Farming in the family
This January, West Virginia Uncovered journalism students spent a winter immersion weekend in Pocahontas County, developing five multimedia stories. This is the fourth of these stories, which are being published in The Pocahontas Times in subsequent weeks. Next week: C.J. Richardson Hardware.
Sara Wise and Preston Hartman
West Virginia Uncovered
The McNeel family farm in Hillsboro has been home to four generations of McNeels since 1908.
Jacob Moffett McNeel, the second caretaker of the farm, was born there in 1928 and has lived the life of a farmer ever since. In 1949, he married his high school sweetheart Elma and, together, the two started their own family on the farm.
Over the years, Moffett managed a total of 880 acres, harvesting corn and tending cattle and hogs, even through the loss of his dominant hand in an accident with a corn picker in 1961. He and his wife played an active role in the local state and farming communities for most of their lives. Four years ago, just short of their 60th anniversary, Elma passed away.
These days, at 86 years old, McNeel is still tending to the land and livestock with the help of his son, Donald and grandson, Ben, who lives with his wife in another home on the land.
Through it all, he is just happy to have lived the life that he has.
"I was glad that I was able to stay here and live a life that my parents envisioned for me back then," said McNeel.