udge Stephen Neal is one of the most prominent men of Lebanon, Indiana, is a member of the Legislature and is Judge of Boone County Circuit Court, Twentieth Judicial Circuit of Indiana. He springs from sterling English stock. His remote ancestors were an old colonial Virginian family and substantial farmers and slave owners. Their children were: William, Samuel, Stephen, John and Polly, and others not remembered. John Neal, father of the Judge, was born in Halifax County, Virginia, was reared a farmer and received a good education. He first married, in Halifax County, Virginia, Priscilla Craddock, and to them were born ten children: Polly, Henry, Cicely, John, Nancy, Maha, Stephen, Susan, Wellington and Ormstead. After his marriage, Mr. Neal moved to Pennsylvania County, Virginia, and there the first seven children were born. Having lost his first wife, John Neal married Eliza Fletcher, and to this union were born two sons: James and Thomas, both living in Missouri. In 1819, in the autumn, John Neal moved to the wilds of Kentucky and settled in Bath County, making this long journey with packhorses. He cleared up a farm, and then moved to Nicholas County, where he spent some years, and then returned to Bath County, where he died, aged 73. He was a devout member of the Baptist Church, and in politics an old-line Whig.
Stephen Neal, our subject, was born June 11, 1817, in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and was but two or three years old when he was taken to Kentucky. He was reared among the pioneers and attended the old subscription school and then an academy at Moorefield, Kentucky, under a famous teacher, Henry T. Trimble, a graduate of Transylvania University, Kentucky. Soon after this, Stephen began reading law at the age of twenty years. His mother died when he was but fifteen years of age, and his father married, as stated above, about one year after, giving young Stephen his time. The latter worked at farm work during the summer, and in winter devoted his time to studying various branches. He was a great lover of books and devoured greedily all that came his way, having access to the extensive library of Thomas Nelson, an accomplished linguist and teacher, who took pains to direct his studies, and gave him a start in Latin and Greek, and young Neal became so perfect that he could and did teach them. Young Neal, indeed, at the age of twenty, became a teacher of a country school and continued the work three winters, and also continued his legal studies in the office of the Hon. Joseph G. Marshall of Madison, Indiana. He was admitted to the bar at Carlisle, Kentucky, in 1841, and immediately began to practice. In 1843 he went to Lebanon, Indiana. In 1839 he was married, in Nicholas County, Kentucky, to Frances A. Atkinson, daughter of William and Elizabeth (Coshoe) Atkinson. Mr. Atkinson was from an old American family of Scotch and English stock, and he was a well-to-do farmer. His children were Frances A. Elizabeth, Emily, Thomas, John, William and Mary. Mr. Atkinson lived to be seventy-six years of age and died on his farm in Kentucky. To Judge and Mrs. Neal were born four children - Annette, Elizabeth, Mary P. and Daniel O'Connell, all born at Lebanon, Indiana. In 1846-47 he was a member of the State Legislature, elected as a Jeffersonian Democrat, and continued with the party until he became one of the founders of the Republican Party in Boone County.
Mr. Neal was a strong Union man during the war and took an active part in Boone County in supporting the Union Cause. His son, Daniel O'Connell, enlisted in Lebanon in 1861, in Company A, Tenth Regiment of Indiana Infantry, and was promoted to Corporal. He was in the Battle of Mills Springs, was taken sick there with typhoid fever and died at Somerset, Kentucky, in 1862. On coming to Boone County, in 1843, Judge Neal practiced law and resided on his farm, one mile east of Lebanon, where he owned 100 acres. He was connected with many prominent cases, but in 1883, moved to Iowa and practiced two years at Washington; in 1885 he returned to Lebanon and resumed his practice, in which he was very successful. In 1890 he was elected Judge and took the office November 10, 1890, and is now filling that important position. Judge Neal has always been a public-spirited man, has bought many dwellings and improved them, has been an active real estate dealer and has taken an active part in the improvement of the roads. His first wife died in 1851, and he married Clara, daughter of Charles Davis. Mr. Davis was an old pioneer of Boone County and a merchant of Thorntown. He died, aged ninety-seven years, at Lebanon, a respected and honorable citizen. To Judge Neal and his second wife were born five children - Charles Von Humboldt, Albert, Frank, Jennie and Richard F., all born in Lebanon, Boone County. This wife died in March 1879, and Judge Neal married Laura A. Kernodle (nee Carson), daughter of Robert Carson, an old settler. Of this marriage were born two children, Gertrude and Theodore. The judge is a politically a Democrat. His religion is that of the Church of Christ, in which he has been elder for many years. His reputation in office is unsullied and his moral life has won for him the respect of every man and woman in Boone.