Neal, James Weaver (P1, C3, L11)
First Lieutenant James Weaver Neal was born in Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky. He was a graduate of the Class of 1914, Transylvania University. Neal served with the Kentucky National Guard on the Mexican Border during the Punitive Expedition as a Private in Company F, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Kentucky Regiment, First Kentucky Brigade.
He joined Company B, Signal Corps, Kentucky National Guard on 17 April 1917. He was discharged from Company B on 26 November 1917, to accept a commission. He attended reserve officer training at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. First Lieutenant, Infantry, A. E. F., 335th Infantry, transferred to 137th Infantry Regiment. Severely wounded in action at Meuse-Argonne on 27 September 1918.
He died of spinal meningitis in France, 13 March 1919. At the time of his death he was a First Lieutenant, assigned to the 137th Infantry Regiment, 35th Division. His family residence at time of death was Taylorsville, Spencer County, Kentucky. He is buried in plot C, row, 12, grave 30, St. Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt, France.
James Weaver neal, A. B.
“A workman that needeth not be ashamed.”
“Daddy” Neal was born in bourbon county, and some years later graduated from Paris Academy. He came to Transylvania in 1909 and has been busy ever since. One of the most reliable, dependable fellows about the campus; sure to get there, and on time, too. Strong in athletics and a good booster in all missionary undertakings. Much thought of by Coach Stewart. Foot-ball Team ‘12, Captain ‘13, Manager and Captain Senior Basket Ball Team ‘14, Athletic Editor of the Crimson ‘14, Base-ball Team ‘11, ‘12, 13, ‘14, Manager of Base-ball Team ‘14, Phi Pi Chi, Y. M. C. A., Delegate to S.V.M. Conference, December ‘13, Boo, and Bones, Pericles, Lampas Club, Bourbon Club.
NOTE: Special thanks to Ms. B. J. Gooch, Special Collections Librarian, University Archivist, Transylvania University Library for supplying much of the information pertaining to James Weaver Neal.
Word has been received that Lieutenant James Weaver Neal, football captain for 1916, has arrived in France. In a letter to the college he says that one American soldier is equal to two Huns and that the ultimate outcome is assured.
“Daddy” Neal Wounded
Writes President Crossfield.
“Daddy” Neal writes President Crossfield that he has been wounded slightly. He says in part:
“Am in hospital at present—wounded slightly—and although I have not had any clothes off to sleep for eighteen days, nor have been in any bed other than the ground, I’m tired of this bed already, and am willing to hit the ground. Am coming along fine, and am figuring on getting out soon.
“I can’t see how I’m left here to write this, for I was hit by a whole shell—left hip and leg ripped a little, and shell exploded at my feet. Guess I saved myself by jumping forward at the correct moment.”
“Daddy” sends best wishes to all of the faculties and students of Transylvania and the College of the Bible. He says that he hasn’t seen a T. C. man since going over.
Lieutenant Neal left college soon after war was declared, to enter the Officers’ Training School at Fort Benjamin Harrison. There he received his commission. For some time he has been in active service in France.
Lieutenant James W. Neal of Paris, Ky., a graduate of Transylvania, was severely wounded by an exploding shell in France, and is now in a base hospital convalescing. He escaped death from the explosion by a quick jump forward. He wrote that he hadn’t had his clothes off for 18 days straight until wounded, but he prefers dugouts to the white sheets of the hospital.
Crimson Football Star Dies In France
Lieutenant James Weaver Neal Expires While Company Prepares Departure
President R. H. Crossfield of Transylvania College, received a message yesterday announcing the death of Lieutenant James Weaver Neal, former star football player of the Transylvania team. His death caused by spinal meningitis on March 13 at the time his company was preparing to return to America from France.
Lieutenant Neal received the A. B. degree from Transylvania in 1914, and after teaching one year in Missouri, returned to the College of the Bible to pursue courses leading to the D. D. degree. In the spring of 1917, he withdrew from college to join the Signal Corps, and in the early summer was assigned to Fort Benjamin Harrison, where he received his commission. He was then sent to Camp Funston, where he remained until December, when he went overseas with the 137th Infantry. In the spring of 1918, he was severely wounded by a bursting shell, and was confined to the hospital for two months. His family formerly lived in Bourbon county, but recently moved to Taylorsville. The account of his death was quite meager, simply relating the fact that he died of spinal meningitis on March 13.
Received by President Crossfield
From Lieutenant James Weaver Neal, Who Died March 13th
Perhaps no Transylvanian, who has ever gone out from these college halls, has been more interested in the welfare of Transylvania, and has had the interests of Transylvania, more in mind, than had Lieutenant James Weaver Neal, who died of spinal meningitis in France on March 13th. Ever since he has been in the service he has kept in touch with the college, writing many letters to President Crossfield and others. The following is the last letter received by President Crossfield.
Courcelles aux Bois, France
Wednesday, February 10
7:10 P. M.
Well, we are still sticking around this part of France, tho it is continually rumored that we are going to leave by such and such date. But, having been in the Army several months, a fellow takes such as a matter of course.
This division, the 35th had quite an honor last Monday in having General Pershing and the Prince of Wales to review it. The general inspected each platoon, personally, which took quite a while, but, in spite of having to stand there so long, I am sure everybody appreciated it and looked on it as the experience of his lifetime.
