Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918
GEORGE W. SOUTHERN has been a resident of Manhattan over thirty years and is one of the prominent business men of that city. He is the type of man who never waits for opportunity but goes out and finds it. Everything he has undertaken he has done well, and therefore stands deservedly high in the esteem of his many old-time acquaintances and friends in Riley County.
A native of the City of New York, where he was born March 16, 1866, he is a son of James and Louise (Bridger) Southern. His father was a native of England and of English stock. His mother was born in New York State and her mother was a Rockefeller.
Reared in New York, George W. Southern learned the trade of carriage trimmer. He was still engaged in that line of work when he arrived at Manhattan, Kansas, March 28, 1885. That city has ever since been the scene of his business and home associations. He soon gave up his trade to engage in the oil business, and for six years operated an oil wagon. His next enterprise was the opening of a furniture stock, handling both new and second-hand furniture. In 1898 he and D. C. Hults formed a co-partnership in the furniture and undertaking business. Four years later, on the death of Mr. Hults, Fred Wall bought his interest and became the partner of Mr. Southern. This was a mutually agreeable partnership until 1908, when it was dissolved, Mr. Wall taking the furniture department and Mr. Southern devoting himself thereafter exclusively to undertaking. He is now one of the leading funeral directors in Kansas, and his business has been conducted with gratifying success. He has made it a point to secure the most modern equipment and carries complete stock, and in addition the personal skill and care which he exercises over his business has been perhaps the chief cause of his success. Mr. Southern is generous almost to a fault, is kind and courteous to everyone, and is thorough in his profession and in all business affairs.
For eight years he served on the Kansas State Examining Board for Undertakers, and in 1915 was president of the Kansas State Funeral Directors' Association. Politically he is a democrat, and though reared in the faith of the Episcopal Church now attends with his wife the Christian Science denomination. He is widely known in fraternal circles. He is a Knight Templar Mason, a member of the Mystic Shrine and has attained the eighteenth degree in the Scottish rite. He has also had a prominent part in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Mr. Southern took the initiative in procuring a charter for the Elks Lodge at Manhattan and is its past exalted ruler.
He has been three times married. His first wife was Emma Hope, who died leaving one daughter Alice. Gertrude Tennant, his second wife, died leaving a daughter Ruth. For his present wife Mr. Southern married Cora Berkey. They are the parents of one son, Robert.
Transcribed from volume 4, page 1771 of A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; originally transcribed 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.
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