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According to U.S. Military pension records and his published obituary, George Spencer Geer was born in 1836 in Troy, New York. His father was Gilbert Geer and little is known of Geer’s early life in Troy except that he worked for his father’s stove foundry. On October 3, 1858, Geer married Martha Clark Hamilton in New York City. At the outbreak of the Civil War, George and Martha Geer were living in an apartment in the Lower East Side of New York with their two young children. Unemployed and in debt, George Geer, enlisted in the United States Navy on February 15, 1862. The Navy accepted him as a first class fireman and he was first posted to the USS North Carolina.
Geer was transferred to the USS Monitor by February 20, as his name appears on the ship’s roster sent to the Navy Department on that date. George Geer served on board the Monitor from February 1862 to her sinking on December 31, 1862. While serving on the Monitor, Geer participated in the Battle of Hampton Roads and in support of the Peninsula Campaign. In May 1862, Geer was promoted to “Engineer Yeoman.” On January 19, 1863, Geer was appointed an Acting Third Assistant Engineer and reported the same day to the USS Galena. He served on the Galena until May 25, 1863, when he was detached from the ship and granted a leave of absence. On June 3, 1863, he was ordered to proceed to Port Royal, South Carolina. By the end of June 1863, he was attached to the U.S. Storeship Vermont and was appointed Acting 2 nd Assistant Engineer on June 1, 1864. He continued to serve on the Vermont until August 18, 1864. Geer was then ordered to the USS Philadelphia and remained with the ship until he was detached from the U.S. Navy on August 25, 1865. On December 1, 1865 he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy.
After the Civil War, Geer served as an engineer on several commercial steamships. However, by 1886, he was living in Troy, New York with his family. In that year, Geer was elected Charity Commissioner. He held this post until 1889, holding the position of president of the board for one year. George and Martha Geer had six children: William C. Geer, Gilbert M. Geer, Frank H. Geer, George W. Geer, Martha S. Geer, and Mrs. Charles Sexton. Geer was a member of the John A. Griswold G.A.R. Post (New York GAR Post 338) and was an honorary pallbearer at the funeral of John Ericsson. In 1890, Geer became the superintendent of the Bradley Mines at Stono, South Carolina. Two weeks prior to his death, George Geer was stricken with what was called at the time “swamp fever” and admitted to the St. Francis Xavier infirmary in Charleston, South Carolina. There he died on October 9, 1892. His remains were interred in Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, New York. On January 31, 1924, Martha C. Geer died in Troy, New York.
- Mariner museum