Pinellas Pioneers

(Compiled by Lesleigh L. Butts)



Pinellas pioneer, Robert E. Neeld had resided on the Pinellas Peninsula 32 years at the time of his death on Tuesday, April 12, 1910 at age 86.  This would place his arrival in the Peninsula circa 1878.

            Robert was born January 1825 in Tennessee, perhaps Fayetteville.[1] It was recorded consistently in census records that Robert’s parents were born in Kentucky.

His obituary published in the St. Petersburg Independent stated he was “a man of letters and literature, and his poems have been widely read.  He was a journalist of ability, editing papers in Alabama, Louisiana, and Florida.  He lived a pure and “simple life.”  The world’s mad pursuit of dollars never disturbed his equanimity.  He lived, not in this world, but in an ideal which his cultivated mind had conceived.”   His obituary in the St. Petersburg Times added: “He was a firm believer in an ideal form of government that he hoped to see realized before his death, and was one of the most care free men that you would meet and talk to in a long time.”[2]

A veteran the Mexican War, his obituary in the St. Petersburg Evening Independent[3] stated he was “one of the four surviving Mexican veterans residing in the city.”  Mr. Neeld was also a Confederate Veteran of the Civil War; having served as a private in Company C of the 8th Arkansas Infantry.[4]   He had been a member of the Confederate Veteran’s Zollicoffer Camp.

In 1848, Robert married Eliza Liddon in Bellefonte, Alabama.  Eliza being born in Rutherford Co., Tennessee in 1827; one of the ten daughters born to William Abram Liddon (b. Wilmington, New Hanover Co., N.C. in 1793) and Mary White Davis (b. January 1800, Rutherford Co., N.C.).  Mary White Davis was the daughter of Henry and Margaret (Price) Davis who were living near Shelbyville, Tennessee when they married in 1818.  The William A. Liddon family was prominent in Bellefonte, Alabama; William was a well known and respected Justice of the Peace and had served as county surveyor for many years.[5]

Children of Robert E. and Eliza Neeld were:  1Alfred (b. Alabama May 1849) 2William P. (b. Alabama 1851), 3Miller F. (b. Alabama June 1858) and 4Percy G. (b. Alabama 1865).  

 In 1870 Census the Neeld family was found living in Key West, Monroe County, Florida.  Robert E. Neeld (head of household) with his wife, Eliza, and four sons: Alfred 20, William age 18, Miller age12 and Percy age 4.  Robert’s occupation at that time was recorded as “Printer.”  Interesting to note that one Tavernier Faulkner, white male age 45 (birthplace North Carolina), who’s occupation - “Printer,” was living with the Neelds at this time. [6]

A study of the 1880 Census revealed the following: Robert and Eliza Neeld living in Precinct Number One in Hillsborough Co., Florida where he was an “Editor and Printer.”  Their second youngest son, Miller F. Neeld, (a single white male age 21 occupation printer) was still living with his parents at this time.  Thirteen year old Percy G. Neeld was living “at home (occupation)” also.  Second eldest son, William, lived next door; he was a farmer.  William and his wife Mary E. (age 20, born in Florida, both parents born in Florida) had two daughters: Hattie age 2 (born in Florida) and Katie age 3 months (born in Florida).  On the other side of William and Mary lived the Vincent Leonardi family. [7]

            In the 1900 Census we find a 75 year old Robert E. Neeld (born January 1825 in Tennessee, both parents born in Kentucky) his wife Eliza who is now age 73 (born May 1827 in Tennessee as were her parents); they are living in Precinct Number One of Hillsborough Co., Florida.  He is by this time retired, there is no occupation listed for him.[8]    Also located in the 1900 Census was his son, Miller F. Neeld, age 42 (born June 1858 in Alabama).  His occupation was given as carpenter.  Miller’s wife May C. age 40 (born April 1860 in Louisiana, her father born New Jersey and mother Mississippi); their son, Winfield S., age 15 (born August 1884 in Florida); daughter, Stella, age 11 (born April 1889 in Florida) and son, Wilbur L. age 11 (born August 1891 in Florida) were also with him in Purdy Precinct, Pierce Co., Washington.[9]  Robert and Eliza eldest son, Alfred Neeld, at this time age 51 (born May 1849 in Alabama, parents Tennessee) and his wife Mary age 62 (born July 1837 in Georgia as were her parents) are living in Fort Brooke, Hillsborough Co., Florida…..his occupation is “Printer.” There was a boarder named Fred Somerfield who’s occupation was “Cigar Maker” (single white male age 24, born in Missouri in 1878, parents born in Germany) living with them at this time.[10]

A 63 year old Percy G. Neeld was located in the 1930 Census living in with his son, Grantham P. Neeld, who owned a home at 8012 Seminole Avenue, Sulfur Springs, Hillsborough Co., Florida, which was valued at $3,000.  Grantham is listed as head of household (age 32) occupation proprietor of a transfer company.  Also in this household was his wife, Mary G. (age 25 born Indiana, her father born in Ohio and mother in Illinois) and their three children: son, Grantham P., Jr., age 9; daughter, Phoebe, age 7 and son, Carlisle F., age 6.  All children were reported being born in Florida. [11]

As previously stated death came for Robert E. Neeld on Tuesday, April 12, 1910 at his home on 819 Baum Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida; cause of death unspecified.  He was buried in the “Old Settlers Cemetery” on SW side of St. Petersburg at 2 o’clock on the afternoon of April 13, 1920.  (Compiler’s note: It is believed the cemetery referred to may perhaps be Glen Oak Cemetery.) Surviving was: “his aged wife,” and four sons, William, Alfred, Percy and Miller, the latter of Seattle and three residing in Florida, and a large number of grandchildren.”[12]





[1] Notable Men of Alabama Personal and Genealogical with Portraits Volume I; Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Co. 1976 Page 351-352. (biography of William Abram Liddon).

[2] St. Petersburg Times April 15, 1910, Column 4 Page 6.

[3] St. Petersburg Evening Independent April 13, 1910, column 3 Page 5.

[4] United States National Archives. Civil War Compiled Military Service Records [database online] Provo, UT:, 1999-.

[5] Notable Men of Alabama Personal and Genealogical with portraits Volume I, Spartanburg, SC; Reprint Co., 1976, Pg 350-352. (biography of William Abram Liddon).

[6] 1870 United States Federal Census. [database on-line] Provo, UT:, Inc., 2003-. Indexed by from microfilmed schedules of the 1870 U.S. Federal Decennial Census.1870 United States Federal Census. [database online] Provo, UT:, Inc., 2003. Original data: Data imaged from National Archives and Records Administration. 1870 Federal Population Census. M593, 1,761 rolls; part of Minnesota T132, 13 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.

[7] Year: 1880; Census Place: Precinct 1, Hillsborough, Florida; Roll: T9_128; Family History Film: 1254128; Page: 390B; Enumeration District: 61; Image: 0345.

[8] 1900 Census Series: T623 Roll: 170 Page: 20B (Heritage

[9] 1900 Census Series T623 Roll: 1748 Page 23B (Heritage

[10] 1900 Census series T623 Roll: 170 Page 156B (Heritage

[11] 1930 Census Precinct 57, Hillsborough, Florida; Roll: T626_321; Page: 30B; Enumeration District: 142; Image: 0190.

[12] St. Petersburg Evening Independent April 13, 1910, column 3 Page 5.