NEELY

From the files of Stephen M. Lawson


                     Oliver Dunckley

Neely brothers       Richard Dunkley and Esther

Victor Naily and Ann Dunkley

Richard Neeley and Ann Moberly

Richard Neely and Sallie Parker

Mary Ann Neely and John C. Turman

Elizabeth Caroline Turman and Mordecai S. Lawson

James Martin Lawson and Lucy Jane Freeman

Donald VanHoosier Lawson and Iva Melvina Freeman

Stephen Martin Lawson

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The Dunkley family in America

Significant findings from 2000 research of the DUNKLEY family of PA and SC by others have been shared by Lee Ann Gerhart & Debbie Dunkley Williams. This information forms the foundation for the DUNKLEY family and the earliest NEELY generation in America. The DUNKLEY surname has many spelling variants, but all those seen have a soundex code of D524.

Oliver Dunckley

Oliver DUNCKLEY - b. before 1670; d. before May 1716, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co., PA. A land assignment dated Nov. 30, 1688 [Philadelphia Co. Deeds, Book E-2, page 89], indicates Oliver was a carpenter and purchased land in Philadelphia County from William HARMER. The Minutes of the Board of Property of the Province of Pennsylvania records indicate that that on Apr. 26, 1690, Israel HOBBS and Oliver DUNKLEY received twenty pounds pay for "work done by them at Pennsberry." On Aug. 2, 1690, the minutes show that Oliver had not received ten pounds due to him. On Nov. 22, 1690, two others were to receive three pounds for inspection of the work done by HOBBS and DUNKLEY at Pennsberry. And on Nov. 12, 1692, 2£ 1s 6d was paid to the Commisioners "in part of the Ballance of Oliver Dunkly's account" - apparently he had still not been paid in full for completed work. The same land that Oliver purchased in 1688, further described and located within the city of Philadelphia, was transferred by Richard DUNCKLEY and his wife Esther to Richard HILL on May 24, 1716 [Philadelphia Co. Deeds, Book E-2, page 89]. In the 1716 deed, Richard is identified as the "only son and heir of Oliver Dunckley late of the city of Philadelphia carpenter deceased."


Child of Oliver

  1. Richard DUNKLEY - d. 1734, Amity, Philadelphia Co., PA.


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Richard and Esther Dunkley

Richard DUNKLEY - d. 1734, Amity, Philadelphia Co., PA. Son of Oliver DUNCKLEY. The 1716 deed for land inherited from his father described Richard as being "of Manatawney in the County of Philadelphia in the Province of Pennsylvania skiner," and names his wife Esther. His name is found as a taxpayer in Chester Co., PA at Schuylkill and Coventry from 1717 to 1730. A deposition taken in Mar. 1732 describes navigation hazards in what was then part of Philadelphia County, including "Jonas Yocum and Richard Dunklin also state that they got fast on a fishdam with a canoe, on board of which was Dunklin's wife and child, besides sixty bushels of wheat, and that for more than an hour they were in imminent danger of being overset and drowned." By 1734 he had moved to Amity, Philadelphia Co., PA, where his name appears on the landholder list with 100 acres. On Feb. 1, 1734, the cost of rebuilding the Colebrookdale Furnance included "To paid Richard Dunckley for hauling 34.8.1.24 of Inn Wall Stone from the Quarry to Schuylkill at 2s 9d per Tonn - 4£ 14s 8d". On Jun. 6, 1734, administration of his estate was granted to his widow, Esther. Married before May 1716.

Esther - While specific evidence that she was the mother of his children has not been located, Esther was the wife of Richard DUNKLEY in May 1716 and at the time of his death, and is presumed to be the children's mother. She signed the bond for administration of Richard's estate by her mark. The estate papers were also signed by Oliver DUNKLEY, likely the son of the deceased, and Nicholas ASHMEAD.


