Prof. George W. Trout, professor of history at the State Manual Training Normal School at Pittsburg, Kansas, was born in Allen County, Kentucky, September 16, 1863, and is a son of Rev. Paton and Amanda (Black) Trout. He belongs to an old and honored family which originated in Ireland, and came to America during the days of the American Colonies, the first forefather in this country settling in Virginia, from whence the family drifted to various parts of the Union.
George Trout, the grandfather of Professor Trout, was born in Sumner County, Tennessee, in 1789, and there spent his entire life on the same farm, dying in 1898. He was a democrat in politics and at one time served as judge of the district which now bears his name. He and his son, George, resided on that farm during the administration of every president of the United States, and the latter still makes his home there. Rev. Paton Trout was born in 1834, in Sumner County, Tennessee, and was reared on a farm, but chose instead the ministry as his vocation and educated himself for this calling. He became a circuit rider in the Methodist Episeopal Church, South, and at one time filled as many as thirty pulpits in a single year, in Allen County, Kentucky, and Sumner County, Tennessee. During the Civil war he enlisted under John Morgan in the Confederate army, but while he consented to fight for the South, would not cross the Mason and Dixon line, and as a result was forced to desert and remain in hiding for several years. In 1882 he came to Kansas and was pastor of churches at Bronson and Fort Scott, but finally retired from active service, and died in 1912, at La Harpe, Kansas. He was a democrat. Reverend Trout married in Allen County, Kentucky, Miss Amanda Black, who was born in 1840, in Sumner County, Tennessee, and died in Allen County, Kansas, in August, 1883, and they became the parents of nine children, namely: Alfred who was a merchant at Odin, Illinois, and died in 1906; Margaret, who married A. J. Myers, a resident of Kansas since 1881 and now a merchant at La Harpe; Josephine, who is the wife of James McGrew, a smelterer at La Harpe; Mary Elizabeth, who died at the age of three years; George W.; Edgar, who is engaged in the butchering business at Odin, Illinois; Mary, who is the wife of William Harry, a dry goods and clothing merchant at Ralston, Oklahoma; Mattie, who is the wife of Thomas Stout, a merchant of Cherryvale, Kansas; and Ina, who is the wife of O. W. Vandergrif, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
In his youth George W. Trout received only an indifferent public school education, as the family was large and he was expected to contribute to its support. He was only fourteen years of age when he began to do a man’s work on the farm, in Marion County, Illinois, thus earning $6 per month. He continued as a farm hand in the fields of Illinois, with gradually increasing wages, until 1882, when he came with the family to Allen County, Kansas, and during the next six years continued to work as a farmer during the summer months. In the winter terms, however, he taught in the country schools, having managed to pick up some education through studying in the hours that were not demanded for farm work, and in 1885 was given a county teacher’s certificate. With his appetite for knowledge only sharpened by what he had secured, Mr. Trout determined to gain a thorough education, and in 1893 entered Ottawa University, from which institution he was graduated in 1899, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Subsequently, he went to Rochester, New York, where for three years he attended a theological seminary, specializing in history and sociology, and in 1902, on his return to Kansas, located at Pittsburg as pastor of the First Baptist Church, a pastorate which he filled for five and one-half years. In 1908 he was offered and accepted the chair of history in the State Manual Normal Training School at Pittsburg, where he has since remained and where he now has two assistant professors.
Professor Trout is now one of the best known educators in the state, was one of the organizers of the Kansas Sociological Association, of which he is a member, and belongs also to the Kansas State Teachers’ Association and the Kansas Historical Association. His political beliefs make him a republican. Fraternally, he belongs to Pittsburg Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America, and to Pittsburg Lodge No. 187, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of which he is past master; Pittsburg Chapter No. 58, Royal Arch Masons, of which he is high priest; Pittsburg Commandery No. 29, Knights Templar, of which he is prelate; Mirzah Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; Zabud Council, of Topeka; and Fort Scott Consistory No. 6, of the thirty-second degree. He also holds membership in the Pittsburg Commercial Club and allied himself with other progressive and public-spirited citizens in advancing movements for the welfare of the city and its people.
Professor Trout was married in 1887, in Allen County, Kansas, to Miss Mary L. Gilbert, daughter of Edward and Mary (Tucker) Gilbert, farming people, the former of whom is now deceased, while the latter is a resident of Kincaid, Kansas. To this union there have been born nine children, as follows: Deva, who died at the age of three years; Ola, who died when three months old; Aiden Camby, born May 5, 1893, a graduate of the academic department of the State Manual Training Normal School, and now a member of the Pittsburg Fire Department; Ruth, born December 28, 1895, who is the wife of James Stillwagh, the proprietor of an ice manufacturing business at Pittsburg, and has one child, Edith Lavon, born January 15, 1915; Anna, born April 4, 1898, who is a freshman at the State Manual Training Normal School; Gilbert, born February 28, 1901, a freshman in the high school department of the State Manual Training Normal School; Ralph, born September 10, 1903, who is in the ninth grade in this school; Harold, born February 7, 1906, also a student; and Mary E., born July 7, 1910. The family home is at No. 305 West Quincy Avenue.