George North Neff

Company I, 3rd Illinois Volunteer Cavalry

George Neff was born in 1834, a son of Joel and Marilla (Wilder) Neff who were early settlers of Madison Co., Illinois.

In the 1850's when Kansas was struggling over the issue of slavery, George joined a group of abolitionists to help keep Kansas a free state. In September of 1856 after an engagement at Hickory Point, the thired soldiers unsaddled their horses and lay down to sleep. Shortly thereafter they were awakened by U.S. Dragoons and found themselves prisoners of the government. They were detained in LaCompton prison for three long months awaiting trial. In December they were represented by six counselors and after seven days of hearings all were released on a technicality.

Returning to Illinois, George settled for a time in Bloomington, McLean Co. On the 8th of June 1857 he wed Mary Elizabeth Hamilton, daughter of John and Oleva (Butler) Hamilton.

When the Civil War broke out, George volunteered his services 10 Aug 1861 signing up at Camp Butler in Springfield, Illinois for three years. He was assigned the rak of Saddler in Co. I, 3rd Illinois Cavalry.

In 1862, during the Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas, his comanding officer, Lt. Samuel F. Dolloff, was shot in the thigh and fell from his horse. George placed the lieutenant on his own horse remounted and carried him to the rear of the battlefield and placed him in an ambulance. After the battle, the lieutenant asked George to stay with him as his nurse. George moved Lt. Dolloff to a deserted house where the officer was nursed for the next two months. Orders were then received that the enemy was approaching and the wounded would have to be moved to yet another area. Regimental Surgeon Hunt suggested that Lt. Dolloff be left behind as well as some others as they were not expected to recover. Not wanting to leave the lieutenant, George was granted a furlough giving him the time to continue his nurshing. Regimental Surgeon Hunt then assigned George a field cart and two hourses. George placed Lt. Dolloff and another wounded man in the field cart and attempted to follow the hospital train. Owing to the serious condition of the two patients, he was unable to keep up and soon lost sight of the train. He eventually found it unmanageable to drive the two hourses tandem and had to abandon one. Walking and riding by night to avoid the enemy he managed the 200-mile trek to Rolla, Missouri. Upon arrival he was able to secure transportation and took the wounded men by train to St. Louis. Leaving one of the injured in St. Louis, he proceeded to Bloomington, Illinois with Lieutenant Dolloff.

George returned to duty and served in the government saddle shops until discharged at Springfield, Illinois 5 September 1864. Captain S. F. Dolloff personally handed him his discharge papers.

In 1869 George and Mary settled in Kansas where they lived for the next 20 years. In 1889 they took up residency in Blackwell, Kay Co., Oklahoma after successfully acquiring land during the rush. Then in 1912 they moved to Grants Pass, Oregon. Their final move was around 1918 to Vallejo, Solano Co., California. George died that year on 8 December 1918 and mary passed away four years later on 9 October 1922. Both were interred at the Masonic and Odd Fellows Cemetery in Vallejo. George had been a member of those organizations since his early days in Kansas.

Discharge Papers

Muster Rolls

Submitted by Beverly A. Lacey

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