Biographical Profile: Pvt. George Kelso, Company G, 100th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers
Written by Rick and Janice Howenstine, descendants of Pvt. Kelso
Biography of George Kelso; Private, 100th P.V.I
GEORGE KELSO was born November 4,1838, in Lawrence County, Penn., to John and Ann (McWilliams) Kelso, natives of Lawrence County, and of Scotch and Irish extraction, respectively. George was educated in the common schools, and brought up on a farm.
He enlisted in Company I, One Hundredth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and served three years; was in the battles of his regiment and wounded in the right temple in front of Petersburg. His brother Joseph enlisted in Company G of the same regiment and served nearly four years; he was also wounded in the head.
On his return from the war George worked on his father’s farm until married, February 8, 1865, to Sarah M. Walker, born April 4, 1844, daughter of Samuel and Eliza (Nelson) Walker. They were married at Deer Creek Presbyterian Church, Rev. Josiah Alexander officiating.
George and his wife settled on a farm in Lawrence County and then they came to own another farm in Mercer County known then as the Matthew Thompson Farm.
They had eleven children: Robert A., Samuel, Johannah, Elizabeth, Joseph H., Mary, George, Nelson O., and William D. Two children, Ella Rebecca and Edwin Kelso died in infancy.
The Kelsos raised 9 children and there were born 25 grandchildren, 69 Great-grandchildren, and 108 known Great-great-grandchildren.
After serving for a year and a half in Company I with the Roundheads, George transferred from Company I to Company G, the Company in which his brother Joseph Kelso also served.
The following is an outline of the service of the regiment:
The regiment was mustered in Aug. 1861
Sept. 1862-Battle of South Mountain and Battle of Antietam
Dec. 1862- Battle of Fredericksburg
1863- served on the Western front
June-July 1863 Battle and Siege of Vicksburg
1864-Battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor
1864-1865 Siege at Petersburg
George Kelso was wounded in his right temple outside Petersburg while on picket duty on 2 Jul 1864. He was hospitalized for over a month and was released with a “surgeons certificate” in August of 1864. His brother Joseph reenlisted and continued to serve with the regiment until the end of the war. The regiment was involved in the pursuit of Lee’s army to Appomattox where Lee’s army surrendered.
It is of interest to note that George and Sarah Margaret named their firstborn son Robert Audley Kelso. Since that name was not common and was not a name handed down through the family it is believed that Robert was named for Robert Audley Brown who served as Chaplain for the 100th P.V.I. during the war.
Also it is interesting to note that one Great-grandson, Dr. William Martin Kelso is the lead archeologist for the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA) which is leading the search for the original fort at the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia.
George Kelso died 20 Aug 1914. His obituary is printed below as it appeared in The Mercer Dispatch Fri. 28 Aug 1914:
“George Kelso, aged 75 years and for many years a resident of Cool Spring township and Mercer, died last Thursday morning at the home of his sister, Mrs. Charles Roberts, in New Castle, with whom he had lived the last five years. He was slightly ill Wednesday evening, but his condition caused no uneasiness. At 3 o’clock in the morning he was resting comfortably, but at 7 o’clock he was found dead in his bed. He was a man of good character and had many friends in this section who were shocked to hear of his sudden death. He was a member of the Second United of New Castle. During the Civil War he served in the Union army as a member of company I, One Hundredth regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, the Roundheads, and received wounds from which he suffered greatly at intervals and which doubtless hastened his death. He was a member of the Union Veteran Legion and the Grand Army of the Republic. He is survived by his wife and the following children: Audley, Samuel and Mrs. Taylor Shannon, of Cool Spring township; Mrs. William Bell, of Jefferson Township; Joseph of Perry township, George, of New Castle; Nelson, of Utah, and William of Youngstown. Two sisters, Mrs. Roberts and Jane Hutchinson, both of New Castle, are living. The body was brought to Mercer on Saturday and the funeral services were held in the First United Presbyterian Church at 3:00 P.M. Interment was made in Mercer cemetery.”
His wife Sarah Margaret lived until 23 June 1935.
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