Monday, May 25, 2009

George S. Keytes - updated 10/18/2016

NOTE:'s website is incorrect; they list George as having died from his wounds at Gettysburg when in fact, according to his pension records he was only wounded and survived the war living until 1921.

George S. Keytes was born on October 11, 1840, probably in Riga, Monroe County, New York, the son of English-born William H. (b. 1808) and Ellen (b. 1810).

By 1821 his parents had immigrated to America, married and settled in New York where they resided for some years. George’s family moved from New York to Michigan sometime after 1847, and by 1860 George was living with his family in Owosso’s 1st Ward, Shiawassee County, where his father worked as a saddler.

George stood 5’11” with blue eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was 20 years old and probably still working in Owosso as a farmer when he enlisted in Company G on May 13, 1861. George was present for duty from at least January of 1862 through June of 1863 (although he probably suffered a bout of dysentery from May 9 to May 12, 1863). He was shot in the left arm and shoulder on July 2, 1863, while the regiment was engaged in the Peach Orchard, during the second day of the battle of Gettysburg, and subsequently hospitalized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was mistakenly listed as having died of his wounds on July 3.

George was on furlough for 45 days from August 16, 1863, probably from the hospital, and returned to the hospital on or about September 29. Although George was returned to duty on November 30, in fact he probably never rejoined the Regiment. On February 6, 1864, he was examined by a medical board and placed under observation, possibly in a hospital in Washington. He was treated for “remittent fever” from February 8 until he was discharged on May 1, 1864, at Harewood hospital in Washington, DC.

After he was discharged from the army George returned to Michigan -- he gave Owosso as his mailing address on his discharge paper -- and by 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his parents in Owosso’s 1st Ward.

He was probably still living in Owosso when he was confined to the Kalamazoo State Hospital for the Insane “for treatment” of an unknown mental illness on June 2, 1874. He was listed as a patient of the hospital in 1880.

Although George was reported to be living in Owosso in 1883 when he was drawing $4.00 per month for a wounded left arm (pension no. 38,815, dated 1865), in fact he was probably still a patient at Kalamazoo and would remain hospitalized for the rest of his life. He was eventually placed under the guardianship of George Loring (possibly his brother-in-law). He was still in the Kalamazoo hospital in 1890, but by 1912 was a resident of the St. Joseph Retreat in Dearborn, Wayne County and under the guardianship of one Clayton Loring.

George died of arteriosclerosis at St. Joseph’s Retreat on July 16, 1921, and was buried in Detroit, Wayne County.

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