Benjamin Franklin Neal

Benjamin Franklin Neal

Virginia, USA
Death 18 Jul 1873 (aged 80–81)
Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas, USA
Burial Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas, USA
Memorial ID 14542563 · View Source
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NEAL, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (~1792-1873)~ Benjamin Franklin Neal was born between 1792-1796, probably in Virginia. He was a Texas pioneer, judge, and newspaper publisher. He apparently had some legal training and practiced law as a young man. He moved to Texas in 1838, and in a short time settled in Refugio County. Neal sympathized with the Federalist revolutionaries in Mexico and in 1838 or early 1839, joined a force of Texasn volunteers commnaded by Ewen Cameron. In 1839, he participated along with twenty-five other Texans in the Federalist capture of Monterrey. In 1840, he was appointed chief justice of Refugio County, a position he continued to hold with brief interuptions until 1845. In 1841, Neal bought the San Luis Advocate and a few months later closed the paper down and moved the press to Galveston, where he purchased partial interest in the Galveston News. He eventually sold his share in the News to Willard Richardson and in 1846, moved to Corpus Christi. In 1852, he founded another newspaper, the Nueces Valley, which he edited with several interruptions until 1870, when poor health forced him to step down.

Around 1850, Neal married Eleanor Rebecca O'Neil, with whom he had one son. Mrs. Neal died of yellow fever in 1852, and Neal subsequently married Azubah Haines. He opened a law practice in Corpus Christi and was elected first mayor of the town after it was incorporated in 1852. After an unsuccessful bid for a second term he ran agian and was reelected in 1855. In 1859, he went to Arizona, where he made a considerable fortune in a gold-mining venture in the Gila River valley. He retuned to Corpus Chirsti sometime in 1860 and became an outspoken advocate of states' rights. When the Civil War broke out Neal organized and personally financed an artillery company to defend Corpus Christi against Union ships. Neal's Battery, as the unit was called, was attached to Col. Alfred Marmaduke Hobby's Eighth Texas Infantry Regiment and saw action during the two battles of Corpus Christi. Neal also served in the Confederate Army and eventually reached the rank of major. During the war he was appointed judge of the Fourteenth Judicial District and served until he was deposed by the federal military government in order in 1867. He later served on the bench of the Nueces-Karnes County District until 1870. Over the years Neal worked tirelessly to secure legislation and financial support for a deepwater port and rail link for Corpus Christi. He died in Corpus Christi on July 18, 1873, and was buried there. A monument in his honor was erected (now lying flat in the dirt) in Corpus Christi in 1935.
Submitted by: Stephanie Sorensen, Historian, Texas State Cemetery Research Staff, Austin, Texas. I welcome any addtions or corrections.

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  • Created by: Anonymous
  • Added: 8 Jun 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 14542563
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  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Benjamin Franklin Neal (1792–18 Jul 1873), Find A Grave Memorial no. 14542563, citing Old Bayview Cemetery, Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Anonymous (contributor 47439466) .