George W. Veale

GEORGE W. VEALE was one of the makers of history in Kansas, in which territory and state he had his home continuously for sixty years.

He was born on a farm about five miles south of the Town of Washington in Daviess County, Indiana, May 20, 1833. Until seventeen he attended school about three months each year. From 1852 until 1857 he was employed as a clerk in the dry goods store of Filching Johnson at Evansville, Indiana. January 20, 1857, he married Miss Nannie Johnson, and on the 29th of March the bride and groom left Evansville on the Steamer White Cloud in company with the family of the late George Crozier. On April 7, 1857, they arrived at Quindaro, the noted settlement of the free state men near the present Kansas City, Kansas.

At Quindaro Mr. Veale became a merchant, as a member of the firm of Johnson & Veale. He served as the first sheriff of the new County of Wyandotte when it was organized. Under President Lincoln's first call for volunteers he raised a company at Quindaro in June, 1861, and was commissioned captain, the date of his commission being April 29, 1861, and Governor Charles Robinson signing it. His company went into service as part of the Fourth Kansas Volunteer Cavalry. Later he was colonel of the second Kansas Militia and served in the campaign against Price. At the Battle of the Blue Colonel Veale and his men won distinction through their conduct in holding a position against superior numbers and with fearful loss.

From Quindar Colonel Veale removed to Topeka and entered the dry goods business under the name Hamilton & Company. In 1866 he was appointed state agent for the sale of railroad lands, and served in that capacity three years. He was also tax commissioner for the Union Pacific Railroad a number of years and was one of the incorporators of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company. Many unusual distinctions both in business and civic affairs cluster around the name of Colonel Veale.

He organized the Topeka Bank & Savings Institution, which was subsequently reorganized as the present Bank of Topeka. He erected the Veale Block in Topeka. When Colonel Veal came to manhood the scattered elements of the old whig and the abolition parties had gathered into the new republican party and Colonel Veale has been one of its active members throughout the glorious annals of that political organization. He served as a member of the first State Legislature, was in the Senate in 1867-68 and from 1871 for fourteen years was a member of the Lower House. In 1871 he was elected president of the State Fair Association. Colonel Veale served as president of the Kansas State Historical Society in 1907-08. He and the late Senator Preston B. Plumb both took their Masonic degrees in 1866.

The career of Colonel Veale has been in keeping with the splendid record of his ancestry. He is descended from one of three brothers who came to America in 1640. Subsequent generations adopted three different spellings of the name, Veale, Vail and Viele. Colonel Veale's grandfather, James C. Veale, Sr., was a native of south Carolina and served with Sumter in the Revolutionary war. In 1806 he brought his family with wagons and teams over the mountains from the Carolinas to Daviess County, Indiana. The creek where he located was named for him and a township in Daviess County still bears his name. He died on his Indiana homestead in 1841, when about ninety-three years of age.

James C. Veale, Jr., father of Colonel Veale, was born in South Carolina in 1787, and prior to his removal to Indiana with his parents in 1806 taught in both North Carolina and Georgia. In 1809 he taught the first school in Daviess County, Indiana. He left the schoolroom in 1812 to join General Harrison in the campaign against the British and Indians. At the battle of Vincennes he was wounded and he carried the ball in his body until his death in 1858. He was one of the early abolitionists of Indiana, was a whig in politics, but voted for Polk in 1844. He was married in 1813 to Eleanor Aikman, who was born in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in 1792 and came to Daviess County, Indiana, about 1811 with her parents, James Aikman and wife. members of both the Veale and Aikman families took refuge in Comer's Fort during the War of 1812. Colonel Veale was one of a family of ten children.

Colonel Veale's wife, Nannie Johnson, was born in Petersburgh, Pike County, Indiana, in 1837. Her father, Col. Fielding Johnson, was a pioneer Pike County settler and a veteran of the Black Hawk war. He was one of President Lincoln's first appointees in Kansas, having been made agent for the Delaware Indians. His father, Thomas Johnson, had been secretary to General Harrison and a member of the first constitutional convention of Indiana. Mrs. Veale is a first cousin of John W. Foster, who made a noted name in American diplomacy and who married a niece of General McPherson. Mrs. Veale made and presented to Captain Veale's company the first Union state flag used by Kansas troops in the Civil war. The home of Colonel and Mrs. Veale formerly occupied the site now occupied by the Auditorium in Topeka. It was a social center in earlier years, and among those entertained there were General Grant and his suite. Of the three children born to Colonel and Mrs. Veale two grew to maturity: George W., Jr., was born at Quindaro, Kansas, in 1858, was educated at Topeka, in Washburn College and at the Military Institute at Chester, Pennsylvania. Walter J. Veale, the second son, was born at Topeka in 1866 and completed his education in Notre Dame University at South Bend, Indiana.

Col. George W. Veale passed to the great beyond on the 28th of November, 1916.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed October, 1997.
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