HON. GEORGE J. CASTLE, who is intimately associated with the prosperity of this section of the State as one of the most active and progressive members of the Macoupin County Board of Agriculture, of which he is secretary, and who has been otherwise identified with the business interests of the county in former years, was a gallant officer in the late war, in which he won a distinguished reputation for high military qualities. Since taking up his residence here, he has held several important civic offices, and has proved a valuable acquisition to the citizenship not only of Carlinville, where he has his present home as Postmaster at this city, but to the county at large.
Mr. Castle is of New England birth and antecedents, born at Watertown, Litchfield County, Ct., March 22, 1839. His father, John Castle and his grandfather, Isaac Castle, were natives of that State. The latter was a machinist and followed his calling many years, the last part of his life being spent at Waterbury.
The father of our subject was reared amid the pleasant surroundings of his native State. For a number of years he was prosperously engaged in farming, but the closing years of his life were passed in retirement at Waterbury, Conn., where he died in 1852. The maiden name of his wife was Clarinda Welton. She was born in Litchfield County, Conn., and was a daughter of Jonathan Welton. She married a second time, becoming the wife of Samuel Holt, and now resides at New Haven, Conn.
He of whom this biography is written was the only son of his parents, and he was thirteen years old when he had the misfortune to lose his father. He obtained a practical education in the public schools of Connecticut, which he attended until he was fourteen years old. He then came to Illinois with his uncle, Capt. Samuel Welton, and resided with him in Carlinville Township, assisting on the farm until 1859, when he returned to the East, and ambitious to extend his education, he attended school at Watertown. He devoted himself assiduously to his books until 1861, making rapid progress in his studies. The great civil strife between the North and the South broke out, and he watched its course with intense interest, and in the opening years of a promising manhood, animated by the noble and self-sacrificing patriotism that characterized both the old and the young men of that day, he enlisted in the service of his country, his name being enrolled as a member of Co. D., 1st Connecticut Squadron, in August, 1861. His company was mustered in the same month at Hartford, Conn., and was immediately attached to the Second New York Cavalry, to which our subject belonged until May, 1863. He was then promoted to the position of Second Lieutenant, and was transferred to the Thirteenth New York Cavalry. He was subsequently made First Lieutenant of his company, and later was commissioned its Captain, and commanded the company the last twelve months of his service.
Our subject distinguished himself in various encounters with the enemy, and won his spurs on many a hard fought battlefield, where he gave ample proof of intrepidity, cool daring and devotion to the cause of the Union, seconded by that as a leader and quick wit and sagacity in case of emergencies. He was serving under Gen. Kilpatrick during Stoneman's raid, and it was his regiment that got inside the works around Richmond, captured a few prisoners, including some rebel officers, and dated their paroles from that city. Captain Castle was with the advanced corps at the battle of Falmouth, his regiment being the first to cross the river into Fredericksburg, and it guarded the rear of Pope's army during the retreat from Rapidan to Fairfax Court House. He was with Sheridan in his campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, and took an active part in the battle of Winchester, January 11, 1865, the captain resigned his commission and bade farewell to military life on account of disability.
Our subject returned to Connecticut after he left the army, and then came once again to Carlinville. He gave his attention to farming until 1873, and then engaged in the livery business which he conducted until 1890. In February of that year he was appointed Postmaster, and has ever since been at the head of the post office in this city. He is managing the affairs entrusted to his care, methodically, promptly, and in a businesslike manner, so as to satisfy all concerned, and his courtesy and geniality render him very popular. He has held other prominent positions, and in every case has displayed that true public spirit that seeks to promote the highest welfare of the country regardless of personal aggrandizement. He was a member of the Board of Aldermen, of Carlinville, from the First Ward one term, and in 1878 he was elected Mayor of the city. In that capacity he used his influence to forward all schemes for the benefit of the public, and gave hearty support to all measures calculated to promote the growth of the municipality.
In 1884 Mr. Castle was elected to the State Legislature, and he took an active part in that memorable contest that lasted from January until May, and terminated in the election of John A. Logan to the United States Senate, he standing firmly by the General from first to last. Politically, the Republican party has always found in him a stanch adherent since he cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln. He has been identified with the Macoupin County Board of Agriculture for many years, has served it as Director and President, and for six years he has been Secretary of the board, that owes much to his zeal in its behalf. Socially, he is a member of the Dan Messick Post, No. 339, G.A.R.; of Mt. Nebo Lodge, No. 76, A. F. & A. M.; of Orient Lodge, No. 95, K. P.; of Silver Lodge, No. 325, K. Of H.; and of Carlinville Camp. No. 125, M. W. A.
The marriage of our subject September 8, 1868, with Miss Emma B. Fishback, a native of Alabama, and a daughter of William H. And Margaret Fishback, has been one of mutual happiness. They have three children living - William H., Louisa R. and George J. Their youngest child, Clara Belle, died at the age of seven years.