GEORGE M. DEWEY GRAVESTONE PHOTO
The Chanute Daily Tribune, Oct. 26, 1912, Pg. 1 & 5
Died: Oct. 26, 1912
Buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Chanute, Neosho County, KS.
Capt. G. M. Dewey, founder of The Tribune and for forty-six years a resident of Kansas, coming to the state at the close of the Civil war, in which he did gallant service for the Union, died at his home, 617 South Highland avenue, at 1:30 o’clock this morning.
The funeral services will be held from his late home at 2:30 tomorrow afternoon. They will be conducted by Rev. Charles A. Wilson, pastor of the Presbyterian church. The Masons, of whom he was a member, will have charge of interment.
The many friends of Captain Dewey who want to look upon his face for the last time before he is laid to rest may do so by calling at the home tomorrow morning from 10 to 11 o’clock, during which time the casket will be open.
Death was caused by heart disease, from which he had suffered for a long time. The end came peacefully and calmly. Last evening the captain seemed as well as usual. In the night the hand of Death touched him.
Mrs. D. B. Hickey, his eldest daughter, was summoned. When she arrived at his bedside the captain said, “Well, Millie, I’ve always got better heretofore when you came to see me like this, but I don’t believe it will do any good this time.”
Soon afterward he became unconscious and sank into the sleep of death. There was no indication yesterday that the end was so near. In fact, the captain seemed more active than usual. He worked about home, tidying the yard by raking the falling leaves away and making plans for the morrow.
A Veteran of War and Peace.
Captain Dewey was not only one of the pioneers of this vicinity, but he was one of those who did most to banish the wilderness and substitute civilization in its place. He retained his interest in public affairs to the last, oftentimes putting aside his feebleness to attend the session of the public library board, of which he was one of the original members.
He was born in Nottingham, England, seventy-five years ago, April 18th of this year. His parents brought their family to the United States in 1842, establishing themselves at Alexandria, Va. They died and were buried there during the rebellion. The father was intensely loyal and when secession sentiment rode rough-shod over everything he remained steadfast to the Union and died breathing the hope that loyal hearts and loyal arms might prevail.
His son, who has just died here, did much to bring this about. He enlisted April 17, 1861, in the Eighth New York for three months and re-enlisted in the Sixty-seventh New York under Colonel Adams.
In the Union Secret Service.
Captain Dewey participated in the first battle of Bull Run, but his courage and ability, combined with his intimate knowledge of the country which was the theatre of the most important events of the great martial drama, made him more valuable to the Union in the secret service than in the line of battle, and he was detailed as a member of the force organized by Major Pinkerton, the originator of the famous Pinkerton detective agency of a later day.
When engage in this work Captain Dewey had many thrilling adventures and performed service of note for the Union. Most of the time he was inside the enemy’s lines, passing among perils in various disguises with only his own resources to protect him from detection and certain death.
Put to a Ghastly Test.
He knew all the ins and outs of Richmond, the Confederate capital, and one of his most ghastly experiences occurred there. He was suspected and arrested at the same time an associate in the Federal service was captured.
The Rebels had positive proof that Union worker, but against Captain Dewey there was nothing more tangible than suspicion, which they sought to verify. They confronted him with the other prisoner, who stoutly maintained that Captain Dewey was a stranger to him and that he had never seen him before.
Still the Confederates were not satisfied. They inflicted barbarous tortures upon Captain Dewey to get him to confess that he was not what he claimed to be, finally taking him out at daybreak of a bleak, chilly morning to see his associate hanged.
The latter died bravely, continuing to disclaim knowledge of Captain Dewey and not even in the presence of certain death to give his friend some last message---an act that would have sealed the fate of both.
Captain Dewey watched the execution apparently unmoved, although his heart was wrung with anguish and horror, stifling his personal feelings and instincts for the sake of the cause that they both served so faithfully.
