|Birth: ||Jan. 1, 1893|
|Death: ||Feb., 1983|
This bio, rememberances, and photos are presented by grandson Robert Erwin (Bob) Neal with added details from grand daughters Catherine Bonham Jacocks and Mary Anna Bonham Blum Leverett.
Called "Harry" (little Henry) while growing up, but known by most of the family today as "Uncle Bubba", his first employment was with the Nashville Power and Light Utility where tweezed the platinum that was used to hold the filaments to the electrodes on light bulbs, for recycling. Harry was an early automobile owner and opened a mechanics shop in Nashville and sold Diamond Reo trucks before taking a job at the DuPont munitions plant during W.W.I, when automobile parts, tires and gasoline were rationed.
Harry was married first in June 1912 to Louise Walkup, a friend of the family in Nashville. They quickly had 2 children, Dorothy born September 1913 and Bob (Henry III) born September 1914, but Louise died of typhoid fever in November 1915. During W.W.I, Harry met and married Ruby Campbell, who was a nurse. They lived in his father's home in Nashville. Dorothy's daughters Mary Anna and Catherine do not speak well of Ruby. At the end of the war, Ruby divorced Harry in favor of a Dr. Fuqua whom she had been engaged to before he went to war, but who had insisted on not marrying before he was sent overseas, in case he didn't come back. In fact, she, through her mother, had been secretly corresponding with Dr. Ernest Mitchell Fuqua the entire time.
Harry met Miss Adah Swift Coxe amd they were married March 23, 1921 when he was 28 and she 22. They took up residence west of Athens Alabama, where her family was living. In Athens, Harry opened a business selling electrical appliances and "Delco Units", a domestic system of gasoline generator, wind-charger and batteries. He installed these units and learned to wire homes for power.
During the depression, Harry went to work for TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) and worked as an electrician on the Wheeler and Wilson hydro electric dams.
Back home, he and Adah bought the unused school house across highway 72 from Adah's girlhood home, and rebuilt it into a home of their own. Later a basement was dug, and the house was moved over it. Thad was born in 1923, and as a boy of 6, had the task of straightening the nails that they had saved while taking down the school.
The Coxe family farm was completely mortgaged during the depression, with "Miss Adah's" aging father physically unable to manage it. Harry took up farming the land, raising cattle, hogs and chickens, and was able to pay off all of the loans on the property.
After all of the children were grown, with children of their own, and after the death of Adah's mother "Miss Mec", Pap (as Harry was called by his family, after a comic-strip character Pap-Henry) and "Miss Adah" sold much of the farm and moved to St. Petersburg Florida. The proceeds were used to pay for Adah's extended illness with cancer. Upon Adah's death, Harry returned to Alabama to build a house on a portion of the unsold farm land, which he lived in, but never finished. When his Alzheimer's disease began to take its toll, he moved to Midlothian Texas, where his daughter-in-law Trinka Neal kept the farm that she had inherited from her parents. Pap lived there his remaining days.
Henry is buried in the city cemetery in Athens Alabama.
Attached are some photos of the Pettey School that I have referred to and the process of building it into a home. That house got written up in a farmer's journal magazine. Mrs. Smith who lives in the house now has an original copy of the article with the floor plan and some pictures along with an interview with Miss Adah on how they would live in a small portion of the school/house while they worked on another, and then they would move into that.
Athens City Cemetery
Created by: Wayne Rose
Record added: Nov 03, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31112835