Children of Richard and Esther

  1. Oliver DUNKLEY - d. before Mar. 1748, Philadelphia Co., PA. Oliver died "intestate and without issue." A series of four deeds traces the ownership of 150 acres of land in Amity Township, Philadelphia Co., PA from the original patentee Justa JUSTASON (1704), to Samuel SAVAGE (1716), to George SAVAGE (1717), to Oliver DUNKLEY (1737), to John DUNKLEY by the heirs of Oliver DUNKLEY (1748), to John PATRICK (1748), and to Henry VANREAD (1755?). These deeds clearly name the eight siblings of Oliver DUNKLEY and three of their spouses, Victor NEELY, Richard NEELY and John PATRICK. The transcribed deed wording is unclear, but it also appears that John EWULE was John EWALT, the husband of Sarah DUNKLEY.
  2. John DUNKLEY - Residing in Amity Township, Philadelphia Co., PA in 1748, John appears in Rowan Co., NC from 1753 to 1765, along with brother-in-law Richard NEELY.
  3. Ann DUNKLEY - Married Victor NEELY. The verification of the signing of the Mar. 30, 1748 deed by "Victor Nealy and his wife Ann Nealy" was done by Benjamin CHAMBERS of Cumberland (formed from Lancaster) Co., PA on Oct. 15, 1750.
  4. Jean DUNKLEY - d. about 1748 possibly. Jean is named six times in the Mar. 30, 1748 deed as one of the DUNKLEY siblings, but she does not appear as a signer on the transcribed deed, nor is she mentioned in subsequent verifications of signatures to Oct. 1750.
  5. Anna DUNKLEY - d. before Oct. 15, 1755. Married and residing in Lancaster Co., PA in Apr. 1748, Philadelphia Co., PA in May 1749, and called "of East Nantmell in the county of Chester" in May 1750. Married John PATRICK (d. 1765, East Nantmeal, Chester Co., PA). John was married second on Oct. 15, 1755 to Abigail HOCKLEY, daughter of Henry HOCKLEY and Esther RUTTER of East Nantmeal.
  6. Mary DUNKLEY - b. 1732; d. 1791. Married and residing in Philadelphia Co., PA in May 1749. Married Richard NEELY, one of the NEELY brothers.
  7. Hester DUNKLEY - Unmarried and residing in Philadelphia Co., PA in May 1749.
  8. Sarah DUNKLEY - b. about 1715; d. Jan. 10, 1809; bur. Bedford, Cumberland (now Bedford) Co., PA). Resided in Chester Co., PA in 1749, in East Nantmeal in 1753, and in Amity in 1760. Married in 1749 to John EWALT (b. about 1707; d. Nov. 12, 1792; bur. Bedford, Cumberland (now Bedford) Co., PA). The surname appears as EWULE, but appears correctly as EWALT on their grave marker's, with age at death for Sarah being 83 and for John being 85. The Mar. 30, 1748 deed names her as Sarah DUNKLEY, but it is signed by John EWULE and Sarah, and the May 16, 1749 verification of her signature by Samuel FLOWER of Chester Co., PA names "John Ewule and Sarah his wife." Children of Sarah and John EWALT: Samuel; Mary; Henry; Rebecca; Esther; John; Anna; Sarah; and Richard.
  9. Rebecca DUNKLEY - Unmarried and residing in Chester Co., PA in May 1749.


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The Neely family in America

The information on the NEELY family has been obtained from a variety of sources. Much of the data is confirmed by and included in the privately published Neeley Notes, by Hazel Gibson JONES (Lubbock, TX: about 1993).

The Neely Brothers

As yet the parents of several Neely brothers of a Scots-Irish ancestry who arrived in America before 1730 have not been determined. While positive evidence has not been located, circumstantial evidence seems to indicate that three brothers settled first in Chester and Philadelphia Cos., PA. It is noted that the given name of Alexander appears among the children and/or grandchildren of all three supposed brothers.


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Victor and Ann (Dunkley) Naily

Victor NAILY - b. No. Ireland; d. late 1700s, Fairfield Co., SC. Reportedly of Irish heritage, his surname is variously recorded as NAILY, NALLY, NALEY, NELLY, NEELIE and NEELY. Parents unknown, but Richard is believed to be one of several NEELY brothers of PA. Victor's wife was a called resident of Philadelphia Co., PA in 1748, but they were in Cumberland Co., PA in Oct. 1750. As a leader of a group of Sabbatarian Baptists, Victor left the French Creek, PA area for Craven (now Fairfield) Co., SC in the mid 1750s. Descriptions of neighboring lands in Lancaster Co., PA seem to indicate that Victor owned land in Robeson Township on Apr. 26, 1751, but no longer owned the land on May 29, 1751. His residence is also placed on Connecocheague Creek. Apparently the NEELY family was several years enroute from PA to SC. The Seventh Day Baptist Church was founded on Broad River, St. Mark's Parish, Craven Co., SC in 1754. Apparently, Victor settled on the Rocky Creek 150 acres by Dec. 4, 1756, and the Little River 100 acres by June 25, 1759, the dates of surveys of said land. He and his family settled on the Little River, and Rocky Creek of the Broad River, where he received Royal Land Grants totaling 250 acres in 1762. As a leader of the church in the Broad River area of SC, meetings were held at his house. Ordained ministers connected with the Seventh Day Baptists at Broad River included Richard GREGORY (son of John), and Capt. Israel SEYMORE [Colonial Clergy..., by F. L. WEIS 1955].

