Amy Cornwall Neal was not content merely to direct work that had to be done; she was the one who pitched in to make sure the job was completed. Her interests ranged from her home and her family’s cattle business to historical projects and social action. And while she lived all her life in Mohave County, individuals throughout Arizona benefited from her social awareness.
Amy Cornwall was born April 2, 1888, on the Cornwall Ranch near Wikieup. Her father, Adamson Cornwall, represented Mohave County in the 11th and 14th Territorial Legislatures. The oldest of five children, Amy was 12 years old when her mother, Jennie Cornwall died. From that time on, Amy took charge of the Cornwall home, caring for her sister and three brothers. She did the cleaning, meal planning and cooking for both the family and cowboys who worked on the ranch.
She worked for a time as a Harvey Girl for the Santa Fe Railroad before marrying John Neal in 1910. Amy Neal believed in the importance of historical preservation, and was deeply involved in the establishment of the Mohave Museum of History and Art. She served as the group’s first treasurer, and under her direction, enough money was raised to begin construction of a museum building.
Amy Neal became involved in several other community organizations. She helped start the Daughters of Mohave County Pioneers and was active in organizations such as the Kingman Woman’s Club, the Kingman Garden Club, the Mountain View Cemetery Association and the Order of Eastern Star. A founding member of the Mohave County Cowbelles, an organization that works to promote the cattle industry, she served as the group’s first president.
But Amy Neal’s interests and work were not confined just to her own community and county. She was elected state president of the Arizona Cowbelles and was an early and ardent supporter of the Arizona Boys’ Ranch near Chandler. In fact, she combined her two interests by convincing the Arizona Cowbelles to raise money for a housing facility for the boys at the ranch. Not content just to enlist others to help on the project, she donated all the beef for a huge barbecue in Kingman to benefit the ranch. In addition, Amy served as a member of the Arizona State Welfare Board. Her helping hand was extended privately, too. More than one young person received direct aid from her, friends recall.
In later years, she worked diligently to raise community awareness of the needs of the elderly. She believed there was a need for a retirement facility that allowed older people to receive the care they needed while maintaining their dignity and a sense of independence. Due to these efforts, a new retirement facility was named after her in Kingman.
Amy Neal is remembered by friends and neighbors as someone who could “always be counted on to give her time, talent, energy and wisdom to any worthwhile cause.”
Amy Cornwall Neal died at the age of 84 on December 28, 1972, in Kingman.