Christopher Columbus Neal

Biography of Christopher Columbus Neal

Christopher Columbus Neal was born in Auxvasse Township, Callaway County, 
Missouri September 11, 1831.  His parents were Benjamin S. Neal and Anne Walker.  
Benjamin’s family had come from Virginia to Tennessee and then probably Alabama 
around 1820.  Ben and his brother Joseph then came to Missouri in 1830 from Lauderdale 
County, Alabama.  Anne’s parents Edward and Mary (Griffin) Walker were originally 
from South Carolina and had come to Callaway County about 1820 after living for some 
years in Smith County, Tennessee.  Ben and Anne were probably married in Old Salem 
Baptist Church near the settlement of Reform as Edward and Mary Walker are listed as 
one of the founding couples of the church circa 1820. 

C.C. was the oldest child of the family.  As was the norm at the time he was followed in 
rapid succession by Mary F. in 1834, Nancy in 1835, Julian King in1837, Permeley in 
1839, Elizabeth in 1841, and Benjamin Franklin in 1844.  All were born in Callaway 
County where Benjamin farmed.   

In 1848 Ben and the Walker family emigrated to Texas.  The Walkers and several of their 
adult children also came along although Edward was now 73 years old.  Along the way 
Edward died on November 12, 1848 on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Indian 
Territory, today eastern Oklahoma.  Upon arriving in Texas Ben’s initial stop was in 
Nacogdoches County where he and his family were enumerated in the 1850 census under 
“B.S. Nale”  Ben obtained his state “headright” and settled in Hunt County in the area of 
the Hookers Post Office.  This village was named after the Hooker family, one of several 
from Callaway County, Missouri who emigrated to Hunt County.  

Around 1850 C.C. married Rhoda South of nearby Hopkins County.  Her father Sam had 
been in Texas since 1841 and they had come to Texas from Osage County, Missouri and 
had lived directly across the Missouri River from the Neals.  The South family was 
already an old frontier family having been active in the settlement of the Boonesboro 
stations and Sam’s grandfather and great grandfather had been killed fighting Indians at 
Estill’s Defeat and Bowman’s Defeat during the Revolutionary War Indian uprisings 
fomented by the British.  C.C. also got some farmland via “headright” and he and Ben 
farmed together close to where the town of Lone Oak exists today.  C.C. and Rhoda had 
four children in quick succession: Thomas Jefferson 1854, Mary Jane 1855, William 
King 1857, and Henry Smith in 1860.

C.C. waited a full year after the onset of the Civil War before enlisting as a Private in 
Capt Benjamin Martin’s Hunt County Volunteers on May 15, 1862.  In July the 
Volunteers were absorbed into Burnet’s Battatlion as the 1st Texas Sharpshooters.  C. C. 
was assigned to Company A.  In December he was reassigned to Company E as 4th 
Sergeant.  That winter the Battalion moved from Camp Jackson, Lamar County, Texas to 
Fort DeRussy on the Red River near Marksville, Louisiana via riverboat steamer.  The 
Sharpshooters took part in the Indianola battle but C.C.’s Company was probably not 
involved as it appears the action was by soldiers of a Lamar or Fannin County company.

On February 20, 1863 C.C. was admitted to the Confederate Hospital in the August 
Voinche house in Marksville.  He and numerous comrades in the Sharpshooters had come 
down with measles or smallpox, dangerous diseases in the mid nineteenth century.  Sgt. 
Christopher Columbus Neal “died of disease at Genl hospital, Marksville, La, March 2, 
1863” according to Battalion muster rolls.  His burial place is unknown but was probably 
in the nearby Fort DeRussy cemetery.

The War continued to take its toll on the Neal family.  Rhoda and children are listed as 
“indigent” on Texas State rolls of Confederate families in 1864 and shortly after the war 
Rhoda died in an epidemic while visiting her South relatives in Hopkins County.  The 
children were raised by grandfather Ben whose wife Anne died in 1869.  It must have 
been  difficult given the post war depression in Texas but he must have done well as he 
was revered by his grandchildren.  Ben lived until 1895 dying at the age of 86 and is 
buried in Hookers Ridge Cemetery with Anne.

The Neal family continues to own a portion of the original headright land and holds an 
annual Reunion there every year in June.

Written by:  Michael Neal Edmonds

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