Friday, July 11, 2008

Family Profile: George H. Law Sr.

One of my favorite uncles in my family database is the subject of this family profile. He was a remarkable man who served during the Civil War in not only the Confederate Army, but Navy as well.

His name was George H. Law, my 3rd great grand uncle, and he was born in May 1838 in Howard County, Missouri. We believe he is the son of Richard and Mary Ann Law who were immigrants from England probably arriving here in the late 1830s. The only Law family in Missouri on the 1840 census, was a Richard Law in Howard County. This is the last time we see any mention of Richard and nothing is known about what happened to him after that point. Based on the enumeration of that census I believe that he may have been the father of our Law family. There is one other possible name that we have not been able to tie up that I will mention later.

Not much is known about George's first decade on this earth, but on the 1850 Federal census we see him and his sisters living with their mother (listed as Mrs. Law head of household) in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mrs. Law was running a boarding house in the 3rd ward of the city.

In 1855 George was listed in the New Orleans City directory and his occupation was listed as a clerk with a business at 5 Camp Street just west of Canal Street in New Orleans. In the 1856 City Directory, 5 Camp Street was listed as his residence address. I was unable to locate him or the family on the 1860 census, but the City Directory did list his residence as 394 Magazine Street in New Orleans.

In 1856 his sister Margareta Law (b. April 2, 1840 in Missouri) was married to Thaddeus Damascus Van Horn of New Orleans (see a profile on this blog for him and his family). Since Margareta was under age to marry, her mother had to sign the marriage record giving her permission to marry. She was listed as Mary Ann Leland. An intriguing witness that signed Margareta and Thaddeus' marriage license was a Fred Law. Nothing more is known about Richard or Fred Law and after 1856, Mary Ann Leland is not seen again in any record I have checked. These people all remain a mystery to me.

George also had two sisters, Emily (b. 1841 in Missouri) and Sophia (b. 1842 in Missouri). Nothing more is known about Emily, but Sophia died on August 17, 1853, in New Orleans, during the Yellow Fever epidemic of that year. She was buried in the Protestant/Girod Street Cemetery. Those graves were later moved to make way for the construction of the Louisiana Superdome, and we are not sure were she is buried in the city today.

After the Civil War broke out, George enlisted in Confederate service with the famed Washington Artillery, Company 5. He enlisted as a private and was present on all muster rolls to December 1863. On the roll for January 1-April 30, 1864, it listed him absent for a furlough for 30 days by order of General Johnston. Rolls from May 1864-April 1865 indicated he as absent from the Washington Artillery and that he had reported to Confederate States Navy, but no official notice had been received. Based on an accounting of his muster rolls, we know that he was present at the battles of Jackson (MS), Glass' Mills (GA) and Chickamauga (GA).

You can learn more about the famed Washington Artillery at

After many years of searching we have finally been able to document his Confederate naval service. From the website, we known that he served as a gunner on board the CSS Macon. This vessel was a wooden steam gunboat of about 150 feet length, which carried 6 guns. She was formerly named the Ogeechee, which was fitted out in early 1864 at Savannah, Georgia, and commissioned in the Confederate States Navy. The vessel was renamed the Macon in June of that year, and reported as being ready for duty by early August, although her crew numbers were still below the required amount of about 100. When Savannah was taken by Union forces in late December, 1864, the CSS Macon moved up the Savannah River, on December 24, to Augusta, Georgia, where she remained until the end of the war. [DANFS 2, 545.]

After the war, George moved back to New Orleans and his 394 Magazine address per the City Directories.

Sometime circa 1866, George married Eugenia Caroline Poole (b. Apr 1845 in Louisiana). She was the daughter of Major William Lawrence Poole (1804-1893) and Mary Catherine Cotton (1808- bef 1880). In 1866, George's occupation was listed as a clerk for a business located at 167 Canal Street. His residence was listed as 82 Euterpe and Apollo. On May 12, 1867, George and Caroline were listed as the god parents at the baptism for one of Thaddeus and Margareta's children, Anna Gertrude Van Horn. This ceremony took place at the Trinity Episcopal Church at 1329 Jackson Avenue in New Orleans.

In 1869, the New Orleans City Directory listed George's occupation as a clerk at Louis Grunewald and in 1870 the family moved to a new home at 354 St. Andrews in New Orleans. Sometime between July 1873 (the birth date of their fourth child) and December 1874, George moved his family to Cuero, DeWitt County, Texas. The 1880 Federal census listed his occupation as a railroad agent. Starting in 1893, we found records showing that he was an officer in the Emmett Lynch Confederate Veterans Camp in Cuero.

