My 1st cousin, 4 times removed was George Neely. George was the youngest son of Thomas Davis and Mary (Canady) Neely. The family lived in Allentown, Allen County, Ohio. George’s father died when he was 3 months old, leaving his mother with 9 young children. George grew up never knowing his father. His mother remarried when he was 2, however, that marriage only lasted for 3 years when his step-father left his mother and married another woman, then died a year later. George’s main role model was probably his uncle, William who looked out for his mother and her children. William managed Mary’s finances and any legal business for her after Thomas’ death.
Barely 16, George, along with 4 of his 6 brothers, John, James, Joseph, and Thomas enlisted in Co. K, 118th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on November 11, 1862. The whereabouts of his brother, Samuel is unknown after 1850. Whether he was alive when the Civil War began is not known. George’s brother, William died in 1860, a year before the start of the war. Several of George’s cousins also served in Company K. George’s brother, James was promoted to sergeant and led the company.
In January, 1862, he contracted typhoid fever. He was given a furlough when he became ill and died at home.
George’s brothers were married and had wives to support but George was able to send his pay home to his mother. He was her only means of support.
Bringing up 8 children virtually alone and husbandless through most of their childhood probably ate up most, if not all of the estate left to her at the death of Thomas. Had she not been able to draw a small pension from George’s service as his dependent, who knows what means of support she would have had.
George’s life was cut short at the age of 17, however he did not die in vain. He died as a hero who served his country and took responsibility for the care of the woman who had taken care of him for most of his life. May we take a moment to remember him and honor him this Memorial Day.
George died on February 4, 1864 at his mother’s home in Allentown, Allen County, Ohio. He is buried near his father in old Ward Cemetery in Bath Township.