George K. Nairn was born on June 22, 1836, in Scotland, the son of John and Mary (Kippen).
George immigrated to America, and by 1860 he was a clerk working for the Eagle Hotel in Grand Rapids’ First Ward; he was apparently living with another clerk D. G. Southwick in the First Ward. In early 1861 George probably enrolled in the Valley City Guards, the prewar Grand Rapids militia company whose members would form the nucleus of Company A.
He stood 5’6” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was 24 years old when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. He was reported in the signal corps in July of 1862, sick in the hospital in August, a Quartermaster’s clerk in December of 1862, a clerk in the Third Brigade commissary department from February of 1863 through August, and a clerk for the Regimental Adjutant in September through November of 1863.
George reenlisted as a Sergeant on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, was absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864, and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. He was transferred to the non-commissioned staff on March 1, at Camp Bullock, Virginia, and transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry as a Sergeant upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was reported serving with the Brigade wagon train from May through June, and promoted to Quartermaster Sergeant on August 28.
On September 1, 1864, George was mustered out in order to be transferred and promoted to Quartermaster for the Reorganized Third infantry, then forming in Grand Rapids. In early February of 1865 he was on leave briefly in Grand Rapids, but soon returned to the new Third and was Acting Quartermaster for subsistence for the District of San Antonio, Texas from November 25, 1865, until he was relieved on February 4, 1866. He was mustered out on May 25, 1866, at Victoria, Texas, and brevetted a Major and Captain United States Volunteers, as of March 13, 1865.
After the war George returned to Michigan. He was married to Michigan native Mary E. (b. 1850), and they had at least one child, a daughter Ethel C. (b. 1876).
He eventually settled in Port Huron, St. Clair County where he was living in 1874. By 1880 he was working as a clerk and living on Court Street in Pt. Huron’s Fourth Ward with his wife, daughter and sister Julia; also living with them was a servant and one boarder.
By 1888 George had moved to Alpena, Alpena County and from 1889 to 1892 1890 he was working as a lumberman and (probably off and on) boarding at the Sherman House in Alpena. By 1890 he was also reported in Port Huron (or perhaps in Grand Rapids), and for some years worked as a clerk. He was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 2997) on June 29, 1898, and served as Sergeant Major of the Home until his death in 1905.
He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and in 1889 he applied for and received pension no. 871,510, drawing $10.00 per month in 1898.
George died a widower of chronic nephritis in the Home hospital at 10:45 p.m. on Thursday, August 3, 1905, and the funeral service was held at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 5 in the Home general hall. He was buried in the Home cemetery: section 4 row 18 grave 23.