In 1899, George and his family were on the move again, this time setting up shop in Galveston, Texas, were he remained until his death on June 21, 1905.

George and Caroline had six children (listed below)

1. Mary Cotton Law b. November 1867 New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana; d. March 19, 1881 New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana; burial place unknown

2. George H. Law Jr. b. Mar 1869 New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana; d.January 4, 1945 Seattle, King Co, Washington; burial place unknown. He married a Cara W. ? in 1902 in Texas and we have documented two known children.

3. Harry Woodward Law b. December 1871 New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana; d. June 12, 1948 Tacoma, Pierce Co, Washington; burial place unknown. He married a Johnnie ? in 1898. We have no known children from this marriage.

4. Eugenia Carolina Law b. July 1873 New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana; d. November 30, 1874 New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana; burial place unknown

5. Thaddeus Van Horn Law b. April 11, 1876 Cuero, DeWitt Co, Texas; d. March 22, 1943 Galveston, Galveston Co, Texas; buried in the Oleander Cemetery in Galveston. He married Myrtle Grey circa 1909 in Galveston. They had one son Thad Allen Law b. March 1, 1912 Galveston, Galveston Co, Texas; d. May 3, 1973 Galveston, Galveston Co, Texas; buried in Old City Cemetery in Galveston. he was never married and did serve in the Army during WWII.

Earlier this week I finally found an obituary for George H. Law Sr. on that fills in some additional details on his life. That obit is presented below. We still do not have any end of life information on George's wife Caroline and are actively seeking that information

Obituary of George H. Law Sr.
Source: Galveston Daily News 22 Jun 1905 Page 3 col 5

Deputy County Clerk and an old Citizen Expired Suddenly Yesterday

Mr. George H. Law Sr., Deputy County Clerk for Galveston County, died yesterday and an old citizen of Galveston, died yesterday afternoon, aged 67 years. The death was quite unexpected, and came as a surprise and shock to the many friends of the deceased. For two or three days past Mr. Law had complained of feeling badly, but had continued his duties at the County Clerk's office, where he was usually engaged in recording deeds, transfers and other instruments. Yesterday morning he came to work as usual, arriving at the office shortly before 8 o'clock, somewhat earlier than his custom. About noon he left the office and went home to dinner. About 2 o'clock he left home and came to town going to the office of Dr. W.C. Fisher for the evident purpose of securing medical attention.

Dr. Fisher was not in his office, and Mr. Law inquired of Dr. H.R. Dudgeon, who has his office adjoining, as to what time Dr. Fisher was expected in stating that he was feeling bad. Dr. Dudgeon went to his office, and in a short time heard Mr. Law breathing loudly, and upon going in found him lying over in his chair, very pale a gasping. he took him from the chair and laid him on the floor, where he died in a few moments.

Coroner R.H. Barry was called, and after an examination sanctioned the removal of the body to the undertaker's, giving it as his verdict that came to his death from natural causes. While no opinion as to the cause of his death was expressed by the doctors present, none of them had any previous experience with the case. The opinion was generally prevalent that he died from failure of the heart, due probably to acute indigestion.

George H. Law Sr. was born in Louisiana (exactly Missouri-LVH) in 1838. After seeing gallant service with the Confederacy during the Civil War, he removed from Louisiana to Texas, settling at Indianola, where he accepted a responsible position with the Morgan Steamship and Railway Company. Later he removed to Cuero, where he was for many years agent for the Morgan lines. After resigning this position he went into the insurance business. he came permanently to Galveston about 1899, and since that time has been constantly connected with the office of County Clerk, first during the terms of office of his son, George H. law, Jr., and later as deputy under the present Clerk, Mr. George F. Burgess. Surviving him are the widow and three sons. George H. Law, Jr., now residing in Seattle, Wash, Thad Law and Harry Law, both of whom live in Galveston.

Deceased was a valued citizen, a true friend and an obliging and cheerful official. He was a Knight Templar Mason, and the funeral, which will occur tomorrow evening at Cuero, will be under the auspices of the Masonic fraternity.

Sir Knights of San Felipe de Austin Commandery No. 1 are requested to be at the asylum this evening at 6:15 o'clock to escort the remains of Sir Knight George H. Law Sr. to the train.


So if you are a Law, live in the Pacific Northwest, and are descendants of one of George Laws' two sons who moved there, please feel free to contact us at the email address in the masthead of this blog.

Unfortunately I have no pictures of this family or their graves, but will continue to search for them.