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GEO. W. KING, M.D. – The early life of Doctor King of Pendleton was made dark by the terrible days of the Rebellion; and the recital of his early efforts to work out the distressful circumstances into which he was thus thrown is full of pathetic interest.
He was born near Glasgow, Howard county, Missouri, November 14, 1844, and when but a boy of five went with his parents to reside near St. Louis, Missouri, where he lived until the spring of 1854, when his father moved to Kansas Territory, then but a prairie wilderness.
He settled on Pottawatomie creek, a few miles above where the town of Ossawatomie now stands, celebrated for once being the home of John Brown. Drought the succeeding summer drove the family back to Missouri; but in 1855 a second attempt was made to live on the prairie of Kansas. The following year was that of the Kansas war, between the Pro-slavery and Freesoil parties; and the father of the subject of this sketch, owning a number of blacks, was compelled to again return to Missouri, to save his slave property. All his other property was left in Kansas, and was at once confiscated by the Free-soilers. Returning in 1859, he settled on land bought form the Miami tribe of Indians, in what is now known as Linn county. He was scarcely well settled before the war of the great Rebellion broke out. His mother died in March, 1861; and his father, after taking his children to relations in Missouri, entered the Confederate army, never to return to his children.
The circumstances of young George became very distressing. Although working for his uncle, he was not provided with clothing; and, upon asking for shoes to protect his feet while feeding stock, he was informed that he had not earned any, and that he had better go and work for them if he needed them. Acting upon this unkind and heartless suggestion of his uncle, the boy, with all his earthly possessions tied up in a handkerchief, bid a sad good-bye to two younger brothers, and started out to find friends among strangers. After walking all day through the slop and snow, and as he saw the sun nearing the tops of the western hills and the shades of night settling down around him, a corresponding gloom settled down upon his young heart, as he realized that he was alone in the world. Tears filled his eyes as he thought of his mother sleeping in a lonely grave in Kansas, and of his father who was in the midst of the perils of war. He prayed to God to guide and direct him – to someone who would give him employment. He remembers with emotion how he soon came upon a tall-roofed tobacco factory in a village, where he obtained work at twenty-five cents a day and board, and reckoned this as an answer to his petitions. It assuredly set him upon his feet financially, and gave him an impetus in the direction of self-support which was invaluable to him in after life.
Entering the United States army two years later, he served to the close of the war, and was mustered out at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in May, 1866. He then returned to Linn county, Missouri, and engaged in farming, but not finding it profitable went the next year to Texas, where he was taken sick, returning to St. Louis in the fall of 1873. He there resolved to educate himself, and entered the primary department of Central College, located at Fayette, Missouri. He attended school here for eighteen months, and engaged in teaching a school in St. Charles county until the spring of 1875, when he came west to California and located a pre-emption claim in Mendocino county. After proving upon his land, he sold it for eight hundred dollars, and finished his collegiate course at the Pacific Methodist College at Santa Rosa. He then came to Oregon in 1878, and followed the profession of schoolteacher until September, 1881, when he returned to the East and took a course in medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Baltimore, Maryland, graduating, however, from the Medical College of Ohio in 1883.
After receiving the degree of M.D., he returned to Oregon, locating at Weston, Umatilla county, where he built up a good practice. Not being satisfied with the location, he sold out his practice for one thousand dollars, and located in Pendleton, the county-seat, building up a large practice. In1885 he was married to Miss Nettie Powell, of East Portland, and now has a delightful home. The success and good fortune of his mature life have made up to him, in a measure, the losses of his early days, leaving gaps, however, that time can never fill.