When the command “Pass in Review” was given the whole outfit did the same movement together, and went stepping along with the music put out by all the bands in the division gathered together. As each battalion got 100 to 150 yards past the reviewing officer, all the officers dropped out to the left, where, after the whole bunch had passed, General Pershing made a little talk. His talk was very informal and he was followed by the Prince, who made a few remarks.
As a whole (as Pat Barnes once said in chapel as he started to tell about the Mammoth Cave) the affair was great. The only regretted thing about it, as regards my battalion, was that we had to march 18 kilometers and back, a total of something over twenty-two miles, with packs, and didn’t get home till 8 P. M.
As we hiked along, tired and hungry, we were reminded of other days, or nights rather, when we ran up behind St. Mihiel and later the Argonne, except that on the other night we were sure that we had a good old army supper awaiting us and a roof to sleep under, when lots of other times we had no such attraction before us.
I have been getting the Rambler and Herald right along, and was interested to notice in the Herald that all the colleges in the state were getting together to present a solid front to the youth of college age. It certainly looks good and makes a fellow feel that his state is for him educationally as well as in many other ways. I’m confident that colleges will boom when this A. E. F. gets back.
My battalion, the 2nd, of this regiment, has been chosen as the best in the regiment to represent it in a competitive drill at Commercy tomorrow, so everybody is shining up tonight as we intend to “knock’em cold.”
We had our band over this P. M. to march by, and say, maybe you think these doughboys don’t step to good old American music. As the band was here we stood retreat with it playing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which is something rather out of the ordinary when over here, and out in the sticks as we are.
Well, I know I’ve said too much now, but will close, hoping that you’ll pardon me.
Give everybody round there my best, and, particularly, “Daddy” Vance, Mrs. Gross, Miss Ledridge, all the professors, oh, everybody, and wish them the best of everything for me.
James W. Neal.
Transy Fraternity Names House for Hero Member
Members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity of Transylvania College have named their new house at Sixth and Broadway Neal Hall in memory of James Weaver Neal, a graduate of the college and member of the fraternity who was killed in action in France.
The chapter will give a house warming Monday night at 8 o’clock, when the new home will be open to guests for the first time.
A Bourbon County World War One veterans’ memorial plaque located in Paris, across the street from the Bourbon County Courthouse and Duncan Tavern, bears Lieutenant James Weaver Neal’s name.
Lexington Man Chief Speaker
W. C. Hobbs Address at Dedication of Memorial Building in Bourbon County
Tablet Is Unveiled
(Special to The Herald)
Paris, Ky., Nov 11—The most elaborate Armistice Day exercises sine the close of the World War were held at Paris today on the occasion of the dedication of the Bourbon county memorial building and the unveiling of the bronze tablet in honor of those who lost their lives in their country’s service during the war.
The hundreds of persons who witnessed the services began to arrive from every section of the county early this morning. The parade which started from the city school building on Seventh street and marched to the open area provided between the courthouse and the memorial building on Broadway consisted of an pageant of high school pupils under the supervision of Miss Rheba Lockhart; Esberger’s band of Cincinnati; automobiles containing Mayor E. B. January and the members of the Paris board of council; the Paris fire department; war mothers; Bourbon county Red Cross; Community Service; and a pedestral train of the members of Bourbon Post American Legion; other ex-service men, headed by Commander T. S. Smylie; the cadets of the Millersburg Military Institute, led by Colonel W. R. Nelson; members of the Bourbon county Boy Scouts, headed by Scoutmaster F. A. Scott; and the children of the Paris public schools.
At the beginning of the program Chairman James M. Caldwell introduced the Reverend O. B. Crockett, pastor of the Paris M. E. church, South, who made the opening prayer. The Reverend Father William O’Hare then made a short address and introduced the principal speaker of the day, Honorable W. C. G. Hobbs, of Lexington, delivered the dedicatory address. Mr. Hobbs paid high compliments to the boys and women of Bourbon county who served their country during the late war and especially to those 22 boys whose places in their homes were vacant when the war was over.
At the close of Mr. Hobb’s address the bronze tablet set in the wall of the memorial building at the left of the front entrance was slowly unveiled by little Miss Nancy Marie Crockett as the band played and the congregation sang, “America.”
The benediction was pronounced by the Reverend W. S. Cain, pastor of St. Peter’s Episcopal church, of Paris.
The tablet, from Tiffany, of New York, bears the following inscription:
This Building is Dedicated to
The Men of Bourbon County
Who Served Their Country
During The World War
Sacred To The Memory
Of Those Who Died For
Liberty, Justice and Peace.
James Weaver Neal is one of the 22 names that appears on the tablet.
Greater Love Hath No Man
Than This: That a Man Lay Down
His Life For His Friends.
Beneath the bronze tablet was placed a laurel wreath, tied with a red, white and blue bow.
At noon lunch was served to the members of the American Legion in the dining room of the memorial building, which was decorated with flags. The dinner was served by committee of the War Mothers.
Nicely arranged in a show case in the front hall of the memorial building, was a collection of war relics gathered overseas by Dr. E. M. Orr. . .
The old Deposit Bank of Paris Building constructed in 1859. In 1922, it was converted into a memorial for those Bourbon County residents who perished in World War I and was abandoned in the 1980s. It was sold to the new owners in 1988 and has not been used since. The bronze plaque bearing the names of Neal and other World War I veterans is placed where the side entrance to the building had originally been located. Courtesy Sherman Cahal Works.