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George Wiley Whitehead

George Wiley Whitehead was my second great-grandfather.  He was Walter Everett’s father.

George Wiley Whitehead was wounded in one of the battles of the Civil War.  He was wounded on 17 September 1864 when he was shot on the top of the head with a bullet of some sort.

Sherman’s March to the Sea was his plot to destroy the Confederates with a very strong offensive.  Sherman succeeded in capturing Savannah on 22 December 1864.


George Wiley Whitehead and wife Cena Mathews Whitehead

George Wiley Whitehead and wife Cena Mathews Whitehead

George Wiley Whitehead was the son of Joel Whitehead and Mary Polly O’Kelly.  He was born 26 January 1929 in Oglethorpe County, Georgia.  He was the 6th child of the couple’s thirteen.

According to the 1850 Census, the family lived in the 66th Division of Oglethorpe County.  Joel was listed as a farmer.

In the 1860 Census, George and his family are now listed as living in the Georgia Militia District 235.  [I believe it was more of a name change than an actual move.  But I will have to research that a bit further.]  George was listed as 28 years old, he was listed as the County Surveyor.  His mother is still alive, living at the homestead.  His older sister Susan Whitehead is also living at home.  His younger sister Elizabeth is listed as living at home.  Rebecca Harrell, age 6 and her sister Sertilia, age 4, are also listed there.  [That is another story to investigate.]  Samuel Whitehead is listed as having an adjoining farm.

George Wiley Whitehead served in the Confederate Army.  He was a Corporal in Captain Tiller’s Company, (Echols Light Artillery).  He served with Columbus Augustus Stevens who is also my second great-grandfather.  Emma Chloe Adams Whitehead, the wife of my grand uncle Walter Joe, and the author of The Adams Family, James Adams Line wrote a story for The Oglethorpe Echo in 1965 about the amazing marriage of George Wiley and Cena Ann.

George Whitehead was born in 1829 and Cena Ann Mathews in 1845.  The awkward young man first saw Cena in the little one-room schoolhouse they both attended for some time.  Though he was sixteen years his senior, George said right then that he was going to marry that pretty girl when she grew up.  George fought in the civil war and his return with a bullet in his head was due to one of the miracles of war.  Wounded and left for dead on the battlefield, George regained consciousness to find a Yankee officer standing over him.  He gave the Masonic sign which the office returned.  The Blue Coat carried his wounded Masonic brother to his own camp where he was given medical attention and as soon as George was able to travel, he was exchanged for a Yankee prisoner.  George returned to Oglethorpe and married Cena in 1866 (North Georgia Life, 1965, p.6)

According to the 1870 Census, George and Cena lived in the Maxey’s Post Office District in Oglethorpe and they had two children by that time, Ettie and Walter.

1880 Census-George Wiley and Cena are living on a farm in the Georgia Militia District 236 (Grove Creek).  Ettie, Walter, Daisy, George Jr., and Herbert are listed as children.

George and Cena would go on to have 7 children- one of which died in infancy.

George Wiley Whitehead after filing for a Pension for wounded service men, was given total disability for his injuries suffered during the war.  While researching George, I discovered the pension papers.  Essentially, he had a fractured skull that caused him numbness.  The numbness became permanent and he suffered from partial paralysis in his later years.  George received One Hundred Dollars for his pension.

George died 31 May 1931, he was 62 years old.

Source:  North Georgia Life, The Oglethorpe Echo, February 17, 1965, “The Whitehead Homeplace recalls Rural Life of Yesterday.”

George & Cena Whitehead and homestead

George & Cena Whitehead and homestead



2 thoughts on “George Wiley Whitehead

  1. Pingback: Was the family divided? | Exploring Backwards

  2. Pingback: The Miracle in Savannah | Exploring Backwards

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