I am looking for any information on Daniel B. Neal. He was a master canoe maker in or around Dover Maine. He was my Great Grandfather and I am very interested in any information anyone may have on him. THanks
I did the article mentioned above and believe it or not I am working on a Neal canoe right now. It was put on hold for some time while I finished a few others. I just cut a replacement deck out yesterday. It is great fun trying to reproduce your great grandfather's work. I will post some more photos here as I go along, but it is nearly ready for canvas.
Anyway, Scott Barkdoll put me in touch with a living relative. I spoke to Chuck Neal out in Michigan last year and sent him copies of everything I know. Are you Chuck? The following sums up our conversation:
"I chatted with Chuck on the phone. He was born the year that Dan Neal died. He could not provide a great deal of additional information, but was thrilled to know that folks were finding and taking an interest in Neal's canoes. He did see the article that Steve and I put together. Chuck has a brother and two sons (Great, Great Grandsons), so the Neal name is in good standing. I think Chuck is 72 years old now.
Chuck is a canoe nut and is considering attending the Assembly next year.
I sent Chuck a package containing most everything that I was able to dig up on Dan Neal, including copies of the Down East Article."
Chuck reportedly has a Neal Square Stern restored by Scott Barkdoll.
Your Great Grandfather was pretty much Maine's version of Davy Crockett. Let me know where to reach you, and I will send you what I know.
Here are a couple of photos of your Great Grandfather courtesy of Stephen Rainsford who is a local Dover-Foxcroft historian (attached):
The first photo shows him guiding a sport in his trademark wide brimmed hat. The canoe may be a Neal canoe, but it does have a few traits I have not seen on others attributed to Neal. The canoe appears to be an 18 footer (big for a Neal?), the decks may be a different shape, and the thwarts are mortised into the inwale. The stem profile is similar to Neal canoes.
The second shows him giving his wife a ride in a birchbark canoe in the river behind his shop. This canoe may be the one that is now at Maine Maritime Museum in Bath.
No I'm not Chuck. My name is Tim Morgan and I'm the Grandson of Gearld Neal. The story I got from my Mom is Dan was married to my Great Grandmother who was a Boston blue blood and hated Maine. She took my Grandfather Gerald back to Boston and he would spend his summers up in Maine with Dan. My Mom has talked to 1 relative by the name of Dalton Neal, I believe a son of Stanley Neal. I don't know if he's still alive this as this was years ago. She lost the information and hasn't been able to find it. If it wouldn't be too much trouble I would like to recieve the article and any other information you have. After our family moved to Alaska, my Grandfather visted once before he passed away and said it reminded him alot of his boyhood days in Maine. My e-mail is email@example.com. Thanks for getting back with me and good luck with your canoe
My understanding is one of Daniel's canoes is at the L.L.Bean main office and another is at the Roosvelt estate home. I would love to go and see them someday. I guess he was also a knife maker. It sounds like he was a Davy Crocket like figure. Probably would have loved Alaska.
As a result of this thread, I got to talk with Dan Neal's granddaughter tonight. She confirmed much of the family lore. What an absolute pleasure.
I should elaborate some here. As a result of the WCHA, Dan Neal's granddaughter discovered a whole new branch of the family tree. Scott Barkdoll restored a Neal canoe for Chuck Neal. The Morgan family did not know about the Neal family in Michigan. They have since connected and are filling out the family tree.
My Mom said she had talked to you the other day. This is Tim Morgan her son. It's amazing what the internet can do. Thanks for all the information you've provided and I'd like to see a picture of your canoe when you're done. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org