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 WASHINGTON WINGATE. The career of George Washington Wingate, of Liberty, Kansas, is an expression of practical and diversified activity, and in its range has invaded the fields of agriculture, business, finance, education, politics and society, all of which have profited by the breadth and conscientiousness which are characteristic of the man and his work. As a business man he developed several enterprises into paying ventures, as a banker he has made an honorable place for himself, in public life his services have been of exceeding value to his community, and as a member of society he has constantly endeavored to promote movements for the advancement of education, morality and good citizenship.
Mr. Wingate was born in Sussex County, Delaware, August 30, 1861, and is a son of Stansbury Jacob and Annie (Berry) Wingate, and a member of a family which, originating in England, settled in Delaware in colonial days. Stansbury Jacob Wingate was born in 1825, in Delaware, was reared and educated in that state, and was married in Sussex County, Delaware. In young manhood, he learned the trade of wagonmaking, and in following that vocation traveled extensively, gradually following the tide of civilization to the West as each new community became more thickly settled. In February, 1862, not long after the birth of George W. Wingate, he went with his family to Moultrie County, Illinois, subsequently removing to Macon County, in the same state, and locating at Decatur. There he remained until the spring of 1870, when he went to Illiopolis, Illinois, that community being his home for three years or until his removal to Berry Station, Christian County, Illinois, a community in which he resided and worked at his trade for two years. His next stop was at Edinburg, Illinois, and in the spring of 1875 he gave up his trade as a regular vocation and located on a farm in Christian County, which he cultivated during the years 1875 and 1876. On January 19, 1877, he arrived at Independence, Kansas, and in the following February moved on to Liberty Township, Montgomery County, where he located on a farm. Thus located on a good farm, in a fertile section of the state, he gave up his roving and settled down to hard work in cultivating his fields. He became, through industry and perseverance and the well-directed use of his natural talents, one of the substantial men of his community, and well deserved the respect in which he was held by his fellow citizens. His death occurred on his farm April 10, 1895, when his community lost one of its good citizens. He was a democrat in political belief, a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and an active worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he served as deacon. By his first marriage, to a Miss Adams, he had one son: Charles H., who adopted the trade of miller and followed that vocation until his death at Chicago, Illinois, in 1893. Mr. Wingate was married second to Annie Berry, who was born in Delaware in 1838, and died in Liberty Township, in April, 1894. They had five children, as follows: W. B., who was for many years engaged in the hotel business and died at Coffeyville, Kansas, in February, 1908; George Washington, of this review; Isaac, who died in infancy, at Decatur, Illinois; Alice, who is the wife of W. R. Phillips, a farmer of Alberta, Canada; and C. H., who is engaged in farming in the same locality.
George W. Wingate began his education in the schools of Illinois, attending the district schools in the various communities in which the family lived. He completed his training in Montgomery County, Kansas, and here came to man's estate on his father's farm. Shortly after attaining his majority, in 1883, he engaged in farming on his own account, continuing to be engaged therein until the spring of 1889, his operations being centered in Montgomery County. At the time mentioned he turned his attention to buying and shipping stock, a business which he followed successfully at Liberty for one year and at Cherryvale for two years, and at the end of that time went to Coffeyville, where he engaged in the hotel and restaurant business. This enterprise he conducted for two years and then returned to the homestead to care for his aged parents in their declining years, remaining with them and looking after their every want as long as they lived. In 1901 Mr. Wingate had his first experience in mercantile affairs when he assumed by purchase the ownership of the hardware and implement business formerly owned by William Heckman, at Liberty. Here, as elsewhere, he made a success, conducting the business for a period of eleven years and then selling out. In the spring of 1912 he rounded and closed up his business connections.
In February, 1913, Postmaster W. P. Livingston died and in the following May Mr. Wingate was appointed under the civil service laws to fill the vacancy and since that time has been faithfully and capably discharging the duties of that office, giving the people of Liberty and the surrounding community an excellent mail service. In addition he is serving as city clerk of Liberty, another office in which he is displaying executive ability of a high order. In fact, a large part of Mr. Wingate's time in recent years has been devoted to the public service, for he was a member of the school board for fifteen years, a justice of the peace for six years and mayor for one term. Politically, he is a democrat. Mr. Wingate was one of the chief promoters and organizers of the State Bank of Liberty, which was organized in 1904, and of which he is assistant cashier and a director, having missed but one directors' meeting from the time of the bank's inception. His foresight and judgment as a business man have been very valuable in the development of this organization and in putting it in a substantial place in public confidence and financial reputation. In addition to his residence on Fourth Street, Liberty, Mr. Wingate is the owner of a three-story brick business building on Union Street, Coffeyville. Public enterprises promising to be of benefit to the city or county may always be sure of his support, for he has been a constant encourager of beneficial movements, and at present is a stockholder in the Montgomery County Fair Association. Fraternally, Mr. Wingate belongs to Lodge No. 279, Ancient Order of United Workmen, and to the North American Union.
On December 15, 1883, Mr. Wingate was married at Radical City, Montgomery County, Kansas, to Miss Ida M. Thornton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. M. Thornton, the latter of whom died in 1877, while the former still survives and resides with his son-in-law, Mr. Wingate. Francis Marion Thornton was born in Smith County, Tennessee, December 10, 1827, and was three years of age when taken by his parents to Schuyler County, Illinois, where he was reared and lived until he had a family of three children. He then removed to Rome, Iowa, where he read medicine and began practice in Jefferson County, that state, continuing to be thus engaged until 1865. Prior to this time, for twelve years, he had been in the ministry. In 1865 he was drafted into the United States service as a soldier during the Civil war, and took up arms as a member of Company H, Fifteenth Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry. With this organization he completed a service of nine months, and when he received his honorable discharge returned to Iowa, but in the spring of 1866 came to Kansas and located in Leavenworth County. Here he practiced until 1872 when he changed his field to Liberty Township, and built up a large practice for which he cared until his retirement in 1890. Doctor Thornton is independent in his political views, and has served as township trustee two terms and was a justice of the peace while in Leavenworth County. As doctor, citizen and public official, he has always commanded the highest respect of his fellow-citizens. He and his family are members of the Baptist Church. In 1851 Doctor Thornton was married to Miss Nancy Scott, of Schuyler County, Illinois, who died at Liberty, Kansas. They were the parents of eight children, as follows: Simeon, who is engaged in blacksmithing at Liberty; Martha, who died at Independence, Kansas, as the wife of R. Grant, who has been engaged in the lumber business at Kansas City and Chicago; Mary, who married first James Van Cleve, deceased, and second L. H. Clevenger, and resides at Hunter, Missouri, where Mr. Clevenger is a farmer; Louisa, who married Charles Kirwin, a retired farmer of Neodesha, Kansas; Ida M., who is now Mrs. Wingate; Abel H., who died aged eleven days; Curtis, who died aged four years: and Sherman Scott, who is a policeman at Coffeyville.
Mr. and Mrs. Wingate have been the parents of five children: Ralph, who is a traveling salesman for the Delaval Separator Company, and is superintendent of nine counties of Kansas, with his headquarters and residence at Parsons; Clarence, who is private secretary to the superintendent of the Prairie Oil and Gas Company of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and has his home there; Frankie, who died at the age of eighteen months; May, who died at the age of seven years; and Nell, who is a junior at the Parsons High School and resides with her parents.
Transcribed from volume 4, pages 2024-2025 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 by students at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, March, 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.
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