Ann DUNKLEY - Daughter of Richard DUNKLEY and Esther.


Children of Victor and Ann Neely

  1. Richard - b. about 1742, possibly in PA or VA; d. before Oct. 20, 1798, Fairfield Co., SC.
  2. Esther - b. Sep. 2, 1744, PA. Probable daughter of Victor and Ann, but documentation is desired. Married William NETTERVILLE (b. Dec. 2, 1736, Dowth, Meath, Ireland), son of Nicholas NETTERVILLE and Catherine BURTON. The children of William and Esther were born between May 1763 and Nov 1777 in the order given. Both sons Charles and Jeremiah are found as the husband of Mary Owen MATHIAS - probably one was, and perhaps both. The family finally settled in Wilkenson Co., MS. Children of Esther and William NETTERVILLE: John; William; Jemima; Ann; Rachel; Thomas; Charles; Jeremiah; and Jesse.
  3. Victor - d. 1795, Fairfield Co., SC. Received Royal Land Grant of 100 acres in St. Mark's Parish, Craven Co., SC on Apr. 20, 1763. Served in the Revolutionary War 119 days in the SC militia during 1781 and 1782. The 1790 Fairfield Co., SC Census: Victor NEELY 2-1-2. Married Martha 'Patty'. Administration of the estate of Victor was granted to Patty NEALY, John NEALY and Samuel CLAMPET on Apr. 17, 1795, with heirs being his widow Martha 'Patty', and four children. Martha signed a Deed of Gift and Relinquishment of Dower on Mar. 9, 1799 to her four children, the Deed being witnessed by Richard NEELY, Howard ROBINSON, and William YARBOROUGH. One John NEILY ("an orphan, under age twenty one," and believed to be the son of Victor and Martha) chose John PEARSON as his Guardian on Mar. 6, 1805 (Fairfield County, Court of Ordinary - Letters of Administration, Guardianships and Bonds, Volume C, p. 50), but it is not stated whether the selection of a Guardian followed the death of his mother (at that time an "orphan" was fatherless, not necessarily motherless) or was for some other reason. Children of Victor and Martha NEELY: Victor married Sarah; John possibly married Lucretia Jane BROOM/E (eight children); Richard married Elizabeth; and Jerusha married Alexander LESTER.
  4. Alexander - Possible son. Received Royal Land Grant of 150 acres on McCray Creek, Craven Co., SC on May 18, 1771. Possibly the Alexander NEELY in Sumner Co., TN in 1790.
  5. James - Possible son. The 1790 Fairfield Co., SC Census: James NEELIE 1-0-0. Perhaps the James NEELY whose widow married John BOYD.



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Richard and Ann (Moberly) Neeley

Richard NEELEY - b. about 1742, possibly in PA or VA; d. before Oct. 20, 1798, Fairfield Co., SC. Son of Victor NAILY. Richard received Royal Land Grants including 200 acres on Beaver Dam Creek, Craven Co., SC on Jul. 1, 1763, 100 acres on McGraw Creek, Craven Co., SC on Apr. 25, 1765, and 100 acres on Broad River, Craven Co., SC on May 18, 1771. During the Revolutionary War, he enlisted on Sep. 21, 1776 in the First Regiment of the SC Militia, and re-enlisted in Dec. 1776. The 1790 Census of Fairfield Co., SC: Richard NEELIE 2-3-6 [2 males over age 16, 3 males to age 16, 6 females]. His will [Fairfield Co. Wills, Vol. 1, Sec. 2, pp. 78-79] is dated Jul. 24, 1793, certified Oct. 20, 1798, proved Jan. 17, 1799, and recorded Jan. 19, 1799. Richard left 50 acres of land to his wife, an adjacent 50 acres to son Richard, 48 acres to son John, and additional land to sons Clement and Alexander. [A land survey certified Nov. 19, 1766 by Jno. CALDWELL identifies 150 acres in Berkeley County, granted to a Richard NEALY on Oct. 30, 1767.] It is estimated that Richard and Ann were married about 1762.

