GEORGE S. BROOKE. – This gentleman is the cashier of the First National Bank of Sprague, and is also a director and one of the largest shareholders.
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Mr. Brooke comes of cavalier stock. On his father’s side, he is a descendant of the Brookes of Maryland. In the year 1650, Robert Brooke, of England, having brought out a colony consisting of his wife, ten children and servants, forty persons in all, settled on the east shore of the Patuxent river. The settlement was called De La Brooke. The founder had a patent direct from Lord Baltimore. He was a member of the privy council and subsequently governor of Maryland. One of his representatives, through a female line, was Roger Brooke Taney, Chief Justice of the United States.
On his mother’s side, Mr. Brooke is a descendant of a well-known Virginia family, the Williams of Culpepper. This family is descended from Pierre Williams, a sergeant-at-law of London. Mr. Brooke’s father, who is still living, is an Episcopal clergyman. In 1850, he with his wife moved from Virginia to Dubuque, Iowa, where the subject of this sketch was born on the 12th of February, 1855. He graduated with honors from Griswold College at Davenport, Iowa, in 1872, being awarded the Latin salutatory, although the youngest member of the class. Shortly afterwards he entered the office of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Minnesota Railroad at Cedar Rapids. Here he remained for two years, when, getting the western fever, he started with all his worldly possessions, consisting of about one hundred dollars, for Oregon, where he arrived, via San Francisco, in 1874, landing at Portland, then a place of about ten thousand inhabitants. Entering the counting-room of the well-known wholesale grocery and commission house of Allen & Lewis in the following September, he remained for four years, filling the responsible position of book-keeper and cashier. In November, 1878, he accepted a position with the Oregon Steam Navigation Company, and was the general passenger agent of this company at the time of its sale to Villard in 1880.
In May, 1882, he went to Sprague and associated himself with Mr. H.W. Fairweather in the banking business under the firm name of Fairweather & Brooke. In the fall of that year he was nominated by the Democratic party as joint representative for Spokane and Stevens counties to the territorial legislature; but, being at that time a comparative stranger and not making any canvass, he was defeated by two hundred votes out of the two thousand polled. He has always regarded this as a rather fortunate result. Mr. Brooke was the first mayor of Sprague upon its incorporation in the fall of 1883. He has been chairman of the board of directors of the public schools during the past three years, and has recently been elected president of the newly organized board of trade of Sprague. He was married in 1882 to Miss Julia Hill, of Connecticut, and is the father of two children, a boy and a girl.