George Lea Febiger

George Lea Febiger was born on December 8, 1822, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Christian Febiger and Hannah Lea. The family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, soon after, and his father died there in January 1829. In 1838, George enrolled at the University of Virginia, where he studied math, natural philosophy, and chemistry. During his first year at UVA, the sixteen-year-old Febiger allegedly helped two classmates shatter a professor’s window, but the faculty lacked enough evidence to charge him. 

Febiger remained at UVA for two years before returning to Ohio. He married Annie Fisher on May 31, 1842, in Logan, Ohio, but she died less than two years later, on February 5, 1844. He married his second wife, Caroline A. Smith, on April 5, 1849. By 1850, they were living in Cincinnati, where they owned about $40,000 in real estate. George worked as a grocery merchant, and the couple shared a house with his brother’s family. Their daughter, Elizabeth Frances Febiger, was born on July 9, 1850. Caroline died in October 1852, and Febiger married his third wife, Frances Pleasants, on November 1, 1855, in Milford, Ohio. Frances gave birth to their first child, Mary Pleasants, on January 19, 1857, but she died later that year on August 16. Their second child and only son, Lea, was born on January 4, 1858. Their last child, Bertha, was born on November 9, 1866.

Febiger moved to Wilmington, Delaware, around 1861. He joined the Union army almost immediately after the Civil War broke out, receiving a commission as a major and paymaster on May 3, 1861. He spent most of the war stationed in St. Louis, Missouri, where he served as the chief paymaster for the army of General Ulysses S. Grant. In November 1864, he was transferred to Cincinnati, becoming the chief paymaster for the pay district of Ohio and Kentucky. On March 13, 1865, he received a promotion to brevet lieutenant colonel. 

Febiger remained in the army after the war. Over the next 21 years he was stationed in St. Louis (1865-1867), Louisville (1867-1870), New Orleans (1870-1875), New York (1875-1880), St. Paul (1880), Washington (1880-1882), San Francisco (1882-1886), and Washington, DC (1886). While stationed in New York City, he received a promotion to lieutenant colonel, and on January 24, 1881, he became a colonel and acting paymaster general. He retired from active service on December 8, 1886. 

He developed Bright’s disease during the war and continued to suffer from it for the rest of his life. He died of heart disease in New Haven, Connecticut, on January 22, 1891. His widow Frances followed four years later, dying on August 12, 1895.


Obituary of George L. Febiger

Name:Febiger, George Lea
Alternative names:
  • Febeger, G. L. (alternative name)
  • Soldier
  • UVA (Union)
Paymaster's Department
Branch of service:Army
Commission1861-05-03Washington, DCaccepted
Muster Out1886-12-08Retired
Residence at UVA:Ohio
UVA Begin Year:1839
UVA End Year:1840
Residence at enlistment:
Rank In:Major
Rank Out:Colonel, Assistant Paymaster General
Highest rank achieved:Brevet Lieutenant Colonel, Assistant Paymaster General
Person 1Person 2NumberRelation Type
Febiger, George Leanoneapplication-invalid
Febiger, George Leanoneapplication-minor
Febiger, George Leanoneapplication-parent
Febiger, George LeaFebiger, Frances P.509276application-widow
Febiger, George LeaFebiger, Frances P.349582certificate-widow
Birth date:1822-12-08
Birth date certainty:certain
Birth place:Philadelphia, PA
Death date:1891-01-22
Death place:New Haven, CT
Causes of death:disease: heart disease, disease: Bright's Disease
Person 1Relation TypePerson 2
Febiger, George Leaparent ofFebiger, Elizabeth Frances
Febiger, George Leaparent ofFebiger, Lea
Febiger, George Leaparent ofFebiger, Bertha
Febiger, George Leaparent ofFebiger, Mary
Febiger, Eliza Annwife ofFebiger, George Lea
Febiger, Caroline A.wife ofFebiger, George Lea
Febiger, Frances P.wife ofFebiger, George Lea

Staff File for George Febiger, RG 94, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C.; Pension Records for George Febiger, RG 15, NARA; "George L. Febiger," Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General, RG 94, NARA; United States Census, 1850 and 1860; "Lea Febiger," U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970, accessed through; George L. Febiger, May 3, 1861, Letters Received by the Adjutant General's Office, 1860-70, accessed through; Session 15 of the Chairman's Journal, July 5, 1838 - July 4, 1839, accessed through Jefferson's University: The Early LifeThe Morning News (Wilmington, DE), January 24, 1891; Francis Bernard Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army: From Its Organization, September 29, 1789 to March 2, 1903, Vol. 1 (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1903), 415-16; "Col George Lea Febiger,",