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09 September 2016

Benjamin Michael was a Member of the Largest Jewish Service Organization in the World

100_4428Benjamin Michael was born in Prussia 15 September 1834.  He immigrated to the United States about 1848 and became a naturalized citizen.  Possibly around 1862 is when Benjamin married Hannah.  She too, was an immigrant from Europe.  The couple had four children:  Isaac, Theresa, Estella, and Joseph.

On 20 July 1861, Benjamin Michael enlisted as a private in Company G, 16th Georgia Infantry.  He was transferred to Company C, 18th Georgia Infantry a couple of months later.  The rest of 1861 and 1862 appears to have gone as "normal" as possible for this Confederate soldier.  The summer of 1863, however, brought with it the dreaded disease of scurvy (or, Scorbutus).  Benjamin battled the disease in Virginia hospitals for a couple of months before returning to duty the middle of September.  The next summer (1864), Benjamin was captured at Mine Run, Virginia and made a prisoner of war.  He was sent to Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island.  He would spend 7 to 10 months there, before being exchanged in March of 1865.  Benjamin was captured again two months later in Athens, Georgia (on his way home?), but was quickly paroled. [Sources include Confederate Service File at Fold3.]

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By 1880, Benjamin was working as a drayman in Bibb County, Georgia.  By 1900, he was a retired grocery merchant.

I think Benjamin was proud of his military service, but I'm more confident he was proud of his Jewish heritage and faith.  When he died 8 May 1908, such was alluded to in his obituary located in the 9 May 1908 issue of the Macon Telegraph [via GenealogyBank]:

Deaths and Funerals: MICHAEL
After a long illness, Mr. Benjamin Michael died yesterday at his residence, 367 Walnut street.

Mr. Michael was 72 years of age.  He was an old citizen of Macon, and was beloved by those who knew him for his many sterling qualities.  He made a good soldier during the Civil War, being a member of the Eighteenth Georgia Regiment.  He was a member of Macon Lodge F. A. M., of Malachi Lodge I. O. B. B. and of the Order B'Rith.

At the meeting of Camp Macon, held last night, action was taken as to his death, and his old comrades of the camp will follow his remains to the grave at the funeral, which takes place tomorrow afternoon at 3 o'clock from his late residence.  Rev. Harry Weiss will officiate.

Mr. Michael is survived by two sons, Joseph and Isaac, and two daughters, Mrs. L. Green and Theresa Michael, and his wife.

The Independent Order of B'nai B'rith is the oldest Jewish service organization in the world, per Wikipedia.  It was founded in 1843.  See http://www.bnaibrith.org/.

Benjamin rests in the William Wolff Cemetery section of Rose Hill.  This section was purchased by Mr. Wolff in 1879 for the Temple Beth Israel congregation when it had become clear the "old" Hebrew site was filled.

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