George Korten was born on November 4, 1845, in Prussia, the son of German-born William and Wilhemina (b. 1807).
George immigrated to the United States, eventually settling in Michigan by 1864.
He stood 5’10” with black eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was an 18-year-old blacksmith possibly living in Ada, Kent County when he enlisted in Unassigned on January 18, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Ada, and was mustered January 19. He was transferred to Company I, 5th Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the 3rd and 5th Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and reported as absent sick in July. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
George eventually returned to Michigan and eventually settled in Negaunee, Marquette County in the Upper Peninsula, where he worked for many years as a blacksmith. (In 1880 there was a widow named Wilhemina Korten, b. c. 1807 in Germany, living in Negaunee. Also living with her was her daughter Bertha Korten, b. c. 1856 in Michigan and son William Korten, b. c. 1831 in Germany.
George was living in Ispheming, Marquette County when he married 16-year-old Scottish-born Catharine Hazel (b. 1853) on May 20, 1879, in Ispheming, and they had at least three children: Archibald “Archy” (b. 1882), Martha A. (b. 1883), Ida May (b. 1884) and Agnes (1887-1888). Bertha Korten was a witness as the wedding.
He was still living in Michigan in 1889 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 785422), and by 1900 was drawing $12.00 per month. By 1890 he was living in Negaunee, Marquette County and he was listed as divorced and still living in Negaunee in 1900; also living with him was his son Archy and his brother Ernest Korten (b. c. 1845 in Germany).
George was living in Negaunee’s 5th Ward when he was admitted
as a married man to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 3521) in Grand Rapids, on November 29, 1900, and was still living in the Home in 1901. (Curiously, however, only his three children were listed as nearest relatives.) He apparently knew William Zilky, another member of the Home and a former member of Company C.
George was a Lutheran.
George was listed as a widower when he died in Grand Rapids on December 11, 1903. According to one source,
George Korten, aged 60 years, a member of the Soldiers’ home, died very suddenly yesterday afternoon at Joseph Weston’s home in the basement of No. 61 South Commerce Street. Coroner Hilliker investigated the case and will hold a post mortem examination this morning.
Weston claims that Korten came to his home yesterday afternoon and complained of being ill. He was known to Weston and the latter allowed him to occupy a bed. Weston says he returned at 5:30 o’clock and found Korten dead.
Korten had been ill for some weeks at the Sailors’ home, but was discharged from the hospital as recovered a few days ago. Authorities at the home say that Wednesday [December 9] Korten drew his pension money amounting to about $38 and took it away with him when he went to the city yesterday. Only 40 cents was found in his possession. As he was not a drinking man, the police believe that he may have been robbed.
Korten has two daughters in Jackson and one son in Marquette, Mich.
In fact, George died of a heart attack. He was buried in the Soldier’s Home cemetery: block 4, row 15, grave 33.