Ann MOBERLY - b. about 1745-49, Bedford Co., VA; d. about 1805, Fairfield Co., SC. Also known as Nancy MOBLEY, she was called Ann in her husband's will, left 50 acres of land and named executrix. 1800 Census of Fairfield Co., SC: Ann NEELY 0 0 2 1 - 2 0 2 0 1. The children are listed in the order named in Richard's will. Daughter of Clement MOBERLY/MOBLEY and Mary FOX.


Children of Richard and Ann Neeley

  1. Victor - b. about 1780. Has name of his paternal uncle and grandfather. Over age 21 in 1793, he received a rifle and whipsaw in his father's will, of which he was named executor.
  2. Mary - Has name of her maternal aunt and grandmother. Received one shilling by father's will.
  3. Jane - Received one shilling by father's will.
  4. John - Received 48 acres and a set of smith's tools by father's will. Possibly the John NEELY appearing on the 1812 tax lst of Bedford Co., TN. 1800 Census of Fairfield Co., SC: John NEELY 2 1 0 1 - 3 0 0 1. Married by 1800, possibly late in 1790. On Sep. 15, 1809, John wrote a letter to brothers Richard and Clement in TN, indicating that John had a daughter Susannah born Jan. 9, 1809. Reportedly, one son was Victor NEELEY (b. 1792, Fairfield Co., SC; d. about 1865, Benton Co., AL), who was the father of John W. NEELEY (b. Sep. 21, 1845; d. Jul. 19, 1902, Rockwell Co., TX) married Mariah E. BROOKS. Children of John NEELY: Three sons and three daughters in 1800.
  5. Richard - b. about 1785, Fairfield Co., SC; d. before Oct. 13, 1813, Bedford Co., TN.
  6. Ann 'Nancy' - Has name of her mother. Received one cow and one calf in father's will. Married John BRENT/BRIANT (b. Fairfield Co., SC; d. Nov. 22, 1822, Pike Co. , MS), who was a witness to his father-in-law's will. Moved to MS in 1812. Children of Nancy and John BRENT: John; James; Preston; and Meridith.
  7. Abigail - b. about 1763; d. after 1820, MS. She received one cow and one calf in father's will. Married by 1780 Thomas MEREDITH (b. about 1760; d. Mar. 26, 1812, Kittome Creek, AL), a Revolutionary War soldier. Thomas was killed by Indians while en route from SC to MS, starting the Creek Indian wars of 1813-1814. Abigail may have married again in 1813, Amite Co., MS. Children of Abigail and Thomas MEREDITH: John M. married Catherine JONES (daughter of Ralph JONES); Mary married Thomas Reynolds; James married Mary Ann 'Polly' FAUST; Sarah married William JONES (son of Ralph JONES); Elizabeth married Mr. SASSER; Martha Ann 'Patsy' married John HART; Thomas married Elizabeth RUGGLES; Nancy married Rowland THOMPSON; and Catherine married Isaac H. WRIGHT.
  8. Susannah - Has name of her maternal aunt and great-grandmother. Received one cow and one calf in father's will.
  9. Sarah - Received one cow and one calf in father's will. Married John PEARSON.
  10. Clement - Has name of his maternal uncle and grandfather. Received land jointly with brother Alexander in father's will. Also received turning tools. On May 1, 1807, Clement and his brother Alexander jointly sold 100 acres to John BOYD "on waters of Little River, granted on 8 May 1771 to Richard NEELY Sr." When Clement moved with his brother Richard to TN in 1807, they both carried letters of introduction signed by Gen. John PEARSON. Clement NEELY received a commission as Lt. in the 28th Reg't, Bedford Co., TN on Jan. 11, 1810. A letter dated Oct. 7, 1809 from John BOYD to Clement's brother Richard includes the comment, "I suppose the next time I hear from you that Clement and Susanah will also be tied in the same kind of knot." Clement married Susannah HARRINGTON about 1810, and they moved to Clay Co., MO in 1816 or 1817.
  11. Alexander - Has name of his paternal uncle. Received land jointly with brother Clement in father's will.



