Monday, May 3, 2010

GRAVE OF MY GREAT-GREAT GRANDFATHER, GEORGE A. KEITH - Rose Hill Cemetery, Macon, Bibb County, Georgia

My Great-Great Grandfather's life was by no means a dull one. Born in Utica, NY he left NY with his father and sister after his mother died in 1851. The family settled in Macon, where George remained for most of the rest of his life. George, a Northerner by birth, whether by sheer curiosity or loyalty to his new Southern home, enlisted in the Second Georgia Battalion of the C.S.A. in 1861 and saw action at most of the major battles General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia participated in. He survived Fredericksburg, Antietam, The Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court House and, most of all, Gettysburg, where almost half of his unit was either killed, wounded or captured. George was wounded at the siege of Petersburg in June of 1864 and saw limited action for the rest of the war, but was with the Army of Northern Virginia when it surrendered in April, 1865. From there he returned to Macon and worked in the dry goods business for the remainder of his career. He also suffered from his war wound for the rest of his life.
Unfortunately and for unknown reasons, George was pretty much abandoned by his children after his wife, Sarah Antoinette North, died in 1901. In 1904, George left Macon and moved into the Confederate Soldiers Home of Georgia. He died there in 1919. His remains were returned to Macon for internment in Rose Hill Cemetery in the gated lot of Isaac Scott (my 4th Great-Grandfather) and a very prominent and wealthy member of Macon society. George's wife, Sarah, was a granddaughter of Isaac, and is also buried in the plot. When I began researching George and searching for his grave, I could not find it. I figured he would be buried next to or near his wife but his grave was not there. There was, however, an unmarked bricked grave next to Sarah and I wondered if this could be George. Further research proved my hunch correct. This grave was George. I was profoundly saddened that his children did not even respect him enough to place a marker on his grave. I was determined to correct this. Through working with the Red Cross and the Veteran's Administration, a marker was created and sent to Rose Hill where it was installed in the late 1990's. It was not until the summer of 2007 (where the above photos were taken) that I was able to visit the grave in person and pay my respects to this man. Maybe he was not such a good father to his children, but his grave deserves to be identified to future generations of his family.

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