Archives provinciales du Nouveau-Brunswick

Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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NEALES, WILLIAM STERLING, principal of the County Grammar School, 1861-69; Anglican rector, Chatham, 1869-73, and Newcastle, 1873-74; b. Stanley, N.B., 1842 (bap. 8 Jan 1843), s/o the Rev. James Neales and Mary Cooke; m. 1868, Elizabeth Simonds, of Fredericton; d. San Francisco, 13 Sep 1890.

W. Sterling Neales was a son of the first marriage of the Rev. James Neales, an Anglican priest who served in several different parishes in New Brunswick. His wife, Elizabeth Simonds, was a daughter of Edward Simonds and Frances B. Scovil, and a granddaughter of Richard Simonds, formerly of the Miramichi.

Educated at the University of New Brunswick (BA 1861, MA 1881), Neales was appointed principal and sole teacher of the Northumberland County Grammar School at age nineteen, immediately after taking his first degree. For the next eight years he conducted "a highly satisfactory school" in a room half the size of a modern classroom. While doing so he also acted as pastoral assistant to the Rev. Samuel Bacon and studied under him for the priesthood. He was appointed lay reader in 1862 and curate in 1865, after he became a deacon. He was ordained a priest in 1866. In 1868 he was designated as Bacon's successor, and he was officially installed as rector in 1869. Four years later his health failed, and he was forced to resign.

Neales left on a trip to Ireland in June 1873, accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth Simonds. By September he was well enough to return and accept the rectorship at Newcastle, but a year later he resigned again and emigrated to California. He was rector of St Paul's Church in San Francisco from 1882 until his death in 1890, at age forty-eight.

Neales had two half-brothers who later spent time on the Miramichi. In 1891 Alfred Kortright Neales, who was both a teacher and a lawyer, was appointed principal of the Wellington Street and other Lower District schools in Chatham and also opened a law office. He stayed only a few months, subsequently moving to California also, where he died in 1897, at age thirty-one. In December 1895 his brother James De Veber Neales opened a law office in Newcastle, and in March of the following year began publication of a short-lived newspaper called Northumberland News. The Union Advocate declared this paper to be merely a political organ of the Liberal party and also put a certain amount of unflattering personal information on record about J. De Veber Neales, in the wake of his unceremonious departure for Boston in November 1896.


[b/d] Francis research [m] Telegraph 10 Nov 1868 / Advocate 11 Jun 1873, 3 Sep 1873, 19 Aug 1874, 16 Nov 1881, 17 Sep 1890, 8 Apr 1891, 25 Dec 1895, 11 Mar 1896, 2 Dec 1896, 9 Dec 1896, 25 Aug 1897; Anglican archives (NB); Educ. reports, 1861-69; Gleaner 12 Apr 1862; Spray (DK)