Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lucius J. Neal

Lucius J. Neal was born on August 4, 1839, in Tecumseh, Lenawee County, Michigan.

By 1850 Lucius may have been living with the Robert Mitchell family on a farm in Raisin, Lenawee County. By 1859-60 Lucius was probably working as a lath sawyer, living on the west side of Mill Street south of Bridge Street in Grand Rapids, and in 1860 he was living with and/or working for one John Johnson in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward; nearby lived his brother Flavius who was staying at the Bronson House.

Lucius stood 5’7” with light complexion, blue eyes and light hair and was 21 years old and reportedly a “student” probably still living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. (He may have been related to Carlton and his son Oscar Neal, the latter also enlisting in Company B.) He was reported sick in his quarters from September until the end of February, 1862.

Lucius recovered and remained with the company until July of 1862 when he was a teamster, probably for the Brigade. In August he was on duty at Third Brigade headquarters, a provost guard in September and October and serving with the ambulance corps in November, probably as a teamster. He was on duty at Brigade headquarters from December of 1862 through March of 1863, working at Division headquarters in April and in the Division hospital in May. In June of 1863 he was serving with the Brigade wagon train, in July at Corps headquarters and sick at Alexandria, Virginia from October 10, 1863.

Lucius remained absent sick until he was transferred to the Company D, Twenty-second, Veterans’ Reserve Corps on November 11, 1863, at Convalescent Camp, near Alexandria, Virginia. He was reported present for duty through Feberuary of 1864, ande was mustered out on April 18, 1864 at Washington, D.C., by reason of reenslistment on April 16 for three years. His disability was described as a “varicocele of the left spermatic vein of moderate size, not painful except on long marches.”

He was subsequently absent on 30 day’s veteran furlough and he probably returned home to Grand Rapids where he married his first wife Rachel D. Powers (1842-1869) on May 7, 1864; they had one child, Lizzie G. (b. 1867; married name “Lamoreaux”).

Lucius returned to duty following his furlough, and was mustered out as a corporal on November 19, 1865, at Columbus, Ohio.

Following his discharge from the army Lucius returned to Michigan and in the fall of 1865 was driving carriages for the firm of Hamblin & Pease, a livery business in Grand Rapids.

He married his second wife, Michigan native Maggie J. Parnell (1854-1887) on July 1, 1873, and they had one child, Harry J. (b. 1876).

Lucius eventually got a job as a furniture maker in Grand Rapids where he lived for some years. In 1880 he was working in a furniture shop and living with his wife Maggie and son in Grand Rapids’ First Ward (next door lived John and Mary Parnell, presumably Maggie’s parents), and by 1889 he was working for the firm of Berkey & Gay furniture company in Grand Rapids. In 1890 he was working for Dunham, Peters & Co. In 1887 Lucius was living at 20 Cherry Street and from 1888-1890 at 18 Cherry Street.

Lucius was a widower when he was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 1553) on September 5, 1891, discharged at his own request on April 2, 1897, and was living in Comstock Park, Kent County in 1907 and 1909-12.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and in 1889 he became a member of the Grand Army of the Republic Watson Post No. 395 in Grand Rapids (he was suspended from the Watson post in either 1895 or 1897). He also testified in the pension application for Brigadier General Ambrose A. Stevens. In 1888 Lucius himself applied for and received pension no. 914,064, drawing $25.00 in 1912 and $30.00 in 1914.

Lucius died on February 18, 1915, at Comstock Park, Kent County, or at the National Soldier’s Home in Virginia (?). He does not appear to be listed in the Kent County death certificate index nor is he found in the obituaries for either the the Grand Rapids Herald or the Grand Rapids Press.

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