A representative of the mercantile interests of Lewiston, Lemuel C. Neal is engaged in the furniture and undertaking business and is a most energetic, enterprising man, whose success comes to him as the reward of his well directed efforts, and is therefore justly deserved. He is native of Wisconsin, his birth having occurred at Sun Prairie, Dane county, on the 12th of June 1845. His ancestors were early settlers of Maine, and there his parents, Thomas and Olive (Dalton) Neal, were born, reared and married. In 1843 they removed to Wisconsin, locating within its borders ere its admission to the Union. In 1867 they went to Kansas, purchased lands at Beloit, and there the father carried on agricultural pursuits until his death, which occurred in 1887, when he had reached the age of seventy-two years. His wife departed this life in her fifty-sixth year. They had nine children, of whom six are living.
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Lemuel C. Neal, the fifth in order of birth, was reared to manhood on his father’s farm in Wisconsin, and pursued his education through the winter seasons in a log schoolhouse, while in the summer months he assisted in the labors of cultivating the fields. When he was but sixteen years of age the country became involved in the great civil war, and from the beginning his patriotic spirit prompted his enlistment. It was not until the 29th of September, 1862, however, when he was seventeen years of age, that he was received, but the demand for soldiers had then become so great that the enlisting officers did not draw the lines so closely, and he was enrolled among the boys in blue of Company I, Twelfth Wisconsin Infantry. He participated in the siege and capture of Vicksburg, under General Grant, and was later, with General Sherman, in the memorable Atlanta campaign, taking part in the thirty-days fighting before the city was reached and captured. Then came the celebrated march to the sea, and later he participated in the grand review in Washington, the most brilliant military pageant ever seen in the western hemisphere, the victorious army marching through the streets of the capital city that was the seat of a government whose power and supremacy they had established by the force of arms. Mr. Neal then returned to Wisconsin, and was honorably discharged in June 1865, after two years and nine months of faithful service. He participated in many a hard-fought battle, including the terrible battle of Atlanta, but had the good fortune to return to his home with only a slight flesh wound. The record of the boy soldier was a most brilliant and creditable one, and he had just completed his twentieth year when mustered out.
When the war was over and the country no longer needed his services, Mr. Neal engaged in farming in his native state, and also followed that occupation in Dakota, where he took up wild land from the government, transforming it into richly cultivated fields. He also erected and conducted a hotel in Larimore, North Dakota, for ten years, and there established a furniture and undertaking business, meeting with success in both lines of endeavor. His excellent business methods, strict integrity and careful management brought him prosperity, and he continued his active connection with the business interests of that state until failing health caused him to seek a different location, and he found the needed change of climate in Lewiston. Here he purchased property and built a good residence and store, opening a furniture and undertaking establishment. He has won an enviable reputation in business circles, and his reliability, reasonable prices and earnest desire to please his patrons have secured him a good trade. He studied embalming in the Minneapolis School of Embalming, and, having had an experience of twenty years in the business, is a careful and accomplished funeral director.
In 1879 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Neal and Miss Ella Forest, a native of Canada. Four children have blessed their union, namely: John T., Olive E., Thomas F. and Mabel W. The parents are active and prominent members of the Presbyterian church, in which Mr. Neal is now serving as elder. He is a worthy member of R. B. Hayes Post, No. 2, G. A. R., at Lewiston, and while in Dakota filled all the offices of the post with which he was connected there. He is also a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges in Lewiston, and is highly esteemed in social, church and business circles, being true and faithful to every duty and in every relation of life. He is as loyal to the best interests of his country as when he followed the starry banner over the battle fields of the south and valiantly fought for the preservation of the Union.