Biography of George W. Burgess
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





GEORGE W. BURGESS. - As a justice of the peace for Van Dusen township, Humboldt county, George W. Burgess has rendered splendid service to the cause of peace and justice, law and order, in his home community. To him the functions of his office are the settlement of claims and difficulties in an amicable manner, and there is no other justice of the peace in the state whose record for the successful accomplishment of such service exceeds his, and few if any which equal it. He is now serving his last of eight terms in this capacity, and during the past four years there has not been a fine collected or a suit prosecuted in his jurisdiction, all difficulties and differences having been peacefully settled through the splendid management of Mr. Burgess. For some years he also served as deputy assessor. He is also interested in real estate and owns a fine farm of eighty acres a quarter of a mile from Blocksburg.

Mr. Burgess has been in California since November 15, 1862, when he landed in San Francisco from a trip across the Isthmus of Panama and up the coast. He is a native of Maine, having been born in Searsmont, Waldo county, August 4, 1839, and there he grew to maturity. The educational advantages were very meager, but he received a good common school education and had one year at high school. When he was eighteen years of age he commenced teaching in the public schools of the county, usually teaching during winter terms and in the summers remaining at home and assisting with the management and care of his father's farm. When he was twenty three years of age he forsook the home environment and came to California. Arriving at San Francisco, he went at once into Napa valley, where for a time he found employment on a ranch, and then went into the mines at Weaverville. Later he took a wood contract on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at Jack's valley, Nev., remaining there for a year and a half. During this time his wife joined him, and later he met with an unfortunate accident, being struck by a heavy four foot log as it rolled down the hill side, and he was pronounced fatally injured. He has, however, outlived the doctor who made the fatal prediction and is still hale and hearty at seventy five years of age. After his recovery he taught school for a term before leaving Jack's valley, and then became foreman for the William Winter's ranch. Following this he ran a hydraulic mine at Douglas City for one winter, this claim being the property of one Charles Trurot. In May, 1871, he removed into the mountain district of southwestern Trinity county, where he located a claim of a tract eight miles by twelve miles. The region had not been surveyed, and Mr. Burgess was the only white man therein. In 1875 the surveys were made and settlers began to come in. Mr. Burgess homesteaded a claim of one hundred sixty acres and acquired a similar tract of school land by purchase. Many of the settlers remained but a short time, and Mr. Burgess continued to purchase the abandoned rights of others until he owned a tract of eleven hundred forty acres. He prospered exceedingly in this locality, remaining until June 28, 1881, when he moved over to the Watch ranch, in Van Dusen township, Humboldt county, and for five years ran this property. December 5, 1887, he removed to Blocksburg, where he lived for two years, and December 5, 1889, he purchased his present place of eighty acres from a Mrs. Harris, and has since resided thereon.

Mr. and Mrs. Burgess have five children, three daughters and two sons, all natives of California, and well known in Humboldt county. Of these, Sadie A. is now the wife of Craig R. Thompson, a rancher of Alderpoint, and the mother of six children, George A., Edith A., Craig Gaston, Vina M., Clara D., and Ellis F.; George G. is a blacksmith in Blocksburg, and is married to Miss Maude M. Smith, by whom he has three children, Joseph G., Francis and Bessie S.; Dora is the wife of William Wilson, of Fortuna, where Mr. Wilson is a carpenter and millwright, and owns a ranch at Cuddeback, and they have six children, Laura S., Nellie F., Lester B., Helen Georgie, John E., and Vernon; Lucena is the wife of S. Arnet Shields, ranger on the Trinity Forest Reserve, the family making their home in Blocksburg; they have five children, Stella N., Bernice R., George William, Edith S. and Sadie A.; and Edward I., who is manager of the home place, is married to Miss Julia Josephine Smith, of Blocksburg; they are the parents of five children, Theodore F., Lloyd Edward, Willard Howard, Earl Smith and Georgette M.

Mr. Burgess is one of the most enthusiastic boosters for Humboldt county particularly and for California generally that will be found anywhere. He is especially enthusiastic regarding the advantages of real estate investments, and his advice to young men is to put all their money into land. He declares that the value is certain to increase with a rapidity that will surprise even the most sanguine, and that especially in the vicinity of San Francisco, as he believes that within a remarkably short time the region surrounding San Francisco Bay will be closely built up. In his warm appreciation of the possibilities offered by California Mr. Burgess is closely seconded by his splendid wife. She was Miss Sylvina Conant in the days of her maidenhood, a native of Appleton, Me., and her marriage with Mr. Burgess was solemnized at Searsmont, Waldo county, Me., September 17, 1861. Their home is plain but comfortable, and there the true California hospitality of a day gone by is still dispensed, giving the fortunate guest a glimpse of a period that has vanished. Both Mr. and Mrs. Burgess are well known and popular with their many friends. Mr. Burgess is a Republican and is well versed in the affairs of his party, particularly in questions of local importance.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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