George H. Wark, who has been in the practice of law at Caney for the past thirteen years, and in the fall of 1916 was elected a member of the State Senate, is a native of Montgomery County, where his father established a home about the time the Indians moved out of the country into Indian Territory.
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The substantial ancestry of which he is a representative was from Scotland and was transplanted to the American colonies, living in New York State and afterwards in Pennsylvania. Grandfather William Wark was born in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, in 1808. In his early years he became a settler in Stark County, Ohio, and from there moved to Indiana. He was a farmer and died in Owen County, Indiana, in 1863. His wife, Margaret Sweeney, was born in Ohio. Of their marriage there are three children still living: Sampel, a retired farmer in Washington state; Luther, who was a pioneer homesteader in Thomas County, Kansas, where he is now a stockman and farmer; and Lizzie, wife of Lonis Norman, a wagonmaker at Emporia, Kansas. Of those now deceased besides the father of Senator Wark: George, who died at Spencer, Indiana, in 1915, was a lawyer; Aaron and John were farmers; Margaret, who died in Brazil, Indiana, in 1914, married Mr. Travis, a merchant, who is also deceased.
George H. Wark was born on a farm near Liberty, Montgomery County, Kansas, December 19, 1878. His father, Emanuel M. Wark, was born near Canton, Ohio, in 1842 and was twelve years of age when his parents in 1854 moved to Owen County, Indiana. He was reared there and in 1862 enlisted from Owen County in the Sixth Indiana Cavalry. He served over three years until the close of hostilities. In the Army of the Cumberland he fought at Chattanooga, through the Atlanta campaign and the battles around Atlanta, and was then sent with General Thomas’ army into Tennessee, completing his army service in the conquest of the Mississippi Valley and in the battles of Nashville and Franklin. He was in nearly every engagement in which his regiment was engaged. With the close of the war he returned to Indiana, where he married, and lived as a farmer in Owen Connty until 1868. He then removed to the vicinity of Sterling, Whiteside County, Illinois, but in the spring of 1870 arrived in Southeastern Kansas and was among the very first to locate permanently in Montgomery County. Just before he arrived the Osage Treaty had been consummated, but the lands had not yet been officially surveyed by the Government. E. M. Wark came to Kansas in typical pioneer type. He drove a prairie schooner and in establishing his home contended with all the usual hardships that the old-time Kansas farmer had to meet. The old homestead is situated three miles west of Liberty. The late E. M. Wark, who died at Independence June 24, 1915, was a republican, was a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and for a number of years was active in politics. His widow, who is still living at Independence, was Lydia Long before her marriage, and was born in Owen County, Indiana, in 1846. Her children are May, wife of T. W. Hurst, in the milling business at Yates Center, Kansas; George H.; Marien E., wife of E. J. Jones, a farmer and stockman near Independence; and Neleah, who lives with her mother and is a stenographer and bookkeeper.
George H. Wark grew up in Montgomery County on the old farm, attended the district schools, and in 1900 graduated as a member of the first class to complete the course in the Montgomery County High School at Independence. From high school he entered the University of Kansas, and from that institution took his degree LL. B. in 1903. Mr. Wark is a member of the Phi Delta Phi honorary Greek letter fraternity.
In October, 1903, a few months after leaving law school, he established his office at Caney, and since then has been making a name and reputation for himself as an able lawyer, both in the civil and criminal branches of practice. Being so close to the Oklahoma line he has handled much litigation in Oklahoma as well as in Kansas. His offices are in the Porter Building, and he resides at the Palace Hotel.
Mr. Wark owns some land in Oklahoma and some real estate at Caney, but has made his profession less a means for accumulating money than for rendering service to his fellow men. He has served as president of the Montgomery County Bar Association, and was the first member of the Alumni Association of the Montgomery County High School to be elected a member of its board of trustees. For the past eight years he has been city attorney of Caney, and has also held a commission in the Kansas National Guard, being first lieutenant of the company from Caney. Very recently he has been commissioned captain in command of Company D, Third Infantry, Kansas National Guard. He entered the field of state politics in 1916, when he became a candidate for the State Senate to represent the Twelth Senatorial District. He is an active republican, is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and is a prominent fraternity man, being affiliated with Caney Lodge No. 324, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Caney Chapter No. 90, Royal Arch Masons; Coffeyville Commandery, Knights Templar; Mirzah Temple of the Mystic Shrine; the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Lodge No. 160, Ancient Order of United Workmen; Camp No. 941, Modern Woodmen of America, and is exalted ruler of Lodge No. 1215, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, all at Caney. He is a member of the Havana Country Club and belongs to the Kansas Historical Society.