Rhoda Marshall Neal (1837-1920)

Most of this is Rhoda Marshall Neal’s obituary. I have added notes in italics.


God in His infinite wisdom has called home to Himself one of the pioneer residents of Dexter [Iowa] when Mrs. Rhoda Marshall Neal answered the last summons, following a brief illness on Tuesday, May 25, 1920.

Mrs. Neal, or Grandma, as we were wont to call her, was a quiet, unassuming lady, ready at all times to be led, rather than to lead. Her long and useful life coming in that part of the twentieth century as it did, gave her an advantage to be part of the most perplexing periods in the history of this country. Having left with two babies at the outbreak of the Civil War, she was forced to face those privations and trying times known only to those that have gone through them. Nevertheless, she was very optimistic in her views always being able to see the bright side of everything no matter how dark it might look. This in a great measure, accounts for her long life which she fully enjoyed until stricken with her fatal illness, which was of a short duration.

She died as she lived, happy and contented.

Rhoda Marshall was born in Wayne County, Indiana, on July 21st, 1837 and died at the home of her daughter Mrs. J.J. Andrew on May 25th, 1920, aged 82 years, 10 months and 1 days. Her early life was spent in teaching school and keeping house for her father, her mother having died when she was seventeen years of age.

Note: Rhoda’s mother Cynthia (Swain) Marshall died of typhoid in 1851. When Rhoda’s father remarried, Rhoda was 18, with one brother older and three younger. She was Thomas’s only daughter until her step-sister Cynthia Ellen Marshall was born in 1855. By the time a step-brother was born, Rhoda was married. I’d like to know when and where she met John Neal of Tennessee. I was told that she was helped to elope by a brother, since her father wasn’t opposed to her marriage to a “poor fiddler.” She wasn’t exactly disinherited by got very little help.

On January 19th, 1857, she was united in marriage with John Neal. Seven children were born. The youngest daughter died in infancy. The family which grew to maturity remains unbroken. Those are: Mrs. H. C. Miller of Lake Andes, S. D., Mrs. C. W. Doling of Clay Center, Kansas, Mrs. E. G. Andrew, Mrs. J. H. Andrew, Mrs. W. Andrew, and O.S. Neal, of Dexter. Two brothers also survive, C. L. Marshall of Portland, Oregon, and Alonzo Marshall of Richmond, Ind. The family group also includes fifteen grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.

Back: Dora Ellen (Neal) Andrew, Hannah Jane (Neal) Doling), Ida Minerva (Neal) Andrew, Nancy Belle (Neal) Andrew, Cynthia Magnolia (Neal) Miller Front: Rhoda L. (Marshall) Neal, Orlando Swain “O.S.” Neal, John Neal

Note: The younger three Neal sisters did indeed marry three Andrew brothers.

OSNellie (2)

Rhoda moved with her husband to Tennessee where she lived until the out-break of the Civil War. At the close of the war she moved with the family to Dallas County, Iowa, where she has since resided except for a short stay in Kansas and Colorado. Mr. Neal died on November 28th, 1898. Mrs. Neal had a birth right in the Friends Church, remaining in that faith until 1899, when she united with the Presbyterian Church of Dexter of which she was a member at the time of her death.

Note: In Tennessee, John and Rhoda lived with “the old folks,” Thomas and Nancy Neal. She had to help out with cutting fabric, sewing, etc., for John’s brother’s family, as the wife was ill. John Neal (1836-1898) started the War Between the States wearing grey, in Co. H, 3rd Forrest’s Tennessee Cavalry. He deserted. His own brother Jesse D. Neal was in the Union army.

Born in Tennessee:

Cynthia Magnolia (Neal) Miller (1857-1930) and Hannah Jane (Neal) Doling (1859-1952)

Note: Rhoda’s obituary doesn’t say that she lived in Indiana again, but her husband John joined Co. A, 9th Reg. Indiana Cavalry. Two more daughters were born in Indiana. Rhoda and her children lived in a house on the corner of her father’s farm while John was in the war.

Born in Indiana:

Nancy Belle (Neal) Andrew (1861-1920/1) and Dora Ellen (Neal) Andrew (1863-1900)

After the war, John and Rhoda moved to Iowa, where many relatives were living, including Rhoda’s grandfather, Miles Marshall, and several uncles. Their last two children were born at Dexter, including their only son.

Born in Iowa:

Ida Minerva (Neal) Andrew (1866-1957)and Orlando Swain “O.S.” Neal (1868-1945)

Rhoda1 (2)
I found this picture in the Dexter Museum. It says they are “John Neal” and “Mrs. John Neal.” I’d never seen the picture before.

Rho (2)

The funeral services were held from the home of her daughter, Mrs. J. H. Andrew on Thursday at 1:30, conducted by the Rev. Neill, assisted by Rev. HagenFritz, at which time they paid touching tribute to the fine, long life that she had lived.

A double quartette, consisting of eight of the grandchildren, sang and six of the grandsons acted as pallbearers. Those included in the double quartette were Mrs. Greta Golden, Miss Marjorie Neal, Mrs. Clyde Martin, Miss Gertrude Andrew, Mr. Rollin Andrew, Mr. Kenneth Neal, Mrs. William Andrew, Jr., and Keith J. Neal.

The pall bearers were Mrs. Ryal Miller of Mitchell, So. Dak., R. N. Andrew, Maurice Neal, Kenneth Neal, William Andrew and Keith Neal.

Those attended the funeral service from a distance included Mrs. H. C. Miller of Lake Andes, S. D., Mrs. C. W. Doling of Manitou, Colo., Mr. Ryal Miller of Mitchell, So. Dak., and Mrs. Greta Golden of Hillsdale, Ill.


Note: John Neal’s parents moved to Dexter, where they are buried. John’s brother Jesse is buried at Roberts Cemetery, Stanzel, Adair County, Iowa.



  1. Thank you for sharing this story.  I am liking every one that you are sending.It is nice to know where you come from and where the people came from.  It sure seem like a lot of them ended up in Dexter.

    • Amen! And my great grandfather was the youngest. He was a regular cut-up, as I understand it. So was my grandfather, who must have learned it from him, and it’s even filtered down among my cousins. Quite a surprise to see what his sisters looked like!

    • I was surprised to learn that my great grandfather was the youngest of all those sisters, and that those great pictures ended up with me. Having a blog and Facebook cousin pages sure make it handy to share them with distant relatives.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.