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James Neall (1820-1903) was a pioneer, merchant, and entrepreneur from Philadelphia. Neall sailed to Oregon in 1845 on the ship Toulon. There, he staked a 650 acre claim. He returned overland to Philadelphia in 1848.
In January of 1849, Neall sailed to San Francisco, where he established a successful retail operation specializing in hardware. He is credited with introducing the first door locks to San Francisco. His store was destroyed in the city fire of May 4, 1851.
In 1852, Neall returned to Philadelphia, where he married Hannah Lloyd (1817-1912). The couple returned to California where Neall became president of the Bear River Water and mining Company, an unsuccessful scheme to supply water for hydraulic mining operations.
For her part, Hannah Llloyd Neall was active in the literary world of early San Francisco, writing stories and poem that were published in periodicals and newspapers. She was a charter member of the Century Club of California (one of the first women's clubs), a suffragist, and a friend of Susan B. Anthony and Anna Shaw.
The couple resided in San Francisco until James Neall's death in 1903. He was killed in a carriage accident.
James and Hannah Lloyd Neall are the grandparents of the author Marie de Nervaud Dun (1884-1973).
The collection consists of reminiscences, correspondence, miscellaneous papers, bound volumes and a painted tin box.
James Neall's reminiscences, written in 1888, cover the five year period from 1845 -1850 in which Neall travelled to the west coast twice and set up a trading post in San Francisco. They were written specifically for his niece, Abbie Tredick. In character, the narrative is literate and literary. There is also a bound, typed transcription of the reminiscences edited and with an introduction by Martin Schmitt and K. Keith Richard in the bound volumes. This transcription served as the manuscript for the published volume A Down-Easter in the Far West.
Correspondence includes letters from James and Hannah Neall to Mrs. Abbie Tredick, their niece, 1879-1889. These letters provide additional biographical information for James Neall, both for the period of the letters and earlier. There are also letters by James Neall extracted from a letterpress book, 1856-1858, as well as various drafts and correspondence. Correspondents include: Nathaniel Crosby, Elizabeth (Libby) Lloyd, and James Field.
Miscellaneous Papers include autobiographical documents of James Neall, some transcribed by Neall's niece, Abbie Tredick as well as various legal and financial documents.
Bound volumes include: The holy bible... New York, American Bible Society, 1859, with a newspaper obituary of James Neall glued inside the front cover; A scrapbook of poetry and prose, mostly taken from California newspapers and magazines; Martin Schmitt and K. Keith Richard's transcription of James Neall's reminiscences with introduction; The journal of Hannah Lloyd Neall, which includes short stories, poetry, spanish lessons, and essays on the literary life of San Fransisco and the effects of the sewing machine on women's lives.
There is also a "tin trunk" with a painted design on it. According to the explanatory note that James Neall placed inside the trunk, Neall's "grandfather Jones" gave him the box in 1826. Neall then took it with him on his journeys to Oregon and California.
[Identification of item], James and Hannah Lloyd Neall papers, Coll 347, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
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