George Weatherwax

George Weatherwax was born on December 3, 1822, in Peru, Clinton County, New York, son of Jacob M. (1792-1861) and Annie (Ketchum, 1793-1861).

New York native Jacob (he was born in Peru, New York) married New York native Annie sometime before 1822, and lived in Peru for some years; they were living there in 1833 when their son Henry was born. Sometime that year, however, Jacob moved the family to Orleans County, New York and in 1837 ir 1838 the family moved to Adrian, Hillsdale County. 1845 they were living in Scipio, Hillsdale County. They were still living in Scipio in 1850 where Jacob worked a farm.

George came to Tallmadge, Ottawa County in 1843 where he engaged in lumbering, owning and operating a sawmill in Lamont. By 1845 Jacob had his family in Scipio, Hillsdale County. He would eventually settle in Adrian, Lenawee County where he and his wife both died on December 1, 1861.

George eventually moved to the western side of the state and by 1850 he and his brother Benjamin (who would die during the war) were living with the family of a blacksmith named Henry Cline (?) in Tallmadge, Ottawa County. They were both also reported as living with the family of Richard Lewis, a laborer in Allendale, Ottawa County.

George married Hulda Ann Van Tassel in 1852 or 1855, probably in Michigan, and they had at least three children: Frank E. (b. 1856), Clarissa (b. 1858), Abbie (b. 1859), Leon J. (b. 1860) and Adele C. (b. 1867). They divorced around 1868.

In 1855 George was living in Georgetown, Ottawa County, where he owned some 320 acres, and where he served as Township Supervisor and Justice of the Peace. By 1860 George was a very wealthy farmer and lumberman and one of the larger landholders living with his wife in Georgetown and indeed he owned real estate valued at some $10,000. (Next door lived a farm laborer named Charles Parker and his family, and on the other side of his house farm lived the Levi Bement family whose son Wilbur like Charles would also join Company I, Third Michigan infantry.)

He was 38 years old and living in Georgetown when he enlisted as Captain of Company I on May 13, 1861. George recruited much of “his” Company from among the sawyers and laborers who had worked for him and other lumbermen in Ottawa County. In the latter part of May, Captain Weatherwax asked one of the County politicians, John Haire, to go to Allegan and recruit soldiers to fill out the maximum quote for his company, designated I, which was now part of the Third Regiment, then forming at the fairgrounds just south of Grand Rapids. The Allegan Journal reported that on Wednesday evening, May 29, Haire arrived in Saugatuck.

He came in the vocation of a recruiting officer for the above Company [I], in search of soldiers to go into immediate service. He had no difficulty in obtaining the quota of men assigned to him by Capt. [George] Weatherwax, the gentleman in command of Company I. This Company belongs to the Third Regiment, which was accepted some time ago, and will be mustered into the United States service at Grand Rapids next week. To hear through Mr. Hair that at the time when the Regiment was accepted, the companies which compose it were organized with their ranks filled up to eighty-three, the minimum aggregate, but as a majority of the companies have since been increased to the maximum aggregate -- one hundred and one, it was thought advisable by those in command to place Company I upon an equal footing with the rest of the Regiment; and, as a few additional names were necessary to fill out the muster roll, Mr. Haire was employed by the Captain [Weatherwax] to come to this place and enlist recruits. As soon as it was known that the mission of Mr. Haire to our town was to get men to fight and not to play soldier, the boys did not hesitate, but came up to the scratch, eager to sign the muster roll and be marching. Through the kindness of Messers. F. B. Wallin and John H. Billings, the boys were carried gratis to their place of destination -- Grand Rapids, the rendezvous of the Third Regiment, where they will be mustered into service, armed and equipped, and go into encampment either at Grand Rapids or Fort Wayne immediately. The boys carry with them the best wishes of all, and their friends and relations would unite in prayer -- God bless our brave young volunteers.

The Third Michigan left Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861, and arrived in Washington, DC, on June 16. They were engaged in covering the federal retreat from Bull Run, Virginia, on July 21. George resigned on October 19, 1861, on account of disability.

On November 27, 1861, Lieutenant Stephen Lowing of Company I and also from Georgetown, wrote home to his brother-in-law Franklin Bosworth, that he was “informed that Captain Weatherwax has conveyed the impression that it was my fault he resigned. Now I can hardly think that he has done so, but if he has, I would like to know it, that I may disprove it now in the time of it. He knows better and knows that I can assign the reason and prove them.”

Although he considered Weatherwax a fine man otherwise, Lowing held a rather low opinion of his superior’s military faculties. “It is not every good fellow,” added Lowing in his letter to Bosworth, “that can make a military man, and yet no fault of his, and that was the difficulty with Captain Weatherwax. As good a fellow as I ever wish to mess with, and as poor a Captain. He was as good a Captain as McConnell was Colonel. They fought each other, and killed each other's chances; and both left the Regiment together and for the same reason, leaving many friends behind them. Both are brave, to a fault, but neither could learn the tactics.”

Indeed, An officer serving with Company I observed McConnell’s clash with the Captain of Company I, George Weatherwax, that fall. A private in Company I, Francis barlow was recommended for discharge due to a chronic disability. Apparently there was some problem at first with his discharge. According to Brennan, he remembered Barlow well “because Col. McConnell & Cap Weatherwax had quite a row about having him mustered out of service. It was claimed by the Col. That because of some informality about his muster in, he was not entitled to a discharge certificate.”

George returned to Michigan and on January 5, 1862, Lowing asked his brother-in-law for news of Weatherwax. “What is Captain Weatherwax doing? What does he say for leaving the service? We hear different reports of what he says.” It is not known what Bosworth’s reply was.

After his discharge George returned to Ottawa County, probably to his home in Georgetown. George married a second time to Mary A. Taylor Weatherwax, on June 17, 1870, at Bellevue, Eaton County; she was then living in Grandville, Kent County. (Mary was the widow of George’s brother Benjamin, who was a captain of Company E, Tenth Michigan Cavalry and who either died of disease or was killed in action in April of 1864.) Another brother Henry was elected sheriff of Ottawa County in 1869.

By the end of June, 1870 he was working as a farmer (he owned $5000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife Mary and two sons (Frank and perhaps Leon or Mary’s son Carl) in Georgetown; his father was also living with him as well. He was still living in Georgetown in 1872, farming in Georgetown in 1880, in 1882-83, and in 1884, when he was serving as Township supervisor.

George received pension (no. 1,127,100). George noted in a statement he gave on January 25, 1906 that his left breast was gone, but no particulars were discussed.

Sometime around 1884 he reportedly moved west and settled in Washington state, eventually settling in Aberdeen, Chehalis County. In fact, George probably lived the rest of his life in Aberdeen.

In late November of 1908 George broke his arm and subsequently died from “old age” on December 5, 1908, at his home 200 W. First Street in Aberdeen. George was buried in Fern Hill cemetery on December 7.

In 1909 his widow Mary applied for and received a pension (no. 839,313). She was still living in Aberdeen and residing at 104 E. Wishkah when she died in 1921.