Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, North Carolina

John McNeely vs. John McNeely.

Okay, now I am genuinely perplexed. A couple of months ago, I wrote about finding my great-great-uncle John McNeely’s first wife, whom he married in 1899. I had just found a marriage license for John Alexander McNeely, colored, son of Henry and Martha McNeely of Iredell County, and Carry Armstrong. Prior to this, I had only known wife Laura Nesbit, whom he married in Statesville in 1912.

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I have not found John and Laura McNeely in the 1920 census, but in 1930 they and Laura’s daughter Marie shared a house with John’s sister and brother-in-law, Emma and Irving Houser, in Bayonne, New Jersey. In 1940, John and Laura and Marie and her husband James Watkins were living on West 19th Street in Bayonne. And when John died in 1947, his obituary noted that he was the beloved husband of Laura (Nesbitt.)

So yesterday when I found yet another marriage for John A. McNeely, son of Henry and Martha McNeely of Iredell County, I was flummoxed.

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Did John marry Laura, divorce (or otherwise leave) her, marry Jane Nichols, divorce her, then remarry Laura Nesbit? If so, where is the second marriage license for Laura? If not, who is this John McNeely? And who are the other Henry and Martha McNeely?

The only Henry and Martha McNeely in the 1900 census of North Carolina are my John’s parents, living in Statesville township. In 1880, they’re in Rowan County, and still the only couple with those names in the state. Henry died in 1906, before death certificates were kept, and Martha died in New Jersey. I have not found death certificates for any other Henry or Martha McNeely in Iredell.

As for John: John and Jane McNeely appear in the 1900 census of Statesville, my John McNeely does not. In the first decade of the century, a John McNeely pops up in the pages of the local paper for various misdeeds — shooting at a rival, having smallpox, fighting, slicing a man with a knife, shooting at a dog. I’d like to think that this is not my John, but there’s no clear way to know. And there’s no John McNeely at all in Iredell County in the 1910 census.

I’ll have to leave it here for now. I don’t have enough to know for certain whether John McNeely and John Alexander McNeely were the same man.

UPDATE, 19 June 2015: Is this a clue to the identity of John A. McNeely?

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This Henry McNeely is not my great-great-grandfather Henry McNeely. He’s his nephew. Henry’s father John Rufus McNeely was, I believe, the half-brother of my Henry. Unfortunately, this Henry was born about 1863, and John A. McNeely was born about 1870. I don’t believe this Henry and Martha were the couple named on John A. McNeely’s marriage licenses.

UPDATE, 21 June 2015: Then there’s this.

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This is from the marriage license of my John McNeely’s brother, William Luther McNeely, who married Mary Belle Woods in 1906 at Statesville’s Associate Reform Presbyterian Church. My great-grandparents Lon and Carrie McNeely Colvert wed there the same year. Is it just coincidence that John Alexander McNeely was also married by Rev. J.H. Pressly in this church?

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4 thoughts on “John McNeely vs. John McNeely.

  1. Margherita Patterson Somers says:

    Thank you so much for sharing Houstonville info! I grew up there, and I can honestly say that you probably know more about its history than most of the natives!
    Have to say that I remember Millard Dalton well. He was called Uncle Millard. He always used to come visit my grandma Dec 26th. and in later years, would visit us. I interviewed his son Barney Dalton for The Red Clay Roots book. If you are interested in history around the early half of the 20th century, you might be interested. Perhaps you have seen it though.
    Again thank you!

    • Hi, Margherita! Thanks so much for posting. I think I’ve seen your book, but before I knew about Josephine Dalton’s family. Is it available for purchase? I didn’t find info in a Google search. Also, are there still Daltons from this family in the Houstonville/Harmony area? My grandmother left Statesville in 1928 and though I’ve visited our family still there, there’s so much about our Colverts, Nicholsons and related families to discover!

      • Margherita Patterson Somers says:

        The book is probably available in the genealogy room at the Statesville library. It is really not my book, but a compilation of interviews with older members of the Iredell County community. And yes, there are still Daltons living in the Houstonville and Harmony communities.

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