The American Revolution in South Carolina

Colonel Thomas Neel

Thomas Neel was born in 1730, the son of Thomas Neel, Sr. and his wife Sarah. He married Jean Spratt, the daughter of Thomas Spratt and Mary Clark, and they had seven children, including twins Thomas and Andrew, John, Sarah, Mary, Jean, and Elizabeth.

Before the American Revolution, Thomas Neel was one of the most prominent and influential citizens of what was Tryon County in North Carolina, and after 1772, he was the leading citizen of the New Acquisition District in South Carolina.

His first military venture was with NC Governor William Tryon in his expedition against the Regulators, and was in the battle of Alamance in May of 1771. In this endeavor, Thomas Neel was a Captain of the Tryon County Militia.

In 1775, Thomas Neel was commissioned as Colonel/Commandant of the New Acquisition District Regiment of militia, and his services were needed almost immediately. His regiment soon marched against the Loyalists at the battle of the Great Cane Brake and wrapped up 1775 in the famous Snow Campaign. In 1776, he and his men joined with Maj. Andrew Williamson in the large expedition against the Cherokees in both South Carolina and North Carolina. He was then in the Florida and Georgia campaign of 1777/1778 and his men were stationed for a time at Phillip's Fort in Georgia. His last military duty was in the defense of Charleston in the Spring of 1779, which ended in his death at the battle of Stono Ferry on June 20th when he was shot in the head by the British.

Col. Thomas Neel is buried in the cemetery of Bethel Presbyterian Church in Clover, South Carolina with his youngest son, John.

His civil accomplishments include:
- On a committee of four to select the site of Bethel Presbyterian Church in 1764
- Elected one of the first Elders of the Bethel congregation in 1764
- Member of the North Carolina Assembly representing Tryon County
- A petitioner on roads and ferries, certifier of accounts, petitioner on land grants, as surety
- Justice of the Peace for Tryon County for several terms
- Magistrate, who served as a Judge for the Tryon County Court from 1769 to 1772
- Member of the Board of Trustees of Queen's College in Charlotte, NC
- President of Committee of Safety in Tryon County
- County Commissioner and Building Commissioner for Tryon County
- Served on the NC/SC Boundary Commission
- Large land holder on the west bank of the Catawba River - recipient of several grants of 300 to 400 acres each
in Tryon County between 1760 and 1772
- 1772, granted 779 acres in Craven County, SC by Lt. Gov. William Bull
- Member of First Delegation sent by the New Acquisition District (now York County) to the SC Provinical
Congress in 1776

The above information [with minor edits] provided in August of 2011 by Ralph Thomas Davis, Jr. of Gastonia, NC, the ggggg-grandson of Thomas Neel. He asserts that some information comes from the Sketch of the Neel-Johnston Family of the New Acquisiton, by David A. Bigger, M.D.

© 2011 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved