Marsha's Warrick Web & Warrick InGenWeb

Finding Our Warrick County, IN Ancestors

Masters, George L.

Warrick And Its Prominent People, edited by Will Fortune, 1881, pages pages 115 - 119, submitted by Judy.

"George L. Masters: Among those of the present day who, by their own efforts, have attained the position in our county of active and prominent business men none are more worthy of mention than George Lafayette Masters, whose career, in many respects, is interesting and remarkable. He was born on a farm in the "flats" of Cypress creek, in Warrick county, on August 25, 1845. His father, Joseph Masters, was a quiet, unassuming man, and a farmer by occupation. His mothers maiden name was Elizabeth Hudspeth, and her parents were among the first settlers of Warrick county.
The boyhood days of George Masters were spent on his father's farm, and as a farmers boy, he was accustomed to the hard work by which farm life is usually attended. Even in those days of limited educational advantages his opportunities for obtaining an education were poorer than those of most boys, and when in the very prime of his boyhood, and when others of his age were in the school-room, he sacrificed his only chance for obtaining an education and responded to the call of his country for soldiers to put down the rebellion.
On September 2Oth, 1861, when only sixteen years of age, he enlisted in the Forty- Second Indiana Regiment, Company K, which was commanded by his brother, Captain James H. Masters. In the engagement with Bragg's army in Perryville, Kentucky, on the 5th of October, 1862, he was wounded through the abdomen, and was consequently confined to the hospital several weeks. While yet unable for duty he was placed in the headquarters of the medical department at New Albany, Indiana, as chief clerk, which position he filled satisfactorily until he had recovered sufficiently to return to the ranks of his company.
In August, 1863, he returned to duty in his regiment. In the baffle of Rasacca, Georgia, on the 14th of May, 1864, he was wounded in the shoulder and also through the lower lobe of the right lung by one and a quarter ounce ball, while making a charge on the enemy. When picked up by his comrades they supposed he was dead. For a long time he laid in the field hospital, and his death was regarded by his friends as inevitable. Finally he was taken to Nashville, and placed in the hospital at that place, where he remained for several weeks. As soon as able to travel he was furloughed, and returned home. He participated in the battles of Perryville, KY., Lockout Mountain, Chickamauga and Mission Ridge, besides numerous little skirmishes. He held an appointment as postmaster of his regiment at the time he was wounded, but he would never take advantage of it to shirk duty. In May, 1865, he was honorably discharged.
In 1866, in partnership with his brother, Thomas N. Masters, he purchased the stock of clothing, boots, shoes, etc., owned by Nicholas C. Allen, and, having no capital whatever, but a reputation for honesty and good credit, gave promissory notes to the amount of $1,800 for payment for the goods. July 4th Thomas Masters died, leaving George with the entire business to control, and a debt of $1,200 to pay off. To the inexperienced young business man, upon whose shoulders a burden was now resting to which most men would have succumbed, this was doubtless the gloomiest period of his life; but his cares he kept safely buttoned within his own vest, and even his most intimate friends never suspected the fears which "hovered like a blight over his spirit", and caused him many sleepless nights. Although without experience in business, and compelled to strive against established competitors, he succeeded by shrewd management in making all payments on the promissory notes which he and his brother had given, and paid all outstanding debts.
In the fall of 1866 Jasper Hargrave, then a resident of Evansville, visited Boonville, and calling on Mr. Masters, after passing the customary remarks of the day, commenced negotiations for the purchase of an interest in his store. Within ten minutes afterwards the doors of the store were closed and the two were invoicing the stock. A partnership was summarily consummated, which continued until January, 1865, when their store was destroyed by fire. The remnants of the stock were sold to Hudspeth Brothers, with whom Masters accepted a position as clerk, which he held about three months. He then opened a store on the east side of the public square in Boonville; which was known as the "Red Front," his stock consisting of boots and shoes only. Jasper Hargrave, his former partner, again approached him one day, stating that he had purchased the building adjoining the St. Charles hotel, and proposed a partnership in the clothing, boot and shoe business, to which Mr. Masters assented. In a short time the two were in their new quarters and again doing a prosperous trade. This partnership continued until about 1870, when Hargrave retired, and Masters shortly afterward sold the stock of goods to E.W. Bethell and Thomas J. Downs. During the following summer he engaged in farming, but in the fall returned to town and bought Bethell's interest in the clothing store, when the firm became Downs & Masters. This partnership continued until 1871, when Downs retired and the business was for a short time conducted under the firm name of G. L. Masters & Co. In 1872, Colman Miller purchased an interest in the store and the firm became Masters, Miller & Co., which was dissolved in the latter part of 1874, G. L. Masters becoming the sole proprietor of the establishment.
In 1867, he held the position of deputy treasurer of Warrick county under his brother, Capt. James H. Masters.
April 25, 1867, he was married to Irene A. Williams. The fruits of this marriage has been four children-two boys and two girls.
in February, 1878, he received the appointment as postmaster of Boonville without seeking the position or having though of the matter. At the time he took charge of the office it was in a bad state, but under his management it has improved, until today no post office of like proportions stands higher at the Post office Department in Washington. The mail handled and revenue receipts have increased to an amount somewhat remarkable for an interior town, and the system with which the office works is highly satisfactory to our citizens generally.
Mr. Masters never took an active part in politics until the campaign of 1880, when he demonstrated considerable sagacity and influence as a party leader. Politically he is a Republican, and is recognized in his party ranks as an indispensable factor." 
History of Vanderburgh County, IN; From the Earliest Times to the Present with Biographical Sketches, Reminiscence, etc., Brant & Fuller, 1889, pg. 421

"George Layfayette Masters, a well-known business man of this city, was born on a farm near Boonville, August 25, 1845. He received his education in the schools at Boonville, and was yet within school age when the outbreak of the rebellion occurred. In September, 1861, in the sixteenth year of his age, he enlisted in the Forty-second Indiana Volunteer infantry and served gallantly until near the close of the war, receiving his discharge in February1, 1865, on account of a wound through the right lung. Returning home he went into business at Boonville in 1866. In 1877 he was appointed postmaster at Boonville, and after eight years of service1 highly satisfactory to the people, resigned March 5,1885. He immediately assumed the management of the Cumberland Telephone and Telegraph company, making his home in Evansville. After a year's service in this position, he retired, and in August1 1886, engaged as a traveling salesman in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri, with headquarters at Evansville."



Questions or Comments?

If you have questions or problems with this site, email the County Coordinator. Please to not ask for specfic research on your family. I am unable to do your personal research. I do not live in Indiana and do not have access to additional records.

Contact Us

If you have questions, contributions, or problems with this site, email:

Coordinator - Marsha Bryant
Lena Harper - State Coordinator - gostraka@yahoo.com
Jim Cox - Asst. State Coordinator - nyclvr2012@gmail.com
Karen Zach - Asst. State Coordinator - karen.zach@sbcglobal.net