George Denniston Haley


GEORGE DENNISTON HALEY was born on June 14, 1848 in New York City NY. He was supposedly born as an orphan and never knew his mother or his father's name. This is evident in Civil War pension papers filed with the Federal Government and also apparent on his death certificate which was signed by his oldest son George, Jr. who omitted the names of his father's parents.

During the Civil War, George Haley enlisted in the 116th Regiment of New York  State Volunteers. He signed up on September 5, 1862 and lied about his true age. A story handed down though his grandson and great-grandson relates that then 14-year old George Haley was paid to go into the Civil War as a substitute for someone else. This has never been verified and may be quite difficult to officially document. Great-grandson Harry Powell also stated in a telephone interview that George D. Haley had a very bad temper and was pretty good at the game of billiards and he used his stump as a bridge to shoot. These were told to Mr. Harry Powell by his father, George Powell.

George Haley spent some time in Fort Monroe, Virginia Hospital for an unknown illness according to his pension file, . and rejoined his regiment in April of 1863 at Port Hudson, Louisiana. On his 15th birthday, June 14, 1863, George Haley had his left arm shot off just below his elbow by a "missile". The muster role lists this injury as accidental and may have been a cannon shot by another Union regiment. As revealed in the book Port Hudson: Confederate Bastillion on the Mississippi written by Lawrence Lee Hewitt, confusion was prevalent in many of the battles that were fought at Port Hudson. Although this detailed work on the area chides many of the Union regiments for sometimes fighting less than gallantly, it is clearly noted that the 116th NY volunteers were one of the more brave and bold of the Union blue.

There is a single document in the pension file of George Haley that lists his Post Office address as Sing Sing Prison, New York in the county of Westchester, this was filed Aug. 23, 1866. It is unclear whether he was an inmate of the prison or a worker of some sort.

After the war, George Haley returned and resided in Philadelphia where he was married and then moved to Wisconsin. No official marriage certificate could be located in Philadelphia records and the actual certificate was even lost by himself "in various moves" as he stated in a subsequent pension application.

After his move to Wisconsin, he oscillated between Wisconsin and Iowa where the couple had three children. Two sons were born in Wisconsin and a daughter was born in Iowa. For unknown reasons the Haley family returned to the east coast around 1888. His daughter, born in Iowa, told her children about how the family traveled east by "covered wagon".

The Haley family settled in Camden NJ, where George D. Haley resided the rest of his life. They appeared in the 1888-1889 Camden City Directory at 326 Chester Street, but by 1890 the Haley family had moved to 624 Carman Street. Almost immediately after returning east, records at the Camden County Historical Society in Camden NJ show that George D. Haley joined the Thomas M.K. Lee Post #5 of Grand Army of the Republic, also known as the GAR.  It is not known if George Haley was a member of a similar organization while living in Wisconsin/Iowa. Once in Camden, George D. Haley found work as the Chief Clerk to the Master Mechanic with the Pennsylvania Railroad, who maintained a large switching and repair facility in East Camden. One of his co-workers was another Civil War veteran and GAR member, Leonard Laurence Roray, who lived a few blocks south at 610 Clinton Street. George D. Haley moved in late 1903 or early 1904 to 336 North 10th Street, and remained there to 1908. Afther 1908 he does not appear in Camden City Directories, and it may be assumed that he had retired and was living with one of his children.

George D. Haley passed away on January 2, 1923 due to bronchial pneumonia brought on by chronic bronchitis. After funeral services at the Wallace M. DuBois funeral home at 505 Broadway, he was buried at Evergreen Cemetery on Mt. Ephraim Avenue on January 5th. 

Death Certificate

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Evergreen Cemetery

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Images Courtesy of James Powell