The Neal name was spelled in several ways in documents including Neel, Neil, and Neall. Sometimes the name was spelled various ways in the same document.
In his history of the Neal family, E. M. Lane believes the family was descended from Irish immigrants from Antrim, Ireland who came to the colonies in 1771 with a land grant from George III. His belief was Samuel Neel was our direct ancestor. It is likely we are descended from this line as the names of the family suggest. However there is a break in his line of descent from this Samuel Neel to our Robert Neal. I have been unable to determine how Robert may be related to Samuel. See notes on person denoted as "Unknown Neal" for more details.
The Neal family starting with Robert Neal, who was born in 1794, were farmers and land owners in Newberry County, South Carolina. They were religious, mainly Methodists. Robert married Sophia Gauntt. He died young and left her to raise their five children on her own. She never remarried and was a successful farmer.
John Calvin Neal was the son of Robert Neal and Sophia Gauntt. He was a Confederate veteran and acquired considerable property. He married Mary Elizabeth Griffin and they had several children, but only three lived to adulthood. These three daughters married and lived in homes adjacent to each other in Newberry until Nellie Neal and her husband, Samuel P. Crotwell, moved to Georgia.
Highlighted names show the direct ancestor line of Selma Crotwell.