Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
GEORGE K. BIRGE is, at the time
of this writing, chief executive of the city of Davenport. He has
discharged the duties of this important office in a becoming manner, with
credit to himself and to the satisfaction of his constituents. Mr.
Birge is a fine type of the successful men who have gained that position
in life entirely through their own efforts and wisdom.
George K. Birge was born in Geneseo, New York,
on August 22, 1862, being the son of William H. and Amy K. (Kellogg) Birge,
natives of Connecticut and New York, respectively. The father died
in 1875, but the mother is still residing in the old home place.
They were the parents of four children, Annie E., George K., Edward W.,
and Francis M. The mother is a descendant of the historic Cotton
Mather. After completing a thorough course in the state normal at
Geneseo, our subject entered a mercantile establishment and then learned
the jewelry business. After that he came west to Pomeroy, Washington,
and embarked in the cattle business which he followed for three years.
Later, we find him in the Big Bend country handling stock, then he was
at Sprague, and finally moved to Davenport, where he has lived ever since.
Upon arriving in Davenport, Mr. Birge opened a jewelry shop, which is the
oldest of this kind in town. He was at the bottom round of the ladder
when he started in business here and has steadily been gaining ground until
he is one of the prosperous business men of Lincoln county. He has
a fine patronage, carries a large stock of well-selected goods and does
business in the same building with the Big Bend drug store. Mr. Birge
owns property in Davenport and elsewhere.
In 1892 occurred the marriage of Mr. Birge
and Miss Minnie Bonneywell and to them five children have been born, Edward
W., Alfred W., Frances, Henry, and G. Livingston. Mrs. Birge's parents,
William and Sarah (Brenchley) Bonneywell, are natives of England.
They came to Walla Walla, Washington, and in 1889 moved to Lincoln county,
where they now reside. In political matters, Mr. Birge is associated
with the Democratic party and takes a keen interest in the campaigns.
In 1897 he was elected justice of the peace and served two terms.
In 1891 he was chosen mayor of Davenport and still holds this office.
Fraternally, he is affiliated with the I.
O. O. O. F., the A. O. U. W., the W. W., the K. O. T. M. and the A. F.
& A. M. Mr. Birge has gone through all the chairs of the A. O.
U. W. and has been through the Grand Lodge. He is very popular in
fraternal circles and has hosts of friends, being a genial and upright
man. Mrs. Birge belongs to the Women of Woodcraft, the D. A. and
the F. A. She is also a member of the Methodist church.
Mr. Birge has experienced much of the hardship
and deprivation incident to pioneer life and the memorable winter of 1890-91
was one of the worst he remembers. The settlers named that the "Double
Winter." He owned a band of cattle and feed became scarce, then snow
fell to the depth of three feet and the cold was intense. Mr. Birge
was dwelling in a tent and his food was coffee and frozen bread.
His suffering was great, but his own words express what to him seemed worse:
"It now seems the hardest part was to witness the sufferings of the animals
as they piteouly called to me for the food and care I was unable to give