George W. Bennett was born on October 8, 1839, in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, the son of Cyrus (b. 1809 in Massachusetts) and Dianna (Larnes, b. 1813 in New York).
Cyrus married Deanna Larnes in Washtenaw County, Michigan in 1834 and by 1839 had settled in Kent County; he was still living in Grand Rapids in 1840. By 1850 Cyrus was working as a carpenter and the family was still living in Grand Rapids where George was attending school with three of his siblings, including a younger brother Jonas who would also join the 3rd Michigan. By 1860 Cyrus had moved his family to Brooks, Newaygo County where George and Jonas were both living with the family and where Cyrus continued to work as a carpenter. Also living with Cyrus and his family was George’s brother-in-law Charles Mills, and his wife Laura (Bennett) and their son Frederick.
George stood 5’8” with gray eyes, black hair and a fair complexion, and was a 22-year-old mechanic living in Muskegon County or Newaygo County when he enlisted as Second Corporal in Company H on May 13, 1861, along with his younger brother Jonas; his brother-in-law Charles enlisted in Company E. George W. was quite probably related to George A. Bennett, who enlisted at the same time as Second Sergeant of Company H. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers,” was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)
George W. reportedly deserted on November 26, 1861 (so did George A. Bennett) at a camp near Fort Lyon, Virginia and returned under President Lincoln’s proclamation of amnesty on April 7, 1863, at Camp Pitcher, Virginia (so did George A.). He was treated for boils from May 21 to 28, and returned to duty. He was diagnosed with syphilis and sent to a hospital on September 16, 1863, and he remained hospitalized until he was furloughed on January 16, 1864. He was apparently back in the hospital by the middle of March, suffering from gonorrhea, and he remained hospitalized, possibly at the regimental hospital, until he was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.
After his discharge from the army George returned to Michigan and may have spent a short time in Newaygo County in late 1864.
By 1865 he was living in Jackson, Jackson County, when he married Alice Burch (1844-1893) on December 20, 1864, in Jackson, and they had at least two children: Clarence (b. 1866) and Arthur (b. 1867).
In 1865 George moved to Muskegon, Muskegon County where he operated a restaurant on Western Avenue.
In 1878 George quit the restaurant business in Muskegon and moved his family to Anthony, Kansas where he engaged in the hotel business, and by 1880 he was running a hotel in Anthony and living with his wife and children. By 1889 or 1893 he was living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where his sons operated the Bennett Investment co. He was apparently back in Anthony, Kansas, in 1898 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 775,092), drawing $21.50 per month by 1914. (His brother Jonas, who also served in the Old Third lived his last years in Oklahoma City as well; see his biographical sketch below.)
He joined the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association in 1872 and was probably a member of the Episcopal Church.
George was a widower and reportedly deaf in both ears when he died in Oklahoma City of lung disease on September 7, 1914; he was buried in Forest Park Cemetery, Anthony, Kansas.