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JUDGE GEORGE F. CHILTON. To become distinguished at the bar requires not only capacity, but also sound judgment and persevering industry. These qualifications are combined in no gentleman at the Shannon County bar to a greater extent than in George F. Chilton. A careful and accurate adviser, and an earnest and conscientious advocate, his success at the bar has been achieved by the improvement of opportunities, by untiring diligence, and by close study and correct judgment of men and motives.
The Chilton family is an old and prominent one in the history of Missouri, for certain members of this family were among the earliest of the early settlers of this State. Truman Chilton, grandfather of our subject, was a native of that grand old State, Virginia, but at an early date he moved to Roane County, Tennessee, and thence to Shannon County, Missouri, in 1837. He was one of the very first to settle here. He had lost his wife in Tennessee, and as his elder brother, Thomas Chilton, had already settled in Shannon County, Missouri, he came on and made his home with him until 1841. He and his brother and a cousin served in the War of 1812. Stockraising and farming were their principal occupations, and Truman Chilton followed these until his death in 1843, when sixty-three years of age. His son, Thomas T. Chilton, was a native of Virginia, and was but a child when his father moved to Roane County, Tennessee There he grew to mature years, and there he was married to Miss Sophia Larew, a native of east Tennessee. In 1841 he and his wife started West and located in Shannon County, Missouri, on Current River, near Old Eminence, when there were a very few people scattered along the river and on some of the creeks. From that time until his death Truman Chilton made his home with his son. Thomas T. Chilton bought a small farm, commenced clearing and improving, and soon became the owner of a good home. He died February 1, 1861, when sixty-one years of age. He was circuit and county clerk for a number of years, and held other prominent positions. In politics he was a Whig. His wife died in 1874, when sixty-seven years of age. She was an earnest member of the Methodist Church.
Born to their marriage were five children, of whom our subject was the eldest. He and his brother James, who resides in Washington State, are the only ones now living. George F. Chilton was born in Roane County, Tennessee, February 1, 1836, and during his youth he received but very little schooling, his education being acquired mostly at home and by practical experience with the world. When twenty-one years of age he started out in the footsteps of his ancestors and engaged in agricultural pursuits in Spring Valley, Shannon County. There he cleared up a farm, and in 1860 he was elected sheriff and collector, a position he held until November, 1861. From that time until 1884 he cultivated the soil in Spring Valley, and became the owner of a number of farms on Current River and near Eminence. In the fall of 1866 he was appointed sheriff, reelected to that position in 1868, and in 1870 he was elected to represent Shannon County in the Legislature, holding that position four sessions. In 1878 he was again elected sheriff and collector, and reelected in 1880. In the year 1890 he was elected county and probate judge, and has held that office since. Previous to this, in 1888, he was elected prosecuting attorney and held that position two years. The success and honor which have attended his walk through life are due to his own good qualities of heart and head, and his career is worthy the emulation of all who would make a mark in life, and leave behind him footprints on the sands of time. Mr. Chilton studied law at home, was admitted to the bar in 1874, and has been in the practice ever since. On the 6th of November, 1856, he was married to Miss Mary McCormic, a native of Shannon County, and the daughter of James McCormic, who was a pioneer settler of this county. Seven children were born to this union, two sons and five daughters. Mr. and Mrs. Chilton are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and he is an elder in the same. Socially he is a Mason, a member of Winona Lodge, and he is also an Odd Fellow. Politically he is a stanch Democrat.