|George Washington Torbert|
| 1632 series |
POD: May, 1631
|Appearance(s):||Grantville Gazette XVII|
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Nationality:||United States of Europe (formerly United States)|
|Date of Birth:||1932|
|Spouse:||Marie Arendt (second wife)|
|Children:||William George Torbert (left up-time)|
|Relatives:||J.B. Torbert (brother), Jewell Torbert (sister)|
George Washington (G.W.) Torbert was a farmer and Korean War veteran who lived on the outskirts of Grantville .
About two decades before the Ring of Fire, a motorcycle gang tried to move into the area near G.W.'s home. The gang leader decided the Torbert farm would make a good headquarters for the gang. They tried to set fire to G.W.'s barn and came around when he was at work and scared his mother and wife. G.W. went to the sheriff (this was long before Dan Frost became police chief) but he had either been bought off or scared off. He said there was nothing he could do and suggested G.W. move. A month later, G.W. was suspected of having stretched a wire across the road to the place the gang was staying at. The gang leader and his bodyguard hit the wire at about sixty miles per hour, and were killed. The coroner's jury ruled the incident was a prank by some kids.
On the day of the Ring of Fire, G.W. was arguing with his sister Jewell about whether she should try to persuade their brother J.B., a drunk, to stay at her home in nearby Fairmont. G.W. was preparing to host a family reunion, and didn't want it to be ruined by an argument. As they were talking, he heard a loud noise and saw a bright flash. After opening his eyes, he saw that his pasture had been replaced by forest and a ridge of earth, and that the tractor he had been working on had been cut in half - and realized that, if his sister hadn't called him away from it, he would have been cut in half.
Shocked by what had just happened, G.W. armed himself with a .45 semi-automatic pistol and went to investigate the other side of the earth wall. After 30 minutes of investigating the area, a thick forest, he encountered a group of four men assaulting two women, next to the body of a young boy. The men were demanding to know where the women's gold was, and to his surprise, they were speaking German. He killed three of the men before the last one panicked and escaped. As he checked on the women, he encountered a group of German refugees who had witnessed the entire event and had seen the Ring of Fire. The unofficial leader of the group Helmut Benz soon introduced himself to G.W., and they were able to communicate in a mix of English and German. G.W. offered to to take Benz and the villagers to his home for shelter.
After settling at the Torbert farm, Benz attempted to explain the situation concerning their sudden evacuation from Count Tilly's men and the news of the Sack of Magdeburg. G.W. had never heard of Tilly, but did have an encyclopedia, and was able to look him up.
The next day, G.W. brought the man killed by the brigands in to be properly buried. With help from Jewell, he learned that the women he saved were Isabel, Marie, and Katherine Arendt. He later learned from Marie that the dead man was their brother Pieter.
He focused his concerns on three German brothers named Schmidt, as he had learned from Benz that the brothers were notorious troublemakers. Because of that, G.W. had them sleeping in the barn, away from the women and children who were sleeping in his house. On the third day, G.W., the Schmidt brothers, and some other men went to survey the Arendts' village, and to bury the dead who hadn't made it out of the village. After digging the graves and carrying out the burials, the group were encountered by Fenton Johnson. G.W. was notified of the situation, including the fact that Grantville had landed in the middle of the Thirty Years' War. They offered to take him to town for safety; however, G.W. decided to stay on his farm, as he pointed out to Fenton that if they were in the Thirty Years' War, no place was safe. After arriving home, he informed the Arendts that they couldn't identify the bodies that they buried. He and Jewell then started to come to terms with the knowledge that they would never see their children or grandchildren again.
The next day, Marie was able to comfort him somewhat by sharing her own experience of having been widowed, after which G.W. commented that even though people suffered, people can have the strength to rebuild their lives and start anew.
G.W. later provided the refugees with help to get their farms going again. On the same day, he met and reunited with his brother J.B., Henry Johnson, and Anse Hatfield. G.W. surprised the group by introducing them to his new friends and family.
On the fifth day, G.W. found the Schmidt brothers in the middle of a robbery that was foiled by his pet Vietnamese pig Maximilian. The brothers were bound and taken to the police before G.W finally wed to Marie at Reverend Simon Jones's Methodist Church.