On May 26, 1937, the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, profiled one of the county’s more renowned preachers: J. Green McNeely.
Rev. J. Green McNeely: One of County’s Most Beloved Ministers Will Soon Round Out Half Century Of Service; Has Married Approximately 3,000 Couples; Conducted 3,500 Funerals, And Is Still “Going Strong”
One of the county’s most loved and best known ministers will soon round out a half century of service to the citizens of Logan county.
Born October 29, 1871, the Rev. J. Green McNeely, clerk of the county court, has already lived a full life of service, but is hale and hearty and plans to continue “preaching the gospel until the end.”
The Rev. McNeely has married approximately three thousand couples since he was ordained as a minister on March 28, 1891. He is proud to have been able to unite so many in the holy bonds of matrimony, he says, but he is prouder to know that the majority of the marriages “took,” he declares.
The first married he performed was on May 25, 1892. He married Lee Whitman and Elizabeth McDonald, both of Logan county. Mrs. Whitman is still living, but her husband preceded her in death several years ago. She lives on her farm in Henlawson.
The Rev. J. Green McNeely in addition to performing this amazing number of marriages, has conducted 3500 funeral services. His first service was for Billy Workman, 20, who was killed on Dempsey Branch by a falling tree. Workman’s death came in the fall of 1892.
The Rev. McNeely was born at the “Head of Dry Island” on a farm whose site is now occupied by the highway which runs down past Hatfield Island.
His parents were Elliott McNeely, farmer, Susan White McNeely. He had only a sister. She lives at Peach Creek at the present time. She is Mrs. Lewis McDonald.
The young man grew up on Mill Creek, his father having bought a farm there not long after where he attended rural schools and earned enough money chopping wood three months at $1.50 per month for the Mill Creek school to buy himself a suit of “store” clothes.
His first pair of “store” shoes were bought with a summer’s digging of the ‘seng.’ Young J. Green had dug a pound of the roots of the ginseng and dried them.
At nineteen the soon-to-be Rev. McNeely left home to do timbering work on Little Buffalo Creek at Henlawson. He had married by this time and “Uncle Dyke” Garrett, who was the Baptist evangelist who was responsible for the conversion of Rev. McNeely, performed the ceremony.
The Rev. McNeely’s conversion came a year after “Uncle Dyke” had married the couple in 1890.
He says: “I can remember that day yet. We had nearly completed a one-day revival meeting at the mouth of Crooked Creek in a grove where Pete Minotti’s house now stands, and I heard the call. ‘Uncle Dyke’ was a powerful preacher and he touched a responsive something in me that made me want to follow his example. So me and my wife were converted and were baptized by him.”
The Rev. McNeelys live in Cherry Tree. They are the parents of six children. The children are Mrs. John Morrison, Mrs. Howard Suiter, Mrs. Delmas Seagraves, Bethel, Luther, and Jimmie.
The Rev. J. Green McNeely, though “getting up in years” has not ceased active preaching. He delivers a Sunday message regularly to a church in Stollings once a month, Crooked Creek once a month, and in Chapmanville twice a month.
He says he has just closed the best revival meeting he has had in years. Thirty four persons were converted at the two-week’s meetings at Crooked Creek, and Rev. McNeely says: “It took us nearly half an hour to get the house cleared on the last night of the revival after the benediction. The people just couldn’t seem to get enough singing and praying.”