Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Commandant Henry George

The Kentucky Confederate Home had five superintendents—they often used the title “Commandant”—during its thirty-two-year history, and I write about them at length in My Old Confederate Home.

The job of superintendent at the Confederate soldiers’ homes was a thankless job: part prison warden, part bean counter, part bureaucratic toady. But the Kentucky Confederate Home commandant who earned greatest affection from the veterans there was Henry George. (I grew to like him, too.)

A long-time state senator from Graves County, George had also spent several years as a federal Indian agent in western Arizona. He was a good-natured man, a great story-teller, and several of the ex-Confederates remarked on his loud honking laughter at the punchline of some joke told by himself or others. He approved the start-up of a monthly newspaper at the Kentucky Confederate Home, and he always took a seat front and center for the vaudeville acts that stopped by the Home to perform.

As commandant, he found time to dabble in politics and write a detailed history of four Kentucky regiments. (The book is History of the 3rd, 7th, 8th and 12th Kentucky C.S.A., published by the Dearing Printing Co. in 1911.)

The reason for the post? Today is his birthday.

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