Give That Man A Hand

One of the fun things about researching family history is experiencing those “ah ha” moments when the pieces of a story come together. I had one of those recently while researching the Creels. As I’ve mentioned before, my great grandmother Farlow was a Creel before she married.

In researching the uncles and cousins on that side I came across George Daniel Creel, a fourth great uncle. He served during the Civil War in Company E, Georgia 27th Infantry. Trouble is, he had a son, also George Daniel Creel, who served in the same unit. As a result, I confused the two for a while, unsure which was which, until I came across an interesting fact.

A George D. Creel who served in Company E, Georgia 27th was wounded badly at the Battle of Cold Harbor in Virginia and had to have his right hand amputated. I looked up the only picture I had identifying someone as George D. Creel and noticed for the first time that he was missing his right hand:

Creel Brothers

George D. Creel is on the far left.

But, was this the father or the son? Luckily, the person who shared this picture identified it as the Creel siblings at a family reunion in 1905 holding a picture of George Creel – their father. That settled the question. The George Creel who lost his hand at Cold Harbor was George Creel, Jr.

I’ve since come across more pictures, one that’s especially poignant – George as a fresh-faced seventeen-year-old in his uniform still with both hands:

George D. Creel, Jr - Civil War Uniform

George was sent to Ocmulgee Hospital in Macon, Georgia in December 1864 to recuperate from his injury. He was then furloughed from military service in January 1865. When he returned from the war he got on with life, despite his injury, in a time when a physical handicap was a much bigger obstacle than today. He married, had several children and farmed his land in Carrollton, Georgia:

George D. Creel, Jr., wife and house

George Creel and his wife Sara with one of their daughters outside the family home.

George Daniel Creel, Jr. lived until the age of seventy-nine and is buried in the graveyard of Smyrna United Methodist Church in Carrolton.

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