Colonel George Washington Walts, commandant of the Veterans' Home at Yountville, is himself one of the honored old veterans of the great rebellion and has had a most successful business career during the thirty odd years that he has been identified with California and the Pacific coast. He has been honored with a number of positions of varied responsibilities and duties, and since the days of his early manhood when he offered his services to his country he has always been found lyal to trusts of whatever nature reposed in him and to country, city and home.
Colonel Walts was born in Ohio, February 21, 1840, being a son of Jacob and Isabinda (Drake) Walts. His father was a native of Maryland and followed the occupation of farmer, and his mother was born in Virginia.
From teaching in the public schools of Vinton county, Ohio, where he was reared, young Walts at the age of twenty-one entered the Eighteenth Ohio Infantry for three months' service, and upon the regiment's reorganization he re-enlisted for three years, and was appointed principal musician with the pay of lieutenant. He had charge of the regimental band from the time of his first enlistment until regimental bands were abolished. When the band was mustered out of service he volunteered in the same regiment and was made sergeant major, in which capacity he remained in the army until failing health compelled his retirement, after which he was a special agent of the quartermaster's department until the close of the war. His last field service was during the siege, and at the battle of Nashville, Tennessee, where he served as major of the Sixth Regiment in General Donaldson's division.
After the war he engaged in the wholesale merchandise business at Louisville, Kentucky, until 1872, but failing health again required a change of plans, and he disposed of his enterprises in the east and came out to California. His first venture here was the reclamation of the tide lands of the state. After two years of hard work he had succeeded in getting a splendid crop of grain well started on about two thousand acres of this reclaimed land, but in June, before harvesting commenced, the flood destroyed it all, sweeping away levees as well as crops. He next turned his attention to railroading, being employed by the Southern Pacific Railroad until 1883. In that year he entered the service of the Union Pacific as general freight agent of the Pacific coast with office at 1 Montgomery street, San Francisco. Four years later he was chosen arbitrator for the various roads centering at San Francisco, and continued in that office till it was legislated out of existence. In 1891 he was appointed state labor commissioner, which office he held for four years. He had been connected with the Veteran's Home at Yountville as director and treasurer since 1884, and in 1896 he entered upon his present office of commandant of the Home. He is a man of broad and generous mind, and his fine executive ability has well fitted him for the positions he has held during his career, and makes him especially suitable as the incumbent of his present important office. he is a member of the George H. Thomas Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was its commander in 1885.
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