George W. Duryee, Sr.
Born: 22 Jan 1820 in Cayuga Co., NY
Died: 3 May 1865 at Nashville, Davidson Co., TN
Burial: Nashville National Cemetery, Madison, Davidson Co., TN
Father: William Duryee, Sr.
Mother: Sarah "Sally" Groot
Marriage: 17 Aug 1842 at Florida, Hillsdale Co., MI to Julia Howell (1825-1899). Six children.
Occupation: farmer, gold miner, soldier
Military: Union Civil War Veteran (Co. A, 4th Michigan Infantry).
George W. Duryee's parents removed to Michigan in 1835 to settle on land provided to William by the government for his service in the War of 1812. George remained in New York until 1837 when he came to Florida, Hillsdale Co., MI. Here he joined his father's family, helping with the farming and clearing of the land, until 17 Aug 1842 when he married Julia Howell.
In the summer of 1851, George W. Duryee, in company with three of his brothers and a nephew, traveled to California in search of gold. They made the overland trip by horse and ox team via the Santa Fe Trail, traveling across the plains and deserts and occupying four months in the journey. They had many adventures of thrilling interest, encounters with Indians and wild beasts, but escaped without more serious mishap than the loss of some of their stock. They mined for two and a half years in El Dorado Co., probably in the area of Uniontown, near Placerville. His efforts proving futile, George and his brother, William H. Duryee, returned to Michigan in Nov 1853, making the trip by the ocean route, crossing the Isthmus of Panama. One brother, Cornelius Groot Duryee, remained in California, married there and raised a family, one of his sons later removing to San Francisco.
After his return to Hillsdale Co., George Duryee bought 80 acres of his father's homestead, the same being kept in the family until 1914. On 9 Feb 1864 George Duryee, along with his sons, James and William B., enlisted in Company A, 4th Michigan Volunteer Infantry to serve a term of 3 years.
A letter contained in George Duryee's pension file from one of his commanding officers, R.R. Newkirk, dated at Adrian MI on 10 Oct 1866 states: "...he was under my command from the time he left this place until he died or went to the hospital. His disease came on him while in the service and what finished him he was compelled to march while on our march from Knoxville to Jonesboro he gave out and was sent to Hospital at Bulls Gap, Tennessee and was sent from there to Nashville where he died on the 3rd of May 1865. I tried hard to get him in to the ambulance while on the march but the officer in charge of the ambulance train bluffed him off and made him walk so by the time he got to Bulls Gap he could not stand up. He was a faithful and good man and always done all he was able to. The widow should have something and any further information I can give I will do freely."
The official records of the unit state that George W. Duryee died on 5 May 1865 in USA General Hospital No 1, Nashville TN of cerebro-spinal meningitis. He was buried in the National Cemetery at Nashville. His widow received a pension for his service until her death on 6 Mar 1899.
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