That Grimsby is a healthy spot conducive to longevity is well shown by Mrs. Hannah Neal, widow of the late George Neal, for many years baggage agent at Grimsby station on the old Great Western railway, and who died in 1884.
Mrs. Neal was born in Southampton, England, in December 1836, and came with her parents Mr. and Mrs. William Hughes to Grimsby in 1884, when she was 8 years old, She practically has spent all her life here and though now 88 years of age enjoys good health, does not wear glasses, and is contemplating a trip to the south next winter.
When the family left England in April they came on a sailing vessel, the St. Anne, which went to the bottom of the ocean a short time afterward. The ocean trip occupied ten weeks.
There was very little of Hamilton in those days, and Grimsby was a mere hamlet, and William Hughes, who was later killed in a railroad accident coming from Hamilton, went to work on the Col. Nelles farm, where he stayed until his death.
Mrs. Neal raised a family of 4 boys and 4 girls, but in spite of the cares of a large household, she found time to enjoy life as her pleasant face will show. Six of the children are still living: William C. Neal, baggage master on the Canadian National Railway at Woodstock; George H. Neal, dispatcher on the Chicago and Grand Trunk railway at Battle Creek, Mich.; Robert F. Neal, assistant to the superintendent of passenger agents, Canadian National Railways, St. Thomas; Mrs. Albert Smye, North Grimsby; Mrs. Arthur Ockenden, Grimsby; Mrs. William B. Book, North Grimsby.
But perhaps the mothering of this fair sized family was made the more sweet to grandmotherhood by the fact that 24 have called her grandma, and still another 9 say grandma because great-grandmother is too long an expression to use.