After this supreme tesr, his captors turned him loose. They were not satisfied, however, but kept him under surveillance and his situation was very precarious. He eventually escaped by making his way to Richmond and slipping into the home of a wealthy woman there, openly devoted to the Southern cause, secretly a loyal Union supporter.
There he disguised himself as a colored “mammy” and managed to make his way to a place of safety.
His Capture of a Woman Spy.
Not all of his adventures were thus gisly in their nature. One in particular was along the much lighter vein, resulting in the capture of a notorious woman spy for the Confederacy. In this exploit Captain Dewy appeared as a dashing officer in the Southern army. His gallant attentions won the woman’s attention and resulted by both being captured by Union men in an ambush of Captain Dewey’s own arranging, for the woman was so adroit and dangerous that he took every precaution to conceal from her his real position.
Captain Dewey spoke very seldom of these adventures. On the rare occasions when he could be prevailed upon to tell of his experiences, an interesting narrative was always forthcoming. Some of his reminiscences of secret service in the Union war were written for and published in The Tribune two years ago. In them the Captain gave no names and only those acquainted with his military record knew that he was a principal actor in the stirring events that he described so entertainingly.
Came to Kansas in 1866
He was discharged July 3, 1865, after four years and three months of faithful and loyal service. When the war closed he came to Kansas and was a resident of Fort Scott from 1866 to 1869. In April 10th of the latter year he located on a claim in Pleasant Valley township, Wilson county, and became a permanent settler and active factor in the material upbuilding of the community, winning battles of peace as he had those of war.
He patented and improved his land and resided on and actively cultivated it for twenty years, then turned it over to the attention of his sons, and became, himself, a resident of Chanute.
Began Newspaper Work Under
Early in life he had shown a liking for newspaper work and this returned to him after his location here. His youthful educational advantages were of the good practical sort, gained chiefly in newspaper offices. He was with the New York Tribune five years, came to know Horace Greeley, its founder, well, and when he left his desk it was to enter the volunteer army for service in the rebellion.
He was first engaged in the publication of the Chanute Vidette, a soldier paper, which he established. He afterward purchased the Chanute Times and consolidated the two papers into the Vidette Times. He sold this, and in January, 1890, established The Tribune as a weekly Republican paper.
The Daily Tribune Established.
In 1892 he started the Daily Tribune, the first issue coming forth Aprl 8, 1892. It consisted of four pages each with four columns, printed on a job press. The Captain did not intend to make the daily permanent. Some of the business men had learned that a company of outsiders were planning to come into the city with a printing plant for the purpose of establishing a daily paper. The business men decided against this, and asked Captain Dewey to enter the field for a time to head the invaders off.
The Captain consented, intending to discontinue the daily as soon as possible. The city was too small then to support a daily paper properly, and he recognized this fact. The people, though, liked the idea. They got in the habit of looking for the little paper with its news of local happenings and quaint bits of homely wit from the captain’s pen, and they talked him out of stopping.
How He Won His Final Fight.
The Captain persevered, and put the daily on a firm basis. They were the most trying years of his life, though. He began his work right at the time of the great financial depression which prevailed for more than four years, and it was a hard struggle for him. He succeeded but his efforts exhausted him, and he sold his holdings to J. M. Cavaness.
Helped Found the Public Library.
He retained his interest in newspaper work and frequently favored The Tribune with entertaining articles. He was particularly interested in the public library and when he retired from active service on its board of directors, he was unanimously retained as an honorary member.
He was married in Lawrence in 1862, his wife being Miss Susie J. Gemmel. She survives him.
They were the parents of six children---four sons and two daughters. The sons are John G. Dewey, Edmund R. Dewey, George R. Dewey and Melvin Dewey, the latter a rural mail carrier on an Earlton route. The daughters are Millie, the wife of D. B. Hickey of this city, and Miss Nettie J. Dewey, money order and savings bank clerk in the Chanute postoffice.