George W. Abell’s father was John S. Abell (d. 1859), a Baptist minister. George’s mother, Lydia, died 1872. George was born in Albemarle County, VA. As a child, he attended a local country school, and later a classical school in Charlottesville. He attended the University of Virginia in sessions 16-18 (1839-1842), graduating in all subjects except the school of chemistry.
In 1845, George W. Abell married Mary Ann Nalley (1825-1892) of Nelson County, VA, and the couple had the following children: John Dennis, Lydia Ann (d. young), Clara May, Eliza (d. young), Sallie Gop, Willie Ann, George C., and Jane V. Abell. (1870 U.S. Census; Ainslie)
George originally intended to become a Baptist minister, but in his early twenties heard a sermon by a minister of the Disciples of Christ, and joined that congregation. In 1849 he was elected State Evangelist of the Disciples, and traveled extensively throughout Virginia and the Southeast, evangelizing and baptizing. During the Civil War he ministered to the soldiers. In the last year of his life, Abell moved to Tennessee. He died of pneumonia at Murfreesboro, TN, and is buried in the Snowville Cemetery, Snowville, VA, with his wife and his son John.
- Abell tombstones, in Snowville Cemetery, Snowville, VA. Findagrave.com (accessed 6/16/12).
- Ainslie, Peter. Life and writings of George W. Abell. Richmond, VA, 1875.
- Hodge, Frederick Arthur. The Plea and the Pioneers in Virginia. Richmond, VA, 1905, p. 163-172. <http://archive.org/details/pleapioneersinvi00hodg>
- “United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MFG5-M77 : accessed 17 June 2012), George W Abel in household of George W Abel, Virginia, United States.
- “Virginia, Births and Christenings, 1853-1917,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XT4N-647 : accessed 17 June 2012), George W. Abell in entry for Sallie Gop Abell, 1856.
- “Virginia, Deaths and Burials, 1853-1912,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X5BT-D4X : accessed 17 June 2012), George W. Abell, 1818.
- “Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XRZT-99Z : accessed 17 June 2012), George W. Abell, 1845.