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Capt. Richard and Sally (Parker) Neely

Richard NEELY - b. about 1785, Fairfield Co., SC; d. before Oct. 13, 1813, Bedford Co., TN; bur. in unmarked grave Parker Cemetery, Raus, Bedford Co., TN. Son of Richard NEELEY and Ann MOBERLY. On Mar. 25, 1804, as an orphan minor, Richard chose John PEARSON as his Guardian. On May 7, 1807, Richard sold 100 acres of land on McGraw's Creek, branch of the Little River, Fairfield Co., SC to John BOYD. This land is identified as being granted to "Richard NEELEY Senior" on Apr. 25, 1765 and surveyed on July 1, 1763, and included 50 acres received after his father's death, and probably 50 acres received after his mother's death. It would appear that the land sale was preliminary to Richard's removal to TN in 1807. When Richard moved with his brother Clement to TN in 1807, they both carried letters of introduction signed by Gen. John PEARSON. The letter for Richard, also signed by Gen. Richard WINN, apparently at a later date, read: "Whereas the bearer hereof Mr Richard Neeley a Native and inhabitant of this place being disposed to remove to the western country - These are therefore to Certify for him, that I have known him from his infancy to the present date, during all which time never have heard of anything alledged disrespectful to his character that he generally considered a good citizen an honest and industrious well disposed person. Given under my hands this 30th April 1807." A letter to him from John BOYD, dated Oct. 7, 1809, was addressed "To Mr. Richard Neeley, living on Thompson Creek waters of Duck River near the three forks, State of Tennessee." On Jul. 23, 1810 he was a Capt. in the 28th Reg't. In 1812 he was Capt. of the Militia returning the Bedford Co., TN tax list, which included Clement NEELY, Richard NEELY, and Elijah PARKER. Though there is no known record, it is possible that Capt. NEELY was killed in action during the War of 1812. An accounting of the estate sale for Richard NEELY is dated Oct. 9, 1813, and includes household goods, farm implements and livestock totalling $386.55 [another researcher gives the total as $389.76, with the difference possibly due to unclear figures or addition errs]. Among the buyers at the estate sale were his father-in-law Elijah PARKER, brother-in-law Samuel PARKER, brother Clement NEELY, and his widow's future husband James McGILL. Final settlement of the estate was acknowledged on Aug. 5, 1830 by Richard's son Elijah NEELEY's signed receipt of $171.00 from Elijah PARKER for "all demands on him as administrator to my father's Estate." Richard married about 1808 in TN.

Sarah 'Sallie' PARKER - b. Apr. 10, 1791, Granville Co., NC; d. Oct. 17, 1884, Bedford Co., TN; bur. Parker Cemetery, Raus, Bedford Co., TN [photo]. A family history article on the TURMAN family in Wayne Co., TN is found on pages 408-409 in Wayne County, Tennessee History and Families, published by the Wayne Co., TN Historical Society (1995). This article explains that, after the death of Richard NEELY, Sallie and her daughter Mary Ann lived with Sallie's father Capt. Elijah PARKER. After Sallie remarried, Mary Ann continued to live in the PARKER home, and was referred to at times as Mary Ann PARKER. Sallie married second in 1816 James MCGILL. Children of Sallie and James McGILL: Sallie married Martin SHOFNER; Lucy married Newton CUMMINGS; Elizabeth; Priscilla did not marry; Dr. James W.; William married Mary GARDNER; and Nancy. Daughter of Capt. Elijah PARKER and Mary HARRIS.


Children of Richard and Sally Neely

  1. Elijah - b. Jul. 11, 1809, Bedford Co., TN; d. 1862, Madison Co., AR; bur. Tuttle Cemetery, Washington Co., AR. Married on Dec. 11, 1834, Amelia CALDWELL (b. May 2, 1818, Bedford Co., TN; d. Jan. 25, 1891, Parker Co., TX; bur. Springtown, Parker Co., TX, with memorial marker in Tuttle Cemetery, Washington Co., AR), daughter of Samuel CALDWELL and Anna DEAN of Spartenburg Co., SC. The family moved to Washington Co., AR in 1852, along with his McGILL half-siblings. Children: Sarah Ann married Tom BATEMAN; Samuel did not marry; Casandra married Humphrey ENYART; Susannah married John W. MEREDITH; Richard Alexander married Mary Ellen TIMBERLAKE; Mary Frances married Britton Adams MERRICK; William Jefferson died in infancy; Josephine married Tice HARRIS; Lucy Edna married Thomas JOHNSON; and Catherine married William J. McELHANEY.
  2. Mary Ann - b. Jul 10, 1811, Bedford Co., TN; d. Jun. 11, 1858, Waynesboro, Wayne Co., TN. Married John C. TURMAN.
  3. Martha - d. Dec. 10, 1813, Bedford Co., TN. Born after the death of her father.

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