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Neill, Powers and Rhodes Family Collection

Identifier: A-0328

Scope and Contents

The bulk of this collection consists of family letters and photographs for Neill family of Shelby County, Texas. The collection includes scholastic records (class notes, assigments, a diploma), genealogical materials (bible pages, newspaper clippings, obituaries), and financial records (account books, receipts, checks), as well as more than a dozen short stories written by Lela (Rhodes)Neill.

Pedigree chart of frequently mentioned family members

[1] Elias Mitchel Rhodes (1849-1916) m. Mary M. Mathis (1852-1937)

...[2] Annie Rhodes (1882-1977)

...[2] Lela Rhodes (1895-1990) m. Sidney Carl Neill (1891-1956)

......[3] Bobby Rhodes Neill (1927-1951)

......[3] James Ray Neill (aka “Goat”) (1921-1988) m. Leoma Powers (1926-2018)

.........[4] Bobbie Lynn Neill (1953-2010) m. Richard Carlton

............[5] James Richard Hattaway


......[3] Selmer Elmer Hopkins (1926-2005) m. Leoma Powers (1926-2018)

.........[4] James William Hopkins (1947-2012) m. 1st Brenda (4 children), 2nd Inge (1 child)


[1] John Monroe Neill (1866-1930) m. Mary Elizabeth Woods (1863-1948)

...[2] Sidney Carl Neill (1891-1956)

...[2] Zettie L. Neill (1896-1987) m. Sim J. Watson (1896-1970)

Materials researchers may find of use include:

1) Letters written by James R. Neill to his family from Civilian Conservation Corps camps in New Mexico, 1941.

2) Letters written by James W. Hopkins to his mother Leoma Neill and his stepfather James Neill from U. S. Navy destroyers during the Vietnam War, 1966-1971.

3) Photographs from c.1925 of the Apache and Navajo reservations (See Box 2, Folder 13 and Box 3, Item 2).

4) Bills, checks and receipts saved by Lela (Rhodes) Neill and her son James Ray Neill that sample the businesses in Shelby Co. between 1954 and 1968.


  • Event: Donated 5/27/2016

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Lela Rhodes Neill (1895-1990) “parents were E. M. and Mary Mathews Rhodes. She was raised in Stockman, attended school there, and received her teaching degree at SFA. Her first teaching job was at the Silas School where she taught in 1915 and 1916. She taught in several East Texas schools and a total of 11 years at Garrison School.” See 'Timpson and Tenaha News,' 22 February 2008, p.6.

James R. Neill (1921-1988) was born in Stockman, TX to Lela and Sidney Carl Neill. James Neill served in the Coast Guard during World War II and then worked for Trailmobile in Longview for 25 years. He married Leoma Powers in 1952. Neill was known affectionately by his friends and family in Shelby Co. as “Goat.” He passed away in Stockman.

Leoma Powers (1926-2018) was born in Garrison, Texas to Edward and Rosie M. Powers. She married Selmer E. Hopkins in 1947 and they had one child, James William Hopkins. She remarried to James R. Neill in 1952. They had one child, Bobbie Lynn Neill. Leoma Powers had one sibling, sister Luella Powers McNease.

James “Jimmy” Hopkins was “a graduate of Timpson High School and a truck driver and heavy equipment operator.” He served on the U.S.S. Waddell and the U.S.S. Southerland during the Vietnam War. See: “James Hopkins,” Taylor Funeral Home. Online at (accessed 29 April 2019).


3.20 Cubic Feet


This collection is organized into five series: Rhodes family documents; Neill family documents; Other materials; Photographs and negatives; and Oversize materials. Series 2 has eight sub-series and each is entitled with the name of specific family members.

The bulk of the collection is described in 90 folders and housed in two banker's boxes. These materials are predominantly arranged at the folder-level. There is also an oversize box and an oversize bundle. These are arranged at the item level.


Guide to the Neill, Powers and Rhodes Family Collection
Elaine Goforth
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the East Texas Research Center Repository