where we will not have to part any more. I have a loving daughter that is kind and true. She is always willing to do what ever I want to do. There are so many old people that has no one to help them in their needs. I know God will reward my daughter for her good deeds.
I am a country boy who moved to town and got arthritis so bad I can hardly get around but I am a lot better than some of these old people that I know. They are in wheel chairs and have to be pushed around just waiting to be put under the ground.
Last night, well yesterday morning just before daylight a hungry man in our town was climbing a brick wall trying to get his cheese. He fell and busted his knees. He went to Reagan and tried to get his social security raised. Reagan said no go back home and eat your cheese and take care of your busted knees.
I am not an educated man as you can plainly see. My pen is heavy, my eye sight is bad but I do the best I can for I am not a educated man. I would like to tell you young people this. Go to school and get an education. Let the dope be. It will get you into trouble. It will destroy your soul. The devil will tell you to take a little bit. It is a lot easier to start than it is to quit. If I had anything else to tell you it would be this go to church and give your heart to Jesus. He will do the rest. I once had a loving wife. She was a part of my life. She blessed me with a boy and a girl. The Lord took her to Heaven at the age of 35. For 21 years I had a happy life. My boy went to meet his mother at the age of 35. It won’t be long until I will be going to but I am ready to go.
There used to be picnics all over the country and they lasted for 2 days. The Picnics would start in July and continue on through August. Lon MOORE had a swing pulled by a horse or a mule. Most of the time he hooked a mule to it. You could ride 5 minutes for a nickel. They had a fiddler and a guitar picker that rode it and they made music while the swing was a going. My brother-in-law Mack Houston played the fiddle and his brother George Houston picked the guitar. My dad most of the time would give me 50 cents to spend and most of the time I didn’t spend but a quarter . You could buy a glass of lemonade for a nickel. They had a roping contest in the evening. They would make up a purse. Each roper would give so much money to rope and then they would rope for the money. There was no admission charge. Some of the old time ropers were Tom PARIS, Jack PARIE, Luna PARIE, Josh ROACH, Tandy ROACH, and Andy TAYLOR to name a few. They would rope big steers and they would have a goat roping contest too. When the picnic was over they would move to another place. They would tear the swing down and take it apart and move it on wagons. Those were the good old days.