John Wilson McNeely died childless in July 1871. Or at least, you know, childless in any way that mattered to probate court. He had not made a will, so his heirs at law were his widow Mary McNeely McNeely and his two surviving siblings. His son Henry W. McNeely did not warrant notice.
In August, Joshua Miller, administrator of John’s estate, and Mary McNeely filed a Petition to sell Land for Assets against John’s brother William B. McNeely and sister Acintha McNeely or Corryer [or, as most commonly spelled, Corriher.] McNeely’s debts totaled about $2000, and his estate was valued at only $800, of which $300 had been set off for his widow. At death John had owned “about 235 acres on Catheys Creek in Rowan County adjoining the lands of Joshua Miller, Frederick Menus, Dr. F.A. Luckey, and others” and valued at about $7/acre. This property was to descend to William, age 65, believed to be living somewhere Missouri, and Acintha McNeely or Corryer, age 60, living somewhere in Tennessee.
On 8 September, justice of the peace John Graham, J.M. Harrison, and S.A.D. Hart allotted a year’s provision to Mary McNeely, which included a mouse-colored mule worth $125, four horseloads of hay, 500 bundles of fodder, two hogs, one sow and four pigs, one old buggy and harness, 37 pounds of bacon, two bushels of Irish potatoes, one ax, an old washtub, one “foalding leg table,” one “old poplar cubbard & contents,” one waterbucket and washpan, a half dozen chairs, one candlestand, one bureau, an old looking glass, two beds and furniture, one small Bible, two Hymn books, four handtowels, and three “table cloth.”
William and Acintha were never located,* and, on 31 October, Joshua Miller sold the remainder of John’s personal property at auction. The items sold included a “crout” stand, 550 shingles, “sythes,” a log-chain, tanner’s knives, a cross-cut saw, ceiling-dogs, moulding planes, “clevis & strechers,” planes, “waggon cloth,” “hackel & chain oil,” a cultivator, a tar bucket, five sheep, nine hogs, a red calf, a blue calf, two cows, two horses, a mule, a bureau, mirror, a small table, two beds and furniture, a book case, a clock, two chests, two pairs of boots, shoe tools, sheep skins, a map, Scotts Bible, another Bible, a hymn book, 14 lots of books, a razor and strop, an armchair, ten chairs, one counterpane, a coon skin, two padlocks, a slate, and 240 1/2 acres of land sold at $10.80/acre for a total of $3266.19 1/4.
The land sale apparently did not go through, and six weeks later, Miller advertised the sale of 235 acres from John’s estate.
Carolina Watchman, 8 December 1871.
It is likely that Henry McNeely’s mother Lucinda worked in John W. McNeely’s household until he died. The 1870 census of Atwell township, Rowan County, lists J. Wilson McNeely and wife Mary at household #292; Henry W. McNeely, wife and children, including a son John Wilson, at #293 (this Henry was NOT John W.’s son, though he was certainly a nephew by marriage and/or cousin); then Lucinda, her son Henry and two grandchildren at #294 and Lucinda’s son Julius, wife and nephews at #295. I have no doubt that Lucinda and her offspring lived on John McNeely’s land. Or that the sale of John’s 235 acres forced them off. By 1880, they were living just north in Mount Ulla township, where Julius bought a small farm.
*I have never found a trace of Acenith McNeely Corriher, but William Bell McNeely outlived his brother by 13 years. More later on his life in Iron County, Missouri.