Neville, Alexander White (1864–1956)

By: Susan E. Wolf

Type: Biography

Published: May 1, 1995

Judge Alexander White (Sandy) Neville, newsman and Texas historian, was born in Salem, Virginia, on November 17, 1864, the son of Jacob L. and Ann Elizabeth (Walton) Neville. He attended two sessions of school in Virginia and a half session in Paris, Texas, when the Neville family moved there in December of 1879. In Paris he got his start in the printing business by making labels and stationery in his brother's drugstore. After the shop was sold, Presbyterian minister Rev. Charles Manton took an interest in Neville and got him a job printing church bulletins. Manton also established Neville in his own print shop, which Neville and his brother-in-law later bought. His first newspaper work came in 1886, when Neville was employed by the Paris News as a cub reporter. He got his first editor position a year later at an afternoon paper called the Herald, but it folded six months later. He then retreated back to his printing shop and stayed until 1894, when he purchased the Paris Advocate with W. N. Furey. Except for a short time in 1896, Neville worked continuously at the Advocate until 1902. He then accepted a job at the Paris News, where he remained for almost fifty-four years. Through the years, he held positions there as printer, proofreader, reporter, editor, and columnist. At the News he was considered capable of running a one-man newspaper plant. Neville is most noted for his coverage of the last execution by the Alikchi court of the Choctaw Indian Nation, a case that revealed his historical awareness and journalistic instinct. He was also well known for his reporting of the lynching of Henry Smith in February 1893 and the disastrous Paris fire of 1916. He later became known as a historical writer and wrote a daily editorial feature, "Backwards Glances," for the Paris News. He published two books, The History of Lamar County (1937) and The Red River Valley-Then and Now (1948). Other achievements included organizing Typographical Union No. 438 in 1909, for which he served as president for forty years. Neville was a first lieutenant in the Maxey Rifles, a local military company that participated in the dedication in Austin of the Capitol in 1888. He was also a member of the Battleship Texas Commission and was the second man given lifetime membership in the Texas Press Association. He served for one term on the Paris City Council. He was city secretary for two years and received the title Judge when he served on the Paris Corporation Court. Neville was a Democrat, a staunch prohibitionist, and a roller of his own cigarettes. He belonged to the Episcopal Church, the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce, and historical societies in Texas, Oklahoma, and Illinois. He married Jeannie Walker on April 12, 1888; they had seven children, three of whom followed Neville into the newspaper business. Neville died on May 28, 1956, in Paris.

Dallas News, May 29, 1956. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 2, 1940. Paris News, July 12, 1970. Texas Press Messenger, June 1954. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Susan E. Wolf, “Neville, Alexander White,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995