Isa-Beall Williams Neel (1861-1953)

Isa-Beall Williams Neel was an outstanding educator and a gifted speaker and leader. She was president of the Georgia Baptist Woman's Missionary Union from 1911 to 1932 and then taught language at Bessie Tift College in Forsyth from 1932 to 1941. She was the first woman to receive the honorary LL.D. degree from Mercer University in Macon (1931) and the first woman to be elected vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention (1931).
Her parents, Harriet Elizabeth Beall and Alfred Carter Williams, were prominent Baptists. Her father was a merchant in Cartersville, where she was born on June 2, 1861. She was educated at Mary Sharpe College in Winchester, Tennessee, (A.B., 1882) and attended Berlitz College of Languages, Dresden, Germany (1890). In 1892 she married William Jesse Neel, a lawyer from Adairsville. They were a team in church and civic life until his death in 1908.
As a Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) leader in Rome and Cartersville, Neel attended state WMU executive board meetings and served as recording secretary from April 1911 until her election as president in November 1911. She played a major role in the decision of the Georgia WMU to build the Mary P. Willingham School for Girls at Blue Ridge (1916-31). The prayer room in the Memorial Chapel at Camp Pinnacle, owned by the Georgia WMU, near Clayton, is the I. Neel Prayer Room. She wrote the history of the Georgia WMU, His Story in Georgia WMU History (1939).
close

Loading

Further Reading
Kate Ellen Gruver, From This High Pinnacle: One Hundred Years with Georgia Baptist Woman's Missionary Union ([Decatur, Ga.]: Woman's Missionary Union, Auxiliary to Georgia Baptist Convention, 1983).

Dorothy Pryor, "Mrs. W. J. Neel: Georgia WMU Leader," Viewpoints: Georgia Baptist History 14 (1994): 5-15.
Cite This Article
Pryor, Dorothy M. "Isa-Beall Williams Neel (1861-1953)." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 09 August 2013. Web. 25 August 2016.
More from the Web
From Our Home Page
Fall Line

The fall line is a geological boundary, about twenty miles wide, running northeast across Georgia from Columbus to

Read more...
Rural Education

Rural schools in Georgia are found across the state, on its rolling pastures, red clay fields, sandy coastlines, and wooded mountains.

Read more...
Olympic Games in 1996

From July 19 until August 4, 1996, Atlanta hosted the Centennial Summer Olympic Games, the largest event in the city's history.

Read more...
Rosenwald Schools

The Rural School Building Program of the Julius Rosenwald Fund provided financial grants for the construction of public schools fo

Read more...
Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries