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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Jackson County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Capt. George W. Hurley (retired), Newport, Ark. The career of the above mentioned gentleman affords a striking example of encouragement for the youth of the present day who have not very favorable circumstances surrounding them, and yet who are desirous of attaining to positions of trust and esteem in the communities where they may hereafter reside. Left an orphan at an early day, Mr. Hurley attained his growth without the influence and tender care of parents, and for this reason, if for no other, he deserves great credit for his success in life, not only in material affairs, but as a man. His birth occurred in Frederick County, Md., on the 1st of May, 1829, and he is the son of Morris and Catherine Hurley, both natives of County Clare, Ireland. The parents were married in their native country, and in about 1829 emigrated to America, where the father, who was a civil engineer and contractor, worked on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. He was a large contractor on the canal, and had his headquarters at the Point of Rocks. They were the parents of these children: John, Catherine, Charles and George W., the first three of whom died in the year 1833, as did also the parents, leaving George W. Hurley, only four years of age, alone and among comparative strangers. He was taken by a family who thought considerable of him, received as good an education as they could afford, and, when nine years of age, was apprenticed to learn the tailor’s trade. When about thirteen years of age he ran away from his master, went to Baltimore, and shipped as a cabin-boy on board the brig Edith. He made a trip around Cape Horn, visited Santiago, and numerous other places on the Pacific slope, and remained on the ship for about two years, being quite a favorite of the Captain and his wife. Mr. Hurley relates an incident which took place while on the vessel, and gives it as a reason for leaving the sea. It was his duty to wait upon the table, and one day, after dinner, he put some nuts, raisins, etc., in the pockets of his little sailor’s suit. The Captain, who frequently indulged too freely at the noon meal, met George on deck, and asked what was in his pockets. The boy replied, “Nothing,” which so incensed the Captain that the latter gave him a severe whipping. George was ever after afraid of the commander, and at the first opportunity left the vessel and returned to Baltimore. There he finished his trade as a tailor, and soon after went to Washington, thence to Richmond, Va., where he was taken sick and came very near dying. He became penniless, but, through the charity of friends, obtained enough money to return to Baltimore, where he obtained employment, and there remained until the breaking out of the Mexican War. He then enlisted in the Second Baltimore Battalion, under Col. Hughes, and served one year, receiving a sabre and lance wound at the battle of Monterey, for which he now receives a pension. After recovering he was placed in the quartermaster’s department, and was on the Southern route. Upon his second return to his home he had some means saved, and located at New Richmond, Ohio, where he started up a modest tailoring establishment, but only remained there a short time. He then sold out and moved to Indianapolis, Ind., where he secured a position as cutter in a large establishment; but, at the end of one year, he became restless, and enlisted in the Cuban Lopez expedition. He, with about 200 old Mexican soldiers, went to Cuba; eighty-six were captured, fifty-two were taken to Havana and shot, and thirty-four carried on the steamer “Pizarau,” a large Spanish man-of-war— and was taken to Spain, with about thirty-four other comrades. They were kept prisoners some six weeks, and during that time, which seemed, no doubt, like so many years, experienced some of the most heartrending scenes imaginable, being taken out every day and counted, with the expectation of being shot. They were finally released by President Fillmore, who sent a United States cutter for them. They were treated like kings on the vessel, being given money, clothes, etc. He came to Kentucky, being again entirely broken up, and invented a patent for garment cutting, with which he traveled over several different States, and made considerable money on the same. He subsequently went to Keokuk, Iowa, where he started another tailoring establishment, and carried it on until 1857. From there he went to Jackson, Tenn., where he was married, and removed with his family to White County, Ark., being there engaged in agricultural pursuits. In 1861 he was appointed by Gov. Rector, of Arkansas, as quarter master of the State troops, and in the organization of a regiment at Mound City, was appointed by Colonel-elect (afterward General) Cleburne, quartermaster of the first State troops. The regiment moved to Pocahontas, where State troops were abandoned and regiments for the Confederacy formed. Being, as a consequence retired, he returned home and organized a company, of which he was made first lieutenant, and afterward, for meritorious conduct, was promoted to a captaincy. He participated in all the general engagements on this side of the Mississippi River, receiving one slight wound from a shell. In 1864 he asked for retired papers, and then took the superintendency of cutting and fitting clothes for the soldiers at Shreveport, La. His family still living in White County when he came home, he moved with them to Augusta, Woodruff County, Ark., where he remained for nine years, being engaged for two years in the livery business, and after this took the traveling agency for a cotton commission house at New Orleans. Having speculated too heavily in cotton, he became involved, and then entered the hotel and confectionery business, which he carried on until 1873, when he came to Newport, then a town of about thirty-one inhabitants. He embarked in the wholesale and retail liquor and tobacco business, afterward turning his business into a grocery and general planters’ supplies, and buying cotton, in which he was very extensively engaged until about 1880. Since that time he has been engaged in the real estate business, and in building up Newport, owning five large brick business buildings and several residences. He also owns a good farm, and is one of the leading citizens of Jackson County. He has taken great interest in secret orders, is a member of the Masonic fraternity, advancing as far as a Knight Templar. He is also a member of the I. O. O. F., is Past Grand Master, and has been a member of the order since 1847; was initiated in Mechanic’s Lodge No. 15, at Baltimore, Md., being subsequently connected with the order in the States of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. He is the founder and originator of Newport Lodge No. 71, Newport, Ark., which was organized May 17, 1875. He has been honored with nearly every official position within the gift of the order; has served as Grand Master, was Grand Representative to the Sovereign Grand Lodge for six years, and Grand Patriarch in the Encampment branch for two years. In 1876 he represented the State of Arkansas in the Sovereign Grand Lodge, at Philadelphia, and in 1882 at Toronto. He is an indefatigable worker in the interests of Odd Fellowship, and is one of the most highly honored members of that fraternity. He is also a member of the Knights of Pythias, and a member of the Royal Arcanum, of which he is past officer. His marriage to Mrs. Mary L. Boyd occurred in 1858, and one child, now deceased, was the result of this union. Mrs. Hurley is a member of the Episcopal Church. Both Mr. Hurley and Mrs. Hurley are hale and hearty in their old age.

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This family biography is one of 144 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Jackson County, Arkansas published in 1889.  View the complete description here: Jackson County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Jackson County, Arkansas family biographies here: Jackson County, Arkansas Biographies

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