George was the fourth of six children born to William Pierce Payne (Aug. 26, 1797 – May 27, 1880) by his second wife, Susan Berry Grymes Bayly Payne (May 7, 1811 – Nov. 8, 1862), of Virginia, daughter of William P. Bayly and Mary L. of, ‘Woodstock,” the Bayly estate.

William Pierce himself was a native of Mason County, Kentucky. On June 20, 1819, he had married Lucinda Ivy Payne (Sept. 2, 1802 – Apr. 1, 1835), daughter of William R. Payne. Their eight children were Betsy C., Edwin D., William R., Benjamin T., Tully R., John, Hugh B., and an infant who died a week before his mother Lucinda’s own demise. George’s five siblings- all but one of whom died early- were Mary Elizabeth Pierce (b. Aug. 13, 1836), who married Beauford Martin in 1858 and, later, Jesse Reno, having no issue from either marriage. Mrs. Reno or “Aunt Molly” was living in Central City, Kentucky, as of 1887; Marcus Pierce, 1839 – 1840; Hugh Brent, 1845-46; Henry Pierce, 1852-54; and Sarah Maria, 1853-54.

A favorite anecdote from the Old Dominion Payne family mythopoeia {& nonetheless authentic} was this one that George (namesake for ours) would pass along to his progeny: “Granddad, Col. William Payne, Jr., once knocked down George Washington in a quarrel they had at Alexandria, Virginia, before the Revolution. Later, Washington, then a colonel, admitted that he had been wrong, and the two became fast friends. Col. Payne was a pallbearer at Washington’s funeral.” William P’s merchandising work-life and one-time postmastership at Flat Fork had taken him as far afield as Nashville, until his return to Bowling Green in 1863.

George acquired a common school education, mastering the old three-R’s by his thirteenth birthday. By then, his native Kentucky, severely rent by divided loyalties, was plunged into the dark plague of the South against the North. The Paynes having been for generations Virginians,

George knew which side had the greater claim on him. Succumbing to an insuperable patriotic urging, “late in ’61” he achieved his enlistment and was assigned to Capt. John Marshall’s Company I, Fourth Kentucky Cavalry.

Some eight months later or about his fourteenth birthday, George was transferred to become a courier for Gen. John C. Breckenridge. George was with one of his idols, John Hunt Morgan, on the famous, often breath-taking Raid through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio in July 1863 and avoided being among numerous casualties of that whirlwind.


Pvt. Payne was with Morgan and did himself get wounded when that popular cavalier was slain at Greeneville, Tennessee. Never a prisoner, the youthful Payne fought until May 1865 when at Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, he took the oath of allegiance. He was then almost seventeen, a veteran of nearly forty-three months of C.S.A. service.

In 1866, at eighteen, George, curious about the Great Plains, visited Shawnee County and Topeka, Kansas. Finding that western flavor to his liking, he stayed on for nearly two years, vowing he’d someday live there for good. But in 1868, missing his folks and Kentucky, he returned home, where the next year he joined the Masons.

On Sept. 23, 1869, in his native Bowling Green, George, 21, married Miss Emily Victoria Fox Fleenor (b. July 22, 1843, near Abingdon, Virginia), daughter of Abram and Mary Fleenor. Their five children were Mary E., John B., George P_, Virginia S_, and Thaddeus D. 3

In 1881, George became a Knight Templar. Between this, the Masons, conducting a real estate and an insurance business, and, with Emily, raising their family, he led a full program in Bowling Green all during 1870 – 1888. Also, their place provided his father a retreat until he “got done” in 1880; George B. Payne was a prime mover among those instrumental in erecting one of the earliest monuments anywhere to Confederate dead – this one, at Bowling Green, Kentucky. He started the subscription and helped organize the Warren County Monumental Association. Present at its dedication on May 3, 1876, he would be given credit in an August 1898 article (p. 373) in Confederate Veteran.

In 1888, Mr. Payne moved to North Topeka, where he became a prominent real estate dealer. Col. Ben Payne, his half-brother, who also lived in Topeka, until his death in 1897, may have been another incentive for the move to Kansas. In July 1898, G. B. P. and his local ex-C.S.A. comrades were invited to a joint fellowship by Topeka’s Lincoln Post 1, G.A.R. That evening Payne, UC.V, gave a reconciliatory address whose tenor was courage, frankness, kindliness, stressing their common brotherhood:

We will strive to realize the glorious vision of our sires–a free country of SOVEREIGN States so strong that all will respect it, so just that all will obey it, so free that all will love it; a country where to do right is the whole compulsion, to prevent wrong the sole restraint; where fealty is, through love and obedience, an act of the heart. We, my Confederate comrades, stand not in the way of the realization of this bright future. Let the curse of the patriot fall upon those who do. I have spoken with that frankness which I believe to be the convictions of my ex-Confederate comrades and the comrades of Lincoln Post, and what my own sense of duty seems to require of me. I have spoken as an American citizen, claiming all the privileges and willing to perform all the duties belonging to that great title. Conscious of a patriotism which embraces the entire country, I have avoided enkindling dormant or bitter memories.

From 1900 on, Mr. Payne lived alone in rooms at Topeka’s Keith Building not far from one of his children. Sick with pneumonia his last five days and only fifty-six, he died at Keith Hospital. Among his mourners was his widow, of Fort Worth, Texas. Their children were then living in Fort Worth, St. Louis and Topeka. His private funeral was held at the 522 Topeka Avenue home of his sister-in-law, Mrs. Anna Payne. Rev. A. Scott Bledsoe officiated and interment was made in the Topeka Cemetery.

George Bayly Payne enlisted in the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry Confederate Army while only 13 years old. Later he was transferred to become a courier for Gen. John C. Breckenridge. (Courtesy photo)

A portrait of Payne in his later years. He was only 56 years old when he passed away. (Courtesy photo)

Payne’s final resting place can be found in Topeka Cemetery, Topeka, Kansas. (Courtesy photo)

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