John Neu, Jr., attorney at law of St. Louis, his native city, was born October 21, 1888. His father, John Neu, a native of Belleville, Illinois, was descended from one of the old families of that locality, whose ancestral line in America can be traced back to Phillip Neu, a native of Germany who came to America during the latter ’40s and settled in Belleville, there establishing the Western Brewery, then the largest in the Mississippi valley. In this business he continued throughout his entire life. Later the business was sold and John Neu, father of the subject of this review, removed to St. Louis and was in charge of the interests of the Busch Brewing Company, with which he was associated for many years. He Is now living retired, enjoying the fruits of his former industry and toil. He married Marie Wolz, who was born in Belleville, Illinois, and was also of German lineage, being a daughter of John Wolz, who came to America in the latter part of the ’40s and settled in Belleville, where he engaged in farming and stock raising. John Wolz and his wife became parents of eleven children.
He lived to the ripe old age of seventy-nine years and his wife reached a still more advanced age, being eighty-nine at the time of her demise, which occurred in Rentschler, Illinois, on the old home place. Their daughter Mrs. Neu died at Edgemont, the country home of the family, June 20, 1920, at the age of fifty-seven years. She was the mother of six sons.
John Neu, Jr., the fifth in order of birth, was educated in the public schools of St. Louis and in the Benton College of Law, from which he was graduated in 1915 with the LL. B. degree. Prior to his graduation he was in the printing business, being apprenticed thereto and thoroughly learning the trade when about seventeen years of age. It was his desire, however, to become a member of the bar and following his admission to the bar he began practice in St. Louis in 1915 and has since devoted his attention to the profession, specializing in criminal law, in which he has won distinction and renown. He has the largest practice of this character in St. Louis and has tried some notable cases.
On the 24th of February, 1920, Mr. Neu was married in St. Louis to Miss Lillian Butz, a native of this city and a daughter of the late Joseph Butz, belonging to one of the old families of St. Louis.
During the World war Mr. Neu volunteered for service but was rejected for active duty but served as legal adviser of the federal board of the ninth ward and in many other ways greatly assisted the interests of the government in this section of the state. In politics he has always been a republican, very active and prominent in the local ranks of the party, and he served as provisional judge during the summer of 1916. His religious faith is that of the Lutheran church, and fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Pythias and the Eagles. He belongs to the Central Rowing Club and has a wide acquaintance socially as well as professionally. He finds his diversion in rowing and automobiling. From the age of seventeen years he has worked his way upward unaided. He completed his education by attending night sessions of school, and his perseverance and energy have constituted the round of the ladder on which he has climbed to success and distinction, being today one of the leading criminal lawyers of the middle Mississippi valley.