George Lafayette Carlisle was born on October 9 of 10, 1842, in East Aurora, Erie County, New York, the son of New York natives Hamilton Carlisle (1818-1859) and Phoebe Ann Wilcox (1821-1876).
Hamilton was living in Aurora, Erie County, New York in 1840. By 1850 they were living on a farm in Aurora where George attended school with his younger brother David (who would also enlist in the Old Third).
Hamilton left New York and moved westward with his family, including his brother Jacob and his family as well as their parents, settling in western Michigan, probably Ottawa County, in 1853 or 1854. Hamilton’s father Ebenezer died in Tallmadge, Ottawa County in 1858 and was buried in Berlin cemetery. The following year Hamilton was killed while felling a tree in Tallmadge. Phoebe died in Greenville, Montcalm County in 1876 and was buried in Greenville cemetery.
By 1860 George was a farm laborer working for and/or living with a farmer named Sylvester Combs and his family in Tallmadge, Ottawa County. (His younger brother, David, may have joined him sometime before the war broke out.)
George was 19 years old and living in Tallmadge when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861; David Carlisle would join Company I in 1862. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) George was a tentmate of Alexander Brennan (who was from Georgetown, Ottawa County). “I tent with two boys,” Alexander wrote to his parents on February 12, 1863, “in the company: George W. Adams is one and the other is George Carlisle. They are both good boys. I think they don’t snore much and Adams don’t snore at all; he has not snored once since we left Camp Mich [the previous year’s winter quarters].”
He was a Corporal in January of 1863 and detached in July to bring conscripts from Michigan to the Regiment in Virginia. He remained on recruiting service in Michigan through January 1864 and was listed as a Corporal as of November 7, 1863 in the roster for Camp Lee, in Grand Rapids, and in February he was stationed at the draft depot in Grand Rapids (Camp Lee). He soon returned to the Regiment in Virginia and was wounded by a gunshot to his left side and back of the head on May 5 or 6, 1864, at the battle of the Wilderness, Virginia. On May 11 he was admitted to Emory hospital in Washington with a diagnosis of “gunshot wound of back [with a minie] ball passing through muscles just over right scapula.” He was mustered out of service on June 20, 1864.
George eventually returned to western Michigan and settled back into Kent County. According to one source in the winter months George “went north to the lumbering area” of Michigan and “when the spring freshets came (known as a river-hog) he rode the logs downstream on the Flat River to the sawmills at Lowell.” It was also reported that his work “took him past a place called Fallasburg and the G. W. Rykert farm” where “he met a pert young school teacher named Helen Rykert.”
By 1871 George was living in Bowne, Kent County, and working as a farmer when he married Helen L. Rykert (1847-1922), who had been born in Ada, Kent County, on April 26, 1871, at Grand Rapids and they had at least seven children: Ada (b. 1872), Claude (b. 1875), George Frank (b. 1877), Arthur E. (b. 1879), Ray Alvin (b. 1883), Leon Clyde (b. 1885) and Lulu Mae Overbye (b. 1888).
Four years later he was quite possibly George Carlisle charged with grand larceny, but the “case nolle prosequied on payment of cash.”
“In the spring of 1872” George purchased and homesteaded 160 acres of land in Kalkaska County, one of the early pioneers of that County, although Helen apparently remained in Lowell, ands indeed, George commuted between his land in Kalkaska and his home in Lowell and between 1876 and 1877 they moved into their new home in Kalkaska. Although they may lived for a time in Howard City, George probably lived in Kalkaska for more than twenty years.
In any event, George and his family were living in Kalkaska in 1880 and in 1882 when he became a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association, and in the following year when he was drawing $6.00 (pension no. 152,92
8) for a wounded left side, increased to $50.00 per month in 1923.
He was a member of Grand Army of the Republic Baker Post No. 84 in Kalkaska, and of Grand Army of the Republic Watson Post No. 395 (member no. 393) in Grand Rapids until he was discharged from the Watson post on January 12, 1924.
George and Helen both were active in the Grange movement in Michigan, from the Boardman Valley Grange and County Grange to the State Grange where he reportedly served as “Gateman” from 1888-94 then as steward for another six years. George was also a Baptist.
In 1921 George and Helen closed their old farm in Kalkaska and went to live their daughter, Lula Mae Overbye at 736 Fulton southeast in Grand Rapids. Helen died in March of 1922 and the following year George was admitted as a widower to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home on August 1, 1923 (no. 7813).
George died of chronic myocarditis on September 26, 1924, at the Home and was his remains were taken to Lowell, Kent County, and interred alongside his wife in Oakwood cemetery.