Biography of Wilbur F. George
Wilbur F. George. With the exception of a short time spent in travel, Wilbur F. George had been a resident of Kansas since 1870, and during this time had been commensurately rewarded by the results which inevitably follow in the wake of industry, energy and careful management. Like many of his fellow agriculturists who have won success, he entered upon his career an a poor man, and whatever of success had come to him–and it is not inconsiderable–has beon attained solely through the medium of his own strength of purpose and hard labor.
Mr. George, who is now a resident of Menoken Township, where he owned a fincly cultivated farm in section 12, township 14, range 11, was born on a farm near Decatur, Illinois, October 8, 1860, one of eleven children born to John W. and Mary Ann (Wilson) George, both natives of Illinois. Little is known of the family of Mrs. George, as she died when her son Wilbur F. was a small child. His father, with two sons, Miles W. and Waits M. George, fought as soldiers of the Union during the Civil war, being attached to Illinois volunteer regiments, and John W. George was captured in battle and confined in Andersonville Prison. When he was finally released from that awful atockade and allowed to return to his home, he was a veritable skeleton, weighing but sixty pounds, whereas, when he had entered the service, he was a man of sound if not rebust build. In Illinois he had been a farmer, and, with the desire of securing farms for his sone, as well as the pure air and clean surroundings of country life, he decided, in 1870, to come to Kansas. The younger children he took with him on the train as far as Waterville, Kansas, where they were subsequently joined by the older boys, who had seven wagons in charge and had traveled overland. From Waterville the little party pushed on into Jewell County, settling on White Rock Creek, where the father and the five elder sons each secured a tract of 160 acres of bottom land. In the first year they lived in dug-outs, but in the following spring all erected log cabins and broke the land from the prairie. The first crop was fairly good, at least large enough to clear a trifle on, and the father and sons continued to have good luck until 1874, when the grasshoppers came and stripped the land clean of all crops. This, of course, was a severe set-back, but the Georges were made of stern stuff, and did not allow themselves to become discouraged as many others did. John W. George in time became a leading citizen of his community. He was appointed by the United States Government to handle the aid sent to the people of this locality, and won the unquestioned confidence of the people, who later elected him probate judge for four years and representative in the Kansas Legislature for two years. He was defeated for re-election, and then became manager for six mail lines in the West, by horse and stage, of which he had charge at the time of his death, in 1881. He was an honest, Godfearing man, who took a leading and active part in church work, contributing of his time and means to the promotion of worthy enterprises and helping in the building of educational institutions. He was likewise a prohibitionist, although not as a party man, for his political support was given to the men and principles of the republican organization. Fraternally, he was an Odd Fellow, passed through all the chairs of that order, and helped to build the lodge hall at Jewell. He also was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and never lost his interest in the old comrades who had fought by his side as the wearers of the Blue.
Wilbur F. George attended school in the country districts and remained on his father’s farm in Jewell County until 1880, in which year he took a trip through Colorado and California. He decided that Kansas was better suited to his liking and accordingly returned to Jewell County, where, at Jewell, he was married March 12, 1883, to Miss Ida C. Pence, a native of Iowa, and a daughter of Lyman and Mary L. Pence. Her father was engaged in farming in Iowa until the Civil war came on, when he enlisted as a soldier in the Union army, and met a soldier’s death on the field of battle. To Mr. and Mrs. George there were born six children, as follows: Milo, a farmer near Dover, Kansas; Olga, who is now a resident of Chicago; Lois, who is the wife of Herman Whiteman; Lindon, who lives with his parents; Fairy, now Mrs. John Frey, of Menoken Township; and Wilbur F., Jr., at home.
After his marriage, Mr. George purchased, forty acres of land near Jewell, where he carried on general farming, and also rented 120 acres. Thus he continued for four years, when he purchased an elevator at Jewell and engaged in grain buying and stock shipping for five years, but, although he made a success of this venture, sold out and moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, where he followed the fruit business for a year. Kansas again called him, and he settled in Riley County, where he rented land while he sent his eldest daughter, Olga, to school at Manhattan and the younger children to the local schools. There Mr. George remained for some four years, when he disposed of his interests and came to Shawnee County, which community had continued to be his home to the present time. He purchased his present property, a tract of 160 acres of highly cultivated land lying in Menoken Township, in 1909, and now carries on general farming and feeds stock. Mr. George is a man of excellent business judgment and foresight, a practical agriculturist, resourceful and energetic. He is modern in his ideas, and the improvements on his farm, most of which have been made by him, are attractive and thoroughly up-to-date, adding at once to the material value and attractiveness of his farm.
Politically, Mr. George is a democrat, on which ticket he had been elected to several offices, including that of township trustee. He had been a prime mover in securing a betterment of conditions in his community. Fraternally, Mr. George belongs to Philip Stucke Lodge, Modern Woodmen of America, at Jewell City, in which he had held all the offices, and in the work of which he had taken an energetic part. He and Mrs. George are members of the Christian Church, and were liberal donators in the building of the church in this locality. Both have been friends of the cause of education. Mr. George attributes a large share of his success to the efforts and co-operation of his worthy wife, who had encouraged him in his every undertaking and who had aided him in the acquiring of his present comfortable home and good standing in the community.